[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]

Oral Argument Press Summaries
May 4-8, 1998
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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[ETCHING: SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Robert Craig Waters, Director of Public Information
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Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Monday, May 4, 1998
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: Term Limits Pledge

No. 92,162

Briefs were not filed in electronic format

9:00 Floridians for Congressional Term Limits has proposed a constitutional amendment allowing, but not requiring, candidates for U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to pledge that they will serve a maximum number of terms: three for the House, two for the Senate. This petition asks whether the proposal meets legal requirements. Statewide impact
Amendments to Rules of Criminal Procedure: Collateral Death Cases

Nos. 82,322 & 92,026

Briefs were not filed in electronic format 

Approx. 9:40 The process of splitting the previous Office of Capital Collateral Representative (CCR) into three regional offices led to problems in meeting deadlines in the cases of a number of death-row inmates. On Jan. 15, 1998, the Supreme Court tolled the time limits temporarily but ordered the regional offices to report on their progress in meeting deadlines. In this case, the three offices will appear before the Court to explain their present conditions. Statewide impact
Guillermo Arbelaez v. Robert Butterworth, etc.

Nos. 92,288 & 92,595

View briefs in Acrobat format: A 

Approx. 10:30 In early April 1998 private attorneys representing the three Capital Collateral regional offices filed suit under the Court's "All Writs" jurisdiction asking the Supreme Court to declare a moratorium on executions due to alleged underfunding and understaffing of the offices. They also ask the Court to declare that death row inmates have a constitutional right to representation. Statewide impact
Michael J. Cohen, M.D. v. Michael Dauphinee

No. 91,239

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C, D

Approx. 11:10 Rosemarie Dauphinee died in November 1991, apparently of an infection her physicians failed to detect. Her husband sued. Under Florida law, the suit was subject to pretrial screening, during which time an expert stated that Dauphinee's physicians deviated from accepted standards. Later he contradicted this statement. The jury found no negligence and made no award, but the Fifth District Court ordered a new trial on grounds that Dauphinee improperly impeached the expert at trial because of the contradictory statements. Orange County
Avatar Development Corp. v. State of Florida

No. 91,424

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C, D  

Approx. 11:50 In early 1994 the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a permit for Avatar Development Corp. to stabilize the banks of an existing man-made canal system connected to the Intracoastal Waterway. In 1995 the state charged Avatar with violating two conditions of the permit, a first-degree misdemeanor. The trial court dismissed the charges on grounds that the legislature had improperly delegated DEP authority to determine what constitutes a crime. The Fourth District reversed. Broward County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, May 5, 1998
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
Barbara White Gentile v. Gary Bauder

No. 91,519

View briefs in Acrobat format: A 

9:00 In 1990 Detective Barbara Gentile heard allegations that Bauder was luring boys to his house, giving them drugs and alcohol, and using them for child pornography. Bauder was arrested and convicted, but his conviction was overturned by the Third District Court on grounds there was no probable cause for his arrest. He then sued Gentile for civil damages. The trial court dismissed the complaint, but the Third District reversed for a new trial Dade County
Gerardo Plaza v. State of Florida

No. 91,622

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B 

Approx. 9:40 Plaza was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. During pretrial, the state used its peremptory challenges to excuse a number of women over Plaza's objection. On appeal he argued that the excusals were motivated by unlawful gender discrimination. The Third District disagreed, and Plaza appealed. Dade County
Walter Ruiz v. State of Florida

No. 89,201

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C

Approx. 10:30 Ruiz and an accomplice were charged in the April 1995 murder of Rolando Landrian, and related crimes. Ruiz was convicted and sentenced to death. This is his direct appeal. Hillsborough County
Philip Goode von Eiff v. Leonor Azicri

No. 91,647

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B,C,D,E

Approx. 11:30 Von Eiff is the biological father of a child whose maternal grandparents, the Azicris, sought a right of grandparent visitation authorized by Florida statute. The child's biological mother was dead, and von Eiff and his present wife opposed the visitation. The trial court ordered it anyway, pursuant to the statute. On appeal, the Third District Court upheld the visitation but remanded for reconsideration of several details. In a similar case, the Fifth District Court found the statute unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will resolve the conflict. Dade County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, May 6, 1998
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
Ted Herring v. State of Florida

No. 89,937

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B,C,D 

9:00 Herring was convicted of murdering a 7-Eleven store clerk in Daytona Beach in May 1981, and sentenced to death. His sentence was upheld on appeal. Later, Herring and other death row inmates alleged that their public defender, Howard Pearl, had a serious conflict of interest in that he was a special sheriff's deputy in Marion County. The state argued that the position was purely honorary. The trial court refused to set aside the death penalty, and Herring appeals. Volusia County

(Marion County connection)

Patricia Seifert v. U.S. Home Corp.

No. 91,821

View briefs in Acrobat format: A 

Approx. 9:40 In April 1985 Patricia and Ernest Seifert bought a new home in Springhill built by U.S. Homes. In September 1985 Ernest forgot to turn off his car after parking it in the garage. An air conditioning unit in the garage allegedly had a defect that caused it to spread carbon monoxide from the car throughout the house, and Ernest died as a result. His wife sued, and U.S. Homes claimed the sales contract required all claims to be submitted to arbitration. The trial court disagreed, but the Fifth District Court reversed. The Fourth District Court on similar facts held arbitration inappropriate, and the Supreme Court accepted the case to resolve the conflict. Hernando County
Marshall Lee Gore v. State of Florida

No. 86,249

View briefs in Acrobat format: A

Approx. 10:30 On March 16, 1988, the body of Robyn Novick was discovered under a blue tarp near S.W. 244th Street and S.W. 214th Place. She had been strangled and stabbed. Witnesses later testified that Gore had been seen with the victim's car and other possessions. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. This is his direct appeal Dade County
Dade County School Bd. v. Radio Station WQBA

No. 91,767

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B 

Approx. 11:30 On Jan. 7, 1990, an accident occurred at the Three Kings Day Parade run by radio station WQBA. Miami High School's marching band, a parade participant, was preparing a special routine using flaming batons when someone accidentally dropped a can of flammable fluid. It caught fire, and another student kicked the can away. It landed in an area occupied by spectators, burning several. Many legal claims resulted, including the present suit filed by parade sponsors against the Dade County School Board. At trial, the sponsors won an award of $2,035,000.00, and the School Board appealed. Dade County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, May 7, 1998
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
Fernando Fernandez v. State of Florida

No. 84,700

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C, D  

9:00 On Jan. 3, 1992, police officer Steven Bauer was shot and killed during a robbery at the Kislak National Bank in North Miami. The day after the murder, Fernandez told a friend he had been involved in the murder and needed to see a Santeria priest (a babalao). The friend took him to a babalao, who performed a ritual to prevent Fernandez from being caught. The babalao and the friend later turned Fernandez in to police and shared a $100,000 reward. Fernandez was convicted and sentenced to death. This is his direct appeal. Dade County
Thomas Knight v. State of Florida

No. 87,783

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B 

Approx. 10:00 On July 17, 1974, an armed gunman stopped Sydney Gans as he exited his car at the Sydney Bag & Paper Co. The gunman made him get back in the car and drive home to fetch Mrs. Gans, whom he also ordered into the car. The gunman demanded $50,000, and Gans said he could get it at the City National Bank in downtown Miami. Inside, Mr. Gans told bank officials what was happening, and they summoned police. Officers trailed the car after it left the bank, but lost sight of it in a construction site near S.W. 131st St. A surveillance helicopter soon reported shots fired and a man running into the woods from the car. Arriving, officers soon found Thomas Knight with the money and the murder weapon--a gun with the words "trouble" etched on each side. Thomas was tried and sentenced to death in 1975. A federal court later ordered a resentencing. He was again sentenced to death in 1996 and appealed. Dade County
Kayle Barrington Bates v. State of Florida

No. 86,180

Briefs were not filed in electronic format 

Approx. 10:40 At about 1:05 p.m. on June 14, 1982, a friend placed a call to Janet Renee White at a State Farm Insurance office in Lynn Haven. Shortly after answering the phone, Ms. White began screaming, but someone hung up the phone. The friend called police, who found White's body nearby, stabbed to death. Bates soon emerged from the woods and asked to go to his delivery truck, parked nearby. Police arrested him and found White's wedding ring in his possession. He was tried and sentenced to death in 1983, but new sentencing proceedings were ordered twice. He now appeals from the last of these. Bay County
Kenneth Darcell Quince v. State of Florida

No. 89,960

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C 

Approx. 11:20 Quince was sentenced to death for the Jan. 3, 1980, murder of Frances Bowdoin. He later learned that his public defender, Howard Pearl, was a special deputy sheriff in Marion County at the time of trial. (See the Herring case, above.) At a hearing on this issue, Quince tried to disqualify the judge, who allegedly had worked with Pearl on Quince's case. The trial court denied the motion and denied all relief. Quince appeals. Volusia County

(Marion County Connection)

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, May 8, 1998
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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