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District Court of Appeal Requests Florida Supreme Court Decide Constitutionality Of Drug Law Quickly

Posted by on in Florida Criminal Law
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In an opinion dated September 28, 2011, a Florida District Court of Appeal has certified that an appeal from a recent ruling finding Florida’s primary drug prossession statute unconstitutional involves an issue of great public importance that requires immediate resolution by the Florida Supreme Court.  The appellate court’s certification is essentially a request that Florida’s highest court resolve issues recently raised about the constitutionality of Florida's drug statute as quickly as possible. The appellate court’s certification was entered as prosecutors in Manatee County Florida appealed Circuit Court Judge Scott Brownell’s dismissal of drug charges against forty-two defendants to the Second District Court of Appeal.  Judge Brownell’s recent order finding Florida’s drug statute unconstitutional, as well as other similar recent court rulings, have been discussed previously in this blog and can be found here.

The three judge panel of the Second District Court of Appeal in State of Florida vs Luke Jarod Atkins, et. al., requested the Florida Supreme Court resolve the constitutional issues raised in that appeal and stated as follows:

Until this important constitutional question is resolved by the Florida Supreme Court, prosecutions for drug offenses will be subject to great uncertainty throughout Florida. Moreover, cases pending on appeal and on motions for post-conviction relief will be subject to similar uncertainty. It will be difficult to reach a final resolution in many of these cases until the issue is resolved. Finally, if the ruling in this order is ultimately affirmed by the supreme court, it is possible that hundreds or even thousands of inmates will be eligible for immediate release. Read the entire District Court opinion here.

UPDATEFlorida Supreme Court Upholds State Drug Laws

Tagged in: drugs unconstitutional

Michael Buchanan is a practicing criminal defense attorney in Gainesville, Florida, with more than 25 years experience defending people accused of criminal misconduct. He is a former president of the Eighth Judicial Circuit chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is a member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Read detailed professional biography here.