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STATE OF FLORIDA, Plaintiff, vs. GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, Defendant. CASE NO.: 2012-001083-CFA
DEFENDANT'S AMENDED MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF ORDER ALLOWING FOR PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF CERTAIN STATEMENTS, FOR CLARIFICATION OF THE COURT'S ORDER FOR RELEASE OF CERTAIN TELEPHONE COMMUNICA TIONS. FOR DELAY OF EFFECT OF THE ORDER TO ALLOW NONPARTIES AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD AND REQUEST FOR IN CAMERA REVIEW WITH COUNSEL COMES NOW the Defendant, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, by and through his
undersigned counsel, and hereby files this Amended Motion for Reconsideration
Court to reconsider its ruling allowing for the release of the second statement identified as coming from 'witness #9'; to reconsider, and to the extent appropriate, clarify its ruling
regarding the release of 'jail calls'; delay effect of that ruling to give appropriate non-parties the opportunity to file proper objections, and to hold an in camera hearing to further address these matters, and in support thereof would show as follows: As toWitness #9 1. On May 14, 2012, the State filed a Motion for Protective Order with this Court.
On May 21, 2012, the Defense filed a Concurrence to the State's Motion for Protective Order and Objection to Release of Certain Discovery and Request for Delay in Release of Certain
Discovery to Allow Analysis with this Court. On May 29,2012, the Media Interveners filed a Motion to Intervene for the Limited Purpose of Opposing State's Motion for Protective Order and Defendant's Concurrence and Objection to Release of Discovery with this Court. 2. On June 1,2012, the Court heard arguments from the State, Defense, and the
Media Interveners on the public release of certain categories of discovery, whether the identities of certain potential witnesses should be protected for fear of harassment or intimidation and, specifically, whether the statement of an individual identified as "Witness #9" should be disclosed at this time even if the witness' identity is withheld. After consideration of the pleadings and argument of counsel, this Court entered its written Order on the State's Motion for Protective Order and the Media Interveners' Motions to Intervene and to Oppose the Closure of Judicial Records on June 12,2012. 3. In said Order, the Court directed that the Statement of Witness #9 be disclosed in
accordance with the other witnesses' statements, i.e., with the name and address of the witness withheld. 4. Witness #9 has made two statements. The first statement has already been
released to the public (without the identifying witness information) without objection. The second statement is the subject of this motion. The content of this statement is not relevant to the issues of this case, and it would not be admissible in the State's case in chief. The statement was provided in discovery only because the witness had provided the information to law enforcement. In its motion and at the hearing on June 1,2012, the State agreed that said
statement should not be disseminated to the public prior to the Court ruling on its admissibility. 5. This specific, uncorroborated, irrelevant statement should be withheld from public
dissemination because of the substantial risk that public disclosure will lead to widespread
hostile publicity which would substantially impair the Defendant's fair trial rights, and would pose a serious threat to the administration of justice. Miami Herald Publishing Company v. Lewis, 426 So.2d 1, 7 (Fla. 1982). Both the State and the defense agreed at the hearing that the evidence, presently, would not be relevant to any pending issue before this Court, and would not be admissible, or admitted, in the trial in this matter. Reference is made to Florida Statute 90.403 - Exclusion on Grounds of Prejudice or Confusion - which would stand for the proposition that even if relevant, such evidence could be excluded. Here, neither party is suggesting the relevance of the evidence. 6. When the State gives requested information to the defendant, pretrial discovery
information attains the status of a public record. Post-Newsweek Stations, Florida Inc. v. Doe, 612 So.2d 549, 551 (Fla. 1992). However, public access to that information is not absolute. "McCrary qualified the statutory right of access to public records by balancing it against the constitutional rights of a fair trial and due process." Id. 7. As this Court mentioned it its order on June 12th, the Court must make a careful
analysis of the following factors before restricting the disclosure ofinfonnation: a) Restricting public access to discovery is necessary to prevent a serious and
imminent threat to the administration of justice; b) No alternatives, other than a change of venue would protect the
Defendant's right to a fair trial; and c) Closure would be effective in protecting the rights of the accused, without
being broader than necessary to accomplish this purpose. Florida Freedom Newspapers, Inc. v. McCrary, 520 So.2d 32, 35 (Fla. 1988); Lewis, 426 So.2d at 6.
As to the first factor, it is unnecessary to reiterate the scope of the hostile publicity Mr. Zimmerman has been exposed to. Mr. Zimmerman has been the recipient of international public ridicule and the subject of several death threats. However, some of this hostility has recently cooled due to the public dissemination of relevant evidence. Regarding the second factor, it is highly likely that the uncorroborated issues constituting the substance of Witness #9's statement will serve to reignite and potentially enhance the widespread public hostility toward Mr. Zimmerman. As this is material that has no
relevance to the case and will not be presented in the State's case in chief, dissemination of this information would pose a serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice and serve to further the dramatization of this case. This case is highly publicized, and it is almost impossible to find someone who has been successful in escaping the media's publication of the details of the case. In this "information age", even a change of venue would not accomplish the goal of protecting Mr. Zimmerman's right to a fair trial once disclosure is made public. There is right to a fair trial other than restricting public
no alternative to protect Mr. Zimmerman's disclosure of this statement.
Finally, as this Court acknowledged on June 1,2012, traditional judicial techniques, such as seating a jury from a different venue, may have been effective in a 1982 world, but will not work to insulate ajury from consequences of publicity in 2012. Rather than finding a jury unfamiliar with this case, any potential juror will be faced with the question of whether he or she can forget about everything heard previously, and only consider evidence that is presented at trial. There is no reason to make that job unnecessarily harder, especially when, in this case, public access to this specific, irrelevant material will pose a serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice. Restricting this one statement is not broader than
necessary to accomplish the purpose of protecting Mr. Zimmerman's
constitutional right to a fair
jury. The statement is specific, narrow, and has no relevance to the case at hand. No less restrictive means of protection exists given the totality of circumstances surrounding this case (e.g., intense international media coverage of every item made public, and as a result, the difficulty of seating an impartial jury). 8. The administration of justice includes the Defendant's right to obtain an impartial
jury - a right fundamental to the Defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial. McCrary, 520 So.2d at 34; Barron v. Florida Freedom Newspapers, Inc., 531 So.2d 113, 118 (Fla. 1988); WESH Television, Inc. v. Freeman, 691 So.2d 532, 534 (Fla. 5th DCA 1997). Additionally, when a Defendant's right to receive a fair trial conflicts with the media's statutory right to access, it is the media's right to access which must yield. Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc. v. Burk, 504 So.2d 378, 380 (Fla. 1987); WESH Television, 691 So.2d at 534. The test in Lewis was designed specifically for pieces of information such as the subject of this motion. Public disclosure of this narrowly tailored, specific, and irrelevant statement will do nothing but taint a jury and create a serious threat to the administration of justice trampling Mr. Zimmerman's constitutional right to a fair trial.
As to the Jail Calls
The defense also requests this Court to reconsider and clarify its ruling that seems to order the release of all jail conversations between Mr. Zimmerman and other people. The ruling of the Court as to these calls is subject to two interpretations: that the ruling is restricted to only
those calls the State intends to use as evidence (a ruling which the defense would accept, as being in compliance with the Bent ruling supra), or that the intent of the ruling is to require the wholesale release of all jail calls. To the extent the latter is the Court's intent, the defense would
ask the Court to reconsider this based upon several factors. The Fourth District Court of Appeal in Bent v. State, 46 So.3d 1047 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010). attached hereto, stands for the proposition that the audio recordings of jail calls are not public records subject to release pursuant to Florida Statutes Chapter 119, commonly known as the Public Records Act. Realizing that these telephone calls would not be subject to release pursuant to a public records request, they would then only be subject to release based upon being forwarded as part of a discovery presentation pursuant to Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.220. However, that rule is not intended to make public documents which otherwise carry legitimate indicia of privacy (as now properly identified by the Bent decision) simply because they were enveloped in the extraordinarily wide net of a prosecution's investigation. This is particularly relevant in this case, as these records
(audio recordings) are available to the defendant regardless of the applicability of Rule 3.220. An inmate has an independent right to request and receive copies of recorded calls from the Seminole County Jail, so even if an accused does not involve himself in formal discovery, these records are available to him. To the extent that this Court is concerned that once identified by the State as discovery that all records, regardless of their privilege and/or protection, are to be considered public records, Mr. Zimmerman would affirmatively waive that right, which is particularly his under Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.220. A more appropriate interpretation of our discovery rules, and one which properly balances Rule 3.220 with the undeniable privacy rights we share in non-relevant private phone calls, is to limit disclosure of the calls to those which one party or the other intends to use at trial or hearing, or for which some evidentiary relevance can be shown. Reference is also made to Fla.R.Crim.P 3.220(1)(1), which reads as follows: (I) Protective Orders.
(1) Motion to Restrict Disclosure of Matters. On a showing of good cause, the court shall at any time order that specified disclosures be restricted, deferred, or exempted from discovery, that certain matters not be inquired into, that the scope of the deposition be limited to certain matters, that a deposition be sealed and after being sealed be opened only by order of the court, or make such other order as is appropriate to protect a witness from harassment, unnecessary inconvenience, or invasion of privacy, including prohibiting the taking of a deposition. All material and information to which a party is entitled, however, must be disclosed in time to permit the party to make beneficial use of it. The public may be denied access to certain discovery materials if disclosure interferes with the Defendant's right to a fair trial, or if release would infringe upon the privacy rights of a nonparty. This is the principle outlined in Times Pub. Co. v. State, 903 So.2d 322, 325 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005), where the Court stated as follows: In evaluating the challenged portion of the trial court's order, we begin with the important general principle that once criminal investigative or intelligence information is disclosed by the State to a criminal defendant that information becomes a nonexempt public record subject to disclosure pursuant to section 119.07(1). See §§ 119.07(6)(b), .01 1(3)(c)(5). The public may, however, be denied access to such discovery materials in limited circumstances, including those where it is established that the release of the materials would (a) interfere with a defendant's right to a fair trial, see Fla. Freedom Newspapers, Inc. v. McCrary, 520 So.2d 32 (Fla.1988); or (b) infringe on the privacy rights of a nonparty, see Post-Newsweek Stations, Fla. Inc. v. Doe, 612 So.2d 549 (Fla.1992). (emphasis added) Times at 325. The 2nd DCA also outlined the proposition that, under Rule 3.220, non-parties have the right to seek closure of certain statements or discovery, based upon their own rights to privacy. This was based specifically of the ruling in Post-Newsweek Stations (infra), wherein the Supreme Court held as follows: In Florida Freedom Newspapers, Inc. v. McCrary, 520 So.2d 32 (Fla. 1988), we stated that, once the state gives the requested information to the defendant, pretrial discovery information attains the status of a public record. However, McCrary qualified the statutory right of access to public records by balancing it against the constitutional rights of a fair trial and due process. Id. at 36. Here, we also qualify the public'S statutory right of access to pretrial discovery information by balancing it against the Does' constitutional right to privacy. The Does (non-parties) bear the burden of proving that closure is necessary to prevent an imminent threat to their privacy rights. Barron v. Florida Freedom Newspapers, Inc., 531 So.2d 113 (Fla.1988); Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Lewis, 426 So.2d 1 (Fla.1982).
The media argue that the Does have failed to satisfy the three-pronged test articulated in Lewis, and, therefore, they have failed to carry their burden to justify closure. Under Lewis, the party seeking closure must prove the following: 1. Closure is necessary to prevent a serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice; 2. No alternatives are available, other than a change of venue, which would protect the defendant's right to a fair trial; and, 3. Closure would be effective in protecting the rights of the accused, without being broader than necessary to accomplish this purpose. Post-Newsweek Stations at 551. Non-parties involved in the referenced phone calls (including members of the Zimmerman family) intend to seek redress with this Court to assert the rights granted by PostNewsweek Stations and as required by the Times decision. We request that this Court address this issue with a commonsense approach as follows: While it is the accused right to all discovery information from the State (either that which they intend to use to prosecute him, or that which is exculpatory) pursuant to our discovery rules, the defendant's telephone calls to people while he is in jail are still protected from public view as they are not public records. The intersection of those two principles should not be interpreted in such a myopic or skewed fashion, the result of which is the unnecessary diminishment of an accused rights to privacy, or a non-party's rights to privacy. It is particularly nonsensical to suggest that information such as this (which is commonly available to an accused without exercise of discovery rights) should be disclosed, over objection, when it served absolutely no evidentiary purpose. In addition, the State has already stated that it does not intend to use any but a very small number of the audiotapes. As such, the majority of the audiotapes are not relevant, and reference
is made to Florida
90.403 to suggest that the prejudicial nature of such evidence far
outweighs any probative value of the evidence. Of course, that statute, as follows: 90.403 Exclusion on grounds of prejudice or confusion.c-Relevant evidence is inadmissible if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of issues, misleading the jury, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence. This section shall not be construed to mean that evidence of the existence of available third-party benefits is inadmissible. is a safeguard designed to keep out relevant evidence, should a balancing test weigh in favor of exclusion to avoid undue prejudice. Here we speak of non-relevant non~evidence that the State is not intending to enter.
WHEREFORE, Mr. Zimmerman requests this Court to reconsider its ruling allowing for the release of the second statement identified as coming from 'witness #9'; to reconsider, and to the extent appropriate, Clarify its ruling regarding the release of 'jail calls', delay effect of that ruling to give appropriate non-parties the opportunity to file proper abjections; and to hold an in camera hearing to further address these matters.
CERTIFICATE O.F SERVICE I HEREB~RTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing has been furnished by. U.S. Mail this day of J LIne,20] 2 to Bernie de Ia Rionda, A .stant State Attorney and John Guy, Assistarr State Attorney, Office of the State Attorn y, 220 East Bay Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202-3429 and to Donald R. West, Esquii , 636 West Yale Street, Orlando, Florida 32804.
O'Mara Law Group 1416 East Concord Street Orlando, Florida 32803 Telephone: (407) 898~5151 Facsimile: (407) 898-2468 Attorney for Defendant
BENT v. STATE
46 So.Jd 1047 (FIa.App. 4 Disi. 2010)
who prepared the motion on the movant's behalf so that the Department may discern and sanction any other person responsible for filing frivolous motions. Affirmed. TAYLOR, HAZOURI and GERBER, JJ., concur.
filed petitions for writ of certiorari, the petitions were consolidated. Holding: held that telephone subject to
The District Court of Appeal audio recordings of defendants' calls were not "public records" release to newspaper.
Petitions granted, order quashed, and remanded.
1. Records €==>54 Audio recordings of telephone calls made from jail by defendants who were awaiting trial to persons other than counsel were not "public records" subject to release to newspaper pursuant to its public records request; maintaining recordings of purely personal telephone calls had no connection to any official business of the county sheriffs office, and releasing them would not further the purpose of the Public Records Act. West's F.S.A. Const. Art. I, § 24; West's F.S.A. § 119.011(12).
See publication Words and Phrases for other judicial constructions and definitions.
STATE of Florida, and AI Lamberti, as Sheriff of Broward County, and the Sun-8entineI, as intervenor, Respondents. Jesus Mendez, Petitioner, v. State of Florida, and AI Lamberti, as Sheriff of Broward County, and the Sun-8entineI, as intervenor, Respondents. Nos. 4010-2726, 4010-2727. District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District. Sept. 29,2010. Rehearing Denied Nov. 22, 2010. Background: Defendants who were awaiting trial on charges of attempted second-degree murder moved for a protective order against disclosure to a newspaper, pursuant to its public records request, of audio recordings of telephone calls they made from jail to persons other than counsel. The Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court, Broward County, Carlos S. Rebello, J., granted the motion in part. Defendants
2. Records oS;>63 The determination of whether thing is a public record is a question subject to de novo review and is mined on a case-by-case basis. F.S.A. Const. Art. 1, § 24; West's § 119.011(12). 3. Records €==>54 Term "public records," for purposes of Public Records Act, refers to materials that have been prepared with the intent of perpetuating or formalizing knowledge in connection with the transaction of official agency business; the determining factor is the nature of the record, not its physical location. West's F.S.A. Const. Art. 1, § 24; West's F.S.A. § 119.011(12). someof law deterWest's F.S.A.
46 SOUTHERN REPORTER, 3d SERIES their arrests, with the exception of calls made to their attorneys. In response, defendants moved the trial court for a protective order, arguing that the recorded calls are not subject to a public records request. They also argued that releasing the calls would prejudice their defense by increasing public scrutiny on issues collateral to the case and would violate their rights to due process and a fair trial. After hearing argument from defense counsel, the newspaper, and BSO, and after allowing the attorneys to file memoranda of law, the trial court granted the motion for a protective order in part. Citing the definition of a public record in section 119.011(12), Florida Statutes, the court concluded that although BSO is not required to record the phone calls, it does so for legitimate security reasons and doing so makes the recordings a public record. The court concluded an exemption to the records request may apply if recordings include any confessions. § 119.071(2)(e), Fla. Stat, (2009). The court directed BSO to listen to the tapes, and if any admissions were made on them, not to release them; BSO was ordered to release any other recordings to the newspaper.
 We agree with petitioners that the audio recordings of the defendants' phone calls are not public records subject to release.
4. Records e::>50 The purpose of the Public Records Act is to open public records to allow Florida's citizens to discover the actions of their government, West's F.S.A. Const. Art. 1, § 24; West's F.S.A. § 119.011(12).
Howard Finkelstein, Public Defender and Diane M. Cuddihy, Assistant Public Defender, Fort Lauderdale, for PetitionerMatthew Bent (4D09-2726). Philip J. Massa, Regional Counsel, and Melanie L. Casper, Assistant Regional Counsel, Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, West Palm Beach, for Petitioner-Jesus Mendez (4D09-2727). Deanna K. Shullman, James B. Lake, and Rachel E. Fugate of Thomas & Locicero PL, Lake Worth, and David S. Bralow, New York, for respondent, Sun-Sentinel Publishing Company. Frank R. Brady of Brady & Brady, P.A., Boca Raton, for interested party Valerie J. Brewer. PER CURIAM. Matthew Bent and Jesus Mendez are minors charged as adults with attempted second degree murder in a highly publicized case in Broward County. They have each petitioned this court for a writ of certiorari seeking review of an order allowing a local newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel, access to recordings of phone conversations from the jail between the defendants and their family members and other third parties, excluding counsel. We have consolidated the cases for review and grant the petitions. The newspaper sent a public records request to the Broward Sheriffs Office (BSO), asking for recordings of all the defendants' phone conversations since
Article I, section 24 of the Florida Constitution gives every person "the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received in connection with the official business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state, or persons acting on their behalf, except with respect to records exempted pursuant to this section or specifically made confidential by this Constitution." Section 119.011(12), Florida Statutes defines public records as "all documents, papers, letters, maps, books,
BENT v. STATE
46 So.3d 1047 (Fla.App. 4 Dlst. 2010)
tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connectian with the transactian of afficial business by any agency." (emphasis added).  The determination of whether something is a public record is a question of law subject to de novo review and is determined on a case-by-case basis. Stote v. City of Cleomooier; 863 80.2d 149, 151 (Fla.2003); Shevin v. Hyra//', Harless, Schaffer; Reid & Assocs., Inc; 379 So.2d 633, 640 (Fla.1980); Ragers v. Hood, 906 80.2d 1220 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005).  The Florida Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected the notion that "almost everything generated or received by a public agency" is a public record. City of Cleomoater; 863 80.2d at 154 (quoting Shevin, 379 80.2d at 640 and holding that personal e-mails transmitted or received by public employees on government-owned computer systems were not public records). Although the Legislature has broadened the definition, "public records" still refers to "records-that is, materials that have been prepared with the intent of perpetuating or formalizing knowledge" in connection with the transaction of official agency business. City of Clearwater, 863 So.2d at 154 (quoting Shevin). "The determining factor is the nature of the record, not its physical location." 863 80.2d at 154. See also Kight v. Dugger. 574 80.2d 1066, 1068-69 (Fla.l990) (holding that defense counsel's files in possession of the Office of the Capital Collateral Representative were not subject to public disclosure even though the records were received in connection with the transaction of official business because these are the private records of the defendant); Media General Operation. Inc. v. Feeney, 849
80.2d 3 (Fla. 1st DCA 2003) (agreeing that cellular phone records of private calls of staff employees did not constitute official business of the Florida House of Representatives).  As we have previously recognized, the purpose of the Public Records Act "is to open public records to allow Florida's citizens to discover the actions of their government." Christy v. Palm Beach Cnty. Sheriffs o'ffice, 698 So.2d 1365, 1366 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997). The newspaper argues the Public Records Act should be liberally construed in favor of access. Lightbourne v. McCol· lum, 969 80.2£1 326, 332-33 (Fla.2007); Dade A1Jiation Consultoni« v. Knight Ridder, Iuc., 800 80.2d 302, 304 (Fla. 3d DCA 2001). However, none of the cases cited by the newspaper involve any situation similar to the instant cases where criminal defendants are seeking a protective order in response to a public records request in order to ensure a fair trial and minimize prejudicial pretrial publicity. The "records" in these cases are recordings of phone calls minors made to family members and other third parties while the minors were in jail awaiting prosecution. General presumptions in favor of openness, which were intended to allow public oversight of government business, do not apply in this context. Here, the phone calls themselves are clearly not public records. The issue before us is whether BSO's recording of the calls converts them to public records. Although monitoring of inmate calls for security purposes is related to official business of the jail, maintaining recordings of purely personal calls is not. The recordings at issue are personal phone calls, as opposed to records generated by B80, such as mail logs or logs of phone numbers called. See City of Clearuiaier; 863 So.2d at 155. Un-
46 SOUTHERN ImpORTlm, 3d SERIES tioners' personal phone calls do not give the public access to information about the operations of a government agency. An inmate's personal phone calls do not in any way reflect the actions of government and releasing the calls would not further the purpose of the Public Records Act. Because the newspaper is not entitled to production of the recorded phone calls pursuant to the Public Records Act, we grant the petitions, quash the trial court's order, and remand these cases for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. POLEN, TAYLOR and MAY, JJ., concur.
less the contents of the call involve a crime or security risk, "perpetuating" or maintaining these sound recordings has no connection to any official business of BSO. BSO is not using the content of petitioners' calls to friends and family in the transaction of public business. In addition to housing convicted defendants who are serving sentences, the jail houses persons like petitioners, who are simply accused of crimes. Although inmates may have little expectation of privacy since they are informed the calls are subject to monitoring and recording, a lack of expectation of privacy does not affect whether the recordings are subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act. Citll of Clem'water, 863 So.2d at 154. Inmates receive no notice that calls may be disclosed to the general public. The expectation that a deputy or state attorney may listen to a call is very different from an expectation that anyone and everyone could listen to the calls. Sensitive or embarrassing information, or information that would otherwise be confidential, like financial information of the inmate or the person called, could be disclosed to the public. Treating the recordings as public records allows anyone to request the recorded calls. Moreover, an accused child should be able to consult with a parent without the communication becoming a public record. The sound recordings of inmate phone calls which are not investigative material do not perpetuate or formalize knowledge in connection with official action. If the contents of the phone calls do not actually involve criminal activity or a security breach, the recordings maintained by the sheriffs office are not "material prepared in connection with official agency business which is intended to perpetuate, communicate, or formalize knowledge." Sheoin; 379 So.2d at 640. The recordings of peti-
Ileana M. VALDES, Appellant, v. BARRY UNIVERSITY and Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., Appellees. No. 1009-4799. District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District. Sept. 30, 2010. Rehearing Denied Nov. 18, 2010. An appeal from an order of the Judge of Compensation Claims. Alan M. Kuker, Judge. Ileana M. Valdes, pro se, Appellant. Eduardo E. Neret of the Law Offices of Eduardo E. Neret, P.A, Miami, for Appellees.