Burch v. State, No. 73826

CourtFlorida Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtGRIMES; EHRLICH; SHAW; EHRLICH; SHAW
Parties59 Ed. Law Rep. 932, 15 Fla. L. Weekly S64 Stacy BURCH and Kenny Mike Brown, Petitioners, v. STATE of Florida, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 73826
Decision Date15 February 1990

Page 1

558 So.2d 1
59 Ed. Law Rep. 932, 15 Fla. L. Weekly S64
Stacy BURCH and Kenny Mike Brown, Petitioners,
v.
STATE of Florida, Respondent.
No. 73826.
Supreme Court of Florida.
Feb. 15, 1990.
Rehearing Denied April 12, 1990.

Richard Jorandby, Public Defender and Anthony Calvello and Louis G. Carres, Asst. Public Defenders, West Palm Beach, for petitioners.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., and John Tiedemann, Asst. Atty. Gen., West Palm Beach, for respondent.

GRIMES, Justice.

We review State v. Burch, 545 So.2d 279 (Fla. 4th DCA 1989), in which the court certified the following question as one of great public importance:

IS SECTION 893.13(1)(e), FLORIDA STATUTES (1987) CONSTITUTIONAL?

Id. at 287. We have jurisdiction. Art. V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. We answer the question in the affirmative.

There are two petitioners in this case. One was charged with selling cocaine, and the other was charged with buying cocaine, both within 1000 feet of a school, in violation of section 893.13(1)(e), Florida Statutes (1987). * The trial court declared the statute unconstitutional and dismissed the charges. The district court of appeal reversed and upheld the validity of the statute.

Petitioners' initial argument is that chapter 87-243, Laws of Florida, of which section 893.13(1)(e) was a part, violates that portion of article III, section 6 of the Florida Constitution, which provides:

Every law shall embrace but one subject and matter properly connected therewith, and the subject shall be briefly expressed in the title.

Petitioners point to the broad scope of chapter 87-243 which includes such topics as the definition of certain crimes, drug abuse education, safe neighborhoods, forfeiture

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of conveyances, entrapment, crime prevention studies, and money laundering. The state asserts that all sections of the act are naturally and logically connected within the parameters of this Court's interpretation of the single-subject rule.

Many years ago, the Court in State v. Thompson, 120 Fla. 860, 163 So. 270 (1935), established the criteria by which the validity of a statute should be measured with respect to the similarly worded constitutional predecessor of article III, section 6:

Where duplicity of subject-matter is contended for as violative of Section 16 of Article III of the Constitution relating to and requiring but one subject to be embraced in a single legislative bill, the test of duplicity of subject is whether or not the provisions of the bill are designed to accomplish separate and disassociated objects of legislative effort.

Id. at 892-93, 163 So. at 283.

There have been many decisions interpreting the single-subject rule. In State v. Lee, 356 So.2d 276 (Fla.1978), we considered whether chapter 77-468, Laws of Florida, violated article III, section 6, because it dealt with both insurance and tort reform. In upholding the act, we pointed out:

The purpose of the constitutional prohibition against a plurality of subjects in a single legislative act is to prevent a single enactment from becoming a "cloak" for dissimilar legislation having no necessary or appropriate connection with the subject matter. E.g., Colonial Inv. Co. v. Nolan, 100 Fla. 1349, 131 So. 178 (1930). This constitutional provision, however, is not designed to deter or impede legislation by requiring laws to be unnecessarily restrictive in their scope and operation. See State ex rel. X-Cel Stores, Inc. v. Lee, 122 Fla. 685, 166 So. 568 (1936). This Court has consistently held that wide latitude must be accorded the legislature in the enactment of laws....

Id. at 282.

In Chenoweth v. Kemp, 396 So.2d 1122 (Fla.1981), we debated whether chapter 76-260, Laws of Florida, was unconstitutional because it contained provisions covering medical malpractice, tort litigation, and insurance reform. Holding that the act did not violate article III, section 6, we said:

[T]he subject of an act "may be as broad as the Legislature chooses as long as the matters included in the act have a natural or logical connection."

Id. at 1124 (quoting Board of Public Instruction v. Doran, 224 So.2d 693, 699 (Fla.1969)).

Once again, in Smith v. Department of Insurance, 507 So.2d 1080 (Fla.1987), this Court addressed the constitutionality of the 1986 Tort Reform and Insurance Act, chapter 86-160, Laws of Florida. In analyzing this comprehensive act we found that it covered five basic areas: (1) long-term insurance reform, (2) tort reform, (3) temporary insurance reform, (4) creation of a task-force to study tort reform and insurance law, (5) modification of financial responsibility requirements applicable to physicians. The Court referred to the preamble of the act which explained how the tort reform provisions and the insurance regulatory provisions were "properly connected" for purposes of article III, section 6. Despite the many disparate subtopics contained within the act, we determined that all of them were reasonably related to the liability insurance crisis which the act was intended to address.

The subject matter of chapter 87-243 is not as diverse as that contained in the legislation approved in Lee, Chenoweth, and Smith. In the preamble to chapter 87-243, the...

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83 practice notes
  • State v. Maldonado
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • 1 Agosto 1994
    ...imprisonment for distribution of cocaine within 1000 feet of a school does not "shock the conscience" or violate Eighth Amendment), aff'd, 558 So.2d 1 Defendants also argue that section 9 fails the proportionality test because it punishes the defendant for events that are out of the defenda......
  • Martinez v. Scanlan, No. 77179
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 6 Junio 1991
    ...single subject requirement because the subjects were reasonably related to the crisis the legislature intended to address. Burch v. State, 558 So.2d 1 (Fla.1990) (1987 Crime Prevention and Control Act); Smith v. Department of Insurance, 507 So.2d 1080 (Fla.1987) (1986 Tort Reform and Insura......
  • Franklin v. State, No. SC03-413.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 30 Septiembre 2004
    ...substantive provisions dealing with domestic violence were properly connected to single subject of career criminals); Burch v. State, 558 So.2d 1, 2 (Fla.1990) (examining preamble 887 So.2d 1079 to determine if provisions were properly connected to a single subject); Smith, 507 So.2d at 108......
  • Heggs v. State, No. SC93851.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 17 Febrero 2000
    ...chapter 95-184, to a greater degree than chapter 95-182, is a comprehensive law similar to those upheld by this Court in Burch v. State, 558 So.2d 1, 2-3 (Fla.1990); Smith v. Department of Insurance, 507 So.2d 1080, 1085-87 (Fla.1987); Chenoweth v. Kemp, 396 759 So.2d 627 So.2d 1122, 1124 (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
83 cases
  • State v. Maldonado
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • 1 Agosto 1994
    ...imprisonment for distribution of cocaine within 1000 feet of a school does not "shock the conscience" or violate Eighth Amendment), aff'd, 558 So.2d 1 Defendants also argue that section 9 fails the proportionality test because it punishes the defendant for events that are out of the defenda......
  • Martinez v. Scanlan, No. 77179
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 6 Junio 1991
    ...single subject requirement because the subjects were reasonably related to the crisis the legislature intended to address. Burch v. State, 558 So.2d 1 (Fla.1990) (1987 Crime Prevention and Control Act); Smith v. Department of Insurance, 507 So.2d 1080 (Fla.1987) (1986 Tort Reform and Insura......
  • Franklin v. State, No. SC03-413.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 30 Septiembre 2004
    ...substantive provisions dealing with domestic violence were properly connected to single subject of career criminals); Burch v. State, 558 So.2d 1, 2 (Fla.1990) (examining preamble 887 So.2d 1079 to determine if provisions were properly connected to a single subject); Smith, 507 So.2d at 108......
  • Heggs v. State, No. SC93851.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 17 Febrero 2000
    ...chapter 95-184, to a greater degree than chapter 95-182, is a comprehensive law similar to those upheld by this Court in Burch v. State, 558 So.2d 1, 2-3 (Fla.1990); Smith v. Department of Insurance, 507 So.2d 1080, 1085-87 (Fla.1987); Chenoweth v. Kemp, 396 759 So.2d 627 So.2d 1122, 1124 (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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