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 15, 2013
E-FILING GLITCHES PROVE FRUSTRATING -- Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org, May 15, 2013.
From a lack of uniformity between counties to slow confirmations to difficulties in fixing errors, Florida lawyers are working their way through the state’s new e-filing system. While it may prove frustrating at times, Tim Smith, chair of the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority, said the authority takes seriously the issues filers are reporting and is committed to identifying solutions and adding efficiencies moving forward.
COURTHOUSE DISCUSSION TO BEGIN AGAIN -- Santa Rosa Press Gazette, http://www.srpressgazette.com, May 15, 2013.
The construction of a new judicial facility, including courthouse and attorney's offices, is again being discussed by the Santa Rosa County County Commissioners. The topic is coming back up for discussion after a suggestion was made a few weeks ago regarding an 11.2 acre parcel of land that was thought to be suitable for use. The board has reviewed several proposals for a new courthouse facility but previous attempts at a tax increase that would fund construction of a new courthouse have failed since 2002.
FAST FORECLOSURE BILL BATTLE NOT OVER DESPITE SUCCESS IN LEGISLATURE -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com, May 15, 2013.
Supporters and opponents are still waging a battle over Florida’s fast foreclosure bill, hoping to sway Gov. Rick Scott to sign it into law or veto it all together. An urgent message was sent Monday [May 13] by the statewide Community Advocacy Network, which represents community associations, urging members to let Scott know they back the foreclosure bill that passed both chambers of the Florida Legislature during the final weeks of the 2013 session. At the same time, a petition signed by more than 1,000 people on moveon.org asks the governor to veto the bill. If the bill becomes law, the Florida Consumer Justice Advocates may hire the attorneys who successfully challenged Florida’s PIP law to fight the foreclosure bill.
WEAKENED ENVIRONMENTAL RULES UNDERMINE THE STATE'S ECONOMY -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, Column, http://www.news-journalonline.com, May 15, 2013.
Opinion column by Lisa Rinaman, head of St. Johns Riverkeeper, an organization dedicated to advocacy on river-related issues including pollution prevention, restoration and state environmental policy affecting the St. Johns. Rinaman states that "The actions of our governor and the Legislature are dramatically changing the course of water policy and growth management in Florida, putting us on a path towards less protection for our already imperiled waterways and aquifers . . . We simply cannot afford to sacrifice our state's most valuable assets for the politics of the moment and the fortunes of a few."
--Criminal Justice Issues--
JUDGE ORDERS STATE TO PROSECUTE GOODMAN JUROR DEMARTIN -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, May 15, 2013.
On Monday [May 13], Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath, the judge overseeing John Goodman's DUI manslaughter case, appointed the State Attorney's office to take over the prosecution of juror Dennis DeMartin on a criminal contempt misdemeanor charge. In a May 3 ruling, Colbath vacated Goodman's 16-year prison sentence and conviction for a 2010 death, granting a new trial and pouring blame on DeMartin, a retired accountant who had insisted he suffered from a bad memory. The judge ruled Goodman, 49, was deprived of a fair trial because of DeMartin's "willful failure" to speak truthfully during the jury selection. State prosecutors also want the contempt charge filed by Colbath to include a vodka drinking experiment DeMartin conducted at his home on March 22, 2012, before jury deliberations.
JUDGE SAYS ROTHSTEIN DEFUNCT FIRM WON'T BE LIQUIDATED -- Daily Business Review, (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, May 15, 2013.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Raymond Ray in Fort Lauderdale handed a victory on Tuesday [May 14] to Herbert Stettin, the trustee in the bankruptcy case of Scott Rothstein's defunct law firm, agreeing to advance a revised reorganization plan. The ruling effectively takes off the table a move by opposing lawyers to convert the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to a Chapter 7 liquidation, which would have ended Stettin's role in the case after nearly three years. Ray will hold a hearing May 29 on whether the disclosure statement on Stettin's revised liquidation plan should be sent to creditors for a vote. If approved, victims could get paid their first distribution in a matter of days, Stettin's attorneys said.
--Civil Justice Issues--
COURT REINSTATES FLA. INMATE KOSHER MEALS LAWSUIT -- Lakeland Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, May 15, 2013.
By The Associated Press. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a lower federal judge to reconsider the lawsuit filed in 2010 by Bruce Rich, an Orthodox Jew serving a life sentence at Union Correctional Institution who claimed his rights were violated by the state Department of Corrections' previous refusal to serve kosher meals. The judge previously dismissed the lawsuit. Florida announced earlier this year it would resume offering kosher meals statewide by September to prisoners who qualify. The appeals judges, however, determined that Rich deserved a new hearing on his lawsuit despite the policy change.