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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.


Links to online newspapers

May 22, 2014

--The Florida Bar--

FLORIDA BAR TASK FORCE TO DELIVER REPORT FRIDAY -- The Florida Bar, http://www.floridabar.org, May 21, 2014.
The final report of The Florida Bar task force that was directed to study methods to make Florida's courts and the nominating panels that recommend judges for appointment more representative of the state's diverse population will be reviewed by The Florida Bar Board of Governors on Friday at its meeting in St. Augustine. Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis appointed the 10-member task force in February to determine why diverse candidates were not applying for JNC appointment or for judgeships. 

--Judiciary--

HILLSBOROUGH JUDGE WILL BE PUBLICLY REPRIMANDED IN OCTOBER -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, May 21, 2014.
The Florida Supreme Court has set Oct. 8 as the date for the public reprimand of Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan, charged with drunken driving last July. Sheehan pleaded guilty to driving under the influence after being arrested on a drunken driving charge in Tampa. She was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and a year of probation. The court had found that Sheehan violated the state's Code of Judicial Conduct, calling her actions reprehensible. Sheehan presides over general civil and family law cases in eastern Hillsborough County.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

JEREMY ALTERS TO FLORIDA BAR REFEREE: DISMISS MY CASE -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, May 21, 2014.
High-profile Miami plaintiffs attorney Jeremy Alters is asking Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marcia Caballero, who is serving as Florida Bar referee, to dismiss a disciplinary case against him, arguing the Bar committed prosecutorial misconduct, violated confidentiality rules and concealed evidence in a case against him. This is a continuation of a 2-year-old case against Alters for alleged trust account violations. He strongly denies the charges.

--Civil Justice Issues--

SUPREME COURT WON'T TAKE UP BLIND TRUST CASE -- The Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, May 22, 2014.
By The Associated Press.
The Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled to transfer to a lower court a lawsuit against a year-old law that allows elected officials to place their assets in blind trust. The suit was moved to Leon County circuit court Wednesday [May 21]. Earlier this month, the high court was asked to decide whether using a blind trust goes against the Sunshine Amendment that was adopted by the state's voters in 1976. The amendment marked the first time Florida officials were required to disclose their finances. Gov. Rick Scott is the only current elected official who has a blind trust. Jim Apthorp, a former aide to the late Gov. Reubin Askew, argues that the blind trust law is a violation of the financial disclosure provision of the Sunshine law Askew championed.

--Criminal Justice Issues--

ROTHSTEIN ASSOCIATE PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY CHARGE -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, May 21, 2014. [Also: ROTHSTEIN'S FORMER CFO PLEADS GUILTY TO MONEY LAUNDERING FOR PONZI SCHEME -- South Florida Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, May 21, 2014.]
Irene Stay Shannon, the woman who kept track of Scott Rothstein's bloated finances and became the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm's chief financial officer, pleaded guilty to a single bank fraud and money-laundering conspiracy charge on Wednesday [May 21]. Shannon admitted that she moved hundreds of millions of dollars between bank accounts to pay investors and cover Rothstein's extraordinary personal expenses. Shannon oversaw the law firm's accounts and "was well aware that hundreds of millions of dollars were not being held in trust accounts for investors" but were being spent to further Rothstein's fraud, prosecutor Jeffrey Kaplan wrote in court records. Shannon faces up to five years in federal prison when she is sentenced Aug. 8.

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[Revised: 05-27-2014]