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.
Aug. 7, 2012
GWYNNE YOUNG: SUPPORT EDUCATION, BE INVOLVED-- Tampa Bay Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay, Aug. 3, 2012.
The article profiles Florida Bar President Gwynne A. Young, including details of her professional life and goals as Bar president. Young has lived in the Tampa Bay area for 56 years and is a shareholder at Carlton Fields, where she has worked for 35 years. From the article: "My goals as president are to encourage women, minorities and other diverse groups to apply for and become involved with the Bar; to continue to work to ensure adequate funding for the courts including working to help restore the $30 million in funding cut from the clerks' budget, and to seek adequate funding for legal services to the poor; and to continue the Bar's Judicial Merit Retention Education Program, to help educate Bar members and the public about judicial merit retention."
COLE, HOGAN EARN JUSTICE TEACHING HONORS-- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, Aug. 6, 2012.
Two members of the Jacksonville legal community were recognized during the recent Florida Bar Annual Convention. Fourth Circuit Judge Karen Cole was honored with the first Justice Teaching "Jurist of the Year" award and attorney Wayne Hogan with the first "Volunteer of the Year" award. They were recognized by the Bar's Law Related Education Committee during the judicial luncheon at the convention.
JALA TO CUT STAFF BY 20%-- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, Aug. 6, 2012.
Funding declines for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid will cause the organization to lay off about 20 percent of its staff in the coming weeks. Including satellite offices, JALA employs about 85 people. A 20 percent cut would indicate a loss of 17 positions. A major source of funding for JALA and other legal aid organizations is the Interest on Trust Accounts program, commonly referred to as IOTA, that is managed by The Florida Bar Foundation. With interest rates at historically low levels, legal aid organizations are struggling to maintain their levels of service. The downward trend in interest rates means less funding per grant request.
FEDERAL COURTHOUSE IN DOWNTOWN TAMPA TO CLOSE FOR RNC-- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Aug. 7, 2012.
Court will not be in session at the Sam M. Gibbons federal courthouse in downtown Tampa during the Republican National Convention, officials said Monday [Aug. 6]. Instead, district and magistrate judges working in the Orlando division of the U.S. District Court will be responsible for any Tampa matters requiring court proceedings, including matters resulting from the convention itself. Cases in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, also in the Gibbons courthouse at 801 N Florida Ave., also will be halted for the week. Starting Aug. 27, a deposit lockbox will be available on the first floor of the courthouse, allowing the delivery of paperwork to the court. The courthouse will resume normal operations on Sept. 4, after the Labor Day holiday. The RNC convention runs from Aug. 27-30.
LAWMAKERS CHIDE U.S. FOR WASTING TAXPAYER MONEY ON HISTORIC MIAMI FEDERAL COURTHOUSE-- The Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Aug. 7, 2012. [Also: EMPTY COURTHOUSE SEEN AS SYMBOL-- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, Aug. 7, 2012].
The David W. Dyer Courthouse, built in the Spanish colonial-revival style in downtown Miami in 1933, has seen better days. Vacant since 2008, the nearly 180,000-square-foot building became center stage Monday [Aug. 6] for members of Congress, who scolded the General Services Administration for wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer money by failing to find a tenant or sell the property for redevelopment. The notoriously moldy building, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places, has been empty since a $163 million courthouse named after the late judge Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. was built nearby.
PORTRAIT UNVEILED: COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION GATHERS TO HONOR RETIRED SEVENTH CIRCUIT JUDGE-- Palatka Daily News, http://www.palatkadailynews.com, Aug. 4, 2012.
Retired Judge Edward Hedstrom's portrait now watches over the bench he occupied for 10 years. Members of the Putnam County Bar Association gathered Friday [Aug. 3] in Hedstrom's former courtroom to honor the retired 7th Circuit judge by unveiling his portrait. Hedstrom retired in 2010 at age of 70.
--Civil Justice Issues--
BONDI BATTLES LEGISLATURE OVER MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT-- The Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Aug. 7, 2012.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is quietly at odds with the Legislature over who should have a say over more than $300 million intended to help homeowners. Florida is receiving $334 million as part of its share of a national $25 billion settlement with five of the nation's largest mortgage lenders. This is separate from an estimated $8 billion also expected to go to help homeowners and borrowers in the state. The settlement was announced six months ago and finalized in early April. Since that time, Bondi has not announced any plans on how the state's share of the money would be spent. That's because Bondi has asserted that her office can spend the money without first getting approval from state legislators. Legislative leaders, however, contend that Florida's constitution gives the Legislature the power to make spending decisions.
JUDGE DEALS BLOW TO NADEL VICTIMS' HOPES-- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, Aug. 7, 2012.
A federal judge has tossed out half of the counts contained in a lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank filed by the receiver for the Arthur Nadel Ponzi scheme case. The action was a blow to investors' hopes that the nation's fourth-largest bank might be forced to pay millions of dollars to those whom Nadel defrauded. The lawsuit from receiver Burton Wiand contends that Wachovia Bank — now owned by Wells Fargo — played an "essential" role in the scheme by allowing Nadel to siphon funds into shadow bank accounts. Hundreds of investors lost $168 million in Nadel's Sarasota-based scheme. Last week, U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore dismissed three of the suit's six counts, plus part of the fourth, records show.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
JUDGE: PROSECUTORS CAN RETRY BRANTLEY-- The Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Aug. 7, 2012.
A federal judge Monday [Aug. 6] indicated that he will allow prosecutors to have another chance at a trial for Cortnee Brantley, the driver in a motor vehicle stop that ended in the shooting deaths of two Tampa police officers two years ago. Without comment or explanation, U.S. District Judge James Moody denied a defense motion for a judgment of acquittal for Brantley, whose trial last month ended in a hung jury. The judge had reserved decision on the motion after telling lawyers he was having trouble concluding the prosecution had met the legal requirements to support a conviction on misprision of a felony. Under the charge, Brantley is accused of concealing from authorities the fact that Dontae Morris was a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition.