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.
Sept. 24, 2013
COLLEGE PROGRAM HELPS MATCH LAWYERS, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN FLORIDA -- Palm Beach Post (requires subscription), http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com, Sept. 24, 2013.
The University of Miami, through a program called “Legal Corps,” pays to place recently graduated, bar-admitted law school graduates at city governments for six-month stints. When the summer was over, the city of West Palm Beach liked recent graduate Christopher Van Hall so much, they hired him. West Palm Beach is one of several municipal governments for whom the university’s program was a godsend, especially at a time when cities are slashing staff. Since the program began with the class of 2010, eight “fellows” were placed in positions in Palm Beach County. Two, Van Hall and Cassandra Ward, assigned to Legal Aid, were later hired. The law school pays most of the program costs and gets donations from individuals, law firms and foundations, said Assistant Dean Marcelyn R. Cox, of the law school’s career development office.
E-SERVICE UNDERWAY -- The Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org, Oct. 1, 2013. [Also: CRIMINAL E-FILING STARTS SLOWLY -- The Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org.com, Oct. 1, 2013.]
Automatic electronic service of documents filed in Florida courts through the statewide e-filing portal is starting. The Florida Courts E-Filing Authority, which oversees the portal operation, recently got a preview of the new e-service system and approved a change to its agreement with court clerks and the state court system to allow expansion of its help desk, which was overwhelmed when civil trial court e-filing began in April. Regarding criminal e-filing, all but one county -- Hillsborough -- will be ready for private criminal defense attorneys to do electronic filings on their cases as of Oct. 1. The delay in Hillsborough County had been expected because of new case management software being installed. Most state attorneys and public defenders are seeking an extension of the Oct. 1 deadline because they or their local clerks are not ready to do “batch” filings. The authority has compiled a list of who is ready to begin criminal filings by Oct. 1. That list includes local courts, clerks, state attorneys, and public defenders.
SENIOR JUDGE ALAN R. SCHWARTZ RETIRES FROM 3RD DCA -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Sept. 23, 2013.
Senior Judge Alan R. Schwartz is retiring Monday [Sept. 23] from the Third District Court of Appeal after 35 years on the court, including 23 years as chief judge. Schwartz, 79, retired as an active judge in 2004. He served on the appellate court and Miami-Dade Circuit Court since then, and also was a visiting judge in the other four DCAs. The Pittsburgh native was appointed to the circuit bench by Gov. Reubin Askew in 1973 and was elevated to the appeals court by Askew in 1978. The court issued a statement in honor of Schwartz's departure, saying: "The judges at the Third District Court of Appeal will dearly miss the daily guidance, advice and humor of our friend and colleague. He has taught us much, and his lasting legacy on this court will never be forgotten."
FRED GRIMM: RUBIO STOMPS ON JUDGE'S REPUTATION -- Miami Herald, Column, http://www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 23, 2013.
Herald columnist Fred Grimm writes that "Marco Rubio killed the nomination of William Thomas to the federal judiciary last week. Then he tried to murder the judge's reputation." Rubio's office cited two instances that Rubio decided raised serious concerns about his fitness for a lifetime federal appointment. One was the sentencing hearing for a convicted murderer, where Thomas wept as he sentenced Joel Lebron for the kidnapping, gang rape and murder of an 18-year-old in 2002. Grimm notes that "Miami Herald court reporter David Ovalle was there as emotions engulfed the courtroom. Nothing about the judges demeanor struck Ovalle as inappropriate." Rubio's office also cited the case of Michele Traverso, who killed a bicyclist in a hit-and-run accident. Rubio has received letters correcting popular misconceptions about the Traverso case and others praising Thomas. Grimm concludes that "all this is to pretend that Rubio had some reason other than crass Tea Party politics for sabotaging Judge Thomas' reputation and aborting the confirmation process."
--Criminal Justice Issues--
TD BANK SETTLES WITH FEDS IN ROTHSTEIN CASE -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Sept. 23, 2013. [Also: TD BANK TO PAY $52.5 MILLION IN U.S. SETTLEMENTS OVER PONZI SCHEME -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Sept. 24, 2013; TD BANK FINE IS "PTTANCE," ROTHSTEIN VICTIM'S ATTORNEY SAYS -- South Florida Business Journal (requires subscription), http://www.bizjournals.com, Sept. 24, 2013.]
TD Bank N.A. agreed to pay $52.5 million in penalties to federal regulators for moving money around for ex-law firm chairman Scott Rothstein’s $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ordered a $37.5 million penalty, and the Securities and Exchange Commission added a $15 million penalty for violating the Securities Act of 1933. The SEC order said a TD Bank regional vice president helped Rothstein fool investors in his scheme by providing so-called lock letters to reassure potential investors about the safety of their commitments. Rothstein, who is serving a 50-year federal prison sentence, said in depositions that he paid $50,000 in bribes to TD Bank regional vice president Frank Spinosa, who left the bank shortly after the Ponzi collapsed. TD Bank made no admission of wrongdoing in the settlements, and Spinosa did not reach a settlement.
DISBARRED BROWARD LAWYER DIES IN MOTORCYLE CRASH -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Sept. 24, 2013.
Well-known disbarred Broward defense lawyer with a publicized substance-abuse problem, Robert Ullman, died in a motorcycle crash in Deerfield Beach on Sunday [Sept. 22] evening. Broward sheriff's officials did not indicate Monday whether Ullman was impaired at the time of the fatal crash, which remains under investigation. Dogged by arrests for DUI, hit-and-run and larceny, Ullman consented to disbarment in August 2010 after pleading no contest to charges of cocaine possession and theft.