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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 09, 2019

  1. Criminal Justice Issues

    YOUNG PROSECUTORS, PUBLIC DEFENDERS GET PAY BOOST

    Gainesville Sun | Article | May 08, 2019

    Employees of Stacy Scott and Bill Cervone are adversaries in the courtroom, but their bosses’ teamwork helped them get a slight pay raise last year and a boost in minimum pay this year as the Florida Legislature wrapped up its session. Minimum pay for all Florida assistant public defenders and assistant state attorneys will be increased Oct. 1 to $50,000, up from $39,084, partly through the efforts of Scott, the Eighth Circuit’s public defender, and Cervone, its state attorney. “We lobbied very hard all throughout the session, and it happened,” Scott said. The state budget must be approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis for the raise to be final.

  2. Criminal Justice Issues

    TIMESHARE SCAM BASED IN TAMPA BAY CLAIMS MILLIONS — PLUS ONE LAWYER’S REPUTATION

    Tampa Bay Times | Article | May 08, 2019

    For years, a telemarketing fraud ring based in the Tampa Bay area targeted owners across the country desperate to unload timeshares. Many victims were elderly, and some had wired as much as $16,000, never to see it again. One of the victims, too, was attorney David Eaton. He spent hundreds of hours on the phone with angry people from all over the country convinced he was the one who had scammed them. Cracking the scam — which has netted the fraudsters at least $2.2 million — would take the work of the St. Petersburg Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI. The investigation continues: So far it has led to the arrests and guilty pleas of six men.

  3. Criminal Justice Issues

    INMATES FILE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT OVER FLORIDA’S USE OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

    Tallahassee Democrat | Article | May 08, 2019

    Admire Harvard spent most of his adult life in solitary confinement at Florida State Prison. And now she is suing to get out. Harvard and five other inmates, including a minor, are the plaintiffs in a federal class action lawsuit against the Department of Corrections brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida Legal Services and the Florida Justice Institute. The lawsuit, announced at a news conference today [May 8], challenges the department’s use of solitary confinement as cruel and unusual punishment. Some critics have said the department uses it as a convenient management tool to make up for the fact that so many prisons are understaffed. A spokesperson for the FDC told the Tallahassee Democrat the agency is “committed to providing for the safety and well-being of all inmates in our custody.”

  4. Civil Justice Issues

    FLORIDA LAW STOPS PARENTS FROM SUING DOCTOR FOR MALPRACTICE IN SEDATION DEATH OF THEIR SON

    WFLA | Article | May 08, 2019

    Tommy Myers’ parents are relying on the state to hold his dentist accountable for mistakes that led to his death, because according to Florida law, they can’t. Florida’s wrongful death law prevents Tommy’s parents from suing Dr. Veronica Thompson, who according to a Department of Health administrative complaint, administered too much sedation to Tommy, too quickly. The 39-year-old special needs patient stopped breathing in Dr. Thompson’s dentist chair in September 2014. He died two days later. Unless the Florida Department of Health holds Dr. Thompson accountable, Tommy’s parents are prohibited from suing her for malpractice. Florida Statute 768.21 states “damages shall not be recoverable by parents of an adult child with respect to claims for medical negligence.”

  5. Civil Justice Issues

    EDITORIAL: STATE WISELY PUTS A CHILD’S LIFE FIRST

    Tampa Bay Times | Editorial | May 09, 2019

    Only in extraordinary instances should the government overrule a parent’s wishes for the medical care of their child. But the state appropriately assumed that responsibility in the case of a Tampa mother and father who want to treat their 3-year-old son’s leukemia with medical marijuana, not chemotherapy as the doctors have recommended. A judge sided with the state Wednesday [May 8], and the overriding priority should be on providing Noah McAdams with the treatment he needs. The case highlights the tug-of-war that can ensue between parents and the state’s child protective system over medically necessary treatments.

  6. Legal Profession

    THE MARBUT REPORT: ATTORNEYS RAISE $273,000 IN A DAY

    Jacksonville Daily Record | Article | May 09, 2019

    At two April 27 events, Jacksonville attorneys played yard golf and danced to raise $273,000 to support civil legal aid and a music program for children. Hundreds of people participated in the annual “Yard Course and Back 9 on Montgomery & Richmond” sponsored by the Pajcic & Pajcic law firm. That evening, the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus and A Social Affair Dance Studio presented a “Dancing with the Stars” event and two attorneys helped raise $123,000 for scholarships and program funding for the chorus.

  7. Criminal Justice Issues

    BREVARD/SEMINOLE STATE ATTORNEY SUPPORTS CIVIL CITATIONS FOR LOW-LEVEL MARIJUANA OFFENDERS

    Florida Today | Article | May 08, 2019

    Brevard/Seminole State Attorney Phil Archer is “absolutely in favor” of giving civil citations to low-level cannabis and drug paraphernalia offenders, in lieu of criminal charges. In March, the Cocoa Beach City Commission passed the Space Coast’s first ordinance decriminalizing possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both offenses are first-degree misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, plus court costs. Now, Cocoa Beach police officers can opt to issue tickets instead of entering suspects in the criminal justice system. The Palm Bay City Council discussed the topic during a two-hour marijuana workshop Tuesday night [May 7]. During that meeting, Deputy City Attorney Erich Messenger cited Archer’s support, saying the proposal would reduce manpower strain in the State Attorney’s Office.

  8. Judiciary

    MEASURE TO PROTECT JUDICIAL ASSISTANTS’ PRIVACY FALLS SHORT

    The Florida Bar | Article | May 08, 2019

    A bill to keep confidential personal information about judicial assistants — similar to the protections afforded judges and law enforcement personnel among others — passed the Florida Senate but fell short in the House. SB 746 got a 40-0 vote in the upper chamber on April 26 and was sent to the House. It was not acted on when the session ended on May 4. Sponsor Sen. Tom Wright, R-Port Orange, said judicial assistants serve as intermediaries for their judicial bosses, since judges can’t have ex parte communications with litigants.

  9. Civil Justice Issues

    FTC COMMISSIONERS BACK PRIVACY LAW TO REGULATE TECH COMPANIES

    New York Times | Article | May 08, 2019

    Members of the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday [May7] renewed their calls for Congress to create a national privacy law that would regulate how big tech companies like Facebook and Google collect and handle user data. In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, commissioners also asked Congress to strengthen the agency’s ability to police violations. Lawmakers are considering a national privacy law to regulate the collection and handling of user data, the most valuable currency of the internet economy. Progress has stalled over disagreements on the details of such a law, putting the United States far behind nations in Europe and beyond that have led a global charge to curb the growing power of big tech companies.

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