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The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Appellant’s motion filed pursuant to Fla. R. Criminal. P. 3.851, holding that this Court’s prior denial of Appellant’s postconviction appeal raising similar claims was a procedural bar to the claim at issue in this appeal. Appellant’s motion sought relief pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and the Supreme Court’s decision on remand in Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). The circuit court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, even if his motion was not procedurally barred, Appellant was not entitled to relief under Hurst or the legislation implementing the rights recognized in Hurst. View "Rodriguez v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s order denying Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Appellant was not entitled to relief. Appellant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death following the jury’s recommendation for death for both murders by a vote of ten to two. The sentences of death became final in 1993. In his postconviction motion, Appellant sought relief pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and this Court’s decision on remand in Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of relief, holding that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Appellant’s sentences of death. View "Jones v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court answered a question certified to it by the Fourth District Court of Appeal by holding that law enforcement officers are eligible to assert Stand Your Ground immunity under Fla. Stat. 776.012(1) and 776.032(1), as held by the Fourth District. After being indicted for manslaughter with a firearm, Deputy Peter Peraza of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office moved to dismiss the indictment, citing immunity from prosecution under sections 776.012(1) and 776.032(1), Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. The judge granted Paraza’s motion to dismiss based upon Stand Your Ground immunity. On appeal, the State argued that law enforcement officers are not eligible to assert immunity pursuant to the Stand Your Ground law because they are already provided a defense pursuant to Fla. Stat. Ann. 776.05, which involves the justifiable use of force when making a lawful arrest. The Fourth District court held that a police officer making a lawful arrest may claim Stand Your Ground immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that law enforcement officers are eligible to assert Stand Your Ground immunity, even when the use of force occurred in the course of making a lawful arrest. View "State v. Peraza" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court agreed with the Fifth District Court of Appeal’s conclusion that Appellant presented no basis for declaring Florida’s hazing statute, Fla. Stat. 1006.63, unconstitutional, thus affirming Appellant’s convictions of manslaughter, felony hazing resulting in death, and two counts of misdemeanor hazing. Defendant was convicted in connection with the activities of the Florida A&M University’s marching band. On appeal, the Fifth District affirmed Defendant’s convictions, rejected his arguments challenging the constitutionality of section 1006.63, and expressly declared that the hazing statute was valid. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the hazing statute is neither unconstitutionally overbroad nor void for vagueness. View "Martin v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court approved the decision of the Second District Court of Appeal in this case and held that release from a county jail after a defendant serves a sentence entirely in the county jail where the sentence would have required transfer to a Florida prison but for the accumulation of jail credit does not satisfy the language of Fla. Stat. 775.082(9)(a)1, which provides the definition of “prison releasee reoffender” (PRR). The portion of the statute at issue requires the defendant, within the three years preceding his commission of qualifying offense, to have been “released from a state correctional facility operated by the Department of Corrections or a private vendor.” The Second District concluded that the language of the statute is not satisfied when a defendant is released from a county jail under the circumstances of this case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the language at issue does not include release from a county jail; and (2) therefore, commission of a PRR-qualifying offense within three years of release from jail, rather than prison, does not satisfy the requirements of section 775.082(9)(a)1. View "State v. Lewars" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the First District Court of Appeal holding that it was appropriate for an appellate court to review the entire evidentiary record to determine whether multiple convictions violate double jeopardy, holding that, consistent with State v. Shelley, 176 So. 3d 914 (Fla. 2015), to determine whether multiple convictions of solicitation of a minor, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, and traveling after solicitation of a minor are based upon the same conduct for purposes of double jeopardy, the reviewing court should consider only the charging document. Defendant moved to dismiss the charges against him, arguing that they violated double jeopardy because the elements of solicitation of a minor and unlawful use of a two-way communications device were subsumed within the elements of traveling after solicitation. The trial court denied the motion, and Defendant was convicted of all three counts. The First District affirmed after examining the entire record, concluding that there was no double jeopardy violation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the reviewing court should have considered only the charging document in determining whether Defendant’s convictions were based upon the same conduct for purposes of double jeopardy. View "Lee v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirming the denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress and remanded this case to the district court with instructions that the case be remanded for a new trial without introducing portions of statements made after Defendant unequivocally invoked his right to silence, holding that the statements were produced as a result of a Miranda violation, and the error was not harmless. Defendant, who was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, appealed the denial of his motion to suppress his confession on the basis that detectives had violated his right against self-incrimination and right to counsel. The Fourth District affirmed. The Supreme Court quashed the Fourth District’s decision, holding (1) a detective’s statements after Defendant unequivocally invoked his right to silence constituted interrogation; (2) the State was unable to meet its burden of demonstrating that Defendant’s subsequent Miranda waiver was voluntarily made; and (3) therefore, the trial court erred in admitting Defendant’s confession. View "Shelly v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition for writ of habeas corpus, denied his motion for a stay of execution, and denied his request for oral argument as moot, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief on his claim that he was entitled to vacate of his death sentence or resentencing. In his petition, Petitioner, a prisoner under sentence of death and under an active death warrant, argued that an amendment to Fla. Const. art. X, 9, which was approved by Florida voters on November 6, 2018, warranted vacatur of his death sentence or resentencing under revised Fla. Stat. 921.141. The Supreme Court held that Petitioner was not entitled to relief because (1) the amendment will not go into effect until January 8, 2019; and (2) even if the amendment were in effect, it does not change the law applicable to Petitioner’s conviction and death sentence. View "Jimenez v. Jones" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court exercised jurisdiction over Petitioner’s all writs petition and denied it, holding that Petitioner, a prisoner under an active death warrant, was precluded from making new filings in the circuit court challenging his death sentence or warrant, or his convictions, without leave of this Court. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the scheduling order in this case, both as issued and as amended, prohibited the filing of new claims in the circuit court after the deadline set forth in that order; (2) the issuance of a mandate in two postconviction appeals that ensued after the issuance of Petitioner’s death warrant did not render the scheduling order inoperable; (3) Petitioner’s challenge to this Court’s authority to issue or enforce death lines set forth in its post-warrant scheduling order was without merit. View "Jimenez v. Bondi" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying Appellant’s successive motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that the circuit court did not err in summarily denying relief. Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury recommended death by a vote of nine to three. Appellant later filed a successive motion for postconviction relief arguing that the jury did not find all of the elements required to convicted him of “capital first-degree murder” and that his age of eighteen years old at the time of the murder should preclude the imposition of the death penalty. The trial court summarily denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant’s guilt-phase jury considered all of the elements necessary to convict him of first-degree murder, a capital felony; and (2) Appellant was not entitled to relief on his claim that evolving standards of decency render his death sentence invalid under the Eighth Amendment. View "Foster v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law