Articles Posted in Florida Supreme Court

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court's order denying Appellant's third successive motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that the postconviction court did not err in denying relief. Appellant pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping, and sexual battery and was sentenced to death. Appellant filed his current challenge to his death sentence - his third successive under Rule 3.851 - after the governor signed his death warrant. The postconviction court denied his motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the postconviction court did not err in (1) summarily denying Appellant's newly discovered evidence claim; (2) denying Appellant's challenges to Florida's lethal injection protocol; (3) summarily denying Appellant's claim that adding his execution to the more than thirty years he has spent on death row constitutes cruel and unusual punishment; and (4) denying the remainder of Appellant's claims. View "Long v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court sanctioned Larry Barber by directing the Clerk of Court to reject any future pleadings or other requests for relief submitted by Barber that were related to a certain criminal case unless such filings were signed by a member in good standing of The Florida Bar, holding that Barber failed to show cause why he should not be barred. Barber pro se filed fifteen petitions or notices with the Supreme Court since February 13, 1998. On December 19, 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed Barber's petition for a writ of prohibition, expressly retained jurisdiction, and ordered Barber to show cause why he should not be barred from filing further pro se requests for relief in the Court related to his criminal case. The Court then found that Barber failed to show cause why he should not be barred because, through his extensive history of filing pro se petitions and requests for relief that were meritless or otherwise inappropriate for review, Barber abused this Court's limited judicial resources. View "Barber v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the postconviction court denying Appellant’s successive motion to vacate a judgment of conviction of first-degree murder under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Appellant failed to show error in the denial of his successive postconviction motion. In his postconviction motion, Appellant alleged violations of Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972), and Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), as well as a claim of newly discovered evidence. The Supreme Court held (1) Appellant’s Giglio claim and Brady claim were both without merit; and (2) Appellant’s newly discovered evidence claim was both procedurally barred and without merit. View "Merck v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s summary denial of Appellant’s successive motion requesting postconviction relief under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972), filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Appellant’s claims were procedurally barred. Specifically, the Court held (1) Appellant’s claims were procedurally barred because the evidence at issue was not newly discovered because the record established that the information in Appellant’s claims could have been discovered at an earlier date through the exercise of due diligence; and (2) even if Appellant’s claims were not procedurally barred, his claims were without merit. View "Thomas v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s order denying Appellant’s motion filed pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Appellant was not entitled to relief under the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and the Supreme Court’s decision on remand in Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). Specifically, The Supreme Court held that the Court’s prior denial of Appellant’s postconviction appeal raising similar claims was a procedural bar to the claim at issue in this appeal. Further, the Court held that Appellant’s claim did not entitle him to Hurst relief. Therefore, Appellant’s motion was properly denied. View "Finney v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s order denying Appellant’s motion filed pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Appellant was not entitled to relief under the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and the Supreme Court’s decision on remand in Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death following the jury’s recommendation for death by a vote of eight to four. Appellant’s death sentence became final in 1990. The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s order denying relief, holding that Hurst did not apply retroactively to Appellant’s sentence of death. View "Duckett v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the postconviction court’s summary denial of Appellant’s claim of intellectual disability, raised pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hall v. Florida, 572 U.S. 701 (2014) and remanded for an evidentiary hearing but affirmed the denial of Appellant's claim seeking relief pursuant to Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and Hurst v. State, 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016), 137 S. Ct. 2161 (2017), holding that Appellant was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his intellectual disability claim. Appellant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for each of the murders. The Supreme Court affirmed. Appellant later filed the successive postconviction motion at issue in this appeal. The postconviction court summarily denied each claim. The Supreme Court held (1) Appellant was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his Hall claim for the same reasons that the Court granted evidentiary hearings in Walls v. State, 213 So. 3d at 346 and Franqui v. State, 211 So. 3d 1026 (Fla. 2017); and (2) Hurst did not apply retroactively to Appellant’s sentences of death. View "Foster v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of first-degree murder and six sentences of death, holding that no reversible error occurred in the proceedings below and that each of the death sentences was appropriate. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it declined Defendant’s request for self-representation; (2) there was no improper doubling of aggravators; (3) Defendant’s challenge to the constitutionality of the death penalty was procedurally barred; (4) Defendant’s guilty pleas were knowing, intelligent, and voluntary; and (5) each of Defendant’s death sentences was proportionate. View "Damas v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying in part and dismissing in part Appellant’s successive motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that Appellant was not entitled to relief on any of his claims. Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder, sexual battery with great force, and burglary with assault. The jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of eight to four, and the trial court accepted the recommendation. In his successive postconviction motion to vacate his death sentence, Appellant raised claims under Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and Hurst v. State, 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016). The circuit court summarily denied the claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Hurst and Hurst v. Florida did not apply to Appellant; and (2) Appellant was not entitled to relief on his other claims. View "Reese v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court approved in part and quashed in part the decision of the Second District Court of Appeal in this case and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the trial court erred in denying Appellant’s motion for a judgment of acquittal as to first-degree premeditated murder and that Appellant was entitled to resentencing. A jury found Appellant guilty of first-degree murder and other crimes. The court of appeal affirmed Appellant’s convictions and sentences. The Supreme Court approved in part and quashed in part the court of appeal’s decision, holding (1) because Appellant presented a prima facie case of self-defense and the State did not refute Appellant’s claim beyond a reasonable doubt, the trial improperly denied Appellant’s motion for a judgment of acquittal as to the first-degree premeditated murder count; (2) the trial court did not err in denying the motion as to the attempted murder count; and (3) Appellant was entitled to resentencing. View "Williams v. State" on Justia Law