Since it’s the holiday season, news in the criminal appeals arena has been a little slow, but I thought I’d pass along a few items.
First, John Goodman’s appeal is proceeding along, with the State of Florida filing its Answer Brief on December 26, 2012. Although the Answer Brief is not available electronically, you can read a summary of the State’s arguments in the Palm Beach Post by clicking here. The 4th DCA docket for the case, 4D12-1930, can be viewed by clicking here. Although Goodman’s attorneys have requested oral argument, the Court has not yet ruled on the request. From my experience, the 4th DCA does not often grant requests for oral argument. However, perhaps the high-profile nature of the case might influence the Court to grant the request.
Next, Broward County is considering changing its name to Lauderdale County. According to the Sun Sentinel, the goal of the change would be to promote tourism. Would a name change really make that much of a difference?
Finally, the bad news. Wyatt Cenac is leaving the Daily Show with Jon Stewart! To view some of the top Wyatt Cenac moments, click here, here, and here.
Happy 2013, South Florida!
According to an article in the Palm Beach Post yesterday, in response to the Trayvon Martin shooting earlier this year, Florida Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale has filed SB 136 in an attempt to curtail the current stand your ground law. Florida criminal defense and criminal appeals attorneys might like to follow this bill as it travels through the bowels of the Legislature. The gist of the amendment appears to limit the stand your ground defense in the case of pursuit of an alleged trespasser or assailant, or if the person claiming the stand your ground defense leaves a place of safety to place him or herself in proximity to a situation that might call for the use of force. To view the text of the bill, which was just filed on December 19, 2012, click here.
Have you read the report in the Palm Beach Post this afternoon? It seems that Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge Colbath denied the State’s motion to revoke Goodman’s house arrest, which means that Goodman will probably be home in time for Christmas (if he hasn’t bonded out already). Now, don’t get me wrong. If the State of Florida didn’t prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Goodman intentionally tampered with his ankle monitor, and if Goodman’s criminal defense attorneys did their job of highlighting the weaknesses in the State’s position, then I agree that the State’s motion should have been denied. But what I dislike so much about the court’s ruling is that it only feeds the public perception that money buys justice. Whether perception is right or wrong is beside the point. The bottom line is that based on the number of online comments which have been posted since the Palm Beach Post report went up at 4:13 pm EST (a bit over 3 hours ago), the public clearly thinks that money buys justice. Merry Christmas, John Goodman.
Ok, this has nothing to do with Florida criminal appeals, but I hope you love their duet as much as I do! Happy Holidays!
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.
Sorry for the slow blogging. Between crazy deadlines and holiday events, it’s been hard to find time.
I’ve got 3 things for you. First, the Palm Beach Post reports that changes are in store for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office. For starters, Paul Zacks is out as the Chief Assistant, to be replaced by Alan Johnson. I myself am curious to see whether any of the Assistants who left the office under McAuliffe will return to their old jobs now that Aronberg has been elected. And, like many criminal defense and criminal appeals lawyers out there, I’m also curious to see if Aronberg will allow the prosecutors any more authority to plead out their cases. Only time will tell.
Second, where will Peter Antonacci, the interim State Attorney, go now that Aronberg has been elected, you ask? Why, back to Tallahassee to serve as General Counsel to Governor Scott of course!
Third, for those of you who practice in Federal court, I bet you’d never think you’d see Judge Kozinski this . . . enjoy!