December 2019 Summaries

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

SC19-1267 Advisory Opinion To The Attorney General Re: All Voters Vote In Primary Elections For State Legislature, Governor, And Cabinet & SC19-1505 Advisory Opinion To The Attorney General Re: All Voters Vote In Primary Elections For State Legislature, Governor, And Cabinet (FIS)

Statewide - starts at 9:00 a.m.

The Attorney General has petitioned the Court to review a proposed citizens' initiative on voting in primary elections in Florida, asking whether it meets two legal requirements: (1) It must contain only a single subject; and (2) It must have a fair ballot summary. A companion case addresses the financial impact statement to the proposed amendment.

Appearance for Attorney General:
Jeffrey P. DeSousa, Deputy Solicitor General, Tallahassee, 850-414-3830 

Appearance for the Republican Party of Florida:
Benjamin Gibson of Shutts & Bowen LLP, Tallahassee, 850-241-1717 

Appearance for the Florida Democratic Party:
Robert A. McNeely of Messer Caparello, P.A., Tallahassee, 850-222-0720

Appearance for All Voters Vote, Inc.:

Glenn Burhans of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.,

Tallahassee, 850-329-4850

SC19-548 Advisory Opinion To The Attorney General Re: Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage & SC19-736 Advisory Opinion To The Attorney General Re: Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage (FIS)

Statewide – starts about 9:40 a.m.

The Attorney General has petitioned the Court to review a proposed citizens' initiative on a minimum wage in Florida, asking whether it meets two legal requirements: (1) It must contain only a single subject; and (2) It must have a fair ballot summary. A companion case addresses the financial impact statement to the proposed amendment. The Court requested briefing on whether it has jurisdiction to review financial impact statements, and the State argues that it does.

Appearance For Attorney General: 
Christopher J. Baum, Deputy Solicitor General, Tallahassee, 850-414-3300

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

SC19-716 Alvin Davis v. State of Florida

Leon County – starts at 9:00 a.m. 

Mr. Davis was convicted of possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. During the sentencing hearing, Mr. Davis maintained his innocence. The trial court sentenced him to the statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in prison in part because he failed to take responsibility for his actions.  Mr. Davis appealed to the First District Court of Appeal claiming that the consideration of lack of remorse was a constitutional error. The First DCA concluded that the trial court’s consideration of lack of remorse was not an error but certified a question of great public importance to this Court. 

Appearance For Petitioner:
Lori A. Willner, Asst. Public Defender, Tallahassee, 850-606-8500

Appearance For Respondent:
Benjamin L. Hoffman, Asst. Attorney General, Tallahassee, 850-414-3300

SC18-1330 Kishon Larhame Birch v. State of Florida

Duval County – starts about 9:40 a.m.

Mr. Birch was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and consequently sentenced to 30 years in prison. Mr. Birch appealed his conviction and sentence to the First District Court of Appeal challenging the sufficiency of the evidence at trial, the jury instructions, and the legality of his sentence. The First DCA rejected his arguments and affirmed Mr. Birch’s conviction and sentence. This Court granted review on the basis of conflict.

Appearance For Petitioner:
Maria I. Suber, Asst. Public Defender, Tallahassee, 850-606-8500

Appearance For Respondent:
Quentin Humphrey, Asst. Attorney General, Tallahassee, 850-414-3300

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SC18-1643 Daniel Jacob Craven, Jr. v. State of Florida

Jackson County – starts about 10:30 a.m.

Mr. Craven was convicted of the 2015 first-degree murder of his cellmate, John Anderson, who was fatally stabbed at the Graceville Correctional Facility. The jury unanimously voted to recommend a death sentence, and the trial court condemned Mr. Craven to death. This is his direct appeal.

Appearance For Appellant:
A. Victoria Wiggins, Asst. Public Defender, Tallahassee, 850-606-8500

Appearance For Appellee:
Michael T. Kennett, Asst. Attorney General, Tallahassee, 850-414-3595

SC18-962 R.R., et al. v. New Life Community Church of CMA, Inc., et al.

Orange County – starts about 11:30 a.m.

R.R. and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit alleging multiple claims and stemming from allegations of sexual abuse of children.  The lawsuit was filed against several defendants, including New Life Community Church of CMA, Inc., the employer of the individual accused of committing the misconduct.  Although the trial court allowed certain claims to proceed, it denied others because the statute of limitations had expired. The Fifth District Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court but certified that its decision conflicts with decisions from other district courts of appeal. 

Appearance For Petitioners:
Susan W. Fox of Fox & Loquasto, Tallahassee, 850-591-4984

Appearance For Respondent, Christian Missionary Alliance:
Ronald P. Ponzoli of Gray Robinson, P.A., West Palm Beach, 561-268-5727

Appearance for Respondent, New Life Community Church:
David J. Pascuzzi of Schwartz Law Group, Boca Raton, 561-395-4747