21st Nov 2018
The State of Florida “Second District Court of Appeals” on February 14, 2018 issued an opinion in Casiano v. State, which effectively ends the use of Nebbia holds in the state courts of Florida. This is great for a person accused.
A “Nebbia” hold is based upon a United States Supreme Court case of the same name, and has been used over the years to allow a defendant to be held in custody until he or she can establish that the funds used to post the bond are from legitimate sources of income.
The Casiano case involved a defendant charged with drug possession who was granted bail at his first appearance, but was held at the prosecution’s request for a Nebbia hold that he should not be released until he could prove the sources of income that would be used to post bond. Even though under Florida law he was entitled to bond on the drug charge, the Nebbia hold effectively prevented him from being released from jail.
The Second District Court of Appeals in the Casiano case determined that the Florida Constitution does not allow the Courts the “authority to detain accused persons for the purpose of inquiring in the source of funds used to post bail.”
The ruling in Casiano issued by the Second District Court of Appeals applies to all of the 28 counties within its jurisdiction. However, courts outside of that circuit may implement this ruling. Since the Casiano decision is the first of its kind in Florida, other courts in Florida, even though outside of the Second District, are bound to follow this decision, in the absence of contrary authority. In other words, until another court comes up with a different ruling, it is the law which controls all Florida state courts at the present time. Nebbia has been used to improperly hold persons accused of a crime in jail for a lot longer than necessary. An effective and experienced South Florida lawyer can use this ruling in Miami-Dade County (the Third District Court of Appeals) or in Broward County (The Fourth District Court of Appeals). It is about time this oppressive action has come to an end.