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Daily News Summary

An electronic digest of media coverage of interest to members of The Florida Bar compiled each workday by the Public Information and Bar Services Department. Electronic links are only active in today's edition. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.

February 15, 2013

--Legal Profession--

JOHN T. BERRY PRESENTED WITH STETSON'S WM. REECE SMITH JR. PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD -- Stetson Law News, http://www.law.stetson.edu, Feb. 15, 2013.
John T. Berry, legal division director of The Florida Bar, was presented with this year’s Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Public Service Award at the Inns of Court Banquet on Feb. 13. Berry is an expert in judicial education, ethics and professionalism who established professional development programs for The Florida Bar and State Bar of Arizona. Stetson Law students and faculty attending this year’s Inns of Court Banquet celebrated the life of Wm. Reece Smith Jr., the lecture’s namesake and a legendary lawyer, who died on Jan. 11.

--Judiciary--

FLORIDA JUSTICES SPLIT ON LAWYER DEFAMATION ISSUE -- Lakeland Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Feb. 15, 2013. [Also: LAWYERS CAN'T SPREAD INNUENDO ABOUT OPPOSING PARTIES OUTSIDE COURT -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Feb. 15, 2013.]
A sharply divided Florida Supreme Court says lawyers are not entitled to an absolute shield against defamation lawsuits for out-of-court comments made in connection with legal cases. A 4-3 majority ruled Thursday [Feb. 14] that lawyers can be sued for defamation but that plaintiffs must prove their comments expressed malice. The decision also applies to out-of-court comments made by judges, parties and witnesses related to pending cases.

FLA. JUSTICES WON'T HEAR JUDGE'S FACEBOOK APPEAL -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Feb. 15, 2013. [Also: FLORIDA SUPREME COURT REFUSES CASE ABOUT FACEBOOK FRIENDS -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Feb. 15, 2013.]
A judge's removal from a criminal case will stand because he and the prosecutor are Facebook "friends." The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday [Feb. 14] voted 5-2 against hearing an appeal of the removal. A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach had ordered Circuit Judge Andrew Siegel off the Broward County case.

OBAMA ATTEMPTING TO CHANGE THE FACE OF THE JUDICIARY -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Feb. 15, 2013.
From the Associated Press: President Barack Obama is trying to change the face of a federal judiciary that has a long tradition of white men passing judgment on parties from all walks of life — if he can get his nominees past the Senate. Republicans have used the powers accorded the Senate minority party to slow Obama's influence on the federal bench. But recent changes to Senate rules suggest the process may begin to move faster, at least at the lower, U.S. District Court level.

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[Revised: 02-18-2013]