Legal Updates

SEMINOLE INDIAN GAMING PACT   On October 26th the Seminole Indian tribe filed a federal lawsuit seeking legal relief.  The Tribe alleges the State violated their exclusive right to hold “banked” games in their casinos.  The Tribe stated the suit was preemptive in nature should the ongoing talks flounder or break down entirely.  With the ninety day negotiating period ending on October 31st, the State filed a federal lawsuit to stop banked games in the Indian casinos.  These suits are in federal court because the State has no authority to enforce its laws on federally recognized tribes, one of which are the Seminole Indians.  Meanwhile, the Indian casinos continue to offer the card games.  

OPEN CARRY LAW REVIEW   The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to review the case of a Fort Pierce man’s 2012 conviction for openly carrying a firearm.  Dale Norman has challenged Florida’s existing law against such brandishing.  Previously, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the conviction, and it was subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court.  Oral arguments have not been scheduled.

DEATH PENALTY SENTENCING  Arguments have been heard before the Florida Supreme Court in a case involving death sentences.  Current law does not require a unanimous jury vote to suggest a sentence of death.  A simple majority can make the recommendation.  However, the presiding judge shall use the jury decision as a recommendation, and can overrule the suggestion.  Legal experts claim such practices have been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court when they ruled judges cannot make factual findings about capital crimes.

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