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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.

January 10, 2013

--Judiciary--

COMMENTARY: HOW A GANG OF REFORMERS SAVED THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT -- Palm Beach Post,Column, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Jan. 10, 2013.
This column is by Lucy Morgan, and profiles deceased former Florida Supreme Court Justice Ben Overton.

4 PALM BEACH COUNTY CIRCUIT JUDGES AMONG THOSE GOV. SCOTT WILL CHOOSE FROM TO FILL 4TH DCA VACANCY -- Palm Beach Post, http://palmbeachpost.com, Jan. 10, 2013. [Also: JUDICIAL NOMINEES FOR 4TH DISTRICT INCLUDE 2 FROM TREASURE COAST -- Stuart News, http://www.tcpalm.com, Jan. 10, 2013].
Four Palm Beach County circuit judges, a circuit judge in Broward County and a Palm City labor relations attorney are among those Gov. Rick Scott will consider for an open seat on the 4th District Court of Appeal. Palm Beach County circuit judges nominated this week by a judicial nominating commission are: Peter Blanc, Glenn Kelley, Janis Keyser and Krista Marx. The commission also recommended Broward County Circuit Judge Mark Klingensmith and Alan Orantes Forst CEO of the Florida Reemployment Assistance Program.

--Legal Profession--

PAIR SWORN IN AT OLD LEE COUNTY COURTHOUSE -- Ft. Myers News-Press, http://www.news-press.com, Jan. 10, 2013.
County employees packed the old courthouse in downtown Fort Myers on Tuesday [Jan. 8] for the swearing in of Clerk of Court Linda Doggett and Tax Collector Larry Hart. Doggett has held various positions in the clerk's office for the past 27 years. Chief Judge Jay Rosman swore in Doggett, noting her years of experience. Doggett said she is looking forward to cutting costs in her department through expanding the use of electronic filing. She said that in April all of the county's courtrooms will be set up for electronic filing, which will be mandatory for attorneys.

FAREWELL WEISS -- Polk County Democrat, http://sunnewspapers.net, Jan. 10, 2013.
The story chronicles the farewell party organized by employees of the Clerk of Courts office for Richard M. Weiss, former Clerk of Courts/County Comptroller in Polk County, who retired for family reasons. Jan. 10 would have marked 46 years on the job. His seat was contested by Polk County Commissioner Sam Johnson, who was reaching the end of his term limit, and by Stacy M. Butterfield, who had served under Weiss.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

EX-BROWARD JUDGE'S CONDUCT WARRANTS ONE-YEAR SUSPENSION -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Jan. 10, 2013.
Former Broward Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner deserves a one-year suspension of her law license for lying about a clandestine cell phone and text message relationship she had with a prosecutor, a judicial referee in The Florida Bar's case wrote. "I find the misconduct at issue involves dishonesty and deceit," Palm Beach County Circuit Judge David Crow wrote in his 22-page Jan. 8 report. "[Gardiner] failed to disclose the honest and true nature of her relationship with [Assistant State Attorney Howard Scheinberg]." While Gardiner presided over a 2007 death penalty murder trial that Scheinberg was prosecuting, the pair exchanged 949 cell phone calls and 471 text messages. The failure to disclose the communications to the defense attorney "tainted the entire legal process," wrote Crow, who oversaw Gardiner's two-day Bar inquiry on Nov. 27 and 28. Crow's recommendation now goes to the Florida Supreme Court, which will have the final say on Gardiner's discipline.

--Legislature--

QUICKIE FORECLOSURE BILL ON AGENDA AGAIN -- Palm Beach Post, http://palmbeachpost.com, Jan. 10, 2013.
A fast-track foreclosure bill meant to hasten the legal process and reduce a mammoth court backlog will again be discussed by Florida lawmakers this year — the fourth consecutive session in which the issue has been up for legislative debate. Proponents of the bill, filed by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said the years of deliberation and countless exchanges with stakeholders have refined the proposal, which removes some of the language most resisted by homeowners in earlier versions. Also, the proposal (HB 87) retains the consumer-friendly provision that reduces the time banks have to recoup money owed on unpaid mortgage debt from five years to one. Pete Dunbar, legislative counsel for the Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar, said it was important for the Bar to ensure homeowners are treated fairly in court and receive due process. He also believes hastening foreclosures on abandoned properties, those no one is defending or homes where there is no legitimate defense, will boost the economy.


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[Revised: 01-11-2013]