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.
June 13, 2013
SIX FINALISTS FOR BROWARD CIRCUIT BENCH SENT TO SCOTT -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, June 13, 2013.
County court judges John D. Fry and Stacy Ross, and assistant state attorneys Abbe S. Rifkin and W. Anthony "Tony" Loe are among the list of six finalists the Seventeenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission will be sending to Governor Rick Scott to fill the position left by the passing of Broward Circuit Judge Susan Aramony. They were among 20 applicants interviewed. Rene D. Harrod, an assistant county attorney for Broward County, was the only other lawyer in public office. The only private practitioner is Charles A. Morehead III, a partner at Moody, Jones, Ingino & Morehead in Plantation.
JUDGES OK PLAN FOR NEW FEDERAL COURTHOUSE IN FORT LAUDERDALE -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, June 13, 2013.
Judges at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida voted unanimously to endorse a plan put forth by the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority to seek public-private partners to build a new federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. The plan for a new courthouse still must be approved by the DDA board, a courthouse committee, Congress and the General Services Administration. The Fort Lauderdale legal community has long pushed for a new federal courthouse to replace the existing downtown building on Broward Boulevard. The current structure started to experience flooding shortly after it opened in 1978. While repairs have been done, the flooding has only gotten worse, say the judges.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL: DAY 4 OF JURY SELECTION IN TRAYVON MARTIN SHOOTING -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, June 13, 2013. [Also: POTENTIAL JUROR DISMISSED AS LAWYERS MOVE FORWARD IN TRAYVON MARTIN SHOOTING CASE -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, June 13, 2013.]
George Zimmerman will be back in court this morning [June 13] for the fourth day of jury selection in his second-degree murder trial in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Though no jurors have been seated, so far 20 Seminole County residents have cleared the pretrial publicity phase, during which attorneys have grilled them on their knowledge of the shooting in Sanford. The jurors have varied in their familiarity with the case so far. Seventy-five people summoned as jurors have been deemed unsuitable and sent home. Attorneys in the case hope to get 30 people through pretrial publicity questioning, then move on to more-traditional jury selection topics with them. Ultimately, the parties hope to seat a panel of six jurors and four alternates.
PRISON GUARD KILLER WILLIAM VAN POYCK EXECUTED BY STATE FOR DEADLY 1987 AMBUSH -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com, June 13, 2013. [Also: AS VAN POYCK AWAITS DEATH, NEW REASON TO VETO DEATH PENALTY BILL -- Palm Beach Post, Editorial, http://www.pbpost.com, June 13, 2013.]
William Van Poyck was executed and declared dead at 7:24 p.m. on Wednesday [June 12]. Family members of Fred Griffis, the 40-year-old retired U.S. Army Ranger and Vietnam veteran who was killed by Van Poyck and another ex-con in 1987, were among 23 people who witnessed the execution that was delayed for an hour until 7 p.m. to allow Gov. Rick Scott to return from Chicago. The governor is notified when an execution begins and when it has been carried out. Van Poyck’s sister Lisa Van Poyck, who lives in Richmond, Va., met with the 58-year-old earlier in the day.
$50M SEIZED FROM SCOTT ROTHSTEIN SHOULD BE IN TRUSTEE'S HANDS -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, June 13, 2013.
Up to $50 million in bank accounts and property the federal government seized from Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein should instead have gone to a bankruptcy trustee of his defunct law firm, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled Wednesday [June 12]. U.S. District Judge James Cohn in Fort Lauderdale approved the forfeiture of Rothstein's yachts, cars and other items, which make up most of the disputed assets. He also gave federal prosecutors the power to distribute $2.6 million left in his Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm's bank accounts to Rothstein's victims. Herbert Stettin, the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee for the law firm's estate, appealed Cohn's rulings, saying the Ponzi proceeds were commingled with legitimate receipts of Rothstein's law partners.
KISSIMMEE COUPLE PLEAD GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING ELDERLY CLIENTS -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, June 13, 2013.
A Kissimmee couple who stole nearly $2.9 million from elderly clients pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday [June 11] and could be sentenced to 10 years in prison each. Linda Littlefield, a disbarred attorney also known as Linda Vasquez, and her former husband, Ross Littlefield, stole nearly $2.9 million from elderly clients and used the money to buy real estate and cars and prop up their other businesses. Several civil lawsuits are pending against the former couple.
FORMER SOUTHWEST FLORIDA JUDGE, 78, DIES -- Ft. Myers News-Press, http://www.news-press.com, June 13, 2013.
Jack R. Schoonover, the longtime Southwest Florida District Court judge, died Monday [June 10] at his Fort Myers home. Schoonovoer had been practicing law and presiding over courtrooms for more than 50 years. He was 78. Schoonover's legal career began in Punta Gorda in the practice of Wotitzky, Wotitzky & Schoonover. He also served as assistant state attorney in Charlotte County, legal counsel for the Charlotte County School Board and Punta Gorda city attorney. Eventually, he served as judge with the 20th Judicial Circuit and then as judge with the 2nd District Court of Appeals, where he was chief judge at one time. Following his retirement, he continued to work as a senior judge from Collier to Sarasota counties.
LAWYERS RAIL AT POLICE RESPONSE TO TURKEY PROTESTS -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tampatrib.com, June 13, 2013.
By The Associated Press. Thousands of black-robed Turkish lawyers stormed out of their courthouses in Ankara and Istanbul Wednesday [June 12], shouting about the alleged rough treatment of their colleagues, who police briefly detained in Istanbul on the sidelines of Tuesday's unrest, amid the country's biggest anti-government protests in years. The rallies by clapping, chanting jurists added a new twist to the nearly two weeks of protests that started in Istanbul and spread to dozens of other Turkish cities.