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Andrews v. State

Supreme Court of Florida

May 17, 2018

U'DREKA ANDREWS, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Respondent.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED.

          Application for Review of the Decision of the District Court of Appeal - Certified Great Public Importance First District - Case Nos. 1D16-733 (Leon County)

          Michael Ufferman of Michael Ufferman Law Firm, P.A., Tallahassee, Florida; and Crystal McBee Frusciante of Frusciante Law Firm, P.A., Sunrise, Florida, for Petitioner .

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Charmaine M. Millsaps, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, for Respondent .

          Sonya Rudenstine, Gainesville, Florida, and Whitney Untiedt of Akerman, LLP, Miami, Florida; and Roseanne Eckert of FIU College of Law, Miami, Florida, Amici Curiae Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Florida Juvenile Resentencing and Review Project .

          POLSTON, J.

         In this review of the First District Court of Appeal's decision in Andrews v. State, 218 So.3d 466 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017), we consider whether indigent defendants represented by pro bono counsel should be treated the same as defendants represented by private counsel or public defenders, both of whom do not have to reveal details about their hiring of experts to the prosecution. Specifically, the First District certified the following question:

WHETHER AN INDIGENT DEFENDANT WHO IS REPRESENTED BY PRIVATE COUNSEL PRO BONO IS ENTITLED TO FILE MOTIONS PERTAINING TO THE APPOINTMENT AND COSTS OF EXPERTS, MITIGATION SPECIALISTS, AND INVESTIGATORS EX PARTE AND UNDER SEAL, WITH SERVICE TO THE JUSTICE ADMINISTRATIVE COMMISSION AND NOTICE TO THE STATE ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, AND TO HAVE ANY HEARING ON SUCH MOTIONS EX PARTE, WITH ONLY THE DEFENDANT AND THE COMMISSION PRESENT.

218 So.3d at 470.[1] We answer the certified question in the affirmative and, therefore, quash the First District's decision and remand Andrews' case for resentencing.

         BACKGROUND

         U'dreka Kynshere Andrews was convicted of first-degree murder, burglary, and robbery and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the first-degree murder conviction. Andrews was 17 years old at the time she committed the offenses. Subsequently, the United States Supreme Court held in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 479 (2012), "that the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile offenders." After Miller, this Court remanded Andrews' case for resentencing. Andrews v. State, 177 So.3d 1262 (Fla. 2015).

         Prior to the resentencing hearing, Andrews' pro bono counsel filed a motion for an ex parte hearing regarding the appointment of experts for the Miller juvenile resentencing hearing. Defense counsel argued that he was requesting public funds for experts and that he sought an ex parte determination because he did not "think the State should be involved in the process of the defense having experts." The trial court denied the motion for an ex parte hearing without explanation.

         Andrews' counsel filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the First District, asserting that the hearing regarding experts should be ex parte because the discussion of experts might reveal the defense's trial strategy to the State. The First District denied ...


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