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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.

January 28, 2019

  1. The Florida Bar

    LEGALFUEL WEBSITE OFFERS BUSINESS AS WELL AS LEGAL HELP FOR ATTORNEYS

    Jacksonville Daily Record | Article | January 21, 2019

    In her travels around the state, Florida Bar President Michelle Suskauer often heard from attorneys about the need for business skills training. The need is even more evident for those starting practices on their own or establishing firms with other new attorneys, Suskauer said. “And 76 percent of our members are solo or in small firms,” she added. To help bridge the gap between having a Bar card and being able to establish and sustain a small business, the website LegalFuel.com was launched in July by The Florida Bar.

  2. Criminal Justice Issues

    ADVOCATES: TROUBLED STATE PRISON SYSTEM READY FOR REFORM

    The Ledger | Article | January 26, 2019

    Wide-ranging criminal sentencing changes aimed at Florida’s prison system may gain traction at the Capitol, with supporters buoyed by a recent move from a sharply divided Congress and the arrival of new Gov. Ron DeSantis. Attempts to end lengthy mandatory minimum sentences and prison terms for low-level drug offenders, and create early-release programs, have gone nowhere in Tallahassee for years. But a coalition of advocates says say Florida should join a number of states the federal government in taking a fresh look at crime and punishment.

  3. Criminal Justice Issues

    DECISION TO WITHHOLD FLORIDA BANK VICTIM NAMES TESTS NEW LAW

    South Florida Sun Sentinel | Article | January 27, 2019

    A Florida police chief’s decision not to release the names of some of the five women killed in a bank shooting last week represents the first high-profile test of a law being enacted in several states that pits victim privacy against the public’s right to know. The police chief in Sebring cited a provision in the “Marsy’s Law” amendment to the state constitution that voters approved in November. Florida’s law specifically allows crime victims to prevent the disclosure of information that could be used to locate or harass them or their families.

  4. Judiciary

    SEVENTEENTH CIRCUIT LAUNCHES COMMUNITY COURT

    Florida Courts | Article | January 22, 2019

    Chief judges are continually advancing strategies for improving the administration of justice in Florida. One such strategy is the creation of specialized dockets designed to address the root causes of justice system involvement. Recently, the Seventeenth Circuit launched a new specialized docket to handle homeless, and low-level first-time and repeat misdemeanor offenders. The idea grew out of Chief Judge Jack Tuter’s observation that people who are homeless, charged with petty crime and municipal ordinance offenses, were cycling perpetually from the streets to the courts to the county jail and then onto the streets again.

  5. Civil Justice Issues

    MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE REJECTED ON EXPERT ISSUE

    WUSF | Article | January 28, 2019

    In a decision focused on expert witnesses, a state appeals court Friday [Jan. 25] rejected a medical-malpractice lawsuit. The patient, Sandra Dale Essex, filed the lawsuit in Osceola County against orthopedic surgeon Michael Karr and other defendants. Essex submitted expert opinions from an emergency-room physician, a radiologist and a nurse, according to the ruling by a panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal. But the court agreed with the defendants that the expert opinions did not meet the requirements of the law because they did not come from health-care professionals in the “same specialty” as Karr.

  6. Civil Justice Issues

    SIGNS POINT TO COMING EXPANSION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN FLORIDA

    WLRN | Article | January 27, 2019

    Gov. Ron DeSantis announced last week that he has asked the Legislature to change Florida law to allow smokable medical marijuana. He also wants to reduce restrictions on who can grow and sell cannabis products. And the new Agriculture Commissioner has plans to create a Director of Cannabis position. So far, it appears that newly sworn-in Florida lawmakers are taking a sharp turn from former Gov. Rick Scott’s approach to try to limit access to medical cannabis in Florida.

  7. Civil Justice Issues

    WHEN PUBLIC OFFICIALS FIGHT ON FACEBOOK, ARE THEY BREAKING THE LAW?

    Miami Herald | Article | January 25, 2019

    Following a discussion at a Miami Beach City Commission meeting about a welcome sign at the entrance to the city, Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán took to Facebook to criticize the proposed design. Another commissioner, Ricky Arriola, jumped into the conversation. The online squabbling was no different from the arguments commissioners routinely have from the dais. But for public officials in Florida, bickering on social media could be against the law. Florida has a broad open-government law that applies to any conversation between officials who belong to the same elected body, even if the conversation takes place online in a public forum.

  8. Criminal Justice Issues

    ANIMAL CRUELTY COULD BECOME A FEDERAL FELONY

    Orlando Sentinel | Article | January 24, 2019

    Two Florida congressmen have reintroduced a bipartisan bill that would make malicious acts of animal cruelty and bestiality a felony under federal law. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-West Boca Raton, and Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, addresses “crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling animals” as well as sexually exploiting them. Those convicted of the crime could face up to seven years in prison.

  9. Civil Justice Issues

    $150K ABE GRANT WILL HELP ABA FACILITATE PRO BONO IMMIGRATION WORK

    ABA Journal | Article | January 26, 2019

    During the 2019 ABA Midyear Meeting on Friday [Jan. 25] in Las Vegas, the ABA’s Board of Governors approved a one-time American Bar Endowment Opportunity grant of $150,000 to the Commission on Immigration. The money is expected to fund the hiring of a pro bono coordinator. A study found that, when nonjailed immigrants aren’t represented, 13 percent win their cases. With representation, their success rate shoots up to 74 percent.

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