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.
Sept. 30, 2013
LAWMAKERS COMMITTED TO JUVENILE SENTENCING REFORM -- The Gainesville Sun, http://www.gainesville.com , Sept. 29, 2013.
With the courts threatening to intercede, Florida lawmakers say they are committed to finding a solution to sentencing juveniles under U.S. Supreme Court rulings that restrict the use of life sentences. The issue is likely to be a focal point of debate in next year’s legislative session. But lawmakers have failed to find an agreement for the past three years, leaving Florida Supreme Court justices to suggest earlier this month that they could impose a parole system to review lengthy sentences for juveniles in light of the Legislature’s inaction. Heading toward their 2014 session, lawmakers must address two groups of juvenile offenders: juveniles convicted of non-homicide crimes, for which the U.S. Supreme Court banned life sentences in 2010; and juveniles convicted of murder, who can be sentenced to life but their punishment must follow protocols outlined by the nation’s highest court in a 2012 ruling.
BROWARD COURTS BEGIN THERAPY DOG PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com , Sept. 30, 2013.
The practice of having dogs for children in court is growing, but not without challenges. At least three of Florida's 20 circuit courts are using pet therapy dogs. State law says they must comply with national certification standards, though such guidelines aren't defined in the statute. The article profiles the 17th Judicial Circuit's program.
CRITICS TO TRY TO REPEAL RED-LIGHT CAMERAS -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com , Sept. 29, 2013.
Just three years after voting to allow red-light cameras throughout the state, the Florida Legislature is now taking a serious look at banning them altogether. "They were initially sold as safety devices, but I have come to firmly believe that they are now being used as backdoor tax increases," said Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, when he announced legislation to ban the cameras. A similar House bill has been filed by Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami. Law enforcement and public-safety advocates are big supporters of the cameras and maintain that they save lives.