Florida Criminal Appeals Attorney Law

Appellate Law, Criminal Defense and Appeals and Post Conviction Relief in Florida Courts, Federal District Courts and the 11th Circuit

Tag: Florida Supreme Court

Wins For the Little Guys in United States Supreme Court, Eleventh Circuit, and Florida Supreme Court

The stars must be aligned just right, because for the first time in a long time, the US Supreme Court, Eleventh Circuit, and Florida Supreme Court all recently issued opinions favorable to criminal defendants.  It’s like a hat trick for criminal defense and criminal appeals lawyers!

In Millbroook v. United States, 11-10362, Millbrook, a federal prisoner in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, filed an action against the United States after he was sexually assaulted and verbally threatened while in custody.  Although the District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the United States, and the Third Circuit affirmed, the United States Supreme Court reversed, and held that Millbrook’s lawsuit was not barred by the “law enforcement proviso” of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).  In so holding, the Court relied on the plain text of the section and determined that Congress intended immunity determinations to be based on a federal officer’s legal authority, not on a particular exercise of that authority.  See Millbrook, 11-20362, slip op., pg. 6.  Based on the plain text of the statute, the Court rejected the Government’s argument that an officer’s intentional tort must occur in the course of executing a search seizing evidence, or making an arrest in order to expose the Government to liability.  See id.

In United States v. Hinds, No. 11-16048, Hinds was convicted of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack cocaine).  On direct appeal, the Eleventh Circuit agreed with Hinds that his sentence should be vacated because the amount attributed to him was too speculative.  On remand, the District Court failed to give Hinds the benefit of the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), so Hinds appealed, and won again.  In holding that Hinds should have been given the benefit of the FSA, the Court noted, in footnote 2, that the Government conceded that Hinds should have been given the benefit of the FSA when he appeared on remand.  Too bad Hinds had to appeal twice to get the benefit of the FSA.

Finally, in State v. Larry Phillips, No SC11-411, the Florida Supreme Court found that Phillips, who had been committed under the Jimmy Ryce Act, was eligible for immediate release because the State waited to file its commitment petition after Phillips’ criminal sentence had expired.

Florida Supreme Court News for the Week of November 5, 2012: Election Ballot Challenge to Justices Quince, Lewis and Pariente; Court Accepts Jurisdiction in Red Light Camera Cases, and JQC Charges Filed Against Palm Beach County Judge

This has been a busy week for the Florida Supreme Court.  The day before the election, on November 5, 2012, a Petition for Quo Warranto was filed seeking to have Justices Quince, Lewis, and Pariente disqualified from the ballot.  To read the petition in Jones v. Dentzner, No. SC12-2297, click here.  On November 8, 2012, the Supreme Court transferred the matter to the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit (Leon County).  For the docket, click here.

On November 6, 2012, the Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction in two cases challenging the constitutionality of red light cameras.  See Masone v. City of Aventura, No. SC12-644 and City of Orlando v. Udowychenko, No. SC12-1471.  This case may have implications for criminal defense attorneys who handle DUI cases, and for criminal appeals attorneys as well.

Finally, Palm Beach County criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors alike may be interested to know that the JQC has filed formal charges against County Court Judge Barry M. Cohen.  To read the petition, click here.

State v. Adkins, SC11-1878: Florida’s Drug Possession Statute Upheld

I haven’t had time to read the opinion, as it was just released yesterday, July 12, 2012.  The only thing I can say right now is I’m disappointed, but not at all surprised.  Check out the opinion at the Florida Supreme Court website, http://www.floridasupremecourt.org, or by clicking here.

Florida Supreme Court Still Hasn’t Issued an Opinion in State v. Adkins, No. SC11-1878 (Constitutionality of Florida’s Drug Possession Statute)

For those of you who are waiting on the Florida Supreme Court to issue an opinion in the case involving the constitutionality of Florida section 893.13 (the drug possession statute), I just wanted to let you know that the Court has yet to issue an opinion.  Oral argument was held in December, and still no word.  The docket for State v. Adkins, No. SC11- 1878 can be viewed here.

Florida Supreme Court Issues Amended Jury Instructions

Florida’s criminal defense lawyers may wish to take a moment to review the latest round of Standard Jury Instruction amendments issued by the Florida Supreme Court for criminal cases.  Dated February 9, 2012, the amended instructions address questions by the jury (number 2.13); Williams rule evidence (number 3.8(a)); the rules for deliberation (number 3.10); trespass (numbers 13.3, 13.4); organized fraud (number 14.8); contributing to the dependency of a child-impregnating a person under age 16 by a person 21 or older (number 16.4(a)); and, promoting or performing obscene acts (number 24.6).

The criminal defense attorneys of South Florida may wish to take particular note of the changes to the boating under the influence instructions.  Instructions numbered 28.14, 28.15, 28.16, and 28.17, which address general boating under the influence, boating under the influence causing property damage or injury, felony boating under the influence, and boating under the influence causing serious bodily injury, have all been amended.

I suppose the criminal defense attorneys in the Florida panhandle may want to take a look at the amended instruction on taking wild deer or turkey with a gun and light (number 29.14).  I can’t say I’ve ever even heard of that one!

Happy Valentine’s Day, South Florida!

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