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Daily News Summary

The purpose of this summary provided by the Communications Department of The Florida Bar is to present media coverage that may be of interest to members. Opinions expressed in the articles are attributable solely to the authors. The Florida Bar does not adopt or endorse any opinions expressed below. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.

May 29, 2024

  1. The Florida Bar

    PATRICIA CRAUWELS RECEIVES JUDGE JOHN M. SCHEB PROFESSIONALISM AWARD

    The Florida Bar | Article | May 29, 2024

    The Sarasota chapter of the American Inn of Court awarded Patricia D. Crauwels the annual Judge John M. Scheb Professionalism Award on May 27, 2024. This award honors a Sarasota County attorney exemplifying professionalism, selected by secret ballot of the Inn’s Masters. Crauwels, a Florida Bar board-certified specialist in civil trial law, has tried over 100 jury trials and was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2016. She practices in personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and construction defect cases, and supports charities like Special Olympics and Manasota BUDS, where she serves as chair. The Inn, founded in 1991 by Judge John Scheb, aims to promote legal excellence. Previous award recipients include Bill Partridge, Judge Stephen Walker, Drew Clayton, Kate Halvorsen, Ted Eastmoore, Bonnie Polk, Heather Byrd, Russ Snyder, David Wallace, and Leslie Telford.

  2. Legal Discipline

    MIAMI HERALD REPORTING TRIGGERS INVESTIGATION INTO FORECLOSURE AUCTION ATTORNEY

    Miami Herald | Article | April 25, 2024

    The Florida Bar is investigating attorney Brad Schandler for manipulating foreclosure auctions, as exposed by the Miami Herald. The probe, reopened on April 2, 2024, followed a Herald article revealing Schandler’s tactics to win condo auctions cheaply. A complaint by Hernando Posse, who lost a 2021 Pompano Beach auction to a woman using a fake name, initiated the Bar’s action. Schandler allegedly orchestrated in-person auctions with low participation and used sham bidders, including his sister Nadine August. The Herald’s findings prompted Broward Chief Judge Jack Tuter to alert judges and Miami Senator Ileana Garcia to propose new legislation. Schandler and his attorney, David Karp, declined to comment.

  3. United States Supreme Court

    US SUPREME COURT REJECTS CHALLENGES TO FLORIDA’S USE OF 6-MEMBER JURIES

    News Service of Florida | Article | May 29, 2024

    On Tuesday [May 28], the U.S. Supreme Court rejected constitutional challenges to Florida’s use of six-member juries in most felony trials. Justice Neil Gorsuch dissented, advocating for revisiting a 1970 ruling that upheld this practice, arguing that the right to a jury trial requires 12-member juries. The case in question involved Natoya Cunningham, convicted by a six-member Martin County jury in 2022. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office supported the 1970 ruling, noting the logistical challenges of switching to 12-member juries. Gorsuch emphasized that states can revise their jury practices independently to ensure unanimity among 12 peers. Florida’s practice of using six-member juries, established in 1877, was challenged for its historical context linked to the Jim Crow era, though Moody’s office denied any racial intent behind the rule. Other states like Arizona and Massachusetts also use smaller juries in criminal cases.

  4. Civil Justice

    FLORIDA DEATH PENALTY ‘GAME OF CHANCE’ TARGETED

    News Service of Florida | Article | May 28, 2024

    A 2023 Florida law reducing the juror threshold for recommending the death penalty to 8 out of 12 jurors faces constitutional challenges. Critics argue it creates arbitrary resentencing outcomes and disproportionately silences Black jurors. This law, enacted after Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz received a life sentence, diverges from the previous unanimous jury requirement following the 2016 Hurst v. Florida ruling. Michael James Jackson, convicted of two 2005 Jacksonville murders, received a death sentence under this new rule. Advocacy groups and Black lawmakers contend the law violates equal protection rights and perpetuates racial bias. They filed briefs in Jackson’s appeal, arguing the law’s arbitrariness violates the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Florida’s Attorney General supports the law, citing the logistical difficulties of switching to 12-member juries. The Florida Supreme Court has yet to rule on these briefs.

  5. Legal Profession

    JU COLLEGE OF LAW NAMES INAUGURAL MOCK TRIAL TEAM

    Jacksonville Daily Record | Article | May 29, 2024

    Jacksonville University College of Law named its inaugural Mock Trial Team—Ryan Milovich, Grace Lawson, Bryce Richardson, Aleksandr Borger, Andrew-Paul Griffis, Randi Alt, Thomas Shoemaker and Susan Cavailhon. The team, coached by 4th Circuit Assistant State Attorney Katelyn Johnston, plans to enter the 2025 Chester Bedell Memorial Mock Trial Competition hosted by The Florida Bar Trial Lawyers Section, which each year features teams from Florida’s law schools.

  6. Civil Justice

    ATTORNEYS SECURE $8.6M SETTLEMENT IN CAUTIONARY TALE FOR REAL ESTATE MANAGERS

    Daily Business Review | Article | May 28, 2024

    Coral Gables attorneys Michael Haggard and Adam Finkel of the Haggard Law Firm secured an $8.6 million settlement for the estate of Fred McCrimmon Martin, an Orlando tenant shot in November 2022 at Vista Haven Apartments. The shooter, Kadeem Fisher, accessed the complex through the mother of his children who lived there. Haggard and Finkel filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in March 2023 against the property owners, SREIT Vista Haven LLC and Highmark Residential LLC, for negligent security. The complex had previously arranged private security patrols but failed to replace them after termination, opting instead for unimplemented security cameras. The attorneys’ investigation revealed Fisher’s violent history and his year-long stay at the complex without management’s knowledge. The settlement was approved by Seminole Circuit Judge Susan Stacy. Defense attorney Daniel Knuth did not comment.

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