April 2019 Summaries
NOTE: All April cases are postponed until June 2020 due to the COVID outbreak
April 3, 2019
Statewide - Postponed until June due to COVID
The Rules of Civil Procedure Committee and the Pro Bono Legal Services Committee of The Florida Bar have filed a joint out-of-cycle report proposing a new subdivision of Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.220. The proposed amendment allows a court to direct the distribution of unclaimed or undistributed funds awarded in a class action to other recipients agreed to by the parties, including nonprofit legal services organizations and the Florida Bar Foundation.
Appearance for Civil Procedure Rules Committee: Scott M. Dimond, Miami, 305-374-1920
Appearance for Pro Bono Legal Services Committee: Kathleen S. McLeroy, Tampa, 813-223-7000
Appearance for Opponent: Leza S. Tellam, Winter Park, 407-288-2414
Leon County - Postponed until June due to COVID
Mr. Hooks was charged with possession of Pyrrolidinovalerophenone (PVP) and cannabis with intent to sell within 1000 feet of a community center and violation of probation. Before trial, Mr. Hooks waived his right to a court-appointed attorney and requested to represent himself during court proceedings. He was convicted of all charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Mr. Hooks appealed to the First District Court of Appeal claiming the judge failed to ask specific questions to determine his understanding and ability to represent himself, as required by law. The First DCA determined the trial court’s questioning of Mr. Hooks was proper but certified a question of great public importance to this Court.
Appearance for Petitioner: Danielle Jorden, Asst. Public Defender, Tallahassee, 850-606-8544
Appearance for Respondent: Virginia C. Harris, Asst. Attorney General, Tallahassee, 850-414-3300
St. Johns County - Postponed until June due to COVID.
Mr. Bush was convicted of the first-degree premeditated and felony murder of Nicole Bush, who was shot, beaten and stabbed to death in 2011. The jury voted 12-0 to recommend a death sentence, and the trial court sentenced Mr. Bush to death. This is his direct appeal.
Appearance for Appellant: Nancy Ryan, Asst. Public Defender, Daytona Beach, 386-254-3758
Appearance for Appellee: Doris Meacham, Asst. Attorney General, Daytona Beach, 386-238-4990
April 4, 2019
Orange County - Postponed until June due to COVID
On May 29, 2014, Mr. Davis was detained and questioned by law enforcement for several hours and then released without arrest. Over a year later, Mr. Davis was formally arrested for multiple robbery-related offenses. Before trial, Mr. Davis filed motions to dismiss the charges, arguing the State of Florida violated Florida’s speedy trial rule because more than 175 days had passed since his alleged arrest on May 29, 2014. The trial court denied the motion ruling he had not been arrested that day under the definition of arrest outlined in case law. Mr. Davis was convicted of all offenses and received a forty-year sentence. Mr. Davis appealed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal, which agreed with the ruling of the trial court. The Fifth DCA also certified a question of great public importance for this Court’s review.
Appearance for Petitioner: Steven N. Gosney, Asst. Public Defender, Daytona Beach, 386-254-3758
Appearance for Respondent: Kristen L. Davenport, Asst. Attorney General, Daytona Beach, 386-238-4990
Hamilton County - Postponed until June due to COVID
A tractor-trailer owned by Simon’s Trucking, Inc. was involved in an accident while transporting batteries, spilling battery acid onto the highway. Mr. Lieupo responded to tow away the truck and came into contact with battery acid, which caused serious personal injuries. Mr. Lieupo sued Simon’s Trucking under the Water Quality Assurance Act, and a jury awarded him over $5.2 million in damages. Simon’s Trucking appealed to the First District Court of Appeal, which ruled the definition of “damage” does not permit recovery of personal injuries. The First DCA also certified a question of great public importance for this Court’s review.
Appearance for Petitioner: Peter D. Webster of Carlton Fields, Tallahassee, 850-224-1585
Appearance for Respondent: Jason Gonzalez of Shutts & Bowen LLP, Tallahassee, 850-241-1717