The Florida Bar

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

June 4, 2013

--Legal Profession--

AFTER DEATH, PRESERVE OR DELETE SOCIAL MEDIA? -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel,, June 4, 2013.
The article explores what happens to social media profiles and digital assets upon death, an issue that probate attorneys see come up more and more. The U.S. government recently featured a blog post under its estate planning section online on the importance of having a digital will. "It's something that I always bring up with clients. It's on my questionnaire for the first client meeting,'' said Greg Medalie, a Fort Lauderdale probate attorney and chairman of the probate and trust law section of the Broward County Bar Association.


FOSTER CHILDREN GET AN ENHANCED VOICE -- Miami Herald, Letter to the Editor,, June 4, 2013.
Letter from Howard M. Talenfeld, president of Florida's Children First. Talenfeld applauds the Legislature's decision to approve $323,000 to provide legal representation to Florida's medically fragile foster children, which will provide recurring general-revenue funds for the Justice Administrative Commission to contract with attorneys selected by the Guardian ad Litem Program to represent dependent foster children with disabilities in, or being considered for placement in, skilled nursing facilities. He notes that The Florida Bar has supported the need for such legal representation for more than a decade. Talenfeld is a former chair of the Bar's Legal Needs of Children Committee, which helped draft the proposed legislation.

SCOTT TO SIGN $200M MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT BILL -- Jacksonville Business Journal,, June 4, 2013.
By the News Service of Florida. Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday will sign a measure (SB 1852) that designates $200 million from a national mortgage settlement to a variety of housing programs. The money is part of a $25 billion state and federal settlement with five banks for routinely signing foreclosure-related documents outside the presence of notaries public and without being sure the facts contained in the documents were correct. Among the designations are $21.2 million to state courts for additional senior judges, staff and technology that will help speed up foreclosures and $10 million for legal aid for people facing foreclosure.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed a ruling against former Hillsborough County Attorney Renee Lee by the Florida Commission on Ethics. The commission found probable cause that Lee broke the law by issuing a legal opinion approving a 1 percent pay raise for herself and others when she worked for the county. The commission fined Lee $5,000 and issued a public reprimand. Lee also faces a complaint filed by The Florida Bar that claims she violated Bar rules by lying about the circumstances under which she had lunch with former county Commissioner Kevin White. The Bar complaint will be heard by a referee who will then make a recommendation to the Florida Supreme Court regarding whether sanctions should be levied against Lee.

--Criminal Justice Issues--

The Fifth District Court of Appeal today ruled that Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family, must sit down and answer questions under oath by George Zimmerman’s attorneys. In the ruling, the court wrote that Zimmerman’s lawyers have a right to question Crump about his dealings with a young Miami woman who was on the phone with Trayvon moments before he was shot and who’s expected to be the state’s most important witness. The appeals court said that Crump had waived his work product privilege when he conducted a March 19, 2012, interview of the woman and made an audio recording while in the same room with two employees of ABC News.

EX-LAWYER SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN PRISON -- Pensacola News Journal,, June 4, 2013.
James Tipler, a former Okaloosa County lawyer who tried to kill a prosecutor, was sentenced Monday [June 3] to 30 years in prison. Tipler was convicted in May of twice trying to pay people while he was jailed to kill Assistant State Attorney Russ Edgar who was prosecuting Tipler on racketeering charges in connection with stealing money from clients. Edgar remains the prosecutor in Tipler's racketeering case, scheduled for trial on Wednesday [June 4].

By the Associated Press. A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday [June 3] cleared the way for police to take a DNA swab from anyone they arrest for a serious crime, endorsing a practice now followed by more than half the states as well as the federal government. The ruling backed a Maryland law allowing DNA swabbing of people arrested for serious crimes, designating it as a "legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment." The four dissenting justices said the court was allowing a major change in police powers, predicting the limitation to "serious" crimes would not last.

TD BANK TO SETTLE WITH THREE MORE PLAINTIFFS IN SCOTT ROTHSTEIN SCHEME -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription),, June 4, 2013.
TD Bank attorneys, appearing Monday [June 3] before Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld on its role in the Scott Rothstein fraud litigation, announced they are nearing settlement agreements in three cases before the court, with New York-based Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund L.P. and with George and Gayla Sue Levin, who filed separate lawsuits. The Levins and Platinum Partners are among several state court litigants pursuing millions of dollars in damages against the bank, which has made numerous out-of-court settlements over its role as the lead bank for Rothstein, whose $1.2 billion fraud destroyed his Fort Lauderdale law firm.

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[Revised: 06-05-2013]