THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
OYEZ OYEZ OYEZ, THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE IS NOW IN SESSION .....
Today begins the annual migration to Tallahassee for the 160 elected legislators, (120 in the House and 40 in the Senate) as the two chambers decide how many more laws they can pass in just 60 days. The Spring Session of the 2015 Legislature begins with the banging of the gavel at 10:00 AM this morning. The House and Senate go into a joint session for Governor Scott's State of the State at 11:00 AM. The Spring Session is scheduled to end on Friday, May 1st.
During the next 60 days, your elected leaders will consider dozens of bills that could have a direct affect on the criminal justice system. Here is just a sampling:
HB 0001 Relating to Texting While Driving
Revises penalties for violations of Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law; provides enhanced penalties for such violations when committed in school zone or school crossing; removes requirement that specified provisions be enforced as secondary action.
HB 0009 Relating to Use Of Wireless Comm. Device While Operating a Motor Vehicle
Provides that vehicular manslaughter includes causing death of human being or unborn child while operating motor vehicle & using wireless communications device.
SB 0090 Relating to Jury Composition
Requiring a 12-member jury for life felony cases, etc.
HB 0121 Relating to Employment of Felons
Provides corporate income tax credit for employment of person previously convicted of felony;
HB 0131 Relating to Use of Intercepted Wire or Oral Communications as Evidence
Creates exception to prohibition on use of intercepted wire or oral communications as evidence for prosecutions for acts of sexual abuse involving certain minor victims.
SB 0134 Relating to Lifetime Electronic Monitoring of Sex Offenders
Establishing the lifetime electronic monitoring program within the Department of Law Enforcement; requiring the implementation of an electronic monitoring system to monitor sex offenders sentenced to lifetime electronic monitoring;
HB 0139 Relating to Sentencing in Capital Felonies
Requires that advisory sentence of death be made by unanimous recommendation of jury after defendant's conviction or adjudication of guilt;
HB 0195 Relating to Prosecution of Juveniles
Revises age-based criteria & offenses for which discretionary direct file of information against child may be made in adult court; prohibits filing of information on child otherwise eligible if it is child's first offense unless there are compelling reasons;
HB 0235 Relating to Restitution
Requires child's parent or guardian, in addition to child, to make restitution for damage or loss caused by child's offense;
HB 0267 Relating to Confidential Informants
Requires law enforcement agency that uses confidential informants to adopt policies & procedures providing reasonable protective measures & requires agencies to refer certain prospective & current informants to substance abuse prevention or treatment;
SB 0276 Relating to Arrest Booking Photographs
Prohibiting a person who publishes or disseminates an arrest booking photograph through a publicly accessible print or electronic medium from soliciting or accepting payment of a fee or other consideration to remove, correct, or modify such photograph;
HB 0289 Relating to Boating Under the Influence
Provides that conviction for BUI be recorded in person's driving record; provides that convictions for BUI are considered prior convictions for DUI; provides that conviction for BUI be reported to DHSMV; provides that convictions for DUI are considered prior convictions for BUI.
SB 0440 Relating to Contraband Forfeiture
Requiring that seizure or forfeiture of property be incidental to an arrest under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, etc.
SB 0444 Relating to Prosecution Of Juveniles
Revising the age-based criteria and the offenses for which the discretionary direct file of an information against a child may be made in adult court; prohibiting the filing of an information on a child otherwise eligible if it is the child’s first offense unless there are compelling reasons,
SB 1176 Relating to Recreational Marijuana
Renaming the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation; creating provisions relating to recreational marijuana; exempting certain activities involving marijuana from use and possession offenses; authorizing persons age 21 and over to engage in certain activities involving personal use of marijuana in limited amounts;
SB 1192 Relating to Penalties For Driving Under The Influence
Providing that a court may order a transdermal monitor device or treatment program, or both, in lieu of an ignition interlock device
HB 4019 Relating to Use of Force
Deletes provisions specifying that person has no duty to retreat & has right to stand his or her ground & meet force with force in certain circumstances.
If you would like to track any of these bills, you can go here and view the history of the bill.
NORTH OF THE BORDER .....
You may recall that some of Broward County's robed ones have recently been reported to have had a drinking problem. One of them, Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Imperato, was found guilty of DUI last December following her trial in Palm Beach County. In that case, she was sentenced to One Year of Probation with twenty days of House Arrest. This was Imperato's second DUI as she was previously convicted in 1988.
Now, the JQC is recommending a 20 day unpaid suspension, a public reprimand, a $5,000 fine, and alcohol treatment. Judge Imperato has agreed to the recommended penalties. Now it is up to the Florida Supreme Court to decide whether to accept the stipulation.
The DBR covers the entire saga here.
CAPTAIN OUT .......