[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Oral Argument Press Summaries
December 6-10, 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, December 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
Public Reprimand of Judge Brenda C. Wilson

No. 94,587

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

9:00 Judge Brenda C. Wilson has been ordered to appear before the Court to be publicly reprimanded for ethical misconduct. Collier County
Florida Power Corp. v. Joe Garcia

Nos. 94,664 & 94,665

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

Approx. 9:05 In 1991 Florida Power Corp. entered into a contract, approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, with North Canadian Power to obtain electrical capacity and electrical power from it. A dispute later arose over payments, and in 1994 Florida Power requested a declaratory statement from the PSC interpreting the contract. The PSC dismissed the petition, holding it lacked jurisdiction. A North Canadian subsidiary filed suit seeking damages under the contract. In 1998 Florida Power again petitioned the PSC for a statement as to its interpretation of the contract when approved in 1991. The PSC dismissed on grounds that administrative finality prevented it from revisiting the issue. This appeal followed. South & Central Florida
John Crocker v. Richard Pleasant

No. 95,148

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

Approx. 9:45 In December 1995, West Palm Beach officers investigated the death of a body later identified as that of Jay Crocker, whose parents lived in Miami Shores. Officers asked law enforcement in Miami Shores to contact the parents but did not say it was to report the death of their son. Officers never reached the parents, who did not learn of their son's death until six months later, after their son's body had been buried in an unmarked pauper's grave. They sued the city and county, but the trial court dismissed the claims. The Fourth District Court affirmed but certified a question to this Court.  West Palm Beach

Palm Beach County

(Miami Shores connection)

State of Florida v. Jorge Olivo

No. 94,097

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

Approx. 10:30 Olivo, a minor at the time, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in connection with a traffic accident in August 1995 that severely injured himself and a passenger. The trial judge later dismissed the case on grounds the State failed to bring Olivo to trial within a 90-day speedy trial rule. The Third District affirmed. Dade County
State of Florida v. Michael Randy Miles

No. 95,490

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

Approx. 11:10 Miles was charged with driving under the influence, thereby killing one person and injuring another. A blood sample, taken without his consent, showed an unlawful blood alcohol level. In court, he challenged the Florida statute that makes this presumptive evidence of impaired driving. He argued that associated state regulations did not require adequate safeguards to prevent blood alcohol levels from being altered by heat, bacterial action, or other agents before testing. The trial and district courts agreed.  Escambia County

Statewide impact

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, December 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
Chicago Title Insurance Co. v. S. Clark Butler

No. 95,312

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

9:00 Butler filed suit challenging Florida laws regulating the title insurance industry, specifically laws and related regulations forbidding title insurance agents from rebating to buyers any of their profits. Florida's major title insurers intervened on grounds that rebating, if allowed, would result in cut-throat competition that could degrade underwriting. The trial judge found in favor of Butler, and the First District Court certified the case to the Court for immediate resolution. Leon County

Statewide impact

Jane Doe v. William Dunbar Evans III

No. 94,450

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

Approx. 9:40 Doe was a parishioner at the Church of the Holy Redeemer, an Episcopal church in Lake Worth. She later began counseling with a minister, Evans, that allegedly turned into a romantic involvement. Later, Doe said she was held up to public ridicule because of this affair. She sued Evans and officials of the Episcopal Diocese of South Florida. The trial judge dismissed the claims against the officials on First Amendment religious freedom grounds. The Fourth District affirmed. On appeal, friend of the court briefs have been filed by other major religious organizations including the Florida Catholic Conference.  Lake Worth

Palm Beach County

Zackery Holiday v. State of Florida

No. 95,582

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Approx. 10:30 Holiday was arrested in June 1997 for sale or delivery of cocaine, and he testified at trial that he was entrapped into committing the crime. At the request of Holiday's attorney, the trial court instructed the jury with the then-current standard instruction on entrapment. The jury found Holiday guilty as charged. On appeal, the First District held that even though the entrapment instruction given by the trial court was erroneous, the error did not constitute "fundamental error" that would entitle him to raise the issue for the first time on appeal. The First District certified conflict with another case from the Fourth District, and this Court accepted jurisdiction to resolve the conflict. Duval County
Marc James Asay v. State of Florida

No. 90,963

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

Approx. 11:10 Asay was convicted and sentenced to death for the July 1987 murders of Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell. His sentences were affirmed on appeal. He now challenges their validity. Duval County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, December 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
Gary Herzfeld v. Frank Herzfeld

No. 95,054

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9:00 In 1988 at age 13, Frank Herzfeld was placed as a foster child with Gary Herzfeld, who adopted him 3 years later. In 1997 Frank sued his adoptive father on claims stemming from alleged sexual molestation. The adoptive father moved to dismiss the suit based on the common law doctrine of parental immunity, which prohibited children from suing parents. The trial court agreed, but the Third District Court reversed. Dade County

Statewide impact

Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. v. Florida Gaming Centers

No. 95,561

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Approx. 9:40 Ocala Breeders' Sales holds a state license to conduct limited intertrack wagering pursuant to a state law. Florida Gaming Centers, which conduct jai alai wagering, sued and obtained a trial court's judgment that the state law was unconstitutional. The First District affirmed. Marion County

Statewide impact

Krishna Maharaj v. State of Florida

No. 91,854

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Aprox. 10:30 Maharaj, a British citizen, was convicted and sentenced to death for the October 1986 murder of Duane Moo Young in the DuPont Plaza Hotel. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He later challenged the validity of both his conviction and sentence. The judge agreed that a new sentencing proceeding was needed but upheld the conviction. On appeal, Maharaj continues to challenge his conviction. Friend of the court briefs have been filed by members of the British House of Lords, the European Parliament, and others alleging that Maharaj's trial fell below internationally accepted standards, in part because his trial judge was arrested for bribery during the trial and because of the alleged inexperience and ineffectiveness of his trial counsel. Dade County
Scott Mansfield v. State of Florida

No. 92,412

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

Approx. 11:10 Mansfield was charged with the October 1995 murder of Sara Robles near Boggy Creek Road in Kissimmee. He was found guilty and sentenced to death based on a 12-to-0 jury vote favoring capital punishment. He appeals. Kissimmee

Osceola County


 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, December 9, 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
Standard Jury Instructions--Civil Cases (99-2)

No. 95,832

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

9:00 This case involves rules proposed for adoption by the Court governing judicial proceedings under the "Jimmy Ryce Act" for civil commitment of alleged sexual predators. Statewide
Inquiry Concerning a Judge: Steven P. Shea

No. 92,913

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Approx. 9:40 Judge Steven P. Shea, a circuit judge at the Plantation Key Courthouse, stands accused by the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission with unethical conduct, which has recommended his removal from office. Judge Shea argues that this recommendation should be set aside or vacated. Plantation Key

Monroe County

Caesar H. Robinson v. State of Florida

No. 93,210

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Approx. 10:30 Robinson was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the December 1981 murder of his ex-wife's new husband, Avil Francis, and the attempted murder of his ex-wife, Bernadette Francis, in Winter Haven. His sentence was affirmed by the Second District Court in 1983. In 1996, Robinson filed a motion alleging that newly discovered evidence cast doubt on his sentence. The trial court agreed, but the Second District reversed. Polk County
State of Florida v. Ronald Rife

Nos. 95,752 & 96,400

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Approx. 11:10 These consolidated cases involve Robert Willis Brooks (Seminole County) and Ronald Rife (Brevard County), both convicted of sexual acts with minors. In both cases, the trial judge departed downward from the penalty recommended by the sentencing guidelines based on the minor's willing participation. The Fifth District Court affirmed and certified the question to the Supreme Court. Brevard County

Seminole County


 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, December 10, 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


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