Thursday, September 27, 2007

Florida Supreme Court discharges slots case

As noted in this previous post, the Humane Society of United States and Grey2k U.S.A., Inc. were recently parties in a case that was argued at the Florida Supreme Court. At issue in the case was whether a trial should be held on alleged signature fraud in placing a voter referendum on the ballot in 2004 involving slot machines. Ultimately, the referendum was passed allowing for the possibility of slot machines at dog and horse racing tracks in South Florida.

In a ruling that favors HSUS and Grey2K, the Florida Supreme Court discharged the case today. The Court held that jurisdiction had improvidently been granted. The decision, available here, found that a majority of the First DCA did not certify the question to the Supreme Court because only six of the twelve judges voted in favor of certification. Moreover, the Supreme Court agreed with arguments presented by the Secretary of State and Attorney General that advocated in favor of developing more facts about the case. Quoting from the Secretary of State's Answer Brief, the Court stated:
The long-standing principle that an election cures irregularities in the process and thereby promotes finality and administrative efficiency is a weighty one; similarly, the ability of citizens to amend the state constitution through the initiative process without fraud is extremely important. This Court should avoid making rulings affecting the application of these principles until the specific allegations of fraud are adjudicated. A fully-developed record with a proven set of facts will allow this Court to carefully consider and balance the competing legal principles; that cannot properly be done based on speculative, unproven factual allegations.
The decision will allow trial court proceedings to go forward.

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