INTRODUCTION TO THE REVIEW OF FLORIDA LEGISLATION
Justice Kenneth B. Bell
I am pleased to introduce this edition of the annual Florida State University Review of Florida Legislation. My alma mater dedicates an edition each year to focus on significant legislation and the issues surrounding the enactment of important bills. The result is a valuable resource for attorneys, courts, and the Legislature itself.
THE FREE TRADE AREA OF THE AMERICAS: OPPORTUNITIES FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH THROUGH FAIR TRADE IN THE HEMISPHERE
Congressman Adam H. Putnam
The Free Trade Area of the Americas is a proposal that would create the largest free-trade zone in the world, encompassing nearly all of the countries of the Western Hemisphere, a population of 825 million people in thirty-four countries and a GDP of US $13 trillion. According to the U.S. Trade Representative, “The Free Trade [Area] of the Americas (FTAA) is the cornerstone of President Bush’s vision for trade in the Western Hemisphere—a plan that would foster economic growth and opportunity, promote regional integration and strengthen democracies.”
HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE SUNSHINE STATE: A PROPOSED FLORIDA LAW ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Terry S. Coonan
The air in twenty-first century America is not quite as pure as Americans might wish. Recent years in Florida have witnessed the reemergence of a specter once thought eradicated from the face of the American South: slave labor and trafficking in human beings. This new slavery thrives not only in Florida but throughout the United States and countless other parts of the world. Its human cargo consists primarily of immigrants desperate to find a better life—most of them young, and a great many of them female. Those profiting from this ubiquitous industry range from criminal syndicates deeply immersed in the varied illegal phases of the transnational enterprise to legitimate businesses that knowingly or unknowingly reap the rewards of labor provided by victims of human trafficking.
GENERAL ACCEPTANCE VERSUS SCIENTIFIC SOUNDNESS: MAD SCIENTISTS IN THE COURTROOM
David W. Barnes
Dramatic changes in rules governing admissibility of expert testimony impact all areas of law. Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and the evidence law of many states impose a requirement that judges admit expert testimony only if it is based on a scientifically sound foundation. Just in the past year, an explosion of literature addressed to scholars and the practicing bar has explored the impact of new evidence standards on such diverse areas as the law of toxic torts, antitrust, state and federal criminal law, trademark and advertising law, hostile work environment cases, accident reconstruction in torts, and bankruptcy law. States have been considering whether their evidence codes should be consistent with the approach articulated by the United States Supreme Court, which concluded that admissible scientific testimony must be grounded in the scientific method and based on more than subjective belief and unsupported speculation.
TIME FOR A LEGISLATIVE CHANGE: FLORIDA’S STAGNANT STANDARD GOVERNING COMPETENCY FOR EXECUTION
L. Elizabeth Chamblee
In 1986, the United States Supreme Court used Florida’s procedure for determining mental competency for execution as a test case for banning execution of the mentally ill. Under Ford v. Wainwright, “[t]he Eighth Amendment prohibits the State from inflicting the penalty of death upon a prisoner who is insane.” Even before it officially held that executing the insane violated the Eighth Amendment, the Supreme Court recognized that the government must perform its duty to execute sentences with “scrupulous fairness” to the accused. By deeming execution of the mentally ill cruel and unusual, the Court afforded a degree of due process to inmates on death row. No longer is taking the life of the mentally ill simply within the “benevolent discretion” of the State.
MINDING OUR SKEPTICISM: A CONSERVATIVE APPROACH TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
Three decades ago, the Supreme Court, in Furman v. Georgia, held that the death penalty, as applied, was unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. While opinions varied among the justices, a plurality of the court focused on the “arbitrary” and “capricious” manner in which death sentences were imposed. Perhaps encapsulating the Court’s sentiment best was Justice Stewart, who said: “These death sentences are cruel and unusual in the same way that being struck by lightning is cruel and unusual.” But the question remained: Could capital punishment be applied so as to adequately avoid “arbitrary” and “capricious” results? Four years later, the Court, in Gregg v. Georgia, answered this question in the affirmative after Georgia became the first of many states to reform its system in an effort to satisfy Furman. In essence, the Court in Gregg determined that the “lightning” of capital punishment had become sufficiently precise for the state of Georgia to resume executions. Since Gregg, the Supreme Court has focused only on very specific aspects of capital punishment. Constitutionally speaking, the system of capital punishment has faced no real threats since Furman.