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.
April 2, 2014
FLORIDA HOUSE PASSES JUVENILE SENTENCING BILL -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com, April 2, 2014. [Also: JUVENILE SENTENCING BILL PASSES HOUSE -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, April 1, 2014.]
The Florida House has passed a bill that re-works mandatory life sentences for juveniles, bringing state law closer to a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court banning such sentences. The House bill, sponsored by James Grant, R-Tampa, was passed on Tuesday [April 1] and allows for varying sentences and a judicial hearing depending on the crime, but excludes a review for murder defendants who previously committed serious crimes. The accompanying Senate bill is on the calendar for Thursday [April 3].
REMEMBER GOV. RICK SCOTT'S LACK OF SUPPORT FOR DIVERSITY -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Letter to the Editor, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, April, 2014.
Don Lerman from Boynton Beach writes regarding the March 24 editorial "Florida's courts should reflect state's diversity." He writes, "The editorial states that the judicial system risks losing public confidence unless the bench reflects the ethnic and racial diversity of the community. It also mentions the appointment of a task force — by The Florida Bar — to ascertain ways to promote a more diverse judiciary. My suggestion of a possible solution is the following: Since the current occupant of the Governor's Mansion — Gov. Rick Scott — has rejected the Bar's candidates for the nominating commissions and he has turned down lists of judicial nominees, the voting public should keep him from a second term. Case closed."
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
BROWARD LAWYER SENTENCED TO PRISON IN MUTUAL BENEFITS SCHEME -- South Florida Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, April 2, 2014.
Broward lawyer Anthony Livoti Jr. was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for his involvement in the Mutual Benefits Corp. investment scheme that took more than $1.25 billion from investors before being shut down in 2004. A jury convicted Livoti of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and mail fraud. Livoti was MBC's premium trustee and as a result was entrusted with millions of dollars of investor money placed in back accounts under his control. According to evidence presented at the trial, Livoti assisted MBC with the marketing of its fraudulent investment.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
STATE WON'T SEEK DEATH PENALTY FOR JULIE SCHENECKER IN KIDS' DEATHS -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, April 2, 2014. [Also: SCHENECKER WON'T FACE DEATH PENALTY IN MURDER TRIAL -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, April 2, 2014.]
Prosecutors have reversed course and will seek a sentence of life without parole instead of the death penalty for Julie Schenecker, accused of fatally shooting her two children. Schenecker's mental health issues are so severe that the state Supreme Court would not uphold a death sentence, the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office said Tuesday [April 1]. At the same time, they remain unconvinced that Schenecker is not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors say Schenecker, 53, shot her two children, Calyx and Beau, at their Tampa Palms home on Jan. 27, 2011. Schenecker, who has a history of mental illness, told police she was tired of them talking back. Attorneys familiar with death penalty cases said the state attorney's decision is not surprising. Schenecker's history of mental health problems would have weighed heavily in prosecutors' decision making and might have influenced the jury.