The Florida Bar
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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.


Links to online newspapers

February 25, 2013

--Judiciary--

KAREN RUSHING: RELIABLE FUNDING IS CRUCIAL FOR CLERKS -- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, Feb. 22, 2013.
This letter to the editor from Karen Rushing, Sarasota County’s Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller since 1987 and legislative chair of the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers Association, addresses issues with court funding and states that Florida's Court Clerks and Comptrollers are proposing funding changes that will create sustainability and stability within their offices across the state and continue vital services to Floridians.

JUDGES LEARN IT'S HUMAN TO HAVE FEELINGS ON BENCH -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Feb. 22, 2013.
By the Associated Press: A Florida judge's harsh reaction to a disrespectful teenage defendant, captured on court video, was a reminder that judges don't shed their emotions when they don their black robes. For a few dozen new federal judges, it became a lesson in finding ways to acknowledge they experience a range of feelings on the bench and to channel them appropriately. "You're going to have emotions as a judge, no matter how many people tell you you won't or aren't supposed to," said Vanderbilt University law professor Terry Maroney, who led a session for roughly 40 judges in Washington that incorporated the Florida incident.

--Civil Justice Issues-

PALM BEACH COUNTY FORECLOSURE CASES PUT ON FAST FORWARD -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Feb. 25, 2013.
Palm Beach County’s idling foreclosure cases are about to get a kick-start as judges begin setting trial dates for dawdling banks and stalling homeowners. An administrative order issued Thursday [Feb. 21] by Palm Beach County Chief Judge Peter Blanc requires bank attorneys to identify all of their foreclosures filed before July 1, 2010, and outline the status of each case. For foreclosures pending 36 months or more, the court will schedule blocks of trial time, pushing both sides to present their case. But a speedy judiciary can also be a clumsy one, and some defense attorneys worry homeowners with legitimate defenses will be harmed if corners are cut.

--Unlicensed Practice of Law--

UNREGULATED MEDICAID ADVISERS GIVING BAD ADVICE, FLORIDA BAR TOLD -- Tampa Bay Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Feb. 23, 2013. [Also: DCF: MEDICAID PAYING NURSING HOME BILL FOR WEALTHY -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Feb. 23, 2013.]
The Florida Bar's Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee met at the Sheraton Tampa East Hotel on Friday [Feb. 22] to hear about the growing Medicaid planning industry. Professionals in the industry help people qualify for Medicaid benefits even if their assets exceed Medicaid's income or asset limitations. Several elder law attorneys blasted the phenomenon, though, claiming these Medicaid planners often have no formal training and are unregulated. Worse yet, they frequently create legal documents that should be left to lawyers. Elder law attorneys urged the Bar committee to create clear rules saying when a non-attorney Medicaid planner has crossed the line into the practice of law. By the end of Friday's hearing, the Bar committee agreed to do so.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

ATTORNEY MARIA ELENA PEREZ BLAZES HER OWN PATH IN DEFENSE OF FORMER UM BOOSTER NEVIN SHAPIRO -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), Feb. 25, 2013.
Attorney Maria Elena Perez, the lightning rod in the NCAA's troubled investigation of the University of Miami, responded by taking to South Florida's airwaves to blast the NCAA, saying she is going to make it her life's goal to expose its procedures as flawed and wrong. The UM law graduate is the subject of a Florida Bar investigation based on a complaint she blamed on men targeted by her for depositions in the bankruptcy case of Shapiro's fraudulent grocery-trading company. For Perez, one question is whether she violated ethical boundaries under Florida Bar rules in her work for the NCAA as it investigated wrongdoing perpetrated by her client and if she knew she was helping the NCAA violate its own rules.

--Legislative--

EXECUTION OF MURDERER RAISES NEW QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY IN FLORIDA -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Feb. 25, 2013.
The execution of Paul Augustus Howell scheduled for Tuesday [Feb. 26] has put Florida's death penalty process under the microscope again. Howell, 42, was convicted in 1992 of the pipe-bomb killing of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford in Jefferson County, east of Tallahassee. If he dies by lethal injection as scheduled, his attorneys say, he will be the first Florida inmate to die without his case having been reviewed in federal court under a habeas corpus appeal. Howell's last-minute appeal for more time comes as the Florida Legislature is moving in the other direction toward limiting the time inmates should have to get their cases reviewed.


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[Revised: 02-26-2013]