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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 22, 2013

--Legal Profession--

OUTSTANDING PRO BONO SERVICE RECOGNIZED AT EQUAL JUSTICE EVENT -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, Jan. 21, 2013 [Also: FIRST JALA DIRECTOR HONORED WITH EQUAL JUSTICE AWARD -- Jacksonville Daily Record, Jan. 21, 2013; KOWALSKI SAYS JALA HELPS BUSINESS, MAKES OUR COMMUNITIES BETTER -- Jacksonville Daily Record, Jan. 21, 2013].
The 14th Annual Robert J. Beckham Equal Justice Awards celebrated the first director of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Paul Doyle, at a ceremony Tuesday [Jan. 15] at The River Club. His history with legal services to the poor includes being the first director of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. Also, a few pro bono attorneys were thanked for their outstanding service. Jim Kowalski, who was named executive director of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in late November, said legal aid work assists clients and the business community by solving employees' problems, which helps them return to their jobs. The organization provides civil legal services to those who cannot afford them. 

PALM COAST ATTORNEY HONORED FOR VOLUNTEER WORK -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, Jan. 20, 2013.
Attorney Tania Schmidt-Alpers . . . volunteers countless hours at no charge to help people in family law and domestic violence cases. So much so that The Florida Bar recognized her with the President's Pro Bono Award for the 7th Judicial Circuit covering Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam counties. Schmidt-Alpers, who lives in Palm Coast and primarily practices in St. Johns County but also takes some cases in Flagler and Putnam counties, will be one of 22 lawyers from throughout the state recognized for pro bono work for poor and indigent clients. They will be honored during a Jan. 31 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida. 

--Judiciary--

JUDGE REFUSES TO DISMISS FLA. REDISTRICTING CASE -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Jan. 18, 2013 [Also: JUDGE REJECTS REQUEST TO TOSS FLORIDA SENATE REDISTRICTING PLAN -- Ft. Myers News-Press, http://www.news-press.com, Jan. 18, 2013].
Circuit Judge Terry Lewis in Tallahassee on Thursday rejected the state's argument that only the Florida Supreme Court can decide legislative redistricting cases, the first ruling in what could be a precedent-setting case under the new Fair Districts standards. Lawyers for the Legislature and Secretary of State Ken Detzner argued the case should be dismissed because the justices already have reviewed and upheld the map. Democrats, the League of Women Voters of Florida and other plaintiffs say the high court conducted only a facial review and an appeal is likely.

FEW BLACKS APPOINTED TO JUDGESHIPS BY GOV. RICK SCOTT -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Jan. 20, 2013.
Gov. Rick Scott is on pace to appoint fewer African-Americans to judgeships in Florida than either of his two predecessors, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush. In his two years as governor, Scott has appointed 91 judges. Six are black. By law, Scott has a free hand in making five of nine appointments to each of 26 judicial nominating commissions. He must pick the other four from lists of three names for each vacancy, submitted by The Florida Bar, which Scott can reject without explanation.

FORMER JACKSONVILLE ATTORNEY FACES LOAD OF FORECLOSURES AS ST. JOHNS' NEW JUDGE -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Jan. 21, 2013 [Also: GUEST COLUMN: TELL YOUR SENATOR, REPRESENTATIVE: COUNTY NEEDS MORE JUDGES -- St. Augustine Record, http://www.staugustine.com, Jan. 22, 2013].
Howard Maltz, St. Johns County’s newest circuit judge, immediately faces a mountain of foreclosure cases as he starts his new career. He replaces Judge Wendy Berger, who is now on the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach.

--Civil Justice Issues--

STARGEL PROPOSES ALIMONY REFORM AWAY FROM LIFETIME PAYMENTS -- Lakeland Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Jan. 20, 2013.
Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said she plans to file a bill to reform statutes governing alimony payments. It would move away from lifetime alimony and instead limit payments for a specific duration. The bill is supported by Florida Alimony Reform, an interest group that wants a retroactive clause allowing those previously ordered to pay alimony to have payments modified to comply with the new law if passed. Maria Gonzalez, a board certified lawyer in marital law and secretary of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar, said the section would oppose the bill as it is currently drafted because it is not fair to both parties.

--Criminal Justice Issues--

FIX, DON'T ABOLISH, FLORIDA'S BROKEN DEATH PENALTY SYSTEM -- Panama City News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com, Jan. 21, 2013.
This is a letter to the editor by Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican and chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee in the Florida House of Representatives. He is an attorney and lives in Fort Walton Beach. It addresses issues regarding Florida's death penalty system.

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[Revised: 01-23-2013]