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.

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Feb. 10, 2014


LABARGA TO MAKE HISTORY AS FLORIDA'S FIRST CUBAN-AMERICAN CHIEF JUSTICE -- Palm Beach Post (requires subscription),, Feb. 10. 2014.
Profile of Jorge Labarga, 61, who is slated to assume leadership of the Florida Supreme Court in July, becoming the first Cuban-American to hold the title of chief justice. Labarga, who became Palm Beach County’s first Cuban-born judge almost two decades ago, said he is looking toward shaping future lives as he is poised to make history again as chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court. Before being appointed to the high court in 2009 by then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, Labarga spent years as an assistant public defender, prosecutor and judge in Palm Beach County. The chief justice job rotates every two years and carries a heavy workload. Beginning this summer Labarga will effectively be the top administrative officer for the Florida judiciary.

Downtown Miami’s newest architectural addition, a new Children’s Court, was dedicated this week and named for two long-time judges, Seymour Gelber and William E. Gladstone. “They were very influential in creating programs for children,” said Eunice Sigler, spokeswoman for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida. The 14-story building will house 17 agencies that work with troubled children. “It will have room for 11 judges and magistrates,” Sigler said. The new $130 million courthouse was dedicated Thursday [Feb. 6] and will replace the old Juvenile Justice Center.

BROWARD JUDGE RECOVERING AFTER SEIZURE ON BENCH -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel,, Feb. 8, 2014.
Broward County Judge Mary Rudd Robinson is conscious and alert and expected to make a full recovery after suffering a seizure on the bench this week, court officials said Friday [Feb. 7]. Robinson, who has been a judge since 1989, had an aneurysm that suddenly had her convulsing and twitching in the middle of a misdemeanor DUI trial late Wednesday [Feb. 5] afternoon. Robinson's husband, Broward Circuit Judge Michael Robinson, sent an email to Chief Administrative Judge Peter Weinstein, which Weinstein forwarded to courthouse personnel on Friday morning. He specifically thanked the doctor who administered CPR in court, Michael Wagner, a toxicologist with the Broward Medical Examiner's Office.

--Legal Profession--

DAVE ARONBERG: HELP PROSECUTORS PAY OFF STUDENT LOANS -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Opinion Column,, Feb. 8, 2014.
Column by Dave Aronberg, state attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit. "...My greatest challenge as state attorney [is] keeping our hard-working, underpaid prosecutors from leaving for increasingly lucrative salaries in the private sector. This problem has become even more pronounced in an improving economy . . . High turnover rates among prosecutors can put public safety at risk. If left unaddressed, communities around the state face the prospect of inexperienced attorneys with enormous caseloads facing off against veteran criminal defense attorneys in high-stakes trials. As prosecutors, we love and embrace our jobs for reasons other than salary, but the looming prospect of lifetime student loan payments entice away too many of our best and brightest. When I was a state senator, I introduced legislation for partial loan forgiveness if a prosecutor or public defender stayed for more than three years. The Florida Legislature, however, has never passed this important measure into law . . . For the first time in six years, Florida has a budget surplus. When legislators convene in March, let's hope they make this small investment for safer communities."


"Fraud by court-appointed guardians is a growing but under-reported domestic crime. Two companion Senate and House bills have been introduced in the Florida Legislature to begin rooting out this incestuous problem . . . Among other things, the bills would require credit history and background screenings for nonprofessional or “family” guardians, allow judges to order an accounting of “property or a trust of which the ward is a beneficiary but which is not under the administration or control of the guardian” and even remove a guardian for failing to turn over records during an audit. The strongest piece of the legislation would give Florida’s county clerks of court the power to do so-called “enhanced audits” of guardianship cases — namely the ability to find and investigate potential fraud and exploitation, particularly of the elderly."

--Criminal Justice Issues--

STAGE IS SET FOR WEEK 2 OF TRIAL TO DECIDE MICHAEL DUNN'S FATE FOR JACKSONVILLE TEEN'S DEATH -- Florida Times-Union (requires subscription),, Feb. 10, 2014.
After a day off Sunday [Feb. 9], a Jacksonville jury will return to court Monday [Feb. 10] morning to hear a fourth day of testimony in the first-degree murder case of Michael David Dunn. Dunn, 47, is accused of killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis after the two got into a dispute over loud music coming from the sport-utility vehicle the teen was in with three friends. Dunn told police Davis was threatening to kill him and had a gun, but no weapon was found. The prosecution has presented 22 witnesses against Dunn over three days. The prosecution will continue to present its case Monday.

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[Revised: 02-11-2014]