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. 28, 2013
SOME COUNTIES UNABLE TO MEET CRIMINAL E-FILING DEADLINE -- The Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org, Sept. 1, 2013. [Also: PROSECUTORS ASK SUPREME COURT FOR BLANKET MANDATORY E-FILING EXTENSION -- The Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org, Sept. 1, 2013.]
Mandatory electronic filing for criminal cases in Florida courts, set to begin Oct. 1, will likely be delayed in many areas of the state. The Florida Courts E-Filing Authority Board heard reports at its Aug. 15 meeting that several counties are unlikely to be ready by Oct. 1 to handle all criminal filings. Meanwhile, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, which represents Florida’s 20 state attorneys, sent a letter to Chief Justice Ricky Polston asking that the Oct. 1 date for mandatory criminal filing be pushed back. The problem seems to be a combination of the many steps of testing and review that have to be accomplished combined with the different software used by clerks to receive cases, courts to manage the cases, and state attorneys and public defenders to file cases.
LEVIN COLLEGE OF LAW DEAN ROBERT JERRY TO STEP DOWN AT THE END OF SCHOOL YEAR -- Independent Florida Alligator, http://www.alligator.org, Aug. 28, 2013.
Robert Jerry announced he will step down next year as dean of the UF Levin College of Law after almost 11 years of leadership. He became the law school’s 15th dean in 2003. Jerry will remain on faculty at the college and said he looks forward to getting back to teaching insurance law full time, continuing research program activities and exploring future publication opportunities. During Jerry’s tenure, the law library and classrooms underwent renovations and an independent legal advocacy center with a new courtroom was constructed. A search for a new dean is underway, Jerry said, and a decision will most likely be made by spring.
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT FACES MAJOR CASES ON RETURN FROM BREAK -- Palm Beach Post (requires subscription), http://www.pbpost.com, Aug. 28, 2013.
By the News Service of Florida. The Florida Supreme Court is expected to resume releasing opinions at 11 a.m. Thursday [Aug. 29] after its summer break. In September, justices are scheduled to set aside one week each month to hear oral arguments. Five cases to watch in the coming months are highlighted: a challenge to a key part of a law that revamped the state’s medical-malpractice system; a case that involves parental rights for two lesbian partners; a challenge of a Florida Power & Light rate increase approved last year by the Florida Public Service Commission; an undocumented person’s right to be admitted to the Bar and practice law; and a challenge to the constitutionality of the Timely Justice Act, which aims to cut delays in carrying out the death penalty.
ZERO BLACK JUDGES: POLK'S BAD DREAM -- Lakeland Ledger, Editorial, http://www.theledger.com, Aug. 27, 2013.
The editorial notes that counties in the 10th Judicial Circuit have not had a black judge since Polk County Judge Timothy Coon retired in December after 17 years on the bench, and have scant prospect of gaining even one. County leaders recognize this void and are working to find a solution. The Judicial Nominating Commission has forwarded six candidates to Gov. Rick Scott for three judicial openings since December. Lakeland lawyer Stacy Robinson Nickerson was a candidate for all three seats, but Scott rejected her every time. The editorial asks if Scott could "believe that in a judicial circuit in which one of eight residents is black that zero of 40 judges being black constitutes justice?" and suggests that Scott "should appoint a black judge in the 10th Judicial Circuit and he should continue until the system is just."
--Criminal Justice Issues--
ZIMMERMAN LAWYER EXPECTS FLORIDA TO BE STINGY ABOUT LEGAL COSTS -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Aug. 28, 2013.
By Reuters. Mark O'Mara, the attorney for George Zimmerman, said Tuesday [Aug. 27] he expects to recover from the state no more than a fraction of the defense expenses, despite his client's acquittal in July on murder charges in the death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. O'Mara is planning to seek reimbursement from the state for defense costs estimated at $200,000 to $300,000, but expects to receive $50,000 or less because of limitations on what the state can approve, dictated by the state's Judicial Administrative Commission. The sum sought by O'Mara does not include his standard fee, which he said in this case would have totaled about $1 million. Some of Zimmerman's defense expenses remain unpaid, others were paid by donors who gave $314,000 as of January through a defense website.
THE HONORABLE EDWARD H. BERGSTROM -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Aug. 28, 2013.
The Honorable Edward H. Bergstrom, 90, of Port Richey, passed away Aug. 26. He was a graduate of George Washington University and Stetson Law School, class of 1957. Bergstrom opened practices in Madeira Beach and in Seminole. In 1975, Bergstrom was appointed to be a circuit judge in the Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court and served for 13 years until he retired in 1989.