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.
Feb. 6, 2014
OBAMA NOMINATES DIVERSE SET OF JUDICIAL CANDIDATES -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Feb. 6, 2014.
By The Associated Press. President Barack Obama nominated a diverse group of candidates Wednesday [Feb.] to be judges as the White House tries to address concerns from black lawmakers about minority representation on the federal bench. The White House noted that only one of the five nominees was a white male. One nominee was Florida state judge Darrin Gayles, who would be the first openly gay black man to serve as a federal judge if confirmed by the Senate. Obama nominated three others for federal district court judgeships in Florida — Florida state judges Beth Bloom and Carlos Eduardo Mendoza and attorney Paul Byron.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
FLORIDA BAR CONSIDERS REINSTATING HANK ADORNO -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Feb. 5, 2014.
The Florida Bar has been asked to recommend reinstatement for Henry "Hank" Adorno, the former Coral Gables attorney whose law license was suspended in 2010. No decision has been made yet. A stipulated reinstatement would have to be approved by the Bar's director of lawyer regulation and board of governors. The Florida Supreme Court has final say on Adorno's license. In November, The Bar ran an ad in the Daily Business Review seeking comment from "any persons having knowledge bearing upon petitioner's fitness or qualifications to resume the practice of law." Adorno once headed Adorno & Yoss, one of the nation's largest minority-owned law firms. He was suspended in 2010 for three years for mishandling a class action settlement by not paying refunds to Miami taxpayers who paid an unconstitutional fire fee.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
ROTHSTEIN ADMITS LIES MAY JEOPARDIZE SENTENCE REDUCTION -- South Florida Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, Feb. 5, 2014. [Also: PONZI SCHEMER ROTHSTEIN: WOOING POLITICIANS, INCLUDING CRIST AND MCCAIN, KEY TO SUCCESS -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com, Feb. 5, 2014; ROTHSTEIN TAKES STAND TO TALK PONZI SCHEME, SEX AND CORRUPTION -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Feb. 6, 2014.]
Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein testified Wednesday [Feb. 5] in the criminal fraud trial of his former employee, West Palm Beach attorney Christina Kitterman, who alleges that much of the government’s case is based on untrue statements made by Rothstein. Rothstein said that lies he’s told may jeopardize his chances for time off of his 50-year prison sentence. Rothstein also told the jury that wooing politicians like Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Sen. John McCain was a key to the success of his $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme. Though he was subpoenaed as a defense witness in Kitterman's wire fraud trial, much of Rothstein's testimony portrayed Kitterman as a "team player" who happily participated in the felonies she is charged with committing. Kitterman is accused of impersonating a Florida Bar official to help Rothstein dupe investors. But her attorney, Valentin Rodriguez, says she was just following orders and believed what Rothstein was telling her was the truth.
BELOVED LAWYER ROBERT ERVIN DIES AT 97 -- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, Feb. 6, 2014.
Celebrated Tallahassee attorney Robert Ervin, 97, respected as a “lawyer’s lawyer” and beloved for his generous personality, died early Wednesday [Feb. 5] morning. Ervin graduated from the University of Florida and the UF law school. He established his Tallahassee law firm in 1947 and welcomed a parade of top-flight associates and partners over the years. The firm, now called Ervin, Kitchen & Ervin was long renowned as one of the most successful litigation firms in Tallahassee, handling a variety of high-profile criminal and civil cases. Ervin served as president of the Tallahassee Bar Association (1953-54), president of The Florida Bar (1965-66) and in a series of positions for the American Bar Association (1966-1991). He was a member of the committee that selected the first dean of the Florida State University Law School in 1966. Ervin stepped back from active practice in 2007, but remained “of counsel” until 2009.
MARTIN ERROL RICE -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Feb. 5, 2014.
Martin Errol Rice, 64, a long time St. Petersburg attorney, passed away on Monday, Feb. 3. Rice began his legal career as an associate with the law firm of Harris, Clark, Green, and Piper and thereafter was in sole practice. Judges, lawyers and prominent people sought his judgment. In 2000, the judges of Pinellas County awarded him the Richard Earle Award for Professionalism, for demonstrating "...the highest degree of professionalism in the practice of law." He was active in helping the poor through his involvement in the St. Petersburg Bar Association where he served as its then-youngest president, with Gulfcoast Legal Aid where he was an early board member, and with the Community Law Program.