Archive for August, 2012

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Florida Drug Statute is CONSTITUTIONAL, at Least in STATE Court

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

The Florida Supreme Court has decided that the state drug statute (chapter 893) is constitutional as to the knowledge element. In a previous blog, we discussed how a federal court in Florida declared the statute UNconstitutional, leaving it up to question what state courts would do with the ruling. Now we know.  This is an example of different sovereigns (federal v. state) interpreting a statute differently.

After the federal ruling in Shelton, Florida defense attorneys were unsure whether to have clients plea to drug possession charges or file motions to dismiss.  Many such motions were filed and argued.  Although the ruling is not what defense attorneys were hoping for, at least now there is a little more clarity on the issue.

The Florida decision is State v. Adkins, et al (SC11-1878).  It was decided on July 12, 2012.

In a dissenting opinion, J. Perry wrote: “The majority opinion sets alarming precedent, both in the context of section 893.13 and beyond.  It makes neither legal nor common sense to me, offends all notions of due process, and threatens core principles of the presumption of innocence and burden of proof.”

~This post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.~

~At Matthews Law Firm, P.A., we practice criminal law in central Florida.~

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