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.
Nov. 15, 2013
LAW STUDENTS NETWORK, GET TIPS AT PICNIC -- South Florida Times, http://www.sfltimes.com, Nov. 14, 2013.
An estimated 3,000 black and Latino law school students, top attorneys and judges participated at a minority mentoring picnic held at Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah on Saturday [Nov. 9], a common practice of helping South Florida's aspiring lawyers. The picnic also included law school deans, professors and community leaders who offer alternative employment other than law firms for students. Organizers said the event was a continued effort to motivate and encourage minority students to enter into mentoring relationships at a time when large-scale layoffs are occurring as many law firms close offices in South Florida's tough economy. Law students and graduates from local and state universities use the event to forge new mentoring relationships with professionals and one another. "It's important that students not be shy," said Eugene Pettis, the first African-American president of the Florida Bar."You have to make the calls. You have to follow up."
WHAT WE THINK: AMERICANS SHOULD SEE SUPREME COURT IN ACTION -- Orlando Sentinel, Editorial, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Nov. 15, 2013.
"Even in the digital age, when video images from events around the world are broadcast live — including congressional floor debates and hearings across the street from the high court — cameras are still banned from most federal courts, including the Supreme Court. The ban is not just an anachronism. It's an affront to Americans' right to be fully informed about their government. Cameras have been recording the action for the public in Florida courtrooms for more than three decades — part of our state's proud tradition of open government. Oral arguments before the state Supreme Court are broadcast online, via satellite and via cable on The Florida Channel . . . If Americans could tune into the arguments, they would learn more about the issues at stake, and how the judicial branch of the U.S. government operates. They might very well end up with greater appreciation for the high court and its members. U.S. Supreme Court justices should take heed from Florida's good example, and direct their considerable clout toward opening their courtroom to cameras."
BLOCKED BY RUBIO, MIAMI-DADE JUDICIAL NOMINEE NOW ASKED TO WITHDRAW -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Nov. 14, 2013.
Rep. Frederica Wilson says she will urge Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge William Thomas to remove himself from consideration for the U.S. District Court because Thomas does not have the support of Sen. Marco Rubio and cannot get confirmed. Rather than prolong the pain, Wilson said she will approach Thomas with members of the legal community and ask him to withdraw. "I'm saddened," Wilson, D-Miami, said in an interview this afternoon. "I have known him forever and I have never known anything he should be ashamed of. But I don't want to dig and dig and dig and hurt him." The block on Thomas, who is black and openly gay, has stirred controversy and questions. Rubio has cited his decisions in some high-profile cases, but Thomas' defenders have rebutted those reasons.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
FORMER ROTHSTEIN PARTNER SUSPENDED FROM LAW PRACTICE -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Nov. 14, 2013. [Also: RUSSELL ADLER TO LOSE LAW LICENSE FOR 91 DAYS -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Nov. 14, 2013.]
Russell Adler, former law partner of disgraced Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, was suspended from practicing law for 91 days for lying to a New York City co-op board while purchasing an apartment in 2009. Adler received loans from his firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt and Adler, to cover the entire $475,000 purchase price of a Manhattan co-op apartment, but he only disclosed 90 percent of the loan to the co-op board that approved the sale. The other 10 percent came from a payroll advance Adler did not disclose to the board. According to the Florida Supreme Court, which handed down the 91-day sanction on Thursday [Nov. 14], Adler also misrepresented his ownership stake in the law firm. The Supreme Court, agreeing with The Florida Bar, decided that a 30-day suspension wasn't enough to address Adler's misconduct, as sought by a referee in the case.
EDITORIAL: POT DEMOCRACY -- Ocala Star Banner, Editorial, http://www.ocala.com, Nov. 15, 2013.
"Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz have joined the debate about medical marijuana. Their arrival is indefensibly late . . . Unfortunately, Weatherford and Gaetz showed essentially zero interest in the medical-marijuana issue when it came up in the Legislature last session. That would have been the right time and place to work through legal language. The Legislature's neglect prevented a reasoned debate, and it ignored the opportunity to carefully craft a law that would allow the use of marijuana as a medical necessity, provide police and prosecutors with clear guidance and enact protections against abuse . . . Social and medical issues such as the marijuana question should be enacted as laws, so they can be more easily amended or even repealed as circumstances change, not embedded in the state constitution. Yet, as can be expected when the Legislature fails to tackle tough issues, Floridians have taken democracy into their own hands."