Florida Justices Not Yet Ready To Strike Timely Justice Act

, Daily Business Review


Sunset falls over the Florida Supreme Court building
Sunset falls over the Florida Supreme Court building

Pariente suggested the court might adopt an internal mechanism to enhance the accuracy and usefulness of the list.

Addressing the unlikely possibility of a governor someday issuing warrants en masse, Justice Peggy Quince asked if the court should require the Legislature to appropriate more money for capital defense attorneys.

"If we're going to have a bunch more warrants, it's going to be much more expensive," McClain said. "That's why this court needs to protect its rulemaking power, to extract money from the Legislature."

The court appeared much more concerned about the suspension of capital defense attorneys found to have rendered ineffective assistance.

Pariente questioned how it could be constitutional for the court to suspend public defenders since they are a separate class of constitutional officers.

Lewis posed the question of a public defender taking cases directly and getting the adverse ineffective assistance rulings.

Carol Dittmar, senior assistant attorney general, suggested the public defender could then delegate the case to an assistant public defender, but Lewis disagreed.

A third issue raised was the requirement that defense attorneys go through a hearing and state a specific reason for exiting a case for conflict of interest. In the past, attorneys simply had to state they had a conflict.

Dittmar argued this was not unlike how transfer of cases occur between Public Defender officers and the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel.

Lewis disagreed, stating, "It totally changes the standard."

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