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.
February 12, 2013
FOURTH CIRCUIT NEEDS ATTORNEYS FOR PRO BONO BANKRUPTCY PROJECT -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, Feb. 12, 2013.
The 4th Circuit is in need of support from local bankruptcy attorneys and attorneys interested in learning bankruptcy practice. Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Three Rivers Legal Services are collaborating with the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association to respond to the bankruptcy needs of low-income people in Northeast Florida with the new 4th Circuit Pro Bono Bankruptcy Project.
FLORIDA MAN AT CENTER OF IMMIGRATION DEBATE A GUEST AT TUESDAY'S STATE OF THE UNION -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Feb. 12, 2013.
Jose Godinez-Samperio, 26, will be at Tuesday's [Feb. 12] State of the Union address as the special guest of U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. A native of Mexico, Godinez-Samperio came to America with his parents at age 9. He graduated from Florida State University's law school, but he has not been admitted to The Florida Bar because he is not a U.S. citizen. The Board of Bar Examiners sought guidance from the state's highest court. Last October he petitioned the state Supreme Court, but the justices have not ruled.
COURT HEARING FLORIDA ONLINE HOTEL TAX APPEAL -- Lakeland Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Feb. 12, 2013.
A three-judge panel is hearing an appeal by 17 Florida counties of a lower court's tax ruling in favor of online travel companies. Lawyers were presenting oral argument Tuesday [Feb. 12] to the 1st District Court of Appeal panel in Tallahassee. The counties are appealing a decision last year by Tallahassee-based Circuit Judge James Shelfer. He said the online companies should be taxed only on what they pay for hotel rooms rather than the higher price they charge customers.
DECISION STRIKES BLOW FOR PENSION-FUND FAIRNESS -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, Feb. 12, 2013.
This opinion piece states that the Legislature shouldn't hesitate to look at new pension reforms. A Florida Supreme Court ruling upholding a law requiring public employees to contribute 3 percent of their salaries to the state's pension plan . . . is a win for the millions of workers in Florida's private sector who support generous benefits for government employees. The 4-3 court decision ensures that the state will save almost $900 million in annual contributions to pensions for state and county employees and some municipal workers.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
LAWYER ACCUSED OF 'DUI SETUP' SAYS HE WILL NO LONGER TAKE THE FIFTH -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Feb. 12, 2013.
In a statement released by his lawyer Monday [Feb. 11] afternoon, Stephen Diaco said his attorney is no longer advising him to plead the Fifth Amendment to avoid incrimination. He said he looks forward to fully cooperating and providing relevant testimony . . . in support of the motion for a new trial. He is being accused of setting up the DUI arrest of attorney C. Philip Campbell and going through his trial bag, which contained confidential information, during the Todd 'MJ' Schnitt v. Bubba The Love Sponge Clem defamation trial. The Florida Bar opened an investigation last week after getting a complaint about three lawyers at the Adams & Diaco firm: Diaco, Adam Filthaut and Robert Adams.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
DEFENDANT LETS LAWYER ARGUE AGAINST DEATH PENALTY AFTER LOSING ACTING AS HIS OWN ATTORNEY -- Tampa Bay Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Feb. 12, 2013.
A jury will try to decide today whether Khalid Ali Pasha should be executed for stabbing and bludgeoning his wife and stepdaughter to death in 2002. The Florida Supreme Court in 2010 overturned Pasha's 2007 murder convictions and death sentence, and said Pasha should have been allowed to serve as his own attorney at his original trial. Pasha represented himself at his retrial last month and was again convicted of the murders. For the sentencing phase of the second trial, Pasha obtained a lawyer, J. Jervis Wise, who urged jurors not to recommend a death sentence.
WILLIAM MAHON -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Feb. 12, 2013.
William Lacy Mahon Jr. born June 2, 1924, in Jacksonville, died on Friday, Feb. 8. Upon his graduation from the University of Florida, College of Law, in 1949, he joined his father's law firm in Jacksonville, where he continued practicing until his retirement in 2007. During his years as an attorney, Mr. Mahon also served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1953 to 1955.