September 2019 Summaries

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September 16, 2019

SC18-245 State of Florida v. Mark Anthony Poole

Polk County - starts at 9:00 a.m.

Mr. Poole was convicted of the first-degree murder of Noah Scott, who was fatally beaten in 2001. The jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This Court affirmed the convictions but vacated his death sentence. Following a new penalty phase, Mr. Poole was again sentenced to death and this Court affirmed on direct appeal. Mr. Poole filed a post-conviction challenge in the trial court. The court denied his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel but vacated the death sentence and remanded for a new penalty hearing pursuant to Hurst v. State. The State of Florida filed an appeal with this Court challenging the Hurst issue. Mr. Poole filed this cross-appeal and asks for review of the ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

Appearance for Appellant/Cross-Appellee: Scott A. Browne, Asst. Attorney General, Tampa, 813-287-7910  
Appearance for Appellee/Cross-Appellant: Julius Chen of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Washington D.C., 202-887-4000

SC18-964  Linda Pedroza v. State of Florida

Palm Beach County - starts about 9:40 a.m.

Ms. Pedroza pled guilty to second-degree murder and received a forty-year prison sentence for strangling her mother, Isabel Pedroza, to death in 2002. Ms. Pedroza filed a motion seeking resentencing claiming the forty-year prison sentence, imposed for a murder she committed when she was seventeen years old, is unconstitutional. The trial court denied her motion finding no legal requirement for resentencing. On appeal, the Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court. Ms. Pedroza now asks that this Court for review.

Appearance for Petitioner: Benjamin Eisenberg, Asst. Public Defender, West Palm Beach, 561-355-7600
Appearance for Respondent: Matthew S. Ocksrider, Asst. Attorney General, West Palm Beach, 561-837-5016

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SC18-752  Reginald Lee Booker III v. State of Florida

Escambia County - starts about 10:30 a.m.

Mr. Booker pled no contest to fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer and driving without a valid driver's license. At sentencing, the State of Florida requested an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines arguing Mr. Booker presented a danger to the public. The trial judge agreed and sentenced Mr. Booker to a four-year prison sentence instead of a non-prison sentence. Mr. Booker appealed to the First District Court of Appeal claiming the trial judge had no authority to increase his punishment without submitting the dangerousness issue to a jury. The First DCA agreed and declared a portion of the state statute authorizing the upward departure unconstitutional, remanded the case for resentencing under the prior version of the sentencing statute and certified a question of great public importance to this Court.

Appearance for Petitioner: Megan Long, Asst. Public Defender, Tallahassee, 850-606-8500
Appearance for Respondent: Quentin Humphrey, Asst. Attorney General, Tallahassee, 850-414-3000

September 17, 2019

SC17-2231 Randall T. Deviney v. State of Florida

Duval County - starts about 9:00 a.m.

Mr. Deviney was convicted of the first-degree murder of Delores Futrell, whose throat was cut in 2008. The jury voted 10-2 to recommend a death sentence, and the trial court condemned Mr. Deviney. This Court reversed his conviction and sentence on direct appeal. After a second trial, Mr. Deviney was again convicted. The jury voted 8-4 to recommend a death sentence, and the trial court condemned him to death. This Court affirmed the conviction on direct appeal but reversed the sentence of death and remanded for a new penalty phase pursuant to Hurst v. State. At resentencing, the jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence, and the trial court condemned Mr. Deviney to death a third time. This appeal followed.

Appearance for Appellant: Richard M. Bracey, Asst. Public Defender, Tallahassee, 850-606-1000
Appearance for Appellee: Jennifer A. Donahue, Asst. Attorney General, Tallahassee, 850-414-3580

SC18-385 Benjamin Davis Smiley, Jr. v. State of Florida 

Polk County - starts about 9:40 a.m.

Mr. Smiley was convicted of the first-degree murder of Clifford Drake, who was fatally shot in 2013. The jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence, and the trial court sentenced Mr. Smiley to death. This is his direct appeal.

Appearance for Appellant: Andrea M. Norgard of Norgard, Norgard & Chastang, Bartow, 863-533-8556
Appearance for Appellee: Lisa Martin, Asst. Attorney General, Tampa, 813-281-7910

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