Throughout the pandemic, Gov. Ron DeSantis has declined to issue a statewide mask mandate. He also issued an executive order in September that suspended collection of fines and penalties related to violations of mask requirements, but that did not prevent local governments from continuing to have the requirements.
Circuit & County Court
In a legal test of remote court proceedings during the Covid-19 pandemic, an appeals court Wednesday rejected arguments that using Zoom technology in a probation-violation hearing would violate a defendant’s constitutional rights.
Conflicting Supreme Court cases gave convicted murdered Cornelius Baker hope that he could get a new sentencing trial and escape the death penalty, as have two previous Flagler death row inmates. But the conflicting cases, again reflecting the contradictions of Florida’s capital punishment laws, now leave his fate in an absurd twilight zone.
The decisions could apply to about 100 inmates, possibly including David Snelgrove of Palm Coast, who was removed from death row in January after his lawyer successfully argued for life without parole, and Cornelius Baker, whose hope for a new penalty-phase trial is still pending.
Oral arguments about Alachua County’s mask mandate before a three-judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeal Monday was a spectacle of audacious leaps and strange analogies that nevertheless illustrated the sharp and far from resolved divide between mask proponents and anti-maskers, including on the judicial bench.
The victim, a resident of Green Cove Springs who worked at a restaurant in St. Augustine, had filed an injunction against Derrek the day before the stabbing and after several intimidating and threatening incidents involving him.
The ruling by a panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected arguments by Brandon Joshua Bailey that the GPS evidence, which was obtained without a warrant, should be suppressed and his first-degree murder conviction should be overturned.
While all but ridiculing the county’s claim that it had broken the law by approving a lease amendment with Captain’s BBQ without putting it out to bid, Circuit Judge Perkins was far more receptive to the county’s claim that the amendment had not yet kicked in, and so could not have been breached. He all but drew a map for the county’s next attempt to dismiss the lawsuit, pending the taking of depositions.
The Alachua County case, which will be heard Nov. 23 by a panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal, could serve as a test for mask requirements that have been approved in various parts of the state.
Nathaniel Shimmel, 25, faces a 1st-degree murder charge in the stabbing death of his mother in 2017. He’s willing to plea to 30 to 50 years. The state wants 35 to life. The trial, the oldest on Flagler’s docket, keeps getting delayed despite that mere five-year gap in the negotiations.