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Florida First Amendment Law


After a lengthy evidentiary hearing, the postconviction court, in a detailed,
239-page order, concluded that the murder conviction and sentence of death should
be vacated and a new trial granted on multiple grounds. A key finding was that the
State not only failed to disclose the full extent of its plea deal with William Hearn,
the State’s only eyewitness to the murder, but al... More...
   $0 (10-21-2016 - FL)

Larry Darnell Perry v. State of Florida

In State v. Perry, the Fifth District Court of Appeal addressed two cases
involving defendants awaiting trial for charges of first-degree murder, in which the
State filed notices of intent to seek the death penalty prior to the United States
Supreme Court issuing its decision in Hurst v. Florida on January 12, 2016. Perry,

5. Th... More...
   $0 (10-17-2016 - FL)


The background and facts of this case were reiterated in our decision in
Hurst v. State in pertinent part as follows:
Hurst was convicted for the May 2, 1998, first-degree murder of Cynthia Harrison in a robbery at the Popeye’s restaurant where Hurst was employed in Escambia County, Florida. The victim, also an employee, had been bound and gagged and repeatedly cut and stabbed with a we... More...
   $0 (10-17-2016 - FL)

Kenneth Alfred Bicking, III vs State of Florida

Appellant, Kenneth Alfred Bicking, III, appeals his departure sentences and
seeks the correction of scrivener’s errors in his judgment and sentence. We affirm
Appellant’s departure sentences without discussion, but remand for entry of a
corrected judgment and sentence for the following reasons.
Appellant was charged with (Count 1) armed sexual battery, in violation of
sec... More...
   $0 (10-08-2016 - FL)


The issue presented for our review is whether the trial court conducted a sufficient inquiry in the motion to continue a sentencing hearing where the continuance was critical to appellant retaining counsel of his choice. We find that the trial court summarily denied the motion to continue, which resulted in the summary denial of appellant’s counsel of choice. The denial was made without sufficie... More...   $0 (10-07-2016 - FL)


In 1991, Appellant entered a plea to attempted first degree murder with a firearm, attempted second degree murder with a firearm, and aggravated assault with a firearm. Appellant committed the offenses on February 4, 1991, when he was 16 years old. The trial court sentenced Appellant to consecutive terms of 40 years for the attempted first degree murder, 30 years for the attempted second degree ... More...   $0 (09-20-2016 - FL)


Derrick Randolph ("Appellant") appeals the trial court's denial of his Florida Rule
of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a) motion to correct his illegal sentence. We reverse and
remand for resentencing consistent with this opinion.
In 2001, Appellant was convicted of second-degree murder for an offense
committed when he was 17 years old. The trial court sentenced Appellant to 100 years... More...
   $0 (09-20-2016 - FL)

Willie Crockett vs State of Florida

The State filed a nine-count information against appellant on August 1,
2005, alleging charges that included burglary while armed with a firearm and home
invasion robbery in Alachua County, Florida. Appellant, who had been on parole
in Georgia, was arrested in Georgia on August 10, 2005, for violating his parole by
committing these new law violations in Florida as well as new l... More...
   $0 (09-06-2016 - FL)


On the morning of July 30, 2008, there was a robbery at AMIGO Food Store in Pompano Beach, Florida. During the robbery, gunshots were fired and the store owner was killed. Several 911 calls prompted law enforcement to broadcast BOLOs about the suspects. Appellant was a passenger in a car that was stopped pursuant to one of these BOLOs, leading to appellant’s arrest. Appellant moved to suppres... More...   $0 (09-05-2016 - FL)


We grant Stanley Tarrand’s motion for rehearing, withdraw our earlier opinion and
substitute the following in its place. We deny Tarrand’s motion for rehearing en banc and
Tarrand appeals an order denying his motion for postconviction relief filed pursuant
to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850. He entered a negotiated plea to second
degree mur... More...
   $0 (09-05-2016 - FL)


In this appeal, Martice Spears appeals his criminal convictions and sentences in two unrelated cases, CF13-3400 (possession of a firearm by a convicted felon) and CF14-0275 (grand theft). The trial court sentenced Spears to twelve years' imprisonment for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in CF13-3400, to run consecutively with the already imposed five-year sentence in CF14-0275. We va... More...   $0 (08-29-2016 - FL)


We deny appellant’s motion for rehearing and certification, but grant his motion for written opinion. We affirm the denial of his post-conviction motion and address solely his Sixth Amendment claim.
Appellant was convicted of armed burglary of a structure with actual possession of a firearm, robbery with a firearm and aggravated battery with great bodily harm. The convictions followed a ... More...
   $0 (08-28-2016 - FL)

Lawrence William Patterson v. State of Florida

Patterson’s jury convicted him of multiple crimes stemming from the alleged
arsons of his truck and residence. As the First District explained,
[t]he arsons for which Patterson was tried and convicted completely destroyed his house and truck (which was parked in the garage at the time). It was alleged that Patterson used the truck to start one of the two arson fires in the house. [Not... More...
   $0 (08-28-2016 - FL)

Edward Lewis Gibson v. State of Florida*

Edward Lewis Gibson appeals his conviction and sentence for first degree murder with a firearm. He argues that the trial judge erred in depriving him of his constitutional right to testify and in overruling his hearsay objection to the admission of a text message sent from his cell phone. We find no error in admission of the text message, but we reverse and remand for a new trial because the tri... More...   $0 (08-22-2016 - FL)

Rolando Granados v. State of Florida

Convicted of multiple counts of sexual battery by a person eighteen years of age upon a person less than twelve years of age, namely his daughter, appellant appeals, raising three issues. First, he contends that the court erred in considering corroborating evidence in determining whether to admit the child’s out-of-court statement. The child also testified at trial. We find that the court did n... More...   $0 (08-22-2016 - FL)

Barrington Deferrell v. State of Florida*

In 2011, Deferrell was placed on probation for four years for attempted burglary of a dwelling and preventing or obstructing the extinguishment of a fire charges. In May 2012, Deferrell was arrested and formally charged with three crimes. The new law charges also served as the basis for a violation of probation (“VOP”) proceeding.
1 Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975).
2 More...
   $0 (08-22-2016 - FL)

Karaka Andreau Campbell vs. The State of Florida

The State charged Campbell with two counts of burglary of an occupied
dwelling stemming from an August 11, 2012, incident where he attempted to enter
automobiles parked on private property. On June 24, 2013, Campbell filed a
motion for a Nelson hearing, seeking to discharge his assistant public defender,
Akivia Bassaragh (“Bassaragh”), and have new counsel appointed. The moti... More...
   $0 (07-14-2016 - FL)

Bruce Bernard Strachan v. State of Florida*

This case comes to us after a jury found Appellant Bruce Strachan guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for which the trial court imposed three consecutive life sentences. We find no merit in any of the arguments raised on appeal. We write to address only three of these arguments; we expressly affirm the other two without further comment. I. The trial court did not err in allowing the j... More...   $0 (07-05-2016 - FL)

Bruce Bernard Strachan v. State of Florida*

This case comes to us after a jury found Appellant Bruce Strachan guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for which the trial court imposed three consecutive life sentences. We find no merit in any of the arguments raised on appeal. We write to address only three of these arguments; we expressly affirm the other two without further comment. I. The trial court did not err in allowing the j... More...   $0 (06-29-2016 - FL)

State of Florida vs Stacey Renee McRae

The parties do not dispute the court’s factual findings leading to McRae’s
arrest for armed robbery. On December 30, 2013, a convenience store was robbed
in Vernon. A surveillance camera captured an image of two women. One woman’s
face was uncovered as she pointed a firearm at the clerk. A surveillance video also
captured images of a vehicle arriving and leaving, indicating the... More...
   $0 (06-21-2016 - FL)

Alden Stephenson vs. The State of Florida

When Stephenson was fourteen years old, he was charged with armed
robbery, aggravated battery, and burglary with a battery (lower court case number
F00-28640B). When Stephenson was fifteen, he accepted a global plea offer to
resolve these charges, as well as seven other pending burglary cases. Per
Stephenson’s plea deal, he was placed on fifteen years of adult probation.
Wh... More...
   $0 (06-21-2016 - FL)

State of Florida v. Raymond Bright

A jury convicted Bright for the first-degree murders of Derrick King and
Randall Brown. Bright v. State, 90 So. 3d 249, 254 (Fla. 2012). The jury
recommended death by a vote of eight to four for the murders of both victims, and
the trial court sentenced Bright to death for both murders. Id. at 256.
On direct appeal, we previously detailed the facts leading to Bright’s death ... More...
   $0 (06-21-2016 - FL)


In circuit court case number 1972-CF-0870-NC, a jury found Mr. Huffman
guilty of rape, at the time a capital felony, and breaking and entering with intent to
commit grand larceny.1 In November 1972, the trial court sentenced him to parole
eligible life sentences for both convictions. This court affirmed both convictions and the
parole-eligible life sentence imposed for the rap... More...
   $0 (06-06-2016 - FL)

Angelo Atwell v. State of Florida

Angelo Atwell was sixteen years old when, in August 1990, he committed
armed robbery and first-degree murder. Under the statute then in effect, Atwell
was sentenced for the first-degree murder to a mandatory term of life
imprisonment, with the possibility of parole after twenty-five years, and was
sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the armed <... More...
   $0 (06-01-2016 - FL)

Rodney Squire v. State of Florida*

We grant in part and deny in part appellee’s motion for rehearing, withdraw our previously issued opinion and substitute the following opinion in its place.
Rodney Squire appeals his convictions for attempted felony murder and attempted robbery of one victim, and aggravated battery of another. He contends that the trial court made three evidentiary errors: (1) denying the suppression of h... More...
   $0 (05-28-2016 - FL)


Ramon David Senger (“Senger”) appeals his dual convictions under sections
847.0135(3)(b) and 847.0135(4)(b), Florida Statutes (2011)—using a computer to solicit
a person believed to be a parent for sex with a minor (“solicitation”) and traveling after
using a computer to solicit a person believed to be a parent for sex with a minor (“traveling
after solicitation"). Following t... More...
   $0 (05-28-2016 - FL)

Gil Camacho v. State of Florida

The issue presented for our review is whether the victim’s prior sworn testimony from an Arthur hearing is admissible when the victim’s death rendered her “unavailable” for trial. We find that appellant’s direct examination of the victim during the Arthur hearing was the functional equivalent of “significant cross-examination.” Therefore, the trial court did not err in admitting the Arthur heari... More...   $0 (05-18-2016 - FL)


The State of Florida timely appeals the trial court’s order granting David Maloney’s
motion to suppress certain statements he made to police before he was advised of his
Miranda1 rights. Because we conclude the public safety exception to the Miranda
requirement permits the admission of Maloney’s statements, we reverse.

Maloney was a member of a motorcycle gang known as th... More...
   $0 (05-13-2016 - FL)

State of Florida v. Donna Horwitz

Donna Horwitz was charged with first-degree murder with a firearm for the
2011 death of her ex-husband, Lanny Horwitz, in Jupiter, Florida. The Fourth
District set forth the facts: On the morning of September 30, 2011, Lanny was shot multiple times in the master bathroom of his home and was pronounced dead at the scene. [Horwitz] and Lanny had been divorced twice, but they were living... More...
   $0 (05-05-2016 - FL)

Jermaine C. Jackson v. State of Florida

This case is before the Court for review of the decision of the Fourth District
Court of Appeal in Jackson v. State, 137 So. 3d 470 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014). Because
the district court expressly declared a state statute valid, this Court has jurisdiction
to review the decision. See art. V, § 3(b)(3), Fla. Const.
Appellant, Jermaine Jackson, was convicted of one count of robbery w... More...
   $0 (05-05-2016 - FL)

Vanguard Car Rental USA, LLC vs. Lawrence Suttles, Jr.

In 1991, National Car Rental advised law enforcement that Lawrence
Suttles, Jr. had failed to timely return a rental car. Two years later, National filed
1 Section 768.79, of the Florida Statutes (2014), as pertinent here, provides:
(2) . . . An offer must:
. . . .
(b) Name the party making it and the party to whom it is being made.
2 Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.4... More...
   $0 (05-02-2016 - FL)

Anthony Julian Collins vs State of Florida

Appellant was convicted of carjacking with a firearm (count 1), attempted
second degree murder (count 2), and attempted armed robbery (count 3). He was
originally sentenced to 20 years in prison with a minimum mandatory of 10 years
as to count 1, life in prison with a minimum mandatory of 25 years as to count 2,
and 25 years with a minimum mandatory of 25 years as to count 3. ... More...
   $0 (04-25-2016 - FL)


Wesley Thompson Foley, Jr., appeals the judgment and sentences for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and possession of methamphetamine. Foley tendered a nolo contendere plea to these charges, reserving the right to appeal the trial court’s denial of his dispositive motion to suppress evidence
seized during the search of a vehicle in which he was a passenger.1 Foley... More...
   $0 (04-10-2016 - FL)


The State of Florida appeals two orders suppressing the results of warrantless blood draws taken from Wade F. Liles and John Nathan Willis during drunk driving investigations involving separate traffic crash fatalities.1 In both cases, the trial courts found that, pursuant to the United States Supreme Court's holding in Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S. Ct. 1552 (2013), the blood draw results were inad... More...   $0 (04-10-2016 - FL)

The State of Florida vs. British Moss

The State of Florida petitions this Court for a writ of certiorari to review an
order rendered by the trial court which denied, in part, the State’s motion to
compel discovery. We agree that the trial court’s order departs from the essential
requirements of law because the respondent, British Moss, never presented the trial
court a request and a showing for good cause. Accordi... More...
   $0 (04-08-2016 - FL)

Dwaine Merchant vs. The State of Florida

The State indicted Merchant for first-degree murder (Count One) and
attempted first-degree murder (Count Two). The first trial began in August 2013.
The jury venire was comprised of 50 potential jurors, including both Kira Criado
(“Kira”) and Kevin Criado (“Kevin”). At the commencement of the jury selection
process, the trial court introduced the court staff, the attorneys, a... More...
   $0 (04-08-2016 - FL)

Vantavia B. Jackson-Johnson v. State of Florida

The defendant is a former corrections deputy who was convicted of official misconduct, culpable negligence, and accessory after the fact. The convictions arose out of allegations that an inmate was allowed to leave his cell and attack another inmate, and that the defendant and her coworker falsified records in a failed attempt to cover up the incident. A key piece of evidence leading to the defe... More...   $0 (04-08-2016 - FL)

Danson Exantus-Barr v. State of Florida*

Danson Exantus-Barr appeals his convictions of robbery with a firearm while wearing a mask and a weapons possession charge. He contends that he was unlawfully stopped and sought to suppress his own statements, the victim’s identification, and the seized property. The trial court denied his motion to suppress. We affirm, concluding that the totality of the circumstances, which included the locat... More...   $0 (04-08-2016 - FL)


Hector Josue Vazquez Padilla appeals from his conviction and life sentence for first-degree murder. He argues that the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence an audio recording of a statement made to police by a person who
implicated Padilla in the crime. Because the statement was testimonial and the witness was not available or subject to prior cross-examination, admission of the... More...
   $0 (04-04-2016 - FL)


Tivasha Logan gave birth to Mr. Gardner's child on May 11, 2009. This was their fourth child together. The infant, a girl, was born ten weeks premature. Although the infant initially had some trouble with bottle feeding, she thrived in the hospital neonatal unit and was discharged to the care of her mother at the end of July 2009. Three months later, the infant died of malnutrition. There is... More...   $0 (03-25-2016 - FL)

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