Legal Updates

JUVENILE SENTENCING In response to a 2012 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court has ordered new sentencing hearings for four inmates who were minors when committing their crimes.The Court ruled that mandatory life sentences for  juveniles who commit murders are  unconstitutional. This ruling will lead to new sentencing hearings for scores of inmates currently serving life sentences.

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS  A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by five Department of Corrections investigators who claimed they were retaliated against for exposing a cover-up involving an inmate death.The judge ruled that protection applies to citizens, but not employees.  The plaintiff’s attorney has indicated they will appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

MARIJUANA LEGAL CHALLENGES  The non-euphoric medical marijuana program passed last year continues to experience setbacks regarding implementation.  After completing the rule-making procedure for a second time, the Department of Health now faces three pending legal challenges to the developed rules and regulations.  The actions have been filed by a family, a Central Florida grower and a South Florida trade association.  Until these suits are resolved, the implementation of medical marijuana will be delayed.  The Department of Health has asked the Administrative Law judge to combine the three challenges into one case.

HIGH COURT RULING ON HIGH HEELS  A St. Johns County circuit judge ruled that a woman was 50% negligent, and reduced an award, for wearing high heeled shoes during an office bathroom visit.  The woman, who was injured when she slipped, appealed the decision to the 5th District Court of Appeals.  The three panel appeals judges ruled in favor of the woman and ordered a verdict be entered in favor of the plaintiff.

TAX CREDIT SCHOLARSHIP The Florida School Boards Association has dropped its efforts to sue the State to end the Tax Credit Scholarship program. The Florida Education Association, the Florida School Boards Association, Florida PTA and Florida NAACP are continuing with the suit.

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