The Florida Bar

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.

Links to online newspapers

June 18, 2014

--The Florida Bar--

TUESDAY'S LETTERS: BRIDGING A LEGAL AID GAP -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Letter to the Editor,, June 17, 2014. [Editorial: SCOTT TARGETS LEGAL AID - AGAIN -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune,, June 13, 2014.]
Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis thanks the Herald-Tribune for the editorial "Scott targets legal aid -- again," and writes regarding the Bar's actions to help low-income Floridians receive legal assistance when faced with housing, family and financial concerns. "To help address the immediate financial crisis, The Florida Bar's Board of Governors is moving forward with its consideration of a $6 million bridge loan to The Florida Bar Foundation. The loan proposal will be presented for final approval at the board's July 25 meeting . . . The Florida Bar is also exploring longer-term solutions, such as the alternate delivery systems being used in Illinois, where online legal self-help centers and technology that triage cases and assign appropriate providers are being used. Attorneys in Florida have been and always will be part of finding better ways to provide legal services for those in need."


LANDMARK SENATE CONFIRMATION FOR BLACK, OPENLY GAY MIAMI JUDGE DARRIN GAYLES -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription),, June 17, 2014. [Also: SENATE OKS FIRST OPENLY GAY BLACK FEDERAL JUDGE -- Miami Herald,, June 18, 2014.]
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Darrin P. Gayles on Monday [June 16] became the first African-American, openly gay man to be confirmed as a federal judge by the U.S. Senate. Gayles, who was approved 98-0, had the votes of both Florida senators. He was nominated along with Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom to replace U.S. District Judges Patricia Seitz and Donald Graham, who became senior judges in Miami. Gayles was chosen by President Barack Obama in February after U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., blocked the appointment of another openly gay black judge, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas. Obama turned around and nominated Gayles, another openly gay judge from the same court. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Gayles on May 8.

CURSE JUDGE, GO STRAIGHT TO JAIL -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Editorial, June 18, 2014.
Editorial regarding an incident in the courtroom of Broward County Judge John "Jay" Hurley where Christopher Colon of Pompano Beach, in court on domestic violence charges, had cursed the judge 20 times in a matter of minutes. Judge Hurley sentenced him to 364 days in county jail for contempt of court. The editorial states, "Don't dishonor the court. If you do, prepare to pay the price. It's unfortunate that some people don't respect our system of justice, or have never learned to behave themselves in public . . . Late last month, a 24-year-old Boca Raton juror was removed from a Palm Beach County court in handcuffs. He apparently disobeyed a judge's repeated order to stop posting comments on Facebook about an ongoing civil case . . . Disrespect the judge, the court or the process at your own risk."

--Civil Justice Issues--

The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to review 11 lawsuits filed against cigarette makers by Florida families, including Stella Koballa, a Daytona Beach woman who was the first verdict in a tobacco case in Volusia County and will receive $300,000 plus interest from R.J. Reynolds. The family of the late Jacqueline Miller of Edgewater will receive $15 million plus interest from Lorillard Tobacco Co. A lot more tobacco litigation is on the way. Attorney Joshua R. Gale is handling 60 cases before Circuit Judge Robert K. Rouse Jr. in DeLand and multiple firms have nearly 60 more cases in front of Circuit Judge William Parsons in Daytona Beach.

--Criminal Justice Issues--

By The Associated Press. John Ruthell Henry, who killed his estranged wife and her son two years after he had been paroled for murdering his previous spouse in Hillsborough County, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday [June 18], more than two decades after he was sentenced to death. Henry tried to use an insanity defense for killing his wife. In recent months, Henry's attorneys have questioned whether his client was mentally stable enough to comprehend his death sentence. In an appeal the Florida Supreme Court rejected last week, Henry's attorney, Baya Harrison III, wrote that Henry's abhorrent childhood, extensive personal and family mental health history, poor social adjustment, and lack of rational thinking and reasoning skills so impaired his adaptive functioning that he was actually performing at the level of a person with an IQ of 70. In May, a panel of mental health experts said Henry doesnt suffer from mental illness or an intellectual disability and that he understands the nature and effect of the death penalty and why it is to be imposed on him, according to court records.

# # #

[Revised: 06-19-2014]