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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.

Aug. 15, 2013

--Judiciary--

APPLICANTS SOUGHT FOR BROWARD COUNTY COURT VACANCY -- Daily Business Review, (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Aug. 15, 2013.
The Broward Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission is accepting applicants for the county court vacancy created by Judge Stacy Ross' promotion to the circuit bench. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Sept. 5. Gov. Rick Scott appointed Ross last week to fill the seat opened by the death of Circuit Judge Susan Aramony.

DEADLINE IS SEPT. 5 TO APPLY FOR BRADFORD JUDGESHIP -- Gainesville Sun, http://www.gainesville.com, Aug. 15, 2013.
Applications are now being accepted for the Bradford County judge position that opened with the Aug. 7 death of Judge Johnny R. Hobbs. Applicants must have been a member of The Florida Bar for the preceding five years, they must be registered voters and residents of the county at the time of assuming office. Interested applicants must deliver a complete application and two copies to Marcia Davis, chairwoman of the 8th Judicial Nominating Commission, with the Bice Cole Law Firm, P.L. The deadline is 3 p.m. Sept. 5.

LEGACY OF RETIRING JUDGE WILL CONTINUE -- Florida Today, http://www.floridatoday.com, Aug. 15, 2013.
J. Preston Silvernail will leave the bench later this month after 21 years listening to, presiding over and deciding some of the most serious cases in Brevard County. The article profiles Silvernail's career and recounts some of his most significant cases and their impact on Brevard's court system. Silvernail twice served as chief judge, was named Outstanding Jurist of the Year in 2005, has been part of the Innocence Commission since 2010 and enjoyed several other state appointments and committee positions. He has no plans to leave the area after retiring.

NEW COURT TO HANDLE MISDEMEANOR CASES OF VETERANS -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tampatrib.com, Aug. 14, 2013.
Starting Oct. 1, honorably discharged veterans charged with certain misdemeanors in Hillsborough County will be able to have their cases heard in a a specialized court that will take into account the unique needs of those who have served and are now suffering from military service-related mental illness, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse or other disorders. Veterans who meet certain criteria will enter a court that offers ongoing assessment and treatment for their underlying issues. The court will dismiss the charges if it determines a veteran has successfully completed the program. The new court, which will be known as County Criminal Division “V”, will be headed by Judge Richard Weis, who began pushing for the court more than 2 years ago.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

WOMAN TO TESTIFY AGAINST LAWYER ACCUSED OF STEALING $1 MILLION FROM SEMINOLE TRIBE -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Aug. 15, 2013.
Maria Hassun, a former law firm assistant who admitted her role in stealing money from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison on Wednesday [Aug. 14]. Federal prosecutors and the judge who sentenced her told Hassun that she likely will serve a lighter punishment if she testifies truthfully against her former boss — attorney Frank Excel Marley III — when he goes to trial in October on charges he stole more than $1 million from the tribe. Hassun said she followed Marley's instructions to inflate the invoices submitted to the tribe. Marley has pleaded not guilty to one count of wire and mail fraud conspiracy and nine counts of theft from Indian tribal organizations. The Florida Bar has opened a file and is investigating.

--Civil Justice Issues--

SCOTT SAYS FLORIDA WILL FILE U.S. SUPREME COURT ACTION IN WATER DISPUTE WITH GEORGIA -- The Florida Current, http://thefloridacurrent.com, Aug. 15, 2013. [Also: WATER WARS RAGE IN APALACHICOLA -- Apalachicola Times, http://www.apalachtimes.com, Aug. 14, 2013.]
Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday [Aug. 13] in Apalachicola that Florida will file a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court to halt what he says is the unchecked and growing consumption of water by Georgia, following a U.S. Senate field hearing on the dispute over the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system. Florida, Alabama and Georgia have been battling in court since 1990 over water from the river system. An appeals court decision in 2011 dealt a blow to Florida and Alabama. The Supreme Court in 2012 refused to hear an appeal of that decision. On Tuesday, Scott said Georgia had not negotiated in good faith. Georgia's governor fired back with a statement calling Florida's action was a waste of money and was timed for political purposes.

--Other--

BEN WATKINS DIES AT 88 -- Apalachicola Times, http://www.apalachtimes.com, Aug. 15, 2013.
Attorney J. Ben Watkins, 88, passed away on Saturday, Aug. 10. Watkins was a prominent businessman, landowner and generous philanthropist. Watkins graduated from Stetson Law School in Gulfport in 1949. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Tom Sebring, served as director of the Florida Trial Lawyers' Association, and was president of the Franklin County Bar Association. He maintained a trial practice in Miami, Tallahassee, Apalachicola and Carrabelle. In 1998, the Stetson Law Review established the "J. Ben Watkins Award for Professional Excellence in the Practice of Law" as a tribute to his service to Stetson and the legal profession. 

RANDALL SILVERBERG -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, Aug. 15, 2013.
Randall Jay Silverberg Randy passed away on Aug. 13. Silverberg, a graduate of the University of Florida and Nova Southeastern University Law School, practiced law for more than 35 years. During that time, his practice was fueled by his desire to seek justice for his clients and help them in any way.

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[Revised: 08-16-2013]