Putnam launches re-election campaign
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is running for re-election.
Putnam, a former member of Congress, last month quietly opened a campaign account for the 2014 election. He made no formal announcement.
The move should end any lingering questions that Putnam may mount a primary challenge to incumbent Gov. Rick Scott.
Putnam, a Republican, was harshly critical of Scott for supporting the expansion of Medicaid to roughly 1 million Floridians. The expansion is a key component of the federal health care overhaul. The Florida Legislature during its annual session rejected the idea of expanding Medicaid.
Supreme Court may take Florida death penalty case
The U.S. Supreme Court could decide Thursday whether to take a case over whether Florida’s system under which judges impose the death penalty is constitutional. The case, Evans v. Crews, specifically involves a 1991 murder case out of Vero Beach in which Paul Evans was eventually convicted of murder-for-hire.
He was sentenced to death after a judge, as is customary, held a hearing and made factual findings on aggravating and mitigating factors to help determine whether to impose a death sentence, which had been recommended by a jury. But a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Ring v. Arizona, said that juries, not judges, must determine the existence of aggravating factors that could lead to a death sentence. U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez ruled in 2011 that in light of the Ring ruling, Florida’s death sentencing process was unconstitutional, but that was reversed last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Lawyers for Evans have asked the nation’s high court to take the case.
Lackluster stone crab season over
Commercial and recreational harvests of stone crab claws close Wednesday in Florida and commercial fishermen in the Florida Keys say it’s been a disastrous harvest.
This season’s harvest may total about 2 million pounds. A good season should yield about 3 million pounds.
The next season begins Oct. 15.
Prom-bound students stop to help crash victims
A group of 20 Western High School seniors won’t soon forget the limo ride to their prom at a beach-side Fort Lauderdale hotel. A minivan flipped over right in front of them as they traveled on Interstate 595 near Davie on Saturday evening.
Officials say the van hit a concrete barrier while trying to avoid slowing traffic. The limo driver and tuxedo and prom gown-clad students sprang into action, helping bloodied victims out of the crumpled van.
Student Peter Kim told Miami television station WPLG that he went to the back of the van while limo driver Danny Izzi went to the front. He helped a little boy find his mother, who was desperately searching for him. Once everyone was accounted for, the group continued on to the prom.
FIU takes on FNU in trademark fight
Florida International University has filed a federal lawsuit alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition by another Miami-Dade County school, Florida National University. FIU, a state institution, filed the lawsuit early this month, after the for-profit FNU changed its name from Florida National College in 2012.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in South Florida, points to potential confusion because of the similar names.
Post staff and wire services.