Thursday, July 9, 2009

Florida Supreme Court Exercises Its Inherent Judicial Authority to Sanction Abusive Litigant

In Steele v. Florida, et al. (SC08-1865), the Florida Supreme Court exercised its inherent judicial authority to sanction an abusive litigant.

The petitioner had filed 27 previous petitions in the Florida Supreme Court, each of which were deemed meritless. Following the lead of the Fifth DCA who sanctioned the petitioner in 2008, the court stated:

The United States Supreme Court has also stated that "[e]very paper filed with the Clerk of this Court, no matter how repetitious or frivolous, requires some portion of the institution’s limited resources. A part of the Court’s responsibility is to see that these resources are allocated in a way that promotes the interests of justice."


Accordingly, in order to preserve the right of access for all litigants and promote the interests of justice, the Clerk of this Court is hereby instructed to reject any future pleadings, petitions, motions, documents, or other filings submitted by Jonathan R. Steele that are related to his conviction or sentence in Ninth Judicial Circuit Case No. CR96-CF-3036 unless such filings are signed by a member in good standing of The Florida Bar. Under the sanction herein imposed, Steele is not being wholesale denied access to the Court. Steele may petition the Court about his conviction or sentence in Case No. CR96-CF-3036 through the assistance of counsel whenever such counsel determines that the proceeding may have merit and can be filed in good faith. However, Steele’s abusive pro se filings related to his conviction or sentence must immediately come to an end.


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