The Florida Bar

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.

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December 27, 2012


Foreclosures continue to clog Florida courtrooms, and judges are taking on work their former staffs used to do. That's why the Florida Supreme Court asked last week for 63 new judges and a new appeals court judge. Not in Highlands County, though. "We are running pretty smooth," said Clerk of Courts Bob Germaine in Sebring. The Supreme Court said the residential mortgage foreclosure crisis "continues to impede disposition times and rates in our circuit civil divisions." That hasn't been a problem in Highlands, where there is no backlog. It's the same in Circuit 10, said Court Administrator Nick Sudzina in Bartow. "We didn't ask this year. I don't think the Supreme Court would have certified the need if we had," he said. Sudzina isn't certain why Circuit 10 — comprised of Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties — isn't overloaded when other courts are. It's a combination of a lower crime rate, population and other factors.

E-SERVICE TO BE PART OF E-FILING -- Florida Bar News,, Dec. 27, 2012.
Electronic service of notices and case documents will eventually be included as part of the Florida court's new statewide electronic filing system, but the authority overseeing the portal that is the entrance to the system plans to ask the Legislature for money for the authority's operation and to help educate users. The Florida E-Filing Authority Board Chair Tim Smith, Putnam County clerk of the court, reported at the authority's Dec. 13 meeting that a special staffer has been hired to work on e-service issues. Carolyn Weber has joined the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers, which the authority has subcontracted for the development of the portal, and she will concentrate on the e-service component, Smith said. Smith noted that representatives from the authority and the FCTC met and carefully reviewed the portal agreement between the courts and the authority. They agreed that e-service was part of the original agreement, but expenses for the authority board and for educating users of the portal were not covered.

PUTNAM, FLAGLER COUNTY JUDGES RETIRING -- St. Augustine Record, , Dec. 27, 2012.
Flagler County Court Judge Sharon B. Atack and Putnam County Court Judge Peter T. Miller will retire at the end of their terms in early January. One of two Putnam County court judges, Miller, of Palatka, was elected to the bench in 1985. He spent about 14 years in private practice before taking the bench. Attorney Joe Boatwright was elected to Miller’s county court seat in November. He will take office Jan. 8. In Nov. attorney D. Melissa Moore Stens was elected to Atack’s county court seat. She will take office Jan. 8.

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[Revised: 12-28-2012]