States brief ~ Florida judge dismisses school districts' funding suit

[JURIST] In Friday's report on law in the states, Circuit Judge P. Kevin Davey of Florida's 11th Judicial District [official website] today dismissed a lawsuit filed by five of Florida's larger school boards over changes in the way the state's education budget is divided. The lawsuit was originally filed by the Miami-Dade school district and was later joined by Broward, Palm Beach, Monroe and Volusia counties. The districts argued that the new formula adopted by the legislature in 2004, which gives more money to districts with a higher cost of living, was "arbitrary, capricious, non-uniform, and discriminatory." After listening to testimony and arguments for two and a half days, Judge Davey found that the districts had not made their case and dismissed the lawsuit. Together, the five districts have lost over 250 million dollars that they would have received had the formula not changed. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Friday upheld Georgia's payday lending law [text]. The law, passed last year by the legislature and largely supported by military commanders, outlawed short-term, high-interest loans that were largely targeted to military personnel. Eleven companies sued to prevent enforcement of the law, claiming it denied financial protection to military personnel and the poor who need to borrow against future paychecks. Read the opinion [PDF]. AP has more.

  • The Court of Appeals of New York [official website] has upheld the state's "three strikes" law for violent felons. In People v. Rivera [opinion], handed down Thursday, the court rejected the argument that the sentencing proceedings under the law violate a 2000 Supreme Court case. The law allows judges to give longer sentences if the judge finds that "extended incarceration and lifetime supervision will best serve the public interest" based on the "history and character of the defendant and the nature and circumstances of his criminal conduct." Rivera's attorney plans to file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court this summer. AP has more.

  • The Virginia Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the state's Sexually Violent Predator Act. The act allows authorities to keep "sexually violent predators" confined in mental hospitals after their prison term expires if the state can show that the offenders have difficulties controlling their behavior and are likely to commit another sex crime. In its opinion [text], the court found Thursday that the Act satisfied the constitutional criteria recently laid out by the Supreme Court. AP has more.

 

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