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The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court's order denying Appellant's third successive motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that the postconviction court did not err in denying relief. Appellant pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping, and sexual battery and was sentenced to death. Appellant filed his current challenge to his death sentence - his third successive under Rule 3.851 - after the governor signed his death warrant. The postconviction court denied his motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the postconviction court did not err in (1) summarily denying Appellant's newly discovered evidence claim; (2) denying Appellant's challenges to Florida's lethal injection protocol; (3) summarily denying Appellant's claim that adding his execution to the more than thirty years he has spent on death row constitutes cruel and unusual punishment; and (4) denying the remainder of Appellant's claims. View "Long v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court sanctioned Larry Barber by directing the Clerk of Court to reject any future pleadings or other requests for relief submitted by Barber that were related to a certain criminal case unless such filings were signed by a member in good standing of The Florida Bar, holding that Barber failed to show cause why he should not be barred. Barber pro se filed fifteen petitions or notices with the Supreme Court since February 13, 1998. On December 19, 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed Barber's petition for a writ of prohibition, expressly retained jurisdiction, and ordered Barber to show cause why he should not be barred from filing further pro se requests for relief in the Court related to his criminal case. The Court then found that Barber failed to show cause why he should not be barred because, through his extensive history of filing pro se petitions and requests for relief that were meritless or otherwise inappropriate for review, Barber abused this Court's limited judicial resources. View "Barber v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) allowing the Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) to recover certain environmental compliance costs from ratepayers pursuant to Fla. Stat. 366.8255, known as the Environmental Cost Recovery Clause, holding that the PSC's findings were supported by competent, substantial evidence. On appeal, the Citizens of the state of Florida, the Office of Public Counsel argued, among other things, that section 366.8255 limits cost recovery to costs incurred in preventing future environmental harm. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because of the nature of the environmental harm at issue in this case, prevention and remediation were inextricably intertwined, and therefore OPC's reading of section 366.8255(1)(c) is rejected; and (2) the PSC did not err when it determined the costs of a consent order and consent agreement were within the scope of a 2009 monitoring plan, for which the PSC had previously approved recovery. View "Citizens of State of Florida v. Brown" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Scott Israel's petition for writ of quo warranto challenging Governor Ron DeSantis's authority to suspend him from office in an executive order, holding that the Governor satisfied the constitutional requirements set forth in Fla. Const. art. IV, 7(a) and had the authority to suspend Israel from the office of Sheriff of Broward County. Following Israel's reelection, two mass shootings occurred during Israel's term in office, including the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On January 2, 2019, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order suspending Israel from office, alleging that certain actions by Israel constituted neglect of duty and incompetence. Israel filed a petition for writ of quo warranto asserting that Governor DeSantis exceeded his constitutional authority when suspending Israel. The circuit court dismissed the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the executive order suspending Israel alleged facts sufficient to support the suspension on the stated grounds. View "Israel v. DeSantis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the findings and recommendation of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) concerning misconduct by Judge Ernest Kollra of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit and a stipulation entered into by Judge Kollra and the JQC, approved the parties' stipulation, and commanded Judge Kollra to appear before the Court for the administration of a public reprimand. The parties entered into a stipulation that Judge Kollra improperly introduced partisan political activity into his campaign for judicial office, that Judge Kollra's conduct violated two canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and that the appropriate discipline was a public reprimand. The Supreme Court concluded that the JQC's findings were supported by clear and convincing evidence and approved the stipulation, holding that the appropriate discipline in this case was a public reprimand. View "Inquiry Concerning Judge Ernest A. Kollra" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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The Supreme Court granted Respondents' joint motion to recall mandate, withdrew its opinion dated January 4, 2019, and substituted this opinion in its place, holding that the Fifth District Court of Appeal properly affirmed a trial court judgment invalidating an Orange County ordinance because home-rule counties may not enact ordinances on subjects preempted to the State and inconsistent with general law. In 2014, the Orange County Board of Commissioners enacted an ordinance proposing an amendment to the Orange County Charter and provided for a ballot question be presented for approval regarding a charter amendment providing for term limits and non-partisan elections for county constitutional officers. The ballot question appeared on the November 4, 2014 ballot and was approved by the majority of Orange County voters. After the underlying county ordinance and ballot title and summary were challenged, the trial court upheld the portion of the charter amendment providing for term limits but struck down that portion providing for nonpartisan elections, concluding that Orange County was prohibited from regulating nonpartisan elections for county constitutional officers because that subject matter was preempted to the Legislature. The Fifth District affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Florida Election Code expressly preempted the Orange County ordinance. View "Orange County v. Singh" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed a circuit court judgment denying validation of revenue bonds, holding that Halifax Hospital Medical Center, a special tax district, was not authorized to carry out the project for which it sought to issue the bonds. Halifax sought validation of bonds that it intended to issue for the purpose of financing the construction of a hospital outside the geographic boundaries established in the special act creating Halifax. The circuit court denied the complaint for bond validation on the grounds that Halifax lacked the authority operate a facility outside its geographical boundaries. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly denied the bond validation because neither Halifax's enabling act nor the Interlocal Act gave Halifax the authority to operate outside its geographic boundaries. View "Halifax Hospital Medical Center v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law, Tax Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner's petition for a writ of quo warranto, which Petitioner filed after the Governor suspended her as Superintendent of Schools for Okaloosa County, holding that the Governor did not exceed his suspension authority. In an executive order, Governor Ron DeSantis invoked his authority under Fla. Const. art. IV, 7(a) to suspend Petitioner. In her petition for writ of quo warranto, Petitioner asserted that the misconduct alleged in the executive order was limited to conduct that occurred "exclusively" in Petitioner's prior term in office, and therefore, the Governor exceeded his suspension power. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the executive order alleged misconduct occurring in Petitioner's current term and satisfied the standard set forth in State ex rel. Hardie v. Coleman, 155 So. 129, 133 (Fla. 1933). View "Jackson v. DeSantis" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the stipulation entered into between Judge Dennis Daniel Bailey and the Judicial Qualifications Commission that stipulated that Judge Bailey violated the Code of Judicial Conduct and should be publicly reprimanded and commanded Judge Bailey to appear before the Court for the administration of a public reprimand. Based on the judge's conduct in a certain trial, the commission charged Judge Bailey with violating canons 1, 2A, 3B(1), 3B(4), and 3B(7) of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct. The commission found probable cause for the violations and recommended that Judge Bailey be publicly reprimanded. Judge Bailey stipulated that he did not contest the commission's findings and accepted the recommended discipline. The Supreme Court agreed with the commission's findings and Judge Bailey's admissions and ordered that Judge Bailey appear for the administration of a public reprimand. View "Inquiry Concerning a Judge Dennis Daniel Bailey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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After denying Plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandamus the Supreme Court sanctioned Plaintiff, holding that Plaintiff abused the judicial process and burdened the Court's limited judicial resources. Plaintiff was the defendant in two civil actions brought by Defendant, and motions for summary judgment against Plaintiff were granted in each case. Plaintiff subsequently filed six petitions or notices seeking relief related to the civil cases and filed more than one hundred pleadings in connection with each case. All six cases were either denied dismissed, or transferred. Based on Plaintiff's filing history, the Supreme Court issued an order directing him to show cause why he should not be prohibited from filing any further pro se documents in the Court related to two cases. The Court then held, based on Plaintiff's persistent history of filing pro se petitions that were frivolous, meritless, or otherwise inappropriate for the Court's review, the Clerk of the Court is instructed to reject any future filings submitted by Plaintiff related to the two civil cases unless such filings were signed by a member in good standing of the Florida Bar. View "Wetzel v. Travelers Companies, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure