Florida Courses on Rule 3.220 and Brady / Giglio - Legal and Ethical Obligations of Discovery in Criminal Cases

When was the last time you received a Brady Notice?

Many believe that prosecutors will start to take a different approach to disclosing Brady material as a result of the recent amendments to Rule 3.113. The courses are intended to teach defense attorneys to learn how to hold the prosecutor's feet to the fire.

Criminal defense attorneys in felony cases now have less than one year (until May 16, 2016) to complete a course covering the legal and ethical obligations of discovery in a criminal case, including the requirements of rule 3.220, and the principles established in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972).

The amendment to Rule 3.113 is relatively short so I cut and paste it below.

You can find several videos intended to meet this requirement on The Florida Bar’s website, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association’s website, and/or the Florida Public Defender Association’s website.

The Florida Public Defender Association's Website has a lot of valuable information on this topic including:

One important point I learned from the first FLPDA video (embedded below) is that when you know that the prosecutor has failed to disclose Brady material, instead of just telling the prosecutor you have it, file a motion demanding that they give you a copy of it.

As a criminal defense attorney, you are not obligated to say that you already have it. You might get a question from the judge about whether you already have the material or not. But that misses the point.

The prosecutor must disclose the Brady material. The defense attorney does not have to hunt down that which is not properly disclosed. Why? Because sometimes the defense attorney will miss it. The obligation is on the prosecutor to locate the information and provide it to the defense attorney without being asked for it.

Occasionally, I've frustrated by the fact that I find information on an officer's pending "separation" from his job for serious misconduct or a pending internal affairs investigation and I disclose it to the prosecutor and they tell me that they do not consider it Brady and are not distributing it to the Public Defender's Office or to private criminal defense attorneys with open cases involving that same officer.

Instead of getting frustrated, I should just file the motion to force them to disclose it to me (even through I might already have it). It might also lead to the discovery of related information that I do not have in my possession and have no way to obtain otherwise. That will also clarify their obligations in their other cases where the disclosure has not been made. If defense attorneys did that every time - it would start to change the way prosecutors think about their obligations.

Then we will all start to see those Brady Notices more often.

Videos on the Florida Public Defender Association's Website:





The Florida Public Defender Association's Website provides that "for viewing the CLE Brady v. Maryland courses produced by the FPDA, it is respectfully requested that attorneys make a minimum $25 donation to the Florida Innocence Project or the Exoneree Support Fund of the Innocence Project of Florida. Please visit www.FLORIDAINNOCENCE.ORG to make your donation on-line, or send a check to: the Innocence Project of Florida, 1100 East Park Avenue, Tallahassee, FL 32301. All contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law, as IPF is certified as a nonprofit organization under the Internal Revenue Service Act Section 501(c)(3); federal tax ID 20-0210812."

Various live CLE courses are also being offered to fulfill this requirement.

So when was the last time you received a Brady Notice? What did you learn from watching any of the videos or attending a live CLE course on this topic?





Supreme Court of Florida
____________
No. SC13-552
____________
IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA RULES OF CRIMINAL
PROCEDURE—RULE 3.113.
[May 15, 2014]

PER CURIAM.

    This matter is before the Court for consideration of proposed amendments to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 2(a), Fla. Const.
    At the Court’s request, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Court Steering Committee (Steering Committee) filed its petition in this case, proposing adoption of a new rule of criminal procedure, rule 3.113 (Minimum Standards for Attorneys in Felony Cases). The Steering Committee unanimously proposes the rule amendment. Following publication of the proposed new rule by the Court, comments were filed by the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee and the Florida Public Defender Association. As discussed below, having considered the Steering Committee’s petition and the comments filed, we adopt Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.113, as proposed by the Steering Committee.
    Rule 3.113 is intended to implement the Florida Innocence Commission’s recommendation that the criminal rules be amended to require that any attorney who is practicing law in a felony case complete at least a two-hour course regarding the law of discovery and Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) responsibilities. The new rule provides as follows:
Before an attorney may participate as counsel of record in the circuit court for any adult felony case, including postconviction proceedings before the trial court, the attorney must complete a course . . . of at least 100 minutes and covering the legal and ethical obligations of discovery in a criminal case, including the requirements of rule 3.220, and the principles established in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972).
     Trial judges, based upon their inherent authority to uphold the rules of procedure, are authorized to give effect to the rule by not appointing counsel, or removing counsel, in the event that counsel is not in compliance with the rule.
     Additionally, to ensure that qualified counsel will be available at the time this rule goes into effect, we provide that the rule will take effect two years from the date of this opinion.
    Accordingly, Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.113 is hereby adopted as reflected in the appendix to this opinion. The amendment shall become effective May 16, 2016, at 12:01 a.m.
    It is so ordered.

POLSTON, C.J., and PARIENTE, LEWIS, QUINCE, CANADY, LABARGA, and PERRY, JJ., concur.

THE FILING OF A MOTION FOR RE HEARING SHALL NOT ALTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THESE AMENDMENTS.

Original Proceedings–Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure

Hon. Kevin Emas, Chair, Criminal Court Steering Committee, Miami, Florida for Petitioner Melanie L. Casper, Chair, Criminal Procedure Rules Committee, West Palm
Beach, Florida; John F. Harkness, Jr., Executive Director, The Florida Bar, Tallahassee, Florida; and Paul E. Petillo, The Florida Public Defender Association, West Palm Beach, Florida,

    Responding with comments

APPENDIX

RULE 3.113. MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR ATTORNEYS IN FELONY CASES

     Before an attorney may participate as counsel of record in the circuit court for any adult felony case, including postconviction proceedings before the trial court, the attorney must complete a course, approved by The Florida Bar for continuing legal education credits, of at least 100 minutes and covering the legal and ethical obligations of discovery in a criminal case, including the requirements of rule 3.220, and the principles established in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972).

Criminal Court Steering Committee Commentary

    2014 Adoption. The Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction under Article V, section 15 of the Florida Constitution to “regulate the admission of persons to the practice of law and the discipline of persons admitted.” Implied in this grant of authority is the power to set minimum requirements for the admission to practice law, see In re Florida Board of Bar Examiners, 353 So. 2d 98 (Fla. 1977), as well as minimum requirements for certain kinds of specialized legal work. The Supreme Court has adopted minimum educational and experience requirements for attorneys in capital cases, see, e.g., rule 3.112, and for board certification in other specialized fields of law.
    The concept of a two-hour continuing legal education (CLE) requirement was proposed in the 2012 Final Report of the Florida Innocence Commission.
    The CLE requirement is not intended to establish any independent legal rights. Any claim of ineffective assistance of counsel will be controlled by Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).
    It is intended that The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association and The Florida Public Defender Association will develop a seminar that will be approved for CLE credit by The Florida Bar. It is also intended that attorneys will be able to electronically access that seminar, at no cost, via The Florida Bar’s website, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association’s website, and/or the Florida Public Defender Association’s website.
    The rule is not intended to apply to counsel of record in direct or collateral adult felony appeals.

Phantom "Hit and Run" Non-Contact Crash in Florida

What happens if your car did not actually come into contact with any other car involved in the crash? If you look in the rear view mirror and see a crash behind you are you required to stop and render aid? Can you be charged with "hit and run" if your vehicle never "hit" anything? In Florida, the answer is theoretically "yes."

You could be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony version of hit and run depending on whether injury occurred.

What is a Phantom Vehicle?

The Tampa Police Department in Florida has standard operating procedures that specifically address the phanton vehicle "hit and run" investigation (sometimes called the no contact "hit and run" or the non-contact "hit and run").

According to Wikipedia, "the phantom vehicle may refer to a supposed ghostly or haunted vehicle, or, for insurance purposes, a vehicle that causes injury, death, or damage without making physical contact."

Elements of the "No Hit - Hit and Run "

The standard operating procedures in Tampa, FL, provide that before a non-contact (phantom) vehicle can be considered a hit and run vehicle, the following facts must be established:

  1. the driver must have had some reasonable knowledge of its involvement in the crash;
  2.  the vehicle must have been a "direct cause" of the crash; and
  3. the vehicle did leave the scene to avoid its responsibility under Florida law.
The non-contact vehicle should only be listed if all of those facts are established by evidence or witness(es).

If the "no contact" vehicle (phantom vehicle) is not at the scene, then the law enforcement officers are suppose to treat the investigation as a hit and run. The non-contact hit and run can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. 

The non-contact vehicle is suppose to be listed last in the crash report. In most cases, the information about a non-contact "hit and run" vehicle is not entered into the statistical blocks of the crash report on the driver, vehicle or codes on phantom / non-contact or hit and run vehicles until this information can be verified.

Law enforcement agencies throughout the Tampa Bay area, including the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, and the Florida Highway Patrol use similar procedures. 

Finding an Attorney in Tampa for a Hit and Run Case

After a criminal investigation begins, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney before making any statements to law enforcement. The punishments for leaving the scene of a crash are very serious. Anything you say can and will be used against you.

If you are under investigation in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, or the surrounding counties of Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, or Hernando, then contact an experienced "hit and run" defense attorney in Tampa. Call 813-250-0500. 

Visit our office in Tampa, Florida
Sammis Law Firm
1005 N. Marion St.
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 250-0500