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.
March 17, 2014
ON BLACK JUDGES, A SLOW SLIDE BACKWARD -- Tampa Bay Times, Column, http://www.tampabay.com, March 14, 2014.
Column by Deborah Hardin Wagner, a member of the St. Petersburg Times editorial board from 1996 to 2006. Wagner also directed the Florida Supreme Court's Racial and Ethnic Bias Study Commission from 1989 to 1991. She writes, "Before Gov. Rick Scott took office, Florida was on a 25-year march toward a racially and ethnically inclusive judiciary, thanks in no small measure to the vision of Florida's chief justices and the commitment of its former governors . . . Scott's appointments have signaled an alarming retreat in that historic press of progress. To date, he has appointed fewer African-American judges than did any of his recent predecessors . . . More glaring yet is the falling diversity on the [Judicial Nominating Commissions], where black membership has dropped under Scott by nearly half and now stands at less than 4 percent, a level Florida Bar president Eugene Pettis rightly calls "below dismal." . . . To his credit, Pettis has been leading on this issue. He has extended the deadline for applications in the hope of attracting more minorities for the four out of nine seats on each JNC for which the Bar nominates candidates. He has also created a task force to look more deeply into the growing underrepresentation."
TO FLA. JUSTICE, LIFE OF IMMIGRANT NOT ALLOWED TO PRACTICE LAW 'PARALLELS MY OWN' -- Palm Beach Post (requires subscription), http://www.pbpost.com, March 15, 2014.
For Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga, Jose Godinez-Samperio's case struck very close to home. The court ruled last week that Godinez-Samperio could not practice law in Florida because he is not a legal resident. But Labarga — who was born in Cuba, brought here at age 11 by his parents and grew up in Pahokee — wrote a separate opinion to say that he had joined the unanimous verdict “reluctantly.” Labarga, who will become chief justice July 1, called Godinez-Samperio “the type of exemplary individual The Florida Bar should strive to add to its membership.” He prodded state lawmakers to help Godinez-Samperio achieve his particular dream by amending Florida law.
BYRON DOBSON: ASKEW REMINDED US OF THE VALUE OF DECENCY -- Tallahassee Democrat, Column, http://www.tallahassee.com, March 16, 2013.
Byron Dobson, associate editor, notes that the late Gov. Reubin Askew appointed Tallahassee attorney Joseph Hatchett as Florida's first black Supreme Court justice and supported the creation of the judicial nominating commissions. Dobson writes, "The impetus for this was to give the public a voice in recommending qualified applicants to be considered for judgeships in Florida. That caught my attention, because earlier this month, our Editorial Board wrote about Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis' creation of a task force to examine the dearth of minority attorneys seeking judgeships or even seeking appointments to judicial nominating commissions. One reason given is that too many minority attorneys are discouraged by the political climate and feel that their efforts would be fruitless . . . Gov. Askew's achievements are worth noting, as Floridians yearn for men and women in elected office whose character and integrity is upheld long after their public service careers end."
AVE MARIA SCHOOL OF LAW NAMES NEXT PRESIDENT AND DEAN -- News-Press, http://www.news-press.com, March 15, 2014.
Kevin Cieply has been appointed third president and dean of the Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, effective July 1. Cieply is associate dean of academics and associate professor at Atlanta's John Marshall Law School. He will succeed President and Dean Eugene R. Milhizer who announced in November his decision to step down at the conclusion of this academic year to return to teaching.
MACHEN ENDS LAW SCHOOL DEAN SEARCH, RECOMMENDS INTERIM INSTEAD -- Gainesville Sun, http://www.gainesville.com, March 14, 2014. [Also: MACHEN ENDS SEARCH FOR NEW UF LEVIN COLLEGE OF LAW DEAN, PROPOSES INTERIM -- Independent Florida Alligator, http://www.alligator.org, March 14, 2014.]
The search for a new dean for the University of Florida Levin College of Law has failed. UF President Bernie Machen said in a letter to law faculty and staff Friday [March 14] afternoon that he has decided to end the search for outgoing Dean Robert Jerrys successor for this academic year. The search committee narrowed a list of 24 recommended candidates to four finalists. Those four were interviewed and vetted on campus by a search committee and met with faculty and staff. The committee debated whether to send all four candidates forward and eventually voted 9-2 to send three names to Machen and Provost Joe Glover for consideration. In the meantime, Machen is recommending that George Dawson, a former associate law dean who served on the search committee, serve as interim dean until a new search can be conducted next year. Machen has invited all faculty and staff to discuss the development with Provost Glover and himself on Tuesday [March 18].