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.
December 01, 2023
The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar | Article | December 01, 2023
Florida Supreme Court on Thursday [Nov. 30] certified the need for additional judges in Florida: one in the 20th Judicial Circuit, two in Hillsborough County, and three in Orange County. The court also recommended reducing one judge each in Alachua and Brevard counties, a decision opposed by three justices. The recommendation aligns with last year’s certification to decrease judgeships in the First and Second District Courts of Appeal (DCAs) due to workload changes from the creation of the Sixth DCA in 2021. The court suggests legislative action to address the “excess judicial capacity” in the First and Second districts during the 2024 session, recommending eventually having 12 judges in each. The dissenting justices argued against reducing judges in Alachua and Brevard and advocated for an additional judge in the Sixth District.
Palm Beach Post | Article | December 01, 2023
The Florida Supreme Court recently disciplined eight attorneys across the state, including West Palm Beach attorney Michael Thomas Dolce, whose license was revoked without leave to apply for readmission after he plead guilty in October to possessing and viewing child pornography. Kevan Kenneth Boyles, also of West Palm Beach, was disbarred for fund mishandling. Leon Menas Boyajan II of Inverness received a one-year suspension for neglect and conflicts of interest. Fort Lauderdale’s John Spencer Jenkins was suspended indefinitely for nonresponse to The Florida Bar. Belle Isle’s Rebecca L. Morgan was suspended for contempt. Coral Gables’ Joseph Anthony Sorce received a two-year suspension for criminal charges. St. Augustine’s Michael M. Stover got a 60-day suspension and three years of probation for exchanging legal services for illegal narcotics. Plantation’s Thomas J. Wenzel received a public reprimand for noncompliance with mediation orders.
Daily Business Review | Article | December 01, 2023
The Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) has filed new charges against Seminole Circuit Judge Wayne Culver, following the Florida Supreme Court’s rejection of prior sanctions. The amended notice includes allegations of Code of Judicial Conduct violations in a third case. In the first incident, Culver sentenced a disruptive defendant to 179 days in jail improperly, according to the charges. The new charge relates to a Feb. 9, 2022, civil injunction case, accusing Culver of holding a litigant in direct criminal contempt without proper procedures. The third incident involves Culver’s “intemperate conduct” on Feb. 10. The JQC asserts Culver threatened a person, used inappropriate language, and recused himself from the case.
Florida Supreme Court
News Service of Florida | Article | November 30, 2023
The Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday [Nov. 30] that the 2018 “Marsy’s Law” constitutional amendment, designed to enhance victims’ rights, does not explicitly shield the identities of police officers or other individuals. The decision came in response to a dispute over the disclosure of the names of two Tallahassee police officers involved in use-of-force incidents. The officers, backed by the Florida Police Benevolent Association, claimed Marsy’s Law protected their identities. However, the court found that the law does not guarantee victims the categorical right to withhold their names from disclosure. The ruling emphasizes protecting information used to locate or harass victims rather than general identification. The decision also highlighted potential conflicts with defendants’ rights and government transparency.
United States Supreme Court
News Service of Florida | Article | December 01, 2023
Industry groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday [Nov. 30] to uphold the block on key portions of Florida’s 2021 law regulating social media companies. The law, championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, sought to penalize platforms perceived as having a liberal bias. The groups argue the law violates the First Amendment by allowing the state to override private platforms’ editorial decisions. Florida’s attorneys face a January 16 deadline to file a brief, with the Supreme Court yet to announce the date for arguments. The law, part of DeSantis’ response to social media actions against Donald Trump, faces constitutional challenges.