Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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At issue was whether Defendant’s waiver of postconviction proceedings and counsel precluded him from claiming a right to relief under Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). Defendant was a prisoner under sentence of death whose sentence became final on June 6, 2011. The sentence was imposed after a jury recommended death by a vote of eleven to one. After the Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences, Defendant waived his right to postconviction proceedings and counsel. Subsequent to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and the Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst on remand, the postconvcition court granted Defendant a new penalty phase. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant’s valid postconviction waiver precluded him from claiming a right to the benefit of Hurst. View "State v. Silvia" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court vacated Appellant’s sentence of death and remanded for a new penalty phase consistent with Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). Appellant was convicted of two counts of murder. The jury recommended death by a vote of seven to five, and the trial court sentenced Appellant to death for each of the murders. The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s convictions and sentences and affirmed the denial of Appellant’s initial postconviction motion. Appellant appealed the denial of his first successive postconviction motion to vacate his sentence of death, seeking relief under Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016) and Hurst. The Supreme Court reversed the postconvcition court’s order and remanded for a new penalty phase, holding that Appellant’s sentence was the result of Hurst errand that the Hurst error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. View "Pagan v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiff brought this case challenging the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) authority to promulgate rules related to blood collection resulting in blood alcohol test results, along with the sufficiency of rules to produce scientifically reliable results. The Supreme Court answered two questions certified to it by the Fourth District Court of Appeal and approved of the Fourth District’s decision. The Supreme Court held (1) the FDLE’s current rules are not inadequate under State v. Miles, 775 So. 2d 950 (Fla. 2000), for purportedly failing to sufficiently regulate proper blood draw procedures, as well as the homogenization process to “cure” a clotted blood sample; and (2) the present rules are not inadequate for failing to specifically regulate the work of analysts in screening blood samples, documenting irregularities, and rejecting unfit samples. View "Goodman v. Florida Department of Law Enforcement" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether Defendant, who was charged with lewd or lascivious battery, was entitled to an instruction on the permissive lesser included offense of unnatural and lascivious act. The trial court denied Defendant’s request for such an instruction, and the jury convicted Defendant of lewd or lascivious battery. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed, concluding that Defendant was entitled to the unnatural and lascivious instruction. The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the Fourth District, holding (1) the Legislature must have intended for the crime of unnatural and lascivious act under Fla. Stat. 800.02 to be separate and distinct from the crime of lewd and lascivious battery under Fla. Stat. 800.04(4); and (2) therefore, the trial court did not err in declining to give the permissive lesser instruction of unnatural and lascivious acts. View "State v. Knighton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In two separate cases involving two separate robberies committed by the same defendant, the Fifth District Court of Appeal directed the trial court to reduce Defendant’s convictions from robbery with a deadly weapon to robbery with a weapon. The Fifth District noted that no evidence was presented that Defendant used any weapon other than a firearm. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant’s convictions for the uncharged offense of robbery with a deadly weapon could not stand, but the evidence was sufficient to sustain convictions for robbery with a weapon. Accordingly, the Fifth District correctly ordered the trial court to reduce Defendant’s convictions to robbery with a weapon. View "Davis v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying Gary Richard Whitton’s motion filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Whitton was not entitled to 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). Whitton was sentenced to death following a jury’s unanimous recommendation for death. Whitton’s sentence of death became final in 1995. The Supreme Court held that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Whitton’s sentence of death and, accordingly, affirmed the denial of Whitton’s motion. View "Whitton v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying Jack R. Sliney’s motion filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Sliney was not entitled to 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). Sliney was sentenced to death following a jury’s recommendation for death by a vote of seven to five. Sliney’s sentence of death became final in 1998. The Supreme Court held that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Sliney’s sentence of death and, accordingly, affirmed the denial of Sliney’s motion. View "Sliney v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying Steven Edward Stein’s motion filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Stein was not entitled to 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). Stein was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death following a jury’s recommendation for death for both murders by a vote of ten to two. Stein’s sentence of death became final in 1994. The Supreme Court held that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Stein’s sentence of death and, accordingly, affirmed the denial of Stein’s motion. View "Stein v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying Henry Perry Sireci’s motion filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Sireci was not entitled to 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). Sireci was sentenced to death following a jury’s recommendation for death by a vote of eleven to one. Sireci’s sentence of death became final in 1992. The Supreme Court held that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Sireci’s sentence of death and, accordingly, affirmed the denial of Sireci’s motion. View "Sireci v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying David Miller, Jr.’s motion filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Miller was not entitled to 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). Miller was sentenced to death following a jury’s recommendation for death by a vote of seven to five. Miller’s sentence of death became final in 2001. The Supreme Court held that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Miller’s sentence of death and, accordingly, affirmed the denial of Miller’s motion. View "Miller v. Jones" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law