Florida Weekly Appellate Law Review 7
Florida Appellate Law Review: Each week Florida’s Appellate Courts release their new opinions. We read them so you don’t have to (you’re probably watching the World Cup anyway, let’s not kid ourselves). Here’s a summary of what happened this week:
Florida Supreme Court Opinions:
Florida Supreme Court held that defendant’s trial counsel was not ineffective for not introducing evidence of his ADHD during the penalty phase following the murder conviction.
Florida Supreme Court held that the defendant requiring special treatment for mental disorder grounds for a downward departure in sentencing does not require the defendant to prove that the specialized treatment is unavailable through the Department of Corrections.
Court held that an insurance policy provision regarding “extended PIP” was ambiguous, and thus required the insurer to pay 100% of the insured’s medical expenses from the accident.
Court held that the trial court unlawfully increased the defendant’s bond, which was originally set at a low amount, after the state amended the information due to a scrivener’s error.
Court held that the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to enter a gun into evidence during a trial for drug trafficking. The police found the gun inside a trash bag at Tolbert’s home, along with cocaine. The prosecution did not present any evidence linking the gun with the charge of drug trafficking.
Court affirmed a dismissal of a racketeering charge based on the expiration of the statute of limitations. Florida treats substantive RICO crimes and RICO conspiracy crimes separately. Because the statute of limitations for substantive RICO crimes starts to run on the date of the last predicate act committed by the defendant, the Court held that it had run in the case against Reyan.
Court held that the trial court erred in dismissing the plaintiff’s first amended complaint with prejudice due to failure to comply with the statute of limitations in a birth injury case.
Court held that it was improper for the trial court to instruct the jury on the forcible felony exception to his self-defense claim. The exception given to the jury was this:
the use of deadly force is not justifiable if you find: (1) [the defendant] was attempting to commit, committing or escaping after the commission of a robbery
The defendant claimed self defense against the owner of the liquor store when the owner jumped into the defendant’s car window following the defendant’s theft of liquor.
Court held that defendant’s counsel was ineffective in his aggravated battery case. The defendant’s girlfriend, who testified at the sentencing hearing but not at the trial, gave testimony that wholly consistent with the defendant’s version of events from the fight. The defendant’s attorney stated on the record that he was “ineffective” for failing to secure the girlfriend to testify at the trial.
Court held that the evidence of the defendant walking slowly between two buildings late at night was insufficient evidence of loitering and prowling, and that the trial court should have granted the defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal on those grounds.
Appeal from a conviction for petit theft for stealing wallets and phones from a basketball court. Court held that the trial court should have granted the motion for judgment of acquittal where the state failed to show any evidence that the defendant stole the items or assisted any other person in doing so.
Court held that an action for loss of consortium survived the death of the plaintiff, which is in conflict with the Third DCA.
Court quashed an order requiring the disclosure of three confidential informants who supplied information in the application of a wiretap of the defendant’s phone.
U.S. v. Serrapio:
Serrapio was sentenced to three years of probation after he threatened to shoot President Obama when he visited Florida. He then spoke to the press and said that the whole ordeal had been “pretty funny” that he could be imprisoned in his own house. The court then modified his probation to include one year of home confinement. The appellate court affirmed the modification.