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.
June 25, 2013
GILLAM BECOMES 110TH PRESIDENT OF THE JBA -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, June 25, 2013.
The new president of The Jacksonville Bar Association, Braxton Gillam, was sworn in June 14. Gillam has served on The JBA board of directors since 2004, when he was the YLS president. Before Gillam was sworn in, President Ray Driver thanked the members who attended the meeting for their support during his term. One of his last duties as president was to award the "JBA Chair of the Year" awards, created by former JBA President Dan Bean to recognize the volunteer efforts of the leaders of sections or committees in the association.
JACKSON SWORN IN AS U.S. BANKRUPTCY COURT JUDGE -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, June 25, 2013.
After nearly 30 years focusing on bankruptcy and insolvency matters as an attorney, Cynthia Carson Jackson was sworn in Friday [June 21] as a judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. Jackson was appointed March 5 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. She replaces retiring Judge Arthur Briskman in the Orlando Division. Jackson has represented debtors, creditors, committees, and trustees in commercial and consumer cases at Smith Hulsey & Busey in Jacksonville.
--Criminal Justice Issues--
FIVE POINTS FROM DAY 1 OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, June 25, 2013. [Also: PROSECUTION, DEFENSE USE DIFFERENT STYLES TO DELIVER OPENING STATEMENTS -- Sanford Herald, http://mysanfordherald.com, June 25, 2013; ZIMMERMAN TRIAL'S 1ST DAY: EXPLETIVES, A JOKE -- Florida Today, http://www.floridatoday.com, June 25, 2013.]
The first day of testimony in the murder trial of George Zimmerman took place Monday [June 24] as Assistant State Attorney John Guy and Defense Attorney Don West delivered very different opening statements. Guy delivered a passionate opening statement this morning where he said Zimmerman "profiled," "followed," and "murdered" Martin that rainy evening. West, who took a longer, more detailed approach to his opening statement, played the non-emergency phone call Zimmerman made the night before the shooting for jurors. He broke down minute-by-minute when the call ended and when the incident occurred. The judge said she would address Tuesday [June 25] the matter of police calls made by Zimmerman in the months before he shot Martin. The defense argued the calls are irrelevant.
FEDERAL COURT HALTS EXECUTION OF MIAMI KILLER MARSHALL LEE GORE -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, June 25, 2013.
A federal appeals court on Monday [June 24] temporarily halted the execution of Miami killer Marshall Lee Gore, about an hour before he was set to die by lethal injection. Gore's reprieve, however, may not last long. The court quickly set a Thursday [June 27] court date for his lawyers in the case to explore the possibility that Gore is insane. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Atlanta, said it would try to settle the matter before July 1. Gore has no significant history of being diagnosed for mental illness. A panel of psychiatrists, appointed last month by the governor to evaluate Gore before his execution, found that he was mentally sound.
TEEN COURT PUTS JUSTICE IN HANDS OF OFFENDERS' PEERS -- Ocala Star Banner, http://www.ocala.com, June 24, 2013.
Marion County Teen Court is designed to rehabilitate teenage offenders and hopefully dissuade them from offending again rather than just punishing them. Some experts attribute the decline in numbers of juvenile offenses in recent years to such programs. In Marion County Teen Court, established in 1994, the State Attorney’s Office selects the participants. To participate, the juveniles must admit to the charges filed against them. The juries are composed of other Teen Court participants, who question the defendants, deliberate and dole out sentences, which can include community service hours and other possible tasks, such as an open-court apology.
DEATH PENALTY NOT THE ANSWER -- Tampa Tribune, Editorial, http://www.tampatrib.com, June 24, 2013.
The Tribune editorial board considers that Florida's newly signed death penalty law isn't worthy of the scorn it has received, because "rather than fundamentally change the state's faulty death penalty process, the law creates notification and oversight procedures meant to track the cases more closely and minimize delays." However, they are "not convinced the new law will speed the process along in any noticeable way, as critics contend," and note that "what should be of greater concern to lawmakers is that Florida gets it wrong more than any other state." They conclude that "the Timely Justice Act does little to fix the state's broken death penalty process."
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
ST. PETERSBURG LAWYER FOUND NOT GUILTY OF BRIBERY CHARGES -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tampatrib.com, June 25, 2013.
Vincent C. Rowley, a St. Petersburg lawyer, was acquitted Monday [June 24] of charges he tried to bribe a bankruptcy trustee to get business for his personal injury practice. Jurors found him not guilty of bribery and lying to the FBI about why he gave trustee Angela Esposito $3,000. In closing statements Monday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Monk called the transaction "sleazy" and "underhanded." The defense argued successfully that Rowley was merely giving Esposito a fee for referring another case to him that had nothing to do with bankruptcy.
SUPREME COURT CHOOSES NEW CLERK -- Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, June 25, 2013.
John Tomasino, a Tallahassee lawyer with experience defending Death Row prisoners and expertise in court technology, will become clerk of the Florida Supreme Court this November. Chief Justice Ricky Polston announced the selection to succeed Clerk Thomas D. Hall, who is retiring in October after 13 years in the post. Tomasino was chosen by the Florida Public Defender Association as its lead representative for the statewide transition to electronic filing of court documents. He serves on the Florida Courts Technology Commission “E-Portal” user group. He previously worked as an assistant public defender and represented Death Row inmates for the Capital Collateral Counsel’s northern regional office.