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.
Dec. 6, 2012
JUDGE HAWKINS CHARGED WITH MISCONDUCT-- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, Dec. 6, 2012. [Also: LEON COUNTY JUDGE ACCUSED OF USING OFFICE TO PROMOTE FOR-PROFIT RELIGIOUS BUSINESS-- Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald, http://www.tampabay.com, Dec. 6, 2012].
From the Tallahassee Democrat: The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission has charged Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins with judicial misconduct, saying she used her office to promote a side business. In a notice filed Wednesday [Dec. 5] with the Florida Supreme Court, the JQC said Hawkins sold study guides at the courthouse and used her office space, equipment and staff to work on the business Gaza Road Ministries. The business earned $13,518 in 2011, according to the JQC filing.
--Civil Justice Issues--
ABOUT 15,000 YOUNG IMMIGRANTS IN FLORIDA APPLY TO AVOID DEPORTATION-- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Dec. 5, 2012.
About 15,000 young illegal immigrants in Florida have stepped out of the shadows to apply for protection against deportation since federal officials started accepting applications in August. That's just 15 percent of the 100,000 Floridians the Migration Policy Institute estimated could benefit from the program, which helps people brought into the U.S. illegally as children. The relatively low application rate so far is probably because of uncertainty created by presidential politics, said Camila Pachon Silva, an immigration attorney with the Orange County Bar Association's Legal Aid Society, which has helped more than 60 people fill out their applications. Some immigrants were concerned that President Barack Obama would lose to Mitt Romney. Romney had said he would not deport those who were approved for the program, but campaign officials said he would not grant more approvals.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
APPEALS COURT THROWS OUT CONVICTION IN 1999 MURDER OF TEEN AT PALM BEACH MALL FOOD COURT-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Dec. 6, 2012.
The Fourth District Court of Appeal threw out the 2009 murder conviction of Jesse Lee Miller. Miller was convicted in the shooting death of 18-year-old Nicholas Megrath, who was shot in 1999 as he was closing a Chick-fil-A restaurant in the now-defunct Palm Beach Mall. The appeals court on Wednesday [Dec. 5] ruled that the jury was allowed to hear testimony that could have improperly convinced them to find him guilty of committing the execution-style murder. While Palm Beach County State Attorney Peter Antonacci suggested that additional DNA testing of a ski mask found outside the restaurant may help more firmly link Miller to the crime, it was other evidence that spurred the appeals court to toss the verdict. A key piece of evidence — a note prosecutors claimed Miller left behind after duct-taping Megrath to a chair and shooting him in the head — was given more credence than it should have, Chief Judge Melanie May wrote.
TEENAGER GETS 15 YEARS IN BOMB PLOT AT FREEDOM HIGH-- The Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Dec. 6, 2012. [Also: TEEN ACCUSED OF FREEDOM HIGH BOMB PLOT SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS-- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Dec. 6, 2012].
From The Tampa Tribune: Prosecutors called him a teenage terrorist bent on mass murder at a Tampa high school. The defense said he was a mentally ill boy with anger issues. In the end, Jared Cano cried as the judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison on Wednesday [Dec. 5]. Cano, now 18, was convicted of threatening to discharge a destructive device and attempting to discharge a destructive device at Freedom High School in August 2011. He was sentenced as an adult. If he had been sentenced as a juvenile, authorities could only have supervision over him until he turned 22. Circuit Judge Kimberly Fernandez said Cano's deep-seated mental health issues could not possibly be treated over the next four years and that he needed long-term help. She tacked 10 years probation onto the sentence, to be served after Cano gets out of prison.