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.
Oct. 11, 2013
U.S. FEDERAL COURTS LIKELY TO STAY OPEN DESPITE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Oct. 11, 2013.
By Reuters. Federal courts across the country are likely to remain open and fully staffed if the government shutdown extends into a third week, even if the U.S. judiciary runs out of funding. The administrative office of the U.S. courts in Washington, D.C., said on Thursday [Oct. 10] that the court system will continue to use fees and other revenue sources not tied to the annual budget to finance its operations through at least Oct. 17. Once the funding runs out, the chief judge of each federal district court will have to determine which employees and services are "essential" to the court's constitutional duty to hear and decide cases, just as other federal agencies have already been forced to do. Chief judges in New York, Indiana, Nevada, Michigan, Florida and elsewhere have announced that all court employees are essential and will report to work despite the shutdown. Those workers will not be paid until after the shutdown ends, but are guaranteed their salaries.
SCOTT TO SELECT NEW CIRCUIT JUDGE -- Hernando Today, http://hernandotoday.com, Oct. 11, 2013.
Three candidates are being considered by Gov. Rick Scott to replace a retiring Fifth Judicial Circuit judge. Judge Sandra Edwards-Stephens is retiring this fall, and Circuit Judge Anthony Tatti is transferring from Hernando County to Marion County to fill her seat. The Judicial Nominating Committee submitted three names for Scott's consideration late last month: Thomas R. Eineman, a divorce and family law attorney in Spring Hill, John E. Napolitano, a private attorney in Spring Hill, and Hernando County Judge Donald Scaglione. Derek Schroth, chair of the Fifth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, said he expects the governor will make a selection by the end of October.
TONY KARRAT: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF LEGAL AID SERVICE OF BROWARD COUNTY -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Opinion, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Oct. 11, 2013.
The Sentinel interviews Tony Karrat, executive director of Legal Aid Service of Broward County, for the opinion column. "Legal Aid made layoffs in 2011 during the recession. How are the finances now? -- Many funders, especially during our economic downturn, came to recognize the important role Legal Aid plays in helping people become and remain stabilized. We received new grants to address foreclosures, help children attain educational goals and avoid dependency, and to assist veterans and their families with many legal issues when returning stateside. Although we have not yet regained our staffing levels of 2010 and have not given raises or contributed to staff retirement funds in three years, we don't anticipate further staff cuts this year."
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
BOCA LAWYER WHO WENT MISSING PLEADS GUILTY -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Oct. 11, 2013. [Also: RUNAWAY ATTORNEY STOLE CLIENT MONEY AND FRIENDS' TRUST -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com (requires subscription), Oct. 11, 2013.]
Disgraced former real estate attorney Timothy McCabe, who disappeared for two months earlier this year as millions of dollars also vanished from trust accounts overseen by his law firm and title company, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday [Oct. 10]. U.S. Magistrate Judge James M. Hopkins accepted the plea to five counts of bank fraud. A sentencing hearing for the former Boca Raton resident was scheduled for Jan. 9, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Cohen adding that the federal government has been contacting victims, some of whom are expected to speak about their losses. Restitution will also be determined at the January sentencing, according to the plea agreement filed with the court. In terms of prison time, each of the fraud counts carries a maximum sentence of 30 years. McCabe was permanently disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court in August after he agreed to not fight disbarment proceedings against him.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
UNDERAGE DEFENDANTS ENTITLED TO BAIL -- EXCEPT IN MURDER CASES, FLORIDA SUPREME COURT RULES -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Oct. 11, 2013.
Underage defendants are entitled to bail even when they are charged with crimes that would land an adult in prison for life — as long as that crime is not murder, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday [Oct. 10]. The state's high court issued its ruling in the case of Wayne Treacy, who was 15 years old when he brutally attacked a girl on the campus of Deerfield Beach Middle School in 2010. The victim suffered irreversible brain damage. Treacy was charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Under Florida law, defendants charged with such "life felonies" are not automatically entitled to have bail set in their cases. But two months after the beating, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to sentence anyone who commits a felony before age 18 to life in prison without the possibility of parole, unless that crime was murder. Treacy's lawyer used the decision to argue that Treacy was no longer charged with a life felony because he could not receive a life sentence.
STATE SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS CONVICTION OF DELTONA XBOX KILLER -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, Oct. 10, 2013. [Also: DELTONA MASS KILLER TROY VICTORINO LOSES APPEAL -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.
Troy Victorino, who was sentenced to die for his role in the killings of six people in Deltona in 2004, will remain on Death Row after the Florida Supreme Court denied his appeal, according to a ruling released Thursday [Oct. 10]. The case was dubbed the Xbox murders because the attack was motivated in part by a dispute over a video game system. The Florida Supreme Court already denied one appeal in 2009 from Victorino. In this latest appeal, Victorino's attorney, Christopher Anderson, argued that Victorino's conviction and death sentences should be overturned because his defense team was ineffective and made mistakes, including not calling for a mistrial when co-defendant Robert Cannon refused to be cross-examined after testifying against Victorino. But the Supreme Court ruled that Cannon's testimony was not essential to convict Victorino and Cannon's incriminating testimony was supported by other evidence in the case. Along with Victorino, Jerone Hunter was also sent to Death Row for the murders. Cannon and Michael Salas were sentenced to life in prison.