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 14, 2013
TAMPA LAWYER WILLIAM REECE SMITH DIES AT AGE 87 -- Tampa Tribune, http://www2.tbo.com, Jan. 11, 2013. [Also: VETERAN TAMPA LAWYER WILLIAM REECE SMITH JR. DIES -- Tampa Bay Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, Jan. 11, 2013; LAWYER, SCHOLAR, ATHLETE DIES AT 87 -- Lakeland Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Jan. 13, 2013].
William Reece Smith Jr., chair emeritus of Carlton Fields, died Friday [Jan. 11] morning at age 87. He had a distinguished legal career and was widely recognized as a consummate lawyer. Smith, a Plant City native who never forgot his hometown roots, had a résumé like few others: Rhodes Scholar, former American Bar Association president, one time interim president of the University of South Florida and early crusader for civil rights. He joined the Tampa law firm Carlton Fields in 1953 and helped build it into one of the largest in the state, with 300 lawyers. He was the 112-year-old firm's president emeritus at the time of his death.
LAW FIRM DIVERSITY: WOMEN STILL SEEKING PARITY -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 14, 2013.
Women have been grappling with the challenge of succeeding at law firms for decades. While many firms have taken steps to address women's concerns about balancing their work with parenthood by offering flex-time, the conversation now appears to have shifted to money — equal pay, equity partnerships and training to develop that crucial book of business. Increasingly, women, frustrated by unequal pay and opportunity for partnership, are leaving Big Law, taking their chances with smaller firms or by going solo.
STATE ATTORNEY JEFF ASHTON TAKES OATH OF OFFICE IN COURTHOUSE CEREMONY -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Jan. 11, 2013.
Days after he officially became the top prosecutor for Orange and Osceola counties, State Attorney Jeff Ashton took his oath of office at a public ceremony Friday [Jan. 11] at the Orange County Courthouse. The event was ceremonial — Ashton had already been sworn into office early Tuesday [Jan. 8], his first day on the job — but was attended by numerous prosecutors, several judges and other members of Central Florida's legal community. Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry, the judge who oversaw Ashton's most high-profile trial, that of Casey Anthony in 2011, administered the oath at Friday's ceremony.
FLORIDA LAND-USE CASE AT SUPREME COURT MAY HAVE NATIONAL IMPACT -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Jan. 14, 2013.
After 18 years of legal wrangling, the Koontz family and government agencies are at the brink of a climactic court argument. The outcome will influence the power of government to impose certain monetary conditions before granting land-use permits. The case, which will be heard Tuesday [Jan. 15] at the U.S. Supreme Court under the name Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, has attracted a national cast of characters. The National Association of Home Builders and conservative allies have lined up with the Koontz family. They want the court to rule that a government agency that refuses a land-use permit because the property owner declines to pay certain fees has essentially taken the property. This would compel agencies to more strictly justify their permit requirements. From the opposite side, California and 18 other states are urging the court not to impede the widespread use of fees by characterizing them as a taking.
FLORIDIANS JOIN BIG PUSH FOR IMMIGRATION OVERHAUL -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Jan. 13, 2013.
Florida is among states at the forefront of a concerted push over the next few weeks for long-awaited reform of a broken immigration system, including legal status for millions. From the White House to the vegetable fields of South Florida, advocates for immigration reform are about to launch a public-pressure campaign to prod Congress to enact sweeping legislation that provides a path to citizenship for millions of illegal residents.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
BILL CERVONE: TAKING NUMBERS AT FACE VALUE -- Gainesville Sun, http://www.gainesville.com, Jan. 14, 2013.
This opinion piece by Bill Cervone, state attorney for the 8th Judicial Circuit, discusses how The Sun's recent series about the resolution of criminal cases in Alachua County has raised many valid issues that are worthy of community discussion. He offers some more information about the case dismissal figures, and points out the danger in taking numbers at face value or out of context.