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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.


Links to online newspapers

Sept. 27, 2012

--The Florida Bar--


STATEMENT BY FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT GWYNNE YOUNG REGARDING POLITICAL ENDORSEMENTS IN NON-PARTISAN ELECTIONS-- The Florida Bar, news release, http://www.floridabar.org, Sept. 25, 2012. [Also: FLORIDA BAR CRITICIZES GOP FOR POLITICIZING FLORIDA SUPREME COURT RETENTION ISSUE-- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Sept. 27, 2012 {Subscription required.}].
The news release states: "A fair and impartial judiciary, free from political or special interest influence is the purpose of Florida's non-partisan merit retention elections for appellate judges. The Florida Bar does not believe any political party – Democratic, Republican or other – should participate in any non-partisan election, particularly for judicial positions. Maintaining the integrity and impartiality of Florida's judges is critical to preserving the principles of democracy on which our country was founded. Non-partisan merit retention elections were established by the people of Florida to ensure that the rule of law, not popular thought or political view, is the basis for all judicial decisions. . . . The Florida Bar is a non-partisan organization that does not endorse or support the retention of any justice or judge. The Florida Bar encourages all voters to make educated decisions in this, as in any, election."

--Judiciary--

GOP'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST JUSTICES WALKS A FINE LEGAL LINE-- The Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Sept. 26, 2012. [Also: CANNON LASHES OUT AT GOP CRITICS AND FLORIDA BAR IN MERIT RETENTION FIGHT-- The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times, http://www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 26, 2012].
From The Florida Times-Union: The Republican Party of Florida made waves last week when it formally opposed three sitting Florida Supreme Court justices' attempts to keep their jobs. The state GOP and Orlando-based Restore Justice 2012 don't want justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and Fred Lewis retained because they deem them too liberal. Florida justices don't face opponents; instead, voters vote "yes" or "no" on whether or not they should keep their jobs. The push opposing the justices prompted 23 former Florida Bar presidents to sign a resolution supporting the justices.

VOTE TO KEEP JUSTICES ON HIGH COURT-- The News-Press, editorial, http://www.news-press.com, Sept. 27, 2012. [ Also: GOP SHOULD BUTT OUT OF HIGH-COURT DECISION-- Orlando Sentinel, editorial, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Sept. 26, 2012; ENDORSEMENT EDITORIAL: SUPREME COURT JUSTICES, APPEAL COURT JUDGES-- Naples Daily News, editorial, http://www.naplesnews.com, Sept. 26, 2012; OUR OPINION: VOTE TO RETAIN THREE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES-- Tallahassee Democrat, editorial, http://www.tallahassee.com, Sept. 26, 2012 {Subscription required.}; REPUBLICAN PARTY INSERTS ITSELF INTO JUSTICE RETENTION-- Lake Wales News, editorial, http://www.yoursun.net, Sept. 26, 2012].
The News-Press editorial states: "Before we step into the voting booth and decide whether three Supreme Court justices should be retained in office, let's look at a little history. For years, Supreme Court justices were chosen by the voters. It turned out that wasn't a great idea. It wasn't wise to politicize the court, or to have justices out raising campaign money. . . . In 1971, we got merit selection, thanks to Gov. Reubin Askew, and in 1976, voters amended the Florida Constitution, creating the current merit-retention system. Since then, no justice has lost a retention vote. Somebody needs to remind the Republican Party of Florida why we trashed the idea of justices engaging in political battles."

WHEN ACTIVISTS CRY ACTIVISM-- The Tampa Tribune, column, http://www.tbo.com, Sept. 27, 2012. [Also: FLORIDA GOP'S OPPOSITION TO JUSTICES PLAYS UGLY POLITICS--Tampa Bay Times, column, http://www.tampabay.com, Sept. 26, 2012; RETENTION VOTE ON STATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES CHANCE TO PUT IN 'LAPDOGS'-- The Palm Beach Post, column, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Sept. 26, 2012].
The columns are by Tampa Tribune columnist Joe Henderson, Tampa Bay Times columnist Sue Carlton and Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino, respectively, in response to the Republican Party of Florida's decision to oppose the merit retention of three Florida Supreme Court justices. Joe Henderson's column states: "The judicial branch of government is designed to be a body of sober deliberation, free of politics, but we know it doesn't always work that way. Even though judges are supposed to do their work based solely on the law, their decisions often have great social and economic consequences. When that happens, people complain. When that happens, it becomes political. And when that happens, money follows. So it is in our fair state, where the executive board of the state's Republican Party targeted Supreme Court justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince for defeat in November. This is unprecedented."

A BLATANT THREAT TO THE JUDICIARY-- Tampa Bay Times, letter-to-editor, http://www.tampabay.com, Sept. 27, 2012.
The letter by retired Circuit Judge Irene H. Sullivan of Pinellas Park states: "As a registered Republican, I am appalled to read that the Republican Party of Florida is using hard-earned donations to mount a campaign to oppose the retention of state Supreme Court Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince. This is a nonpartisan retention election for three of the finest, hardworking, ethical and intelligent jurists we have."

VOTERS ASKED TO SETTLE LEGISLATURE'S FIGHT WITH HIGH COURT-- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Sept. 27, 2012.
Florida voters this fall are being drawn into a multi-year grudge match between Republican political leaders in Tallahassee and the state's traditionally independent Supreme Court. The brainchild of outgoing House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, Amendment 5 would allow the Florida Legislature to repeal court rules with a majority vote, instead of the two-thirds now required. Meanwhile, a conservative Orlando group called Restore Justice 2012 is taking aim at the three justices. And last week, the Republican Party of Florida said its executive committee had voted unanimously to oppose their retention. Defenders of Florida's merit-retention process passed by voters in 1976 blasted the decision as a threat to the separation of powers and the notion of nonpartisan jurisprudence. Florida Bar President Gwynne Young said the organization has had "a long-standing legislative position against any changes to the rulemaking authority of the Supreme Court." But it has taken no overall position on the amendment yet. "We encourage voters to understand the issues and to vote," she said.

--Other--

 JOHN M. FARRELL-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.legacy.com, Sept. 27, 2012.
The obituary is for retired West Palm Beach attorney John M. Farrell, who died Tuesday [Sept. 25]. He was 86. A U.S. Navy veteran, he graduated with honors from the University of Florida College of Law. He practiced law for 42 years, first as an associate with Shutts and Bowen of Miami, then as a partner in Burns, Middleton, Farrell & Faust of Palm Beach and its predecessors, and from 1980 and its merger with Steel, Hector & Davis of Miami, among other firms, until he retired. He was a past president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association and a member of the The Florida Bar Board of Governors from 1969 to 1973. He was president of the Florida Bar Foundation in 1973 and 1974 and chairman of the Editorial Committee that produced the first edition of the Florida Bar Practice Manual, Florida Family Law.

 ARLIE RUSSELL BOBO JR.-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.legacy.com, Sept. 26, 2012.
The obituary is for attorney Arlie Russell Bobo Jr., who died Monday [Sept. 24] after a short but valiant fight with pancreatic and liver cancer. He was 64. He graduated from the Florida State University College of Law in 1973. He has been a member of the Palm Beach County Bar Association and The Florida Bar since 1974, and a member of professional other legal organizations including the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He began his law practice with Jones, Paine and Foster of West Palm Beach in 1974, opened his own firm of McFarlain, Bobo in Tallahassee in 1977, and returned to North Palm Beach in 1986, founding the firm now known as Bobo, Ciotoli, Bocchino, White, Buigas & Russell. He was well regarded as a leading defense medical malpractice attorney.

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[Revised: 09-28-2012]