[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]

Oral Argument Press Summaries
August 31-September 4 & September 15, 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, August 31, 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
Cal Henderson v. Isac R. Bowden 

No. 91,965

View briefs in Acrobat format A, B, C
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

9:00 Three sons of Isac Bowden spent an afternoon partying and joyriding with a friend. Shortly before midnight, they were stopped by a deputy sheriff who arrested the driver of the car, Jimmy Bowden, for DUI and placed him in the rear seat of the sheriff's cruiser. The deputy then told the brothers' friend, Brandon Lyons, to drive the car to a nearby store and wait for him there. Lyon did so, but drove off as the deputy's car approached, leading to a hot pursuit. The car driven by Lyons crashed during the pursuit, leading to the deaths of Damon and Robert Bowden. Officers said that a roadside test indicated Lyons was not intoxicated, but subsequent tests showed that he was more intoxicated than Jimmy and that both were legally drunk. The Bowdens' parents sued the sheriff and his deputies for giving custody of the car to Lyons, but the trial court dismissed the case on grounds of sovereign immunity. The Second District Court reversed Turkey Creek

Hillsborough County
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Osvaldo Almeida v. State of Florida

No. 89,432

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

 

Approx. 9:40 Almeida, then age 20, went with a friend to Higgy's bar and restaurant and ordered a pitcher of beer. The manager Frank Ingargiola, knocked a glass of beer out of Almeida's hand and demanded to see identification. The friend persuaded Almeida to leave but spent an hour and a half trying to dissuade him from taking revenge. Almeida told another friend he intended to shoot Ingargiola. Early the next morning, Ingargiola's body was found near Higgy's, dead of a gunshot wound. Almeida was tried and found guilty, and the jury recommended the death penalty 7-to-5. This is his direct appeal. Broward County
Ernest Charles Downs v. State of Florida

No. 90,510

View briefs in Acrobat format A, B, C  
 
 

 

Approx. 10:40 In 1977 a man approached Downs and asked him to accept a contract to murder John Barfield. Downs accepted and, with the aid of Larry Johnson, lured Barfield to a remote location and killed him. In December 1977 he was found guilty and sentenced to death. His sentence was overturned because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1987. At a new sentencing hearing in 1989, the jury recommended the death penalty 8-to-4 and the judge agreed. This sentence was upheld by the Florida Supreme Court in 1990, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied relief in 1991. Downs now challenges the validity of his sentence. Duval County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, September 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
Newton Carlton Slawson v. State of Florida

No. 90,045

View briefs in Acrobat format A, B 

N/A REMOVED FROM CALENDAR Hillsborough County
Jesus Delgado v. State of Florida

No. 88,638

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

 

9:00 Delgado, a native of Cuba born in 1965, was arrested for the August 1990 murders of Tomas and Violetta Rodriguez, who had sold their dry cleaning business to Delgado's girl friend's father. The business did not do well, and witnesses said Delgado blamed the couple. The prosecution argued Delgado's motive was revenge, but the defense contended that Delgado had confronted the couple about the business, and a fight ensued requiring Delgado to defend himself. After his trial and conviction, the jury recommended and the judge imposed the death penalty. This is his direct appeal. Dade County
Jane Rollins v. Michael Pizzarelli

No. 92,080

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

 

Approx. 9:40 Florida's no-fault motor vehicle insurance law includes a provision saying that owners, operators, and occupants of motor vehicles are exempt from suit to the extent that personal injury protection (PIP) insurance benefits are "paid or payable" to an injured person. This means that PIP benefits must be deducted in any successful lawsuit arising from a vehicle accident. In the injury case here, the Fourth District Court said that only expenses actually paid or that are being processed for payment should be deducted. The Fifth District Court in another case held that the deduction also should include potential future payments. The Court accepted jurisdiction to resolve this conflict.  St. Lucie County
Terry Lee Woods v. State of Florida

No. 90,833

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

Approx. 10:40 On June 12, 1996, someone shot and killed Clarence Langford and wounded his wife Pamela. She later identified the shooter as Woods, who allegedly attacked them over a dispute involving the sale of a car. At trial, Woods was convicted and the jury recommended the death penalty 8-to-4. The trial judge agreed. This is Woods' direct appeal.  Lake County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, September 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
Amendments to Rules Regulating the Florida Bar: Advertising Rules

No. 92,297

View briefs in Acrobat format A, B, C, D, E, F, G 
 

9:00 The Florida Bar petitions the Court to adopt new rules regulating attorney advertising that, among other things, would prohibit law firms from giving their firms any name except the surname(s) of living, retired, or deceased partners. It also would recognize the authority of the Florida Supreme Court to regulate attorneys not admitted in Florida who advertise or solicit business here, and would expressly extend Bar advertising rules to include email and Web pages. Statewide impact
Nathan Joe Ramirez v. State of Florida

No. 89,377

View briefs in Acrobat format A, B, C

Approx. 10:00 Ramirez, then 17 years old, and Johnathan P. Grimshaw allegedly killed Mildred Boroski in a field near her home in Veteran's Village. Her body was found nearby a few days later, dead of bullets to the head. After Ramirez was tried and convicted, the jury recommended the death penalty by 11-to-1. The judge agreed. This is Ramirez' direct appeal. Pasco County
David Young v. State of Florida

No. 90,207

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

 

Approx. 11:10 Young was sentenced to death for the August 31, 1986, shotgun murder of Clarence John Bell at the Jupiter Plantations Condominium during a failed auto theft. Bell, the car's owner, apparently confronted Young and his accomplices with a gun at some point, leading to an exchange of fire. Young argued self defense, though the jury rejected this claim, convicted him, and recommended the death penalty. The trial judge agreed. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the conviction in 1991, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied relief in 1992. He now challenges the validity of his sentence. Jupiter

Palm Beach County
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Halifax Hospital Medical Center v. News-Journal Corp.

No. 92,047

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

 

Approx. 11:50 Halifax Hospital is a publicly owned facility funded in part with revenue derived from a special taxing district created by the legislature. Halifax's board held several meetings that it closed to the press on grounds they involved strategic decisions exempted from Florida's 1992 Sunshine Amendment by a 1995 statute. The News-Journal sued when it was denied access, arguing that the meetings actually involved negotiations of considerable importance to its readership. The trial court agreed and ordered that the meetings be open, and the Fifth District Court affirmed. Halifax appeals. Daytona Beach

Volusia County
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, September 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
Amendments to Rules of Judicial Administration: Court Reporters

No. 92,300

View briefs in Acrobat format A, B 

N/A REMOVED FROM CALENDAR DUE TO HURRICANE EARL. Statewide impact
Joseph R. Spaziano v. Seminole County

Nos. 92,801, 92,846, 93,447

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

N/A REMOVED FROM CALENDAR DUE TO HURRICANE EARL Seminole County
Shands Teaching Hospital v. Janet Louise Warren

No. 91,718

View briefs in Acrobat format A, B, C 

N/A REMOVED FROM CALENDAR DUE TO HURRICANE EARL Gainesville

Alachua County
 
 

 


 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, September 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
NO ARGUMENTS SCHEDULED

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, September 15, 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
Joseph R. Spaziano v. Seminole County

Nos. 92,801, 92,846, 93,447

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

9:00 Spaziano is being retried for the 1973 murder of Laura Harberts after the main witness in his 1976 trial, Anthony Dilisio, recanted his testimony. Spaziano's volunteer counsel, James Russ, attempted to find volunteer co-counsel to assist him, but could not. He filed a motion for appointment of co-counsel at public expense, basing his request in part on national standards suggesting two attorneys work on death cases. The trial judge appointed Donald R. West to assist. It also ordered public payment of a public opinion survey done in preparation for trial. Seminole County, which must pay the costs, objected on grounds that these benefits were neither required nor necessary to meet constitutional standards. The Fifth District Court reversed, and Spaziano appeals. Seminole County

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