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.
March 26, 2013
FORECLOSURES STILL KEEPING LEGAL AID OFFICE BUSY -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, March 26, 2013.
Ten years ago, Legal Aid of Manasota Inc. handled a couple of foreclosure cases a year. These days, the agency is juggling more than 370 open cases, providing free legal assistance to homeowners who are dealing with foreclosures. Legal Aid will receive $221,400 in special funding from the landmark $25 billion national mortgage settlement to provide legal services in foreclosure cases. The funds came through the Florida Attorney General's Office, earmarked for residents in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Dozens of local lawyers are volunteering their time to help those at risk of losing their homes. The assistance is available to any Sarasota-Manatee resident who owns their home and meets low- to moderate-income requirements.
PRO BONO FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS HELPED MORE THAN 450 IN 2012 -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, March 26, 2013.
In 2012 the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Family Law Group Information Clinics helped more people than ever before, providing legal assistance and advice to those in need all across the 4th Circuit. The organization's family law clinics provide local attorneys with worthwhile pro bono opportunities and provide legal services to those who would otherwise be turned away. Attendance numbers climbed from 311 in 2011 to more than 450 in 2012, highlighting the growing need for family-law guidance in the 4th Circuit. Each year, JALA receives thousands of family law requests and questions. Staff and pro bono attorneys are not able to represent all meritorious matters.
JUSTICE BARBARA PARIENTE BELIEVES IN TRYING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE -- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, March 26, 2013.
This profile of Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente was written by Madison Harris-Parks for The Oasis Center for Women and Girls, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “improve the lives of women and girls through celebration and support.” Harris-Parks writes, "Justice Barbara Pariente can easily be described as determined and courageous. Her dedication to justice runs deep — and not just because of the robe she wears to work. She is committed to making the world a better place, especially for children and families . . . Justice Pariente sees her work as a step in the right direction, down a path where a month of recognition is no longer necessary for women. She hopes to see a future where women’s rights are advanced in all fields and their contributions are celebrated every day."
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
LAKELAND CITY ATTORNEY TIM MCCAUSLAND'S CONTRACT TALKS STIR ISSUE OUTSIDE OF WORK -- Lakeland Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, March 26, 2013.
City Attorney Tim McCausland's request for a contract was withdrawn, but it raised an ethical issue. "What an employee does off-duty is ordinarily a matter of personal business," according to city guidelines. A review of McCausland's financial disclosure forms show that he was paid thousands of dollars from a Tampa law firm while he was city attorney. He made the money for referring a client to a well-known lawyer in the Tampa area. News of the referral and specific wording in McCausland's proposed contract about outside consulting raised questions about how any future outside work by McCausland should be handled if it comes up. Richard A. Harrison, a law professor at Stetson University and board certified by The Florida Bar in city, county and local government law, said the referral didn't appear to raise issues involving Florida Bar ethics.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
DEATH-ROW INMATE'S ATTORNEY WANTS SENTENCE TOSSED -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, March 26, 2013.
An attorney for death-row inmate Quawn Franklin has asked the Florida Supreme Court to overturn his sentence, saying the jury should have heard more evidence offering reasons why he shouldn't be condemned to death. Franklin, 35, was convicted of several violent felonies, including two murders, during a two-week crime spree in Leesburg in December 2001. Court records also show that his defense counsel wants to argue that he is not competent and cannot be executed. The justices will issue an opinion on the case later.