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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying Appellant’s motion filed pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851 seeking 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). Appellant was sentenced to death following a jury’s recommendation for death by a vote of ten to two. Appellant’s death sentence became final in 1992. The Supreme Court held that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Appellant’s sentence of death, and therefore, the circuit court properly denied Appellant’s motion. View "Owen v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying Appellant’s motion filed pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851 seeking 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). Appellant was sentenced to death following a jury’s unanimous recommendation for death. The death sentence was reversed and, on remand, the trial court again sentenced Appellant to death. Appellant’s death sentence became final in 1996. The Supreme Court held that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Appellant’s sentence of death, and therefore, the circuit court properly denied Appellant’s motion. View "Dailey v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the postconviction court’s denial of Eric Kurt Patrick’s motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851 and granted Patrick’s petition for writ of habeas corpus, which raised a valid claim under Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). In 2009, Patrick was convicted of kidnapping, robbery, and first-degree murder. Patrick’s jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of seven to five. The trial court followed the jury’s recommendation. The Supreme Court affirmed. Thereafter, Patrick filed his motion for postconviction relief and then amended his motion to add a Hurst v. Florida claim. The postconviction court denied the motion in its entirety. As to the Hurst v. Florida claim, the postconviction court noted that the Supreme Court had not yet determined whether the holding would have retroactive effect. Patrick appealed and filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, requesting relief under Hurst v. Florida and Hurst. The Supreme Court vacated Patrick’s death sentence and granted Patrick a new penalty phase under Hurst v. Florida and Hurst in accordance with his petition for writ of habeas corpus, holding that the Hurst error in Patrick’s sentencing was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. View "Patrick v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court disapproved the decision of the First District Court of Appeal in Snow v. State, 157 So. 3d 559 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015) on the issue of whether a trial court is required to pronounce orally each condition of “sex offender probation” contained in Fla. Stat. 948.30 when the defendant is not convicted of one of the section’s enumerated offenses. Petitioner was convicted of sex offenses, and the trial court imposed fifteen years of “sex offender probation.” Petitioner later moved to strike the section 948.30 conditions of probation that were included in the written order of sex offender probation on the ground that they constituted an illegal sentence because they were neither mandatory under the statute nor orally pronounced at sentencing. The trial court denied Petitioner’s request. The Fourth District affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that due process was satisfied under the circumstances of this case. View "Levandoski v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court held that Petitioner failed to show cause why he should not be barred from filing further pro se requests for relief in the Supreme Court relating to certain case numbers and, accordingly, sanctioned him. Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of error coram nobis challenging a conviction and sentence for assault. Because the writ of error coram nobis no longer exists in Florida, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition, expressly retained jurisdiction to consider the imposition of sanctions, and ordered Petitioner to show cause why he should not be prohibited from filing further pro se requests for relief with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that, as a result of Petitioner’s extensive history of filing meritless pro se petitions and notices in the Court, sanctions should be imposed. The Court then directed the clerk of court to reject any future pleadings or other requests for relief filed by Petitioner unless such filings were signed by a member in good standing of The Florida Bar. View "Schofield v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court held that Petitioner failed to show cause why he should not be barred from filing further pro se requests for relief in the Supreme Court relating to certain case numbers and, accordingly, sanctioned him. Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of error coram nobis challenging a conviction and sentence for assault. Because the writ of error coram nobis no longer exists in Florida, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition, expressly retained jurisdiction to consider the imposition of sanctions, and ordered Petitioner to show cause why he should not be prohibited from filing further pro se requests for relief with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that, as a result of Petitioner’s extensive history of filing meritless pro se petitions and notices in the Court, sanctions should be imposed. The Court then directed the clerk of court to reject any future pleadings or other requests for relief filed by Petitioner unless such filings were signed by a member in good standing of The Florida Bar. View "Schofield v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s order denying, after an evidentiary hearing, Appellant’s sixth successive motion for postconviction relief based on a claim of newly discovered evidence, holding that Appellant was not entitled to relief on his claims. Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder and other crimes. Appellant was sentenced to death. The Supreme Court affirmed on appeal. Appellant later filed his sixth successive motion for postconviction relief based on newly discovered evidence. The newly discovered evidence was an affidavit executed by a Florida state prisoner, who attested that Appellant did not commit the crimes. The postconviction court denied relief after a one-day evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the postconviction court (1) did not err in admitting an arrest record showing that the prisoner was arrested five days before Appellant’s offenses; (2) did not err in finding that certain testimony was not credible; and (3) did not misapply the standard set forth in Jones v. State, 591 So. 2d 911 (Fla. 1991) for newly discovered evidence. View "Sweet v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order summarily denying Appellant’s successive motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851. Appellant was convicted in 2002 of first-degree murder and other crimes. The jury unanimously recommended a sentence of death for the murder by a vote of twelve to zero. The Supreme Court affirmed. In 2017, Appellant filed a successive postconviction motion to vacate his death sentence in light of Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). The circuit court summarily denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that any Hurst error in this case was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. View "Everett v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Florida Public Service Commission applied the correct standard of review in its final order approving a nonunanimous settlement agreement between certain parties relating to the rates or service of a public utility providing electric service. Further, competent, substantial evidence supported the Commission’s decision. At issue was whether the Commission properly applied its public interest standard in considering and approving the settlement. The Supreme Court held (1) the public interest was the appropriate standard to apply, and there was no need for the Commission to make an express individual prudence determination; (2) the final order adequately explained the Commission’s decision; and (3) the Commission’s finding that the settlement agreement was in the public interest was supported by competent, substantial evidence. View "Sierra Club v. Brown" on Justia Law

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An indigent defendant who is represented by private counsel pro bono is entitled to file motions pertaining to the appointment and costs of experts, mitigation specialists, and investigators ex parte and under seal, with service to the Justice Administrative Commission and notice to the State’s attorney’s office, and to have hearing on such motions ex parte, with only the defendant and the Commission present. Defendant was convicted of offenses, including first-degree murder, that she committed when she was seventeen years old. After the United States Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama, 467 U.S. 460 (2012), the Supreme Court remanded Defendant’s case for resentencing. Prior to the resentencing hearing, Defendant’s pro bono counsel filed a motion for an ex parte hearing regarding the appointment of experts for the Miller juvenile resentencing hearing. The trial court denied the motion. The First District Court of Appeal denied Defendant’s petition for writ of certiorari but also certified a question to the Supreme Court. The Court answered as set forth above, quashed the First District’s decision, and remanded Defendant’s case for resentencing. View "Andrews v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law