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.
Aug. 16, 2012
JUDGE TRANSFERS FROM CRIMINAL DIVISION AFTER EMAIL CONTROVERSY-- The Bradenton Herald, http://www.bradenton.com, Aug. 16, 2012. [Also: JUDGE ACCUSED OF POLITICKING VOLUNTARILY REASSIGNED-- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, Aug. 16, 2012].
From The Bradenton Herald: Twelfth Circuit Judge Janette Dunnigan requested and was granted a transfer Wednesday [Aug. 15] from the criminal division to the circuit civil division by Chief Judge Andrew Owens, Jr. Dunnigan's transfer stems from an April 2011 email that surfaced earlier this month in which Dunnigan tried to connect recently elected State Attorney Ed Brodsky with a potential supporter. The email, sent from Dunnigan's professional account, did not go directly to Brodsky. Defense attorneys questioned if the email shows a biased toward prosecutors.
BOCA RATON LAWYER HONORED FOR FIGHT AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM AND PREJUDICE OF ALL FORMS-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Aug. 16, 2012.
Boca Raton lawyer Michael Freeling, a partner at Bloom & Freeling, a Boca Raton law firm focusing on real estate and corporate law, is a member of the Anti-Defamation League’s Florida Regional Board and professional advisory committee. He also chairs its law enforcement committee. His dedication to the cause hasn’t gone unnoticed: the organization recently awarded him with the 2012 Daniel R. Ginsberg Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership in the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of prejudice.
CHERRY ASSOCIATION PROVIDES LEGAL CLINIC-- South Florida Times, http://www.sfltimes.com, Aug. 16, 2012.
The Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association hosted its second free Community Legal Clinic Aug. 4 at Gwen Cherry Park in Miami. The clinic was co-sponsored by the Caribbean Bar Association, Cuban American Bar Association, Haitian Lawyers Association and Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association.
--Civil Justice Issues--
THIRD DCA BACKS FLORIDA ON FUND DISBURSEMENTS-- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Aug. 16, 2012.
When it comes to disbursing unclaimed monies held by the state, that is the job of the Florida Department of Financial Services, according to a state appeals court. The Third District Court of Appeal issued a set of eight opinions overturning Miami-Dade Circuit Court decisions that, at one point, threatened to hold Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Atwater in contempt. Each opinion issued Wednesday [Aug. 15] pitted Atwater and the DFS against a Broward County company named National Equity Recovery Services, or NERS. The company is a private investigative agency that is registered as a recovery agent with the state, according to court filings. [Subscription required.]
FIGHT OVER DIXIE MONUMENT SENT BACK TO LOWER COURT-- The Gainesville Sun, http://www.gainesville.com, Aug. 16, 2012.
The article is by The Associated Press. The fight over the five-foot-tall granite monument that prominently displays the Ten Commandments in front of the Dixie County courthouse is back before a lower court. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal in Atlanta refused to take up the squabble Wednesday [Aug. 15], instead ordering a U.S. District Court in Tallahassee to rule on the standing of the plaintiff in the case. The American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of a North Carolina resident who owned property in a neighboring county and was considering buying property in Dixie County but was offended by the monument. Dixie County has argued that the monument, which has "Love God and Keep His Commandments" inscribed on the base, does not constitute government speech because the monument was privately purchased, owned and maintained by a local businessman. The monument has stood in front of the courthouse since November 2006.
FOR YOUNG IMMIGRANTS WHO WIN DEPORTATION DEFERRALS, WHAT'S NEXT?-- The Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Aug. 15, 2012.
The article is by McClatchy Newspapers. As young undocumented immigrants scrambled this week for high school transcripts and proof of local residency for applications that would allow them to remain and work in the United States legally, state officials across the country began reviewing their own policies to see how a new federal program would affect them. New issues are creeping up, such as whether President Barack Obama's order to prevent the deportations of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants pre-empts state polices that don't allow illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses or pay resident tuition at public colleges and universities. The deferral program could affect an estimated 1.4 million illegal immigrants, according to the Immigration Policy Center. California has about 460,000 potential applicants, followed by Texas (227,000) and Florida (85,750). Georgia has 38,500 potential applicants and North Carolina has 31,010.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
WORKLOAD FOR DEATH ROW CLEMENCY CASES CONCERNS PUBLIC DEFENDER-- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journal.com, Aug. 16, 2012.
Public defenders are being ordered by local courts to fill a role they haven't had to play in decades, if ever. Seventh Circuit Public Defender Jim Purdy said the local court has begun appointing his office to help Death Row inmates ask the governor's office for clemency. Purdy said his office is "critically short on manpower." "None of the elected public defenders in the state ever remember being appointed to (a clemency hearing) until this year and many . . . have been in office for 20 to 30 years," Purdy said. He said the law has been on the books for years; courts just haven't used it until the governor's office began requesting that they appoint public defenders.
DEBRA LAFAVE, CONVICTED OF SEX WITH STUDENT, ORDERED BACK ON PROBATION-- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Aug. 16, 2012.
Almost a year ago, a retiring judge joked with Debra Lafave about the demands of her newborn twins, complimented her on completing her community control sentence, then released the ex-teacher from the probation she had promised to serve for having sex with a 14-year-old boy in 2004. On Wednesday [Aug. 15], the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman's last act of leniency before retirement was "an abuse of judicial power resulting in a gross miscarriage of justice." The ruling means Lafave will have to resume the four remaining years of sex-offender probation. Her attorney is considering an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
LONGTIME SCHOOL DISTRICT ATTORNEY COLLINS DIES AT 71-- Key West Citizen, http://www.keysnews.com, Aug. 16, 2012.
John "Richard" Collins, who for three decades served as legal counsel for Monroe County government leaders and advised the School District through its 2009 financial scandal, died Tuesday [Aug. 14] at his home in Key West. He was 71 and died following complications from brain cancer, friends said. In his last few years, Collins kept working as a lawyer despite brushes with illness, including the inability to open one eye. He wore a black eye patch to work at the School District administration building. On Wednesday, those who worked with Collins remembered a consummate professional whose legal mind comforted his clients, who trusted him like a family friend who just happened to be an attorney.