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Canady orders annual report on criminal appeals

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Action complies with provisions in Marsy’s Law

Gavel GraphicSupreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady has issued an administrative order detailing how the state’s appellate courts will comply with criminal appeal time limits and reporting requirements set out in the Marsy’s Law victims’ right amendment approved by voters in November 2018.

The court had directed the Commission on District Court of Appeal Performance and Accountability’s Workgroup on Appellate Court Reporting Requirements to study the amendment.

Aside from defining victim’s rights, the Marsy’s Law amendment requires that all state court non-capital appeals must be completed within two years and capital appeals within five years, unless a specific order is entered giving reasons for the delay. Annual reports on appeals that don’t meet the time standards are required to be delivered to the speaker of the House and the Senate president.

Canady’s November 22 order covers all criminal or juvenile cases pending on or after January 8, 2019. It also defines how starting and completion dates for appeals will be calculated, and how cases will be identified in the required annual report.

All five district court of appeal clerks and the Supreme Court clerk are required to generate an annual report of the prior fiscal year’s (July 1-June 30) cases covered under the amendment by July 15 with specified case data and according to a template developed by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.

“The Chief Justice will develop a branch-wide annual report and submit it to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives,” the order said.

The complete text of the order can be found at https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/content/download/543759/6127076/AOSC19-76.pdf.

The Marsy’s Law section on appeals reads: “All state-level appeals and collateral attacks on any judgment must be complete within two years from the date of appeal in non-capital cases and five years in capital cases, unless a court enters an order with specific findings as to why the court was unable to comply with this subparagraph and the circumstances causing the delay. Each year, the chief judge of any district court of appeal or the chief justice of the supreme court shall report on a case-by-case basis to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate all cases where the court entered an order regarding inability to comply with this subparagraph. The legislature may enact legislation to implement this subparagraph.”

The Legislature has not yet enacted implementing legislation for any Marsy’s Law provision.

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