JENNIFER M. WOODWARD, Petitioner,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Respondent.
Application for Review of the Decision of the District Court
of Appeal - Direct Conflict of Decisions Fourth District -
Case No. 4D16-2413 (Broward County)
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Benjamin Eisenberg, Assistant
Public Defender, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, West Palm Beach,
Florida, for Petitioner
Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, and Celia A.
Terenzio, Bureau Chief, and Heidi L. Bettendorf, Assistant
Attorney General, West Palm Beach, Florida, for Respondent
initially accepted jurisdiction to review the decision of the
Fourth District Court of Appeal in Woodward v.
State, 238 So.3d 290 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018), on grounds of
express and direct conflict with decisions of other district
courts of appeal. See art. V, § 3(b)(3), Fla.
Const. Having considered the decision of the Fourth District
and the parties' arguments, upon further review, we have
determined that we should exercise our discretion and
discharge jurisdiction. Accordingly, we hereby dismiss
CANADY, CJ, and POLSTON, LAWSON, and MUÑIZ, JJ, concur
LABARGA, J., dissents with an opinion.
MOTION FOR REHEARING WILL BE ALLOWED.
LABARGA, J., dissenting.
confronted with disruptive behavior in the courtroom, our
courts must be able to immediately address such conduct and
restore order. To that end, I fully recognize the necessity
of the direct contempt power and support its use under
appropriate circumstances. Moreover, I agree with the
district court's conclusion in Woodward that a
verbatim transcript of direct criminal contempt proceedings
is not required. However, I dissent from the majority's
decision to discharge jurisdiction in this case, where the
order adjudicating Woodward guilty of direct criminal
contempt is inadequate to support her conviction.
it has long been recognized that to protect its authority and
preserve the order of its proceedings, a court must be able
to act swiftly and decisively to punish disruptive or
disrespectful acts committed in its presence. See Ex
parte Edwards, 11 Fla. 174, 186 (Fla. 1866) (explaining
the contempt power "is the great bulwark established by
the common law for the protection of courts of justice, and
for the maintainance [sic] of their dignity, authority and
efficiency"). Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.830,
"Direct Criminal Contempt," authorizes courts to
summarily exercise their direct contempt powers, but given
the potential consequences of a contempt adjudication, the
rule also provides steps that a court must take to ensure a
defendant's right to due process of law. Rule 3.830
provides as follows:
A criminal contempt may be punished summarily if the court
saw or heard the conduct constituting the contempt committed
in the actual presence of the court. The judgment of guilt of
contempt shall include a recital of those facts on which the
adjudication of guilt is based. Prior to the adjudication of
guilt the judge shall inform the defendant of the accusation
against the defendant and inquire as to whether the defendant
has any cause to show why he or she should not be adjudged
guilty of contempt by the court and sentenced therefor. The
defendant shall be given the opportunity to present evidence
of excusing or mitigating circumstances. The judgment shall
be signed by the judge and entered of record. Sentence shall
be pronounced in open court.
a verbatim transcription of the direct contempt proceeding is
not necessary to serve these ends, due process requires that
there be some record from which it is possible to
determine what the contemptuous conduct was, what mitigating
or excusing ...