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.
January 23, 2013
NEW MARTIN COUNTY ATTORNEY IS STUART'S CITY ATTORNEY -- Jupiter Courier, http://www.tcpalm.com, Jan. 23, 2013.
Stuart's city attorney, Michael Durham, was chosen to replace the recently retired county attorney, Stephen Fry, after beating out an assistant Martin County attorney and three other finalists for the position. Fry, who previously served as county attorney from January 1980 to June 1982, was county attorney again in 2001 and for 12 years afterward until he stepped down on Dec. 31. Durham said it would take him about four to six weeks of transition to be ready to take the position as the new county attorney. He said the focus of the county attorney's office under his rule would be team building.
OFFICIALS PROCEED WITH PLANS FOR CENTRAL PASCO COURTHOUSE -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Jan. 23, 2013.
Despite reservations from the sheriff and the clerk of courts, Pasco is moving ahead with plans for a courthouse in Land O'Lakes that would be focused specifically on criminal and juvenile cases. Two Pasco-Pinellas circuit judges, along with the public defender and state attorney, said a central Pasco courthouse would relieve acute overcrowding concerns. The $28 million courthouse would be built on the grounds of the Pasco County jail on U.S. 41 in Land O'Lakes. It would have eight courtrooms and 11 judges' chambers. Existing courthouses in Dade City and New Port Richey would be used for civil, family and probate court.
NINE NEW BROWARD COUNTY JUDGES SWORN IN -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 23, 2013.
Playing to a packed Broward County Courthouse jury room, nine newly elected or appointed judges celebrated their formal robing ceremonies. County Court Judge Christopher Pole, a veterans and insurance defense lawyer, made cracks about his years-long quest to become a judge. Along with Pole, the other appointees sworn in Friday [Jan.18] were Circuit Judges Lynn Rosenthal and Elizabeth Scherer. Candidates who were elected to the bench included Circuit Judges Tim Bailey, Ari Abraham Porth, Michael Rothschild and Laura Watson, and County Court Judges Olga Levine and Kathleen McHugh.
MAJOR ETHICS REVISION BILL SAILS THROUGH FLORIDA SENATE COMMITTEE -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Jan. 23, 2013.
A Senate committee on Tuesday [Jan. 22] unanimously backed Florida’s most sweeping ethics legislation in decades. Though the vote by the Ethics and Elections Committee gave the bill a jolt of bipartisan support as it begins the legislative process, it could face opposition from local governments concerned with its scope. The bill would allow the Florida Commission on Ethics to file liens on property, or garnish the wages, of someone who doesn’t pay fines for improperly filling out financial disclosure forms.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
CONVICTED KILLER ARGUES STATE MADE TWO ERRORS IN TRIAL -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription),http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 23, 2013.
A convicted murderer whose first trial led to the resignation of former Broward Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner asked the Fourth District Court of Appeal on Tuesday [Jan. 22] to reverse his conviction. Omar Loureiro, 49, was initially given a death sentence by Gardiner. But after allegations of improper contact between her and the prosecutor surfaced, Loureiro got a second trial that resulted in a life sentence. He was represented at oral arguments by Palm Beach Assistant Public Defender Gary Caldwell, who claimed two errors by the state — an incomplete Miranda warning and the prosecutor's use of only a portion of his statement to investigators.
PROSECUTOR: FLA. FOSTER GIRL KILLED BY CARETAKER -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Jan. 23, 2013.
The caretaker of foster child Rilya Wilson grew to hate the 4-year-old because of defiant behavior, finally smothering the girl with a pillow in 2000 and covering it up with a web of lies, a Florida prosecutor told a jury Tuesday [Jan. 22]. Assistant State Attorney Joshua Weintraub said in closing arguments that the law permits the jury to find 67-year-old Geralyn Graham guilty of first-degree murder even though Rilya's body was never found. Graham, who insists she is innocent, faces life in prison if convicted.
JIM GREER PRETRIAL CONFERENCE SET FOR TODAY -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Jan. 23, 2013.
With the theft, fraud and political corruption trial of former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer set to begin in three weeks, the trial judge has summoned attorneys back to court today [Jan. 22] to discuss whether they're ready. Greer, 50, of Oviedo, faces six criminal counts. He's accused of secretly setting up a shell company then using it to funnel $125,000 of party money into his personal bank accounts.