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.
May 30, 2014
--The Florida Bar--
LEGAL PROFESSION CALLS ON SCOTT TO PUSH FOR DIVERSITY AMONG JUDGES -- South Florida Times, http://www.sfltimes.com, May 29, 2014. [Also: WHAT WE THINK: RECTIFY WOEFUL LACK OF BLACK JUDGES -- South Florida Times, Editorial, http://www.sfltimes.com, May 29, 2014.]
Florida's Judicial Nominating Commissions will have 78 vacancies and filling them will be a key test of the willingness of Gov. Rick Scott and the legal profession to add more minorities to the bench. That point is stressed by a task force appointed by The Florida Bar’s first black president, Eugene Pettis, to look into the matter. The President’s Special Task Force to Study Enhancement of Diversity in the Judiciary and on the JNCs recently wrapped up a series of meetings, coming up with 10 recommendations to the Bar’s Board of Governors. The panel was headed by attorney Frank Scruggs. A South Florida Times editorial states that "With the whole legal profession, as represented by the Bar, standing behind this call, it will do well for [Gov. Rick] Scott to make an effort to shed the image of a governor who has no interest in having a judiciary that reflects the composition of his state."
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT PASSES ON DECIDING WHETHER SUCCESSOR TO JACKSONVILLE CHIEF JUDGE SHOULD BE ELECTED OR APPOINTED -- Florida Times-Union (requires subscription), http://www.jacksonville.com, May 29, 2014.
The Florida Supreme Court declined to look into the decision of 4th Circuit Chief Judge Donald Moran to resign one day before his term expires, which prevents an election and instead allows the governor to appoint a new judge. Justices unanimously ruled Thursday [May 29] to transfer the petition on the issue down to Leon County Circuit Court, while cautioning that the transfer “should not be construed as an adjudication or comment on the merits of the petition.” Attorney David Trotti already qualified to run in the election to succeed Moran. After Moran submitted his resignation, Trotti said the Division of Elections told him he was no longer a candidate because the judgeship would no longer be on the 2014 ballot. Trotti filed an emergency petition with the Florida Supreme Court asking justices to order the Division of Elections to reopen the election.
EDITORIAL: CLOSED COURT SENDS TERRIBLE MESSAGE -- Tampa Bay Times, Editorial, http://www.tampabay.com, May 29, 2014.
The editorial laments that reporters and the public were removed from a Tallahassee courtroom and a live television stream was shut off Thursday [May 29] as the trial over Florida's congressional redistricting moved behind closed doors. "Secrecy undermines confidence in representative government and the courts. Floridians ought to be able see all of the testimony and documents when the dispute is as fundamental as whether their congressional districts were illegally drawn . . . Closing courtrooms and sealing documents sends a terrible message to Floridians cynical about government and the role money and political muscle play in Tallahassee. The suspicion is that the system is rigged to protect the powerful . . . Sunshine, not more darkness, is the best prescription for exposing whether lawmakers violated the Florida Constitution and ignored the will of voters who demanded fairly drawn congressional districts."
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 22 ATTORNEYS -- The Florida Bar, http://www.floridabar.org, May 29, 2014. [Also: SEVEN SOUTH FLORIDA LAWYERS DISCIPLINED BY BAR -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, May 30, 2014; TAMPA, BRADENTON ATTORNEYS AMONG 22 DISCIPLINED STATEWIDE -- Tampa Bay Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, May 30, 2014; TWO BREVARD ATTORNEYS SUSPENDED -- Florida Today, http://www.floridatoday.com, May 29, 2014; LOCAL ATTORNEY DISBARRED -- Gainesville Sun, http://www.gainesville.com, May 29, 2014.]
The Florida Bar announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 22 attorneys; disbarring five and suspending 12. Five attorneys were publicly reprimanded. Six attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Five were placed on probation and one was ordered to pay restitution.
PROSECUTOR IN 'CRACK HOES' CONTROVERSY REASSIGNED TEMPORARILY, WILL ATTEND SENSITIVITY TRAINING -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, May 29, 2014.
Ken Lewis, the prosecutor whose Facebook post addressed to "crack hoes" went viral last week, has been temporarily reassigned and will attend sensitivity training, the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office said Thursday [May 29]. Lewis has been reassigned from major crimes to general felonies pending an internal probe, which will seek to determine "if his political views have bled over" into his work, according to the office's executive director, Richard Wallsh. The probe will be conducted by Linda Drane Burdick, State Attorney Jeff Ashton's chief assistant. Lewis will undergo sensitivity training, though details of that haven't been finalized, Wallsh said.