Writ Petitions Page Limitation in Florida

Unless leave is otherwise granted, the Court limits initial briefs in capital cases to 100 pages. In Basse v. State, 740 So. 2d 518 (Fla. 1999), the Court explained the rationale for such limitations in holding that district courts have the authority to establish page limitations on writ petitions: "Placing page limits on writ petitions simply requires a petitioner to provide a distinct and succinct focus and improves the ability of a court to issue rulings in writ cases in a more timely and efficient fashion than if the court had to pore through countless pages of what may be unnecessary and repetitive arguments or irrelevant information. Therefore, we conclude that courts may impose reasonable page limits on petitions for extraordinary writs. " Id.at 519. In addition, the federal circuit courts have also upheld reasonable page limitations as conducive to effective appellate advocacy: Even in a death-penalty case, the court expects counsel to be highly selective about the issues to be argued on appeal and about the number of words used to press those issues. . . We do not understand a limitation on the number of pages in a brief to be a blow against an appellant's case or an act that undercuts effective advocacy. To the contrary, we see reasonable limitations of pages to be a help to good advocacy by directing busy lawyers to sharpen and to simplify their arguments in a way that--as experience has taught us--makes cases stronger, not weaker. United States v. Battle, 163 F.3d 1, 1 (11th Cir. 1998). In Johnson v. Singletary, 695 So. 2d 263, 266 (Fla. 1996), the Court held that the page limitation did not preclude the defendant from appealing matters that would not fit within the initial brief.