Once a public defender has certified a conflict, and where it becomes clear that the trial court cannot learn the basis for the conflict “without requiring the disclosure of . . . confidential communications,” the trial court must grant the motion under section 27.5303(1)(a).
IN CASES WHERE A PUBLIC DEFENDER MOVES TO WITHDRAW FROM THE REPRESENTATION OF A CRIMINAL DEFENDANT ON THE BASIS OF A CLIENT CONFLICT, BUT CERTIFIES TO THE TRIAL COURT, AS AN OFFICER OF THE COURT, THAT HE OR SHE IS UNABLE TO REVEAL THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE CONFLICT WITHOUT REVEALING PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS, IS A TRIAL JUDGE REQUIRED TO GRANT THE MOTION TO WITHDRAW?
Donald James Smith v. State, 1D14-5647 (Fla. 1st DCA Feb. 17, 2015)
Randall Deviney v. State, 1D14-5730 (Fla. 1st DCA Feb. 17, 2015)
Duval Judge Cooper
SCOTUS dismissed TOCA v. Louisiana on Tuesday in which the court was to consider whether Miller v. Alabama applied retroactively. George Toca was released from prison after a plea bargain with prosecutors for time-served. Meanwhile, the same issue is still pending before the Florida Supreme Court in Lawton v. State, SC13-685.
Affirming the conviction and death sentence of Bill Paul Marquardt, the Florida Supreme Court held:
MITIGATION: “We also reaffirm our commitment to the principles and procedures articulated in Muhammad v. State, 782 So. 2d 343 (Fla. 2001), that require a trial court to consider mitigation evidence even when the defendant waives mitigation. However, recognizing the tension that may exist when a trial court appoints standby counsel to present mitigation evidence in these circumstances, as was done in this case, we prospectively modify the Muhammad procedures to the limited extent that trial courts should utilize an independent, special counsel—rather than standby counsel—to represent the public interest in bringing forth all available mitigation for the benefit of the jury, the trial court, and this Court.”
MOTION TO SUPPRESS – COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL: Where a Wisconsin court denied suppression of the same evidence, a Florida trial court does not err in denying a motion to suppress without an evidentiary hearing under the doctrine of collateral estoppel because Wisconsin generally provides the same constitutional search/seizure guarantees as Florida.
After a victim testified that the defendant was in the other room with her husband when he was murdered, prison affidavits, each alleging that a codefendant actually shot the victim rather than the defendant, do not meet the test for newly discovered evidence if they constitute hearsay and are not of such nature that they would probably yield a life sentence rather than a death sentence.
Kormondy v. State, SC14-2428 (Fla. Jan. 5, 2015)
Petitioner was convicted of murder and sentenced to death for the fatal shooting of police officer Scott Winters. Overturning a federal district court’s issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, the Eleventh Circuit held that the Florida Supreme Court’s decision that the petitioner did not knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to counsel was not contrary to or an unreasonable application of clearly established Supreme Court law.
Holland v. State, 12-12404 (11th Cir. Dec. 29, 2014)
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