posted 2015 | W.T. v. State (appeal)
This appeal is the perfect example of how important it is to have a persistent and experienced criminal appellate lawyer on your side. The United States Supreme Court rendered an opinion in a case called Graham v. Florida, which held that an offender under 18 years of age cannot be sentenced to life in prison. The client was a 15 year old boy charged with attempted first degree murder for kicking and head stomping a girl after being taunted about his deceased brother. His trial attorney asked the court to release him on bond because the language of the Florida Constitution, in light of the new Graham decision, required that he be given pre-trial bail as a matter of right. The trial court denied the motion and Mr. Forman was hired to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus seeking his release from the appellate court. The appellate court denied the appeal.
However, Mr. Forman subsequently learned that the appellate court, in an unpublished order, reached a different result in another case. Mr. Forman filed a second Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus seeking pre-trial bail on behalf of the boy. The Fourth District Court of Appeal, the appellate court who handled the appeal, recognized that it improperly granted the writ in the other case and entered an opinion denying bail once again in this case. Determined that he was correct, Mr. Forman filed an appeal before the Florida Supreme Court and won! As a result, the law in the entire State of Florida was changed and all juveniles charged with non-homicide offenses were entitled to bail as a matter of right! You may have heard about this ruling in the media.