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.

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March 24, 2014

--The Florida Bar--

The editorial states that Florida is one of the nation's more diverse states, about 22 percent Hispanic and 16 percent African-American. "But you wouldn't know it from looking at the state's judiciary. Among the state's 974 county, circuit and appeals court judges, fewer than 9 percent are Hispanic, and fewer than 7 percent are black. Public trust in the judicial system, and the quality of the justice it delivers, are at risk when the courts don't come close to reflecting their communities . . . A task force recently appointed by The Florida Bar, the professional organization that represents the state's lawyers, began meeting this month to study ways to promote more diversity on the bench and the nominating commissions. The Bar and its president, Eugene Pettis, deserve credit for making this issue a priority. But the one person who can do the most to fix the problem is the one who appoints members of the commissions, and chooses judges from their nominees: Gov. Rick Scott . . . His choices will speak volumes about his commitment to a judicial system that represents all Floridians."

--Legal Profession--

ORMOND LAWYER WORKS TO 'HELP' PEOPLE -- Daytona Beach News-Journal,, March 24, 2014.
David J. Rodziewicz was recognized last fall with the Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. The award recognized that between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, Rodziewicz provided more than 100 hours of pro bono, free legal services to low income Volusia County residents. “One of the reasons that I got a law degree, sincerely, is because I wanted different tools in my tool kit to be able to help people,” Rodziewicz said. Rodziewicz was born in Detroit where he graduated from a Jesuit high school, which he said helped instill in him the desire for community service. He has volunteered as an orderly in a hospital intensive care unit, as a worker in a soup kitchen and also worked at a food bank. He has continued that community involvement by offering free legal services.


BROWARD COUNTY COURT JUDGE MERRIGAN PROMOTED TO CIRCUIT BENCH -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription),, March 21, 2014.
Gov. Rick Scott promoted Broward County Court Judge Edward H. Merrigan Jr. to the Broward Circuit bench today [March 21]. Merrigan, 51, of Fort Lauderdale has been on the bench since 2009, when he was appointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist. He will fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Eileen M. O'Connor. Merrigan has been presiding in the Broward veterans' treatment court since its inception in 2012.

FEDERAL JUDGE GETS QUIZZED BY YOUNGSTERS WELCOMING HIM TO THE BENCH -- Florida Times-Union (requires subscription),, March 21, 2014.
New federal judge Brian Davis, 61, fielded questions from youngsters for a “youth investiture,” or welcoming ceremony Friday [March 21], after his 2012 selection by President Barack Obama and much later confirmation. The children were to be at the more formal investiture March 7, but an estimated 700 people showed up for that, spilling into five additional courtrooms, so the youth program was rescheduled. He told the youngsters that as American citizens, the court was theirs. He said it is where adults come to settle arguments. Ramona Chaplin, president of the Daniel Webster Perkins Bar Association in Jacksonville, said the ceremony was telling of his nature. “Judge Davis always wanted to make it a point to have children involved in what he does as a judge,” she said.

Profile of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez. Her father was an attorney and later a judge, and her mother a court reporter. Still, Tinkler Mendez aimed for a career in medicine with her bachelor's degree in biology. Then she took the medical school entrance exam and when she didn't do well, it made her rethink her career path. Her parents suggested law. Tinkler Mendez said her courtroom style is "relatively formal but polite and respectful. I think that's critical—how everyone treats each other. Not only do you do justice, but it's the appearance of justice."

Hillsborough Circuit Court Judge James Dominguez, who retires at the end of this month, oversees one of two dockets created last fall to speed up enforcement of city code violations. Until last fall, code violations were mixed among misdemeanor crimes and spread across five courtrooms. Violators were on their own and service providers weren't available in the courts. "It was unwieldy," Dominguez said. "You've got to have some alternative," Dominguez said in an interview after a court session. "A number of these folks are veterans. There are services they're entitled to, but they never stay in one place long enough to follow through." For his part, Dominguez, who started out as a social worker, treats each person standing before him with the patience usually reserved for a wayward son or daughter.


STANLEY V. BUKY -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel,, March 22, 2014.
Stanley V. Buky of Boynton Beach passed away March 16. Buky graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgia State University in 1977. He went on to receive his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 1980 and practiced law in South Florida for over 34 years. He was a member of a number of professional organizations including the Palm Beach County Bar Association, Florida Trial Lawyers Association, Florida Justice Association, Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce, and Partners for Prosperity.

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[Revised: 03-25-2014]