2DCA Reverses on Ineffective Assistance Claim

Marty v. State, 2D15-1218 (Fla. 2d DCA 9/16/2016) In a rare move, the appellate court found trial counsel ineffective on direct appeal resulting in a new trial for a defendant convicted of aggravated assault. During an altercation with several neighbors, the defendant grabbed a firearm to defend himself. He aimed the weapon away from the … More 2DCA Reverses on Ineffective Assistance Claim

Suppression warranted in K9 search – a change in Florida law

Underhill v. State, 4D15-1778 (July 13, 2016) In a case representing a significant change in Florida law, the Fourth District reversed a conviction for possession of methamphetamine after concluding that the Trial Court erred by denying a motion to suppress. In Underhill, LEO conducted a traffic stop based upon a seatbelt violation.  Upon approach, the … More Suppression warranted in K9 search – a change in Florida law

Second District recedes from Carroll v. State, 761 So. 2d 417 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000): Defendant must have had a valid driver’s license under 322.34(5) for felony conviction to apply.

Burgess v. State, 2D14-4680 (Fla. 2d DCA July 6, 2016). In an enbanc decision the Second District reversed a felony conviction for driving with a suspended license after being designated a habitual offender under 322.34(5).  In doing so, it receded from its earlier position in Carroll v. State, 761 So. 2d 417 (Fla. 2d DCA … More Second District recedes from Carroll v. State, 761 So. 2d 417 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000): Defendant must have had a valid driver’s license under 322.34(5) for felony conviction to apply.

Florida Supreme Court reverses life sentence with parole for juvenile offender pursuant to Miller.

Angelo Atwell v. State, SC14-193 (May 26, 2016). In line with virtually every opinion post-Miller, the Florida Supreme Court struck down another life sentence imposed upon a juvenile offender. Mr. Atwell, who was 16 at the time of the offenses, was convicted of armed robbery and first-degree murder.  Pursuant to the sentencing scheme at the … More Florida Supreme Court reverses life sentence with parole for juvenile offender pursuant to Miller.

Florida Supreme Court reverses “discretionary” life sentence for juvenile offender based on Miller, Gridine and Graham.

Laisha Landrum v. State, SC15-1071 (Fla. June 9, 2016). Landrum, aged 16, was convicted of second-degree murder arising out of the death of another teenaged girl.  The sentencing guidelines called for a sentence ranging from 22.3 years to life.  Defense counsel argued for a downward departure; however, the trial court imposed a life sentence without … More Florida Supreme Court reverses “discretionary” life sentence for juvenile offender based on Miller, Gridine and Graham.

New trial for man convicted of 2nd-degree murder where court allowed jury to hear testimony about defendant’s pre-arrest refusal to submit DNA

Allen v. State, 4D13-4459 (May 18, 2016) The Fourth District reversed a second-degree murder conviction for a new trial based upon erroneous admission of the defendant’s pre-arrest refusal to submit to DNA testing. The defendant was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend.  The police questioned the defendant, and wanted to compare his DNA to blood samples … More New trial for man convicted of 2nd-degree murder where court allowed jury to hear testimony about defendant’s pre-arrest refusal to submit DNA

Third District Vacates First-Degree Murder Conviction-Defendant discharged because of Trial Court error in granting mistrial.

Merchant v. State, 3D13-3119 (April 6, 2016) In a factually unique case, the Third District reversed a first-degree murder conviction and remanded with instruction that the Trial Court vacate a life sentence and discharge the defendant. Mr. Merchant was charged with one count first-degree murder and one count second-degree murder.  The Court ordered a mistrial … More Third District Vacates First-Degree Murder Conviction-Defendant discharged because of Trial Court error in granting mistrial.

Sexual battery conviction reversed for new trial because of flawed jury instruction

Leon v. State, 5D14-1417 (May 6, 2016) Defendant was convicted of multiple counts of sexual battery.  The Fifth District reversed one of the counts for a new trial because the jury instructions contained fundamental error.  The State charged the defendant with sexual battery via penetration; however, the Trial Court instructed the jury that they could … More Sexual battery conviction reversed for new trial because of flawed jury instruction