Consequences of Amendments to Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure

In Amendments to Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, 827 So. 2d 888, 890 (Fla. 2002), the Court requested that the Committee consider whether rule 9.370 allows amicus briefs to be considered upon consent of the parties and without court approval. Despite the alternative language of the current rule, the Committee determined that appellate courts exercise their own inherent authority to decide if the brief should be permitted. Accordingly, rule 9.370 is amended to clarify that leave of court is required to file an amicus brief. In response to the Court's request in Griffin v. Sistuenck, 816 So. 2d 600, 602 n. 4 (Fla. 2002), the Committee proposed and we adopt an amendment to rule 9.420 to provide a separate certificate of service for use by pro se inmates and other pro se litigants. The amendment also provides that a certificate of service that substantially complies with the appropriate form will be taken as prima facie proof of service. In Jackson v. Florida Department of Corrections, 790 So. 2d 381, 384 n. 3 (Fla. 2001), the Court requested that the Committee "propose amendments to rule 9.430 to comply with the substantive payment portions of the [Prisoner Indigency] Statute and that it suggest procedures (to be placed in the rule) for implementation of the statute." The result is that new subdivision (b) is added to rule 9.430. This new subdivision allows an appellate court to presume, absent evidence to the contrary, that assertions filed in an affidavit by a prisoner are true and that, in criminal or collateral criminal proceedings, a prisoner who has been declared indigent for purposes of proceedings in the lower tribunal remains indigent. Additionally, in cases which are not criminal or collateral criminal proceedings, it permits the court to require a prisoner "to make a partial prepayment of court costs or fees and to make continued partial payments until the full amount is paid." In conjunction with this amendment, new Form 9.900(i) is adopted. The form adopted includes a prisoner's motion and affidavit to proceed without prepayment of court costs, a financial certificate to be completed by authorized prison officials, and two orders for use by the court in determining a prisoner's indigency. Finally, rule 9.800 is amended to update citation requirements to reflect current case number practice, to correct apparent minor errors, to delete obsolete citations, to add a citation to the United States Constitution, and ensure examples given cite current rules.