Florida Supreme Court

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.


The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday attorneys shouldn’t have to pay an extra $100 in annual bar dues to fund legal services for the poor.  Advocates say they’re in a financial crisis and already turning away domestic violence clients and others.

Lindsey Turner / Flickr

In a major victory for the online travel industry, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected arguments that companies such as Expedia and Travelocity should pay more in county tourist-development taxes.

Five of the seven justices sided with the industry in a long-running legal and political battle that has involved at least 20 counties.

Auld & White Constructors, LLC / auld-white.com

The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in after Jacksonville property owners sued the city for building a fire station next door.

The case will settle the question of how much local governments should held responsible when property values plummet.

Jacksonville property owners, R. Lee and Christy Smith, sued the city after it built a fire station on a riverfront lot on Hecksher Drive across from Mayport — and right next to the Smiths’ undeveloped lot.

Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court has denied Florida Senate Democrats’ request to force the House of Representatives to get back to Tallahassee and finish the lawmaking session.

n a unanimous ruling, the justices said requiring the lower chamber to continue working until the end of the day Friday would provide no real benefit.

defibrillator
David Bruce via Flickr

The Florida Supreme Court has sided with the family of a high-school soccer player who suffered brain damage after collapsing during a game. The Lee County family will now have the chance to seek damages from his school district.

The ruling in favor of the family overturns two lower court rulings that sided with the school district and dismissed the case.

Bay County, Florida

Hundreds of people serving life in prison for crimes they committed as teenagers could get a chance at a reduced sentence, after a Florida Supreme Court ruling this month.

The court considered the case of Rebecca Falcon, who was convicted in the shooting death of a Panama City Beach cab driver when she was 15.

Bruin79 / Wikimedia Commons

Florida inmates serving life sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles should be resentenced under guidelines that went into effect last year, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.

In four separate cases, the justices ordered lower courts to apply the 2014 law to inmates who, as juveniles, were sentenced in the past either to life in prison or to terms that would have effectively kept them behind bars until they die. Two of the inmates were convicted of murder.

Pages