The Florida Bar

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.

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Nov. 13, 2013

--Legal Profession--

BAR ASSOCIATION STUDY: FLORIDA NEEDS GREATER SAFEGUARDS IN DEATH-PENALTY CASES -- Florida Times-Union (requires subscription),, Nov. 13, 2013.
Florida prosecutors, police and defense attorneys need more rigorous procedures in order to safeguard the innocent in death-penalty cases, according to a review by the American Bar Association featured Tuesday [Nov. 12] during a daylong conference. The study was part of a series of examinations the association’s civil rights section made of the 12 states that conduct 65 percent of the nation’s executions. “The ABA takes no stance on the death penalty outright. But we insist that if jurisdictions use the death penalty, they implement it fairly, accurately and with due process,” James Silkenat, ABA president, said. The study notes that Florida has released one person as innocent from Death Row for every three it has executed since 1973, the highest number of exonerations in the nation. The specific advice for Florida calls for changing limits on how defense attorneys are compensated and boosting their qualifications for taking on a capital case. It also objects to allowing juries that aren’t unanimous to deliver a death sentence or for judges to override the jury’s recommendations and order an execution.

Shumaker, Loop Kendrick, LLP attorneys raised $2,640 for two local charities with a Halloween auction that has become an annual tradition at the Sarasota law firm. "The partners put themselves up for auction," said Meghan Serrano, co-chair of Leadership Shumaker, the fundraising arm of the law firm. "The winning bidders get to choose what the partner has to dress up as for Halloween. It's become an event everyone looks forward to year-round," said Serrano. The funds from the Halloween auction are added to additional donations collected from Shumaker employees year-round with other events. Each year the goal is to raise a total of $4,000 to be divided equally between two local organizations; this year it will go to Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) and the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County.


Four Polk County lawyers and two County Court judges have been nominated to replace Circuit Judge Harvey Kornstein, who is retiring from the bench at the end of December. Nominated for the post are J. Kevin Abdoney, a former prosecutor and a county judge since his appointment in August 2008; Sanford Estroff, a civil lawyer in Lakeland and member of The Florida Bar since 1979; Kenneth Hadley, an eminent domain lawyer with the state Department of Transportation in Bartow; Bartow civil lawyer Gerald Hill II; Bartow lawyer Michael McDaniel and Reinaldo Ojeda, a former prosecutor and a county judge since his appointment in August 2008. The Judicial Nominating Commission for the 10th Judicial Circuit interviewed 19 applicants before listing six for Gov. Rick Scott's consideration. 

--Criminal Justice Issues--

SECOND EXECUTION WITH NEW DRUG CARRIED OUT -- The Florida Current,, Nov. 13, 2013.
Florida carried out its second lethal injection with a sedative being challenged in federal court Tuesday [Nov. 12], executing Darius Kimbrough, a man who had been on Death Row nearly 20 years for the rape and fatal beating of an Orlando woman. Because the European manufacturer of pentobarbital refuses to supply it to states for capital punishment purposes, Florida switched to another sedative -- midazolam hydrochloride -- for the Oct. 15 execution of William Happ, another convicted rapist-murderer. The Department of Corrections has maintained that the new drug is effective in sedating prisoners, rendering the procedure painless. Capital punishment opponents argue there is a risk of pain and suffering, as prohibited by the Eighth Amendment guarantee against "cruel and unusual" punishments.


SUSAN E. GREENBERG -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel,, Nov. 13, 2013.
Susan E. Greenberg passed on Nov. 11 at her home in Boca Raton. Greenberg graduated from the University of Florida in 1989 and from the Cornell University Law School in 1992. She practiced family law since 1993 and was a founding member and partner of the law firm Schuttler & Greenberg, LLC. Her dedication to her family, her community and her profession is an example to all who loved her.

Charlene Ochogo, a University of Florida telecommunications senior, and her team were one of four Liti-Gators teams that competed in the Middle Tennessee State University’s annual Mid-South Invitational Mock Trial Tournament, one of the country’s largest undergraduate mock trial competitions. While facing Wheaton College, Ochogo’s team decided to go with a risky move and create a “hostile witness” — someone who is used as a scapegoat for the defendant to establish reasonable doubt among the jurors. To prepare for competitions, Laura Sjoberg, a UF associate professor of political science, coaches the mock trial competitive teams two evenings per week. “[Students] really gain analytical skills and confidence,” Sjoberg said. “And those things are not only applicable to the majority of them who want to go to law school but also to those who want to be actors and scientists.” Two of the four UF trial teams will travel to North Carolina for the next competition at Duke University, which begins Saturday [Nov. 16].

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[Revised: 11-14-2013]