Oral Argument Schedule & Briefs

Oral Argument Schedule & Briefs

February 4-8 & 27, 2008

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.

Questions, comments? publicinformation@flcourts.org

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Monday, February 4, 2008

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

Russell Hudson v. State of Florida

SC06-748

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

9:00

Mr. Hudson was convicted of the first-degree murder of Lance Peller, who was fatally shot in his apartment in 2001. The jury voted 7-5 to recommend a death sentence and the trial court condemned him. This is his direct appeal; he raises various issues.

Broward County

Anthony Welch v. State of Florida

SC06-698

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

Approx. 10:00

Mr. Welch was convicted of the first-degree murders of Rufus and Kyoko Johnson, who were killed in their home in 2000. The jury voted unanimously to recommend death sentences for each murder and the trial court condemned him. This is his direct appeal; he raises various issues.

Brevard County

The Florida Bar v. Miroslaw Thomas Lobasz

SC06-2500

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

Approx. 11:00

The Florida Bar filed an ethics complaint against Mr. Lobasz, accusing him of violating standards governing how attorneys manage trust accounts containing client funds, and a judge was appointed to serve as a referee in the case. Mr. Lobasz did not file a response to the complaint. The referee recommends that this Court disbar Mr. Lobasz. Mr. Lobasz argues he was guilty merely of sloppy accounting practices, not intentional misappropriation of client funds. He argues the appropriate discipline is suspension from the practice of law rather than disbarment.

Palm Beach County

 

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

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

Anthony Spann v. State of Florida

SC05-1334

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

9:00

Mr. Spann was convicted of the first-degree murder of Kazue Perron, who was fatally shot in 1997. He waived a penalty phase jury and the trial court condemned him. On direct appeal, this Court upheld his conviction and death sentence. Mr. Spann filed a post-conviction challenge in trial court and it was denied. This appeal followed.

Martin County

Duane E. Owen v. State of Florida

SC06-2104 | SC07-650

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

Approx. 10:00

Mr. Owen was convicted of the first-degree murder of 14-year-old Karen Slattery, who was fatally stabbed in 1984, and sentenced to death. On direct appeal, this Court vacated the conviction. After a second trial, Mr. Owen was again convicted. The jury voted 10-2 to recommend a death sentence and the trial court again condemned him. This Court upheld the conviction and death sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Owen filed a post-conviction challenge in trial court. It was denied and this appeal followed.

Palm Beach County

The Florida Bar v. John Anthony Garcia

SC06-2411

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

Approx. 10:40

Mr. Garcia, a lawyer, pleaded guilty to federal felony charges of illegally structuring cash deposits to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements and making false statements to Drug Enforcement Administration agents. The Florida Bar filed ethics charges against him. The referee in the ethics case recommended finding Mr. Garcia guilty and disbarring him. Mr. Garcia argues that the referee failed to take mitigating evidence into account and that the appropriate discipline is suspension.

Palm Beach County

 

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

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: Report on Judges' Participating in Fundraising

SC07-1135

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

9:00

The Court asked the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee to study the limits on judges' participation in fund-raising activities and to recommend changes to the Code of Judicial Conduct if needed. The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, which is made up of judges and lawyers from around the state, concluded that the current rules forestall questions about the impartiality and independence of the judiciary and, therefore, should be maintained with only minor clarifications. Some judges, however, recommend that this Court make it easier for judges to participate in community events and to support activities concerning the law and the courts.

Statewide impact

Paul H. Evans v. State of Florida

SC05-1617 | SC07-494

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

Removed from calendar

Indian River County

 

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Thursday, February 7, 2008

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

City of Parker v. State of Florida

SC07-1400

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

9:00

The City of Parker asked the trial court to validate nearly $41 million in bonds for redevelopment projects in a specified area of the city. The proposed bonds utilize tax increment financing, which involves the increases in property tax revenue caused by the redevelopment. The trial court refused to validate the bonds because the city does not levy property taxes. The city appealed to this Court, arguing it is not required to levy property taxes in order to issue tax-increment-financed bonds under Florida's Community Redevelopment Act. In opposition, Bay County raises several issues, including the constitutionality of tax-increment-financed bonds without a referendum.

Bay County

Bay County v. Town of Cedar Grove

SC07-1574

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

Approx. 9:40

A trial court validated plans by Cedar Grove to issue nearly $23.7 million in tax-increment-financed bonds for redevelopment projects in an area the town designated as blighted. Bay County challenged the ruling, arguing among other issues that tax-increment-financed bonds are unconstitutional under the Florida Constitution without a referendum.

Bay County

 

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Friday, February 8, 2008

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

Harry Jones v. State of Florida

SC06-474 | SC07-729

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

8:30

Mr. Jones was convicted of the first-degree murder of George Wilson Young Jr., who was beaten and drowned. The jury voted 10-2 to recommend a death sentence and the trial court condemned Mr. Jones. His death sentence was upheld by this Court on direct appeal and Mr. Jones filed a post-conviction challenge in circuit court. It was denied and this appeal followed.

Leon County

Melvin B. Thompson v. State of Florida

SC07-489

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

Approx. 9:10

Mr. Thompson was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of sexual battery. At one point before his trial, the judge and lawyers discussed alleged threats Mr. Thompson made against them and the judge commented that if Mr. Thompson was convicted he would be in prison for life. Mr. Thompson's attorney filed a motion to disqualify the judge, and the judge denied the motion as untimely. On appeal, the First District Court of Appeal upheld the conviction and sentence. Mr. Thompson filed a post-conviction challenge in circuit court, arguing that he received ineffective assistance because his attorney failed to timely file a motion to disqualify the judge. The circuit court denied relief, and the First District Court of Appeal affirmed.

Leon County

 

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

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

Charles J. Crist v. Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc.

SC08-2

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

9:00

A 2007 state law created five regional legal offices to handle criminal and certain civil cases that public defenders could not handle because of conflict of interest issues, such as representation of co-defendants. The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers challenged the law in trial court, arguing it violated the state constitution by essentially creating a category of regional public defenders that would be appointed by the governor and approved by the state Senate. The trial court agreed, ruling that the law violated the state constitutional requirement that public defenders be elected. Gov. Crist appealed and the First District Court of Appeal certified the case directly to this Court as one requiring immediate resolution.

Statewide impact