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.
January 31, 2013
AVOIDING LAW SCHOOL IN DROVES: LAW SCHOOL FACES STEEP FALL-OFF IN APPLICANTS -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 31, 2013.
As of mid-January, 27,891 people had applied for seats in American Bar Association-accredited law schools. That represented a 20 percent decline since last year. If the trend holds through the final months of the admission cycle, law schools would see a 38 percent crash since their peak in 2010. It appears that the drop in applicants this year will be steeper than during the two previous years. The situation is attributed in part to the ABA's release last spring of detailed graduate employment statistics broken down by school. They showed that only 55 percent of 2011 law graduates had found permanent, full-time jobs that required bar passage within nine months.
NEW SHAKEUP IN PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE -- Northwest Florida Daily News, http://www.nwfdailynews.com, Jan. 31, 2013.
For the second time in four years, the First Judicial Circuit’s Public Defender’s office has been required to change leadership teams. Bruce Miller defeated James Owens in August to become just the fifth public defender in the circuit since the position was created in 1963. When Miller took over Jan. 8, 12 men and women, many of them ranking members of Owens’ staff, were shown the door. While that is a fairly large number in a 136-person office, it was just a little more than half of the 20 people Owens sent packing when he arrived in 2009.
LOCAL JUDGE ACCUSED OF MISCONDUCT -- Suwannee Democrat, http://www.suwanneedemocrat.com, Jan. 31, 2013.
The Florida Bar’s Third Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee has found probable cause to support a landowner’s accusations of misconduct and conflict of interest against Circuit Judge Andrew J. Decker III of Live Oak. The finding resulted from an eight-month investigation by the committee into Decker’s handling of a real estate foreclosure case as a private attorney and before he was elected a judge last November. The complaint against Decker now goes before the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, the agency that reviews ethics charges against state judges and can take disciplinary action if it finds fault.
OUR OPINION: DEATH PENALTY -- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, Jan. 31, 2013.
This opinion piece urges The Florida Bar and the Legislature to do all they can to ensure that the death penalty administered in Florida is being handled in as fair a way as possible.
EDITORIAL: CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO WAY TO RAISE FLORIDA TEACHERS' SALARIES -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Jan. 3, 2013.
This editorial discusses issues regarding recently introduced bills that would make it unconstitutional for Florida teachers to make less than the national average for comparable teaching positions. The piece argues that a constitutionally mandated raise either would have too many loopholes or would inflict budget chaos.
FLORIDA HOUSE, SENATE LEADERS OUTLINE 5-POINT AGENDA INCLUDING ETHICS, ELECTIONS, PENSIONS -- St. Augustine Record, http://www.staugustine.com, Jan. 31, 2013.
Article by the Associated Press. Strengthening ethics and campaign-finance laws and improving Florida’s universities are among the goals that Florida House and Senate leaders said Wednesday [Jan. 30] they’ve agreed to jointly pursue in the coming legislative session. House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz , both Republicans, said they also want to phase out pensions that provide defined benefits for public employees and replace them with 401(k)-like personal investment plans. Finally, they pledged to fix problems such as long voter lines and delayed reporting of results that plagued Florida’s general election last year.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
KIM ROTHSTEIN'S EX-ATTORNEY PLEADS GUILTY IN PLOT TO HIDE JEWELS -- Sun Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Jan. 31, 2013.
Kim Rothstein's former attorney pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to help her hide more than $1 million in jewelry from federal authorities. Scott Saidel . . . bowed his head after admitting his role in the doomed scheme put together after the Ponzi scheme of Kim's husband, Scott Rothstein, spectacularly collapsed. Saidel, Kim Rothstein and one of Kim Rothstein's friends hid the jewels, including a 12-carat diamond ring, from the federal government. Saidel, 45, told U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum he expects to lose his law license. A Florida Bar official said Wednesday [Jan. 30] that a guilty plea to a felony charge sets into motion the suspension process.
JEROME "JERRY" GERDE (1942-2013) -- Panama City News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com, Jan. 31. 2013.
Jerome "Jerry" Gerde, 70, of Panama City, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Jerry was a member of the Bay County Republican Executive Committee and served as a Republican State Committeeman. He was also a member of The Florida Bar, the Audubon Society and the Legal Specialization and Education Committee. Jerry served over 33 years as the attorney for the Beach Mosquito Control District.