Canney v. Board of Public Instruction of Alachua County, s. 39473

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtADKINS; DEKLE; CARLTON, C.J., and ROBERTS, J., dissent and concur with DEKLE; DEKLE; CARLTON, C.J., and ROBERTS
Citation278 So.2d 260
PartiesMichael CANNEY, Petitioner, v. BOARD OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION OF ALACHUA COUNTY, Florida, Respondent (two cases).
Docket Number39474,Nos. 39473,s. 39473
Decision Date06 April 1973

Page 260

278 So.2d 260
Michael CANNEY, Petitioner,
Nos. 39473, 39474.
Supreme Court of Florida.
April 6, 1973.

Page 261

Harold B. Wahl, of Loftin & Wahl; Jacksonville, Margaret Kathleen Wright, for petitioner.

Leo L. Foster, Tallahassee, for respondent.

Robert L. Shevin, Atty. Gen., Barry Scott Richard, Deputy Atty. Gen., as amicus curiae.

Dan Paul of Paul & Thomson, Miami, as amicus curiae, for Miami Herald Pub. Co. and Gainesville Sun Pub. Co.

Harold B. Wahl, Jacksonville, as Atty. for amicus curiae, Fla. Pub. Co.

Page 262


ADKINS, Justice.

Certiorari was granted in this cause to review the decision of the District Court of Appeal, First District, (231 So.2d 34), on the ground of direct conflict with the opinion of the District Court of Appeal, Second District, in Times Publishing Co. v. Williams, Fla.App., 222 So.2d 470. We have jurisdiction. Sunad, Inc. v. City of Sarasota, Fla., 122 So.2d 611.

Petitioner contends that the Government in the Sunshine Law, Fla.Stat. § 286.011, F.S.A., was violated by the School Board when it recessed a hearing to reach a decision. Admittedly, the School Board was acting in a quasi-judicial capacity. The District Court reached the conclusion that the conference held by the School Board was privileged and did not fall within the purview of the cited statute.

The question presented here is whether under the separation of powers doctrine a county school board, acting in a quasi-judicial capacity, is a part of the legislative branch of government. If a county school board is a part of the legislative branch, then the Government in the Sunshine Law should be applicable, and any exception or amendment should be considered by the legislative, not the judicial branch.

The true meaning of the separation doctrine is that the whole power should not be exercised by the same hands which possess the whole power of either of the other departments. See Administrative Law by Forkosch, § 36, p. 36. Except in the comparatively rate cases where a combination of powers in a single agency was deemed to threaten, in some measure, the restrictive primacies of the Legislature or of the courts, the states have sustained the statutory delegation of combined legislative, prosecutory, and judicial powers to agencies. See State Administration Law by Cooper, Vol. 1, § 2(B), p. 25.

As stated by this Court in McRae v. Robbins, 151 Fla. 109, 9 So.2d 284 (1942):

'Where a statutory board, commission or officer or other tribunal or agency is lawfully given administrative and limited quasi-legislative or quasi-judicial authority or duties, such authority or duties must not include any substantive legislative or judicial powers that may not be delegated; and such authority must be duly defined and limited by laws complete in themselves in prescribing delegated authority, so that by appropriate judicial review and control any action taken pursuant to such delegated authority or duties may be kept within the defined limits of the authority conferred and within the express and implied limitations of all controlling provisions and principles of dominant law.' (p. 290)

As a general rule administrative agencies have no general judicial powers, notwithstanding they may perform some quasi-judicial duties, and the Legislature may not authorize officers or bodies to exercise powers which are essentially judicial in their nature. See State ex rel. Watson v. Caldwell, 156 Fla. 618, 23 So.2d 855 (1945); 73 C.J.S., Public Administrative Bodies and Procedure, § 36.

An adjudicatorial proceeding before a public administrative officer or body is not an action at law. 73 C.J.S., Public Administrative Bodies and Procedure, § 115. The administrative body is not a part of the judiciary and this Court can not promulgate rules of practice and procedure for administrative bodies (except in those instances where the constitution or laws so provide), as it may in the instance of State courts as provided in art. V, § 3, Fla.Const. (1968), F.S.A.

Where the rights of an individual are concerned, due process requires that he be given an opportunity to be heard and that he be given a fair hearing by an impartial body. See Board of Public Instruction

Page 263

v. State ex rel. Allen, 219 So.2d 430 (Fla.1969).

It is well settled that notice of charges and an opportunity to be heard are essential to due process and required when a student is dropped from school for disciplinary reasons. However, such is not required when the dismissal is for academic failure. Woody v. Burns, 188 So.2d 56 (Fla.App.1st, 1966); Militana v. University of Miami, 236 So.2d 162 (Fla.App.3d, 1970). In Woody v. Burns, Supra, the District Court of Appeal, First District, said that 'a full-dress judicial hearing is not required' in order to meet the minimum criteria of due process governing disciplinary bodies. This constitutional limitation on the procedure before administrative bodies does not make such bodies a part of the judiciary.

Once the Legislature transforms a portion of a board's responsibilities and duties into that of a judicial character so that the board may exercise quasi-judicial functions, the prerogatives of the Legislature in the matter do not cease. The Administrative Procedure Act (Fla.Stat. § 120.20 et seq. F.S.A.), establishes minimum requirements for the adjudication of any...

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    ...of State courts as provided in art. V, Sec. 3, Fla. Const. (1968), F.S.A." Canney v. Board of Pub. Instruction of Alachua County, 278 So.2d 260, 262 (Fla.1973). It clearly follows, therefore, that a state executive branch agency lacks implied or inherent power to fashion, adopt, or apply a ......
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