Oral Argument Schedule & Briefs

Oral Argument Schedule & Briefs

October 30 through November 3, 2006

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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, October 30, 2006

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

In re: Amendments to the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure

SC05-1303

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

9:00

In response to new legislation, the Court in November 2005 adopted rules of procedure governing what happens when the state asks a judge to approve psychotropic drugs for children in foster care. The Court also invited public comment on the new rules. Children's advocacy groups have filed comments arguing that various amendments to the rules should be made. One issue is whether children should be represented by attorneys and guardians when the state seeks to administer psychotropic drugs

Statewide impact

Anthony K. Russell v. State of Florida

SC06-335

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

Approx. 9:40

Mr. Russell was sentenced to 20 years in prison after a trial judge concluded he had violated his probation in two earlier cases by committing a battery on his pregnant girl-friend. The evidence was a written and signed statement of the girl-friend and the observation by police that the woman had a red mark on her neck. Mr. Russell was later acquitted of the substantive charge. He appealed the probation issue to the Fifth District Court of Appeal, arguing hearsay evidence was not enough to prove he had violated his probation. The 5th DCA upheld the trial court, but two other District Courts of Appeal in Florida have ruled in similar cases that hearsay evidence and observation of an injury are not enough to prove probation has been violated.

Marion County

State of Florida v. Edgar Sylvester Whitby

SC06-420

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

Approx. 10:30

Mr. Whitby challenged his conviction of battery, arguing it should be overturned because the trial judge did not inquire into the motivation of prosecutors when they used a peremptory challenge to dismiss a potential juror. The Third District Court of Appeal overturned the conviction and certified four questions of great public importance to this Court concerning the current state of Florida law guaranteeing that peremptory challenges are used for neutral reasons and not to remove potential jurors on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender.

Miami-Dade County

James D. Ford v. State of Florida

SC04-1611

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

Approx. 11:10

Mr. Ford was convicted of the April 1997 murders of Greg and Kim Malnory, who were fatally shot and beaten. The jury voted 11-1 to recommend death and he was condemned. This Court upheld the convictions and sentences on direct appeal and Mr. Ford filed a post-conviction appeal in trial court. It was denied and he challenges that decision.

Charlotte County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

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

Brandon Regional Hospital v. Maria Murray

SC05-1864

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

9:00

Brandon Regional Hospital is asking this Court to overturn a decision by the Second District Court of Appeal that let Daniel and Maria Murray, plaintiffs in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, see material prepared by the hospital's peer review committee concerning privileges granted to a staff physician in the hospital's ob-gyn department. The hospital argues that Florida law shields the record from disclosure; the Murrays argue it is not protected.

Hillsborough County

Stuart Horowitz v. Plantation General Hospital

SC05-331

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

Approx. 9:40

Lena Horowitz was treated for an infected thumb. It later had to be amputated. She sued her doctor for malpractice and was awarded $859,000 in damages. When the physician could not pay, she sued the hospital. The trial court held that under Florida law the hospital was liable for a judgment against its physician even when the treatment did not occur in the hospital. But the Fourth District Court of Appeal overturned that judgment and Mr. Horowitz, as personal representative of Lena Horowitz's estate, appealed the 4th DCA's decision to this Court. The Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers has filed an amicus brief in support of Mr. Horowitz; the Florida Hospital Association as filed an amicus brief in support of Plantation General.

Broward County

Johnnie Hoskins v. State of Florida

SC05-28

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

Approx. 10:30

Mr. Hoskins was convicted of the murder of Dorothy Berger, an 80-year-old woman who was raped, kidnapped, beaten and strangled in October 1992. The jury unanimously recommended a death sentence and he was condemned. This Court upheld the conviction but vacated the sentence and sent the case back to the trial court for a second penalty hearing. The jury voted 11-1 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This is his direct appeal of that sentence; he raises several issues.

Brevard County

Richard Allen Johnson v. State of Florida

SC04-1972

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

Approx. 11:10

Mr. Johnson was convicted of murdering Tammy Hagin, who was strangled in February 2001. The jury voted 11-1 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This is his direct appeal; he raises several issues.

St. Lucie County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

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 to the Attorney General: Sales Taxes

SC05-1564 | SC05-1833 | SC05-1565 | SC05-1834 |

SC05-1566 | SC05-1835

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

9:00

The Court reviews citizen initiatives for compliance with two requirements. Citizen initiatives can deal with only one subject and must be fairly described for voters. In this consolidated case, the Court considers three related measures that deal with sales tax policy. The Court also considers proposed ballot statements describing the financial impact of each measure. One citizen initiative would require lawmakers to extend the state's sales tax to services that don't serve a public policy; another would require lawmakers to determine whether current exemptions on goods serve a public policy and would repeal those exemptions that do not. Both of these initiatives include deadlines for legislative action that cannot be met because sponsors did not make the 2006 ballot. Opponents cite the date-specific issue in their arguments the measures should not be allowed on the 2008 ballot. The third initiative, which does not include a deadline for implementation, would make lawmakers enact tax exemptions individually rather than grouped together in one piece of legislation.

Statewide impact

The Florida Bar v. Leonard William Krouner

SC04-819

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

Approx. 9:40

The Florida Bar filed disciplinary charges against Mr. Krouner, a San Diego resident licensed as a Florida attorney, related to his conviction in New York of insurance fraud, grand larceny and workers compensation fraud. The trial judge who served as referee recommended disbarment, citing the three convictions and Mr. Krouner's agreement to surrender his bar licenses. Mr. Krouner argues that suspension is the appropriate sanction. The Florida Bar supports disbarment.

Out-of-state

University of Miami v. Juanita Ruiz

SC05-2164

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

Approx. 10:10

After Juanita Ruiz's son was born with significant brain damage because of oxygen deprivation during his birth, she and her husband filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. But Florida has a state law that requires use of a no-fault administrative compensation system for some birth-related neurological injuries. The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that physicians who delivered Mrs. Ruiz's baby failed to notify her of the law, as the law requires. The 3rd DCA also certified conflict with a decision by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in a different case. The university argues that the notice requirement was waived because Mrs. Ruiz was admitted to the hospital under an emergency medical condition. The Ruiz family argues that the physicians were not exempted from notifying Mrs. Ruiz about the law because she pre-registered at the hospital three weeks before she gave birth.

Miami-Dade County

David A. Gore v. State of Florida

SC04-1458 | SC05-733

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

Approx. 10:50

Mr. Gore was convicted of the 1983 murder of Lynn Elliot, who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and fatally shot. The jury voted unanimously to recommend death and he was condemned. The conviction and sentence were upheld on direct appeal and Mr. Gore filed a post-conviction appeal in trial court. After an evidentiary hearing, his appeal was rejected and he appealed to this Court. He raises several issues.

Indian River County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Thursday, November 2, 2006

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

Christopher Morrison v. Eleonora Bianca Roos

SC05-2170

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

9:00

Ms. Roos was the passenger on a motorcycle involved in a crash with an SUV in which Mr. Morrison was a passenger. She was injured when the SUV backed up and collided with the motorcycle. She sued Mr. Morrison, alleging he had either volunteered or agreed to tell the driver of the SUV if he had room to back up. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit but the First District Court of Appeal overturned that ruling. Mr. Morrison has challenged the decision of the 1st DCA decision in this appeal.

Duval County

State of Florida v. John Anthony Rubio

SC06-157

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

Approx. 9:40

The state charged Mr. Rubio and others with racketeering, conspiracy and white collar crime in connection with their dentistry businesses and Medicaid patients. The defendants were also charged with making false Medicaid claims and splitting fees in violation of state law. The trial court ruled that those two state laws were unconstitutional, and the Fifth District Court of Appeal agreed as to one of the laws, holding that the Medicaid provider fraud statute is unconstitutional. One key issue is whether the state Medicaid provider fraud law is in conflict with its companion federal law because it has a lesser standard for intent.

Orange County

The Florida Bar v. Guillermo Pena

SC04-2367

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

Approx. 10:30

Previously, this Court suspended Mr. Pena from the practice of law for one year. When he filed for reinstatement in The Florida Bar, the Bar challenged it, arguing he should be held in contempt and disbarred for continuing to practice law during his suspension. The judge who served as a referee found that Mr. Pena had practiced law and recommended that he be disbarred. Mr. Pena challenges the referee's findings and disciplinary recommendation.

Miami-Dade County

State of Florida v. Kenneth Watson

SC03-1965

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

Approx. 11:00

Mr. Watson was convicted of the 1988 murder of Ella Hickman, who was fatally stabbed, and sentenced to death. This Court upheld the conviction and death sentence. Mr. Watson filed a post-conviction appeal in trial court and the judge concluded he was mentally retarded and therefore ineligible for the death penalty but rejected all other issues raised in the appeal. The state appealed the ruling on mental retardation to this Court; Mr. Watson has appealed the rejection of the other claims.

Miami-Dade County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Friday, November 3, 2006

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

State of Florida v. Bill Monroe Hearns

SC05-2122

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

8:30

Mr. Hearns was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm by a violent career criminal. He challenged his designation as a violent career criminal to the Third District court of Appeal and the court agreed with him. The state appealed that ruling to this Court, arguing it conflicted with decisions from other District Courts of Appeal. At issue is whether the conviction of battery on a law enforcement officer qualifies as a "forcible felony" which may trigger a designation of violent career criminal.

Miami-Dade County

Law Office of David J. Stern, P.A. v. Security National Servicing Corp.

SC06-361

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

Approx. 9:10

Security National sued the Stern law office for legal malpractice over handling of a mortgage foreclosure. A trial judge agreed with Stern that its office did not represent Security National at the time of the alleged malpractice and dismissed the lawsuit. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court, finding that the legal malpractice claim was transferred to Security National along with the note and mortgage. The Stern law office appealed that decision to this Court, arguing it conflicts with earlier decisions.

Broward County

Inquiry Concerning a Judge: John R. Sloop

SC05-555

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

Approx. 9:50

The Court considers a recommendation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission in the case of County Judge John R. Sloop, whom it found guilty of three counts of judicial misconduct. The JQC has recommended that Judge Sloop be publicly reprimanded, suspended for 90 days without pay and required to apologize both publicly and personally to 11 people who were arrested after they were directed to the wrong courtroom and missed their appearance before Judge Sloop. The Court has directed the parties to be ready to discuss whether removal from office is the appropriate sanction.

Seminole County

Dolan Darling v. State of Florida

SC04-2379 | SC05-2020

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

Approx. 10:30

Mr. Darling was convicted of the 1996 sexual battery and murder of Grace Mlynarczyk. The jury voted 11-1 to recommend death and he was condemned. This Court upheld the conviction and sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Darling filed a post-conviction appeal in trial court. It was rejected and he appeals that decision to this Court, raising several issues.

Orange County