729 So.2d 944 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 1998), 97-4624, Smith v. Santa Rosa Island Authority
|Citation:||729 So.2d 944, 23 Fla. L. Weekly D 2023|
|Opinion Judge:||The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam.|
|Party Name:||Douglas SMITH, Thomas Brandon, et al., Petitioners, v. SANTA ROSA ISLAND AUTHORITY, and Gary Work Land Trust, Respondents.|
|Attorney:||David A. Theriaque of David A. Theriaque, P.a., Tallahassee, for petitioner. Mark J. Proctor of Levin, Middlebrooks, Pensacola; Donald E. Hemke and Stephen L. Walker of Carlton Fields Ward Emmanuel Smith & Cutler, P.a., Pensacola, for respondent Gary Work Land Trust; Robert L. Crongeyer and Mary ...|
|Case Date:||August 25, 1998|
|Court:||Florida Court of Appeals, First District|
David A. Theriaque of David A. Theriaque, P.A., Tallahassee, for petitioner.
Mark J. Proctor of Levin, Middlebrooks, Thomas, Mitchell, Green, Echsner, Proctor & Papantonio, P.A., Pensacola; Donald E. Hemke and Stephen L. Walker of Carlton, Fields, Ward, Emmanuel, Smith & Cutler, P.A., Pensacola, for respondent Gary Work Land Trust.
Robert L. Crongeyer and Mary Jane Thies of Beggs & Lane, Pensacola, for respondent Santa Rosa Island Authority.
Petitioners seek certiorari review of two orders of the circuit court sitting in its appellate
capacity, one denying a motion to disqualify and the other denying a petition for writ of certiorari to review a decision of the Santa Rosa Island Authority. Concluding that the circuit judge should have granted the motion to disqualify, we grant the petition for certiorari, vacate both orders, and remand for appointment of a new judge to hold further proceedings upon the petition for review of the decision of the authority.
In 1997, the Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA) conducted a quasi judicial hearing to consider an application of Gary Work Land Trust (GWLT), filed by Allen Levin d/b/a Island Resorts, for amendment of a lease option agreement to develop acreage on Pensacola Beach. Following the lengthy hearing, the SRIA board voted to approve GWLT's request, and a development lease agreement was thereafter executed. Petitioners sought review of the SRIA's decision by way of a petition for writ of certiorari filed with the circuit court.
At the outset of oral argument on the petition for writ of certiorari, conducted September 22, 1997, the circuit judge announced on the record:
I want all of the chips and the cards on the table.... I just want everybody to know, because you're not from here--I don't know you. I know most of the--several other people. I know Mr. Levin. Mr. Levin was born and raised in Pensacola, and so was I. I know him. I know his brothers who are lawyers. Mr. Levin is not. .... I don't--because it is the type of case it is and we really don't get into a question of, as I understand it, credibility of witnesses, where we're going to be trying the case like, you know, from a credibility issue, it doesn't bother me too much. But if we had a situation coming in here where people were testifying that I knew and it comes down to credibility of who ran the red light--you know what I...
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