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.
Oct. 4, 2012
H. LEE MOFFITT: COURTS SHOULD BE OFF-LIMITS TO PARTISAN POLITICS-- The Gainesville Sun, column, http://www.gainesville.com, Oct. 4, 2012. [Also: PRESERVE JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE-- Tampa Bay Times, letter-to-editor, http://www.tampabay.com, Oct. 4, 2012].
The guest column by former legislator and House Speaker H. Lee Moffitt, states: "In 1976, when I was a member of the Florida House of Representatives, I sponsored HJR 2762, a constitutional amendment for the merit selection and retention of our appellate and Supreme Court judges. The voters overwhelming approved the resolution and made this process a part of the Florida Constitution. . . . . It was a bipartisan effort to shield judges from the influences of fund-raising and party politics. It should be a bipartisan effort to keep it that way! . . . . I urge members of all political parties and independents to support and protect judicial independence."
The letter by state Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, states: "An independent judiciary protects everyone. But sadly, it is the courts' refusal to sacrifice constitutional principles that has provoked partisan attacks against Justices Barbara J. Pariente, Peggy A. Quince and R. Fred Lewis. And now comes Amendment 5 on this year's ballot, which will, if approved, allow the Legislature to gain greater control over how the courts operate and who serves on the bench. Justices should be selected by the depth of their constitutional knowledge and ability to come to reasoned conclusions, not their willingness to succumb to popular beliefs or the arm-twisting of the majority political party."
DON'T TREAD ON JUDICIARY-- The Miami Herald, editorial, http://www.miamiherald.com, Oct. 4, 2012.
The Miami Herald editorial states: ". . . In this latest power grab to usurp constitutional duties that belong in the courts or with the executive branch, the Legislature put on the Nov. 6 ballot Amendment 5. . . . The proposed amendment alters the balance of power among the three branches, a balance that has worked well. So we must ask: Why attempt to 'fix' what isn’t broken?"
MEASURE SEEKS TO REIN IN COURTS-- The Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Oct. 4, 2012.
Amendment 5 is all about power — whether the state Supreme Court should have less and the Florida Legislature should have more. The article examines provisions in Amendment 5, which is among 11 amendments on the November ballot in Florida. The article gives comments from Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, in favor of the amendment, and League of Women Voters President Deirdre Macnab, in opposition.
DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN: 'DON'T POLITICIZE JUDICIARY'-- The Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, Oct. 4, 2012.
The Florida Democratic Party will not follow state Republicans, who last month urged voters to reject three Supreme Court justices at the polls next month, but party Chairman Rod Smith said Wednesday [Oct. 3] he will personally speak out against "politicization" of the judiciary every chance he gets. Talking with Tallahassee reporters, Smith said for the Democratic Party to take a position on judicial retention would amount to doing the same thing he criticized the GOP for doing — injecting politics into non-partisan judicial races. However, as an individual citizen and lawyer, Smith said he had no qualms about endorsing the three justices for new terms on the high court.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
FDLE PROBING GOP-HIRED VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM-- Citrus County Chronicle, http://www.chronicleonline.com, Oct. 4, 2012.
The article is by the Associated Press. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement began an investigation Wednesday [Oct. 3] into alleged fraud involving a company hired by the state's Republican Party to register voters. The agency said it received a complaint from the Florida Division of Elections about suspicious forms submitted in several counties and determined that Strategic Allied Consulting should be investigated. The agency said it wouldn't comment further until the investigation is complete. The state party fired the company after reports of several dozen suspicious forms being turned in. An elections supervisor in Palm Beach County first noticed irregularities with more than 100 forms. Since then, problems have been reported in other counties.
LEGAL PIONEER KARLA WRIGHT DIES AT AGE 63-- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Oct. 3, 2012. [Also: JUDGE KARLA FOREMAN WRIGHT-- Legacy.com, http://www.legacy.com, Oct. 4, 2012].
Tenth Circuit Judge Karla Foreman Wright died Monday [Oct. 1] in Daytona Beach, leaving behind pioneering achievements in her legal career and a reputation for community service. Wright, 63, of Bartow, was the first black woman named to the Polk County court system when she was appointed a county judge in 2000. Chief Judge William Bruce Smith said Wright had recently recovered from pneumonia. After returning to work, she appeared to again not feel well and requested more time to recover, he said. Wright announced plans a few weeks ago to retire in January.