Move to repeal a criminal procedure rule fails Senate lets die a measure that would have altered when retardation is determined in death cases May 15, 2006 Regular News Move to repeal a criminal procedure rule fails Mark D. Killian Managing Editor A bill to overturn a criminal procedural rule on when to determine whether a murder defendant is retarded cleared the Florida House April 25, but died when the Senate failed to take it up as the legislative session wound down.Representatives voted 83-34, the two-thirds needed, to revoke Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.203, which was approved by the court in 2004. The Senate companion, SB 1904, sponsored by Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, who is also a candidate for governor, was reported favorably by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and was before the Senate Judiciary Committee when the session ended.The bills said the determination should be made after trial in potential death penalty cases where the defendant claims retardation. In a concurring opinion to the court’s 2004 ruling, Justice Raoul Cantero argued the pretrial determination would provide for the most efficient use of judicial and legal resources.The legislature in 2001 approved a law banning execution of the mentally retarded, but said the determination should be made in the penalty phase of a death case, after the defendant is convicted in the trial. A year later, the U.S. Supreme Court held that executing the mentally retarded violated the U.S. Constitution.“This bill repeals a rule of procedure adopted by the court which is in conflict with the statute that we voted on,” said Rep. Dick Kravitz, R-Orange Park, the measure’s sponsor, adding that it is not efficient to hold hearings on retardation in capital cases until a defendant is convicted.“Under the statute the hearing would not be needed in any of the following circumstances — if the jury recommended a life sentence, where the defendant was convicted of a lesser charge, or the defendant was acquitted,” Kravitz said.Rep. Chris Smith, D-Ft. Lauderdale, however, argued it would be more fiscally responsible to have retardation hearings pretrial to know before the trial begins if the death penalty can be imposed.Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Pompano Beach, said there were 962 capital defendants last year and in about one-third of those cases the issue of mental retardation was raised. He said holding the retardation hearing on the front end would save up to $3 million in penalty phase hearings and trial costs in capital cases. He also asserted the bill was never properly referred to an appropriate fiscal committee and moved the bill be sent to one before a floor vote. That motion was defeated.Kravitz responded that the staff analysis of his bill found no fiscal impact and asked legislators not to confuse the issue of mental competency to stand trial, performed at the front end, with the post-trial determination of mental retardation.Rep. Bruce Kyle, R-Ft. Myers also noted the Supreme Court never struck down the statute requiring post-trial mental retardation determination.“They never said it was unconstitutional or wrong,” Kyle said. “They just said, ‘You know what? We are just going to choose to ignore the policy that you passed and put into the statutes on how to handle this process.’ And [the court] put in a rule. The issue really is: Do you want to repeal the rule and stand with the current law that was already debated and passed by you or go with what the Supreme Court decided legislatively on its own as the appropriate process for this?”Smith, however, said, “This is one case where the people who actually try the cases; people that actually do the work; people who actually look at this day-to-day said, ‘You know what? That is actually backwards the way the legislature is trying to do this. So we are going to save the state some money and do the right thing. We are going to set this rule the way it should be.’ Let’s not just get excited about their methodology and ignore their reasoning. Let’s not get so high and mighty as a legislature and get our dander up because the Supreme Court did something that is common sense.”Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, said the court should not have overridden the intent of the legislature in this situation. “So it is an important statement about how our three branches of government are supposed to work,” Kottkamp said.
FOLLOW US Associated Press Television News COMMENT WATCH US LIVE First Published: 14th August, 2020 10:49 IST Written By Tua Tagovailoa was easy to identify Thursday even though he wore teammate Ryan Fitzpatrick’s jersey and a mask to his first media session of training camp.The mask was protective, and in a way the jersey was, too. Tagovailoa is happy to keep a low profile befitting his rookie status, even though he’s widely hailed as the Miami Dolphins’ future franchise quarterback.A former star at Alabama, Tagovailoa knows how to deal with the pressure of great expectations.“I think the best way to handle it is really not pay attention to it,” he said.But Tagovailoa will be difficult to overlook because he’s full of potential and personality. The latter was evident when he stepped in front of a media Zoom camera wearing Fitzpatrick’s No. 14, rather than his own No. 1.“I thought I could break ice making you guys laugh,” Tagovailoa said with a grin.The 37-year-old Fitzpatrick is the team’s 2019 most valuable player and the likely starter in the season opener at New England a month from Thursday, because the Dolphins have good reason to transition carefully to Tagovailoa.There are lingering questions about the career-threatening hip injury that ended his Alabama career in November, and Tagovailoa himself wonders how well he’ll hold up when tackling starts. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic slowed the development of all rookies by wiping out NFL offseason programs.“Tua is going to develop quickly or slowly, depending upon how much he grasps the offense, how quickly he comes along and how he develops,” new Miami offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. “A lot of that’s based on health. We’ll treat him just like we treat everybody else, and we’ll try to put him in a position to be successful when the time comes.”Tagovailoa has repeatedly said his focus is on learning the Dolphins’ playbook and building relationships, not on how long he’s Fitzpatrick’s understudy.“They’re going to put the team in the best position possible,” Tagovailoa said. “If that’s me supporting someone, that’s what it’s going to be.”As to whether his surgically repaired hip will hold up to contact, Tagovailoa conceded doubts will be there until he starts to play — and maybe longer.“To answer that question honestly, you just never know until it actually happens,” he said. “I won’t know the feeling until I do get tackled. It’s that trial-and-error thing. You’ve got to go out and do it to know whether it does hurt or it doesn’t.“As far as how I feel right now, everything is going well.”That’s what the Dolphins want to hear. They took Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall draft pick, the highest they’ve used on a quarterback since selecting future Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese in 1967.So Tagovailoa’s not likely to remain No. 2 to Fitzpatrick for too long. In the meantime, the rookie and veteran have bonded, with Fitzpatrick — a father of seven — embracing the role of mentor to his eventual replacement.“I got to meet his family two days ago,” Tagovailoa said. “It was pretty funny. We were on FaceTime. Everyone is scattered around the house, and he introduces me to his kids and then his wife. He’s like, ‘This is everyone, this is my family.’ Lo and behold, he forgets two of them.”Fitzpatrick might lose track of his own kids, but there’s no overlooking Tagovailoa, the backup quarterback for now and perhaps the face of the franchise for years to come.NOTES: The Dolphins will wear a jersey patch this season to commemorate Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, who died in May. The patch will feature Shula’s name and “347” to signify his career victory total, an NFL record.Image credits: AP LIVE TV SUBSCRIBE TO US Last Updated: 14th August, 2020 10:49 IST Dolphins’ Tagovailoa Is A Playful, Willing Backup — For Now Tua Tagovailoa was easy to identify Thursday even though he wore teammate Ryan Fitzpatrick’s jersey and a mask to his first media session of training camp