Florida Supreme Court Opinions Released October 27, 2011:Jury Instruction Errors, An Evidentiary Hearing on Possible Brady and Giglio Violations, and No More Filings Allowed for a Frequent Filer
This week has just flown by. Since I am a bit pressed for time, I decided to make a quick report of a few of the opinions released by the Florida Supreme Court on October 27, 2011.
1.) The Court reversed six cases based on jury instruction issues. In each of the cases, the Court remanded the cases back to the District Courts of Appeal for consideration and application of the recent opinion of State v. Montgomery, 39 So. 3d 252 (Fla. 2010) (holding that because Montgomery, who had been convicted of second-degree murder, was entitled to an accurate jury instruction on the necessarily lesser included offense of manslaughter by act, the use of the then-standard jury instruction on manslaughter by act constituted fundamental reversible error because it erroneously required the jury to find that Montgomery intentionally caused the death of the victim). The cases reversed include Zeigler v. State, No. SC09-2082, Valdes-Pino v. State, No. SC10-63, Burgos v. State, No. SC10-78, Bonilla v. State, No. SC10-141, Solano v. State, No. SC10-1350, and Francis v. State, No. SC10-1881.
2.) In Mungin v. State, No. SC09-2018, a death penalty case, the Court reversed a trial court’s order which had summarily denied a successive motion for postconviction relief. In a 22 page opinion, the Court remanded Mungin’s Giglio and Brady claims back to the postconviction court for an evidentiary hearing. Although the opinion is fact driven, it is still worth reading for the Court’s discussion and application of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972).
3.) Finally, in James v. Tucker, No. SC11-745, the Court banned Mr. James from filing any more pleadings attacking his conviction unless they are signed by a member in good standing of the Florida Bar. Apparently, Mr. James has become what some criminal defense attorneys refer to as a “frequent filer,” and the Court said “enough is enough.”