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Motion 27.5304 Unconstitutional

Motion 27.5304 Unconstitutional

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Published by Reba Kennedy

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Published by: Reba Kennedy on Oct 26, 2012
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12/08/2013

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1IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THEELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT INAND FOR MIAMI-DADE COUNTY,FLORIDASTATE OF FLORIDA, CRIMINAL DIVISIONPlaintiff, CASE NO.: F11-003648
 
vs. JUDGE:
SIGLER
 
GREGORY MARTIN,
 Defendant. / 
MOTION TO DECLARE SECTION 27.5304, FLORIDA STATUTES (2012),UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Defendant, by and through undersigned counsel, respectfully requests this honorableCourt to declare Section 27.5304, Florida Statutes, effective July 1, 2012 unconstitutional and asgrounds in support states:1.
 
The recently amended Section 27.5304, Florida Statutes (2012), restructures the paymentscheme for private court-appointed counsel.2.
 
Previously, criminal court-appointed counsel fees, including those above the flat feesestablished by the Justice Administrative Commission, were paid by the JusticeAdministrative Commission from the Criminal Conflict Appropriation Category. Overthe last several years the costs of criminal conflict counsel have exceeded the originalappropriations and the legislature has had to transfer funds from other due processcategories in the Justice Administrative Commission and make supplementalappropriations from unallocated general revenue to resolve projected deficits.
See
S
TATE
 
2O
F
F
LA
., 7120
 
B
ILL
 
ANALYSIS
A
ND
F
ISCAL
I
MPACT
S
TATEMENT
, Senate BudgetCommittee, Reg. Sess., at 3 (2011).3.
 
Now, fees in excess of the established flat fees incurred by criminal conflict counsel shallbe paid first by the Justice Administrative Commission in a special category in theGeneral Appropriations Act designated for attorney payments over the flat fee, and if the$3,000,000 appropriated to that special category is expended, then the rest of the
 payments “shall be made from the due process funds, or other funds as necessary
,appropriated to the state court system in the General Appropriations Act
.”
See
§27.5304(12), Fla. Stat. (effective July 1, 2012) (
emphasis added 
).4.
 
Section 27.5304, Florida Statutes (2012), is unconstitutional because: 1) the session lawamending Chapter 27 violates the single subject rule; 2) Section 27.5304 creates aconflict of interest between the judiciary and the indigent defendant; 3) Section 27.5304violates the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights of capital defendants; and 4)Section 27.5304 violates the separation-of-powers doctrine.
I. The Session Law Amending Chapter 27, Florida Statutes (2012), Violates the Single-Subject Rule.
5.
 
Section 27.5304 was one of multiple sections of the Florida Statutes amended by thepassage of Senate Bill 1960. Senate Bill 1960 became session law Chapter 2012-123,parts of which were ultimately codified as Section 27.5304 of the Florida Statutes.
See
 Ch. 2012-123, § 8, Laws of Fla.6.
 
Chapter 2012-123 violates Article III, Section 6 of the Florida Constitution because itcontains several subjects, including civil and criminal provisions that are not logicallyconnected; the underlying senate bill was hastily amended and passed in the waning days
 
3of the legislative session; and the legislature identified no crisis necessitating broadreform of the matters addressed in the chapter law.7.
 
Commonly known as the “single
-
subject” rule, Article III, Section 6 of the Florida
Constitution provides, in pertinent part, that "[e]very law shall embrace but one subjectand matter properly connected therewith, and the subject shall be briefly expressed in thetitle."8.
 
While generally a law may be as broad as the legislature chooses, the FloridaConstitution requires that the matters included in the act have a natural or logicalconnection.
Chenoweth v. Kemp
, 396 So. 2d 1122 (Fla. 1981);
see also
 
State v.Thompson
, 750 So. 2d 643, 644 (Fla. 1999) (statute violated the single subject rulebecause the law improperly addressed two different subjects: domestic violence andcareer criminals);
 Heggs v. State
, 759 So. 2d 620, 626 (Fla. 2000) (a law "violate[d] thesingle subject rule because it, too, embraces civil and criminal provisions that are notlogically connected. The two subjects are designed to accomplish separate anddissociated objects of legislative effort.").9.
 
Chapter 2012-123 amends and creates sections of the Florida Statutes regarding subjectmatters that are not properly connected.a.
 
Section 1 of the chapter law substantially amends Section 27.40, Florida Statutes,giving circuit courts the option to create a limited registry of attorneys to acceptindigent defendants in cases requiring court appointment of private counsel.b.
 
Section 2 of the chapter law amends Section 27.511, Florida Statutes. The sectionaddresses the manner in which an appointed regional counsel may be replaced bythe Governor, and requires the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating

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