Street Racing History in Tampa Florida

Street Racing Traf1063 316.191.2a Misd 1st Unlawful Racing On Highway

Street Racing

Street Racing “the operation of two or more motor vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other”


A Brief History of Street Racing


In light of the tragedy that occurred in Tampa as reported by the Saint Petersburg Times, We will review the history of street racing and law enforcement in Tampa Bay. Two drivers and a passenger face criminal street racing and homicide charges for killing a mother who was pushing her baby across the street.

Of the 130 ways you can go to jail for Criminal Traffic charges in Tampa, unlawful racing on the highway is one of them. Some jurisdictions have destroyed race cars used in street races and one Court in Florida has even chosen to declare the drag racing statute unconstitutional.

Drag racing on Gandy Boulevard, specifically on the bridge has been a Troublesome area for law enforcement in Tampa. Racers gather at 4th Street in Pinellas County and Stage there street races on Gandy Boulevard. When the racers exit the bridge they are in Hillsborough County and police attempt to stop cars involved in allegations of drag racing.

Prison for street racing has been imposed by courts in Tampa where a death has been involved. Sometimes police who do not witness the actual crash used video cameras from surrounding buildings to reconstruct what has occurred.

The Courtney Campbell Parkway has been the site of Street Racing incidents in the past years.

Usually police impose charges for misdemeanor racing. Those charges can result in an arrest and we have provided the racing statute Below in its entirety. Police have even given parking tickets to spectators for watching street racing.

The essence of a drag race is a competitive attempt to outdistance another vehicle. Sometimes that is difficult to prove. The police must establish that in fact what was underway what was a race. There is no requirement rent there is no requirement for a predetermined course just that the court or jury can reasonably interpret the driving event to be a race.

Spectators Can also be charged since it is an affirmative choice to attend or participate in the race. Courts are to look at the relationship between the race driver and the individual. Gambling or betting on the outcome of a race can be used to establish That a spectator was criminally involved in a race.

Vehicles used in street races can be forfeited by the state if the driver has been convicted within the past 5 years for street racing.

There are 130 ways to go to jail for traffic charges in Tampa. https://dui2go.com/130-ways-to-go-to-jail-in-traffic-court-florida-criminal-traffic-charges-complete-list/


Seizure and Destruction of Street Race Cars


Florida and California have seizure laws for street race cars. When the whoosh went out of the tires the street racer sighed, as glass exploded and rained down it all became real – the cops had crushed his car. The destruction was part of a smackdown on illegal street racing in Southern California. Cops crushed six race cars. A 350-horsepower 4 cylinder engine on which the racer spent at least $10,000 to get into top shape. The car would top out at 160 mph, the racer said, swearing it could beat a Corvette or even a Ferrari.


Prior Street Racing Cases in Florida

Drag Racing Statute Unconstitutional


Catching Street Racers just got a little tougher. Cops lost a valuable tool in the war on wheels. The street racing statute is unconstitutional according to the Fourth District Court of Appeals.

The court cleared a Broward teen who was driving 130 mph in a 65 mph zone. Officers couldn’t determine who was racing, and who was just passing another car that was also speeding. “You could have two people driving down the turnpike next to each other at the same rate of speed, and based on the way the statute is written, this is what the court said, that they both could be charged with drag racing,” says Elizabeth Parker with the State Attorney’s office.

70-people have been busted for drag racing in Palm Beach County in the last year. The penalties are harsh – Up to a year in jail and an automatic license suspension.

Drag Racing on Gandy Boulevard


Living around the Fourth Street/Gandy area is a drag for residents who adore peace and quiet. Drag racing in the area has been going on forever. Someone recently wrote the Saint Petersburg Times, “This stretch of road, from the Gandy/Roosevelt/Fourth Street intersection down to the Howard Frankland Bridge turnoff, has become a speedway. My safety concern is not only personal, but for the numerous families with children who live in the area.”

Cars regularly reach speeds well over 80 mph on Fourth Street N and drag racing on the weekends that starts on Friday and Saturday nights about midnight and goes until 2 or 3 a.m. “Cars with amplified motors and mufflers meet near the 7-Eleven at 115th Avenue and Fourth Street and drag race down the stretch of road and turn around at the last U-turn before the Gandy bridge. They often use the 7-Eleven as a turnaround as well,” a witness said.

The Pinellas County Sheriff”s Office said law enforcement is stymied by an organized underground group determined to break the law and evade police. One Deputy said, “Part of what makes it difficult is that the racers use the same technology we have. They use lookouts and radios and cell phones to communicate . . . We have undercover people in the crowd with cameras, documenting the crowds that gather there and we sometimes catch the spectators and have issued citations, but the citations have been dismissed by traffic court judges.”

Prison for Street Racing


Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney notes in a case where someone else was the defense attorney – Street racing in a Nissan 350Z, plus death of a bystander, plus a jury conviction equals vehicular homicide, reckless driving and unlawful racing, plus at least 15 years in prison.

As for the other racer – leaving the scene of the accident, plus testimony at the 350Z trial (to avoid a 30-year sentence) equals three years in prison.

The bystanders were making a U-turn when the 350Z slammed into them, according to published reports. Traffic Homicide investigators estimated speed at over 100 in a 45 mph zone. The defensee argued that what happened was nothing but a tragic accident. In a twist, the St Pete Times reported that “Prosecutors used video surveillance from a carwash . . . that captured the two cars racing.”

Source: https://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/street-racer-found-guilty-in-83-year-old-womans-death/1044011

Tampa Street Racers and Spectators Need Lawyer


Tampa Traffic Lawyer notes an area cops cracked down on street racers and fans along Fourth Street N. Everyone began a dash for their cars when cops came down the I-275 interstate ramp. Cops blocked off the street to prevent escaping to I-275 or Gandy Blvd. Another target for traffic law enforcement is the Courtney Campbell Parkway.

The stretch of Fourth from I-275 to the Inlet Bay at Gateway apartment complex is flat and straight, four lanes surrounded by nothing but grass and water.

Earlier officers have arrested four people on misdemeanor racing charges. Cops videotaped license plates of racers and fans alike. A few days later, 130 drivers got $30 parking tickets in the mail. It’s now clear that fans are targets too. A $151 ticket and three points can be placed against a driver’s license. According to the media, the last ticket was written at 4:40 a.m. 31/2 hours, 221 citations, and a DUI arrest.

Source: https://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/article1012528.ece

Tampa Street Racing Defense Attorney Penalties


Definitions of Street Racing in Florida:

(a) “Conviction” means a determination of guilt that is the result of a plea or trial, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld.

(b) “Drag race” means the operation of two or more motor vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other, or the operation of one or more motor vehicles over a common selected course, from the same point to the same point, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of such motor vehicle or motor vehicles within a certain distance or time limit.

(c) “Race” means the use of one or more motor vehicles in competition, arising from a challenge to demonstrate superiority of a motor vehicle or driver and the acceptance or competitive response to that challenge, either through a prior arrangement or in immediate response, in which the competitor attempts to outgain or outdistance another motor vehicle, to prevent another motor vehicle from passing, to arrive at a given destination ahead of another motor vehicle or motor vehicles, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers over long-distance driving routes. A race may be prearranged or may occur through a competitive response to conduct on the part of one or more drivers which, under the totality of the circumstances, can reasonably be interpreted as a challenge to race.

(d) “Spectator” means any person who is knowingly present at and views a drag race, when such presence is the result of an affirmative choice to attend or participate in the race. For purposes of determining whether or not an individual is a spectator, finders of fact shall consider the relationship between the racer and the individual, evidence of gambling or betting on the outcome of the race, and any other factor that would tend to show knowing attendance or participation.

(2)(a) A person may not:

1. Drive any motor vehicle, including any motorcycle, in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, or exhibition of speed or acceleration or for the purpose of making a speed record on any highway, roadway, or parking lot;

2. In any manner participate in, coordinate, facilitate, or collect moneys at any location for any such race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition;

3. Knowingly ride as a passenger in any such race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition; or

4. Purposefully cause the movement of traffic to slow or stop for any such race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition.

Penalties Under Florida Law

Any person who violates any provision of this paragraph commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Any person who violates any provision of this paragraph shall pay a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000, and the department shall revoke the driver license of a person so convicted for 1 year. A hearing may be requested pursuant to s. 322.271.

(b) Any person who violates paragraph (a) within 5 years after the date of a prior violation that resulted in a conviction for a violation of this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, and shall pay a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000. The department shall also revoke the driver license of that person for 2 years. A hearing may be requested pursuant to s. 322.271.

(c) In any case charging a violation of paragraph (a), the court shall be provided a copy of the driving record of the person charged and may obtain any records from any other source to determine if one or more prior convictions of the person for violation of paragraph (a) have occurred within 5 years prior to the charged offense.

(3)(a) A person may not be a spectator at any drag race prohibited under subsection (2).

(b) A person who violates the provisions of paragraph (a) commits a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.

(4) Whenever a law enforcement officer determines that a person was engaged in a drag race or race, as described in subsection (1), the officer may immediately arrest and take such person into custody. The court may enter an order of impoundment or immobilization as a condition of incarceration or probation. Within 7 business days after the date the court issues the order of impoundment or immobilization, the clerk of the court must send notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the registered owner of the motor vehicle, if the registered owner is a person other than the defendant, and to each person of record claiming a lien against the motor vehicle.

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the impounding agency shall release a motor vehicle under the conditions provided in s. 316.193(6)(e), (f), (g), and (h), if the owner or agent presents a valid driver license at the time of pickup of the motor vehicle.

(b) All costs and fees for the impoundment or immobilization, including the cost of notification, must be paid by the owner of the motor vehicle or, if the motor vehicle is leased or rented, by the person leasing or renting the motor vehicle, unless the impoundment or immobilization order is dismissed. All provisions of s. 713.78 shall apply.

(c) Any motor vehicle used in violation of subsection (2) may be impounded for a period of 30 business days if a law enforcement officer has arrested and taken a person into custody pursuant to this subsection and the person being arrested is the registered owner or coowner of the motor vehicle. If the arresting officer finds that the criteria of this paragraph are met, the officer may immediately impound the motor vehicle. The law enforcement officer shall notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles of any impoundment for violation of this subsection in accordance with procedures established by the department. The provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) shall be applicable to such impoundment.

Lose Your Ride | Vehicle May be Forfeited 316.191 Racing on Highways


(5) Any motor vehicle used in violation of subsection (2) by any person within 5 years after the date of a prior conviction of that person for a violation under subsection (2) may be seized and forfeited as provided by the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. This subsection shall only be applicable if the owner of the motor vehicle is the person charged with violation of subsection (2).

(6) This section does not apply to licensed or duly authorized racetracks, drag strips, or other designated areas set aside by proper authorities for such purposes.

Previous Coverage:


Cops Crush Street Racer Cars

Jun 21, 2007

When the whoosh went out of the tires the street racer sighed, as glass exploded and rained down it all became real – the cops had crushed his car. The destruction was part of a smackdown on illegal street racing …

Tampa Street Racers and Spectators Need Lawyer

Tampa StPetersburg Pinellas Hillsborough Street Racing Tampa Traffic Attorney, Lawyer notes that area cops cracked down on street racers and fans along Fourth Street N. Everyone began a dash for their cars when cops came down the I-275 …

Racing on Gandy Boulevard

Living around the Fourth Street/Gandy area is a drag for residents who adore peace and quiet. Drag racing in the area has been going on forever. Someone recently wrote the Saint Petersburg Times, “This stretch of road, …

Street Racing Attorney Lawyer

Hulk Hogan – 12 Time World Champion Beaten Then WINS – In Court

Appeal Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan Appeal

March 2016 Update

Jury of 6, deliberated 6 Hours and so far has awarded a verdict of $115 Million.

The Florida court ruled that blocking the publication of the Hulk Hogan sex tape that was made in the Tampa Bay Area, “acts as an unconstitutional prior restraint under the First Amendment.” Does anyone want to watch the triumph of First Amendment Rights? We have posted the court’s complete opinion here:

Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Download Court Opinion  

Excerpts from the Court Opinion
The facts, according to the court were, “In 2006, [ Hulk Hogan ]  Mr. Bollea engaged in extramarital sexual relations with a woman in her home. Allegedly without Mr. Bollea’s consent or knowledge, the sexual encounter was videotaped. On or about October 4, 2012, Gawker Media posted a written report about the extramarital affair on its website, including excerpts of the videotaped sexual encounter (“Sex Tape”). [ Hulk Hogan ]  Mr. Bollea maintains that he never consented to the Sex Tape’s release or publication. Gawker Media maintains that it was not responsible for creating the Sex Tape and that it received a copy of the Sex Tape from an anonymous source for no compensation. “
“[ Hulk Hogan ] Mr. Bollea filed a motion for temporary injunction seeking to enjoin Gawker Media and others not participating in this appeal from publishing and otherwise distributing the video excerpts from the sexual encounter and complementary written report. Following a hearing, the circuit court issued an order on April 25, 2012, granting the motion for temporary injunction. “
The Court noted, “We are hard-pressed to believe that [ Hulk Hogan ]  Mr. Bollea truly desired the affair and Sex Tape to remain private or to otherwise be “swept under the rug.” For example, in March 2012, [ Hulk Hogan ]  Mr. Bollea called into TMZ Live, a celebrity and entertainment media outlet, and disclosed that he could not identify the woman in the Sex Tape because he had a number of “conquests” during the time it was filmed. Hulk Hogan – I Have NO IDEA Who My Sex Tape Partner Is, TMZ (March 7, 2012, 1:50 PM),”
“Furthermore, in October 2012, [ Hulk Hogan ]  Mr. Bollea appeared on The Howard Stern Show and professed that his good friend, Todd Alan Clem, known professionally as Bubba the Love Sponge, allowed [ Hulk Hogan ]  Mr. Bollea to have sex with Mr. Clem’s then-wife Heather Clem. Hulk Hogan – Yes, I Banged Bubba’s Wife, TMZ (October 9, 2012, 6:08 AM),”
“[ Hulk Hogan ] Mr. Bollea was certainly not shy about disclosing the explicit details of another affair he had while married to Linda Bollea in his autobiography. See My Life Outside the Ring at 187-88.”

https://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/civil/court-gawker-can-post-hulk-hogan-sex-tape/2161525

#‎wwe ‪#‎tna ‪#‎wrestling ‪#‎firstamendment ‪#‎freespeech #hulkhogan

Doctors, Free Speech, and Guns in Florida – Court Rules in Docs Versus Glocks

Court Rules in Docs Versus Glocks, 790.338, Docs vs Glocks

Doctors, Free Speech, and Guns in Florida

Docs vs Glocks

After years of court battles on Doctors, Free Speech, and Guns in Florida, the Second highest court in the land has ruled in the Docs Versus Glocks case.

“The Second Amendment provides that 
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to 
the security of a free State, 
the right of the people to keep and 
bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Florida legislature passed a law limiting what doctors can discuss with patients regarding firearms. The law that limited doctors questions about guns is constitutional. The law is complex, so excerpts from the court opinion are below. The complete opinion is here:

Case Excerpts
 
Having concluded that the Case: 12-14009 Date Filed: 12/14/2015 Page: 80 of 82 81 Act does not offend either the First or the Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, we must uphold it.”
 
“[W]e hold that the District Court erred by concluding that the Act violates the First Amendment. The Act withstands strict scrutiny as a permissible restriction of speech.”

Second Amendment Gun Rights

 
“The Second Amendment provides that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” U.S. Const. amend. II. It is now undisputed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right.”
 
The State of Florida asserts four compelling interests: (1) protection of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms; (2) protection of patients’ privacy rights; (3) elimination of barriers to healthcare access; and (4) prevention of discrimination and harassment of firearm owners.”
 
When the State seeks to impose content-based restrictions on speech in a context in which its regulatory interests are diminished, such as when a professional speaks to the public in a nonprofessional capacity, courts apply the most exacting scrutiny.”
 
The inquiry provision of the Act, § 790.338(2), requires physicians to “refrain from making a written inquiry or asking questions concerning the ownership of a firearm . . . .” On its face, this provision also inhibits protected speech—inquiring about firearm ownership. It too must survive some level of First Amendment scrutiny.”

Court Rules in Docs Versus Glocks

 
To summarize, we read the Act to prohibit record-keeping about firearm ownership only when the physician knows such information to be irrelevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others; inquiry about firearm ownership only when the physician lacks a good-faith belief that the information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others; and harassment about firearm ownership only when the physician does not believe it necessary for the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.”
“Having determined that the record-keeping, inquiry, and harassment provisions are of sufficient clarity to conform to the requirements of due process, we hold that the District Court erred in holding them void for vagueness”
“The Act provides, in relevant part, that licensed healthcare practitioners and facilities (1) “may not intentionally enter” information concerning a patient’s ownership of firearms into the patient’s medical record that the practitioner knows is “not relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others,” id. § 790.338(1); (2) “shall respect a patient’s right to privacy and should refrain” from inquiring as to whether a patient or their family owns firearms, unless the practitioner or facility believes in good faith that the “information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others,” id. § 790.338(2); (3) “may not discriminate” against a patient on the basis of firearm ownership, id. § 790.338(5); and (4) “should refrain from unnecessarily harassing a patient about firearm ownership,” id. § 790.338(6).”
“[I]n a widely publicized incident that took place in Ocala, Florida, a pediatrician, during a routine visit, asked a patient’s mother whether she kept any firearms in her home. Because she felt that the question constituted an invasion of her privacy, the mother refused to answer. The pediatrician then terminated their relationship and advised the mother that she had 30 days to find a new doctor. Fla. H.R. Comm. on Health & Human Servs., H.B. 155 (2011) Staff Analysis 2 (Apr. 7, 2011); see also Fred Hiers, Family and pediatrician tangle over gun question, Ocala StarBanner, July 24, 2010, https://www.ocala.com/article/20100724/articles/7241001”
“On June 2, 2011, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the Act into law. The Act created Fla. Stat. § 790.338, entitled “Medical privacy concerning firearms; prohibitions; penalties; exceptions,” and amended the Florida Patient’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, Fla. Stat. § 381.026, to include several of the same provisions. The Act also amended Fla. Stat. § 456.072, entitled “Grounds for discipline; penalties; enforcement,” to provide for disciplinary measures for violation of the Act.”
“On June 6, 2011, four days after Governor Scott signed the Act into law, Plaintiffs filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the State in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging that the inquiry, record-keeping, discrimination, and harassment provisions of the Act facially violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Plaintiffs contended that the Act imposes an unconstitutional, content-based restriction on speech, is overbroad, and is unconstitutionally vague.”
“The Act seeks to protect patient privacy by restricting irrelevant inquiry and record-keeping by physicians on the sensitive issue of firearm ownership and by prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the basis of firearm ownership. The Act does not prevent physicians from speaking with patients about firearms generally. Nor does it prohibit specific inquiry or record-keeping about a patient’s firearm-ownership status when the physician determines in good faith, based on the circumstances of that patient’s case, that such information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.”

Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Trial – Paused

Hulk Hogan Sex Tape on Trial
Hulk Hogan Sex Tape on Trial

Hulk Hogan Sex Tape – Press Pause

 

The Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Trial was paused when a higher court ruled that Hogan’s lawyers had hit fast-forward and tried to bring the case to trial too quickly in violation of the Court’s rules. Trial will rewind and begin in a couple of months. Meanwhile we obtained the entire court’s ruling.
“This controversy sprang from a seed planted sometime in 2006, when Terry Bollea, a celebrated former professional wrestler known publicly as “Hulk Hogan,” had sex with Heather Clem, then married to Bollea’s friend Todd Clem, a “shock jock” radio personality whose nom de scène is “Bubba the Love Sponge.” The encounter was videotaped, with audio, allegedly without Bollea’s knowledge. Six years later, in October 2012, a celebrity news and gossip website named Gawker.com posted an excerpt of the videotape to the Internet. Litigation ensued.”

 

Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Ruling

GAWKER MEDIA, LLC; NICK DENTON; )
and A.J. DAULERIO, )
)
Petitioners, )
)
v. ) Case No. 2D15-2857
)
TERRY GENE BOLLEA, professionally )
known as HULK HOGAN, )
)
Respondent. )
__________________________________ )
Opinion filed July 2, 2015.
Petition for Writ of Mandamus to the Circuit
Court for Pinellas County; Pamela A.M.
Campbell, Judge.
Gregg D. Thomas and Rachel E. Fugate of
Thomas & LoCicero PL, Tampa; and Seth
D. Berlin and Alia L. Smith of Levine
Sullivan Koch & Schultz, LLP, Washington,
District of Columbia, for Petitioners.
David M. Caldevilla of de la Parte & Gilbert,
P.A., Tampa; Kenneth G. Turkel and
Christina K. Ramirez of Bajo Cuva Cohen &
Turkel, P.A., Tampa; and Charles J. Harder
and Douglas E. Mirell of Harder Mirell &
Abrams LLP, Los Angeles, California, for
Respondent.

This controversy sprang from a seed planted sometime in 2006, when Terry Bollea, a celebrated former professional wrestler known publicly as “Hulk Hogan,” had sex with Heather Clem, then married to Bollea’s friend Todd Clem, a “shock jock” radio personality whose nom de scène is “Bubba the Love Sponge.” The encounter was videotaped, with audio, allegedly without Bollea’s knowledge. Six years later, in  October 2012, a celebrity news and gossip website named Gawker.com posted an excerpt of the videotape to the Internet. Litigation ensued.

After a brief initial foray into federal court, in December 2012 Bollea filed suit in Florida’s Sixth Circuit seeking injunctive relief and damages from Heather Clem, sundry entities and individuals affiliated with the Gawker site, and others. The circuit court case is ongoing, and it has darkened our door more than once.1 Before us today is a mandamus proceeding in which the Gawker defendants contend that the circuit court’s June 19, 2015, order setting trial for the week of July 6 deviates from Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.440. Indeed the order violates the rule, and we grant the

petition.

To place the issue in proper context, it must be noted that one of the initial
Gawker defendants was a Budapest-based company named Blogwire Hungary
Szellemi Alkotást Hasznosító, KFT. Blogwire contested the attempted exercise of
Florida long-arm jurisdiction over it, and it appealed the circuit court’s order denying its
1Blogwire Hung. Szellemi Alkotst Hasznost, KFT v. Bollea, 162 So. 3d
1116 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015); Gawker Media, LLC v. Bollea, 160 So. 3d 424 (Fla. 2d DCA
2014); Bollea v. Clem, 151 So. 3d 1241 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014); Gawker Media, LLC v.
Bollea 129 So. 3d 1196 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014).
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motion to dismiss on that ground. Consequently, and significantly, long after the other
defendants either had been dismissed from the case or had filed answers and
affirmative defenses to Bollea’s complaint, Blogwire had not done so. On April 17,
2015, this court reversed and remanded for further proceedings on Blogwire’s motion to
dismiss. Blogwire Hung. Szellemi Alkotst Hasznost, KFT v. Bollea, 162 So. 3d 1116
(Fla. 2d DCA 2015).
While Blogwire’s appeal was pending in the fall of 2014, Bollea grew eager
to place at least part of the action at issue. He moved the circuit court to sever the
claims against Blogwire from the balance of the case and to set the claims against the
other defendants for trial. Over the Gawker defendants’ strenuous objections, the court
granted the motion. By order dated November 4, 2014, the court severed the claims as
mentioned, and it tentatively scheduled trial against all defendants other than Blogwire
for July 2015. At a hearing the next month, the court finalized the trial date as July 6,
memorializing the same in a written order setting trial entered February 18, 2015. The
Gawker defendants challenged both rulings by petitions for writ of certiorari, contending
that severing defendants is not permitted and that, because Blogwire had not answered
the complaint, the case was not at issue and could not be set for trial. We consolidated
the petitions and, on May 7, 2015, we quashed both orders.2 Gawker Media, LLC v.
Bollea, Case Nos. 2D14-5591, 2D15-1259, consolidated.
2Our May 7, 2015, order simply informed the parties of our ruling and
advised that an opinion explaining our reasoning would follow. However, subsequent
events, which we will describe, may have mooted that proceeding.
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The instant proceeding was occasioned by what happened in the following
weeks. Bollea was determined to maintain the July 6 trial date, if possible. In a May 19,
2015, letter to the judge and again at a May 29 motions hearing, his counsel asked the
court to keep the July 6 date reserved, theorizing that if Bollea voluntarily dismissed
Blogwire from the case, the issues raised in the certiorari proceeding would vanish and
his suit could proceed to trial against the other defendants as planned. At the May 29
hearing the court agreed to keep the July 6 trial date open. It also orally granted
Bollea’s pending motion to file an amended complaint seeking punitive damages.
As foretold, on June 18, the day before a scheduled case management
conference, Bollea filed a notice of voluntary dismissal with prejudice as to Blogwire and
filed his amended complaint seeking punitive damages by interlineation in the prayer for
relief. He also filed a “notice that action is still at issue,” asking the circuit court to reset
the case for trial beginning on the previously scheduled date, July 6.
The next day, June 19, the circuit court entered a written order reflecting
its earlier oral ruling that Bollea could amend his complaint to seek punitive damages.
The order also stated that “[n]o further pleading by Defendants in response to plaintiff’s
Amended Complaint, as amended by interlineation, is required, and Gawker Defendants
are deemed to have denied Mr. Bollea’s claim for punitive damages.”
In the meantime, on the morning of June 19, the Gawker defendants had
filed a written objection to Bollea’s notice that the case was at issue, pointing out among
other things that under rule 1.440 a case is not at issue until twenty days have elapsed
after the pleadings are closed. At the case management conference that day, the
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Gawker defendants emphatically opposed setting the case for trial. But the circuit court,
persuaded by Bollea’s side that it could disregard the opponents’ objections as
innocuous technicalities, entered a written order setting trial for July 6. Three days later,
on June 22, the Gawker defendants filed the instant proceeding in this court.3
Although we easily understand why Bollea and the circuit court went to
lengths to preserve the July 6 trial date, their efforts were futile from the outset—by the
time the court entered its June 19 order scheduling the trial for July 6, the window for
doing so had been closed for weeks. Rule 1.440(a) provides that an action is deemed
at issue “after any motions directed to the last pleading served have been disposed of
or, if no such motions are served, 20 days after service of the last pleading.”
Thereafter, under subsection (b) a party must serve a notice that the action is at issue
and ready to be scheduled for trial. Per subsection (c), the court must then enter an
order setting trial no fewer than thirty days hence. The rule thus prescribes a minimum
interval of fifty days between service of the last pleading and commencement of trial.
Fifty days prior to July 6 was May 17, which was a Sunday. Therefore, to
permit a trial on July 6, the last pleading in the case must have been served no later
than Friday, May 15; Bollea’s notice that the action was at issue must have been filed
3The Gawker defendants initially pursued relief by filing a motion in the
earlier certiorari case. They asked us to enforce our May 7, 2015, ruling by quashing
the June 19 order setting trial or, “[t]o the extent that a motion to enforce [the] prior order
is the improper remedy to seek in this instance, . . . to convert their motion to the
appropriate form in which to permit consideration of their application.” By separate
order we have treated the Gawker defendants’ motion as a petition for writ of
mandamus and Bollea’s response to the motion as a response to that mandamus
petition.
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no sooner than June 4 or later than June 6; and the court’s order setting trial must have
been entered no later than June 6.
None of that happened, of course. As of May 15, the case simply was not
at issue. This court had quashed both the order severing the claims against Blogwire
from the rest of the case and the February order setting the action against the other
defendants for trial. Blogwire had yet to answer Bollea’s complaint; its motion to dismiss
for lack of personal jurisdiction was pending and awaiting further proceedings pursuant
to this court’s disposition of Blogwire’s appeal the previous month. Finally, as of May 15
the question whether Bollea would be permitted to amend his pleadings to seek punitive
damages was unsettled, and it would not be decided until the motions hearing on May
29.
Bollea attempted to eliminate the Blogwire hindrance by dismissing it from
the suit on June 18. But according to rule 1.440, this was far too late for purposes of a
July 6 trial date. (In fact, it was already too late when Bollea’s counsel first raised the
possibility of dismissing Blogwire in his May 19 letter to the judge.) And in any event,
Bollea filed his amended complaint seeking punitive damages from the other
defendants on June 18, as well. Even in Blogwire’s absence, then, under rule 1.440 the
case against the remaining defendants would not be at issue until twenty days later, on
July 8. Even if the circuit court acted on that very day, it could not set a trial date earlier
than August 7.
This was not altered by the court’s declaration that the defendants were
excused from responding to Bollea’s new punitive damages claim. Rule 1.440(b)
-7-
provides that “[t]he party entitled to serve motions directed to the last pleading may
waive the right to do so by filing a notice for trial at any time after the last pleading is
served.” In other words, the rule grants that party, not the court, discretion to dispense
with the prescribed twenty-day interlude before the action is at issue. Regardless, even
if Bollea’s and the court’s machinations had placed the action at issue on June 19, at
that point the court could set trial no earlier than July 19.
The June 19 order setting trial for July 6 plainly violated rule 1.440. For
many years, the appellate courts of this state have emphasized that the rule’s
specifications are mandatory and they have admonished trial courts to strictly adhere to
them. Teelucksingh v. Teelucksingh, 21 So. 3d 37 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009); Broussard v.
Broussard, 506 So. 2d 463 (Fla. 2d DCA 1987); R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v.
Anderson, 90 So. 3d 289 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012) (table decision) (text of order available at
2012 WL 2428282); Tucker v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D789 (Fla. 3d
DCA Apr. 16, 2014); Lurtz v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 162 So. 3d 11 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014);
BAC Home Loans Servicing L.P. v. Parrish, 146 So. 3d 526 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014);
Genuine Parts Co. v. Parsons, 917 So. 2d 419 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006); Precision
Constructors, Inc. v. Valtec Constr. Corp., 825 So. 2d 1062 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002); Dep’t of
Revenue v. Marcovitch, 765 So. 2d 944 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000); Cardozo v. Cardozo, 705
So. 2d 145 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998); S.W.T. v. C.A.P., 595 So. 2d 1084 (Fla. 4th DCA
1992); Rivera v. Rivera, 562 So. 2d 833 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990); Lauxmont Farms, Inc. v.
Flavin, 514 So. 2d 1133 (Fla. 5th DCA 1987); Bennett v. Cont’l Chems., Inc., 492 So. 2d
-8-
724 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986); Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co. v. Weissing, 448 So. 2d 630 (Fla. 4th
DCA 1984); Foremost Ins. Co. v. Barkett, 441 So. 2d 179 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983).
Indeed, a trial court’s obligation to hew strictly to the rule’s terms is so well
established that it may be enforced by a writ of mandamus compelling the court to strike
a noncompliant notice for trial or to remove a case from the trial docket. Anderson, 90
So. 3d at 289, 2012 WL 2428282 at *1; Parsons, 917 So. 2d at 421; Weissing, 448 So.
2d at 631; Barkett, 441 So. 2d at 180.
Still, notwithstanding the compulsory nature of rule 1.440, in some
instances appellate courts have held that a party waived its objection to an order setting
trial contrary to the rule. For example, in Parrish v. Dougherty, 505 So. 2d 646 (Fla. 1st
DCA 1987), the appellant’s attorney appeared at the trial and participated without
objecting to the manner in which it had been set. In Correa v. U.S. Bank National Ass’n,
118 So. 3d 952 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013), the appellant agreed to a rescheduled trial date,
participated in the trial, and made no objection to any deviation from rule 1.440. In both
instances, the appellants were deemed to have waived their assertions of error based
on the rule. For two reasons, however, such cases have no bearing here. First, of
course, is that the Gawker defendants began insisting on compliance with rule 1.440
and objecting to the July trial date in the fall of 2014, and they consistently have done so
ever since.
The second reason that the waiver cases are inapplicable to this
proceeding is more nuanced but nonetheless significant: whereas this is a mandamus
proceeding, those cases were plenary appeals from final judgments. The two types of
-9-
proceedings serve very different purposes, entailing very different requirements. In an
appeal from a final judgment the lower court’s rulings are reviewed for reversible legal
error. Generally speaking, a judgment may be reversed only for an error that has been
preserved by timely objection in the lower court and that has prejudiced the complaining
party in a way that likely affected the result. Goldschmidt v. Holman, 571 So. 2d 422
(Fla. 1990) (stating no judgment may be reversed unless a court finds error resulting in
a miscarriage of justice); see also § 59.041, Fla. Stat. (2015) (same); Aills v. Boemi, 29
So. 3d 1105 (Fla. 2010) (holding that, except in cases of fundamental error, an
appellate court cannot consider any ground for objection not presented to the trial
court). Thus, the appellant’s failure to make a timely objection waives the issue on
appeal, as happened in Parrish and Correa.
Mandamus is a different animal altogether. Its purpose is not to review a
lower court ruling for prejudicial error; rather, it is meant to enforce the respondent’s
unqualified obligation to perform a clear legal duty. State ex rel. Buckwalter v. City of
Lakeland, 150 So. 508 (Fla. 1933). If the petitioner is entitled to demand performance
of the duty, he or she need not preserve the issue beyond making the demand. Further,
it is unnecessary for the petitioner to suffer prejudice as a result of the respondent’s
dereliction. All that must be shown is that (1) the respondent is duty-bound to act under
the law, and (2) the respondent has failed or refused to do so. Pleus v. Crist, 14 So. 3d
941 (Fla. 2009). A third and final element is that the petitioner must have no adequate
legal remedy for the respondent’s failure to carry out its duty. Id.; Sturdivant v.
Blanchard, 422 So. 2d 1028 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982).
-10-
By this point in our discussion it is obvious that the first two elements have
been satisfied here. The third element is present, as well. It is true that the Gawker
defendants have available to them the legal remedy of pursuing an appeal from any
future final judgment, in which they could complain of the errant order scheduling the
trial. But owing to the mentioned differences between a mandamus proceeding and an
appeal, the appellate remedy is not an adequate one. As we have established, a party
is absolutely entitled to strict conformance with the terms of rule 1.440, including its
mandated fifty-day hiatus between the service of the last pleading and the trial date.
Whereas a writ of mandamus can preserve and effectuate this right in full, an appeal
following entry of final judgment is inherently incapable of doing so because the
appellant already will have been forced to trial in violation of the rule.
To be sure, a number of the authorities we have cited as exemplifying
strict enforcement of rule 1.440 have been appeals from final judgments as opposed to
pretrial writ proceedings. But those appeals simply could not have afforded relief
commensurate with that available by writ of mandamus. An appellate reversal and
remand for a new trial many months after the appellant was forced into the first trial in
violation of rule 1.440 is a far and lesser cry from a writ of mandamus enforcing the rule
prior to the offending trial date.
An appeal from a final judgment is an inadequate remedy for yet another
significant reason. To the extent that in an appeal the court must be concerned with
whether an infringement of the appellant’s rights has been preserved for review and has
prejudiced the appellant, and insofar as the court otherwise must apply appellate
-11-
decisional rules that are inapplicable to mandamus proceedings, the appellant’s rights
have been diminished by the court’s inability to unqualifiedly enforce them.
Again, in some of the cases cited previously the appellate courts granted
relief without apparent concern for these limiting principles of appellate review. But,
certainly, such magnanimity on the part of an appeal court panel cannot be predicted or
depended upon, as the appellants learned in HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Serban, 148 So.
3d 1287 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014) (holding that a violation of rule 1.440 caused no harm),
and Labor Ready Southeast, Inc. v. Australian Warehouses Condominium Ass’n, 962
So. 2d 1053 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) (holding that under the circumstances of the case the
appellant was not prejudiced by violation of rule 1.440). See also Mourning v. Ballast
Nedam Constr., Inc., 964 So. 2d 889 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) (to same effect). In those
cases the appellate courts, applying decisional rules governing appeals, declined to
enforce the trial courts’ clear legal duty to strictly comply with rule 1.440. Thus, they
illustrate the inadequacy of an appeal from a final judgment as a remedy for a trial
court’s failure to perform its duties under the rule. Moreover, because appellate rules of
decision are inapplicable to mandamus proceedings, the holdings in Serban, Labor
Ready, and others of their ilk are not germane here.
The same is true of the few cases in which deviations from rule 1.440
have been challenged by petitions for writ of certiorari. The decisional rules governing
certiorari are even more restrictive than those at play in appeals. Citizens Prop. Ins.
Corp. v. San Perdido Ass’n, 104 So. 3d 344, 351 (Fla. 2012) (stating that a departure
from the essential requirements of law necessary for the issuance of writ of certiorari
-12-
must be “something more than just a legal error”); Haines City Cmty. Dev. v. Heggs,
658 So. 2d 523, 527 (Fla. 1995) (noting that a departure from the essential
requirements of law must extend “far beyond legal error”) (quoting Jones v. State, 477
So. 2d 566, 569 (Fla. 1985) (Boyd, C.J., concurring specially))). Even so, in Globe Life
& Accident Insurance Co. v. Preferred Risk Mutual Insurance Co., 539 So. 2d 1192 (Fla.
1st DCA 1989), the court held that an order setting the case for trial in the absence of a
notice that the case was at issue violated the essential requirements of law and resulted
in a miscarriage of justice, warranting a writ of certiorari.
But in a more recent certiorari case involving a departure from rule 1.440,
the Third District declined to issue the writ, observing that the petitioner was required to
demonstrate more than a simple legal error. Sundale, Ltd. v. Williams Paving Co., 913
So. 2d 740 (Fla. 3d DCA 2005). Rather, the court wrote, the petitioner had to establish
why it had no adequate remedy on appeal from a final judgment. The court observed
that “[petitioner] has not even attempted to allege how an appeal cannot remedy this
legal error.” Id. at 740.
Sundale is problematic for two reasons. First, as we have shown, the
notion that an appeal from a final judgment is adequate to remedy a violation of rule
1.440 is plainly incorrect. Second, Sundale misstated the certiorari test in a slight but
important way. Contrary to Sundale’s suggestion, certiorari may be precluded not by
the availability of a mechanism for correcting the error itself; rather, the remedy must
alleviate the harm that results from the error. See, e.g., J.C. v. Dep’t of Children &
Family Servs., 83 So. 3d 883, 887 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012) (observing that to obtain a writ of
-13-
certiorari the petitioner must demonstrate that the trial court departed from the essential
requirements of law and that the trial court’s order “caused irreparable harm that cannot
be remedied on postjudgment appeal”). In many certiorari cases, this difference may be
an abstraction without much practical impact. But the distinction is hugely important in a
mandamus proceeding, which focuses only on the duty owed and failed by the
respondent and is wholly unconcerned with whether the petitioner has been injured by
the respondent’s dereliction.
Notwithstanding our view that Sundale was incorrectly decided and that,
as a certiorari proceeding, it is immaterial to this case, we likely should address its
unfortunate influence on two previous decisions by this court. In 2011, we issued what
was in effect a citation per curiam decision denying a petition for writ of mandamus in
reliance on Sundale. Dolan v. Bank of Am., 63 So. 3d 761 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011) (table
decision) (text of order available at 2011 WL 2565556). The result in that case might
well have been correct. But as we have explained, Sundale, a certiorari case, should
have played no part in the disposition of that mandamus proceeding.
More troubling is our decision two years later in Jay Properties Beach
Condo LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 146 So. 3d 34 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013) (table
decision) (text of order available at 2013 WL 6905332). There, we denied an
emergency petition for writ of certiorari apparently on the ground that “[a] claim that the
trial court erred by scheduling the case for trial is reviewable on appeal and not by
petition for writ of certiorari,” citing Sundale. As we have seen, that is simply untrue.
Ironically, sandwiched between those two mistaken cases was our 2012
-14-
decision in Anderson, 90 So. 3d 289, 2012 WL 2428282 *1. In that mandamus case we
quashed an order denying the petitioner’s motion for continuance of trial and ordered
further proceedings in compliance with rule 1.440. Unsurprisingly, Sundale was not
mentioned in that order.
We discuss these dispositions because Bollea emphasizes Jay Properties
in the response he filed in this case. He maintains that it is controlling here, and that we
cannot grant the Gawker defendants the relief they seek without departing from our own
precedent. But the fact is that we are not bound by the results or reasoning in any of
those cases. The reason is that Dolan, Jay Properties, and Anderson all were
unpublished dispositions. The disposition orders are discoverable online, but they were
not meant to be printed in the official reporter of this court’s decisions. Indeed, in the
printed reporter they appear merely as entries among the table decisions; the
associated “opinions” are not reproduced. As such, they have no precedential value.
See Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp. v. Ashe, 50 So. 3d 645, 651 n.3 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010).
They do not enunciate the law of this district, and they are of no consequence to our
decision today.
We grant the petition for writ of mandamus. The circuit court shall
straightaway rescind its June 19, 2015, order setting this action for trial and remove the
action from the July 6, 2015, trial docket. This direction is effective immediately, and it
shall remain in force notwithstanding the filing of a motion for rehearing, if any.
CASANUEVA and CRENSHAW, JJ., Concur.

 

High Heels Are Not to Blame – Slip and Fall Attorney –

“I kid you, not. A slip and fall attorney for the defense claimed the woman assumed the risk of injury by wearing high heels.”

 

Slip and Fall cases are defended by insurance company lawyers who are skilled at having cases dismissed. In what is sure to be heralded as one of the more ridiculous-sounding legal precedents of our time, structurally precarious footwear and the people who wear them are not at fault for damages therein incurred. The legal ramifications of this earth-shattering choice are currently unknown, but the immediate emotional response from this legal expert is one of unbridled and visceral laughter.

High-heel shoes can Make you Rich

 

Slip and Fall Attorney - High Heel

Appellate Court Opinion – High Heel Not To Blame

I kid you, not. A slip and fall attorney for the defense claimed the woman assumed the risk of injury by wearing high heels. A lady in high heels sued the owner of a slippery floor also known as Premises Liability. If someone has a slip and fall on slippery floor, the floor owner can be found negligent. A creative defense attorney claimed Comparative negligence, that the high-heeled girl was fifty percent comparatively negligent and therefore SHE was at fault for wearing five-inch high-heel shoes. Specifically the Court poo-pooed the argument that the lady was “negligent for her slip and fall injuries because she was wearing high heels at the time of the fall . . . .”

Here is what the Slip and Fall Defense Lawyer Says:

 

” I submit to the Court — and I had a ruler the other day — when you’re talking about a five — a four-to-five-inch heel, there is almost an assumption of risk in that”

Slip and Fall Appeals Court Says:

 

“[The lawyer] “failed to sustain [his] burden of proving that [the lady] created a foreseeable zone of risk by wearing high-heeled shoes to work . . . .”

My Ten-Year-Old daughter Says:

 

” That’s a silly case.”

My young daughter, a huge fan of fancy shoes asked me what I was reading. I told her about this case. She said, “That’s a silly case.” She is right, unless you happen to be the injured victim of a slippery floor and come across this defense. The defense can destroy otherwise valid claims by trying to blame the victim who has fallen on a slippery floor.

Typical Slip and Fall incidents include injuries that happen due to:

 

Slipping and Falling on slippery surfaces, such as icy or wet surfaces
Slips and Falls caused by carelessness in floor or walkway care
Slips and Falls caused by disregard of safety measures in hazardous areas
Slips and Falls caused by poor maintenance of property or failure to repair known hazards

Here is What a Jury Must Decide in a Slip and Fall case:

 

Florida Standard Jury Instruction 401.20 Issues on Plaintiff’s Claim Premises Liability

Slip and Fall Lawyer - High Heel Defense

Slip and Fall Lawyer – High Heel Defense

The [next] issues on (claimant’s) claim, for you to decide are:

a. Landowner or possessor’s negligence (toward invitee and invited licensee):

whether (defendant) [negligently failed to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition], [or] [negligently failed to correct a dangerous condition about which (defendant) either knew or should have known, by the use of reasonable care,] [or] *[negligently failed to warn (claimant) of a dangerous condition about which (defendant) had, or should have had, knowledge greater than that of (claimant)]; and, if so, whether such negligence was a legal cause of [loss] [injury] [or] [damage] to (claimant, decedent or person for whose injury claim is made).

You are losing Money by Not Wearing High-Heeled Shoes

 

Sources:

Slip and Fall Attorney Full Opinion on High Heel Defense

https://www.5dca.org/Opinions/Opin2015/032315/5D14-267.op.pdf

https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/civ_jury_instructions/2010/400/401(20).rtf

Dr. Seuss Goes to Court – A Retrospective

Dr. Seuss Goes to the Supreme Court

 

Dr. Seuss Goes to Court

Dr. Seuss Goes to Court

In-depth report of Dr. Seuss in the courts.
Visit our main criminal defense site for an in-depth report of Dr. Seuss in the courts. Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court reeled in a few   who convinced a Federal Prosecutor to indict and prosecute a fisherman near Tampa, Florida. The court overturned the conviction obtained for destruction of records. The Court said, “A fish is, of course, a discrete thing that possesses physical form. See generally Dr. Seuss, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1960).” Yates v United State, ___ US ____ (2015).
“A fish is, of course, a discrete thing that possesses physical form. See generally Dr. Seuss, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1960).” Yates v United States, ___ US ____ (2015).

Deportation of Cuban Nationals From United States

Cuba, Deportation, lawful permanent resident, ICE, LPR
Deportation of Cuban Nationals

Deportation of Cuban Nationals From the United States remains an open question for Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys in United States District Courts. One source says, “At this point we do not know how/when the normalization will impact the U.S.’s ability to deport Cuban individuals.  At any rate, those who are in lawful status and not subject to any grounds of deportation (i.e. those who entered, obtained lawful permanent resident status, and do not have crimes that make them deportable) do not need to worry.  The main impact will be on those who either fell out of status and can’t fix their status now (for example, those who were paroled in and then never applied for lawful permanent resident status, and who are not eligible for LPR status due to crimes) and those who already have deportation orders but were released from ICE custody on ICE orders of supervision because they could not be physically deported.”

UPDATE – Deportation of Cuban Nationals


“The notice includes a warning: 

If you do not appear at a hearing, 
you may be ordered deported in your absence.”


 

Notice of Hearing, Cuba, Deportation, ICE, lawful permanent resident, LPR
Sample Notice of Hearing

There is at least one case where the deportation proceedings of a Cuban national was reset to 2019, almost four years after the initial notice from the Immigration Court. A sample Notice of Hearing is included in this article. The notice includes a warning that “If you do not appear at a hearing, you may be ordered deported in your absence.”

Furthermore the source advises, “At this point, I think it’s important to advise Cuban clients that deportation may be a reality soon and that they should be careful to avoid criminal activity and pleading to offenses that will bring them to ICE’s attention/subject them to criminal grounds of deportation.  Basically, after years of not having to face full immigration consequences (physical deportation) of criminal convictions, they will now have to seriously consider those consequences.”
Contribute to NIJC and provide critical legal services to families in the coming year!

No Phone Zone – Jurors Must Log Off Says Florida Court

 

jurors, Cell Phone, iPhone, computer, cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, electronic devices

Jurors and Cell Phones

No Phone Zone for Jurors

“electronic devices will be removed from all members of a jury panel before jury deliberations begin”


Jurors and Cell Phones


In a mere 43 pages, the Florida Supreme Court has told judges, civil, and criminal defense lawyers how to address widespread use of electronic devices by jurors in courts. We now have guidance on what is meant by turning off these devices. There are very specific instructions to be given during trials. The instructions now tell jurors what to do with computers, tablets, and cell phones during breaks and recesses. Jurors also receive an explanation of why they are to be disconnected with the outside world during jury service.
 

What has Florida told lawyers and Judges about use of electronics by Jurors?


“The rule provides that electronic devices will be removed from all members of a jury panel before jury deliberations begin.  The presiding judge may remove the jurors’ electronic devices at other stages of the trial.  If electronic devices are removed from members of the jury panel during trial, the judge may order them returned during recesses.  If a jury panel is sequestered, the judge may decide whether to remove electronic devices during the entire period of sequestration.  The rule also makes clear that during court proceedings, jurors cannot use their electronic devices to take photos or videos, or to transmit or access data or text.  At all times, jurors are prohibited from using the devices to research information about the case or to communicate with others about the case or jury deliberations.”

What does the Court mean when Jurors are told to turn off electronic devices?


“All cell phones, computers, tablets or other types of electronic devices must be turned off while you are in the courtroom. Turned off means that the phone or other electronic device is actually off and not in a silent or vibrating mode.”

What are Jurors told about use of electronics in Court?


“Many of you have electronic devices such as cell phones, smartphones, tablets, and laptops, computers, and other electronic devices.  Even though you have not yet been selected as a juror, there are some strict rules that you must follow about using your cell phones, electronic devices and computers.”
“When you are called to a courtroom, the judge will give you specific instructions on the use of electronic devices.  These rules are so important that the judge may tell you that you must turn off your cell phone or other electronic devices completely or that you cannot have your cell phone or electronic devices in the courtroom.  If someone needs to contact you in case of an emergency, the judge will provide you with a phone number where you can receive messages.”
“If the trial judge allows you to keep your cell phones, computers, or other electronic devices, you cannot use them to take photographs, video recordings, or audio recordings of the proceedings in the courtroom or your fellow jurors.  You must not use the many device to search the Internet or to find out anything related to any cases in the courthouse.”

Why are Jurors told to log off of cell phones, smartphones, tablets, and laptops, computers, and other electronic devices.?


“Why is this restriction imposed?  This restriction is imposed because jurors must decide the case without distraction and only on the evidence presented in the courtroom.  I know that, for some of you, these restrictions affect your normal daily activities and may require a change in the way you are used to communicating and perhaps even in the way you are used to learning.”
“If you investigate, research, or make inquiries on your own, the trial judge has no way to make sure that the information you obtain is proper for the case.  The parties likewise have no opportunity to dispute or challenge the accuracy of what you find.  Any independent investigation by a juror unfairly and improperly prevents the parties from having that opportunity our judicial system promises.”
“Between now and when you have been discharged from jury duty by the judge, you must not provide or receive / discuss any information about your jury service to / with anyone, including friends, co-workers, and family members. You may tell those who need to know where you are that you have been called for jury duty. If you are picked for a jury, you may tell people that you have been picked for a jury and how long the case may take. However, you must not give anyone any information about the case itself or the people involved in the case. You must also warn people not to try to say anything to you or write to you about your jury service or the case. This includes face-to-face, phone or computer communications.”
“In this age of electronic communication,I want to stress that you must not use electronic devices or computers to talk about this case, including tweeting, texting, blogging, e-mailing, posting information on a website or chat room, or any other means at all.  Do not send or accept any messages, including e-mail and text messages, about your jury service. You must not disclose your thoughts about your jury service or ask for advice on how to decide any case.”
“After you are called to the courtroom, the judge will give you specific instructions about these matters.  The / A judge will tell you when you are released from this instruction.  Remember, these rules are designed to guarantee a fair trial.  It is important that you understand the rules as well as the impact on our system of justice if you fail to follow them.  If it is determined that any one of you has violated this rule, and conducted any type of independent research or investigation, it may result in a mistrial.  A mistrial would require the case to be tried again at great expense to the parties and the judicial system. The judge may also impose a penalty upon any juror who violates this instruction.  All of us are depending on you to follow these rules, so that there will be a fair and lawful resolution of every case. “

What happens with electronics when jurors take a break or recess?


“We are about to take [our first] [a] recess. Remember that all of the rules I have given you apply even when you are outside the courtroom, such as at recess. “
“Remember the basic rule:  Do not talk to anyone, including your fellow jurors, friends, family or co-workers about anything having to do with this trial, except to speak to court staff.  This means no e-mailing, text messaging, tweeting, blogging, or any other form of communication.”
“You cannot do any research about the case or look up any information about the case.  Remember to observe during our recess the other rules I gave you. If you become aware of any violation of any of these rules at all, notify court personnel of the violation.”
“After each recess, please double check to make sure [that your cell phone or other electronic device is turned off completely] [that you do not bring your cell phone or other electronic device into the courtroom or jury room].”

Cell Phone, cell phones, computer, computers, electronic devices, iPhone, jurors, laptops, smartphones, tablets,

Jury Instructions on Cell Phones and Electronic Devices

Read the Complete Criminal and Civil Instruction for Jurors and Cell Phones Here

Stetson Law Review – Award Winner – Professor Ellen Podgor

We had a great time at the Stetson event honoring Professor Ellen Podgor as the 2014 J. Ben Watkins Award Recipient . Thanks to Editorial Board Member Alisa French for the invite. Many thanks also to the Stetson Law Review team – @StetsonLRev @StetsonLaw @StetsonU .

Professor Ellen Podgor nationally recognized blog is here;
https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/whitecollarcrime_blog/

Professor Ellen Podgor Bio is here:
https://www.stetson.edu/law/faculty/podgor-ellen-s/

Professor Ellen Podgor wiki Bio is here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Podgor

More on the award here:
https://www.facebook.com/stetsonlaw/posts/102669719813633

More on our host here:
https://www.facebook.com/alisa.french.3

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