Thursday, May 23, 2013

State of Florida v. Peters case brief

State of Florida v. Peters case brief
534 So.2d. 760

CASE SYNOPSIS: The state sought review of the order of the Circuit Court for Dade County (Florida) granting appellee dog owners' motion to dismiss the charges against them for violating their city's pit bull ordinance.

FACTS: The City of North Miami enacted an ordinance regulating the ownership of pit bull dogs. Appellees were charged with violating the ordinance and moved to dismiss the charges, contending that the ordinance violated equal protection and due process rights and was unconstitutionally vague. The trial court granted the motion holding that the ordinance was overbroad, vague, and irrational. On appeal, the court reversed and remanded rejecting appellee's claims. First, the court held that equal protection did not guarantee that all dog owners would be treated alike, only that all pit bull owners would be similarly treated. Furthermore, the ordinance was reasonably related to its goal of protecting the city's residents. Second, the ordinance's requirement that pit bull owners obtain insurance did not violate the owner's constitutional right to due process because dogs were subject to the police power of the state for the necessary protection of its citizens. Finally, appellee's vagueness claim had no merit because the ordinance made clear what dogs were considered to be pit bulls and the standards referred to in the ordinance were adequate for owners to assess whether they owned such a dog.

CONCLUSION: The order granting appellee dog owners' motion to dismiss their charges of violating the city's pit bull ordinance was reversed and the matter remanded because the ordinance did not violate appellee's equal protection or due process rights, nor was the statute unconstitutionally vague.

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