[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Oral Argument Press Summaries
October 4-8, & 19, 1999

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 4, 1999
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
Michael Aurbach v. Angelina Gallina

No. 94,597

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

9:00 Under Florida law, persons who let others use their motor vehicles can be liable for injuries that result from the other persons' negligence while driving. In this case, Louis & Carolina Gallina purchased a car for their daughters' use, though the car was titled solely in Carolina's name. Their daughter Angelina later was in a traffic accident that injured Auerbach, who sued her and her parents and was awarded damages. On appeal, the Fourth District Court reversed as to Louis Gallina's liability on grounds he was not an owner of the car because his name was not on the title. Auerbach appealed. Palm Beach County
State of Florida v. Bernard Evans

No. 94,673

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

Approx. 9:40 Evans was convicted of second-degree murder in the killing of Thaddeus Scott and sentenced to 15 years in prison. At trial, a key state witness testified that the defendant stated the night before the shooting that he would kill Scott. The witness also testified that she actually saw the defendant shoot Scott. These aspects of the witness' testimony differed from both her initial police statement and her pretrial deposition testimony. On appeal, the Third District reversed for a new trial based on the prosecutor's failure to inform the defense about the witness' changed testimony. Dade County
Dorothy Murphy v. Florida Dept. of Transportation

Nos. 93,551 & 93,554

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

Approx. 10:30 DOT began condemnation proceedings in 1995 to acquire property housing businesses owned by Murphy and others, to widen Griffin Road in Davie. DOT wanted the entire property even though it only needed a portion, since this could mean it would not have to pay "business losses" required in "partial takings." The trial judge, however, only let DOT acquire the portion actually needed ,but did not rule out a total taking later on. On appeal, the Fourth District reversed on grounds DOT could take the whole property immediately. Broward County
Anthony LaMarca v. State of Florida

No. 92,610

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

Approx. 11:10 LaMarca was tried and convicted for the Dec. 2, 1995, murder of his son-in-law Kevin Flynn. The jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of 11-to-1, and the trial judge imposed it. He appeals. Pinellas County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, October 5, 1999
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 the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar

No. 95,365

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

9:00 The Florida Bar asks the Court to make numerous changes to the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar including provisions dealing with ethical violations by attorneys and judges, the unlicenced practice of law, fee arbitration, and others. Statewide
Volusia County v. Aberdeen at Ormond Beach L.P.

No. 95,345

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

Approx. 9:40 Under its charter powers, Volusia County imposed a school impact fee on residential property for the purpose of recouping education costs caused by developments. Aberdeen at Ormond Beach is a trailer park restricted to retirees. Children do not live there. Aberdeen sued the county on grounds it should not have to pay the fee since its residents send no children to school. The trial court agreed, and the Fifth District certified the case to the Supreme Court.  Volusia County

Statewide impact

William Fredrick Happ v. State of Florida

No. 93,121

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

Approx. 10:30 Happ was sentenced to death for the May 1986 murder of Angela Crowley, whose body was found on the banks of the Cross-Florida Barge Canal. He now challenges the validity of his sentence. Citrus County
Nova Southeastern Univ. v. Bethany Jill Gross

No. 94,079

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

Approx. 11:10 Gross was a 23-year-old doctoral candidate at Nova studying psychology. In October 1995 she was assaulted in an off-campus parking lot near the Family Services Agency, where she was involved in an internship arranged through Nova. Gross sued the Agency and Nova, and the Agency later settled for $900,000. The trial judge dismissed the remaining claims against Nova, but the Fourth District Court reversed. Broward County
State of Florida v. John Warner

No. 94,842

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

Approx. 11:50 Warner was involved in a traffic accident while driving on State Road 5 in Fort Lauderdale in June 1996, leading to his arrest for DUI. At trial, the judge told Warner the sentence he would receive if he pled to the charge, and Warner accepted. The plea was lower than the sentencing guidelines suggested. The State appealed, and the Fourth District reversed the lower sentence for lack of record support but concluded that it was permissible for a judge to tell what sentence would be imposed if the defendants pleads to the offense. In a separate case, the Fifth District Court held that judges cannot tell defendants this information. The Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction to resolve the conflict. Broward County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, October 6, 1999
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
Revisions to Florida Simplified Legal Forms

No. 92,023

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

9:00 The Florida Bar issues simplified legal forms approved by the Court that laypeople can use in routine transactions without needing advice from a lawyer. They cover many topics. This case presents a revision to the simplified one-year residential lease form.  Statewide
Amendments to Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure

Nos. 95,117

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

Approx. 9:30 This case asks the Court to consider making changes to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure governing sentencing. Statewide
Amendments to Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure

No. 95,707

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

Approx. 10:10 A committee asks the Court to amend the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure in an effort to better conform with the Criminal Appeals Reform Act of 1996. An organization representing criminal defense lawyers opposes some of these changes. Statewide
William L. Thompson v. State of Florida

Nos. 87,481 & 99,321

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

Approx. 10:50 Thompson was sentenced to death for the April 1976 murder of Sally Ivestor. He later filed public records requests seeking police and Department of Corrections records about his case. He received a number but contended that the agencies did not fully comply with his request. The trial judge rejected this claim, and Thompson appeals. Dade County
Andrea Hicks Jackson v. State of Florida

No. 93,925

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

Approx. 11:30 Jackson was sentenced to death for the May 1983 shooting of Jacksonville police officer Gary Bevel. Her sentence was twice reversed for errors during the penalty phase of the trial. At her third sentencing proceeding, the jury again recommended the death penalty, and the judge imposed it. She appeals.  Duval County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, October 7, 1999
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
Michael George Bruno Sr. v. State of Florida

No. 92,223

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

REMOVED DUE TO ILLNESS OF AN ATTORNEY Broward County
State of Florida v. Matthew Stepansky

No. 93,106

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Approx. 8:30 Stepansky, a U.S. citizen, was charged with burglary and attempted sexual battery aboard a Liberian-registered cruise ship while about 100 nautical miles off the Atlantic Coast of Florida. The ship embarked from and was returning to Port Canaveral. Stepansky moved to dismiss the charges on grounds Florida lacked jurisdiction. The trial judge denied the motion, but on appeal the Fifth District Court held that Florida did indeed lack jurisdiction. It cited Article I, section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that federal judicial power extends to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. Port Canaveral

Brevard County

Kevin Don Foster v. State of Florida

No. 93,372

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

Approx. 9:10 Foster was charged with the April 1996 murder of Mark Schwebes in Pine Manor. At trial he was convicted, and the jury recommended the death penalty 9-to-3. The trial judge sentenced him to death, and he appeals. Pine Manor

Lee County

Phyllis T. Garvin v. Joanne Jerome

No. 94,751

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

Approx. 9:50 In 1998, a group sought to recall Daytona Beach Shores city councilwoman Phyllis Garvin. Garvin sought an injunction to stop the recall election on grounds the recall petition was legally insufficient. The trial court denied her request, and the Fifth District Court affirmed. Volusia County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, October 8, 1999
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
NO CASES SCHEDULED

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Tuesday, October 19, 1999

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
Florida Public Service Commission v. David H. Hutchinson

No. 95,653

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

9:00 Hutchinson obtained an "800" number from a long-distance phone service provider that spelled out "1-800-DAYS-INN." A dispute arose between Hutchinson and the provider over costs of the service, and Hutchinson's service was discontinued. The provider says Hutchinson discontinued the service voluntarily, but Hutchinson says he only agreed to discontinue it temporarily while they worked out their differences over the phone charges. Ultimately, the "1-800-DAYS-INN" number was reassigned to Days Inn of America, Inc. Hutchinson sued the provider in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. Shortly before trial was set to begin in May 1999, the Florida Public Service Commission tried to intervene in the case. The trial court refused permission. The PSC then petitioned the Supreme Court. Palm Beach County
Terry Melvin Sims v. State of Florida

No. 96,731

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

Approx. 9:30 Sims was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the December 1977 murder of George Pfeil, an off-duty deputy sheriff who had entered a pharmacy while it was being robbed by Sims and three other men. He is scheduled to be executed at 7 a.m. October 26. He asks for a stay and challenges his sentence. Seminole County


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