Supreme court spares 2 inmates

Published May 25, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Supreme Court reversed the death sentences Thursday of Panama City and Ocala men, both convicted of killing their estranged wives.

The justices reduced the sentence of Christopher Offord, 31, who has a history of severe mental illness, to life in prison without parole. The court unanimously found the death penalty was a disproportionate punishment due to his mental disabilities.

The court ordered a new trial for William Michael Kopsho, 53. The justices found a circuit judge erred by refusing to dismiss a prospective juror for cause. The prospective juror said he believed Kopsho should be required to testify.

Court puts onus on doctors, not hospitals

Hospitals cannot be held liable in medical malpractice cases for failing to ensure doctors with staff privileges meet state financial responsibility requirements, the Florida Supreme Court said Thursday.

The unanimous ruling disapproved of decisions by three of the state's five district courts of appeal on that issue.

While state law says physicians must establish financial responsibility as a condition of staff privileges, it does not require hospitals to enforce that mandate, Justice Barbara Pariente wrote for the court.

Instead, it's up to physicians to comply or else face sanctions including possible license revocation, she wrote.