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Ricky Polston

Justices reject resentencing in 1976 murder

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In a case stemming from the 1976 strangulation of a 13-year-old girl, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected arguments that a Death Row inmate should receive a new sentencing hearing. The arguments by attorneys for inmate James Ernest Hitchcock were rooted in a major 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling and subsequent Florida decisions that have led to requiring unanimous jury recommendations before defendants can be sentenced to death.

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Progressive groups sue over Rick Scott’s judicial appointment power

in 2017/Top Headlines by

When Gov. Rick Scott appointed a conservative jurist to the state’s Supreme Court in December, he made clear he wasn’t done. “I will appoint three more justices the morning I finish my term,” he said, referring to the mandatory retirement in early 2019 of the court’s liberal-leaning triumvirate of Justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy A. Quince and R. Fred Lewis. Now, two progressive organizations are saying to Scott: Prove you can. They say he can’t. The League of Women Voters of Florida (LWVF)…

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Senate budges little in initial gambling negotiation

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Saying he wanted to “start taking small steps,” state Sen. Bill Galvano on Monday tendered the first offer in the Legislature’s negotiation on a gambling bill this year. The initial tender, though it largely maintains what’s in the Senate’s bill, also would classify contentious “pre-reveal” games as slot machines, and would limit two new slots facilities to either Broward or Miami-Dade counties. A circuit court ruling last month against the state said entertainment devices that look and play like slot machines, called “pre-reveal” games,…

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Gambling deal may come down to slots question

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Seeing it as the “lesser of various evils” to pass a gambling bill this year, the House may give in to the Senate’s position to legislatively approve new slot machines in counties that passed referendums allowing them, according to those familiar with the negotiations. As of early Monday, the Conference Committee on Gaming was set to meet later in the day at 1:30 p.m., though an official notice had not yet gone out. The House and Senate are far apart on their respective gambling…

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If another SCOTUS opening occurs, will Charles Canady get a serious look?

in 2017 by

According to Sen. Charles Grassley, the U.S. Supreme Court may need to fill another opening this summer. The Iowa Republican, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not name names, but rumors are swirling it could be the Court’s swing vote, 80-year-old Anthony Kennedy. If that occurs, President Trump will go back to his list of 21 potential nominees, now numbering 20 after  the elevation of Neil Gorsuch. Rumored to be on the short list before Gorsuch’s selection was Judge William…

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Mike Huckabee’s mission: To keep the world from ‘spoiling’

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Mike Huckabee

Now that he’s dispensed with the possibility of running for political office again, former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says he just wants to be a cultural “preservative.” Huckabee – a Christian minister, former Arkansas governor and now Walton County resident – spoke to reporters before his appearance at Wednesday’s Legislative Prayer Breakfast in Tallahassee. Huckabee ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2016. His daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, now is deputy White House press secretary for President Donald Trump. Earlier…

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Supreme Court throws out school vouchers case

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The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will not take up an appeal on a high-profile school vouchers case. The decision comes as a major setback to vouchers opponents, including the Florida Education Association (FEA), the statewide teachers’ union, but was applauded by school choice advocates. (Separate story on the FEA’s reaction here.) The court denied a request to review the case, but did not comment on its merits. “No motion for rehearing will be entertained by the Court,” its 2-paragraph order said. “Who is…

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