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.
Sept. 28, 2012
REPUBLICAN PARTY WRONG TO TARGET FLORIDA SUPREME COURT JUSTICES-- The Palm Beach Post, editorial, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Sept. 28, 2012. [Also: LENNY CURRY: HOLDING FLORIDA JUSTICES ACCOUNTABLE-- The Gainesville Sun, column, http://www.gainesville.com, Sept. 28, 2012].
The Palm Beach Post editorial states: "Last week, the [Republican Party of Florida's] executive board voted to oppose merit retention for Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince, who face a Yes-No vote on the November ballot. . . .There is strong bipartisan opposition to this campaign against an independent judiciary. That effort needs the public's support."
The Gainesville Sun guest column by RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry states: "It is important to note that the decision to oppose these justices came in the form of a unanimous vote of the executive board of the Republican Party of Florida, which took place after a grassroots groundswell raised the issue ahead of a board meeting . . . . Everyone. . . agrees that these justices should be able to render legal opinions that transcend their political beliefs. But that is exactly the problem. . . . These justices have failed in this duty, which is why voters must carefully consider whether they deserve another six years on the bench."
JUDICIAL ATTACK IS ALL ABOUT POLITICS-- Sun-Sentinel, editorial, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Sept. 28, 2012.
The editorial first appeared in the Sept. 26 Orlando Sentinel and states: " The state Republican Party launched the unprecedented assault last week, when its leaders went on the record in favor of ousting the Supreme Court justices who face judgment from voters on the November ballot: Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince. This battle has higher stakes than the fate of the three justices. The future of Florida courts as politics-free zones, where judges rule based on the law and not partisan pressure, is in peril."
IN BACKGROUND OF JUSTICES' FIGHT, ANOTHER COURT BATTLE-- News Service of Florida, http://www.newsserviceflorida.com, Sept. 27, 2012.
Even as three Florida Supreme Court justices fight to hold onto their seats in merit elections scheduled for November, a ballot proposal that would change how future appointees are named to the court is also headed to voters. The most contentious part of Amendment 5 would subject all Supreme Court nominations to confirmation by the Florida Senate. The measure would also lower the bar for the Legislature to overturn court rules and would give lawmakers access to the records of judicial investigations, something that could be used in the impeachment process. [Subscription required.]
SHINHOLSER TO LEAD JUDICIAL CONFERENCE-- Fort Meade Leader, http://www.yoursun.net, Sept. 26, 2012.
Tenth Circuit Judge Olin Shinholser has been elected to serve as the chair of the State Conference of Circuit Court judges for a one-year term. He was sworn in August at the annual business meeting of the conference and is only the second judge from the 10th Circuit to serve. He has served on the bench since 1990.
--Civil Justice Issues--
FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL FILES SUIT AGAINST LAND TRUSTS, CALLING BUSINESS UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Sept. 26, 2012.
The Florida Attorney General's Office on Tuesday [Sept. 25] filed a civil complaint against several South Florida land trust companies, related firms and their owners by claiming they are making false promises to struggling homeowners. The companies solicit underwater homeowners through cold calls and YouTube videos to sign over their deeds to the trust, sometimes for a fee. The trust then sues the homeowner's lender to try to cancel the mortgage while setting the homeowner up on another payment plan for the home. Defendants include Parkland residents Edward Cherry and Paul Gellenbeck, Lawrence Diodato of Lake Worth, Anthony Pintsopoulos, and Shane Frankovic. The companies named are Fidelity Land Trust Co., which has a Boca Raton address in state records, Sunshine State Land Trust, August Belmont & Co., Zion Partners Irrevocable Trust, Florida Land Trust Services and Growth Capital Funding.
REVISIONISM-- The Gainesville Sun, editorial, http://www.gainesville.com, Sept. 27, 2012.
The editorial states: "Students at the University of Florida may soon vote to strike former UF President J. Wayne Reitz's name from the student union in favor of Virgil Hawkins. Arguably, they've got the wrong president and the wrong building. Hawkins was a black man who fought a years-long battle to get into UF's segregated law school. His bid for admission was rejected in 1957 by the Florida Supreme Court. That court's chief justice, Stephen C. O'Connell, would later become president of UF, where he would threaten black student demonstrators with arrest and expulsion. So isn't it more appropriate to rename the O'Connell Center after Hawkins?. . . . Reitz, O'Connell and [Gainesville Sen. W.A.] Shands were men of their times. Each, in his own way, were possessed of prejudices and character defects that would be more readily apparent and criticized today. But each man, in his own way, measurably contributed to the evolution, improvement and modernization of the University of Florida. . . . It is dangerous revisionism to presume to judge long-dead leaders by modern standards."
SCOTT'S OFFICE WANTS TO SHIELD LT. GOV. CARROLL-- The Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Sept. 27, 2012.
The article is by The Associated Press. The administration of Gov. Rick Scott is asking a judge to shield Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll from a criminal case involving one of her former aides. Scott’s top lawyer wants a Leon County judge to issue a protective order to keep lawyers for the former aide, Carletha Cole, from questioning either Carroll or her travel aide Beatriz Ramos. A hearing on the request is set for next month. Cole is charged with violating state law for allegedly giving a recording of a conversation with Carroll’s chief of staff to a newspaper reporter.