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.

Links to online newspapers

June 19, 2014

--The Florida Bar--

EDITORIAL: HIGH DEMAND FOR LEGAL AID NEEDS BOTH FLORIDA BAR, COMMUNITY -- Palm Beach Post,, June 19, 2014. [Also: THURSDAY LETTERS: HELPING EXPAND LEGAL AID -- Tallahassee Democrat, Letter to the Editor,, June 19, 2014.]
The editorial states that "While Bar members should feel some sense of responsibility for helping to make sure that all Florida residents have access to the judicial system, laying what Bar President Eugene Pettis rightly calls “a societal issue” completely at the feet of lawyers smacks of unfairness . . . While it’s easy to say high-priced attorneys can afford to handle the shortfall, the fact that Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed millions of dollars earmarked for legal aid for four consecutive years cannot be ignored. Neither can a dearth of funding on the county level . . . Pettis, with incoming Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, has taken the lead in calling for a summit to bring various groups together to address the issue long-term. It’s a good call." A letter to the editor of the Tallahassee Democrat by President Pettis states that The Florida Bar is taking steps to address the funding crisis, including moving forward with its consideration of a $6 million loan to The Florida Bar Foundation and exploring long-term solutions.

--Legal Profession--

The Palm Beach County Bar Association’s North County Section recently made a donation to the Independence Middle School’s Pre-Law Academy. The gift was used to build a courtroom set for the students. Heather Lukasik, academy instructor, said law students will be able to hold mock trials in a realistic courtroom environment.


RICK SCOTT SIGNS JUVENILE JUSTICE OVERHAUL REFLECTING NEW APPROACH -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription),, June 18, 2014.
By News Service of Florida. Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill rewriting laws that govern the state Department of Juvenile Justice, reinforcing an emphasis on prevention, intervention and the rehabilitation of youthful offenders. The measure formalizes the department's strategy of shifting funds to prevention programs, with the aim of keeping kids out of the juvenile system in the first place. It creates criminal penalties for abusing or neglecting teens of all ages in the department's custody and requires DJJ to provide the Legislature with annual reports on the outcomes for all its programs. Also Tuesday [June 17], Scott named the department's deputy secretary, Christy Daly, as interim secretary to replace Secretary Wansley Walters, who will retire at the end of June.

--Civil Justice Issues--

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeal breathed new life into a lawsuit against the Broward Public Defender's Office brought in by psychologist Michael Brannon, finding that a lower court judge improperly dismissed the case in 2012 when he should have sent it to a jury. Brannon, an expert witness who has testified in hundreds of criminal trials for the prosecution and the defense, sued Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein in 2010 after a dispute that began simmering in 2007. Brannon's suit alleges that Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein retaliated against him for his testimony on behalf of Broward Circuit Judge Cheryl Aleman at a Judicial Qualifications Commission hearing in 2007. Brannon had received $608,757 in business from Finkelstein's office in the fiscal year that ran from 2006-2007, but in the fiscal year from 2007-2008, business from Finkelstein's office to Brannon dropped to $390,000. The next year, Brannon got $170,612. U.S. District Judge Donald Graham sided with Finkelstein, finding that Brannon could not tie Finkelstein's actions to Brannon's testimony. The federal appeals court overruled Graham.

--Criminal Justice Issues--

JOHN HENRY, PASCO MAN WHO KILLED WIFE, BOY, IS EXECUTED -- Tampa Bay Times,, June 19, 2014. [Also: PASCO MAN EXECUTED FOR MURDERING WIFE, STEPSON IN 1985 -- Tampa Tribune,, June 19, 2014.]
The state of Florida executed John Henry, 63, at the Florida State Prison on Wednesday [June 18] night for the 1985 murder of his wife Suzanne Henry and her son. Henry's was the third execution in the United States in the past 24 hours. Those executions, in Georgia and Missouri, were the first since April 29, when officials stopped the execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma because of issues with his veins. Henry was convicted of three murders. In 1976, he stabbed his 28-year-old girlfriend Patricia Roddy. He did a little over seven years in prison and seemed to improve and rehabilitate. After his release, he murdered his wife and stepson after an argument.

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[Revised: 06-20-2014]