[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Oral Argument Press Summaries
October 1-5, 2001

The following summaries are drawn from briefs and lower court judgments. They are meant to provide a general idea of facts and issues presented in cases, and should not be considered official court documents. Facts and issues presented in these summaries should be checked for accuracy against records and briefs, available from the Court, which provide more specific information.

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Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Monday, October 1, 2001
Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.
Case Time Facts & Issues Place of Origin
Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General: Slot Machines

SC01-1000

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here

9:00 A citizen's initiative to amend the state Constitution has gathered enough signatures for initial review by the Court. The amendment would authorize slot machines in certain locations in Florida. If the Court determines that the proposed amendment meets rules restricting initiatives to a single subject and requiring a fair ballot summary, it will be placed on the ballot in a general election. Statewide impact
Bonnie Allen v. Mararete Dalk

SC01-2

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:40 Christel D. McPeak, a native of Germany, died in May 1999 in Ocala. Before her death, she had a will made out. In the presence of her attorney and witnesses, McPeak acknowledged this document as her last will and testament but, due to oversight, neglected to sign it as required by law. After her death, a dispute arose between the beneficiaries named in her will-an American sister-in-law and her children-and McPeak's half sister in Germany. The trial court resolved this dispute in favor of the sister-in-law and her children, but on appeal the Fifth District reversed. Marion County
Allstate Insurance Co. v. Victor Ginsberg

SC00-2614

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:30 Elaine Scarfo worked for a company run by Ginsberg. She alleged that, after she refused sexual overtures by Ginsberg, he took actions that terminated her job. She sued him in federal court under an umbrella insurance policy issued to him by Allstate. The federal court granted Allstate's motion for summary judgment, but on appeal the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals certified questions to this Court as to whether Scarfo's claims could be covered by the policy under Florida law.  Broward County
Thomas James Moore v. State of Florida

SC00-2483and SC01-708

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 11:10 Moore was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the January 1993 murder of Johnny Parrish. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity. Duval County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, October 2, 2001
Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case Time Facts & Issues Place of Origin
The Florida Bar v. James Edmund Baker

SC96,980

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

9:00 The Bar accused Baker of ethics violations for allegedly forging his wife's signature to documents related to the sale of a home they jointly owned. A referee recommended disbarment for five years. Lee County
The Florida Bar v. John L. Scott

SC96,087and SC97,020

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:30 The Bar accused Scott of ethics violations involving sexual misconduct with a client. A referee recommended an 18-month suspension followed by probation, but The Bar now asks that he be disbarred. Suwannee County
Dale Edward Sjuts v. State of Florida

SC01-95

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:00 The State filed a petition to civilly commit Sjuts under the Jimmy Ryce Act. A public defender was appointed to represent Sjuts and filed counterclaims alleging that his civil rights had been violated during psychiatric evaluations. The State argued that a public defender had no authority to pursue civil rights claims on behalf of a defendant. The trial court dismissed the claims, and the Second District Court affirmed the dismissal. Polk County
Robert Morris v. State of Florida

SC95,623

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:40 Morris was charged with the September 1994 murder of Violet Livingston. The jury found him guilty as charged and recommended the death penalty by a vote of 8-to-4. The trial judge imposed it. This is Morris' direct appeal. Polk County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, October 3, 2001
Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case Time Facts & Issues Place of Origin
Amendments to Rules Relating to Admission to the Bar

SC96,869

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

9:00 The Florida Board of Bar Examiners has petitioned the Court to make changes to the rules regulating admission to The Florida Bar. They include raising the passing score on the Bar Exam. Statewide impact
Loran Cole v. State of Florida

SC00-1388and SC01-192

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:40 Cole was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the February 1994 murder of John Edwards. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity. Marion County
William Melvin White v. State of Florida

SC00-1148

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:30 White was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the June 1978 murder of Gracie Mae Crawford. His case was sent back for a new sentencing proceeding due to errors, and he again received the death penalty. This is his direct appeal from the new sentence. Orange County
Timothy Lee Hurst v. State of Florida

SC00-1042

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 11:10 Hurst was charged with the May 1998 murder of Cynthia Harrison at a restaurant on Nine Mile Road near Pensacola. He was convicted and sentenced to death. This is his direct appeal. Escambia County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, October 4, 2001
Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case Time Facts & Issues Place of Origin
Inquiry Concerning a Judge: Patricia Kinsey

SC96,629

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9:00 Judge Kinsey is accused of ethical violations allegedly committed when she campaigned for her judgeship. The Judicial Qualifications Commission, which investigated alleged misconduct of state judges, has recommended that the Court publicly reprimand her and impose a fine of $50,000.  Escambia County
William Earl Sweet v. State of Florida

SC00-1509

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Approx. 9:40 Sweet was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the June 1990 murder of Felicia Bryant. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity. Duval County
Arthur Barnhill III v. State of Florida

SC00-547

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Approx. 10:30 Barnhill was charged with the August 1995 murder of Earl Gallipeau. The jury convicted him and recommended the death penalty by a vote of 9-to-3. The trial court imposed it. This is Barnhill's direct appeal. Seminole County
Charles Murray v. Kathleen A Kearney

SC01-100and SC01-174

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 11:30 Murray was ordered committed as a sexually violent predator. He objected on grounds this violated a plea agreement he entered with the state. Murray filed a petition for habeas corpus with the Fourth District Court, which held that it did not have jurisdiction and transferred the case to the Third District Court. The Third District also dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and transferred the case back to the Fourth District, which ultimately concluded again that it lacked jurisdiction. Dade County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, October 5, 2001
Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case Time Facts & Issues Place of Origin
James Eugene Hunter v. State of Florida

SC00-1885and SC01-836

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

8:30 Hunter was tried, convicted, and sentence to death for the September 1992 murder of Wayne Simpson. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity. Volusia County
Mary Chester v. Victor Doig, M.D.

SC01-348

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:10 Charles Chester died of negligently performed heart surgery. His wife Mary filed a notice of intent to sue, and the physician involved, Doig, opted to arbitrate. Hallifax Medical Center settled for $150,000. The arbitrator awarded Chester more than $500,000 against Doig and also found that this amount would not be reduced by the $150,00 already paid by Hallifax. The Fifth District reversed. Volusia County
James Lee Hall v. State of Florida

SC00-2358

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Approx. 9:50 Hall entered into a plea agreement under which he was sentenced for theft and dealing in property taken in the same theft. His sentence was affirmed by the District Court. He now argues that dual convictions of this type are prohibited by law, and that the sentencing scheme under which he was sentenced, Florida's new Criminal Punishment Code, is unconstitutional. St. Lucie County
John Hall v. State of Florida

SC01-42

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:30 Hall was sentenced to consecutive terms of five years for possession of cocaine and another five years for resisting arrest with violence under Florida's new Criminal Punishment Code. On appeal, he challenged the constitutionality of the Code on a variety of grounds, but the District Court affirmed his sentences. Gadsden County



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