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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.

July 16, 2013

--Legal Profession--

INITIATIVE LOOKS TO QUASH RUDENESS BY LAWYERS -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, July 16, 2013.
The Florida Supreme Court has issued a code for resolving professionalism complaints, which calls for potential disciplinary action for lawyers behaving unprofessionally. This would be the first time Florida lawyers could face discipline from The Florida Bar for unprofessional behavior, in effect for rudeness. Complaints of lawyers acting discourteously prompted the launching of a "Got Civility" campaign last year, a joint resolution to promote lawyer civility from a coalition of 42 South Florida voluntary bar associations and six South Florida chief judges.

PRO BONO ATTORNEY TRAINING SERIES ELIMINATES BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT FOR CLIENTS -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, July 16, 2013.
A two-part CLE training series, part of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid's "Employability: Eliminating Barriers to Employment" webinar series for local pro bono attorneys, will benefit First Coast residents facing difficulties in finding employment. The first session is "Driver's License Reinstatement." The second session is "Sealing and Expunging Records." Participating attorneys will gain the knowledge to assist clients to pass the employment screening process and have an opportunity to be productively employed.  

--Judiciary--

BROWARD COURTHOUSE 'GOING UP FAST' -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, July 16, 2013.
Construction for the new Broward County Courthouse is underway. The 20-story tower will contain more than 70 new courtrooms, and is being built to energy-efficient and environmentally responsible standards. The tower, on schedule to be completed by summer 2015, is part of the $213 million courthouse revamp, which also includes a full demolition of the central and west wings of the current building, and renovations in the east wing. The courthouse has been patching up water-related issues since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

--Criminal Justice Issues--

JURY INSTRUCTIONS AT CENTER OF ZIMMERMAN VERDICT -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, July 16, 2013. [Also: STATE ATTORNEY COREY SCRUTINIZED NATIONALLY OVER HANDLING OF TRAYVON MARTIN/GEORGE ZIMMERMAN CASE -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, July 16, 2013; ZIMMERMAN TRIAL: TIME TO RECONSIDER SIX-MEMBER JURY -- Miami Herald, Column, http://www.miamiherald.com, July 16, 2013; EDITORIAL: A DUTY TO RETREAT FROM A FLA. LAW AS IT STANDS -- Tampa Bay Times, Editorial, http://www.tampabay.com, July 16, 2013.]
The Herald article examines the jury instructions provided to jurors in the Zimmerman case that included two sections giving them an option to find him not guilty: justifiable use of deadly force and reasonable doubt. A Times-Union article reports that Angela Corey, the state attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit, has been criticized throughout the country for failure to convict George Zimmerman. Shari Seidman Diamond, professor of law at Northwestern University and a research professor at the American Bar Foundation, writes in a Herald column that "perhaps in the wake of the Zimmerman case, Florida will reconsider its unique position on jury size." Finally, an editorial by the Times suggests that "the most productive way to channel the frustration with the verdict is to change Florida's "stand your ground" law to recognize that individuals who initiate confrontations are not then immune from responsibility of the consequences."

--Other--

LEE COUNTY CLERK OF COURT AUDIT FINDS FAILURES, MISSTEPS -- Fort Myers News-Press, http://www.news-press.com, July 16, 2013.
A Clerk of Court audit released Monday [July 15] details failures and possible violations of state law in Lee County government's effort to promote private business and create jobs through its Economic Development Office. Auditors concluded that a recently resigned county employee apparently violated state law by routing contracts for marketing to her husband's company. Information also was deleted from records, according to auditor's interviews with county employees. County Manager Roger Desjarlais said steps are already being taken to prevent future lapses. Commissioners will be asked to vote on policies within the next few months, he said.

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[Revised: 07-17-2013]