Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sarasota County case also headed to the Supremes

As reported earlier, the Florida Supreme Court is currently reviewing the 4th District Court of Appeals unanimous decision in 2011 that county commission term limits are constitutional. Today, the court announced it intends to hear a related Sarasota case as well.

Although voters in 10 Florida counties have approved term limits amendments to their local charters, politicians around the state have continued to try -- almost always unsuccessfully -- to prevent enforcement. Sarasota is the lone exception. There, politicians and their cronies have used the courts to keep the voters at bay since 2006.

This situation may soon change, as the expectation is that the Supreme Court will affirm the 4th DCA decision. Michael Barfield, paralegal for Andrea Mogensen who has shepherded the Sarasota Case on behalf of voters, says Sarasota County is no longer even contesting the constitutionality of term limits and is awaiting the Supreme Court decision to put an end to the controversy.

In fact, Barfield reports that private attorney David Persson, who represents Sarasota County, would file a brief supporting the Sarasota plaintiffs of Antunes who insist on enforcement of the voter-approved term limits law.

The justices declined to officially consolidate the Sarasota Case, Antunes v. Sarasota County, with the 4th DCA case, Telli v. Broward County. But this is only due to technical reasons. The question and therefore the decision in both cases will be the same. The court had officially consolidated a Polk County case with Telli in January.

The full story and arguments can be found in Broward County's answer brief defending the 4th DCA's decision.

Oral arguments for both the Antunes and Telli cases will be heard on April 10 in Tallahassee. A decision is expected by June.

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