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 25, 2013
CLERK OF COURTS: 'E-FILING IS ABSOLUTELY AWESOME' -- Jackson County Floridan, http://www.jcfloridan.com, April 25, 2013.
Jackson County Clerk of Courts Dale Rabon Guthrie reports a successful start to meeting a Florida Supreme Court mandate to accept civil cases through the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal. More than 917 documents have been electronically filed in Jackson County since the mandate went into effect on April 1. More than 2,075 documents have been electronically filed since Jan. 1. Benefits to the filer include reducing costs related to postage, paper and envelopes. Florida is one of the first states in the nation to implement statewide electronic filing of court documents and has implemented e-filing at the trial and appellate-court levels in all 67 counties and in the Florida Supreme Court.
--Legal Ethics/Lawyer Discipline--
JACKSONVILLE ATTORNEY ACCUSED OF EXPLOITING HER ELDERLY WARDS FOR MORE THAN $100,000 -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, April 25, 2013. [Also: JACKSONVILLE ATTORNEY ARRESTED FOR EXPLOITING CLIENTS -- Jacksonville Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, April 25, 2013.]
Jacksonville attorney Cynthia Leigh Nichols was arrested Friday [April 19] on charges of exploiting the elderly in excess of $100,000 and grand theft. She has since been released on the condition that she appears at her next court date. She is accused of using the bank accounts of her wards to make purchases on items that include furniture, cars and even a house from which she, her friend and her friend’s daughter benefited. If convicted, Nichols faces up to 20 years on two felony charges. The Florida Bar is also investigating.
GOV. SCOTT SHOULD VETO ALIMONY BILL -- Tampa Bay Times, Editorial, http://www.tampabay.com, April 25, 2013. [Also: THE STING OF PERMANENT ALIMONY -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Letter to the Editor, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, April 25, 2013]
The Times editorial argues that the governor should veto the alimony bill, stating that it "would provide a whole new set of rules that unfairly rebalance the alimony scales to free higher earners of their long-term obligations to a former spouse." It states that "the bill's pluses don't outweigh its minuses. The legislation dictates a series of formulas and unreasonably limits judicial discretion. What is fair in divorce is highly dependent on individual circumstances." A letter to the editor on the Sentinel from a permanent alimony payor who was married for 15 years, encourages Gov. Rick Scott to sign the alimony reform bill.
DEAL ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE, ETHICS DOUBLES CONTRIBUTIONS -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com, April 25, 2013.
Florida House and Senate leaders have reached a deal on campaign finance and ethics reforms, Senate Ethics and Elections Committee Chairman Jack Latvala announced on the floor this morning [April 25]. The agreement doubles the current $500-per-election cycle campaign contribution limit for local and legislative candidates and hikes the limit to $3,000 for statewide candidates and Supreme Court justices up for merit retention. The measure would also require more reporting of campaign finances, including daily reporting in the final week leading up to an election. Lawmakers are expected to take final votes on both measures today [April 25] and send them to Gov. Rick Scott.
ROBERT AUGUSTUS HARPER JR. -- Gainesville Sun, http://www.sunone.com , April 25, 2013.
Robert A. Harper, beloved husband, father and grandfather, preeminent lawyer passed away on April 23. A courageous fighter in the courtroom, as well as in life. Robert was born on Aug. 15, 1946 in Milton, Florida. Robert was a brilliant lawyer, he was re-spected by judges, his peers and clients alike. After graduating from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he was recognized in Who's Who in Florida Blue Key, President of Alpha Tau Omega, founder of a law clerk program, and participated with Legal Aid and Defender Clinic, he became a Board Certified Appellate/Criminal Lawyer. His accomplishments in the legal field have been recognized by Who's Who in America (1997-present), " Florida's Top Lawyers", Florida's Legal Elite, and Florida Trend Magazine's "Super Lawyers." His public service included The Innocence Projects (Board of Directors), Judicial Nominating Commission and the Guardian Ad Litem program. He served as a Founding Officer of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
ROLAND WILLIAMS -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.times-union.com , April 25, 2013.
Roland Erwin Williams Jr, 71, died on Monday, April 22 in Jacksonville. He earned his law degree at Stetson University and was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1966. He was a Certified Circuit Mediator in 1991. Some of his other activities included, U.S. Coast Guard; licensed captain; lecturer at Continuing Legal Education seminars; and an instructor for Legal Assistants at FCCJ and a business law instructor at Jacksonville University. He was graduate of Stetson College and Law School and a proud member of Sigma Nu fraternity.