BREAKING NEWS! We have just learned that our clients have successfully challenged the same sex marriage ban in Florida. Judge Hinkle issued his 33 page opinion, today, declaring Florida's ban to be unconstitutional. In doing so he noted, " To paraphrase a civil-rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was first struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice." In the words of Leonard Cohen, "hallelujah!"
Section 760.065, Florida Statutes, creates the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Recently, the Florida Commission on Human Relations has selected its top nominees for induction and has forwarded those names to the Governor for consideration. Mr. Sheppard is humbled to have been selected for nomination for this honor, especially since this is the inaugural year of the award.
In a case of great significance, this week the Florida Supreme Court rejected the use of evidence obtained through the warrantless search of a cell phone. In Smallwood v. Florida, ___ So.3d ___, 38 Fla.L.Weekly 5271a (Fla. May 2, 2013), a case originating in Duval County, the accused was charged with armed robbery of a convenience store. After identifying a potential suspect in the robbery, an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Smallwood and, during the course of his arrest, seized a cell phone from him. Without first obtaining a search warrant, the officer proceeded to access and search data on the phone, which led to the discovery of five photographs allegedly linking Mr. Smallwood to the robbery. These photographs were admitted at Mr. Smallwood's trial and he was convicted.