Notable Cases


Mosley v. State, 209 So. 3d 1248 (Fla. 2016)

Holding: The Florida Supreme Court vacated Mr. Mosley’s death sentence and remanded for resentencing.

State v. Bright, 41 Fla. L. Weekly 290 (Fla. 2016)

Holding: The Florida Supreme Court vacated Mr. Bright’s two death sentences and remanded for resentencing. The Florida Supreme Court held the postconviction trial court properly found that defendant was denied his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel during the penalty phase because counsel failed to investigate and provide sufficient background information to the mental health expert counsel retained and failed to conduct an adequate mental health investigation and present the results of that investigation to the jury and sentencing court for the purposes of mitigation, and defendant was prejudiced by counsel's deficient performance

Lee v. State, 2014-CF-10814 & 2015-CF-564 (Duval County June 30, 2016)

Holding: Granting 3.800(b)(2) motion for reduction of sentence based on Williams v. State, 186 So. 3d 989, 994 (Fla. 2016) finding that offenses committed with a firearm do not have to be sentenced consecutively.  Ultimately resulting in 10-year sentence reduction upon resentencing by original defense counsel.

Salazar v. State, 41 Fla. L. Weekly S50a (Fla. Feb. 18, 2016)

Holding: Death penalty reversed, finding ineffective assistance of counsel in penalty phase of capital case and reversing for new penalty phase proceedings.

State v. Wilson, 1995-CF-5472-AXXX (Duval Co. Oct 2015)

Holding: granting 3.800 Motion to Correct Sexual Predator Designation, finding that 1995 order classifying defendant as a sexual offender was improperly entered and reclassifying defendant as a sexual offender.

State v. Johnson, 2008-CF-10856 (Duval Co. Oct 2015)
Holding: Defendant granted reduced sentence following successful negotiations in 3.850 proceedings. 3.580 withdrawn in exchange for sentence reduction.


Ryan v. Hummel, DOC, 2014-CA-2326 (Lake County March 10, 2015):
Holding: Granting Petition for Habeas Corpus and ordering DOC to recalculate Ryan's gain time according to the first date charged in a straddle offense, resulting in Ryan's immediate release.


State v. Williams, No. 1D14-2213, 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 5951 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015)

Holding: First DCA affirmed lower tribunal’s order releasing Williams because his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present stand-your-ground defense.  Client exonerated of second-degree murder and 45-year sentence thrown out.  

Windhaven Insurance Co. v. Roosevelt Rehab & Chiropractic, Inc., as assignee of Zchecire Marie Donarye, - Case No.: 16-2014-AP-00004 (Fla. 4th Jud. Cir. 2014)
Holding: Affirming trial court’s Order and Final Judgment Awarding Attorney’s fees and costs which awarded Plaintiff attorneys’ fees and applied a multiplier of 2.0 in calculating those fees.

State v. Raymond Bright, Duval Co. 2008-CF-2887, Aug. 14, 2014
Holding: Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion to Vacate Judgment and Sentence. Granting new penalty phase in capital case.

State v. Jonathon Williams, Clay Co. 2008-CF-184, April 25, 2014

Holding: Granting 3.850 motion where trial counsel was ineffective in failing to pursue stand your ground defense

Brandon v. State, 138 So. 3d 1150 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014)
Holding: reversing for new trial where the trial court improperly allowed 9-1-1 call into evidence over defense objection.

State v. Mimic, 2011-0284-CF (Washington Co. Dec. 2013 )
Holding: Granting 3.801 motion to apply jail credit for time served in county jail and juvenile facility prior to plea.

Bossen v. Justice Admin. Comm'n, 122 So. 3d 997 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013)

Holding: Petition granted, case reversed. Finding trial court departed from the essential requirements of the law by finding the fee award was not confiscatory without first making a finding regarding the reasonable number of hours expended by petitioner.

Fletcher v. Justice Administrative Commission, 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 5471(Fla. 1st DCA 2013)

Holding: Petition granted, remanded. The attorney argued, in part, that the trial court erred in failing to make a finding as to the reasonable number of hours he worked in representing his client. The court agreed. When awarding fees pursuant to § 27.5304(12), Fla. Stat. (2012), the trial court was required to make a finding as to the reasonable number of hours expended by counsel in the case before it could determine whether a fee award would be confiscatory. The trial court never made any findings regarding the reasonable number of hours expended by the attorney when it determined that amount requested was an appropriate fee. That was a departure from the essential requirements of the law. The Appellate Court granted the petition, quashed the fee award, and remanded for reconsideration.

Schlax v. Justice Administrative Commission, 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 5395 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013)

Holding: Petition granted the petition, quash the fee award, and remand for reconsideration. If the trial court determines that an award greater than the statutory cap is justified, it should make the appropriate findings to support the award.

Criminal Specialist Investigations, Inc. v. State, 58 So. 3d 883 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011)

Holding: Case reversed because the record did not reflect that the trial court gave case-specific consideration to the reasonableness and necessity of the costs the defense incurred in hiring their mitigation specialist. Additionally, the Court acknowledged that a “mitigation specialist” is a recognizable position under Florida law.

Baker v. State, 53 So. 3d 1147 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011)
Holding: Reversed because trial court’s reasoning for denial of an expungement was insufficiently related to the particular facts and circumstances of the case.


Ferrell v. State, 29 So. 3d 959 (Fla. 2010)

Holding: Mr. Ferrell’s sentence of death vacated. Defense counsel was ineffective in failing to find mitigation in support of life sentence. Jury vote for death was 7-5, the closet margin possible.


Reimert v. City of Jacksonville, 16 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 797a (2009)

Holding: Special Master required to assure that a written record is produced and this requirement is not discretionary. The special master’s report did not comply with the legal requirement of Fla. R. Civ. Pro. 1.490 (f).

Reversed for new trial as Special Master was responsible for assuring that a written record is produced and this requirement is not discretionary. In this case the Special Master's report failed to comply with the legal requirements, therefore, the proceedings must be reversed.

Reversed conviction and sentence for new trial

Hardee v. State, 69 So. 3d 292 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009)

Holding: Life sentence for second-degree murder conviction with a weapon reversed for new trial. Trial court erred in instructing jury on lesser-included offense of manslaughter by act.


Alston v. Walter A. McNeil, et al., Case No.: 3:04-cv- 257-J-32 (Mid. Dist. Ct. 2009) (October 27, 2009)
Holding: Certificate of Appealabilty granted as to the issue of whether: jurists of reason would find debatable the district court’s ruling, made without evidentiary hearing, which upheld the state court ruling that Alston was competent to waive his state post conviction proceedings, that his waiver was knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made was correct and did not represent an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law and/or an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceedings.

Gore v. Secretary for the Dept. of Corrections, F.3d 1273; 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 17262; 20 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 873 (11th Cir. 2007)

Holding: Petitioner's Certificate of Appealability was granted with respect to issue of whether Florida Supreme Court, in deciding that the Miami Dade detectives did not deny appellant his Fifth or Sixth Amendment right to counsel while questioning him in absence of counsel, rendered a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law, or...was based on a unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence.


Townsend v. State, Case No.: 16-2007-CF-9010-BXXX (4th Jud. Cir 2007)
Holding: Order of Community Control entered on July 1, 2008, sentencing the defendant to 3 years incarceration followed by 3 years community control struck, as the sentence differed from the oral sentence of three years of incarceration followed by three years probation. The orally pronounced sentence controls.

Cannon v. State, (7th Jud. Cir. 2006) 32 Fla. L. Weekly D1613b

Holding: 5 years cut from 25 year sentence (information did not include language of “great bodily harm,” and therefore maximum sentence D could have received was 20 years, not 25)


Sears v. State, Case no.: 16-2006-CF-18466-AXXX-MA (4th Jud. Cir 2006)
Holding: New trial awarded based on ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to object to Richardson violation of a state witness not previously discovered to defense and used to rebut defendant’s defense of entrapment.

Dove v. State, 16-1996-CF-010494-AXXX-MA (4th Jud. Cir. March 16, 2004)

Holding: 27-year sentence vacated for resentencing , 3.800 illegal sentence motion granted. Mr. Dove was re-sentenced to approximately 2 ½ years.

Spencer v. State, 889 So. 2d 868  (Fla. 2nd DCA 2004)
Holding: Reversed and remanded for evidentiary hearing. The denial of the claims of ineffective assistance based on the alleged failure to inform defendant that insanity was a defense and to have defendant psychologically tested was reversed and the case was remanded for reconsideration of those claims. The denial of the claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress was reversed and the case was remanded with directions.