479 U.S. 1043 (1987)

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U.S. Supreme Court

MARTIN COUNTY, FLA. v. MAKEMSON , 479 U.S. 1043 (1987)

479 U.S. 1043

Robert Lee DENNIS et al
No. 86-636

Supreme Court of the United States

January 12, 1987

On petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Florida.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Page 479 U.S. 1043 , 1044

Justice WHITE, dissenting.

Petitioners are two political subdivisions in the State of Florida that have filed a single petition for certiorari, under this Court's Rule 19.4, seeking review of two separate judgments of the Supreme Court of Florida. Both cases present the same federal constitutional question; I set forth the facts in Martin County v. Makemson only.

Respondent Robert Makemson was appointed under Florida law to represent a defendant charged with first-degree murder, kidnaping, and armed robbery. Respondent's representation of the defendant spanned a 9- month period, and upon completion of the task respondent petitioned the trial court, pursuant to Fla.Stat. 925.036 (1985),* for attorney's fees in the amount of $9,500. Section 925.036(2)(d) establishes a limit of $3, 500 on compensation to appointed attorneys who represent capital defendants at trial. Notwithstanding this provision, the state trial court awarded respondent the $9,500 he requested, declaring that " 'in setting rigid maximum fees without regard to the circumstances in each case[, 925.036] is arbitrary and capricious and violates the due process clause of the United States and Florida Constitutions.' " 491 So.2d 1109, 1111 (1986). The Fourth District Court of Appeals quashed the trial court's order declaring 925.036 unconstitutional and certified several pertinent questions to the Florida Supreme Court. 464 So.2d 1281 (1985). The Supreme Court held, inter alia, that the statute, while facially valid, was unconstitutional as applied to this case. The court reasoned:

"[W]e find that the statutory maximum fees, as inflexibly imposed in cases involving unusual or extraordinary circum-

______--- * Florida Stat. 925.036 (1985) provides, in relevant part:

    "(1) An attorney appointed pursuant to s. 925.035 or s. 27.53 shall, at the conclusion of the representation, be compensated at an hourly rate fixed by the chief judge or senior judge of the circuit in an amount not to exceed the prevailing hourly rate for similar representation rendered in the circuit; however, such compensation shall not exceed the maximum fee limits established by this section. . . .

(2) The compensation for representation shall not exceed the following:

(a) For misdemeanors and juveniles represented at the trial level: $ 1,000.

(b) For noncapital, nonlife felonies represented at the trial level: $ 2,500.

(c) For life felonies represented at the trial level: $3,000.

(d) For capital cases represented at the trial level: $3,500.

(e) For representation on appeal: $2,000." [479 U.S. 1043 , 1045]

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