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.
Nov. 29, 2012
CALL OF DUTY - STETSON'S NEW VETERANS LAW INSTITUTE-- Florida Trend, http://www.floridatrend.com, Nov. 13, 2012.
Apart from giving law students practical experience, the new Veterans Law Institute at Stetson University's College of Law also takes on varied roles in serving both veterans and active-duty military personnel. It operates a Veterans Advocacy Clinic in Gulfport, for example, where law students, under the supervision of professors, work with veterans whose attempts to get upgraded benefits have been rejected. The help is free for the vets. The institute also has a pro bono program that links lawyers with deployed soldiers and their families dealing with foreclosure or other legal issues.
--Civil Justice Issues--
COURT UPHOLDS LAYOFF AFTER COMPLAINT TO FEDS-- Panama City News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com, Nov. 29, 2012.
An appellate court says Florida's whistleblower protection law doesn't apply to a local government worker who was laid off in 2008 after he complained about his pay to a federal agency. A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday [Nov. 28] that the law would have been triggered only if the Panama City Housing Authority employee had complained to the agency's chief executive or "other appropriate local official." Kenneth Quintini, instead, complained to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that he wasn't being paid the same as other maintenance workers. The court ruled that the law's language is clear and doesn't include complaints to federal or state agencies.
FOLLOWING OIL SPILL CHARGES, BP SUSPENDED FROM FEDERAL CONTRACTS-- The Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Nov. 29, 2012.
The article is by McClatchy Newspapers. The U.S. government is suspending oil giant BP from winning new federal contracts or oil leases, saying the company's "lack of business integrity" makes it an unfit partner in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Environmental Protection Agency says the suspension is indefinite. It will last "until the company can provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets federal business standards." The action stems from criminal charges against BP for the Deepwater Horizon disaster that began on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and leading to a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP this month agreed to plead guilty and pay a $4.5 billion penalty. The government also is pursuing a civil lawsuit against BP over the spill.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
SHOOTING DEATH OF BLACK TEEN PUTS FLORIDA BACK UNDER SPOTLIGHT-- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Nov. 29, 2012. [Also: FRIENDS, PARENTS AT JACKSONVILLE TEEN'S VIEWING SAY HE DID NOT DESERVE TO BE KILLED-- The Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Nov. 29, 2012].
From the Orlando Sentinel: Michael Dunn appeared in court on Wednesday [Nov. 28] to face charges in the shooting death of an apparently unarmed black teenager in a case putting Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law back under the U.S. media spotlight less than a year after the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Dunn, 45, is being held without bail on charges of second-degree murder for the Friday night [Nov. 23] shooting of Jordan Davis, 17. Authorities say Dunn pulled into the parking lot of a Jacksonville gas station alongside the SUV where Davis and three friends were listening to music. Dunn asked them to turn their music down and, after an apparent exchange of words with Davis, he produced a gun and fired eight or nine shots at the SUV. At least two of the bullets hit Davis, causing his death. Dunn, who was in Jacksonville for his son's wedding, sped off after the shooting but he was arrested Saturday [Nov. 24] in Brevard County, police said. Dunn's lawyer, Robin Lemonidis, told reporters that someone in the SUV brandished a shotgun and Dunn opened fire on the vehicle in self-defense.
CONVICTED TERRORISM PLOTTER WITH BROWARD TIES IS BACK IN SOUTH FLORIDA-- Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Nov. 29, 2012.
Convicted terrorism plotter Jose Padilla, who called Broward County home before becoming a trained al-Qaida fighter, won a small but personally significant round in his legal odyssey Wednesday [Nov. 28] in federal court in Miami. A federal judge agreed to delay Padilla's resentencing date by about eight weeks, giving the 42-year-old his first chance in years to receive visits from his mother, two brothers and other family members who live in South Florida. Padilla, 42, has been locked up in a variety of extremely restrictive conditions since being arrested in May 2002 and accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" on U.S. soil. Though prosecutors dropped that allegation, he was eventually convicted of federal conspiracy and supporting terrorism charges after a lengthy trial in 2007 in Miami. He was originally sentenced to more than 17 years in prison in 2008, but a federal appeals court ruled that he should be resentenced.