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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.

Dec. 11, 2012

--Legal Profession--


MOST EFFECTIVE LAWYERS 2012-- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Dec. 10, 2012.
A vast majority of South Florida's legal community did what they were hired to do: In both the private and public sectors, they served their clients well. The Daily Business Review is again recognizing some of the best work delivered by private and public sector lawyers from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties as the Most Effective Lawyers in South Florida. This year, in its eighth annual special report, the Review is recognizing more than 70 attorneys in 13 categories. They include: Appellate, Arbitration, Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, Class Action, Corporate Securities, Criminal Justice, Intellectual Property, Personal Injury, Pro Bono, Product Liability, Public Interest and Real Estate. A copy of the 20-page Most Effective Lawyers (pdf) section is available on the Business Review's website. [Subscription required.]

--Judiciary--

CIRCUIT JUDGE APPLICANTS SOUGHT-- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Dec. 11, 2012.
Applications to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of 10th Circuit Judge John Laurent on Jan. 31 may be submitted to the Tenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on Dec. 18. Interviews of the applicants by the nominating commission are scheduled for Dec. 20. A list of nominees will be sent to Gov. Rick Scott, who will appoint the new judge. [See the news release]

--Civil Justice Issues--

FLORIDA BACKS OFF LICENSE TAG FIGHT-- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Dec. 8, 2012. [Also: STATE DROPS BID TO PRIVATIZE TAG SERVICES-- Winter Haven News Chief, http://www.newschief.com, Dec. 9, 2012].
From the Tampa Bay Times: Backing away from a possible court fight, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles announced Friday [Dec. 7] that it will halt its attempt to bid license tag services to private vendors. Tax collectors — who distribute state tags — and two manufacturing groups tried to block the change by lobbying elected officials and filing legal action against the department. Highway Safety Chief Julie Jones had wanted to save money by paying private companies $31.4 million over two years to make tags and distribute mail and online orders, but she abandoned the idea under pressure from Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, among others.

CENTRAL FLORIDA WETLANDS FIGHT HEADED TO U.S. SUPREME COURT-- The Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Dec. 10, 2012.
After nearly 20 years of courtroom skirmishes, a property owner's fight with the St. Johns River Water Management District over developing a few acres will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcome could change rules on what concessions government agencies can expect when owners seek permits for construction. In November of last year, the Florida Supreme Court rejected landowner Coy Koontz Jr.'s complaint that the water management district violated his rights by setting unreasonable conditions on a permit he would need to develop family property. Koontz persisted, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed in the fall to hear arguments on the case in January.

WHO'S MOM? LEGALLY, BIOLOGICALLY, IT'S NO EASY ANSWER-- USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com, Dec. 8, 2012.
In a classic 1960 children's book, a baby bird toddles up to one critter after another asking, "Are you my mother?" For some babies today, there's no simple answer — biologically or legally. Advances in artificial reproductive technologies, mean a baby could have three "mothers" — the genetic mother, the birth mother and the intended parent, who may be a woman or a man. Statutes on surrogacy, adoption, divorce and inheritance vary state by state, court by court, decision by decision. The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday [Dec. 7] said it would hear challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 ban. Rulings in those cases could decide whether same-sex married couples are entitled to the same federal benefits and protections as heterosexual married couples. If the Court redefines legal marriage, that will affect the legal rights of parents as well. For example, the Florida Supreme Court recently heard arguments in the case of a lesbian couple where one woman's eggs, fertilized with donor sperm and nurtured in vitro, were implanted in the birth mother/partner. The egg donor parent could not adopt their baby because Florida does not recognize same-sex marriages or permit same-sex adoption.

--Criminal Justice Issues--

PEOPLE NEEDING LEGAL HELP TRUSTED WRONG MAN, ST. PETERSBURG POLICE SAY-- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Dec. 10, 2012.
Anthony Dexter Moragne is not a federal investigator. He never worked for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. He's not a professor at Stetson University College of Law. He doesn't have an FBI badge. And his employer wasn't the U.S. Marshals Service. Still, many people believed him when made those claims. He said he had connections to judges and could get prison sentences slashed or eliminated. Police said his victims, who handed over nearly $10,000 in the past year, thought he was legitimate. A few months ago, after hearing from several people who said they had given Moragne money for legal help, the NAACP called St. Petersburg police, said the Rev. Manuel Sykes, president of the organization. Moragne, 43, was arrested Oct. 31 on a charge of scheme to defraud. During their investigation, police learned that Moragne, in fact, worked at Walmart.

JURY CONVICTS DORICE 'DEEDEE' MOORE OF MURDERING LOTTERY WINNER'S ABRAHAM SHAKESPEARE-- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Dec. 11, 2012. [Also: JURORS QUICKLY FIND DEEDEE MOORE GUILTY OF LOTTERY WINNER'S MURDER-- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Dec. 11, 2012].
A jury in Tampa on Monday night [Dec. 10] found Dorice "DeeDee" Moore guilty of the first-degree murder of Lakeland lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles immediately sentenced Moore, 40, to life in prison for the 2009 slaying. Battles called Moore "the most manipulative person" he has seen. Shakespeare, 43, won a $17 million lump-sum lottery payment in 2006. Moore met Shakespeare in October 2008, ostensibly to write a book about his life. He was last seen alive in April 2009, but wasn't reported missing until November 2009. His body was found Jan. 28, 2010, buried underneath a concrete slab behind a Plant City home that Moore had purchased. He had been shot twice in the chest.

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[Revised: 12-12-2012]