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.
July 10, 2019
The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar | Article | July 10, 2019
Florida A&M Law’s Moot Court Team placed first at the Robert Orseck Memorial Moot Court Competition hosted by the Bar’s Young Lawyers Division. FAMU defeated Stetson in the finals, which was judged by the Florida Supreme Court at the Bar’s Annual Convention in Boca Raton in late June. This year’s competition focused on the definition of a dwelling under Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute and the deference given to judges in determining juror bias.
Civil Justice Issues
Tampa Bay Business Journal | Article | July 10, 2019
Florida’s law requiring marijuana operators to grow, process and distribute cannabis and related products created an “oligopoly” and runs afoul of a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in the state, an appellate court ruled Tuesday [July 9]. The 1st District Court of Appeal’s decision sent shockwaves through the state’s highly restricted but rapidly growing medical marijuana industry, in which licenses are routinely selling for upward of $50 million. The three-judge panel’s ruling upheld in part a decision issued last year by Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson, who sided with Tampa-based Florigrown in a lawsuit alleging a state law, passed during a 2017 special legislative session, did not properly carry out the amendment.
Florida Today | Article | July 09, 2019
For more than three decades, Judge Clarence Johnson Jr. heard cases in the 18th Judicial Circuit — a court circuit that he was instrumental in helping create. When court was not in session, Johnson found enjoyment in spending time with his family, often joining them in sports activities and fishing. Johnson, a Circuit Court judge for 31 years, including nine as a senior judge, died on July 4 at age 89. Among his professional activities, he served as president of the Brevard County Bar Association and a member of the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar.
Criminal Justice Issues
Miami Herald | Article | July 09, 2019
Jurors delivered another black eye to the Broward Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday [July 9] when they found Deputy Justin Lambert guilty of battery and falsifying records for his actions during and after a violent arrest five years ago. Tuesday’s verdict was the latest blow to one of the largest sheriff’s departments in the Southeast. Four other Broward Sheriff’s deputies have been charged with crimes for violent arrests in the past two weeks. Also during that time frame, two other deputies were fired for their actions during last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, when 17 students and staff were killed and 17 others injured.
AFTER CLIENT ALLEGEDLY PAID LEGAL FEES WITH STOLEN MONEY, SOUTH FLORIDA ATTORNEY NAVIGATES ROUGH TERRAIN
Daily Business Review | Article | July 09, 2019
The Fourth District Court of Appeal has allowed a defense attorney to withdraw from a Palm Beach County felony criminal case after it came to light that his attorney fees might have been paid with stolen money, raising legal ethics questions and exposing the lawyer to liability. Defendant Melissa Delacruz was charged in 2015 with stealing more than $100,000 from her employer by using business credit cards and accounts for unauthorized personal expenses. But in the middle of trial, her attorney, Scott Skier of the Skier Law Firm in West Palm Beach, told the judge he could no longer represent her after Delacruz’s new employer claimed she’d used money stolen from them to pay her legal fees.
Bradenton Herald | Article | July 10, 2019
The 12th Judicial Circuit announced Tuesday [July 9] that it is looking to hire a new judge thanks to a bill that increased the number of seats in some parts of the state. According to a news release, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 5011 into law, which went into effect July 1. The bill also added another circuit court judge in Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit in Orange and Osceola counties, as well as two additional county court judges in Citrus and Flagler counties. A nominating commission is now accepting applications to provide DeSantis with a list of nominees to fill the new vacancy in the 12th Judicial Circuit.
Bloomberg Law | Article | July 02, 2019
California has taken a step toward altering the role of lawyers after a state bar task force last week [June 23-29] advanced controversial proposals for new ethics rules. The changes would allow non-lawyers to invest in law firms and tech companies to provide limited legal services. The new rules could open big law firms, at least in California, to greater competition from so-called “New Law” providers and the Big Four accounting firms that have been so far limited from practicing law in the United States. The new rules could also provide an avenue for law firms to receive outside investors to foster spending on tech or new business lines. The proposed rules are sure to spark a debate between legal market traditionalists and those looking to change the system.
Civil Justice Issues
WOGX FOX 51 | Article | July 09, 2019
A school employee’s constitutional challenge to part of Florida’s workers’ compensation insurance laws has gone to the state Supreme Court. An attorney for Teresita De Jesus Abreu last week [June 30-July 6] asked the Supreme Court to take up the case after the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected the challenge, according to documents posted on the Supreme Court website. The case was filed against the Broward County School Board and Broward’s Riverland Elementary School and stems from a shoulder injury Abreu suffered while at work in 2015. Workers’ compensation insurance covered surgery to address a partial rotator-cuff tear, according to the appeals court. But Abreu continued to have pain and sought coverage of another shoulder surgery as recommended by an orthopedic physician who had not been authorized under the workers’ compensation coverage. That led to a dispute about whether the additional surgery was needed, and a judge of compensation claims appointed what is known as an “expert medical adviser” to offer an opinion.
Civil Justice Issues
New York Times | Editorial | June 25, 2019
The editorial says: “No one owns the law, because the law belongs to everyone. It’s a principle that seems so obvious that most people wouldn’t give it a second thought. But that’s what is at issue in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, a case about whether the State of Georgia can assert copyright in its annotated state code. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in its next term. Americans deserve free and easy access to public records of all kinds, including court documents. But access to the law is the most important of all: Democracy depends on it. Keeping the law free of copyright is the first step. Yet the law is in disarray on the topic.”