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 15, 2013
LANDMARK FOR JUSTICE SYSTEM: 50 YEARS SINCE GIDEON V. WAINWRIGHT -- Ocala Star Banner, http://www.ocala.com, March 15, 2013.
Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that established a prime tenet of the American criminal justice system: "If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you." The decision in Gideon v. Wainwright established that fundamental right and expanded the nationwide public defender system that, according to recent reports, faces growing caseloads, slashed budgets and diminishing resources. "In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Gideon, the Florida Legislature created the Florida Public Defender System, establishing an Office of the Public Defender for each of Florida's judicial circuits," reads an historical summary from the Hillsborough County Public Defender's Office.
BLINDNESS CAN'T STOP ATTORNEY FROM LANDING FEDERAL CLERKSHIP -- Daily Business Review, (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, March 14, 2013.
Blind since birth with a condition called Leber congenital amaurosis, attorney Dan Matzkin, 29, never let his disability stand in his way through undergraduate studies at Wesleyan University and law school at the University of Michigan, as a litigation associate at Squire Sanders and in applying for a clerkship with Judge Adalberto Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Matzkin beat out more than 100 applicants to land the clerkship starting this fall. The judge previously worked at Steel Hector & Davis, which merged with Squire Sanders. When Matzkin applied, Jordan called around to inquire about him. Hearing only positive feedback, he decided to bring in Matzkin for an interview. "The other clerks and I talked to him together, and he blew us away in the interview," Jordan said.
ONLY FIVE OF 11 FLORIDA LAW SCHOOLS RANKED IN LATEST U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT RANKINGS -- Daily Business Review, (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, March 14, 2013.
The annual law school rankings by U.S. News & World Report showed improvements by four Florida schools. Still, a majority of Florida law schools haven't broken into the prestigious annual rankings. The University of Miami was the only one to decline among the five ranked schools — to 76th place from 69. The University of Florida once again led all law schools in the state at 46, up from 48. Florida State University followed at 48, up from 51. Florida International University is up to 105 from 113. Stetson University rounds out the ranked schools at 109, up from 119.
GILCHRIST SWEARING IN ITS FIRST FEMALE COUNTY JUDGE -- Gainesville Sun, http://www.gainesville.com, March 15, 213.
Friday [March 15] will be a historic day for Sharee Lancaster and Gilchrist County — she will formally become the first woman to serve as county judge in Gilchrist and possibly the first female county judge across a wide breadth of North Florida except for Alachua County. An investiture ceremony for Lancaster, who was elected in the fall, will be Friday at 4 p.m. in the Gilchrist County Courthouse. "It's historical," Lancaster said. "All of the small, rural counties have never had a female judge. I'm a pioneer woman."
TIM SHEA: JUDGE WHO BULLIED LAWYERS WILL GET PUBLIC REPRIMAND -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, March 15, 2013.
The Supreme Court of Florida stood by the decision to publicly reprimand an Orange-Osceola Circuit Judge for bullying lawyers in his courtroom. Judge Tim Shea was accused of berating lawyers for what he perceived to be "disrespectful behavior" on numerous occasions from January 2007 to July 2010, a Supreme Court ruling released Thursday [March 15] said. The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, the state agency that polices judges, initially proposed a 60-day suspension for Shea's "pattern of rude and intemperate behavior." That punishment was rescinded in December after "substantial positive efforts (were) voluntarily taken by Judge Shea to remedy his behavior," the ruling said.
EDITORIAL: HELP COURTS, NOT BANKS, TO RESOLVE FLORIDA'S FORECLOSURE CRISIS -- Palm Beach Post, Editorial, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, March 15, 2013.
Rhonda Swan writes, "State courts must deal with nearly 1 million foreclosure cases over the next three years. They need money from the Florida Legislature, not a bad bill. House Bill 87, filed by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, would make it easier for banks to foreclose by allowing lenders to seek an expedited hearing. But lenders are the reason foreclosure cases take an average of more than two years to resolve. Why make it easier to foreclose? . . . State Courts Administrator Lisa Goodner told a Senate committee last week that among other challenges, they have paperwork problems . . . The state has a backlog of 366,250 foreclosure cases. Ms. Goodner expects 680,000 more to be filed by 2016. Give the courts money to move those cases."
--Civil Justice Issues--
FLORIDA JUSTICES RULE IN CASE ON SMOKER'S DEATH -- Lakeland Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, March 15, 2013. [Also: TOBACCO COMPANIES LOSE DUE PROCESS ARGUMENT IN FLORIDA SUPREME COURT -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, March 15, 2013.]
By The Associated Press. Florida's highest court decided Thursday [March 14] not to upset its own landmark decision that makes it easier for thousands of sick smokers or their survivors to pursue lawsuits against tobacco companies. In a 6-1 decision, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed a $2.5 million Tampa jury verdict in the death of smoker Charlotte Douglas. Justice Charles Canady dissented.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
COURT RULES BARRICADED SUSPECTS NOT ENTITLED TO MIRANDA WARNING -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, March 15, 2013.
Even a barricaded suspect has the right to remain silent during a standoff, but police have no obligation to tell him that while trying to coax him out, an appeals court ruled this week. The decision from the 4th District Court of Appeal springs from a 2007 Broward case involving Erin Atac, who was holed up in his apartment as Broward Sheriff's deputies were about to arrest him in connection with the slaying of his father. The lead detective on the case spoke to Atac on the phone, recording parts of the conversation. The appeals court was asked to decide whether a suspect who is barricaded and surrounded by police is effectively in custody and entitled to a Miranda warning.