The Florida Bar

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.

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Jan. 30, 2014


LABARGA NAMED CHIEF JUSTICE-ELECT OF FLORIDA -- Supreme Court of Florida,, Jan. 30, 2014.
Jorge Labarga has worked as an assistant public defender, an assistant prosecutor, a private attorney, a trial court judge, and an appellate court judge. Soon he will add a new job: chief justice. His six colleagues on Florida’s high court voted unanimously Wednesday [Jan. 29] to name Labarga chief justice-elect, the first Cuban American to hold the post. He will begin his two-year term July 1. As chief justice, he will serve as the chief administrative officer of the entire state courts system. Before he became a justice on the Supreme Court five years ago, Labarga served as a trial judge in Palm Beach County, presiding over civil, criminal and family court cases. He also served as the administrative judge of the circuit’s civil division. Labarga will be the state’s 56th Chief Justice when he succeeds Chief Justice Ricky Polston in July.

--The Florida Bar--

Virginia Buchanan and 20 other lawyers from across the state will travel to the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee this afternoon [Jan. 30] to receive The Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award. In her 25 years of practice, Buchanan has won a large number of major medical malpractice cases. For all her accomplishments, Buchanan said working with the underprivileged was the most rewarding part of her work. The hard part is finding the time, Buchanan said. Although the members of her firm Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A., are strong advocates of serving the community, she still has to balance the trial dates, consultations and legal documents of both her paid and pro bono clients. It's a task that she is dedicated to, Buchanan's partners at the law firm said.

--Legal Profession--

By The Associated Press. James Johnson, Dr. Robert Hayling and Asa Randolph have been inducted into the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Gov. Rick Scott announced the new inductees Wednesday [Jan. 29]. Johnson, who died in 1938, was the first African-American admitted to The Florida Bar since the end of Reconstruction. He founded the Daily American, a newspaper committed to reporting on issues pertinent to the black community. Hayling, 94, has been hailed as the "father" of St. Augustine's civil rights movement. Randolph, who died in 1979, founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters labor union.

--Criminal Justice Issues--

SCOTT ROTHSTEIN, STUART ROSENFELDT TO TESTIFY AT TRIAL OF FORMER PARTNER -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription),, Jan. 29, 2014.
Scott Rothstein could take the stand in the scheduled trial of Boca Raton attorney Christina Kitterman. Rothstein is expected to testify along with Debra Villegas, chief operating officer of Rothstein's defunct Fort Lauderdale law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler. Senior U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley in West Palm Beach refused Wednesday [Jan. 29] to grant a motion to quash a subpoena for Stuart Rosenfeldt. Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison sentence for perpetrating a settlement financing fraud, while Villegas is serving a 10-year term. Kitterman is charged with wire fraud conspiracy for allegedly pretending to be a Florida Bar representative on a phone call to Rothstein's investors in a ruse to keep them from questioning his finances. The trial, slated to start Monday [Feb. 3], would be the first time Rothstein testified in a criminal case flowing from his long-running fraud.

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[Revised: 01-31-2014]