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.
Jan. 7, 2014
COURT CALLS FOR 49 NEW JUDGES -- Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org, Jan. 7, 2014.
The Florida Supreme Court has called for the creation of 49 new judgeships — 46 for the trial courts and three for the appellate bench — in its annual certification opinion. The court released its call for new judges Dec. 19, asking for 39 new county judges, seven new circuit jurists, and two new judges for the Second and one new judge for Fifth district courts of appeal. But the justices also acknowledged that as the state’s economy emerges from recession, they are mindful of the competing funding needs within state government and asked the Legislature to give priority to issues requested in the Judicial Branch’s FY 2014/2015 Legislative Budget Request.
VOLUNTEER ADVOCATES WANTED FOR COURT KIDS -- Daily Commercial, http://www.dailycommercial.com , Jan. 7, 2014.
The 5th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program is seeking volunteers to become advocates for abused, neglected or abandoned children whose cases are now part of a dependency court proceeding. “There are 1,754 children involved with our circuit courts, with 471 children here in Lake County,” said Marcia Hilty, circuit director of the Guardian ad Litem Program for the 5th Judicial Circuit. “The program, aided by volunteers, helps ensure children are safe and that they are provided the services necessary to overcome their circumstances.” Appointed by the judge, volunteers work as part of a team with a volunteer supervisor and program attorney; becoming familiar with the child and the child’s case in order to make recommendations to the court to help ensure a safe, caring, stable and permanent environment for that child. Cases usually last 10 to 12 months, and volunteers typically donate five to 10 hours a month. For more information about the Guardian ad Litem program, call Lynn Sennett, 352-274-5231, email Lynn.Sennett@gal.fl.gov or visit the website at www.GuardianadLitem.org.
JUDGE WARNER OF STUART ENJOYS CHALLENGES, SATISFACTION OF SITTING ON BENCH 25 YEARS -- TCPalm, http://www.tcpalm.com , Jan. 4, 2014.
The article profiles 4th DCA Judge Martha Warner. She was only the second Martin County judge to be named to the court, when she was invested Jan. 3, 1989, since its creation in 1965. The court handles cases from Broward County north to Indian River County.
--Legal Ethics/Lawyer Discipline--
FUGITIVE LAKE WORTH ATTORNEY BLAMES OTHERS FOR HIS CRIMES -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com , Jan. 7, 2014.
Former Lake Worth attorney Timothy McCabe, who spent more than two months on the lam last year before pleading guilty to felony fraud charges, has spoken out for the first time, blaming “enablers” whom he claims fueled his fraud for their own benefit. In an 11-page court document filed in Dec. from his jail cell, the 55-year-old says he was taken advantage of during a desperate time in his life and charged 10 percent interest on money he had hoped would “extricate him from crimes he was in the process of committing.” McCabe disappeared in April after emptying his firm’s bank accounts and hinting of ruinous financial decisions in emails to his wife and colleagues. He turned himself in to the FBI in June and has since pleaded guilty to five fraud charges. He also admitted to operating a Ponzi scheme and defrauding clients in a mortgage rescue scam in which he took money from homeowners to negotiate loan modifications, but did not do the work. McCabe was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday [Jan. 10] but the hearing was postponed until Feb. 21.
--Civil Justice Issues--
LAST-MINUTE PUSH FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA SIGNATURES -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com , Jan. 7, 2014.
Working with volunteers and paid petitioners, the group pushing for legalized medical marijuana in Florida is working furiously to get the rest of its petitions delivered to election officials, said Ben Pollara, campaign director for United for Care. He said about 100,000 signatures were turned in today around the state, bringing the total delivered to nearly 800,000. He expects another 100,000 will be dropped off by tomorrow afternoon, with yet another batch turned in by next week. "We should be close to 1 million," Pollara said Monday. Organizers have until 5 p.m. Feb. 1 to get the required 683,149 signatures. The group is aiming for 1 million signed petitions because the rejection rate can be nearly 30 percent due to issues like duplication or out-of-state signees.