Florida Supreme Court

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

The Florida Supreme Court said Thursday that unanimous jury recommendations are not necessary before death sentences can be imposed, as justices backed away from a 2016 decision that revamped the state’s capital-punishment system.

The 4-1 ruling offered a clear picture of how much the Supreme Court has changed since last January, when a conservative majority took control after the retirements of longtime justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince.

It wasn’t the most important issue or event of 2019.

State Senators Back Contentious Abortion Bill

Dec 12, 2019

In a contentious meeting where proponents and opponents talked about God, homosexuality and government intrusion, a Florida Senate panel Tuesday approved a bill that would require minors to obtain permission from their parents before having abortions.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in his element when he gave the opening speech last month at the national convention of the Federalist Society, the organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers.

Citing Federalist papers and 162-year-old U.S. Supreme Court cases, the Harvard-trained attorney made an articulate case against the branch of government he said felt “superior” to the others.

“I think judicial power is too robust right now,” DeSantis said. “And I think the checks upon it are just simply inadequate.”

Governor Ron DeSantis will have to make two new appointments to the Florida Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate recently okayed moving two Florida justices to federal court positions. The Judicial Nominating Commission is the Florida group in charge of vetting applications before sending a list of names to the Governor. Leon County Attorney Jason Unger spoke about the process of hiring new judges.


Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments for a nationally watched question about how the state’s 2018 ballot item Amendment 4, relating to the restoration of voting rights for people convicted of felonies, is being implemented.

Coral Gables Styrofoam Ban Fight Heads To Florida Supreme Court

Oct 23, 2019
Caleb Lucas / Unsplash

Coral Gables has gone to the Florida Supreme Court in a legal battle about whether the city should be able to ban the use of Styrofoam food containers, according to documents posted Monday on the Supreme Court website.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal in August overturned a ruling by a Miami-Dade County circuit judge who had found three state laws unconstitutional and determined Coral Gables was not prevented from enacting the Styrofoam ban.

 

Daniel Rivero / WLRN

On Monday, a major hearing is set to take place in Tallahassee that will set the tone of a challenge to a Florida law that opponents have called a “poll tax.”

Fight Over Charter Schools Heads To Florida Supreme Court

Sep 30, 2019
File / Miami Herald

Nine county school boards are going to the Florida Supreme Court in a battle about the constitutionality of a controversial 2017 law that sought to bolster charter schools. 

WLRN News

Florida Supreme Court justices are the highest-paid statewide officials, with their salaries substantially higher than the amounts paid to the governor, state Cabinet members and legislators.

Here are the 2019-2020 salaries for a variety of state officials and judges:

--- Supreme Court justices: $220,600

--- District Courts of Appeal judges: $169,554

--- State attorneys: $169,554

--- Public defenders: $169,554

--- Circuit judges: $160,688

--- County judges: $151,822

--- Public Service Commission members: $132,036

Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research known as EDR is tasked with predicting outcomes of proposed legislation, new laws, or constitutional amendments. But a new law has now changed how much work goes into predicting petition initiatives. EDR’s Coordinator Amy Baker spoke about what the changes mean.

Amy Beth Bennett / South Florida Sun Sentinel

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody doesn’t want a proposed constitutional amendment to ban possession of assault weapons in Florida to appear on the 2020 election ballot.

Moody outlined her arguments in a filing late Friday afternoon with the Florida Supreme Court. She said the title of the amendment — “prohibits possession of defined assault weapons” — and the summary of the amendment don’t adequately explain what the proposal would actually do.

Florida Wants New Hearing In Major Medical Marijuana Case

Jul 25, 2019
C.M. GUERRERO / MIAMI HERALD

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is asking an appellate court to revisit a decision that Florida officials argue injected “confusion and uncertainty” into the state’s medical marijuana industry.

DeSantis and health officials on Wednesday asked the 1st District Court of Appeal for a hearing by the full court, known as an “en banc” hearing, after a July 9 ruling that Florida’s “vertical integration” system requiring licensed operators to grow, process and distribute cannabis and by-products runs afoul of a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

The Florida House of Representatives wants a say in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of state medical marijuana regulations. The chamber's lawyers asked a Tallahassee appeals court Tuesday for a chance to intervene.

Civil rights groups are hoping a federal judge will strike down a new Florida law that they say does not properly carry out a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.

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