[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]

Oral Argument Press Summaries
June 7-11, 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, June 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
Sam Parsi v. Broward County

No. 93,240

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9:00 This lawsuit arose between Sam's Recycling Inc., an auto crushing and salvaging operation, and Broward County over alleged environmental harm caused by the business. In March 1993, Broward County obtained an injunction against Sam's alleged discharge of hazardous materials. In June 1993 the trial court entered a civil contempt order requiring Sam's to cease much of its operations and pay for environmental remediation.. The judge later required Sam's to post bonds pending remediation. Sam's appealed, and the Fourth District Court affirmed.  Broward County
Robert A. Goodman, Rabbi v. Temple Shir Ami, Inc.

No. 93,832

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Approx. 9:40 Goodman served as Rabbi of Temple Shir Ami, a self-governing religious organization, pursuant to an employment contract. A few months before the contract was to expire, the Temple renegotiated and approved a second contract, but its governing board repudiated the contract before its effective date. Goodman sued, and the trial court dismissed on grounds this was an ecclesiastical dispute beyond the court's jurisdiction because of the constitutional right of religious freedom. The Third District affirmed. Dade County
Daryell Calliar v. State of Florida

No. 93,592

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Approx. 10:30 A middle school teacher observed Calliar using wire cutters or a screw driver to attempt cutting the chain tying a bicycle to a rack. The rack was accessible through an open gate. Calliar was tried and convicted of several offenses, including possession of burglary tools. Under Florida law, this crime consists of possessing tools with the intent to use them to commit a burglary or trespass. The First District upheld the conviction, though a dissenting judge argued that Calliar could not be convicted of possessing burglary tools because he only intended to commit a theft, not a burglary or trespass.  Duval County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, June 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
Stanley Shadler v. State of Florida

No. 93,784

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9:00 Shadler had been ordered to attend an alcohol treatment course. On April 24, 1997, he received a notice that his drivers license would be revoked if he did not complete the course by May 14, 1997. Shadler completed the course and his license was reinstated on May 13, 1997. Due to a computer glitch at the Division of Drivers' Licenses, however, his license was listed as suspended. Later, Shadler was stopped and searched by a Putnam County deputy because of the erroneous report. The deputy found cocaine in Shadler's wallet. At trial, the judge suppressed the evidence on grounds it was unlawfully obtained because of the computer glitch. The Fifth District disagreed and reversed. Putnam County
Fla. Dept. of Business & Professional Regulation v. Investment Corp. of Palm Beach

No. 93,952

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Approx. 9:40 This case involves several South Florida companies that operate greyhound, jai alai, and thoroughbred racing facilities where state-licensed wagering occurs. Wagering at these facilities also can be placed on out-of-state races or competitions that are shown by way of instantaneous broadcast. A dispute arose, however, over exactly how to divide the proceeds from bets placed on the broadcasts. The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering attempted to address the issue by declaratory statement. When the companies appealed, the Third District Court reversed the declaratory statement. Palm Beach County
James Randall v. State of Florida

No. 90,977

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Approx. 10:30 On Oct. 20, 1995, the body of Wendy Evans was found in the North Fort Harrison area, dead by strangulation. On Jan. 18, 1996, the body of Cynthia Pugh was found in Palm Harbor, dead by strangulation. Both were prostitutes. Police later arrested Randall for the murders. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to electrocution after the jury unanimously recommended the death penalty. Pinellas County
James Dorelus v. State of Florida

No. 94,174

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Approx. 11:30 Dorelus was stopped for a traffic infraction when an officer observed the "shiny silver butt of a handgun sticking out of the console located underneath the radio." He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, but the trial judge dismissed the charge. The Fourth District reversed on grounds that it is for the jury to decide whether a partially concealed weapon is "concealed" in violation of the law. Broward County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, June 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
Florida Power & Light Co. v. City of Dania

No. 93,940

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9:00 Florida power asked the City of Dania for permission to build an electrical substation in a residential area. After some residents objected, the City denied the request. Florida Power took the case to the trial court, which reversed the City and ordered it to grant permission. On appeal, the Fourth District Court reversed.  Broward County
City of West Palm Beach v. Bd. of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund

No. 93,821

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Approx. 9:40 Beginning in 1856, the State of Florida encouraged waterfront landowners to develop their landholdings by giving them title to underwater lands they "improved." The City of West Palm Beach starting in 1946 built the Palm Harbor Marina, consisting of 5.26 acres of newly filled land and 26 acres of "improved" underwater land. The State disclaimed title to the filled lands in 1969, but later refused to disclaim title to the "improved" underwater lands. The City filed suit, and the State countersued. The trial judge ruled in favor of the State, and the Fourth District agreed. Palm Beach County
David Charles Carpenter v. State of Florida

No. 90,349

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Approx. 10:30 On Thanksgiving 1994 the body of Ann Powell was found in the trunk of her burned-out car in a field near the Pinellas County Trail. Carpenter was arrested for the crime, tried, and convicted. The jury recommended capital punishment 7-to-5, and the judge sentenced him to death. Pinellas County
Charlene Richardson v. Adrienne E. Richardson

No. 94,810

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Approx. 11:30 Adrienne Richardson is mother of a child whose custody was the crux of this dispute. After Richardson and her husband divorced, she received primary custody of the child, though the child also stayed with the paternal grandparents at various times. The mother later moved out-of-state with the child, and the father petitioned for modification of the custody arrangement. After the father dropped his request, his parents (the paternal grandparents) sought and received custody of the child based on a Florida statute. On appeal, the First District Court found the statute unconstitutional. Escambia County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, June 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
Nathan Misrahi v. North Miami Medical Center, Ltd.

Nos. 93,649 & 93,650

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9:00 This case involves lawsuits filed by the adult children of persons who allegedly died as a result of medical malpractice. Florida law prohibits such adult children from recovering non-financial damages, though they could recover those damages if death had resulted from some other kinds of negligence. The adult children in these case argue that this violates their constitutional right to equal protection of the law. Dade County
Edward Castro v. State of Florida

No. 91,216

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Approx. 9:40 Castro was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the January 1987 stabbing murder of Austin Scott in an Ocala apartment complex. The Supreme Court sent the case back to correct errors in penalty phase, and the jury again recommended death by a vote of 8-to-4. The Supreme Court affirmed the sentence. Castro now challenges the validity of his sentence.  Marion County
Robert Hartleb v. Fla. Dept. of Transportation

No. 93,352

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Approx. 10:30 In August 1988 the Department of Transportation filed suit to condemn land owned by Hartleb in Davie. After the case was finalized, a dispute arose over the attorneys fees to be paid to Hartleb's lawyers. The method of determining those fees is the subject of this appeal. Broward County
Konstantinos Fotopoulos v. State of Florida

No. 92,227

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Approx. 11:10 Fotopoulos was tried and convicted for the October 1989 murder of Kevin Ramsey at the Strickland Rifle Range. He also was charged with the November 1989 murder of Bryan Chase, allegedly after Chase botched a contract to murder Fotopoulos' wife. The jury recommended capital punishment and the judge sentenced Fotopoulos to death. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges the validity of the sentence. Volusia County
Robert Patton v. State of Florida

No. 89,669

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Approx. 11:50 Patton was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the Sept. 2, 1981, murder of Miami police officer Nathaniel Broom. The Supreme Court sent the case back for resentencing due to errors in the penalty phase. The jury recommended the death penalty 11-to-1, and the trial judge again sentenced him to die. The sentence was affirmed on appeal. Patton now challenges the validity of the sentence. Dade County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, June 11, 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
Donald G. Ray v. Sandra B. Mortham

No. 94,653

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9:00 In 1992 the voters of Florida imposed term limits of no more than 8 consecutive years on certain elected officials, including members of the state legislature and Florida's Congressional delegation. In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits imposed on Congressional delegations, but did not address limitations on state officials. A number of state legislators now have reached their maximum term limits. However, certain Florida voters filed suit challenging the validity of the term limits. The trial court ruled against the voters who sued, and the First District certified the case to the Supreme Court for immediate resolution. Leon County

Statewide impact

Terry Paul Ray v. State of Florida

No. 92,421

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Approx. 9:40 Ray was arrested and tried for the Sept. 17, 1996, murder of Holmes County Deputy Lonnie Lindsay and other crimes. The jury convicted him and recommended the death penalty 7-to-5. The trial judge sentenced him to die, and Ray appeals. Holmes County


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