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RECENT RELEASES - FLORIDA SUPREME COURT
CRIMINAL LAW--MURDER--DEATH PENALTY--POST CONVICTION RELIEF. The Court held that the post conviction court erroneously granted the defendant a new guilt phase in a murder trial, but properly granted a new penalty phase on the ground that defense counsel was ineffective for failure to adequately investigate and prepare for the penalty phase and failure to present mental health and social background mitigating evidence.
WRONGFUL DEATH--MEDICAL MALPRACTICE--PRESUIT REQUIREMENTS.
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The Court held to be unconstitutional those portions of statutory amendments which authorize secret, ex parte interviews between a medical malpractice claimant's health care providers and the potential defendant, and provide that if a claimant's attorney fails to schedule a requested interview, the prospective defendant or his lawyers may unilaterally and without notice schedule the claimant's health care providers for interview without any notice to claimant. The provisions were found to violate the constitutional right of privacy and to unconstitutionally condition a claimant's right of access to courts on a waiver of the right of privacy. Further, after a decedent's death, the decedent and the decedent's estate maintain a right to privacy concerning matters that occurred prior to death, and this right may be asserted by the administrator of the decedent's estate. The unconstitutional portions of the statutes were found to be severable from the remainder of the statutes.VIEW OPINION (login required)