News from Florida Capital Resource Center

Florida Capital Resource Center Presents SAVING OUR CLIENTS' LIVES: LESSONS FROM STATE V. FULGHAM

Posted May 17, 2012

Florida Capital Resource Center is pleased to announce the first in a series of FREE death penalty seminars we will be hosting around the State of Florida.

In the wake of receiving a life verdict in State of Florida v. Joshua Fulgham,  the Defense Team will be conducting several seminars around the State open to all capital defenders looking to improve their skills and representation.  Using the Fulgham case as a primary example, Terence Lenamon (First-Chair Counsel), Tania Alavi (Second-Chair Counsel), Karen Gottlieb (Trial-Phase Appellate Counsel), and the rest of the Team will cover various topics, including:

  • Litigating Pre-Trial Motions
  • Jury Selection in Capital Cases
  • Case Theme Integration
  • Direct Examination of Expert Witnesses
  • Receiving Compensation for Experts
  • Cross Examination
  • Preserving the Record
  • and much more!
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Not only is admission to the seminars FREE, but extensive trial materials will be provided to all who attend!  The team even plans to reserve some time to discuss/workshop some of the cases attendees are currently working on!  If you are a capital defender (or actively working toward death qualification), this is one seminar you do not want to miss!

DATES & LOCATIONS

  • Fri 5/25 (9:30am - 2:30pm) - Miami - Miami Public Defenders Office
  • Thu 5/31 (9:30am - 5:30pm) - Jacksonville - Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk Hotel
  • Thu 6/7 (9:30am - 5:30pm) - Tampa - Tampa Public Defenders Office
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 Lunch will be provided at each location.  For more information or to RSVP, please email Stuart Hartstone at Stuart.Hartstone@FloridaCapitalResourceCenter.org

We thank you all for your support and look forward to seeing you there!!

Florida Capital Joins NACDL and FACDL as Amicus Curiae in Evans Appeal

Posted April 5, 2012

Florida Capital Resource Center has joined the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL) as Amicus Curiae in the Evans v. Secretary Appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As reported last June, Federal Judge Jose Martinez determined in Evans v. McNeil (Case No. 08-14402-CIV-MARTINEZ) that Florida's capital sentencing statute violates the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002).  In his Order of June 20, 2011, Judge Martinez found that section 921.141, Florida Statutes, is problematic for several reasons, but primarily because it provides for the judge - and not the jury - to make findings of fact as to the existence of aggravating circumstances. 

That Order has been appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will have to decide whether to uphold or reverse that determination, a decision which is almost guaranteed to result in a petition for writ of certioriari so the issue can finally be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. 

No matter the outcome, Florida Capital Resource Center is proud to have made its voice heard by joining NACDL and FACDL as amici curiae, presenting an amicus brief for the 11th Circuit Court to consider when making its determination.  We will surely report on the 11th Circuit's decision here when it is announced, but until then, click here to read the amicus brief.

Proteus Fund Awards Grant to Florida Capital Resource Center

Posted March 2, 2012

We are thrilled to announce that the Proteus Fund, working with Atlantic Philanthropies, has awarded Florida Capital Resource Center a grant for $30,000 to support our general operating budget!  With this funding, FCRC plans to expand the resources available to its members as well as other capital defenders around the State of Florida.  Aside from increasing the materials available on our website, we also plan to announce a series of free training seminars for capital attorneys in the very near future! 

As budget cuts and scarce resources have seemingly become a part of standard practice, we are so very grateful to have an organization like Proteus supporting us as we fight to protect the rights of those facing the ultimate sentence in Florida.

We are excited about this new partnership and look forward to working with Proteus Fund to achieve our shared mission of reducing imposition of the death penalty in Florida!

Sen. Altman Aims for Unanimous Jury Requirement in Capital Sentencing

Posted December 12, 2011

For a second year in a row, Senator Thad Altman is hoping that one major problem with Florida's capital sentencing scheme can be corrected this legislative session.  SB 772 would require unanimous juries to recommend a death sentence, something the Florida Supreme Court has been recommending the legislature do since 2005. 

Out of the 34 states that retain the death penalty, Florida and Alabama are the only two that do not already have this unanimity requirement.  However, Florida stands alone by allowing just a simple majority of 7 jurors to recommend death; Alabama requires no less than 10 jurors to do the same.

Sen. Altman proposed a similar bill last legislative session, but the bill was not heard in even a single committee meeting.  Nonetheless, he remains hopeful that this year might prove different.  The bill has drawn support from the FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, the Florida Catholic Conference, and now, of course, the Florida Capital Resource Center.  However, most familiar with system agree that it is problematic, which is why former State Attorney Harry Shorstein and former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero - a Gov. Jeb Bush appointee - both also support the measure.

As Justice Cantero said to The Ledger last month, "This is an issue about rationality, about making the justice system rational and making sure that only those that are guilty are convicted and only those who commit the most egregious murders are sentenced to death."

Click here to read Sen. Altman's bill as well as the related House version.

Click here to read the full article from The Ledger discussing the bill.

Oregon Governor Places Moratorium On Death Penalty!

Posted November 23, 2011

After concluding that the "death penalty as practiced in Oregon is neither fair nor just," Governor John Kitzhaber has declared that there will be no more executions in Oregon while he is governor. 

The news comes at a time when death row inmate Gary Haugen has waived his right to several appeals and asked to be executed.  Haugen was convicted of murder in 1981 and sentenced to life in prison without parole.  However, in 2003, while serving that life sentence, he was convicted of slaying a fellow inmate and sentenced to death.  After waiving several appeals, Judge Joseph Guimond signed the death warrant, scheduling Haugen to be executed by lethal injection on December 6.  While the Oregon Supreme Court upheld that death warrant late Monday, November 21, Gov. Kitzhaber granted Haugen a "temporary reprieve" the next morning, one that will last for the duration of his term in office.   

After careful reflection, Gov. Kitzhaber announced that "we can no longer ignore the contradictions and inequities of our current system."  Though he said he personally favors replacing the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole, he challenged the legislature and the citizens of Oregon to engage in a "long overdue reevaluation of our current policy and our system of capital punishment."

"It is time for Oregon to consider a different approach.  I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not allow further executions while I am Governor."

Click here to read the full press release.

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