‘I just couldn’t comment to that:’ Florida’s attorney general dodges question about DeSantis public record delays
The office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has “consistently sought to safeguard” Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine open meeting and public record laws, according to Moody’s own website.
Florida attorney general says abortion precedents ‘clearly erroneous’
As lawmakers consider barring abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office urged the Florida Supreme Court to reject more than three decades of legal precedents that have protected abortion rights in the state.
Florida recreational pot constitutional amendment clears initial hurdle
Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow recreational use of marijuana have passed a preliminary hurdle to get on the 2024 ballot, submitting more than enough petition signatures to trigger a Florida Supreme Court review of the measure.
Florida lawmakers ask judge to protect them from testifying in redistricting legal fight
Six lawmakers, including House Speaker Chris Sprowls, and legislative staff members have asked a judge for a protective order that would shield them from testifying in a lawsuit about the constitutionality of a new congressional redistricting plan.
Florida Supreme Court stays out of fight on DeSantis redistricting plan
The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday declined to jump into a congressional redistricting fight, leaving in place a lower-court decision that would clear the way for using a controversial plan that Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed through the Legislature.
Volusia sheriff says ‘Marsy’s Law” should not apply to law enforcement
Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood received approval Monday from the Florida Supreme Court to file a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that a 2018 constitutional amendment known as “Marsy’s Law” should not apply to law-enforcement officers.
Orlando attorney accused of ghosting clients faces possible disbarment
ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando area attorney faces possible disbarment after clients claimed he took their money and stopped responding to them. Bonnie Grillakis, who testified, Monday, said she was one of Infurna’s clients. I can take care of this.”Grillakis said she paid Infurna $7,500 to help her with a medical malpractice case after her 9-year-old grandson died. Shannon Johnson said he paid Infurna $15,000 to help him with a property issue. It will be up to the Supreme Court for a final decision.
Florida Supreme Court to hear Volusia County death penalty case
Florida Supreme Court halts right to speedy trial due to backlog created by pandemicTALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to take up a Volusia County death penalty case concerning a man convicted of killing a man he thought was a drug dealer. A jury recommended in 2019 that Christian Cruz receive the death penalty after finding him guilty of kidnapping, beating and shooting Christopher Jeremy, who was 25 years old. Investigators said Cruz and Charles had been planning to rob a drug dealer who had previously lived in the apartment but moved out. Attorneys for Cruz appealed the death penalty last year. Court records show on Dec. 21, 2020, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Florida attorney disbarred for making porn film in jail
TAMPA, Fla. – A Florida lawyer has been disbarred for using his attorney privileges to visit women in jail and record sexual encounters with them for a pornographic film, according to the Florida Supreme Court. The state's highest court last week disbarred Tampa attorney Andrew Spark retroactive to July 2019. According to a Florida Supreme Court notice, Spark abused his privilege to practice law. Spark, 58, has been on probation since 2019 after pleading guilty to charges of bringing contraband into county detention facilities. He already has finished a concurrent one-year probation for misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution, according to the Miami Herald.
Supreme Court refuses to reinstate death penalty for man convicted of murder in Orange County
Moody’s office contended that the January Supreme Court decision backing away from the 2016 ruling should lead to reinstating the original death sentences instead of holding new sentencing hearings. But the Supreme Court on Wednesday said orders granting resentencing could not be undone. The Florida Supreme Court in October 2016, in the Hurst v. State decision, interpreted and applied the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The state court required unanimous jury recommendations before death sentences could be imposed and dealt with a critical issue of jurors finding what are known as “aggravating factors” that can justify death sentences. The state Supreme Court subsequently said its decision in Hurst v. State should be applied retroactively to cases going back to 2002.
Courts close across Florida as state braces for Tropical Storm Eta’s impact
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Volusia and Flagler counties are two of many across Florida closing courts Thursday to contend with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Eta. The Fourth Judicial Circuit, which includes Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns, will close courts on Thursday with plans to reopen them on Friday once the storm made its way out of the state. [TRENDING: What’s the ‘dirty side’ of a storm? | CDC gives guidance on Thanksgiving | Astronauts prepare for Saturday launch]The Florida Supreme Court posted information on its website about more than a dozen storm-related trial court closures across the state this week. Those details are copied and pasted verbatim below:
General Election Results for Central Florida Judicial Races on Nov. 3, 2020
Find All Race Results HereORLANDO, Fla. – On Nov. 3, voters in Central Florida will decide the outcome of a number of judicial races, including the Florida Supreme Court. Check all the races in Central Florida and statewide in the dropdown menu below, and get more information on the ClickOrlando.com Results 2020 page.
Supreme Court rejects challenge to Florida primary ballot measure
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously rejected an eleventh-hour attempt to kill a proposed constitutional amendment that would revamp the state’s primary-election system. But the Supreme Court flatly rejected the arguments. “The proposed amendment would enshrine structural discrimination in our state’s supreme legal document, directly contradicting other sections of the Constitution,” the petition said. “Therefore, the proposed amendment does not meet the threshold to be on the ballot.”Wednesday’s ruling was the second time the Supreme Court has rejected attempts to block the proposed amendment. In doing so, the court rejected arguments of the state political parties.
Cuban-American judge Barbara Lagoa on Trump high court list
MIAMI – A daughter of Cuban exiles who has had a swift rise as a lawyer and judge is on President Donald Trump's short list to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. So she’s got a lot of things — very smart,” Trump said in a call-in interview with “Fox and Friends.”Asked whether politics would play a role in the decision, Trump responded: “I try not to say so. At 52, Lagoa would become the youngest member of the U.S. Supreme Court if nominated and confirmed. Before that, for less than a year she was a justice on the Florida Supreme Court after more than a decade on a Miami-based state appeals court where she wrote some 360 opinions. She was the first woman of Hispanic heritage on the state Supreme Court.
Florida Supreme Court: Gov. Ron DeSantis must make new Supreme Court justice pick by Monday evening
Ron DeSantis must pick a new Supreme Court justice by 5 p.m. Monday because the judge he picked to fill a high court vacancy is constitutionally ineligible to serve, the court said in an order issued Monday. The Florida Supreme Court ordered DeSantis to appoint another judge by Monday, nullifying the appointment of Judge Renatha Francis. After DeSantis did not make another appointment by noon on Monday, the Florida Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus ordering him to do so by 5 p.m. after missing the previous deadline. DeSantis acknowledged the shortfall at the time, but said she wouldn’t be sworn in until Sept. 24, the day she would meet the requirement. The Supreme Court said that DeSantis was required to name a constitutionally eligible new justice within 60 days of the resignation of former Justice Robert Luck.
Florida Supreme Court orders Gov. DeSantis to pick new justice
Ron DeSantis must pick a new Supreme Court justice because the judge he picked to fill a high court vacancy is constitutionally ineligible to serve, the court said in an order issued Friday. The Florida Supreme Court ordered DeSantis to appoint another judge by Monday, nullifying the appointment of Judge Renatha Francis. Francis would have been the first Caribbean-American justice to serve on the court. But the state constitution requires that a justice be a member of the Florida Bar for at least 10 years, and Francis was four months shy when DeSantis appointed her in May. The Supreme Court said that DeSantis was required to name a new justice within 60 days of the resignation of former Justice Robert Luck.
Ruling on reopening Florida schools put back on hold
The unions argue that Corcorans order violates the Florida Constitutions guarantee of safe and secure public schools. After the appeals court put Dodsons ruling on hold Friday, Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram released a statement vowing to continue battling the state over the issue. This is not about closing schools or opening schools. The states lawyers pointed out that Florida law bases district funding on surveys of the number of children in schools. Corcorans emergency order waived the funding requirements for school districts that submitted reopening plans approved by state education officials.
Florida Bar exams moved online after statewide outcry
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Amid pushback from law-school deans, graduates and lawmakers, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners on Wednesday canceled in-person exams scheduled for late this month and announced the tests will be administered online in August. For months, the Board of Bar Examiners has been under pressure to reconsider requiring the twice-yearly exams to be administered in person. WE DID IT! the petition sponsored by Florida Bar Examinee 2000 declared, following Wednesdays announcement. Nobody has to travel for a bar exam in FL in 2020. And that is a victory, Florida Bar Exam Petition 2020 said in a tweet.
Florida governor signs abortion law requiring parental consent for minors
Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill that will require parental consent before minors can have abortions, a long-sought goal of abortion opponents in Florida. Florida voters in 2004 passed a constitutional amendment that led to a requirement for parents to be notified before minors have abortions, but a consent requirement is more restrictive. The parental-notification law has a process in which minors can go to court to avoid notifying their parents about having abortions --- a so-called judicial bypass that also is part of the consent measure. The Republican-dominated Legislature has passed a series of bills over the years aimed at placing more restrictions on abortions. For example, lawmakers in 2015 passed a measure that required a 24-hour waiting period before women could have abortions.
Parkland parents appeal mental health rulings to Florida Supreme Court
TALAHASSEE, Fla. Parents of victims in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have gone to the Florida Supreme Court in disputes about alleged negligence by a mental-health facility that provided services to accused shooter Nikolas Cruz. Andrew Pollack and Shara Kaplan, parents of slain student Meadow Pollack, and Royer Borges and Emely Delfin, parents of seriously injured student Anthony Borges, have filed notices that they are appealing rulings last month by the 4th District Court of Appeal that said Henderson Behavioral Health, Inc., cannot be held liable in the shooting, according to documents posted Tuesday on the Supreme Court website. But in the Pollack case, the appeals court said the theories of liability are undermined by Florida law establishing that a criminal attack on third parties by an outpatient mental health patient is not within the foreseeable zone of risk created by the mental health provider. Florida law does not recognize a duty of mental health providers to warn third parties that a patient may be dangerous.As is common, the notices of appeal do not detail arguments that attorneys for the parents will make at the Supreme Court. Meadow Pollack was one of 17 students and faculty members who were killed Feb. 14, 2018, at the Parkland school, while Anthony Borges was one of 17 others who were wounded.
What to expect when Orange County courthouse reopens after coronavirus closures
Part one of that began on March 13 when in-person contact was closed to the public and proceedings in-person only happened in emergency or essential situations. Weve done everything within our abilities to ensure that this is a safe space for the public to return for the purpose of court proceedings, Myers said. Court proceedings will be limited initially, and we will define certain types of proceedings that can occur consistent with the Supreme Courts orders. Social distancing and staggered hearing times: Social distancing (six feet between individuals) will be strictly enforced in court, Myers said. Myers said, phases three and four, which lay ahead, have not been fully defined by the Supreme Court except to indicate more access to in-person, in-person court surfaces with relaxed protective measures.
Florida Supreme Court blocks assault weapon ban from ballot
A group called Ban Assault Weapons Now sponsored the proposed constitutional amendment, inspired by the mass shooting at a Parkland high school that left 17 people dead. While the ballot summary purports to exempt registered assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to the Initiatives effective date, the Initiative does not categorically exempt the assault weapon, only the current owners possession of that assault weapon. The ballot summary is therefore affirmatively misleading, the court wrote in its opinion. But since the petitions used the language the court says is invalid, the group cant simply tweak the ballot summary. Attorney General Ashley Moody opposed the ballot initiative, as did the National Rifle Association, which hired a legal team to fight it.