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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.

Oct. 1, 2012

--Judiciary--


SIX FORMER JUSTICES SPEAK UP AGAINST GOP ATTEMPTS TO POLITICIZE JUDICIARY-- The Miami Herald, column, http:.//www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 30, 2012. [Also: RPOF CHAIR LENNY CURRY DEFENDS OPPOSITION TO RETENTION-- Sunshine State News, http://www.sunshinestatenews.com, Sept. 29, 2012; STOP ASSAULT ON THE COURTS-- The Tampa Tribune, editorial, http://www.tbo.com, Sept. 30, 2012; ASK JUSTICES AND THE FLORIDA BAR: WHAT HAPPENED TO COMPETENCE?-- Sunshine State News, column, http://www.sunshinestatenews.com, Oct. 1, 2012; BILLIONAIRE KOCH BROTHERS TRY TO BUY STATE’S COURT--The Miami Herald, column, http://www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 29, 2012; ].
The Miami Herald guest column is by former Florida Supreme Court Justices Harry Lee Anstead, Raoul G. Cantero, Arthur J. England, Jr., Stephen H. Grimes, Major B. Harding and Ben F. Overton. The column states: "This November, the names of three Florida Supreme Court justices will be on every ballot in the state. . . . In the U.S. Constitution our Founding Fathers provided for a judiciary free from partisan political influence because they were concerned about how, in England, the king controlled the judges. Alexander Hamilton, one of the country's Founding Fathers, believed that having judicial elections would irreparably harm the fairness and impartiality of the courts. Florida's merit selection and retention process honors both those concerns."

MERIT RETENTION: JUDICIAL CHECK AND BALANCE-- The Ledger, editorial, http://www.theledger.com, Sept. 30, 2012.
The editorial states: ". . . Merit retention is a head-scratcher for many. The purpose is straightforward: If the justice or judge has performed the requirements of the position properly, a yes vote is appropriate. How would an everyday voter determine judicial performance? The practical answer is to approach it from the other direction. Look for unmet judicial requirements or bad behavior. Any upper-level jurist not doing the job or acting inappropriately will be all over the news. Further merit-retention explanation is online: www.floridabar.org. Click the red-white-and-blue 'The Vote's in Your Court' icon on the right side of the webpage." A podcast accompanies this editorial at TheLedger.com/podcast. Listen to the Editorial Board's full interview with Florida Bar President Gwynne Young, and Rick Nail, a member of the Bar's Board of Governors for the 10th Circuit.

--Legal Profession--

PALM COAST ATTORNEY HONORED FOR PRO BONO WORK-- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, Oct. 1, 2012.
Palm Coast resident Marjorie Bostwick had for years been a stay-at-home mom and wife to a successful city official who made a great salary. A single argument in 2011 changed everything for her, setting her on a path that would take 14 months and more than a hundred hours of an attorney's time to recover from. Bostwick said she was lucky to find attorney William "Bill" Bosch III, who took her case pro bono. Bosch, a partner in Palm Coast's Conner Bosch law firm and a former president of the Flagler County Bar Association, said that if each attorney in the Flagler and Volusia Bar Association took a case for free, the need for free legal services would be met each year. The need is getting harder and harder to meet. Florida Bar president Gwynne Young has pointed to what she calls an increasing "justice gap" between those who can afford representation and those who don't get representation because they can't. For his pro bono efforts, The Volunteer Lawyers Project will present Bosch with the "Champion of Justice" award Thursday "for his outstanding efforts on behalf of our clients in need," according to a Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida news release.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 17 ATTORNEYS-- The Florida Bar, news release, http://www.floridabar.org, Sept. 27, 2012. [Also: THREE AREA LAWYERS AMONG 17 DISCIPLINED-- Tampa Bay Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay, Sept. 28, 2012; IMPRISONED ATTORNEY FACES 3-YEAR SUSPENSION-- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Sept. 29, 2012; PALM COAST ATTORNEY REPRIMANDED, PLACED ON PROBATION-- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, Sept. 28, 2012].
The Florida Bar, the state's guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court, in court orders issued between July 24 and Sept. 6, disciplined 17 attorneys, disbarring four and suspending 10. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Three attorneys were publicly reprimanded; one was placed on probation and three were ordered to pay restitution. The articles detail some of the local cases.

--Civil Justice Issues--

U.S. HIGH COURT DECISION IN RIVIERA BEACH CASE COULD HELP REWRITE NATIONAL MARITIME LAW-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Sept. 30, 2012.
Made of plywood with three sets of French doors, the squat two-story building tied up to a dock at the Riviera Beach Marina didn't look like your average boat. So, perhaps it is fitting that the battle over Fane Lozman’s $17,000 floating home has spawned a nationwide and potentially far-reaching debate over exactly what constitutes a vessel. No one saw it coming. During the legal battle, both sides inadvertently unleashed uncertainty in a centuries-old area of law that affects everything that floats and anyone who makes their living in the multibillion-dollar maritime industry. The U.S. Supreme Court sits today to hear Fane Lozman v. The City of Riviera Beach. Among others, the U.S. solicitor general has weighed in, claiming the high court's decision could have ripple effects for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard and myriad other federal agencies that could be forced to change policies and possibly increase manpower if the definition of vessel is changed.

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[Revised: 10-02-2012]