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.
Dec. 5, 2012
ETHICS CASE AGAINST EX-DADE JUDGE ANA MARIA PANDO DROPPED-- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Dec. 5, 2012.
The state Judicial Qualifications Commission is dropping its ethics case against former Miami-Dade County Court Judge Ana Maria Pando following her promise never to seek a judgeship again. Lawyers for the commission and Pando mailed a joint notice of voluntary dismissal Tuesday [Dec. 4] to the Florida Supreme Court. Pando was accused March 19 of practicing law from the bench by writing a letter on her judicial letterhead to the state saying the corporate registration for Florida Wellness & Rehabilitation Center Inc., a business run by a friend and campaign contributor, was inadvertently closed. The state Division of Corporations took the letter as an official order and reinstated the company. When Pando wrote the division, she had cases before her involving Florida Wellness and sister companies, the JQC said. She also accepted $2,500 in campaign donations from the owner. Pando maintained that she thought she was writing a letter of recommendation, not an official order. [Subscription required.]
--Civil Justice Issues--
FLORIDA JUSTICES DELAY HEARING BREATH TESTING MACHINE CASE-- St. Augustine Record, http://staugustine.com, Dec. 5, 2012.
The Florida Supreme Court has delayed until February hearing oral argument in a drunken driving appeal that could affect similar cases across the state.
FLORIDA HIGHWAY AGENCY MAY BE HEADED TO COURT OVER LICENSE PLATES-- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Dec. 5, 2012.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may be on the road to court after failed attempts Tuesday [Dec. 4] to settle a dispute over who will make and distribute the state's new license tags. County tax collectors and other groups say Florida is breaking the law as it moves to pay private companies for services that have for decades been done by state workers. The tax collectors' protest could go before an administrative law judge in January.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
STATE HIGH COURT DENIES APPEALS BY FORMER SWEETWATER COP SLATED FOR EXECUTION-- The Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Dec. 5, 2012. The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday [Dec. 4] denied appeals by former Sweetwater cop and mass killer Manuel Pardo, who is slated to be executed Dec. 11. Prosecutors said Pardo, 56, and cohort Rolando Garcia committed nine murders during the 1980s, ripping off drug dealers and people who could implicate them in the crimes. At a 1988 trial, he admitted the murders, saying he was ridding the streets of the "scum of the earth." After Gov. Rick Scott signed his death warrant in October, Pardo's lawyers asked Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Stanford Blake to stay the execution, saying Pardo had not been given all the public records associated with his case and that back in the 1980s he was incompetent to stand trial.
DID 'IN COLD BLOOD' KILLERS MURDER SARASOTA'S WALKER FAMILY IN '59?-- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, Dec. 2, 2012.
In the 52 years spent investigating the Walker family murders, law officers developed 587 people as suspects. Now the focus is on just two. They are a notorious duo: Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, killers of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kan., and main characters of "In Cold Blood," a true-crime book by Truman Capote that ranks among the most important works of American literature. Detectives could be headed to Kansas soon, to exhume from the Lansing Correctional Facility the two men's bodies and see if their hunch is correct. That hunch? That Smith and Hickock traveled through Florida after the notorious Kansas murders, and killed farmer Cliff Walker, his wife, Christine, and their two children in rural Osprey. The results could solve a local mystery, but, all along, clues may have been hiding in plain sight — awaiting fresh eyes and science to catch up.
LAWYERS PUSH FOR SERRANO TO BE RETRIED IN MASS MURDER CASE-- Winter Haven News Chief, http://www.newschief.com, Dec. 5, 2012.
Lawyers representing condemned murderer Nelson Serrano allege a prosecutor coached a witness to lie on the stand and a state law enforcement agent planted a fingerprint to ensure Serrano's conviction, according to an appeal of Serrano's conviction and death sentence. Miami lawyers Roy Black and Marcia Silvers also allege that Serrano's lawyers during his 2006 trial, Cheney Mason of Orlando and Robert Norgard of Bartow, didn't adequately represent him, and Serrano should be given a new trial. Serrano, 74, was convicted in October 2006 of murdering a business partner and three of the partner's family members in 1997.
FUNERAL SCHEDULED FOR CALVIN MAPP, MIAMI-DADE'S FIRST BLACK COUNTY COURT JUDGE-- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Dec. 5, 2012.
A funeral for retired Judge Calvin Mapp, the first black judge in Miami-Dade County Court, will be 11 a.m. Saturday [Dec. 8] at the Historic Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church. Mapp, who died Nov. 27 at 88, also was one of Miami's first black police officers in the city's Central Negro District during segregation. He would later serve as a prosecutor and help launch Matthews Braynon & Mapp, Miami's first black firm, before being appointed a county court judge in 1973. Mapp presided over criminal, traffic and juvenile cases from 1973 to 1994 when he retired. [Subscription required.]
FUNERAL SERVICES SET FOR BATEMAN-- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, Dec. 5, 2012.
Memorial services for Tallahassee attorney Rick Bateman, 55, who died Monday [Dec. 3], will be at 11 a.m. Friday [Dec. 7] at Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee.