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.
April 11, 2014
--Civil Justice Issues--
HIGH COURT: ESTRANGED SPOUSE LIABLE IN CAR DEATH -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, April 11, 2014.
By the Associated Press. A man whose ex-wife had a car in both their names is still liable after she struck and killed a man with the vehicle in 2005, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday [April 10]. Robert Christensen and his ex-wife Mary Taylor-Christensen were no longer living together when she struck and killed Thomas Bowen while driving drunk on Interstate 95. Bowen's widow sued both of them and a jury originally found Christensen wasn't liable for the death caused by his ex-wife. The Supreme Court ruled that was a mistake. Whether he used the car or not, Christensen still had the legal right to drive it or to sell it because he still had the benefits of ownership, the court wrote.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
EDITORIAL: JUVENILE SENTENCING GUIDELINES TOO HARSH IN SENATE BILL -- Palm Beach Post, Editorial, http://www.pbpost.com, April 11, 2014.
The editorial refers to a bill being considered by Florida Senate leaders that would bring the state into compliance with U.S. Supreme Court rulings that prohibit life sentences for juveniles without parole unless certain conditions are met. The bill, however, would set those sentencing guidelines with no chance for review for a juvenile convicted of murder. "Last week, the House unanimously passed a measure that at least offers young offenders the chance to show that they have been rehabilitated while in prison. But the Senate bill is still too harsh and violates the spirit of the federal high court rulings because it automatically writes off some teens for the worst decision they will ever make . . . The current Senate bill forces judges to write off every juvenile convicted of murder, no matter the circumstance, as irredeemable. The House bill doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a clear improvement over what we have now. The Senate should recognize this by adopting the House bill."
HUMAN TRAFFICKING TARGETED IN TAMPA FORUM, LEGISLATION -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, April 10, 2014.
A forum on human trafficking Thursday [April 10] marking National Crime Victims Rights Week came at the same time as a push in Tallahassee to recognize women and girls forced into prostitution as victims rather than criminals. At the urging of leaders including A. Lee Bentley III, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, and Pam Bondi, the state's attorney general, lawmakers are attempting in the current legislative session to expand that law and plug holes where needed. The Florida Safe Harbor Act of 2012 allowed sexually exploited children to be treated as dependent children rather than delinquent children. It amended state law to make child prostitution the abuse of a child, rather than a criminal act by the child. Last year, lawmakers again addressed human trafficking, passing legislation that allows victims to petition for expunction of any conviction for certain offenses committed as a victim of human trafficking. Bondi said her office is working with the Legislature to establish a Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, a group that would coordinate and enhance state and local law enforcement and social services responses to fight sex trafficking and support victims.