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 20, 2014
REPORT: PAY RAISES FOR STATE ATTORNEYS AND PUBLIC DEFENDERS WOULD SAVE TAXPAYER MONEY -- Florida Trend, http://www.floridatrend.com, March 19, 2014.
Florida's assistant state attorneys and assistant public defenders are significantly undercompensated, as shown in findings from a Florida TaxWatch research report. Florida TaxWatch is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog. The new report analyzes assistant state attorney and assistant public defender pay across each of Florida's judicial circuits and finds that starting salaries in Florida fall well below the national average and are among the lowest in the country. The report finds that their low pay contributes to high turnover rates, causing delays in judicial processing and increased taxpayer investment in new employee training, costing taxpayers more than $15 million annually.
LOCAL JUDGE NOMINATED FOR VACANCY -- Ocala Star Banner, http://www.ocala.com, March 20, 2014. [Also: LOCAL CHIEF JUDGE AMONG FINALISTS FOR 5TH DISTRICT APPEALS COURT -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, March 20, 2014.]
Circuit Judge Brian Lambert has been nominated as a candidate for a 5th District Court of Appeal judicial vacancy, The Florida Bar announced Wednesday [March 19] afternoon. Chief Judge Terence R. Perkins from the 7th Circuit is also among the six attorneys who have made the cut and are under consideration to replace Judge Jacqueline Griffin, who is retiring in April. The 5th District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission recommended Lambert and Perkins along with John M. Harris, Lisa T. Munyon, John C. Murphy, and Heather Pinder Rodriguez. The list is being sent to Gov. Rick Scott, who will select one of the six candidates to replace Griffin.
HERNANDO'S SCHOOLS NEED HELP MORE THAN ITS JUDGES -- Tampa Bay Times, Column, http://www.tampabay.com, March 20, 2014.
Columnist Dan DeWitt writes, "The news is that we might get state money for another judge in the county and an expansion of the drug court program . . . Skepticism about the urgency of the judges' needs was mixed with the realization that the county has a duty to accommodate them in the short term and to start thinking about a significant expansion in the long run. Given the county's limited funds, it's a reasonable response . . . As the Times' Danny Valentine wrote on Sunday [March 16], there's another group of people in this county with needs — the students in our schools . . . Sure, a respectable county needs to provide judges with professional, dignified surroundings, but not like it needs decent schools. Nobody's going to move to Hernando County because of its nice courtrooms. They won't convince anyone to build a factory here or give our kids a chance to compete. Yet the judges, I'm sure, will get something from the commission, while the kids get nothing. Where's the justice in that?"
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Profession--
RUNAWAY LAWYER TIMOTHY MCCABE GETS FIVE YEARS IN PRISON -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, March 19, 2014. [Also: RUNAWAY LAWYER TIMOTHY MCCABE GETS FIVE YEARS -- Palm Beach Post (requires subscription), http://www.pbpost.com, March 20, 2014.]
Disgraced former real estate lawyer Timothy McCabe, who stole close to $6 million from his firm's escrow accounts and then fled into hiding for two-and-a-half months, will spend five years in federal prison. McCabe was also ordered Wednesday [March 19] by Judge Kenneth Ryskamp to pay $5.9 million in restitution to his 73 victims. McCabe talked for the first time in public about what he had done. He said he had been taking money from his clients for two to three years before he disappeared to cover the losses the 2008 financial meltdown caused his real-estate investments and business. Speaking quickly in emotional bursts, McCabe said he decided a few days before he went into hiding to stop being a "thief." Although the maximum sentence for each of the charges was 30 years, McCabe received a significantly lighter sentence because of a number of factors, including the fact he had no prior criminal history.
IMMIGRATION ROUNDUP: BARRED FROM THE FLORIDA BAR -- Bloomberg BNA, http://www.bna.com, March 18, 2014.
In California, undocumented immigrant Sergio Garcia was admitted to the state bar in January. But the Florida Supreme Court ruled that undocumented immigrants can't get law licenses in that state. Both cases turned on a federal law that prohibits states from using federally appropriated funds to grant "public benefits" to undocumented immigrants. Professional licenses are among those public benefits. A law that passed recently in California but doesn't exist in Florida was what made the difference in the outcomes for the two candidates. Although declining to comment specifically on Godinez-Samperio, the Florida justices held that the law does in fact prevent the state from granting law licenses to undocumented immigrants. The court found that the federal prohibition can only be overcome by a law passed by the state Legislature and signed by the governor, not a change in bar admission rules made by the state Supreme Court.