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.
April 29, 2014
EDITORIAL: LET LAW SCHOOL GRAD, OTHER 'DREAMERS' PRACTICE LAW -- Palm Beach Post, Editorial, http://www.pbpost.com, April 28, 2014.
A bipartisan effort to allow law school graduate Jose Godinez-Samperio, who is an undocumented immigrant, to obtain a law license is making headway in the Legislature. The editorial states that "legislators should make it a priority to make this small but important change to state law before the session ends . . . It would be to fair thing to do. Godinez-Samperio is one of the tens of thousands of Florida’s so-called “Dreamers,” people brought into the country illegally as young children. Most have little recollection of their native countries, yet in the only country they call home they cannot legally work . . . Faced with a similar dilemma, the California Legislature changed the law, prompting [Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge] Labarga to lament that “unlike the California Legislature, the Florida Legislature has not exercised its considerable authority on this important question.” That, however, can change, if legislators make the small effort required this week to remedy this dilemma."
SENATE APPROVES BAN ON FOREIGN LAW IN FLORIDA COURTS -- The Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, April 28, 2014.
The Florida Senate voted to forbid application of foreign law in Florida courts Monday [April 28]. Opponents called the bill as an overreaction to the feared use of Sharia law or other foreign doctrines. Critics said the bills are unneeded because Florida judges are not using foreign law and that any abuses can easily be overturned in higher courts. Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, failed to get a similar bill passed last year in the final days of the session. Sponsors of the bill added an amendment spelling out that a Florida court may not enforce any contract that selects laws of a foreign country which "contravene the strong public policy" of Florida or "are unjust or unreasonable."
FORMER STATE PROSECUTORS LAUNCH MEDICAL MARIJUANA PRACTICE -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, April 28, 2014.
Julian Stroleny and Christopher Pagan will be helping the same people they once prosecuted in their new private law practice, consulting with medical marijuana growers and entrepreneurs. In mid-April, Stroleny and Pagan quit their jobs at the Miami-Dade state attorney's office and started a criminal defense law firm in downtown Miami. The firm will carve out a specialty in medical marijuana consulting. Stroleny and Pagan are part of a burgeoning niche in Florida and elsewhere focusing on the legal implications of marijuana laws. Although Stroleny and Pagan said their reason for launching the new firm was largely financial, they also want to help those in need of medical marijuana due to illness, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions.
QUALIFYING BEGINS FOR 7TH CIRCUIT JUDICIAL RACES -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, April 29, 2014.
Qualifying for seats on the circuit bench begins Monday [April 28] and will run until noon on Friday [May 2]. Open races will replace four retiring 7th Judicial Circuit judges, who serve six-year terms and earn $146,079.96. Well-known local legal names are among the candidates running for seats on the bench. The numbers might change after qualifying ends, but so far two candidates are looking at replacing Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson and four candidates are looking at filling the seat now held by Circuit Judge Robert K. Rouse.
TWENTIETH CIRCUIT JUDGE MARK STEINBECK TO RETIRE -- Fort Myers News-Press, http://www.news-press.com, April 29, 2014.
Twentieth Circuit Judge Mark Steinbeck will retire Dec. 31. He was appointed to his seat in April 2006 by then Gov. Jeb Bush, according to a news release about his retirement decision. Steinbeck, who will turn 66 in July, has presided over felony criminal and juvenile delinquency dockets. He presides over a felony criminal docket and as the administrative judge for the Criminal Division in Fort Myers.
BROWARD JUDGE LAURA WATSON FIGHTS JQC FOR HER JOB -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, April 28, 2014.
Broward Circuit Judge Laura Watson has asked the state Supreme Court to block the Judicial Qualifications Commission's attempt to have her removed from office. Watson filed a lawsuit accusing the JQC of acting outside its authority when it called for her removal for alleged misconduct that took place eight years before she became a judge. Earlier this month, the JQC asked the Supreme Court to remove Watson from office after finding she negotiated a settlement in a civil suit that froze out co-counsel on related cases and deprived her clients of the opportunity to seek further compensation from an insurance company. Because the circumstances deal with the results of an election, Watson is also asking the state Supreme Court to refer the case to the federal court system. The Florida Bar, meanwhile, has asked the state Supreme Court to temporarily suspend Watson's license to practice law if she is removed from office.
TAMPA LAWYER HENRY HICKS IS REMEMBERED FOR EFFORTS TO HELP OTHERS -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, April 29, 2014. [Also: INVESTIGATION INDICATES ALCOHOL, FOUL PLAY NOT INVOLVED IN HICK'S DEATH -- Tampa Bay Business Journal (requires subscription), http://www.bizjournals.com, April 29, 2014; ANNA MARIA ATTORNEY MAY HAVE DROWNED FREEING AN ANCHOR -- Bradenton Herald, http://www.bradenton.com, April 28, 2014.]
Tampa attorney Henry Hicks, 60, died Saturday [April 26] while trying to retrieve the anchor to a 27-foot boat about three miles west of Anna Maria, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. An preliminary investigation shows that the death does not appear to involve alcohol or foul play, according to the Business Journal. As a lawyer specializing in real estate, he represented clients facing foreclosure or similar issues. Hicks moved to Tampa in 1979 and formed the law offices of Henry W. Hicks in 1981. Hicks was a Florida Bar-certified real estate lawyer. He also owned Titlemark of South Tampa LLC title insurance agency.
--Tech Tip Tuesday--
LEARN TO CUSTOMIZE AND USE EMAIL SIGNATURE BLOCKS -- The Florida Bar, http://www.floridabar.org, April 29, 2014.
Most email service providers and smartphones allow you to customize email signatures -- having more than one or two available to pick from.