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.
April 7, 2014
--The Florida Bar--
FLA. BAR SEEKS PUBLIC MEMBERS FOR EXAMINER BOARD -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, April 7, 2014.
The board that recommends whether attorneys gain admission is looking for two people from the general public to serve three-year terms. The deadline is April 25. The board makes sure attorneys meet requirements such as character and fitness, education and technical competence before they are recommended for admission to the bar. The Florida Supreme Court then makes the final decision. Public members of the board should have education or experience in such areas as educational testing, statistics, medicine or psychology.
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE SPEAKS AT LEGAL CONFERENCE -- Ocala Star Banner, http://www.ocala.com, April 5, 2014.
The 5th Judicial Circuit legal community took part Friday [April 4] morning in a professionalism conference highlighted by two speeches from Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky Polston. The four-hour event drew about 300 attendees from across the area. The presentations discussed the use of professional standards when posting on social media, conducting oneself properly when disagreeing with other professionals and being alert when using a new electronic filing system. Polston's remarks focused on the history of the legal profession. He referenced several of the Founding Fathers, many of them lawyers who constructed our nation's framework. Polston also reminded the group of its obligation to report any misconduct by their colleagues. Other speakers during the conference included Public Defender Michael Graves, State Attorney Brad King and family law attorney Cynthia Greene.
BROWARD JNC SEEKS REPLACEMENT FOR EDWARD H. MERRIGAN -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, April 4, 2014.
The Broward Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission is accepting applications to fill the county court seat vacated by the promotion of Edward H. Merrigan Jr. to the Broward circuit bench. Applications for the vacancy must be received by 5 p.m. May 5. All applicants must have been members of The Florida Bar for at least five years, electors in the state and residents of the circuit before taking office. Other details about the applications should be obtained from the Bar website.
PROPOSED AMENDMENT ON NAMING JUSTICES GETS MIXED REACTIONS -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, April 7, 2014. [Also: WHO GETS TO APPOINT JUSTICES? -- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, April 7, 2014.]
Sen. Tom Lee wants voters to consider an amendment this November to clarify that it is the outgoing governor who will have the power to make the appointments to the Supreme Court, as well as lower state appellate courts, rather than the new governor who will take office on inauguration day. Others see a political agenda. And some who agree with Lee's assessment, disagree with him on how to fix it. If the problem is not addressed, Lee warns that a crisis could loom in which anyone unhappy with the appointments could challenge the validity of the justices and judges and their subsequent legal opinions. So far, Lee's constitutional amendment has run into solid opposition from the Democrats in the Legislature.
DARYLL K. JONES: UF MISSED TRULY TRANSFORMATIVE CHOICE FOR LAW DEAN -- Gainesville Sun, Column, http://www.gainesville.com, April 5, 2014.
Column by Darryll K. Jones, associate dean for academic affairs at Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando. "I could not help but think . . . the more things change, the more they stay the same, when I learned that University of Florida President Bernie Machen decided not to hire any of the finalists recommended to serve as the next dean of the Levin College of Law . . . Since 1909, the College of Law dean's office has been occupied exclusively by white men, so it would be remarkably transformative that after more than 100 years of existence, 56 since the first black student was admitted, the university would hire a black man to serve as dean of its College of Law . . . Machen demonstrated inertia rather than the transformative action he himself demands of his next law school dean . . . The failure to hire a qualified black man shows that the university is hardly as transformative as it would demand of its next law school dean."
JUSTICE WATCH: CABA PRO BONO PROJECT HELPS UNDOCUMENTED TEENS -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, April 7, 2014.
The Cuban American Bar Association Pro Bono Project in Miami is an organization separate from the voluntary bar association that helps secure special immigrant juvenile visas for neglected or abused immigrant children. Lesley Mendoza, the group's executive director, wants to get the word out that the organization doesn't just solely focus on Cuban-American issues, especially when it comes to the increasing number of unaccompanied immigrant children in the United States. Since the pilot program launched last year, about 50 unaccompanied immigrant children have been helped by the CABA group. The program is operated in conjunction with the Miami Pro Bono Roundtable and the One Campaign of The Florida Bar. Volunteer attorneys offer to conduct intake interviews with unrepresented children on the Miami juvenile immigration dockets. Following the interviews, an attorney from the project appears as a friend of the court.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
WILL HANK ADORNO BE REINSTATED TO THE FLORIDA BAR? -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, April 4, 2014. [Also: PROMINENT MIAMI LAWYER CLOSE TO REGAINING LICENSE -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, April 5, 2014.]
Henry "Hank" Adorno, former head of the Coral Gables firm Adorno & Yoss, has been recommended for reinstatement to practice law again in Florida, according to a report released today [April 4] by the Florida Supreme Court. The referee appointed to review his petition for reinstatement said the suspended lawyer "has exhibited a clear understanding of the reasons for discipline and is of such moral character and fitness that he is without question capable of resuming a position of trust." Adorno was suspended for three years starting Oct. 28, 2010, by the court for mishandling a class action settlement. The $7 million deal paid his law firm and seven people but didn't deliver refunds to Miami taxpayers who paid an unconstitutional fire fee. The Supreme Court has the final say on Adorno's law license.
40 STATES GET COMPLAINTS ABOUT NORTH PALM LAW FIRM -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com, April 7, 2014.
Struggling homeowners from the Pacific Northwest to South Florida are complaining to state officials about the Hoffman Law Group, a North Palm Beach law firm that they say roped them into expensive litigation against their banks and is now floundering in federal court. Clients and two former employees of the law group claim retainer fees as high as $6,000 and monthly maintenance fees of $495 are being billed to homeowners for inclusion in mass plaintiff lawsuits that charge mortgage and foreclosure-related wrongdoing. The company, led by attorney Marc H. Hoffman, was served cease and desist orders by New Mexico and Idaho. Hoffman is also under investigation by The Florida Bar.
ATTORNEY SAYS MISSING EMAILS PROVE ATTORNEY GENERAL PAM BONDI'S OFFICE VIOLATED RECORDS LAWS -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, April 5, 2014.
Stephen R. Andrews, a Tallahassee attorney engaged in a bitter property fight with the state, is accusing Attorney General Pam Bondi of destroying emails, failing to retain text messages and violating the state's public records laws. Bondi has acknowledged some documents were inadvertently missing from Andrew's records request but vigorously rejects his claims. In court documents filed this week in Leon County Circuit Court, Andrews portrays a department that allows employees to manually delete emails before they are archived, relies on an outdated email archival system and allows metadata to routinely be destroyed. Andrews, who is investigating similar records claims against the Executive Office of the Governor, the Department of State and the Department of Environmental Protection, is asking a judge to order a forensic review of Bondi's computers.
LAWRENCE SCOTT AARONS -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, April 5, 2014.
Lawrence Scott Aarons, 56, of Tampa, died Friday, April 4. Aarons was a graduate of Stetson Law School and practiced immigration and family law.