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 27, 2014
--The Florida Bar--
FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT PUSHES FOR JUDICIAL DIVERSITY -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, March 26, 2014.
Eugene Pettis, president of The Florida Bar, met with The News-Journal editorial board on Wednesday [March 26] to discuss his push to have more diverse judges on benches across the state. Pettis recently appointed a task force that will examine different ways to increase diversity among judges. Retired Circuit Judge Hubert Grimes, who was the only black circuit judge in the Seventh Judicial Circuit before he stepped down in January and is serving on the diversity task force, was also present. Pettis said more can be done to ensure the judicial system reflects the community, and he is hoping to encourage diversity by changing the makeup of the state's judicial nominating commissions. Today, only nine African-Americans and about 30 Hispanics serve on the 26 nominating commissions made up of 230 people. In addition to addressing diversity in the judicial system, Pettis also talked about a plan called Vision 2016 that will address four key areas within the state's legal system: Legal education, technology, bar admissions and delivery of legal services.
FLORIDA LAWYER GUIDES BLIND U.S. NAVY VETERAN THROUGH A CALIFORNIA MARATHON -- The Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org, April 1, 2014.
Attorney Danielle Zemola of Ft. Myers began volunteering and promoting her fraternity’s philanthropy, Service for Sight, which supports the blind and visually impaired. Later, she learned of an essay contest to serve as a guide runner for U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder, who is blind, at the California International Marathon. Zemola, who pratices with Goede, Adamczyk & DeBoest, could hardly contain her excitement when she learned she’d won. Leading up to the race, Zemola got to know Snyder and practiced guide running. The event draws many blind and visually impaired athletes, including paralympians, military veterans, and world and national title holders. Zemola is now teaming up with a local friend and blind athlete, the only one she knows of who participates in marathons and races in her region of Florida. They are working with the race director of the Clearwater Marathon and the local community to raise money and increase participation among blind athletes at the 2015 event.
SENATE READIES COURT PICK CLARIFICATION AMENDMENT -- The Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, March 27, 2014. [Also: FUTURE OF THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SPARKS LEGISLATIVE BATTLE -- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, March 27, 2014.]
The Senate on Wednesday [March 26] prepared a measure placing a constitutional amendment before voters this fall to clarify the appointment of Florida Supreme Court justices for a final vote next week. SJR 1188, sponsored by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, would make clear that the winner of the 2014 gubernatorial election would appoint the justices to replace three sitting justices whose terms end January 8, 2019 –- the last day of the governor's term. Lee said he wanted to separate politics from a constitutional amendment regarding political appointees, but Democrats questioned his approach. The Senate on Wednesday gave tentative approval to the proposed constitutional amendment. There is currently no corresponding amendment in the House.
POLK COUNTY CIRCUIT JUDGE HARLAN RETIRES, PROSECUTORS DROP CHARGE -- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, March 27, 2014.
Circuit Judge Beth Harlan announced her retirement from the bench Wednesday [March 26] in exchange for prosecutors dropping criminal charges against her. Harlan was accused of approving false time cards for her former judicial assistant, Alisha Rupp, so Rupp would get paid for time she didn't work. The State Attorney's Office filed a court document saying the criminal case against Harlan was dismissed. Prosecutors had charged her with aiding or abetting grand theft, a third-degree felony, which was punishable by up to five years in prison. State Attorney Jerry Hill told The Ledger that a negotiation led to Harlan's retirement and the dropping of the charge. Her circuit judge position will be filled by an appointment from Gov. Rick Scott.