Case Conclusion Date: 09.17.2003
Practice Area: Constitutional
Outcome: A bad state law was found unconstitutional.
Description: Bruce Howie's juvenile client, known by his initials B.S., was arrested and then released to his mother. The State Attorney investigated and found that prosecution was not warranted, so the charge was dropped. Nonetheless, the Department of Juvenile Justice billed the boy's mother $20 a day for 21 days of supervision even though the case was dismissed and even though B.S. was living at home at his mother's expense. When his mother asked the court to rescind the DJJ's bill, the court found that the controlling state statute (Section 985.215(6), Florida Statutes) required her to pay the State of Florida for B.S.'s supervision. Bruce Howie appealed this case to the Second District Court of Appeal which ruled that the state statute requiring payment of supervision fees even though the charges were dropped violated equal protection and due process. The Court found the state statute to be unconstitutional. Now the parents of children who are improperly arrested or accused do not have to pay substantial fees to the State of Florida when their children have done nothing wrong.