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.

Links to online newspapers

May 23, 2014

--Legal Profession--

YOUNG LAWYERS' EFFORT HELPING BOOST LITERACY -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel,, May 22, 2014.
Local lawyers recently volunteered as guest readers for pre-K and kindergarten students. They read to students in five schools as part of the recently launched Broward Young Lawyers for Literacy program, which will continue when school starts again in August, said Lori Canning, curriculum supervisor in the early childhood department for Broward County Public Schools. The program got its start after Marissa Pullano and Cherine Smith Valbrun, members of the Young Lawyers Section of the Broward County Bar Association, applied for and received a grant for it. The second part of the literacy initiative is the Broward "Read for the Record" campaign, set for October. For the national campaign, millions of people read the same book on the same day to help promote early childhood education. The Young Lawyers Section will buy copies of the Read for the Record book for more than 600 early childhood centers.

--The Florida Bar--

DON'T TAX LAWYERS TO HELP INDIGENT -- Miami Herald, Letter to the Editor,, May 23, 2014.
Letter from Jay Cohen, member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors. Cohen writes in regard to the May 19 article "Lawyers spar over legal aid," which "reports an attempt by a few to increase The Florida Bar dues as a measure to cure the problem of those who cannot afford legal services." Cohen writes, "The individuals behind this measure to tax a few have good intentions. But they must appreciate that a comprehensive approach as The Florida Bar is taking will be more effective and acceptable . . . The substantial majority of Florida lawyers who oppose this measure want the opportunity to develop a resolution that will meet the test of time. Simply taxing lawyers already doing a substantial amount and carrying the load is not an adequate solution."

--Criminal Justice Issues--

Federal prosecutors Thursday [May 22] charged attorney Stuart Rosenfeldt with conspiracy, alleging he plotted bank fraud, campaign finance fraud and violation of civil rights. Rosenfeldt always denied knowing about the $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme run from his law firm by equity partner Scott Rothstein, but Rosenfeldt's position as Rothstein's sole equity partner at Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler lent him some protection since he was allowed to spend the firm's money any way he deemed fit. More than four and a half years since the Ponzi scheme imploded, Rosenfeldt now stands accused of check kiting, strong-arming a prostitute and her boyfriend, and illegal campaign contributions. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison under a charging document indicating a guilty plea is forthcoming. Rosenfeldt becomes the 23nd person and eighth attorney charged with Rothstein-related crimes. The Florida Bar has opened a disciplinary file for Rosenfeldt.

South Florida lawyer Steven E. Siff told a federal judge Thursday [May 22] that he doesn't remember exactly when he stopped filing income tax returns – it may have been as early as 1997 or as late as 2000. Siff pleaded guilty to three federal counts of failing to file an income tax return. He admitted that he did not report more than $8.2 million in law partnership profits he received between 2001 and 2011. He faces up to three years in federal prison and fines of up to $300,000 when he is sentenced July 31. He also agreed to pay $924,684 in restitution to the IRS. Siff reported himself to The Florida Bar in October 2012, one month after the IRS served a subpoena on the Miami law firm where he worked. He stopped practicing in 2012 and has asked the Bar to suspend his law license, records show.

TINA BROWN REMAINS ON DEATH ROW FOR BRUTAL MURDER -- Pensacola News Journal,, May 22, 2014.
The Florida Supreme Court unanimously upheld the conviction and death penalty sentence of Tina Brown from Pensacola, accused of beating a 19-year-old with a crowbar, shocking her with a stun gun and then setting her on fire, according to the State Attorney's Office. In 2012, Brown was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Audreanna Zimmerman. Investigators said the attack was sparked by a disagreement over a man. Brown's jury found her guilty and recommended the death penalty unanimously. Last week, the Florida Supreme Court denied Brown's appeal of the sentence and conviction.


Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters will retire from state government on June 30, she confirmed Thursday [May 22]. Walters has led the department since Gov. Rick Scott appointed her in January 2011. She is responsible for a number of innovations, including the use of civil citations as an arrest alternative for juveniles who commit misdemeanor crimes, and her strategies have been credited with helping to reduce the juvenile-crime rate statewide and the number of youths in detention. Before joining the Scott administration, Walters directed the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department. In Miami-Dade, Walters took the lead on issues such as the use of civil citations and other diversion programs.

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[Revised: 05-27-2014]