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. 18, 2013
LEGENDARY ATTORNEY DOUGLASS DIES AT 83 -- Tallahasssee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, Sept. 18, 2013. [Also: WILLIAM DEXTER DOUGLASS, TALLAHASSEE LAWYER AND POLITICAL ADVISER, DIES AT 83 -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Sept. 18, 2013; SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN, SAVVY LAWYER DOUGLASS DIES -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, Sept. 18, 2013; FLORIDA ATTORNEY WHO WORKED FOR GORE AND CHILES DIES -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Sept. 18, 2013.]
William Dexter Douglass, legendary, consummate attorney, died at his Tallahassee home early Tuesday [Sept. 17]. Douglass became nationally famous in 2000, when he served as the Florida member of the team of lawyers who represented U.S. Vice President Al Gore in the controversial legal wranglings of the 2000 presidential election. He was renowned most as a lawyer’s lawyer and “a giant in the Tallahassee legal community.”
--Civil Justice Issues--
BONDI ASKS JUDGES TO BE MINDFUL OF HOMEOWNERS RIGHTS -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com, Sept. 18, 2013.
Attorney General Pam Bondi asked Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricky Polston and the state’s chief judges in a Sept. 3 letter to be mindful of homeowner rights outlined in the National Mortgage Settlement as they push to clear the state’s hefty foreclosure backlog. The request comes at a time when foreclosure defense attorneys complain the settlement is being ignored in the haste to process cases. The settlement requires banks to ask the court to delay a case if a modification or other solution is pending. Judges are in the difficult position of having to protect homeowner rights while also trying to whittle down a backlog of 313,005 foreclosures statewide.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
COURT WEIGHS JUVENILE SENTENCES -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com, Sept. 18, 2013.
Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday [Sept. 17] raised the possibility of reviving a parole system for juveniles who receive long sentences for serious crimes. The discussion came as justices heard oral arguments in two cases that exemplify the problem since the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark 2010 ruling struck down the life-without-parole sentence for a Jacksonville teenager convicted of armed robbery and home invasion. Florida courts have not imposed life sentences for juveniles who commit non-homicide crimes since that ruling, but some juvenile offenders are ending up with multi-decade sentences, which critics say amount to “de facto” life sentences and violate the ruling. The court will issue its ruling at a later date.
SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE WHETHER LEGISLATORS HAVE TO TESTIFY -- Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, Sept. 17, 2013.
Justices aggressively questioned attorneys Raul Cantero, representing the Legislature, and Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte, representing the League of Women Voters and a coalition of groups questioning the remapping process, for nearly an hour Monday [Sept. 16]. The issue is whether legislators and staff aides can be forced to give sworn depositions about not only what they did and whom they consulted in drawing up the political district boundaries after the 2010 census, but what their intentions were in putting certain district lines at one place or another. Arguing separation of powers, Cantero likened the legislative exemption from disclosure of its inner workings to the attorney-client privilege or spousal immunity from having to give depositions. D'Alemberte, in his rebuttal, told the court, "The constitutional amendments of 2010 were intended to chill the Legislature. The Legislature could no longer do what it had always done."