[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]

Oral Argument Press Summaries
June 1-5, 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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Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Monday, June 1, 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
Lawton Chiles v. John B. Phelps, et al.

Nos. 92,474 & 92,730

View briefs in Acrobat format: A

9:00 Governor Chiles vetoed several legislative items passed in the 1997 Regular Legislative Session. In November 1997 the Legislature met in special session and did not attempt to override the vetoes. In early 1998 both houses reenacted two vetoed bills by votes sufficient to override a veto. Chiles filed suit claiming that the Constitution permitted only one chance to override-the 1997 special session. A women's clinic also asks that the overrides be voided. Statewide impact
Amendments to the Florida Family Law Rules

No. 89,955

Not available in Acrobat format

Approx. 9:40 In early 1998 the Court approved new rules and forms governing divorce and family law. The Court expressed reservation about some of the proposals and permitted additional time for the Family Court Steering Committee to revise and explain its suggestions. This proceeding will address these proposals  Statewide impact
Inquiry Concerning a Judge: Elizabeth Lynn Hapner

No. 91,325

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B

Approx. 10:30 Judge Hapner is accused of ethical breaches resulting in her suspension from office in April. Afterward she resigned as judge and argued that her case should be dismissed because she no longer is in office. The Judicial Qualifications opposed dismissal and argues that censure is still proper.  Hillsborough County
Alphonso Cave v. State of Florida

No. 90,165

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B 

Approx. 11:10 Cave was convicted for participating in the April 1982 murder of convenience-store clerk Frances Julia Slater in Stuart and sentenced to death. In the early 1990s a federal court vacated the death penalty and ordered a new penalty phase, which was held in 1993. On direct appeal, a new penalty phase again was ordered. He was against sentenced to death, and appeals to the Supreme Court. Stuart

Martin County

Richard Keith Martin v. Dept. of Transportation

No. 92,046

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C 

1:30 In 1994 the Florida Department of Transportation offered Martin $106,200 for a portion of his property it wanted to take along Nova Road in Volusia County. Martin hired attorneys who successfully negotiated a payment nearly five times larger. The trial court also ordered DOT to pay attorneys fees of $110,000. On appeal, the Fifth District reversed and ordered the fees reduced. Martin appeals. Volusia County
Arthur Dennis Rutherford v. State of Florida

No. 89,142

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C 

Approx. 2:10 Rutherford was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in the 1985 murder and armed robbery of 63-year-old Stella Salamon, whose body was found in the bathtub of her Milton home. He now challenges the validity of his death sentence. Milton

Santa Rosa County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, June 2, 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
Keith Brennan v. State of Florida

No. 90,279

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C 

9:00 Brennan, who was 16 at the time the crime was committed, was charged with the March 10, 1995, murder of Tommy Owens, whose body had been found in an open field by Cape Coral maintenance workers. At trial, the defense introduced evidence of Brennan's troubled childhood, the suicide of his mother, his rape by a relative, and emotional problems. The defense also argued it would be unconstitutional to execute one who was only 16 when he committed murder--the first person facing execution so young in more than 25 years. Nevertheless, the jury convicted Brennan and recommended his execution by a vote of 8-to-4. The trial court sentenced him to death, and he appeals. Cape Coral

Lee County

Lawrence D. McDougald v. Henry D. Perry

No. 91,595

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C  

Approx. 10:00 McDougald was injured when a 130-pound spare tire dislodged from a tractor trailer passing over railroad tracks on Highway 60 West in Bartow. It fell beneath the wheels but bounced up toward a car traveling behind, causing the driver to injure himself. He sued the driver, Mr. Perry, and the truck's owner and won a verdict of $250,000, which was reversed on appeal by the Second District Court. Bartow

Polk County

Louis B. Gaskin v. State of Florida

No. 90,119

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C 

Approx. 10:40 Gaskins was tried and sentenced to death for the December 20, 1989, murders of Robert & Georgette Sturmfels in Palm Coast. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He later challenged the validity of his sentence in a case heard by Judge James Foxman in Volusia County. Judge Foxman denied the requested relief, and Gaskins appeals Flagler County

(Volusia connection)

State Farm v. CTC Development Corp.

No. 91,717

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C   

Approx. 11:20 John and Annette Bray contracted with CTC Development for construction of a home in the Baycliffs subdivision of Gulf Breeze. When building was nearly 60 percent complete, neighbors sued on grounds the building violated setback requirements in the deed covenants. The estimated cost of moving the home to an allowable location is about $275,000. CTC called on its insurer, State Farm, to defend the case, but State Farm said its policy did not cover the damage at issue here. CTC then sued State Farm. The trial court dismissed the suit, but the First District Court reversed. Santa Rosa County

Escambia County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, June 3, 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
Art Silvestrone v. Marc Z. Edell, Budd, Lardner

No. 91,953

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C 

9:00 Professional golfers Art Silvestrone and Glenn Teal sued the Senior PGA Tour and related organizations for antitrust violations that allegedly excluded them from competition. They won their suits in 1990, but the jury awarded Silvestrone only $3,777.50 and Teal nothing. Because of technicalities, the final judgment was not entered until 1992. In 1993, the two sued their attorneys for legal malpractice for allegedly failing to recover their full measure of damages. The trial court dismissed on grounds that the two-year statute of limitations had run out, and the Fifth District affirmed. The issue presented is whether the statute of limitations began to run when the verdict was entered (1990) or when the judgment was entered (1992).  Orange County
Raleigh Porter v. State of Florida

No. 90,101

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

Approx. 9:40 Porter was sentenced to death for the August 21, 1978, murders of a retired couple, Harry G. and Margaret Ann Walrath, in Charlotte County. He now challenges the validity of his sentence. Charlotte County
Terry Kenneth Brown v. State of Florida

No. 91,764

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C  

Approx. 10:30 Brown was convicted under a statute prohibiting convicted felons from possessing firearms. At trial he offered to stipulate to the fact that he was convicted felon, thereby preventing the jury from learning the nature of the prior offenses. The trial court disagreed, however, and let the State introduce information about the prior convictions. On appeal, the Third District Court affirmed, and Brown sought review in the Supreme Court. Dade County
Kathleen Weiand v. State of Florida

No. 91,925

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C  

Approx. 11:10 On January 3, 1994, Kathleen Weiand and her husband Todd began a violent argument. He beat her repeatedly, and she fended him off repeatedly with a knife. Finally, he attacked her with a metal rod, and she began backing into a room where Todd kept a handgun. When she brandished the gun, he ran into a room where he kept rifles. She fired two shots inside the closed door. Hearing nothing, she opened the door and found him shot in the head. He later died. At trial for murder, Kathleen argued she acted in self defense, but the trial judge refused to give the "castle doctrine" instruction (telling the jury that people have no duty to retreat from violence inside their own homes) because it was Todd's home, too. The Second District Court affirmed but certified a question to the Supreme Court. It asks whether the "castle doctrine" should apply in cases of domestic violence where both parties live together. Hillsborough County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, June 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
Rupert B. Brown v. Estate of A.P. Stuckey

No. 90,197

View briefs in Acrobat format: A 

9:00 In May 1989 A.P. Stuckey and his wife sued Rupert and Lettie Nell Brown, their partners in a large Suwannee County thoroughbred horse farm. They asked that the partnership's assets be divided, and they also sued for malicious interference with business relations, libel and slander, and several other civil claims. The jury awarded the Stuckeys more than $500,000, but the judge ordered a new trial on grounds the verdict was contrary to the evidence. On appeal, the First District Court reversed. Suwannee County
Gonzalo Aguilar, M.D. v. Southeast Bank

No. 91,164

View briefs in Acrobat format: A, B, C 

Approx. 9:40 The appellants, all physicians, had an agreement to purchase condominiums in the St. Jude Medical Center office complex, a project financed by a savings and loan organization acquired by Southeast Bank. In 1987 the bank foreclosed and named the physicians as defendants because of their interest in the property. The developer and the bank later settled, and the physicians then filed suit against the bank alleging tortious interference with their contract with the developer. The case was removed to federal court, where the district judge dismissed on grounds the physicians should have raised their claim during the foreclosure proceeding. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit certified a question asking the Supreme Court if this was a correct interpretation of Florida law. Duval County
Dwight Harrison v. State of Florida

No. 87,307

View briefs in Acrobat format: A 

Approx. 10:30 Harrison was charged with the July 1992 murders of his grandmother, Lillie Mae Harrison, and her tenant Rosa Sloan. At trial he argued that his addiction to cocaine contributed to his actions. The jury convicted him of murder but recommended life imprisonment. Overriding the jury, the judge sentenced Harrison to death. He appeals. Dade County
John Loveman Reese v. State of Florida

No. 91,411

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

Approx. 11:30 In January 1992 Sharlene Austin's body was found in her home, strangled with an electrical cord. When Reese's palm print was found near Austin's bed, police questioned him and obtained his confession.. At trial, the jury convicted Reese and recommended the death penalty 8-to-4, which the judge imposed. In 1997 the Supreme Court ordered a new sentencing proceeding and the trial court again imposed death. Duval County
Richard K. Boyd v. State of Florida

No. 91,556

View briefs in Acrobat format: A

Approx. 12:10 In 1988 Boyd pled no contest to kidnaping and battery. He later violated his probation, and a warrant for his arrest was signed four days before his probationary period expired. The warrant was not filed until two days after the expiration date, and there is no indication when the sheriff received the warrant. Boyd was sentenced to imprisonment. On appeal the First District Court reversed, saying that Boyd's probation had ended before the warrant was legally "issued." Leon County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, June 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
NO CASES SCHEDULED

 
 


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