From a water fight to a guns bill passed after the mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the courts are grappling with a number of important legal issues in Florida. Here are five cases to be seen in 2021:
– Apalachicola Water War: The US Supreme Court is raised over water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system in February in a long-running battle between Florida and Georgia in February unites both states, listen to arguments. Florida claims Georgia is using too much water from the system and is damaging the Apalachicola River and the long-known oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay. If Florida is ultimately successful, the fall could result in restrictions on the water used by Georgia farmers for irrigation. Federal appeals judge Paul Kelly, a Supreme Court-appointed special master, dealt a blow to Florida in December 2019 when he said Florida had not sufficiently demonstrated that water use in Georgia was causing problems in the Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay.
– Conviction of a former congressman: After she was found guilty of fraud and tax charges related to charitable fraud in 2017, the US 11th Court of Appeals will hear arguments in February about former congressman Corrine Brown’s attempt to overturn her conviction. The appeal centers on Brown’s arguments that a juror was improperly replaced during the jury’s deliberations after he said the « Holy Spirit » told him that Brown was not guilty. Brown’s lawyers allege that US District Judge Timothy Corrigan’s decision to replace the juror who was discriminated against on grounds of religion deprived the former Democratic congressman of her constitutional rights. However, prosecutors argue that the man told the jury at the beginning of the deliberations that the Holy Spirit told him Brown was not guilty and that he had not properly weighed the evidence in the case.
– Guns Act: In one case, which began after the 2018 mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the National Rifle Association is challenging a law in Florida preventing people under the age of 21 from buying guns. Shortly after the Parkland School shooting, state lawmakers and the then government became. Rick Scott approved a far-reaching measure that includes banning the purchase of guns by anyone under the age of 21. The NRA was quick to challenge the ban, claiming that the law violates the second amendment and rights of equal protection. Federal law prevents licensed arms dealers from selling handguns to anyone under the age of 21. However, Florida law continued to prohibit the purchase of rifles and other long guns by those of this age group. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker was due to hold a trial in January, but the trial has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
– Local Gun Restrictions: The State 1st District Court of Appeals has pondered a case for months , which challenged a 2011 law that faces harsh penalties for city and county officials to approve gun regulations. Florida has prevented cities and counties from enacting regulations that are stricter than state gun laws, a concept known as the « right of first refusal » of local gun laws, since 1987. The 2011 bill was intended to strengthen preliminary ruling through additional penalties, such as the ability to fined local officials up to $ 5,000 and possible impeachment for passing gun laws. Cities, counties, and locally elected officials challenged the sentences following the 2018 mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, arguing that the sentences scared local officials into promoting gun measures that the 1987 law may not prevent will. The Tallahassee-based Appeals Court heard arguments in July.
– Medical marijuana licenses: Florida Supreme Court justices are considering whether the state has one in a case that could have important implications for the medical marijuana industry 2016 constitutional amendment that largely legalized marijuana for patients has properly implemented. The lower courts have joined in the case of Florigrown, a Tampa-based company, which argues that a 2017 state law is contrary to constitutional amendment. Florigrown has unsuccessfully applied for approval from the Florida Department of Health to become a licensed medical marijuana operator. The case focused in part on a requirement that lawmakers added to the 2017 law that medical marijuana companies must be able to handle all aspects of the business, including the cultivation, processing and distribution of products – a concept known as a “vertical integration system. Florigrown argues that this was not the intent of the constitutional amendment and that a vertical integration system limits the number of companies that can participate in the industry. The Supreme Court held two rounds of arguments in 2020. Florida Intelligence provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other heads of state with comprehensive, objective information about state government activities year-round.
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Editor: Peter Schorsch
Contributing & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A. G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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