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.
Sept. 13, 2013
FINALISTS FOR U.S. ATTORNEY SUBMITTED TO FLORIDA SENATORS -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Sept. 12, 2013.
A nominating panel Wednesday [Sept. 11] submitted names of three U.S. attorney finalists to Florida's two senators -- Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio -- who are expected to weigh in before forwarding them to the White House. The finalists are acting U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III, Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg, and Jacksonville lawyer Curry Gary Pajcic. The Middle District includes 35 counties and stretches from Georgia to south of Naples. The three selected and a fourth applicant, Orlando state prosecutor William Charles Vose, were interviewed Monday [Sept. 9] in Orlando by the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, headed by Tampa lawyer John Fitzgibbons.
MIAMI COMMISSIONERS SELECT NEW CITY ATTORNEY -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 13, 2013.
A divided Miami commission chose Victoria Méndez, a deputy city attorney and a candidate from within City Hall, to replace retiring City Attorney Julie Bru, despite acknowledging concerns about how the powerful office has been functioning. After a 3-2 selection vote, commissioners agreed unanimously to appoint Méndez next month, once Suarez negotiates her pay and benefits package on behalf of the board. Commissioners congratulated Méndez but cautioned that she will have her hands full in her new job. Méndez has worked for the city since 2004. She specializes in land use and environmental, building and zoning law and serves as counsel to Miami’s planning, zoning and appeals board and to the Downtown Development Authority. She received her law degree and a master’s in public administration from the University of Miami, according to her application.
7 CANDIDATES NAMED FOR SARASOTA JUDGE VACANCY -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, Sept. 13, 2013. [Also: FIELD SET FOR COUNTY COURT JUDGESHIP -- North Port Sun Herald, http://www.yoursun.com, Sept. 13, 2013.]
Seven candidates have moved to the interview process to be considered for a Sarasota County Court judicial vacancy, left open when Judge Kimberly Carlton Bonner was appointed to Circuit Court. The candidates are Hunter W. Carroll, Peter M. Collins, Wyndel G. Darville, Gloria Jean DeMedio, Erika Nikla Quartermaine, Edward Cornell Wilson and Laurie Zimmerman. The 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission must submit a list of finalists by Sept. 24 to Gov. Rick Scott, who will then appoint a judge.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
MATHIS TRIAL ASKS 'HOW FAR SHOULD LAWYER GO?' -- Jacksonville Business Journal (requires subscription), http://www.bizjournals.com, Sept. 13, 2013.
Jurors at the trial of Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, where an extensive fraud and illegal gambling case against Mathis and 56 co-defendants will be heard in Sanford starting Monday [Sept. 16], will have to decide whether Mathis was the mastermind of a $300 million scam dubbed Allied Veterans of the World, or simply an attorney representing a business’s legal interests. Mathis, 50, a former president of the Jacksonville Bar Association, insists he did nothing illegal and simply researched the law to try to ensure the charity was operating within legal boundaries. Prosecutors, however, say Mathis helped set up an illegal operation. The counts against Mathis include racketeering, money laundering, lottery violations, keeping gambling houses and the manufacture, sale and possession of slot machines.
--Civil Justice Issues--
THE ECONOMIC AND MORAL COST OF DOING NOTHING ON IMMIGRATION -- Miami Herald, Column, http://www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 13, 2013. [Also: COMMENTARY: HOUSE SHOULD PASS IMMIGRATION REFORM TO HELP THE NATION'S ECONOMY -- Palm Beach Post, Column, http://www.pbpost.com, Sept. 13, 2013.]
Column by James R. Silkenat, president of the American Bar Association. Silkenat writes that "matters of life and liberty are decided in our system of immigration justice without the most basic protections that we expect in American courts," noting that immigrants have no right to appointed legal counsel. He asserts that for members of the House of Representatives, their first priority should be immigration reform, noting that "realistic immigration reform that strengthens our borders and addresses the staggering monetary, legal and moral costs of enforcement and detention is needed." Silkenat concludes that "the House must take action to achieve immigration reform. Doing nothing will only continue a broken system that saps our treasury and undermines our justice system and our economy."
--Criminal Justice Issues--
FLA. SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS PENALTY 2ND TIME AROUND -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 12, 2013.
By The Associated Press. The Florida Supreme Court is upholding the death sentence of Andrew Michael Gosciminski, a former assisted living center employee convicted of murdering Joan Loughman, a resident's daughter. It marks the second time that the high court has considered the conviction and sentence of Gosciminski. Gosciminski met Loughman through an assisted-living facility where he worked and her father was a patient. Prosecutors say Gosciminski had planned to steal $40,000 worth of jewelry. Prosecutors say he attacked and stabbed the woman in September 2002 at her father's Fort Pierce home. The high court ruled in 2008 that some evidence during his 2005 trial had been improperly admitted. The Supreme Court ordered a new trial and Gosciminski was convicted and sentenced to death a second time.
COLORFUL LAKE CIRCUIT JUDGE JERRY LOCKETT, WHO SENTENCED SEVEN MEN TO DEATH, DIES -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Sept. 13, 2013.
Circuit Judge Jerry T. Lockett, the colorful judge who toted two pistols under his black robe and whose controversial ruling helped changed Florida abortion law, died late Tuesday [Sept. 10] at his home in Leesburg. As a circuit judge for 15 years, Lockett, who retired from the bench in November 2001, oversaw some of Lake's most heinous murder cases and sentenced seven to death in the electric chair.