Florida Supreme Court

gavel
Brian Turner / Flickr

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday issued a broadly worded ruling that made clear public agencies are liable for paying attorney's fees if they violate the state's open-records law.

The 5-2 ruling dealt with cases in which people successfully sue agencies for failing to comply with the records law. Justices rejected arguments that agencies should be shielded from paying plaintiffs' legal fees if public-records requests are handled in "good faith."

Gun rights advocates say they could gain more from a pending Florida Supreme Court case than controversial open-carry legislation that failed this year.

A utility-backed measure intended to put existing solar-energy regulations into the state Constitution drew indications of skepticism and support Monday from Florida Supreme Court justices

jury box
John Jackson via Flickr

Hundreds of Florida death penalty sentences are in limbo Tuesday after the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out the way the state sentences people to death.

The ruling could lead state lawmakers to require unanimous juries.


The Florida Supreme Court will decide the fate of a Jacksonville man convicted of murdering two people with a hammer.

The state is challenging a judge’s decision to throw out a jury’s recommendation that Raymond Bright be put to death.


marijuana plant
Brett Levin / Flickr

In a key step for supporters of legalizing medical marijuana, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would go on the November 2016 ballot.

Justices said the proposal, spearheaded by the group People United for Medical Marijuana, meets legal tests that include dealing with a single subject and having a clearly worded ballot title and summary. The Supreme Court does not consider the merits of proposed constitutional amendments but reviews them, in part, to make sure voters would not be misled.

Jeff Kubina / Flickr

The Florida Supreme Court will decide whether a Gadsden County racetrack should be allowed to have slot machines without the express permission of the Legislature, in a case with widespread implications for gambling throughout the state.

The court on Tuesday accepted jurisdiction in the Gretna Racing case after a split appellate court reversed itself on the issue in October.

A coalition of voting-rights groups has unveiled six possible maps for the Florida Senate's 40 districts, setting up a court battle that could boost Democrats' hopes of retaking a toehold in state government now dominated by Republicans.

The maps, released Wednesday shortly before midnight, will be considered by Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds. He will decide among the plans submitted by the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida, the plaintiffs in a long-running legal fight, and a proposal floated earlier Wednesday by Senate leaders.

A Leon County judge on Friday quickly rejected a Florida Senate request to bring in an outside expert to redraw the Senate's 40 districts.

Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds III, who turned down the Senate proposal during a 30-minute hearing conducted over the phone, said there wasn't enough time remaining to bring in a "special master" to help draw new district lines.

The Florida Channel

A last-ditch effort to keep the courts from drawing state Senate districts collapsed Thursday, as senators voted down a plan proposed by the House and a special session called to draw the lines crashed to an end.

On a 23-16 vote, the Senate killed the House version of the map (SJR 2-C) and any hope that the Legislature would decide the lines. Nine Republicans bucked their party's leadership and joined all 14 Democrats in opposing the plan.

Just days before lawmakers go into a special session to redraw Senate lines, a federal judge this week tossed out a challenge to the way Florida has carried out redistricting standards approved by voters in 2010.

Chief U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers rejected arguments by Republican Party leaders from Walton and Pasco counties who contended that their First Amendment rights are being violated amid long-running legal and political battles about Senate and congressional maps.

Trying to make legal services more accessible in Florida, recommendations released Monday call for a "robust" website outlining local, state and national legal resources that low- and moderate-income residents could access at home or on an increased number of public computers.

The Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, created by Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, also called in an interim report for additional people providing pro bono services and to draw leftover money from class-action lawsuits to help fund legal-aid efforts.

The Florida Supreme Court has issued an order for Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford to retire. The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission made the recommendation in August.

State of Florida

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner has asked a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of redistricting standards approved by voters in 2010, saying he doesn't enforce the "Fair Districts" requirements.

Phillip Pessar via Flickr

Nassau, St. Johns and 15 other Florida counties will not be able to squeeze more tax money from online-travel companies. The state Supreme Court has declined to reconsider their ruling siding with the companies.


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