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.
May 2, 2014
HISTORIC VOTE IN FLORIDA HOUSE CLEARS WAY FOR NONCITIZEN TO PRACTICE LAW -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, May 1, 2014. [Also: UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS WIN BIG WITH IN-STATE TUITION, LAW LICENSE VOTES -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com, May 1, 2014; STEUBE SUPPORTS ASPIRING IMMIGRANT LAWYER -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, May 1, 2014.]
The Florida House agreed Thursday [May 1] that the state Supreme Court should allow a noncitizen to practice law with a 79-37 vote. The House version is slightly narrower than the Senate's, so the bill must be ratified by the Senate one more time before it can be submitted to Gov. Rick Scott for his approval. The Senate voted 25-12 to support Jose Godinez-Samperio's bar petition last week. His petition for a law license was rejected last month by the Supreme Court, which said that a federal law prohibited noncitizens from receiving certain state benefits. Justices noted that states can opt out of that law, and they urged the Legislature to intervene in the case to remedy what they called an injustice. Godinez-Samperio's champion in the House was Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, who sponsored the bill.
EDITORIAL: SANE SENTENCING -- Gainesville Sun, http://www.gainesville.com, May 2, 2014.
Editorial on the legislation that will bring Florida into compliance with U.S. Supreme Court rulings on juvenile sentencing. "The court ruled in 2010 that juveniles could only be sentenced to life in prison for murder. The court followed in 2012 with a decision that found that juveniles convicted of murder could not receive a life sentence without a thorough review of mitigating circumstances . . . The rulings hold special importance for Florida, which, as of 2010, had sentenced more juveniles to life in prison for non-murder crimes than had all the other states combined . . . Finally, the Senate reached a compromise last week that juvenile-advocacy groups, defense attorneys and prosecutors could support . . . The bill isn't perfect. For example, it does not allow the initial review until an inmate has served 15 years or 25 years for the most serious crimes. That's a long time for a young inmate to wait before trying to prove that he or she has been rehabilitated. Still, it is a significant improvement over the status quo. It should be passed by the House and signed by the governor."
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
LAWYER IN ROTHSTEIN FRAUD GETS FIVE YEARS, UNEXPECTEDLY GOES DIRECTLY TO PRISON -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, May 1, 2014. [Also: FORT LAUDERDALE ATTORNEY SENTENCED IN ROTHSTEIN PONZI SCHEME -- South Florida Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, May 1, 2014; DOUGLAS L. BATES HEADS TO PRISON FOR ROLE IN ROTHSTEIN PONZI SCHEME -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, May 1, 2014.]
South Florida attorney Douglas Bates was sentenced to five years in federal prison and was taken into custody immediately for helping Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein's $1.4 billion fraud. U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks ordered – in a decision Bates clearly was not expecting – that he would go directly to prison from the courtroom. Bates' cooperation helped federal prosecutors file criminal charges last week against two fired Broward Sheriff's deputies who arrested Bates' ex-wife on trumped-up drug charges. The judge also fined him $20,000 and sentenced him to two years of probation. His disbarbment is pending at the Florida Supreme Court.
SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 27 ATTORNEYS -- The Florida Bar, http://www.floridabar.org, April 30, 2014. [Also: ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE: 10 PUNISHED IN SOUTH FLORIDA -- South Florida Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, May 2, 2014; FLORIDA SUPREME COURT DISBARS SPRING HILL LAWYER -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, May 2, 2014.]
The Florida Bar announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 27 attorneys, disbarring five and revoking the license of one. Seventeen attorneys were suspended and four attorneys were publicly reprimanded. Four attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Two were placed on probation and three were ordered to pay restitution.