Tampa, Florida (WFLA) — 2023 is already shaping up to be a busy year for Florida, both in state and federal courts, and on multiple levels. Some cases involve constitutional rights and state politics, while others are more personal, including murders and unfair trials in the Tampa Bay area.
Here are some notable cases in Florida and Tampa Bay earlier this year.
Florida Deplatform Law Takes To U.S. Supreme Court
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to file a lawsuit over internet censorship that began in Florida. It was allegedly in response to the removal of former President Donald Trump from social media sites after the Capitol riots.
The legal battle between NetChoice, LLC and the State of Florida over Senate Bill 7072 will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 6 to determine whether Florida law violates free speech.
Since passage of the law by the Florida Legislature and subsequent approval by Governor Ron DeSantis, NetChoice has been in courts at all levels and through the appeals process that the bill violates First Amendment protections against private speech by businesses and individuals. have claimed to have
On the state side, Florida wants its right to speech violated through illegal censorship by what they call big tech companies and what they say is targeting conservatives. They claim that the law prevents it.
Michael Keatley trial continues in 2010 murder case
The murder trial of former Hillsborough County ice cream truck driver Michael Keatley will head to court again in February after a trial error due to a jury stall.
Keatley is accused of four attempted murders and two murders on Thanksgiving 2010.
According to court details during the first trial, Keatley pretended to be a member of law enforcement and went to Ruskin’s home on November 25, 2010, and shot multiple men in the house. Since his arrest, Keatley has maintained his innocence. He is scheduled to appear in court on February 27th.
Shelby Neely faces trial for murdering wife and family in Pasco
In 2019, Port Richie’s Shelby Neely faces suspicion of murdering his ex-wife, parents and brother. Neely appeared in court in Pinellas County in October 2019 and was accused of murdering his ex-wife and all of their family members, though not all were killed in the same incident.
According to investigators, Neely first killed his ex-wife, Jamie Nicole Ivancic, and buried her in their home to hide her body.
Before Jamie’s body was found, her family member Richard Ivancic, 71, was found. His wife, Laura Ivancic, 59. In January 2019, his son Nicholas James Ivanczyk, 25, was found dead in his home in Tarpon Springs, Pinellas County, along with his three dogs.
Neely was arrested in Ohio and while searching for evidence, law enforcement officers went to the Port Richie home and found Jamie. He said he was buried in December. Neely stole a car from his family and drove it out of state. Officers tracked down the car and found him in Ohio, where he was arrested, awaiting extradition to Florida.
Because of where the killing took place, Neely faces two trials. One in Pasco County for the murder of Jamie Ivancic and another in Pinellas County are accused of killing her family and her family’s dog.
After delays and defense claims that Neely had protected his and Jamie’s two young children from abuse, and a defense that he was incapable of standing trial, the 27-year-old died on February 13. He is scheduled to return to court tomorrow for trial in Pinellas County. He is scheduled to stand trial in Pasco County in July.
Stephen Lorenzo asks court to execute him
A man serving a 200-year prison term for drug crimes and murder is seeking execution on death row.
Stephen Lorenzo, who pleaded guilty to the 2003 murders of Jason Galehouse and Michael Wakholz, is set to hold a sentencing hearing in February. The murder occurred in 2003, but Lorenzo was not charged until 2016.
Previously, Lorenzo had tried to avoid execution and even appeared in court at one point. Court records show that rather than acting alone, Lorenzo worked with Scott Schweikert to murder two men, both of whom were 26 at the time. testified against Lorenzo as part of
He has since changed his mind, and after years of back-and-forth in court, his conviction of drugging and raping several men, in addition to the murders of Gailhouse and Wakholz, has been confirmed. After ending his sentence, he asked the court to put him on death row.
At the sentencing hearing, Lorenzo may get his wish. He will return to court on January 18 for a jury trial, and the process is expected to end on February 10.