Ok, I admit that this post is NOT about criminal appeals or criminal defense, but I could not resist passing this along. When I saw this article on the CNN website, I thought “Great. Another article about Florida Governor Scott making Florida look bad again.” Well, after reading the article, it’s not just the Governor making Florida look bad. Can you believe that some law enforcement agencies actually have drones? If you live in Orange County or Miami Dade County, look out!
It’s no secret that Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida’s Supreme Court haven’t been able to get along. Since he’s taken office, the two branches of Florida’s government have squared off, indirectly, on more than one occasion. Well, it looks like things are heating up now. The latest shot came from the office of the Governor, with Scott basically calling for FDLE to begin an investigation of Justices Pariente, Lewis, and Quince, all of whom are up for merit retention votes this November. You can read more about it here. The story is even making national headlines on the ABC website.
Now, for South Florida’s Federal criminal defense lawyers, trial and appellate alike, I came across an interesting post today that I wanted to share. Apparently, District Judge Altonaga of the Southern District recently granted a new trial in a criminal case after the defense attorney argued that the Government committed a discovery violation by failing to produce e-discovery in a reasonably usable form. According to the post, even though the Federal criminal rules do not have the same requirements as the Federal civil rules with regard to production of e-discovery, there may be a growing trend by the courts to adopt the Federal Civil rule’s standards in criminal cases.
Those of you who follow this blog know that Rick Scott’s policies have been a bit of a target . . . Well, Rick Scott suffered another loss recently, in the form of a 37 page order issued by District Court Judge Ungaro. In the Order, Judge Ungaro found that Scott’s policy of random drug testing of Florida’s state employees was unconstitutional. To read the Order, click here. To read a recent Miami Herald report, click here.
It’s been a really busy week, so I’ll keep this short.
The Palm Beach Post reports that Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed a new State Attorney for Palm Beach County today: Peter Antonacci. The criminal defense and criminal appeals lawyers of South Florida may recall that he previously served as Statewide Prosecutor, as well Bob Butterworth’s Deputy Attorney General. More information on Antonacci’s previous experience has also been reported in the Sun Sentinel.
Antonacci sounds qualified enough on paper, but the fact that he most recently served as a Tallahassee lawyer and lobbyist, and that he admitted to having a “professional friendship” with Scott’s chief counsel, Charles Trippe, may also have had something to do with the appointment. After all, he was chosen over 10 other applicants, one of whom was former Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer! How’s that for Florida politics?
Yes, that’s right. The Attorney General of Mississippi called out-going Governor Haley Barbour Boss Hogg! (I’m probably dating myself here, but many of you might remember that weasel in the white suit from the Dukes of Hazzard show back in the day). Well, now CNN reports that the Mississippi Attorney General has vowed to chase down all the “pardoned” people and return them back to prison. Never mind the fact that the releasees may not have committed any new crimes (at least not yet). All I can say is that this is even more crazy than any of the stuff that happens in Broward County!
Happy Friday, South Florida!
In an opinion issued on August 16, 2011, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Florida Governor Rick Scott exceeded the scope of his executive powers when he issued Executive Orders numbered 11-01 and 11-72. In the Executive Orders, the Governor (1) suspended the rulemaking authority of various Florida governmental agencies; (2) decreed that none of the agencies would be permitted to exercise their rulemaking authority except at the direction of one of his newly created offices, the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform (OFARR); and, (3) decreed that all of the agencies had to submit proposals of any new rules to OFARR.
I should warn you that the opinion, which has the effect of granting a petition for writ of quo warranto, is a rather dry discussion of the doctrine of separation of powers and legislative rulemaking authority. Nevertheless, the Court’s criticism of the dissenting opinions makes the read a bit more entertaining. I suggest you turn to page 22 of the opinion, where the Court attacked the reasoning of the dissenters and, at the same time, insulted the Governor by referring to him as “the Governor all-powerful . . .” Ouch!