Florida Supreme Court

Florida Department of Corrections

A Florida man convicted of killing four people, including his own daughter, is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday. Jerry Correll’s execution had been delayed for months.

Florida Chief Justice Labarga Creates New Award For Judges

Jul 17, 2015
an American Flag flying
Julian Carvajal via Flikr / WFSU News

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga has created a new award to recognize judicial excellence. The first recipient is getting kudos for his efforts to change the court's treatment of mentally ill offenders.

Congressional Redistricting: Take Three

Jul 10, 2015
The Florida Capitol Building from Adams Street
Steven Martin via Flikr / WFSU News

A special legislative session will be in the works again after Thursday’s congressional map redistricting decision by the Florida Supreme Court. The resulting outcomes of changing the gerrymandered maps for the second time – could affect Florida’s current congressional districts in a big way.

MGN Online

The state’s court system will be a top priority next year in Florida’s criminal justice budget. That’s what a group of Florida lawmakers have vowed to do.

StevenW on Flickr

The Florida Supreme Court is trying to determine whether forty Sarasota landowners should be compensated for land seized by the federal government.

MGN Online

Florida Supreme Court Justices are weighing the appeal of a death row inmate convicted of killing a north Florida correctional officer a few years ago.

iStockphoto

A bill allowing young victims to secretly record their attackers to use as evidence in court is now headed to the Governor, after passing the House Friday.

Florida Channel

Bills aimed at helping Florida’s youth have passed the state Senate Wednesday.

Sen. Benacquisto's twitter

A measure allowing certain abuse victims to secretly record their attackers to use as evidence in court is now heading to the Senate floor.

Florida Channel

A bill allowing young sexual abuse victims to secretly record their attackers to use as evidence in court cleared its first Senate hearing Monday.

Florida Channel

A measure allowing sexual abuse victims to use secret recordings of their attackers as evidence in court is moving forward in the Florida House. The proposed committee bill gained initial approval in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Tuesday.

Florida Channel

Attorney General Pam Bondi says she’s on board with a bill making it easier for sexual abuse victims under the age of 17 to privately record their attacker so it can hold up in a Florida court.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get that through because that’s very, very important. But, just know, that it’s a very narrow, narrow field, and only has to do with children and rape victims—not just at the hands of their parents, but any pedophile,” said Bondi, during a recent Associated Press gathering in Tallahassee.

Joe Gratz via Flickr

The Florida Supreme Court is kicking off a state-wide tour this week in Orlando. The court wants feedback from the public on ways to improve operations.

The high court is using the tour to get the public’s take on issues faced in the judicial system that could include subjects like access or funding. Office of State Courts Administrator, Joanne Snair says the court wants to hear from the public.

http://dontmissthesigns.org

At least one lawmaker has followed through on an abuse survivor’s vow to make sure legislation was filed to allow young victims to use private recordings in sex abuse cases. It follows a recent Florida Supreme Court ruling that will now allow a man convicted of abusing his stepdaughter to get a new trial, after she taped an incriminating conversation without his consent.

The Case

Florida needs 35 new judges next year to deal with a chronic backlog in the courts. That’s according to a report issued by the state supreme court. New judges are needed even though some of the workload is easing, including a 7-percent decline in felony juvenile delinquency cases.

The Legislature hasn’t funded any new trial court judges in seven years, justices say. The report recommends creating the bulk of the new judges, 32, in county courts.

Florida Bar president Greg Coleman agrees.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Should the Florida Supreme Court or the state Legislature have the power to shift the burden of proof to a defendant or the state prosecutor in a Stand Your Ground case? That question was recently before the high court as well as the Legislature earlier this year. So, could that come back into play again next legislative session?

The Case Before The Court

John Mills represents the Soffer family.
Gavel to Gavel

Thousands of tobacco cases are working their way through the Florida judicial system.  These so-called ‘progeny’ cases come from a mid-1990s class action lawsuit known as Engle.  Although the case went against tobacco manufacturers, in 2006 the Florida Supreme Court split the class of smokers up to determine financial damages.  But two cases that came before the Supreme Court this week show the matter is far from settled.

Rockenbach represents the Ciccone family who are arguing for inclusion in the class of smokers from an earlier ruling.
Gavel to Gavel / wfsu.org

The tobacco company R.J. Reynolds came before the Florida Supreme Court Thursday in two back-to-back liability cases.  Even though the cases raise different questions, they both spring from a class action suit begun in mid-nineties.

The two tobacco cases stem from the so-called Engle case.   Engle started as a class action lawsuit, and the courts eventually did rule against the tobacco companies. But to award damages, the state Supreme Court decided to split the class up, leading to thousands of individual cases like the two heard Thursday. 

MGN Online

Should the state or the defense have the burden of proof in a Stand Your Ground case? That question was before the Florida Supreme Court Tuesday as the justices weighed arguments.

No shots were fired, but Jared Bretherick did point a gun at another man, he says, to protect his family during a 2011 incident in Osceola County. The Indiana man was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. But, speaking to Supreme Court Justices Tuesday, his lawyer, Eric Friday, says it was self-defense.

Florida Supreme Court
Nick Evans / WFSU News

Florida Chief Justice Jorge Larbarga has created a new Commission to study the unmet legal needs of lower and middle-income Floridians in an effort to increase access to the courts for people who have to represent themselves.

Florida's Congressional District 5 was one of two found unconstitutional earlier this year.  It was altered during a special legislative session, but voting rights groups don't think the changes went far enough.
nationalatlas.gov via wikimedia commons

Over the weekend The Naples Daily News got more than 500 pages of documents relating to Florida’s redistricting scandal.  State officials had originally planned to release the documents on the first of December.  The Florida Supreme Court voted unanimously to unseal the papers earlier this month.

Florida Oath Gives Choice To Swear Or Affirm

Nov 20, 2014
Image taken from the 1955 movie "Illegal"

When public servants and lawmakers officially start their new terms in office they take an oath. It’s been the same since Florida became a state in 1845. But some people are still confused about the first few words.

This year, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labara officiated the swearing in ceremony at the Florida Senate. As a circuit judge he's also administered the oath to people testifying in court.

It always starts in pretty much the same way--with the words "I  solemnly swear or affirm."

2ndcircuit.leoncountyfl.gov

Leon County Circuit Judge Judith Hawkins wants the Florida Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to remove her from the bench.

Hawkins had until Friday at midnight to request a rehearing. In a request to reconsider the judgment, Hawkins writes she did not deceive the JQC and handed over all documents requested. She also says her response of “fighting the good fight” was taken out of context.

Florida Department of Corrections

A North Florida man is scheduled to die Thursday for the murders of his wife and stepdaughter more than 20 years ago.

At around 6 p.m., Chadwick Banks is expected to be executed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke.

The 43-year-old is convicted of first killing his wife as well as then raping and murdering his 10-year-old stepdaughter in 1992 in their Gadsden County home.

Last week, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously rejected his appeal and denied Banks’ stay of execution request.

2ndcircuit.leoncountyfl.gov

The Florida Supreme Court has removed Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins from the bench. Hawkins sold her religious books from her office to lawyers and staffers as part of her for-profit ministry.

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