Criminal defense attorneys who handle cases involving traffic stops may want to take a few minutes to read an opinion released by the Florida Supreme Court today. In State v. Catalano, No. SC11-1166, the Florida Supreme Court found that the noise control statute, section 316.3045, Fla. Stat., is unconstitutional. After engaging in a classic constitutional law/First Amendment analysis, the Court concluded that the statute is unconstitutionally overbroad and an impermissible content-based restriction, and that severance of section 316.3045(3) is not an appropriate remedy to preserve the constitutionality of the statute.
Obviously, if you’ve got a client who’s been charged with a violation of this statute, you should consider filing a motion to dismiss based on Catalano. However, even if you’ve got a client who’s charged with only a violation of a similar local ordinance, you might want study the Catalano opinion to determine whether you can move to dismiss the charge, based on an analogy to Catalano. Before you do so, be sure to determine whether the local ordinance in your case is structured similarly to section 316.3045.
On another note, for those of you who handle appointments in criminal cases, you’re no doubt aware of the State’s changes to the payment structure which went into effect in July of 2012 when the Florida Legislature passed SB 1960. (If not, you can read my previous post summarizing the changes here). Well, if you do handle criminal appointments for either trials or appeals, I came across a thorough and well written article in the December 15, 2012, edition of Florida Bar News today that you may want to read. Hopefully, the publication of the article means that the issue is gaining statewide attention. Greater attention can only help the plight of Florida’s criminal conflict counsel.