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. 20, 2012
JUDICIAL ELECTIONS, UNHINGED-- New York Times, editorial, http://www.nytimes.com, Nov. 19, 2012.
The editorial states: "This year's round of state judicial elections broke previous records for the amounts spent on judicial campaigns around the country. The dominant role played by special-interest money — including money from super PACs financed by undisclosed donors — has severely weakened the principle of fair and impartial courts. In Florida, for example, three respected state Supreme Court justices won their retention election battles, but only after they were forced to raise more than $1.5 million in total. They had put on expensive campaigns because they were targeted for defeat by moneyed conservatives who wanted to drive them off the bench for their supposed liberal views. The justices were absolutely right to fight back. Still, the bitter campaigns leave impressions of judicial partisanship and indebtedness to campaign donors."
--Civil Justice Issues--
REP. ALLEN WEST CONCEDES AFTER FLORIDA RECOUNT FIGHT-- The Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Nov. 20, 2012. [Also: REP. ALLEN WEST CONCEDES HOUSE RACE TO PATRICK MURPHY-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Nov. 20, 2012; MURPHY-WEST RECOUNT WAS MESSY BUT NECESSARY-- The Palm Beach Post, editorial, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Nov. 19, 2012].
U.S. Rep. Allen West conceded his re-election fight today, two weeks after the election gave way to court appearances, two partial recounts and unending accusations by his camp that the vote count wasn't fair. In a statement, the Republican freshman said "there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results" but not enough to change the outcome, giving the race to Democratic newcomer Patrick Murphy.
JUDGE HEARS LAWSUIT ON PRISON HEALTH CARE PRIVATIZATION-- Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, Nov. 20, 2012. [Also: FLORIDA JUDGE SKEPTICAL ABOUT PRISON PRIVATIZATION-- The Bradenton Herald, http://www.bradenton.com, Nov. 20, 2012].
From Florida Current: An admittedly puzzled circuit judge in Tallahassee heard lawyers for the Florida prison system, for a health care contractor and for state-employee unions argue for two hours Monday [Nov. 19] over a move to privatize medical services in state prisons. Judge John Cooper promised a prompt ruling, asking all sides to file legal summations by Nov. 28, but gave no indication when he might decide whether the Department of Corrections and Legislature acted properly in taking bids for inmate treatment. The tangled issues involve constitutional separation of powers, how much power the joint Legislative Budget Commission has in shifting money around between sessions and whether a separate statute allows the Department of Corrections to contract only with cities, counties and nonprofit organizations for such services — not big corporations.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
BOCA MAN CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING LATE CLIENT TO PAY BILLS-- Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Nov. 20, 2012.
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies say Jussi Kivisto lost his privilege to practice law in 2008 after he misappropriated a client's cash. They say that didn't stop him two years later, when he fabricated a document that allowed him to use $62,000 of a late client's money to pay his own bills. Kivisto is now charged with fraud, according to a Sheriff's Office report. Deputies arrested Kivisto at his home in Boca Raton Saturday [Nov. 17] and booked him in the Palm Beach County Jail. He was later released on $15,000 bail.
A PARTICULARLY INSIDIOUS LOCAL FRAUD SCHEME: THE TARGETS ARE ATTORNEYS AND LOCAL PROFESSIONALS-- Marco Island News, column, http://www.marconews.com, Nov. 20, 2012.
The guest column by Bill E. Branscum of Naples, a licensed private investigator and former special agent for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, states: "I investigate financial crimes, schemes to defraud, tax schemes, offshore asset management 'strategies,' money laundering, etc., domestically and internationally. Lately, I am seeing a particularly insidious fraud scheme here locally that I believe the community should be aware of. This particular scheme to defraud is a variation of the common 'Advanced Fee Scheme' but, in these cases, the fraudster supplies the advance fee funding to his victim in the form of a fraudulent check. Most recently, the scheme has been refined and revised to target attorneys and doctors. . . ."