The Florida Bar

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.

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Dec. 26, 2013

--The Florida Bar--

ABADIN TO LEAD THE BAR -- The Florida Bar News,, Jan. 1, 2014.
In 1961, when Ramón “Ray” Abadin III was 2 years old, his father left his law practice and his mother said goodbye to her beloved home in Cuba. They packed a suitcase and the trio boarded a plane for the United States and never went back, leaving behind everything they knew. Fifty-two years later, Abadin, a partner at Sedgwick LLP’s Miami office, reflects on coming to America as a toddler, and carrying on a love for the rule of law instilled by his father. When it becomes his turn to lead Florida’s more than 98,000 lawyers, Abadin said, a primary focus will be keeping the courts adequately funded.

BOARD RACE SET FOR THE FOURTH, 23 ELECTED WITHOUT OPPOSITION -- The Florida Bar News,, Jan. 1, 2014. [Also: 7 SOUTH FLORIDA ATTORNEYS ELECTED TO FLORIDA BAR BOARD OF GOVERNORS -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription),, Dec. 24, 2013.]
Twenty-three members of The Florida Bar Board of Governors have been elected without opposition, while one Fourth Circuit seat will be determined by balloting in March. In the Fourth Circuit race, incumbent board member Samuel Grier Wells is being challenged by Fred Douglas Franklin. Both are from Jacksonville. From the Daily Business Review: Seven South Florida lawyers have been elected to The Florida Bar Board of Governors, all without opposition. In total, 23 lawyers from across the state were elected to the board, with one contested race to be held in the Fourth Circuit.


The Duval County veterans court program held a graduation ceremony last week where Magistrate John A. Sampson III gave three graduates a certificate and a gift card. The year-long program brings offenders with honorable discharges from the U.S. military together with treatment programs provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to hopefully divert them from the traditional judicial system and incarceration. The program began in 2012 as an offshoot of drug and mental health court with a “healthy skepticism” by many in the court system about need and cost, according to the Public Defender’s Office coordinator for military and veterans affairs, John Holzbaur. Though the program hasn’t been around long, it is gaining credibility. In the spring the Duval County veterans court was awarded a $350,000 federal grant and it's also gaining traction from the State Attorney’s Office.

Fifth Judicial Circuit judge and former Marion County prosecutor Sandy Kautz (formerly Hawkins) has been formally charged with inappropriate conduct both inside and outside the courtroom, resulting in a proposed public reprimand for her behavior. The Judicial Qualifications Commission has pointed to three areas where Kautz engaged in inappropriate behavior and has suggested the judge receive a public reprimand. The commission said the judge expressed anger and frustration during court proceedings; when making certain rulings gave the impression she either did not know the law or chose not to apply it; and stood beside and advocated for her sister during a 2012 first appearance hearing. The Judicial Qualifications Commission has concluded that while the judge's conduct was misguided, it was not ill intentioned.


JOE C. WILLCOX -- Gainesville Sun,, Dec. 26, 2013.
Joe C. Willcox, of Gainesville, died Monday, Dec. 23. He was 93 years old. After graduation from the University of Florida Law School, Willcox joined the law firm of Lazonby, Dell and Graham and made Gainesville his home. Willcox's 45 year career as a trial lawyer was outstanding and he was known for his high ethical standards. He was well liked and respected by all who had the opportunity to meet him.

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[Revised: 12-27-2013]