The 4th DCA and the 4th of July

by appealattorneylaw

Between working to get ahead before traveling, and then working to catch up after traveling, there has not been much time for blogging.  But I wanted to take a minute to pass along a couple of opinions issued by the Fourth DCA around the 4th of July holiday.

(1) If you are a Florida criminal defense or criminal appeals attorney who handles mental health cases, take note.  In Julius Smith v. State, No. 4D12-3603, the Fourth reversed the order of a magistrate which adopted a mental health treatment plan because there was not competent substantial evidence showing that Smith’s multidisciplinary team had discussed and approved of the treatment plan, as required by Troutman v. State, 112 So. 3d 638 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013).

(2) In Jakaris Taylor v. State, No. 4D09-4703,  and 4D11-4559, the Court certified conflict with Thomas v. State, 78 So. 3d 644 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011), on an issue arising out of Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010).  The question certified is whether Graham applies to lengthy term-of-years sentences that amount to life sentences.  In a second certified question, the Court also asked at what point does a term-of-years sentence become a de facto life sentence.  This will be an interesting issue to watch as it makes its way up to the Florida Supreme Court, and to see if the Court decides to exercise conflict jurisdiction.

(3) Finally, in Robert Howard Wright v. State, No. 4D11-2771, the Fourth reversed a conviction based on a determination of legally inconsistent verdicts.  This is a good opinion for criminal appeals and criminal defense lawyers.  If you ever get into a case involving inconsistent verdicts, you should take a minute to read the opinion.