Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Florida Supreme Court Action

Lukehart v. State



Judge: Per Curiam
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
Opinion Date: November 8, 2012 
Defendant was tried and convicted for the murder of a five-month-old. Defendant was sentenced to death. The Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and sentence of death but remanded for resentencing on the aggravated child abuse conviction. Defendant subsequently filed a motion to vacate judgment and sentence. The lower court denied Defendant's claims. Defendant then appealed, asserting that his counsel was ineffective. The Supreme Court denied the appeal. Thereafter, Defendant filed a successive motion to vacate judgment and sentence with special request for leave to amend, asserting that his counsel was ineffective. The circuit court summarily denied the motion and subsequent rehearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Defendant's motion was untimely, the postconviction court properly summarily denied the motion; and (2) because Defendant did not address the merits of his claim on appeal, and because the postconviction court did not rule on the merits, the Court would not reach the merits of his claim.
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Johnson v. State



Judge: Per Curiam
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
Opinion Date: November 8, 2012 
Defendant was tried, convicted, and sentenced for several crimes against four separate victims. Two of the victims - Iris White and Jackie McCahon - were murdered, while two were not. This appeal stemmed from Defendant's first-degree murder conviction and accompanying death sentence for the killing of Jackie McCahon. Defendant raised thirteen claim on direct appeal. The Supreme Court denied each of Defendant's claims, determined that the death penalty was proportional to Defendant's crime, and affirmed Defendant's convictions and sentences. Defendant subsequently filed a motion for postconviction relief, raising sixteen claims. The postconviction court ultimately denied all of Defendant's claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant was not entitled to postconviction relief from his conviction and sentence for the first-degree murder of McCahon.
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