Friday Florida Law Update- Habeas Corpus

TGIF everyone, and welcome back to the blog!  Having some technical difficulties here, so please forgive the lack of visual enhancements (will fix on Monday!).   On Fridays we discuss a Florida appellate decision from the preceding week.

Today, we discuss the case of Henry v. Santana, 2011 WL 1584605 (Fla. Apr. 28, 2011), a decision from the Florida Supreme Court.  Henry involved an appeal of a trial court ruling dismissing sua sponte the pro se petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus.

Now first, I feel like a quick Latin lesson is in order for any non-lawyers in the audience!  Sua sponte refers to orders issued by the Court without a preceding motion filed by one of the parties.  In other words, the judge acted on its own.  Pro se, as you have probably heard, refers to when a party represents itself without an attorney in an action.  Any individual may appear pro se but a corporation may not.  Habeas corpus takes on multiple forms in the law but the most common application, including the one presented here, is an inmate applying for release from imprisonment.

With that lesson behind us, we can carry on!  Now, if you have been reading this blog, you know that I do not handle any criminal law and therefore never blog about it.  I have two responses to that.  One, a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus is technically a civil matter, and the point of law in this case is civil in nature.  Second, if you saw what I had to choose from this week, you’d understand!!  I could not bare yet another case about condominiums or foreclosure!!

In Henry, the prisoner sought release based on his claim that he had received insufficient credit for time served prior to his sentencing.  Though he apparently satisfied his administrative remedies prior to filing suit (applying for release through administrative channels as required by statute), he failed to “plead” that he had done so as part of his petition.  Though the Department of Corrections did not raise the failure to plead it as a defense, the trial court, on his own, dismissed the case.  On appeal, both the Court of Appeals and eventually, the Florida Supreme Court, disagreed with the trial court’s ruling on two grounds.  First, the Supreme Court held that “failure to exhaust administrative remedies” is an affirmative defense that is waived if not pled by the defendant.  Second, the Court called for some greater leniency when it comes to scrutinizing pro se pleadings.

The Supreme Court of Florida clearly got this one right, and it was disappointing to see it have to get this far.  I mean, the petitioner satisfied his statutory requirements, he just technically failed to plead that he did so.  Give me a break!

See you next week, folks, it’s great to be back!

Explore posts in the same categories: Florida Law Updates

4 Comments on “Friday Florida Law Update- Habeas Corpus”

  1. K O'Malley Says:

    Gratz on the nuptials and welcome back, i missed my daily dose of Salner

    Interesting case, but i disagree. A person who represents themselves chooses to do so of their own accord, and then is essentially pleading ineffective assistance of counsel. While on the facts of the case i certainly think justice is served and he should be released, the legal precedent is dangerous.

    I do however agree that the original court acting Sua Sponte was highly inappropriate in this case given that the issue was not raised by the defense either, as it shows a lack of impartiality by the bench.

    • Craig Salner Says:

      Hi Kev, thanks as always for your interest and comments. First off, congrats on the new addition to the family!!! John and Shannon told me about it at the wedding. That’s super news, man, what a blessing.

      Believe me I have taken your stance on pro se pleadings many times, as we deal with it all the time. Usually, the pleadings are just an utter trainwreck. In this instance, substantively the prisoner went through the steps he was required to go through, he just simply did not meet the formality of pleading that he had. Even if he was properly called out on it by the other side, the petitioner 99.9% of the time has the opportunity to correct the pleading, which is probably why the respondent did not waste the time and money of challenging it.

      What did you think of Celebrity Apprentice last night? Aside from missing the last 15 minutes like we did because of the announcement of course 🙂

  2. K O'Malley Says:

    So I caught the whole Celeb Apprentice on OnDemand today. Great episode, great TV Drama. Hope is nothing but a pretty face, and Trump’s comments that he thinks she is a star were hilarious. She has ZERO personality, no runway skills, no singing skills….. if it werent for her legs and a great plastic surgeon she would be doing very well at a hooters in South Carolina.

    I am intrigued by the return of Latoya, as it probably means the end of one of the men (i cant see her coming in and being fired the next boardroom). I am surprised they havent mixed the teams up before, maybe they will now.

    Jon Rich should be the heavy favorite. I think Marlee will make it out from the women’s side. Nene can’t win now, and Star will have a tough time. Lil Jon also has a great shot.

    • Craig Salner Says:

      I agree that Hope was not a threat to win the whole competition, so her firing was a “no harm, no foul” situation. She was the type who never did anything wrong to really warrant getting fired, but definitely woulda been the first to go once it got down to 4 or 5 and the interviewing process began.

      I did think her firing on this occasion was a joke though. Typical ratings sell-out move by The Donald, as Nene should have been fired on the spot after that ridiculous rant at the start of the task. As I have mentioned before, he has an apparent affinity for people with no control of their temper, mistaking childish behavior for “tenacity.” Even when he learned of Nene insulting LaToya and calling her “Casper,” he described it as a “strong statement.” WHAT!!???

      Plus, after applying the “who screwed up this task?” approach that he has always used and wrongfully did so to fire McGrath over Busey, he then for two straight episodes totally ignored the shortcomings of the two previous project managers (Jones and Leakes) in favor of eliminating perceived weak players. Maddening inconsistency.

      I don’t know what to think about the LaToya comeback. I don’t think she deserved to get fired and also was a very strong player in the RV and Australian Gold tasks, and didn’t get enough credit for donating that Michael Jackson T-shirt in Marlee’s fundraising task (I thought Marlee should’ve given that $99K to LaToya’s charity). However, to just let her back in is weird.

      I have to stand by my original final of John Rich and Marlee Matlin. Lil’ Jon is a strong player but I really didn’t think much of his work as a PM on the last task. I’d like to see him show a little more range than to just come out and be like “Wasssssuuuupppppp New Yoooooooooooork!!” every single time. I think he won the last task due to some very good production value work by Meat Loaf and a cool though overrated idea by John Rich to call Niki Taylor. (I’m sorry but to the current pop world, Niki Taylor just isn’t a big deal). Nene and Star are both cooked, and I think Meat Loaf is too much of a basket case, like Busey-Lite….


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