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.
Oct. 18, 2013
OSCEOLA BAR ASSOCIATION PROVIDES FREE LEGAL AID -- Osceola News-Gazette, http://www.aroundosceola.com, Oct. 18, 2013.
The Osceola County Bar Association officially opened the Legal Aid Society of Osceola County (LASO) program on Friday [Oct. 11]. The program is run by attorneys who work pro bono and will help Osceola County residents navigate through the legal system. For now, they will offer services in family law, covering divorces and parental cases. But once the association can gather more attorneys, it plans to expand its services to veteran and juvenile law. The office is inside the Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida office in Kissimmee, and is working with the state Bar. The Legal Aid Society of Osceola County began a year ago with a group of attorneys wanting to provide their services to low-income residents in the county. From there, the groups found ways to get the equipment, space and approval to operate as a legal aid society.
COURTS SEEK 7 PERCENT BUDGET HIKE -- The Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, Oct. 18, 2013.
Florida's judicial branch is seeking a $33 million budget increase next year, with a big part of the new money planned for repairs and facilities maintenance on appellate courthouses across the state. The current state budget for courts is $443.4 million, about three-fourths of it funded by general revenue and 23 percent by various trust funds. The Florida Supreme Court would receive $644,787 under the budget request, providing a maintenance program for refurbishing its building's finishes and to address security staffing shortages. Another $6.9 million was requested for maintenance needs at the District Courts of Appeal. In the trial courts, $15 million and 37 new job positions is requested, including more law clerks to support capital case proceedings and to reduce a backlog of foreclosure cases. The courts also requested continued funding for "criminal conflict attorneys" who step in when a public defender's office has a conflict and can't represent multiple defendants in a case.
'THERE ARE OTHER BATTLES TO FIGHT' -- Daytona Times, http://daytonatimes.com, Oct. 18, 2013.
Judge Hubert Grimes was the first black elected as a Volusia County judge and is the only black currently serving in the Seventh Judicial Circuit. Grimes, who announced his retirement this week, says he has done what he came to do. He hinted that in the next chapter of his life he hopes to be an advocate for young people and the court system. Grimes was elected to the bench in 1988, winning a seat as Volusia County court judge. After serving 11 years in county court, he was appointed to the circuit bench in 1999. Grimes said he is proud of his role as a trailblazer for the local court system. Grimes presided over juvenile delinquency, juvenile dependency, dependency drug court and family court cases. He currently hears family court cases at the Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand. Applications are being accepted to replace Grimes.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
JUDGE PERRY: MISTAKENLY-RELEASED KILLERS 'HAD SOME HELP' IN FORGING PAPERWORK -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Oct. 18, 2013. [Also: 2 KILLERS ESCAPE FLA. PRISON WITH BOGUS DOCUMENTS -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Oct. 18, 2013.]
Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry's signature was forged on a pair of fraudulent orders that freed two Orlando-area killers in an elaborate paperwork prison break that has sent shockwaves across Florida. Authorities are hunting for Charles Bernard Walker and Joseph Ivan Jenkins, both 34, after they left the Franklin Correctional Institution in the Panhandle within two weeks of each other using fabricated documents authorizing their release. "I strongly believe they had some help," Perry told the Orlando Sentinel Thursday [Oct. 17]. "It is unlikely [the documents] were produced by the inmates." The orders to release the inmates were carefully crafted to appear legitimate, complete with the county seal, letterheads and a format common to documents normally filed.
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT REVERSES COCAINE TRAFFICKING CONVICTION -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Oct. 18, 2013.
The Florida Supreme Court reversed a cocaine trafficking conviction Thursday [Oct. 17] and set a statewide standard for police testing what's in suspicious baggies. The high court split 5-2 on whether law enforcement can commingle packages of cocaine or other suspicious powders without testing each container first. While executing a search warrant in 2009, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office found Baron Greenwade in a garage with a green bag that held nine 1-ounce baggies. The First District Court of Appeal argued for a new standard, asserting legislative policy permits commingling where circumstances allow a reasonable conclusion they all contain contraband. Justice Lewis said this circumstantial evidence standard goes against decades of case law, which was established by the Third District in 1988 in Ross v. State, a bright-line rule that has been defended in federal courts.