Florida Supreme Court Decisions 2017

Asay v. State  
Date: August 14, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-1400

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Mark Asay’s third successive motion for postconviction relief and denied Asay’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The court also denied Asay’s motion for a sta...

Mark James Asay v. Julie L. Jones, etc.
Date: August 14, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-1429
Hitchcock v. State  
Date: August 10, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-445

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order summarily denying Appellant’s successive postconviction motion for postconviction relief pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851. Appellant, a prisoner whose death sentence...

Jeffries v. State  
Date: July 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1965

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for first-degree murder, vacated his death sentence, and remanded for a new penalty phase, holding that there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s convictions b...

Holmes Regional Medical Center, Inc. v. Allstate Insurance Co.  
Date: July 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1555

Justia Opinion Summary: A party that has had judgment entered against it is not entitled to seek equitable subrogation from a subsequent tortfeasor when the judgment has not fully been sustained. Benjamin Hintz was injured when his scooter col...

Government Employees Insurance Co. v. Macedo  
Date: July 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-935

Justia Opinion Summary: The ambiguous section of the insurance policy at issue in this case must be construed in favor of coverage for the costs and attorneys’ fees awarded against the insured pursuant to the offer of judgment statute, Fla. Sta...

Toby Bogorff, et al. v. Rick Scott, Governor, et al.
Date: July 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-1155
Venice HMA, LLC v. Sarasota County  
Date: July 6, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-2289, SC15-2292

Justia Opinion Summary: The indigent care provision of the special law applicable only to Sarasota County does not constitute an unconstitutional privilege because it applies equally to all hospitals in Sarasota County, whether public or privat...

Peterson v. State  
Date: July 6, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC16-289, SC16-1279

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s order denying Robert Peterson post-conviction relief as to the guilt phase of Peterson’s criminal trial and denied Peterson’s separate habeas petition. The court, how...

Bailey v. Jones  
Date: July 6, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-433

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted Petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, vacated Petitioner’s death sentence, and remanded to the circuit court for a new penalty phase. In his habeas petition, Petitioner sought relie...

Williams v. State  
Date: June 29, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-1472

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s order denying Appellant’s claims raised in his motion to vacate his conviction of first-degree murder and sentence of death, with the exception of Appellant’s ineffec...

Cole v. State  
Date: June 29, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-2245

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant, an inmate under a sentence of death, appealed the denial of her motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of relief for a new guilt phase but gr...

Bargo v. State  
Date: June 29, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-125

Justia Opinion Summary: On direct appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s first-degree murder conviction but vacated his sentence of death and remanded for a new penalty phase, holding (1) Appellant’s ineffective assistance of counsel cl...

Sexton v. State  
Date: June 29, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-62

Justia Opinion Summary: On direct appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed Appellant's first-degree murder conviction but reversed his sentence of death and remanded this case to the trial court for a new penalty phase. The court held (1) the trial c...

Carpenter v. State  
Date: June 29, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-2125

Justia Opinion Summary: The trial court granted Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence found on his cell phone by arresting officers pursuant to a search incident to arrest, relying on the holding in Smallwood v. State, 113 Wo. 3d 724 (Fla. 20...

D’Agastino v. City of Miami  
Date: June 22, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-645

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was the authority of the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP), an independent body designed to investigate and review instances of alleged police misconduct and review police policies an...

Hall v. State  
Date: June 15, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC14-2225, SC15-859

Justia Opinion Summary: Donte Jermaine Hall was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Anthony Blunt. The jury voted eight to four in favor of a death sentence for the murder of Blunt. The trial court followed the jury’s recommendat...

Bevel v. State  
Date: June 15, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC14-770, SC14-2106

Justia Opinion Summary: Thomas Bevel was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder. The jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of eight to four as to the murder of Garrick Springfield and by a unanimous vote of twelve to zero as t...

Zack v. State  
Date: June 15, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-1756, SC16-1090

Justia Opinion Summary: Michael Duane Zack, III was found guilty of the sexual assault, robbery, and first-degree murder of Ravonne Smith. After a penalty phase hearing, the jury recommended a sentence of death by a vote of eleven to one. The t...

Braddy v. State  
Date: June 15, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-404, SC16-481

Justia Opinion Summary: Harrel Franklin Braddy was convicted of first-degree murder and other crimes. After a penalty phase, the jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of eleven to one. The trial court sentenced Braddy to death. The Supre...

Treasure Coast Marina, LC v. City of Fort Pierce  
Date: June 15, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1107

Justia Opinion Summary: For purposes of applying the municipal or public purposes tax exemption contained in Fla. Const. art. VII, section 3(a), a public marina owned and operated by a municipality is a traditional municipal function that carri...

Fails v. Jones  
Date: June 15, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-327

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner, an inmate in state custody, filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. This was the thirteenth extraordinary writ petition or notice he had filed pertaining to a certain criminal case. The Supreme Cou...

North Broward Hospital District v. Kalitan  
Date: June 8, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1858

Justia Opinion Summary: The caps on personal injury noneconomic damages in medical negligence actions provided in Fla. Stat. 766.118 violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution. This case arose after complications from surg...

Okafor v. State  
Date: June 8, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-2136

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s sentence of death and remanded this case for a new penalty phase. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of one count of first-degree premeditated murder. Following a penalty p...

Michael Joe McCoy v. State of Florida
Date: June 8, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1316
Jeffrey D. Williams v. State of Florida
Date: June 8, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-451
Middleton v. State  
Date: June 1, 2017
Docket Number: SC12-2469

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted Appellant’s motion for rehearing and substituted this revised opinion for its previous opinion issued October 22, 2015 in order to consider Appellant’s claim that he was entitled to a new penalt...

Robert N. Gresham v. State of Florida
Date: June 1, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-359
Hardee County v. FINR II, Inc.  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1260

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court approved the holding of the First District Court of Appeal in City of Jacksonville v. Smith, 159 So. 3d 888 (Fla. 1st CA 2015), that the Bert J. Harris Jr., Private Property Protection Act (Act) does no...

R. Lee Smith, et al. v. City of Jacksonville
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-534
McCray v. State  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1235

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court approved the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s ruling that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Petitioner’s request to “unstrike” a juror, or withdraw a previously exercised perempto...

Zakrzewski v. Jones  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-729

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner pled guilty in 1994 to three charges of first-degree murder for the deaths of his wife and his two children. The jury recommended sentences of death for the murders of Petitioner’s wife and son, both by a vote...

Oats v. Jones  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-68

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner was convicted for the robbery of a convenience store and first-degree murder of the store clerk. Petitioner was sentenced to death for the murder. In 2015, the Supreme Court remanded Petitioner’s case because...

Caylor v. State  
Date: May 18, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-1823, SC16-399

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated Matthew Lee Caylor’s death sentence and remanded the case for a new penalty phase, holding that Caylor’s death sentence was unconstitutional under Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016) because...

Acevedo v. State  
Date: May 18, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1873

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner was convicted of lewd and lascivious battery, three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, and lewd and lascivious conduct. Petitioner was sentenced to life in prison on each count, to run concurrently. Pe...

Gretna Racing, LLC v. Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation  
Date: May 18, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1929

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was whether Gadsden County is a “county in which a majority of voters have approved slot machines…in a countywide referendum held pursuant to a statutory or constitutional authorization after the effective date...

Bates v. State  
Date: May 18, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1178

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order summarily denying Appellant’s successive motion for postconviction DNA testing pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.853. In the instant postconviction motion, Appellant, a p...

Dominique Wright v. State of Florida
Date: May 18, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1534
Hertz v. Jones  
Date: May 18, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-456

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted Petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, vacated his death sentence, and remanded for a new penalty phase, holding that Petitioner’s death sentence violated Hurst v. State, 202 So. 3d...

In Re: Amendments to the Code of Judicial Conduct
Date: May 18, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-680
Pasha v. State  
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-1551

Justia Opinion Summary: On direct appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of two counts of first-degree murder but vacated his two sentences of death. The death sentences were imposed after a nonunanimous jury recommended sen...

Cozzie v. State  
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-2393

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for first-degree premeditated or felony murder with a weapon and his sentence of death, holding (1) the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s challenges for caus...

Wright v. State  
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-2410

Justia Opinion Summary: On direct appeal, the Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s convictions for two counts of first-degree murder and vacated his two death sentences, holding that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to sustain the...

Snelgrove v. State  
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-1659, SC16-124

Justia Opinion Summary: The Florida Supreme Court vacated David Beasher Snelgrove’s two death sentences and ordered that Snelgrove receive a new penalty phase proceeding based on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, 1...

Davis v. State  
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1794

Justia Opinion Summary: On direct appeal, the Florida Supreme Court vacated Barry Trynell Davis, Jr.’s two death sentences and remanded for a new penalty phase pursuant to Hurst v. State, 202 So. 3d 40. Davis was convicted of two counts of firs...

Serrano v. State  
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-258, SC15-2005

Justia Opinion Summary: The Florida Supreme Court vacated Nelson Serrano’s four death sentences imposed after he was convicted for four counts of first-degree murder and remanded for a new penalty phase pursuant to Hurst v. State, 202 So. 3d 40...

Doe v. State  
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1852

Justia Opinion Summary: An individual’s right to have a judicial officer physically present at hearings held to determine whether the individual may be involuntarily committed to a mental health facility or hospital pursuant to “the Baker Act,”...

Guardado v. Jones  
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-389

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner pleaded guilty to murder in the first degree and robbery with a weapon. The jury returned a unanimous recommendation that Petitioner be sentenced to death. The trial court found five aggravating factors and ni...

Michael A. Hernandez, Jr. v. Julie L. Jones, etc.
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-440
The Florida Bar v. Phillip J. Brutus
Date: May 4, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-2499
Hampton v. State  
Date: May 4, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-1360, SC16-6

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted John Lee Hampton’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, vacated Hampton’s sentence of death, and ordered that Hampton receive a new penalty phase proceeding in light of Hurst v. State. In addit...

Frank A. Walls v. State of Florida – Corrected Opinion
Date: May 4, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1449
Inquiry Concerning Judge Kimberly Michele Shepard  
Date: May 4, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1746

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court concluded that the findings of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) Hearing Panel that Circuit Court Judge Kimberly Michele Shepard violated Canons 7A(3)(e)(ii) and 7A(3)(b) of the Flori...

Matthew Marshall v. Julie L. Jones, etc.
Date: May 4, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-779
Troy Merck, Jr. v. State of Florida
Date: May 4, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-899
Card v. Jones  
Date: May 4, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-453

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that Petitioner, whose sentence of death was recommended by his penalty phase jury after a vote of eleven to one, was entitled to relief under Hurst v. State and Hurst v. Florida. The Court granted...

Morris v. State  
Date: April 27, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1317

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was convicted and sentenced to death on two counts for the first-degree premeditated murders of two police officers. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentences, holding (1) the trial court did not...

Tundidor v. State  
Date: April 27, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-2276

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted felony murder, and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Appellant was sentenced to death for the murder conviction. The Supreme Court vacate...

Altersberger v. State  
Date: April 27, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-628, SC15-1612

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of nine to three. The Supreme Court followed the recommendation and sentenced Defendant to death. Defendant filed a motion...

In Re: Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases
Date: April 27, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1692
In Re: Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases
Date: April 27, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-2239
State v. Spencer  
Date: April 27, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-54

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of two counts of attempted second-degree murder. The First District Court of Appeal reversed the convictions because the trial court “failed to instruct that [Defendant] could not be guilty of att...

Johnson v. State  
Date: April 20, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-711

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner pleaded guilty to armed burglary of a dwelling, armed kidnapping, attempted first-degree murder, and sexual battery using force or a weapon. Petitioner was sentenced to six concurrent life sentences. Petitione...

Brookins v. State  
Date: April 20, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-418

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of first-degree premeditated and felony murder. The jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of ten to two. The trial court followed the jury’s recommendation and senten...

Banks v. State  
Date: April 20, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC14-979, SC15-297

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Donald Lenneth Banks was found guilty of first-degree murder. The jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of ten to two. Following the jury’s recommendation, the trial court sentenced Banks to de...

Rodriguez v. State  
Date: April 20, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1795

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery, and other offenses. The jury recommended by a vote of twelve to zero that Appellant be sentenced to death for the murder. The trial court followed the jury’s...

B.R.C.M. v. Florida Department of Children & Families  
Date: April 20, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-179

Justia Opinion Summary: B.R.C.M., an unaccompanied minor from Guatemala, illegally entered the United States at age thirteen and was released to his godmother as a sponsor. Thereafter, a private petition was filed on behalf of B.R.C.M. alleging...

McMillian v. State  
Date: April 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1796

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of premeditated first-degree murder and of attempted second-degree murder. The trial court, following the jury’s recommendation, sentenced Appellant to death. The Supreme Co...

Worley v. Central Florida Young Men's Christian Ass’n  
Date: April 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1086

Justia Opinion Summary: Heather Worley fell in the parking lot of Central Florida Young Men’s Christian Association, Inc. (YMCA). Worley's counsel filed a negligence suit against YMCA on behalf of Worley, seeking to recover damages, including t...

Florida Department of Revenue v. DirecTV, Inc.  
Date: April 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1249

Justia Opinion Summary: The Communications Services Tax (CST) imposed a 6.8 percent tax rate on cable service and a 10.8 percent tax rate on satellite service. DIRECTV, Inc. and Echostar, LLC filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment holding th...

Crystal Sells, etc. v. CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: April 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1639
McNeil v. State  
Date: April 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-979

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner pled nolo contendere to three counts of sexual battery of child under the age of twelve by a person under the age of eighteen and one count of lewd or lascivious molestation. The trial court imposed costs for...

In Re: Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases
Date: April 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1185
In Re: Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases
Date: April 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1884
Churchill v. State  
Date: April 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-654

Justia Opinion Summary: Prior to trial, Petitioner filed a motion in limine seeking to exclude witness testimony about the identity of the substances found at the scene of his arrest and the results from the chemical field tests performed on th...

In Re: Standard Criminal Jury Instructions in Capital Cases
Date: April 13, 2017
Docket Number: SC17-583
Oliver v. State  
Date: April 6, 2017
Docket Number: SC12-1350

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and armed burglary of a dwelling with discharge of a firearm causing death. The trial court sentenced Defendant to death on both counts...

Guzman v. State  
Date: April 6, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-1002

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury recommended a sentence of death by a vote of seven to five. The trial court followed the jury’s recommendation and imposed a sentence of death....

Heyne v. State  
Date: April 6, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1800

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of three counts of murder. The trial court followed the jury’s recommendation of death for the murder of a five-year-old girl but sentenced Defendant to life imprisonment for the other two murders...

Abdool v. State  
Date: April 6, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC14-582, SC14-2039

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of first-degree murder. The jury recommended death by a vote of ten to two. The trial court followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Defendant to death. The Supreme...

Newberry v. State  
Date: April 6, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-703

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of first-degree premeditated and felony murder and armed robbery. The jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of eight to four. The trial court sentenced Defendant to d...

Robards v. State  
Date: April 6, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1364

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder. The jury recommended the death penalty for each murder by a vote of seven to five. The trial court sentenced Defendant to death. The Su...

Weatherspoon v. State  
Date: April 6, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1542

Justia Opinion Summary: The State charged Defendant with attempted first-degree premeditated murder. The State did not charge or allege the elements of attempted felony murder in the charging document. During trial, the State pursued an attempt...

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Marotta  
Date: April 6, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-218

Justia Opinion Summary: Respondent, the representative for the estate of Phil Felice Marotta, filed an action as an Engle progeny plaintiff against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, an Engle defendant, asserting that Marotta’s addiction to Reynold...

In Re: Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases
Date: April 6, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-323
Orme v. State  
Date: March 30, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC13-819, SC14-22

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of premeditated or felony murder, robbery, and sexual battery. The jury recommended the death penalty by a vote of seven to five. The trial judge followed the recommendation an...

Bradley v. State  
Date: March 30, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1412

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, fleeing and eluding, and resisting arrest with violence. At the penalty phase of trial, the jury recommended death by a vote of ten to two. The...

State v. Dominique  
Date: March 30, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1613

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of second-degree murder. Defendant’s jury was instructed on the lesser included offense of manslaughter by act with the same instruction that the Supreme Court found to be fundamentally erroneous...

Ramroop v. State  
Date: March 30, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1816

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of attempted second-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and first-degree felony murder of another victim, which was based on the attempted second-degree murder conviction. Defendant receive...

Hooker v. Hooker  
Date: March 30, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-1881, SC16-589

Justia Opinion Summary: Before their marriage, the parties entered into a prenuptial agreement providing that, upon dissolution, each party would retain his or her premarital assets and any appreciation of those assets. Following a twenty-three...

Rafael Yee v. State of Florida
Date: March 30, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1925
Corey Jamaine Dozier v. State of Florida
Date: March 30, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-2092
White v. State  
Date: March 30, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-625

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury recommended that Defendant be sentenced to death by a vote of eight to four. The trial court followed the recommendation and imposed a death sentence. The Supreme...

Osterhoudt v. State  
Date: March 30, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-303

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of manslaughter with a firearm and sentenced to thirty years in prison. At sentencing, the trial judge imposed a lump sum of “approximately $956” in fines and court costs. The written order showed...

Jackson v. State  
Date: March 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-1232

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder, sexual battery with a deadly weapon, and other offenses. The trial court sentenced Appellant to death for the murder conviction. The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s conv...

Baker v. State  
Date: March 23, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC13-2331, SC14-873

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and home invasion robbery. At the conclusion of the penalty phase, the jury recommended death by a vote of nine to three. The trial court se...

Deviney v. State  
Date: March 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1903

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury returned a recommendation in favor of death by a vote of eight to four. The trial court accepted the recommendation and sentenced Defendant to...

Roberts v. Jones  
Date: March 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1150

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1982, Petitioner pled guilty to several counts of attempted first-degree murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, and other offenses. Petitioner was sentenced to life imprisonment for those offenses. Thereafter, Petition...

Desue v. Jones  
Date: March 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1222

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1987, Petitioner was convicted of several counts of uttering forgery. In 1992, Petitioner was convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon and robbery without a weapon. After his convictions and sentences became final, P...

Pray v. Forman  
Date: March 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-713

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2000, Petitioner was sentenced to life in prison for attempted first-degree murder and attempted robbery with a gun or deadly weapon. The Court of Appeal affirmed the convictions and sentences. Thereafter, Petitioner...

Smith v. State  
Date: March 16, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC12-2466, SC13-2112

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder, four counts of conspiracy to commit murder, two counts of manslaughter, and other crimes. The jury recommended by a vote of ten to two th...

Wright v. State  
Date: March 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-1213

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of robbery, and one count of carjacking. The trial court sentenced Defendant to death for each mur...

Debaun v. State  
Date: March 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-2336

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with violating Fla. Stat. 384.24(2), which was enacted to prevent the spread of sexually transmissible diseases. The charge arose from a homosexual relationship between Defendant and the victim. Def...

Hodges v. State  
Date: March 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-878

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury recommended the death sentence by a vote of ten to two. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and the death sentence. Thereafter, Appellant...

City of Largo, Florida v. Ahf-Bay Fund, LLC. – Corrected Opinion
Date: March 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1261
Citizens of the State of Florida v. Graham  
Date: March 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-141

Justia Opinion Summary: Florida Public Utilities Company (FPUC), an electric utility that relies solely on wholesale purchase power agreements with other electric utilities, entered into a settlement agreement with the Office of Public Counsel...

In Re: Amendments to Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure
Date: March 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-978
Anderson v. State  
Date: March 9, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC12-1252, SC14-881

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1999, Charles Anderson was convicted and sentenced to death for first-degree murder. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence of death on direct appeal. Anderson filed an amended motion for postconvictio...

Middleton v. State  
Date: March 9, 2017
Docket Number: SC12-2469

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree felony murder, among other crimes. The jury unanimously voted to impose the death penalty. The trial court followed the jur...

Ault v. State  
Date: March 9, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1551

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and related crimes. The jury recommended death on both counts of murder. The trial court followed the jury’s recommendation and imposed...

Joyce C. Shaw, et al. v. Mark A. Hunter, Sheriff, etc., et al.
Date: March 9, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-118
In Re: Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases
Date: March 9, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-724
Lambrix v. State  
Date: March 9, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC16-8, SC16-56

Justia Opinion Summary: Cary Michael Lambrix was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1983 first-degree murder of two victims. The Supreme Court affirmed Lambrix’s murder convictions and death sentences on direct appeal. After the Governor...

Headley v. City of Miami  
Date: March 2, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-1882

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union that represented officers employed by the City of Miami’s police department (the Union) and the City of Miami (the City). After the City...

The Florida Bar v. Cyrus A. Bischoff
Date: March 2, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-2049
Inquiry Concerning Judge Andrew J. Decker, III  
Date: March 2, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-383

Justia Opinion Summary: After an evidentiary hearing, the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) determined that Circuit Judge Andrew J. Decker, III violated certain provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct during his judicial campa...

Jones v. State  
Date: March 2, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-990

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder. The jury unanimously recommended a sentence of death. The trial court followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Defendant to deat...

City of Largo v. AHF-Bay Fund, LLC  
Date: March 2, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1261

Justia Opinion Summary: AHF-Bay Fund, LLC appealed a judgment awarding $695,158.23 in damages and prejudgment interest to the City of Largo for AHF’s failure to make payments pursuant to an agreement for payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT agreemen...

The Florida Bar v. Michael Eugene Wynn – Corrected Opinion
Date: March 2, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1323
Wong v. State  
Date: March 2, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-2192

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner was convicted of multiple counts of lewd or lascivious molestation against three victims over the course of differing time periods. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to life imprisonment for the counts invo...

Norman v. State  
Date: March 2, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-650

Justia Opinion Summary: Dale Lee Norman was charged with open carrying of a weapon in violation of Fla. Stat. 790.053, Florida’s Open Carry Law. Section 790.053 permits individuals to carry firearms in public so long as the firearm is carried i...

Truehill v. State  
Date: February 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1514

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of Vincent Binder. The jury recommended that Appellant be sentenced to death by a unanimous vote. The trial court agreed with the jury’s unanimo...

Montes-Valeton v. State  
Date: February 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1672

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner was involved in a single-vehicle car crash in which a single fatality occurred. After a jury trial, Petitioner was found guilty of DUI serious bodily injury and sentenced to five years of incarceration. Petiti...

Myers v. State  
Date: February 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1486

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with the murder of her husband. Defendant filed a motion to suppress statements she made to police on two occasions at the police station after being interrogated by the police. The trial court gran...

Martinez v. State  
Date: February 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1620

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of one count of robbery with a firearm. The jury also found that Defendant did “actually possess” a firearm during the robbery. The trial court sentenced Defendant to twenty...

Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, Inc. v. MMB Properties  
Date: February 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1655

Justia Opinion Summary: MMB Properties filed a complaint alleging that Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando’s use of property located at a medical complex violated the Declaration of Restrictions. The complaint sought a permanent injunction pr...

Hawkins v. Jones  
Date: February 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1644

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of sexual battery on an inmate by a law enforcement officer and was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment and thirty years of community service. The court of appeal affirmed. Since 2012, Defendan...

In Re: Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases
Date: February 23, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1681
Evans v. State  
Date: February 20, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC16-1946, SC16-2133

Justia Opinion Summary: Here the Supreme Court considered two petitions for writs of prohibition filed in Evans v. State and Rosario v. State. In Evans, the trial court determined that it would death qualify the jury in Evans’ first-degree murd...

Ledoux-Nottingham v. Downs  
Date: February 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1037

Justia Opinion Summary: Mother and Father were divorced in Colorado. After Father died, Mother and her two minor children moved to Florida. Grandparents subsequently initiated a proceeding in Colorado seeking visitation with the children. Mothe...

Patrick v. Hess  
Date: February 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1147

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2003, Respondents obtained an amended judgment against Petitioner in an Arizona federal district court. In 2006, Respondents registered the Arizona judgment in Florida under the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgment...

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, Inc.  
Date: February 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1257

Justia Opinion Summary: A hospital provided medical services to twenty-nine insureds who were injured in motor vehicle accidents. After paying the hospital, the insurer requested certain documentation relating to the reasonableness of the charg...

The Florida Bar v. Michael Eugene Wynn
Date: February 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1323
In Re: Amendments to the Florida Evidence Code
Date: February 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-181
Gainesville Woman Care, LLC v. State  
Date: February 16, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-381

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2015, the Florida Legislature amended the Woman’s Right to Know Act. The amendments constituted the Mandatory Delay Law (the Law), which imposes an additional twenty-four hour waiting period on women seeking to termin...

Dubose v. State  
Date: February 9, 2017
Docket Number: SC10-2363

Justia Opinion Summary: After a second jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of both first-degree premeditated murder and felony murder, with burglary as the underlying felony. The trial court sentenced Defendant to death. The Supreme Court af...

Bogle v. State  
Date: February 9, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC11-2403, SC12-2465

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury recommended death by a vote of ten-to-two. The trial court sentenced Defendant to death. The Supreme Court affirmed on direct appeal. Defendant...

Debrincat v. Fischer  
Date: February 9, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1477

Justia Opinion Summary: Richard and Jason Debrincat filed the original civil proceeding against a group of defendants. Stephen Fischer was later added as a party defendant, but the Debrincats subsequently dropped Fischer from the underlying pro...

Hall v. State  
Date: February 9, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-1662, SC16-224

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted and sentenced to death for the first-degree premeditated murder of a corrections officer. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentence. Defendant later filed a motion to vacate...

State v. Wiley  
Date: February 9, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-2389

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pled no contest to multiple offenses arising out of a road rage incident. The trial court adjudicated Defendant guilty and imposed a downward sentence. At the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor argued against a...

In Re: Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases
Date: February 9, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1184
In Re: Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases
Date: February 9, 2017
Docket Number: SC16-1185
Kaczmar v. Florida  
Date: January 31, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-2247

Justia Opinion Summary: Kaczmar was convicted for first-degree murder, attempted sexual battery, and arson. Kaczmar had been previously convicted of a robbery. The state presented a victim impact statement from the victim’s brother. The defen...

Hojan v. Florida  
Date: January 31, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-5

Justia Opinion Summary: Hojan was charged with armed robbery, armed kidnapping, attempted murder, and two murders arising out of the 2002 robbery of and shooting of employees at a Waffle House. A surviving victim gave law enforcement officers...

Knight v. Florida  
Date: January 31, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1775

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2006, a jury found Knight guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of his housemate, Stephens, and her four-year-old child. Police, responding to a 911 call about noises in the apartment, found the b...

Wiggins v. Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles  
Date: January 31, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-2195

Justia Opinion Summary: Section 322.2615, Florida Statutes, authorizes a law enforcement officer to suspend driving privileges when a person is driving or in physical control of a vehicle and has a blood- or breath alcohol level of .08 or highe...

Durousseau v. Florida  
Date: January 31, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1276

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1999, Mack’s family found Mack’s body, naked from the waist down, with a cord wrapped around her neck. Durousseau’s DNA was found inside Mack’s vagina. In 2003, Durousseau was indicted for first-degree murder for th...

Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley. v. Florida  
Date: January 31, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1747

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1997, Aaron sustained a catastrophic brain injury at birth due to the negligence of employees at Lee Memorial. The family retained the law firm, under a contingency fee agreement providing for payment of 40 percent o...

Charles. v. Southern Baptist Hospital of Florida, Inc.  
Date: January 31, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-2180

Justia Opinion Summary: Florida Constitution Article X, section 25 (Amendment 7), adopted by citizen initiative in 2004, provides patients “a right to have access to any records made or received in the course of business by a health care facili...

Florida v. Markus  
Date: January 31, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-801

Justia Opinion Summary: Housemates McCumbers, Junk, Blair, and Markus invited three women to their garage/recreation room to socialize. At 12:20 a.m. Officers Prendergast and Edu were dispatched to a noise disturbance, which had dissipated bef...

Wood v. Florida  
Date: January 31, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-954

Justia Opinion Summary: A high-speed pursuit on Alabama 167 ended when both vehicles crashed into a ditch after the Camry fired shots at the patrol car. After both cars stopped, the Camry returned more gunshots; its driver, Rafsky, fled but wa...

Calloway v. State  
Date: January 26, 2017
Docket Number: SC10-2170

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder, armed robbery, armed kidnapping, and armed burglary with an assault or battery. The jury recommended a sentence of death for each count of first-degree murde...

Palm Beach County School Board v. Janie Doe 1  
Date: January 26, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-1834

Justia Opinion Summary: Respondents - four female students and their parents - filed a complaint against their teacher and the Palm Beach County School Board, alleging that the teacher sexually molested the children and that the School Board wa...

Kopel v. Kopel  
Date: January 26, 2017
Docket Number: SC13-992

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1994, Petitioner filed this lawsuit against his brother and nephew (together, Respondents) alleging claims resulting from deteriorating business relationships within the family. The first trial resulted in a hung jury...

King v. State  
Date: January 26, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1949

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, involuntary sexual battery, and kidnapping. After a Spencer hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant to death. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’...

Franqui v. State  
Date: January 26, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-1441, SC15-1630

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was sentenced to death for the murder of Raul Lopez and separately sentenced to death for the murder of law enforcement officer Steven Bauer. The Supreme Court affirmed in both cases. During the postconviction...

Florida Industrial Power Users Group v. Graham  
Date: January 26, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-2146

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2016, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) filed a petition requesting that the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) approve FPL’s purchase of a power plant so that FPL could terminate its existing power purchase ag...

Dockswell v. Bethesda Memorial Hospital, Inc.  
Date: January 26, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-2294

Justia Opinion Summary: After undergoing surgery at Bethesda Memorial Hospital, it was discovered that a drainage tube had been left inside Plaintiff. Plaintiff and his wife filed suit against the hospital, alleging negligent removal and neglig...

Allstate Insurance Co. v. Orthopedic Specialists  
Date: January 26, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-2298

Justia Opinion Summary: Orthopedic Specialists and various medical service providers challenged reimbursements made by Allstate Insurance Company under personal injury protection no-fault insurance policies issued to Allstate’s insureds, arguin...

McGirth v. State  
Date: January 26, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-953, SC16-341

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, robbery with a firearm, and fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer. The trial court sentenced Defendant to death. The Supreme Court affir...

McCloud v. State  
Date: January 19, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-1150

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of second-degree murder. On appeal, Petitioner argued that the jury instruction on the required lesser included offense of manslaughter by act improperly required the jury to...

Armstrong v. State  
Date: January 19, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC14-1967, SC15-767

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and armed robbery. Defendant was sentenced to death after the jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of nine to three. The Suprem...

Williams v. State  
Date: January 19, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-814

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and robbery. The jury recommended that Defendant be sentenced to death for the murder by a vote of nine to three. After concluding that the...

Daugherty v. State  
Date: January 19, 2017
Docket Number: SC14-860

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of one count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder. Defendant appealed his second-degree murder conviction, arguing that he was entitled to relief because the ju...

Kopsho v. State  
Date: January 19, 2017
Docket Numbers: SC15-1256, SC15-1762

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury voted ten to two to impose the death sentence. The trial court sentenced Defendant to death. The Supreme Court affirmed. Defendant later filed...

Gaskin v. State  
Date: January 19, 2017
Docket Number: SC15-1884

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder (premeditated and felony murder) in the death of Georgette Sturmfels, two counts of first-degree murder (premeditated and felony murder) for the death of Rober...

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