On March 6, 2019, Michael (Mike) Brownlee of The Brownlee Law Firm had the honor of presenting oral argument to the Florida Supreme Court in case number SC18-674. Because the case involves children and an adoption proceeding, the Florida Supreme Court ordered that the briefing in the case be sealed.
As a result, we cannot share the briefs with the world as we do with most of our other appeals. But we can invite you to watch Mr. Brownlee’s oral argument.
In addition, we can provide the synopsis of the case prepared by the Florida Supreme Court. It is below and can be found online at https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/News-Media/Case-Summaries-Schedule/March-2019-Summaries.
Overview of Case
M.D., the father of two children, was convicted and sentenced to prison for receipt of child pornography. As a result, D.M., the mother, petitioned the trial court to terminate M.D.’s parental rights under a Florida statute providing that a parent’s imprisonment constitutes abandonment of children under certain circumstances.
The trial court denied the petition without making the findings required by statute. The Fifth District Court of Appeal (DCA) affirmed the trial court’s decision, and the mother asked this Court for review, arguing that the Fifth DCA’s decision conflicts with other appellate court decisions.
Florida Supreme Court Takes Jurisdiction Over Case
Mr. Brownlee represented D.M. (the Mother) before the Florida Supreme Court. He did not represent D.M. in the merits briefing before the Fifth District Court of Appeal, but after being retained, Mr. Brownlee did move the Fifth District Court of Appeal for rehearing.
After the Fifth DCA denied Mr. Brownlee’s motion for rehearing, he asked the Florida Supreme Court to take jurisdiction over the case in a jurisdictional brief. After the Florida Supreme Court issued an order accepting jurisdiction over the case, Mr. Brownlee briefed the case on the merits and performed oral argument on behalf of D.M.
The Florida Supreme Court has not issued an opinion as of the date of this post.
Watch Mr. Brownlee’s oral argument below, beginning at timestamp 6:35.