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.
June 1, 2012
DRUG COURT OFFERS ALTERNATIVE TO JAIL TIME-- Hometown News, http://www.myhometownnews.net, June 1, 2012.
The Volusia County Council proclaimed May Drug Court Awareness month. The county's adult and family drug courts program started in 1997, and is one of about 2,600 nationwide. In its 25 years, 779 participants have graduated from the local program. About 83 percent of those who start it finish successfully. Judge Joseph Will heads the court and said the program saves addicts and taxpayers alike. He said that a prisoner costs about $35,000 a year in Florida, and about two thirds of convicted offenders return within a few years. In contrast, drug court costs about $6,000 a year, and only about 30 percent of graduates offend again during same time frame. The Adult Drug Court is for the criminal offenders. Family Drug Court is for people whose children have been taken by child-welfare workers. For them, graduation can be a requirement for getting children returned.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 13 ATTORNEYS-- The Florida Bar, news release, http://www.floridabar.org, May 31, 2012. [Also: THREE TAMPA BAY LAWYERS AMONG 13 DISCIPLINED-- Tampa Bay Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay, June 1, 2012; MIAMI LAKES ATTORNEY DISBARRED; THREE OTHER SOUTH FLORIDA ATTORNEYS SUSPENDED-- South Florida Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida, June 1, 2012; FLORIDA SUPREME COURT DISBARS RIVERVIEW LAWYER-- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, June 1, 2012].
The Florida Bar, the state's guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court, in court orders issued between March 9 – May 1, disciplined 13 attorneys, disbarring four and suspending seven. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. One attorney was placed on probation; two attorneys were publicly reprimanded and one attorney was ordered to pay restitution.
--Civil Justice Issues--
FEDS ORDER FLORIDA TO HALT VOTER PURGE-- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, June 1, 2012.
The article is by The Associated Press. Federal authorities are demanding that Florida halt its push to remove ineligible voters from the voter rolls. The U.S. Department of Justice contends that the state is violating federal law in its effort to identify and remove ineligible voters. Chris Cate, a spokesman for the Florida Department of State, said state officials were still reviewing the letter, but hinted Florida may fight federal authorities. Earlier this year state officials sent to local election officials a list of more than registered 2,600 voters and asked supervisors to start the process to remove them from the rolls. The election supervisors, however, have loudly questioned the accuracy of the list.
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ELATED OVER COURT RULING ON REGISTERING VOTERS-- St. Augustine Record, http://staugustine.com, June 1, 2012. [Also: FLORIDA'S LIMITS ON VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES BLOCKED-- The Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, June 1, 2012].
From the St. Augustine Record: Five years in jail and a $5,000 fine are unreasonable penalties for anyone who failed to turn in voter registration cards within two days of a voting registration drive, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled Thursday [May 31] in Tallahassee. The ruling arose during a hearing in the case of League of Women Voters of Florida vs. Kurt S. Browning, filed soon after the Legislature passed House Bill 1355 earlier this year that tightened election registration laws. Although he struck down the 48-hours requirement, the judge allowed other provisions of the new election law to remain. The plaintiffs are the League, Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and Rock the Vote, all voter registrars. Defendants include Secretary of State Kurt Browning, the director of the Division of Elections and the Attorney General, all in their official capacities. Browning has since resigned to run for superintendent of schools in Pasco County.
FLORIDA JUSTICES RULE ON HURRICANE INSURANCE ISSUES-- The Bradenton Herald, http://www.bradenton.com, June 1, 2012.
The article is by The Associated Press. Customers cannot sue insurance companies for violating a law that requires hurricane policies to include warnings of large deductibles in oversize, boldface type and capital letters, but even if they could there's no penalty, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday [May 31]. Those were among four questions the justices unanimously answered at the request of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to help it decide a case stemming from Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
SUPREME COURT: WEST PALM BEACH CONVICTED MURDERER DESERVES NEW TRIAL-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, June 1, 2012.
A 51-year-old West Palm Beach man, who claims he was convicted of a murder he didn't commit, deserves a new trial, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday [May 31]. The high court found that then-15th Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga erred when he refused the jury's request to have parts of the trial testimony read back to them before they convicted Mark Barrow of the 2004 murder of Rae Meichelle Tener. Tener's body was never found and much of the testimony was conflicting and confusing. Labarga, who was appointed to the high court in 2009, recused himself from the case along with Justice Barbara Pariente, whose husband is a judge on the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The appeals court tossed out Barrow's 2007 conviction, spurring the high court's review.
INNOVATIVE PALM BEACH COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER RICHARD JORANDBY DIES-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, June 1, 2012.
Richard Jorandby, who won national renown as a crusading Palm Beach County public defender, and who was especially well known for the work his attorneys performed in death penalty cases, died May 21 of cancer. He was 73. Jorandby held office for 28 years before he was defeated in 2000 by current public defender Carey Haughwout. That defeat ended a career marked by innovation and a commitment to defend the poor, his former assistants say. Jorandby created a unit that handled death penalty appeals in various Florida counties. He also started a counseling program for defendants, an alternative sentencing program and an ex-offender employment program. In 1985, a National Institute of Justice study pointed to Jorandby's office as an example of how to defend poor people in a cost-effective way.