Article Courtesy of The News
Service of Florida
Published December 11, 2016
The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take
up an appeal by former state lawmaker David Rivera in a long-running
|As is common, justices did not
give reasons for turning down Rivera's appeal of a July
ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal. Chief
Justice Jorge Labarga and justices Barbara Pariente,
Peggy Quince and James E.C. Perry agreed to reject the
case, while Justice R. Fred Lewis wanted to hear oral
arguments. Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston did
not take part, according to an order posted online.
An attorney for Rivera in September urged the Supreme
Court to take up the constitutionality of a law that
allows the House speaker to impose fines against Rivera
in the ethics case, which includes allegations that
Rivera was improperly reimbursed by the state for travel
expenses that had been covered by campaign accounts.
The state Commission on Ethics and
an administrative law judge ruled against Rivera, who
has disputed the characterization of his actions but
could face nearly $58,000 in fines.
The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in July that it was too early for
Rivera to challenge the constitutionality of the law allowing him to be
fined by the House speaker.
While the ethics commission recommended a penalty, the House speaker is
charged by the law with the final decision. Rivera’s attorney asked the
Supreme Court to consider the “ripeness” issue, but Attorney General Pam
Bondi's office asked justices to turn down the appeal.
Rivera, a Miami Republican who served as House budget chairman, left the
Legislature in 2010 and served a single term in Congress. He lost a bid
to return to the state House last month.