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 6, 2013
JUDGE POLEN HEARS HIS LAST ORAL ARGUMENTS ON FOURTH DCA -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, March 6, 2013.
Retiring Fourth District Court of Appeal Judge Mark Polen concluded his final oral argument session Tuesday [March 5] where he started — in the Broward County Courthouse. Polen reflected on his 24 years with the appellate court, noting the docket has gotten much busier. "It's been wonderful. It's been the most rewarding thing in my life," Polen added. Polen, 67, was retained by voters four times for the appeals court, most recently in 2008. His term was set to expire Jan. 5, 2015. He would not have been eligible for another term under the state's mandatory judicial retirement age of 70. A reception in Polen's honor was hosted by the Broward County Bar Association later in the day. His last day with the court is April 30.
STUDENTS HOLD MOCK TRIAL -- Panama City News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com, March 6, 2013.
Local high school juniors were part of a mock trial at the Bay County Courthouse on Tuesday [March 5]. The mock trial is part of Junior Leadership Bay’s program to provide high school juniors with an introduction to job opportunities in Bay County, according to Keith Bryant with the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. For legal day, the students spent the morning with the Panama City Police Department, the state Department of Juvenile Justice, Judge Allen Register, Judge Shane Vann and State Attorney Glenn Hess. The case used in the mock trial is an imaginary one from past years of Florida State University’s law school that have been used to teach the trial process.
LAWMAKERS OPEN SESSION BY PASSING ELECTIONS, ETHICS REFORM -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, March 6, 2013. [Also: VOTING RALLY IN LEE IS PART OF A STATEWIDE EFFORT TO REACH LAWMAKERS -- Ft. Myers News-Press, http://www.news-press.com, March 6, 2013.]
The Florida Legislature opened its 60-day session Tuesday [March 5] by advancing reform bills to deal with the long lines that plagued last year's presidential election and the perception of widespread ethics abuses in the Capitol. The House passed an elections bill (HB 7013) that would restore early voting to 14 days after lawmakers cut it to eight days in 2011, a decision held partly responsible for hours-long lines last November. The Senate, meanwhile, unanimously passed its ethics reform package (SB 2) that cracks down on revolving-door jobs for ex-lawmakers and bans them from lobbying for two years or voting on issues where they have conflicts of interest.
SCOTT PROCLAIMS 'IT'S WORKING' IN STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS -- Florida Capital News, http://www.tallahassee.com, March 6, 2013. [Also: SCOTT'S SPEECH GLOSSED OVER KEY CONCERNS -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, Editorial, http://www.news-journalonline.com, March 6, 2013.]
Two years into his first term in elected office and gearing up for a contentious re-election bid, Scott told lawmakers the State of the State can be summed up in two words: "It's working." "Our formula this session is simple: We must invest in our education system, support our teachers, and cut taxes to help create more jobs," he said. A day after a House panel voted along party lines to reject the expansion of Medicaid, Scott said the state lost its bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act, both through the U.S. Supreme Court and the 2012 presidential election. "I cannot, in good conscience deny the uninsured access to care," Scott said.
FLA. HOUSE LOOKS TO SPEED UP DEATH PENALTY -- Naples Daily News, http://www.naplesnews.com, March 6, 2013.
With more than 400 people on Florida's Death Row, the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Tuesday [March 5] approved a proposed constitutional amendment that is part of a plan to try to reduce delays in carrying out the death penalty. The proposed constitutional amendment would shift power from the courts system to lawmakers to set rules about what are known as "post-conviction" appeals in death-penalty cases. Some lawmakers, The Florida Bar and a central Florida judge raised concerns about trying to take authority away from the courts.
SURPRISE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE BILL WOULD RAISE BURDEN OF PROOF, PROTECT HOSPITALS -- Jacksonville Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, March 6, 2013.
The Florida Justice Association was taken by surprise to find two medical malpractice bills scheduled for early morning debate for the second day of session. Instead of the 48 hours advance notice that a bill will be heard there was just 24 hours notice given instead. The medical malpractice bill (HB 827) is a priority for the Florida Medical Association and would increase the burden of proof from the “greater weight of evidence” to “clear and convincing,” a tougher standard. The bill also would limit who can serve as an “expert witness” and testify against a health care provider in a lawsuit. It also would allow a physician/defendant’s attorney to interview the patient’s subsequent treating providers without notice to the claimant’s attorney.
FLORIDA FINDS EVIDENCE OF VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, March 6, 2013.
By The Associated Press: Two employees of a company once aligned with the Republican Party of Florida admitted to law-enforcement authorities that they forged voter registration forms. It's the first result in a far-reaching voter fraud investigation that was launched last fall. Strategic Allied Consulting was hired by Republicans to do voter registration drives in Florida and other states. Last fall the state party fired the company and took the additional step of filing an election fraud complaint against the company with state officials. There are four other cases across the state still under investigation according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement.