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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.

January 11, 2013

--Judicial--

EDITORIAL: BAKER SHOWS US HOW IT'S DONE, THE RIGHT WAY -- Naples Daily News, http://www.naplesnews.com, Jan. 11, 2013.
Fellow judges and others working in the justice system do well to observe the retirement of Frank Baker after 18 years on the Southwest Florida Circuit Court bench. While he did strive to assure his decisions would be upheld in the appeal process, what sets Baker apart is the way he went about his business in the courtroom. He treated everyone with kindness, patience and respect.

--Legislature--

LAWMAKERS TO DISBURSE PART OF FORECLOSURE SETTLEMENT FUNDS NEXT WEEK -- Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, Jan. 11, 2013 [Also: FLORIDA TO SPEND $60 MILLION FROM BANKS SETTLEMENT -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Jan. 11. 2013, DEADLINE NEARS FOR FORECLOSED OWNERS TO APPLY -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Jan. 11, 2013.].
A legislative budget panel will meet next week to parcel out $60 million to aid troubled homeowners as part of an agreement between Attorney General Pam Bondi and legislative leaders over how to spend some of a foreclosure fraud settlement with five large banks. Florida received $8.4 billion of the $25 billion settlement. Under the settlement, $7.6 billion will go directly to affected homeowners for loan modifications and principal reductions, $170 million in cash payments will go to homeowners unfairly foreclosed upon between 2008 and 2011, $309 million will be used to help underwater homeowners refinance their loans and $334 million went to the state in a direct payment -- $34 million of which went to state coffers as a civil penalty.

PROPOSAL WOULD PUT LIMIT ON FLORIDA AMENDMENTS -- Ft. Myers News-Press,http://www.news-press.com, Jan. 11, 2013.
In the wake of an election in which voters had to wade through 11 constitutional amendment proposals put forth by legislators and complained of long voting lines, a Democratic state senator wants to limit how many ballot questions lawmakers can pose. Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, filed a proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 254) on Thursday seeking limit to three the number of proposed amendments the Legislature could put on the ballot to any one election.

BILL WOULD REPEAL 'STAND YOUR GROUND' LAW -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 11, 2013.
The controversial "stand your ground" self-defense law could be repealed under a bill filed this week by a House Democrat. The law, which allows those who feel threatened to shoot back at assailants out in public, seized the national spotlight last year with the February shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford. Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, filed the measure (HB 4009) on Wednesday [Jan. 9]. After the case drew national attention, Gov. Rick Scott tapped a task force that examined the law for nearly a year, but its draft report offered few major changes. Williams said . . ."in several cases, it's given individuals the ability to hide behind this law, when going out and carrying out acts of violence, especially in several cases of deadly acts of violence."

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

PERSONAL INJURY FIRMS CLAIM RIVAL LAWYERS USE ILLEGAL SOLICITATION -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 11, 2013.
Four personal injury firms in Broward and Palm Beach counties are suing three other law firms on allegations they illegally solicit clients. The firms of Lawlor, Winston, White & Murphy in Fort Lauderdale; Metnick, Levy & Long in Delray Beach; Balkan & Patterson in Boca Raton; and Gary E. Susser in Boynton Beach filed suit in Broward Circuit Court on Jan. 4. They allege the firms of Bader, Stillman & Adler in Margate; Madalon Law Firm in Hollywood; and Gregory Schwartz P.A. in Hollywood use middlemen dubbed as runners to sign up people involved in accidents. The lawsuit appears to be a concerted campaign to curb solicitation practices that give law firms that allegedly use runners an unfair advantage. It is unusual, however, for law firms to go after each other on this issue. Illegal soliciting is a practice policed by The Florida Bar. Joseph Madalon is the only named attorney defendant who is under investigation by The Florida Bar.

--Unlicensed Practice of Law--

BAR CLEARS DEM. OFFICIAL CLEARED OF MISLEADING IMMIGRANT CLIENTS BUT CRIMINAL PROBE PENDING -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Jan. 11, 2013.
A prominent Palm Beach County Democratic Party leader has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Florida Bar after he was accused last year of falsely representing himself as an attorney, but allegations of fraud against him for the same activities still are being investigated by The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office. After two South Florida immigration attorneys filed a complaint in March, The Florida Bar investigated Clarence Shahid Freeman, 61. The Bar committee that investigated the case completed its investigation in October but its report came to light only recently. “After deliberation and careful review, the committee did not find sufficient evidence that you held yourself out as an attorney or that you provided or intended to provide legal services to the named witnesses,” the Bar said in a letter to Freeman.


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[Revised: 01-14-2013]