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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.

Oct. 3, 2012

--Judiciary--


RPOF IS SETTING A BAD PRECEDENT-- Tallahassee Democrat, column, http://www.tallahassee.com, Oct. 3, 2012.
The guest column by C. Howard Hunter, president of the Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates, states: ". . . The Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates (FLABOTA) is an organization of experienced and respected civil trial lawyers, one half plaintiff and one half defense, both Republicans and Democrats. FLABOTA is dedicated to the preservation of an independent and impartial judiciary, and condemns the RPOF's dangerous and unprecedented threat to those core principles. FLABOTA calls upon the RPOF to reconsider and rescind its involvement in the merit retention election. . ."

REPUBLICAN PARTY AIMS TO REMAKE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT-- The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com, Oct. 2, 2012.
Republicans in Florida are asking voters to oust three state Supreme Court justices and give the state Legislature greater power over Supreme Court appointments and judicial rules of procedure. The article details the opposition to the retention of Florida Supreme Court Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince and also discusses the Amendment 5 ballot initiative, which would give the Legislature a direct role in choosing Supreme Court justices.

--Legal Profession--

BOSCH REPRESENTS BEST OF AREA'S 'PRO BONO' HEROES-- Daytona Beach News-Journal, editorial, http://www.news-journalonline.com, Oct. 2, 2012.
The editorial states: "When a Flagler County woman was drowning in legal problems, a Palm Coast attorney reached into the waters and pulled her out of a sea of misery. And that is just one example of the free legal aid provided by William 'Bill' Bosch III, who will receive an award Thursday [Oct. 4] for his efforts on behalf of clients in need. Bosch is one of many Florida attorneys who do pro bono work . . . . The Great Recession and the weak recovery have devastated funding for legal work for the poor. Florida Bar President Gwynne Young calls the problem a 'justice gap.' The work of lawyers is often detailed and grueling. But we need more pro bono work — in Volusia and Flagler counties, and all across Florida. . . . For now, legal assistance centers should redouble their efforts to recruit attorneys to do pro bono work — and shake the trees for more financial donations. Surely there are more attorneys like Bill Bosch out there who can donate some time to help the justice system flow smoothly for all. . . ."

HILLSBOROUGH COMMISSIONERS SET TO PICK A NEW COUNTY ATTORNEY-- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Oct. 3, 2012.
One is the former top lawyer for the city of Tampa. The other was a top deputy in the office he now wants to run. Hillsborough County commissioners are scheduled today to consider hiring one as their county attorney. Charles R. "Chip" Fletcher, 43, currently is general counsel to Hillsborough Area Regional Transit. Jim Porter, 48, started in the county attorney's office in 1990, working his way up the ranks over 14 years. He returned to private practice in 2011 after three years as the Tampa city attorney. He has spent the past eight years in private practice as a land-use lawyer. Fletcher and Porter are seeking to replace Renee Lee, forced out more than a year ago over a secret pay raise and other allegations.

--Civil Justice Issues--

LESBIAN CUSTODY DISPUTE MIGHT HINGE ON CONSENT FORM-- The Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Oct. 3, 2012. [Also: FIGHT OF BREVARD EGG DONOR NOW HIGH COURT'S CALL-- Florida Today, http://www.floridatoday.com, Oct. 3, 2012].
From The Tampa Tribune: A bitter child custody dispute between two lesbians went before the Florida Supreme Court today, but the justices suggested the case may be sent back to a lower court and lawyers on both sides said it is unlikely to affect other couples, gay or straight. The genetic mother had donated an egg that was fertilized and implanted in the other woman, who gave birth in 2004. When the Brevard County couple separated two years later, a trial court granted sole custody to the birth mother. An appellate court disagreed and said the women should share custody. The case may be returned to the trial court to resolve a potential factual dispute over a doctor's informed consent form signed by the genetic mother. The form says she was giving up all rights to the donated egg and any resulting offspring, but her lawyer said the form was not a legal contract because it was signed by only one of the partners and intended for anonymous genetic donors, not people who planned to participate in raising the offspring.

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[Revised: 10-04-2012]