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.
Sept. 6, 2013
MORE BUDGET CUTS MEAN 'CRISIS' IN FEDERAL COURTS, JUDGE SAYS -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Sept. 5, 2013.
U.S. District Judge Anne Conway, chief judge for Florida's Middle District, spoke recently at a lunch for members of the Central Florida congressional delegation to lay out several looming problems for Florida's federal-court system. Federal courts are buckling under budget cuts and unfilled judicial vacancies and are faced with the possibility of a neutered Public Defender's Office. She said that if Congress doesn't find a way to pump more money into the judiciary, civil trials would be "back-burnered" in favor of criminal proceedings, which must be processed quickly in order to avoid violating a defendant's right to a speedy trial. The American Bar Association has raised similar concerns and is marshaling its 400,000 members to pressure Congress to restore funding.
PASCO CIRCUIT JUDGE LOWELL BRAY RETIRING AT END OF YEAR -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Sept.
After 30 years on the bench, Circuit Judge W. Lowell Bray Jr. will retire in December, the Sixth Circuit Judicial Nominating Committee announced last week. "Judge Bray's leadership and judicial knowledge will be sorely missed. In addition to being an example for all judges to follow on the bench, his management of the Pasco County judiciary during his many years as Pasco administrative judge has been much appreciated by me and my predecessors as chief judge," said J. Thomas McGrady, the Sixth Circuit's current chief judge. In 1983, Bray was appointed as a circuit judge by Gov. Bob Graham. He was elected to the bench in 1984 and re-elected every time since.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
VANISHING BOCA ATTORNEY LIKELY WILL TAKE A PLEA DEAL -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Sept. 5, 2013.
Timothy McCabe, the now-disbarred Boca Raton attorney suspected of stealing millions of dollars from his clients, likely will enter into a plea deal with federal prosecutors, his attorney acknowledged Thursday [Sept. 5]. McCabe faces five fraud charges with prosecutors accusing him of stealing more than $3.6 million from clients before he disappeared in April. If convicted of just one of the fraud charges, he could face up to 30 years in federal prison. In addition to the criminal case, McCabe faces a series of civil lawsuits from former clients. The Florida Supreme Court permanently disbarred McCabe last month.
ELLIS REQUESTS LAWYERS' RECORDS IN BLUEWARE INVESTIGATION -- Florida Today, http://www.floridatoday.com, Sept. 5, 2013.
In August 2012, then-Brevard County Clerk of Courts Mitch Needelman learned the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was looking into activities involving his office and BlueWare LLC. Needelman hired two attorneys to handle part of the FDLE's investigation. Now, Scott Ellis, the current clerk of courts, wants those lawyers' files involving discussions with Needelman and the FDLE investigation. Lawyers have turned down Ellis' requests, citing client-attorney privilege. The FDLE investigation centered on an $8.52 million contract the clerk's office awarded to BlueWare to scan court documents. The FDLE alleges that Needelman steered the contract to BlueWare in return for secret contributions to his 2012 campaign.
WILLIAM WALTER "BILL" BYRD -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Sept. 5, 2013.
William Walter "Bill" Byrd, 57, passed away Sept. 1. He received his Juris Doctor from Stetson College of Law. Byrd served as assistant state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, senior trial attorney for State of Florida Dept. of Banking and Finance, and assistant general counsel for CIGNA Property & Casualty Insurance. He opened his own law practice in 1999 and formed Byrd & Gonzalez P.A. in 2005.