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.
March 18, 2013
STETSON LAW STUDENTS TO COMPETE IN AUSTRIA -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, March 17, 2013.
The Stetson team of Megan Foley, Paul Crochet, Michael Rothfeldt, Lisa Tanaka and Alex Zesch will compete at the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot from March 23 through March 28, in Vienna, Austria. They will compete against more than 290 teams from more than 65 countries. "These competitions give students opportunities to present their arguments before top international judges and attorneys," Stetson Law professor and moot court adviser Brooke Bowman said in a statement. The Stetson team won The Florida Bar International Law Section Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Pre-Moot in Miami on March 2.
LAW SCHOOL STUDENTS HELP YOUNG UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, March 15, 2013.
Law clinics like the one held at St. Clement Catholic Church in Palm City on Tuesday [March 12] help young undocumented immigrants seek a change in their status. Under a modification in federal laws last summer, undocumented immigrants who arrived here as children, brought by their parents, can apply for a deferment to avoid deportation. About 20 law students, mostly from the University of Miami and Florida International University, helped them navigate the six-page application. The students are part of an alternative spring break program. They chose Plant City for its proximity to Lakeland and Tampa, as well as the area's Hispanic population. They can earn college credit for the work, but say they're motivated mostly out of a sense of accomplishment.
TAMPA IMMIGRANT MOVES STEP CLOSER TO BAR ADMISSION -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, March 15, 2013.
Jose Godinez-Samperio, the Tampa man seeking admission to The Florida Bar even though he's not an American citizen, has moved one step closer to realizing his dream. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners has ruled that he is of sound character to practice law. Godinez-Samperio's request for bar admission has been before the state Supreme Court since October. At issue is whether a license to practice law is considered a "public benefit," which a federal law bars undocumented immigrants from receiving. In the past few months, Godinez-Samperio has received a Social Security card, Florida driver's license and federal approval for a work permit.
COURTS WORKING ON E-FILING SYSTEM FOR ONLINE ACCESS -- Florida Keys News, http://keysnews.com, March 18, 2013.
Changes are underway in the Keys to have paperless courthouses. The Monroe County Clerk's Office shouldn't have a problem meeting an April 1 deadline set by the Florida Supreme Court for all counties to have in place an electronic filing system for some legal documents, officials said last week. Recently elected Clerk of Court Amy Heavilin is overseeing the implementation of an e-filing system for all civil, probate, small claims and family law cases, as well as appeal matters. Heavilin and all the other candidates from last November's election pledged to put more documents online and make public records more accessible via the Internet.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
SERIOUS PROBLEMS PERSIST IN INDIGENT LEGAL DEFENSE -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, March 17, 2013. [Also: LEONARD PITTS: IN COURT, 'GIDEON'S' PROMISE REMAINS UNFULFILLED -- Tallahassee Democrat, Column, http://www.tallahassee.com, March 18, 2013.]
By The Associated Press. It is not the happiest of birthdays for the landmark Supreme Court decision that, a half-century ago, guaranteed a lawyer for criminal defendants who are too poor to afford one. A unanimous high court issued its decision in Gideon v. Wainwright on March 18, 1963, declaring that states have an obligation to provide defendants with "the guiding hand of counsel" to ensure a fair trial for the accused. But in many states today, taxpayer-funded public defenders face crushing caseloads, the quality of legal representation varies from county to county and people stand before judges having seen a lawyer only briefly, if at all.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
'MASTERMIND' TAG DOESN'T FIT MATHIS, FELLOW ATTORNEYS SAY -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, March 17, 2013.
Law enforcement officials portray a Jacksonville attorney as the mastermind behind a $300 million racketeering and money laundering scheme. But that’s shocking to some who know Kelly Mathis, 49, a Jacksonville attorney who represented Allied Veterans of the World for many years. Caroline C. Emery, who served as Jacksonville Bar Association president the year after Mathis served, used the words unpretentious, mild-mannered, quiet and respectful to describe him. Jacksonville attorney Ray Driver, who is the current president of the Jacksonville Bar Association, said he’s known Mathis for years and thinks he’s a nice person who isn’t one to usually be the center of attention. The Florida Bar, the professional organization for attorneys in the state that governs licensing, has opened an investigation into Mathis, which is standard when an attorney is accused of a crime.
FLORIDA'S BUDGET AT MERCY OF FEDERAL CUTS -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, March 16, 2013. [Also: GAUGING FEDERAL CUTS' STATE IMPACT -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, March 16, 2013.]
Florida economists Friday [March 15] maintained that state tax collections continue to pour in at a pace not seen since 2007, but added a fresh caution about the lingering effect of across-the-board federal cuts to military and domestic programs. The $85 billion in federal spending reductions are projected to ripple through Florida’s economy – somewhat shrinking the tax dollars available for state-supported classrooms, health programs and other public services. While lawmakers are in their first legislative session in six springs that is not plagued by a budget shortfall, Gov. Scott is proposing a $74.2 billion spending plan that represents the largest in state history. The Florida Legislature, which actually writes the budget, is expected to embrace at least some of Scott’s recommendations.