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.
Nov. 9, 2012
SUPREME COURT MOVES CHALLENGE TO THREE VICTORIOUS JUSTICES TO CIRCUIT COURT-- The Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, Nov. 9, 2012.
In response to a challenge to the retention election of three justices, The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday [Nov. 8] asked the 2nd Circuit Court in Tallahassee to examine the election-eve petition filed by a conservative foundation that questioned their qualifying papers. The high court stressed that it was not endorsing or disparaging the case seeking to stop Secretary of State Ken Detzner from certifying the overwhelming victories Justices Peggy Quince, R. Fred Lewis and Barbara Pariente scored at the polls on Tuesday [Nov. 6]. The Supreme Court could have considered the petition, with the three challenged justices stepping aside and letting circuit judges take their places on the case. However, the court decided to send it to the circuit court, where an earlier legal challenge to the justices' retention eligibility had failed. "The transfer of this case should not be construed as an adjudication or comment on the merits of the petition," the court order said. The order said the circuit court should treat the case as if it had been originally filed at the trial level.
VETERANS LAW A GROWING INDUSTRY NICHE-- Tampa Bay Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay, Nov. 9, 2012.
As more of America's military return home from overseas, the need will rise for service providers of all kinds for a growing veteran population. One of those services is legal representation, and a growing need for veterans law specialists reflects this demographic shift. In response, Stetson University College of Law has started the Veterans Law Institute and some area law firms have begun to specialize in this emerging niche. The Law Institute hosted a veterans law seminar in conjunction with The Florida Bar at the end of October as continuing legal education. About 40 attorneys attended the seminar from across the state, said Mike Allen, Stetson associate dean and director of the Law Institute. He plans to schedule events at least annually to help get more attorneys updated on veterans law. [Subscription required.]
GROUP TO PROVIDE WILLS, ESTATE PLANNING TO VETERANS-- The News-Press, http://www.news-press.com, Nov. 9, 2012.
The Legal Aid Service of Collier County, in conjunction with volunteer attorneys, will be hosting a Wills for Heroes Veterans Day Event on Saturday [Nov. 10] from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the offices of Cohen & Grigsby in Naples. The event is for veterans, reservists, first responders and emergency personnel and their spouses. Volunteer attorneys will prepare simple wills, advance care directives, and other basic estate planning documents for those who do not currently have these documents.
--Civil Justice Issues--
ELECTION SYSTEM NEEDS AN OVERHAUL, BUT IT'S NOT THAT EASY-- Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Nov. 9, 2012. [Also: DEMOCRATS CLAIM VICTORY IN FLORIDA VOTE COUNT; ROMNEY WON'T CONCEDE-- The Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Nov. 9, 2012; MIAMI-DADE'S ELECTION COUNT COMES TO AN END, FINALLY-- The Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Nov. 9, 2012].
From the Sun-Sentinel article by Reuters: Voters in Florida were still waiting to cast their ballots more than six hours after polls closed on Election Day, registered voters in Ohio were told they were not on voter rolls and new voter ID laws in Pennsylvania led to confusion at voting places. Election Day problems have become commonplace in the United States in recent general elections. A comment by President Barack Obama offered a glimmer of hope that problems that have dogged voting for years might finally be addressed. In his election victory speech, Obama pointed out that he was aware of problems with the electoral system, specifically thanking those who waited hours to cast their votes. "By the way, we have to fix that," he said. That heartened supporters of election reform. However, state governments are fiercely protective of their control over election law and are resistant to any sort of national system. Yet, a backlash against new election laws like strict voter IDs passed by dozens of states this year may offer a possibility for change.
PROSECUTORS DISPUTE COURT'S RIGHT TO RULE IN BOYNTON'S RODRIGUEZ CASE-- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Nov. 9, 2012.
It’s not the place of the Fourth District Court of Appeal to throw out one of the criminal corruption counts against suspended Boynton Beach Mayor José Rodriguez, prosecutors said in filings. Rodriguez was suspended from office Jan. 27, one day after his arrest on charges he pressured the city's police chief and interim manager to stop an investigation into allegations he abused his then-11-year-old stepdaughter. Rodriguez's lawyers had wanted Circuit Judge Charles E. Burton to dismiss one of the counts against Rodriguez; it constituted the first charge ever filed against someone under Palm Beach County’s year-old ethics ordinance. Rodriguez’s lawyers have challenged the ethics ordinance as unconstitutionally vague. The defense lawyers argued a circuit judge lacks the right to rule on a county ordinance.
RECOUNT HEARING DELAYED-- The Stuart News, http://www.tcpalm.com, Nov. 9, 2012.
U.S. Rep. Allen West's legal push for a recount was delayed Thursday evening [Nov. 8] when his hearing at Palm Beach County's main courthouse was bumped to today at noon. Meanwhile, his opponent in the race, Patrick Murphy, started a three-day, three-county "thank-you" tour Thursday at his Palm Beach Gardens headquarters. The Jupiter Democrat said he was confident with his lead in District 18 and plans to go to Congress's freshman orientation in Washington next week.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
COLLIER JAIL OFFICIALS STEP UP EFFORTS TO IDENTIFY VETERANS; DIVERSION PROGRAM POSSIBLE-- Marco Island News, http://www.marconews.com, Nov. 9, 2012.
Naples Jail Center officials have started asking inmates about their military service to see if there's a local need for a diversion program. About 185 self-reported veterans have been booked into the Naples Jail Center since June, when employees began collecting the data, according to the Collier County Sheriff's Office. At one point last month there were 24 self-reported veterans in custody, accounting for roughly 2 percent of the total jail population. Jail Cmdr. Kevin McGowan said inmates originally were asked about their service during their medical and mental health evaluations, but many felt uncomfortable admitting they were veterans. Staff found that were more forthcoming to the deputies at the time of booking," he said. Incoming inmates now are asked about prior military service as they are booked in to the jail, giving staff a more accurate count. Jail leadership has been working toward arranging so-called "boutique courts" that address the needs of certain populations.