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.
Jan. 8, 2013
JEFF ASHTON SWORN IN AS ORANGE-OSCEOLA STATE ATTORNEY IN WEE-HOURS CEREMONY -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com , Jan. 8, 2013.
New Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton took his oath of office in the wee hours today. After the five-minute ceremony, Ashton kissed his wife, Rita, and shook hands with Circuit Judge Fred Lauten, who administered the oath of office. The two go back three decades to when both were young prosecutors. Ashton's authority began today — the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the year — so he decided to hold the brief ceremony to make sure the office was run legally after the switch in power just after midnight from longtime State Attorney Lawson Lamar.
THE JUSTICE WHO CLEANED UP OUR TAINTED TOP COURT -- Florida Voices, column by Martin Dyckman, http://www.floridavoices.com , Jan. 8, 2013.
Dyckman writes: "Ben F. Overton, the retired jurist who died this month, wasn't the most famous of the four Supreme Court justices appointed by former Gov. Reubin O'D. Askew. But it was Overton's appointment, the first of the four, which was the most significant. He was the right man to turn around a court that had gone wrong. Askew knew there were problems there. The situation was even worse than the governor suspected, which made Overton a uniquely appropriate choice. As a lawyer and as a circuit judge from Pinellas County, he was already esteemed for expecting the highest standards of ethics from himself and others -- and for being a superb administrator. As chairman of the Conference of Circuit Judges, he had helped the Bar sell those judges and the Supreme Court, which had the last word, on a strengthened code of judicial conduct. A year later, the leader of the Bar's campaign was chair of the nominating commission that recommended Overton and two others for the Supreme Court vacancy. They were the first Supreme Court nominees under a merit selection system Askew had established so that governors could no longer populate Florida's judiciary with personal friends and political allies."
JUDICIAL PROFILE: WATERGATE-ERA LAW STUDENT PETER EVANS NOW ON FRONT LINES AS A JUDGE -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com , Jan. 8, 2013.
The article profiles Palm Beach County Judge Peter Evans.
16TH CIRCUIT JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSION VACANCY -- Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org , Jan. 8, 2013.
The Florida Bar is accepting applications for one lawyer vacancy on the 16th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission due to the death of John R. Collins. The Florida Bar must nominate three lawyers for this vacancy to the governor for his appointment. The appointee will serve the remainder of a four-year term, commencing immediately upon appointment by the governor and ending June 30, 2015. Applicants must be engaged in the practice of law and a resident of the territorial jurisdiction served by the commission to which the member is applying.
--Lawyer Ethics/Lawyer Discipline--
FORECLOSURE MILL HEAD FACES FLORIDA BAR DISCIPLINE -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com , http://www.pbpost.com , Jan. 7, 2013. [Also: FORT LAUDERDALE ATTORNEY MARSHALL WATSON AGREES TO 91-DAY SUSPENSION -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com , Jan. 8, 2013.]
The owner of the Fort Lauderdale-based Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson has agreed to plead guilty to offenses found during a Florida Bar investigation in what is believed to be the first disciplinary action taken by the regulatory group against a so-called foreclosure mill. The consent judgment, which still requires approval by the Florida Supreme Court, would suspend attorney Marshall C. Watson for 91 days - a move that means the closure of his firm -and require him to pay $30,000 for a record-keeping analysis, plus $5,931 for the Bar investigation. All suspensions of 91 days or greater require proof of rehabilitation and approval of the Florida Supreme Court before a lawyer may be reinstated to the practice of law.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
SCHOOL ARRESTS DOWN; MINORITIES, DISABLED MOST ARRESTED -- St. Augustine Record, http://www.staugustine.com , Jan. 8, 2013.
A new study by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice shows delinquency on school grounds has dropped by roughly half in the last eight years. But minority students and those with disabilities continue to get arrested at more than double the rate of other kids. The DJJ report released Monday [Jan. 7] found the number of all Florida youth arrested at school dropped by 48 percent between Fiscal Year 2004-05 and FY 2011-12. The arrest figures correspond to “a downward trend in juvenile delinquency in all categories across the state,” according to the report. Sixty-seven percent of all school-related arrests were for misdemeanors and 51 percent of arrests last year were for first offenses.
EDDIE SWAN -- The Miami Herald, http://www.herald.com , Dec. 27, 2013.
Vero Beach attorney Eddie Swan passed away Dec. 22. Swan served as judge advocate, U.S. Air Force; assistant attorney general for the state of Florida; assistant county solicitor for Dade County; U.S. commissioner, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida; in private practice at Swan Sheppard & Swan and with the law firm of Rossway Moore Swan. Swan practiced law for more than 60 years.