Bill would take criminal rules making ability from the court

first_img Bill would take criminal rules making ability from the court Mark D. Killian The Florida Bar News The House Criminal Justice Committee March 16 moved legislation that would send to voters a constitutional amendment to strip the Supreme Court of its ability to write procedural rules relating to violations of criminal law – including those committed by juveniles – and postconviction proceedings.Instead, Rep. Dick Kravitz, R-Orange Park, the committee’s chair, said HJR 1007 would create a judicial conference to propose rules of procedure governing those areas of law, similar to the process used to create procedural rules in the federal courts. The joint resolution also provides that a court may not require or authorize collateral or postconviction judicial review of a criminal judgment or sentence except as provided by general law or rule of procedure adopted in accordance with the amendment. The bill would not alter the court’s authority to adopt procedural rules in other areas of law.The committee moved the resolution on a 5-3 vote.“The basic premise of this joint resolution is the promulgation of court rules of procedure should not erode the ability of this legislature to determine matters of public policy,” Kravitz said. “The current system is inadequate to protect the legislature’s ability to set public policy.”As an example, Kravitz cited the court’s finding that the Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000 was an unconstitutional encroachment on the court’s exclusive power to adopt rules for practice and procedure, thus impairing the legislature’s ability to address the time delays in death penalty cases. Now, he said, the legislature has no authority to limit how many postconviction motions can be filed in a capital case and cannot limit the amount of time that a defendant has to file a motion.“I think a logical interpretation of the constitution is that court rules are to simply implement statutory law and constitutional rights,” Kravitz said. “We, of course, may repeal a rule by a two-thirds vote, but the Supreme Court can readopt the same rule almost immediately. The court did this very thing in Allen v. Butterworth when it threw out the Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000.”doing that, Kravitz said, the court prevented the legislature from making “much needed reforms” to the death penalty post conviction appeal process.Kravitz said that authority has empowered the court to unilaterally decide which issues are procedural and, therefore, beyond the legislature’s control.(The committee also voted 8-0 to move the HB 1005, known as the Death Penalty Reform Act. It reenacts the provisions of the Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000, which were struck down by the court. It advances the start of the state postconviction process in capital cases by requiring the appointment of counsel while the case is on direct appeal, known as a “dual track” or “parallel track” process. The bill creates statutory time limitations on the filing of postconviction actions and limits the filing of successive postconviction claims. HB 1005 is tied to HJR 1007 in that it is contingent on the voter’s approval of HJR 1007.)Kravitz said HJR 1007 would bring Florida in line with the federal model and those used in Texas, California, and New York where those legislatures play a role in crafting the court system’s procedural rules.“So are they wrong and we are currently correct with our system?” Kravitz asked. “I and many others think not and hope this committee will agree.”Rep. Marcelo Llorente, R-Miami, urged his colleagues to reject the resolution saying that while the legislature should have a role in the court’s rule-making process “these rules in the fashion that are being described today by this joint resolution is completely impractical.”Llorente said any proposal that takes away the court’s ability to promulgate procedural rules “will still violate the separation of powers doctrine.”Addressing the committee before the vote, former Chief Justice Major Harding argued the proposed resolution would be a significant change in the way the courts have conducted business over the past 30 years in regard to the checks and balances between the three branches of government.“In the last 30 years the court has only undone a statute because it encroached on rule-making eight times,” Harding said, noting that in five of those instances, the court only made the change because it was conforming the rules to new legislation.Harding said the court has a long history of being deferential to the wishes of the legislature and that the court’s current rules-making procedures provide an opportunity “each step of the way” for any number of different opinions to be expressed. He also said the court holds oral arguments before adopting any procedural rules to provide everyone an opportunity to weigh in.“I think it is significant that anyone – the legislature, the executive, attorneys, the public – can be heard at any level of the rule-making process,” Harding said. “The system we have developed over the past 30 years is expeditious. . . and inexpensive to the public.”Harding noted in the federal system, it regularly takes two to three years to change a rule.Steve Metz, the Bar’s chief legislative counsel, told the committee that when a similar proposal was considered a year ago, “We offered as a Bar to amend our rules to have legislators and legislative staff sit on every one of these committees so you were in on the front end of any rulemaking the court does and that your input could, therefore, be considered right up front.“Unfortunately, the legislature decided not to take us up on that offer,” Metz said, adding even so, the Bar proposed a rule now pending with the court that would require the governor, speaker of the House, and Senate president be formerly notified of any proposed procedural rule amendments.“I do not believe there is evidence of a system that is not working,” Metz said.The measure also has been referred to the House Justice Appropriations Committee and the House Justice Council.A similar measure in the Senate, SJR 1942, has not yet been refereed to any committees.The joint resolution must pass by a three-fifths vote of each chamber of the legislature before it could be placed on the November 2006 ballot. 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The Utah Jazz say Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan has died at 78

first_img Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditSALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz say Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan has died at 78.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 The Utah Jazz say Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan has died at 78center_img May 22, 2020last_img