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.
May 2, 2012
FLORIDA BAR LAUNCHES VOTER EDUCATION CAMPAIGN ON MERIT RETENTION-- The Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, May 1, 2012. [Also: WITH JUSTICES UNDER FIRE, FLORIDA BAR LAUNCHES VOTER CAMPAIGN ON MERIT RETENTION-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, May 1, 2012; FLORIDA BAR OUT TO EDUCATE VOTERS ON JUDICIAL MERIT RETENTION-- Sunshine State News, http://www.sunshinestatenews.com, May 1, 2012; FLORIDA BAR: 90-PERCENT OF CITIZENS UNAWARE THEY HAVE A VOTE ON WHETHER JUDGES STAY-- WFSU, http://www.wfsu.org, May 1, 2012; THE VOTE'S IN YOUR COURT-- First Coast News, http://www.firstcoastnews.com, May 1, 2012].
When Florida voters go to the polls this November to pick a president, they'll also be asked to decide on races that will get much less fanfare: whether to retain three Florida Supreme Court justices and 15 appellate court justices in various regions of the state. Many voters will skip the judges elections – in which they are asked to vote "yes" or "no" to let them stay in the job another six years, election data shows. Many more will simply guess, willing to make an uninformed choice. The Florida Bar wants to change that. Armed with data that shows that many Floridians are unaware of what it means to have a "merit retention" election for Florida judges, The Florida Bar, the National Bar Association and the League of Women Voters of Florida on Monday [April 30] unveiled "The Vote's in Your Court," a campaign designed to educate voters about judicial merit-retention elections. [Note: An item in Tuesday's Daily News Summary incorrectly listed the American Bar Association instead of the National Bar Association.]
LEGAL AID VETO ELIMINATES JOBS, HELP FOR THE POOR-- Daytona Beach News-Journal, column, http://www.news-journalonline.com, May 2, 2012.
The guest column by Daytona Beach attorney Rhoda Bess Goodson, president of the board of directors of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, states: ". . . In civil cases − foreclosures, domestic violence cases, consumer fraud, elder and child abuse cases, and getting federal and state benefits − low-income Floridians have been relying on help from Florida's legal aid programs such as Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida (CLSMF). Now, that help is in danger of evaporating. Gov. Rick Scott just vetoed a $2 million Florida Access to Civil Legal Assistance (FACLA) appropriation, with the result being that fewer lawyers will be available to help low-income people in the coming year, and the number will keep declining in the future. Florida's legal aid programs have other funders, such as the Legal Services Corporation and The Florida Bar Foundation, but state funding is more essential now than ever."
LOCAL LAWYERS TO HONOR FAMILY OF FALLEN OFFICER ARNULFO CRISPIN-- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, May 2, 2012.
The Lakeland Bar Association will host its annual Law Day Celebration on Friday [May 4]. Local lawyers are expected to recognize slain Lakeland police Officer Arnulfo Crispin for his dedication to the community. Crispin's mother and sister will be given the "Golden Badge." Since 2004, this award has recognized officers who display professional competence, dedication to duty, and contribute to law enforcement and the community. Crispin, 25, was shot on Dec. 18 while investigating suspicious people at a city park and died a few days later. The guest speaker will be Scott G. Hawkins, president of The Florida Bar.
LAWYERS LAUDED FOR EXCEPTIONAL WORK ON LAW DAY-- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, May 2, 2012.
Presenting the Richard W. Ervin Equal Justice Award at the Law Day 2012 award reception, James Messer, president of the Tallahassee Bar Association, struggled to neatly package the accolades of the recipient — Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte. D'Alemberte, a Chattahoochee native, served as dean of the Florida State College of Law (1984-1985) and president of Florida State University (1994-2003). He also served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1966 to 1972 and he still serves as president emeritus and professor of law at FSU. The reception held at the University Center Club was hosted by Legal Services of North Florida and the Legal Aid Foundation, Inc. of the Tallahassee Bar Association. Attorney Daryl Parks, of Parks & Crump, was keynote speaker at the event. Also recognized during the reception were Judge Mark Walker, receiving the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Excellence Award, and Paolo Annino, who received the Joy Aukema Taps Children's Advocate of the Year Award. [Subscription required.]
JURY INSTRUCTIONS SPARK LEGAL SHOWDOWN BETWEEN JUDGE DODSON, STATE ATTORNEY MEGGS-- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, May 2, 2012.
A circuit judge in Tallahassee threatened to throw prosecutors in jail if they disobeyed his order to draft jury instructions ahead of criminal trials. State Attorney Willie Meggs refused to follow Judge Charles Dodson's order to prepare instructions a day before trial, prompting Dodson to imply in court that Meggs and his prosecutors would be sharing a jail cell. Meggs made it clear he was defying Dodson's order so a higher court could rule in the dispute, which is now before the 1st District Court of Appeal. The question before the 1st DCA is whether the State Attorney's Office is responsible for preparing jury instructions or the judge. Meggs says it's the judge's responsibility under rules of criminal procedure. However, Dodson insists his order requiring prosecutors to prepare them is lawful. [Subscription required.]
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 21 ATTORNEYS-- The Florida Bar, news release, http://www.floridabar.org, April 30, 2012. [Also: SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES SIX SOUTH FLORIDA ATTORNEYS-- South Florida Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida, May 1, 2012; SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES AREA LAWYERS-- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, May 2, 2012; FLORIDA SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES THREE AREA LAWYERS-- Tampa Bay Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay, May 1, 2012].
The Florida Bar, the state's guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court, in court orders issued between Jan. 17 – April 9, disciplined 21 attorneys, disbarring six and suspending 13. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Two attorneys were placed on probation; two attorneys were publicly reprimanded.
RONALD CONSTANTINE LAFACE-- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.legacy.com, May 1, 2012. [Also: LONGTIME LOBBYIST RON LAFACE DIES AT AGE 71-- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, May 1, 2012. [Subscription required].]
The obituary is for Tallahassee attorney and lobbyist Ron LaFace, who died Friday, April 27, following complications from a recent stroke. He was 71. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida, where he was a brother of the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity and president of Florida Blue Key Leadership Honorary. He served as an attorney for the Judge Advocate Generals Corps and was one of the founding members of Roberts, Baggett, LaFace and Richard law firm. He continued to practice with his original partners and colleagues at the succeeding firm of Greenberg, Traurig, Hoffman, Lipoff, Rosen & Quentel (now known as Greenberg Traurig) until his illness in early 2012. He was a founding member and the first chairman of The Florida Bar Administrative Law Section Committee and served in leadership capacities on many other Florida Bar committees.