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 11, 2019
The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar | Article | July 11, 2019
Chief Judge Robert S. Cohen of the Division of Administrative Hearings is the recipient of the 2019 Claude Pepper Outstanding Government Lawyer Award. The award recognizes Florida lawyers who have made exemplary contributions as practicing government lawyers. It is named after Claude Pepper, a Florida attorney, U.S. senator and congressman. The award was presented last month to Cohen by outgoing Bar President Michelle Suskauer at the Bar’s Annual Convention in Boca Raton on behalf of the Government Lawyer Section. The Administrative Law Section also awarded Cohen its S. Curt Kiser Administrative Lawyer of the Year Award at the convention.
Pensacola News Journal | Article | July 10, 2019
For the second time in less than a month, the U.S. Senate confirmed a judge from Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal to serve on the federal bench. The Senate on Wednesday [July 10] voted 78-15 to confirm T. Kent Wetherell to serve as a judge in the federal Northern District of Florida. The vote came after the Senate on June 19 confirmed Allen Winsor, who served on the Tallahassee-based 1st District Court of Appeal with Wetherell. Both were nominated last year by President Trump to serve as federal judges in the Northern district, which hears cases from a region that includes Gainesville, Tallahassee, Panama City and Pensacola.
Daily Business Review | Article | July 10, 2019
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John K. Olson has suspended an attorney from his court for two years and recommended disbarment after she allegedly filed numerous unsworn and unverified documents on behalf of clients. The judge’s 172-page order chastised Pembroke Pines solo practitioner Maite Diaz over her alleged “farcical attempt to avoid accountability” by initially failing to comply with a court order requesting certain case files and later providing incomplete records. Olson has recommended disbarment and referred Diaz’s case to The Florida Bar, the Office of the U.S. Trustee, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and its Ad Hoc Committee on Attorney Admissions, Peer Review and Attorney Grievance. Diaz, through her attorney, declined to comment.
Tallahassee Democrat | Article | July 11, 2019
Fired Jackson County Deputy Zach Wester was arrested Wednesday [July 10] on racketeering and dozens of other charges for allegedly planting meth and other street drugs on unsuspecting motorists before hauling them off to jail. Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents, who have been investigating Wester for more than nine months, arrested him in Crawfordville and took him to the Wakulla County Jail. Wester, expected to make his first court appearance today [July 11], invoked his right to remain silent and declined to speak with investigators. FDLE began its investigation last summer at the request of the Sheriff’s Office. Wester was suspended Aug. 1 and fired a month later. The allegations prompted prosecutors in Marianna to review nearly 300 cases involving Wester. The prosecutors ultimately dropped charges in nearly 120 cases.
Tallahassee Democrat | Article | July 10, 2019
Bill Glenn was faced with a decision: Return to the Florida State men’s basketball team in 1967 or enroll in law school at Duke. Glenn, a former basketball star at Tallahassee’s Leon High and FSU who later practiced law and served as a U.S. bankruptcy judge, died Sunday in his hometown of Jacksonville. He was appointed to the Budget Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States in 2013. Prior to that, in 2010 he was elected to the National Board of Trustees of the American Inns of Court Foundation. Glenn was appointed to the bankruptcy bench for the Middle District of Florida in 1993, serving until September 2011.
Jacksonville Daily Record | Article | July 11, 2019
After being president of the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association in 2017-18 and president of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers in 2018-19, Jennifer Shoaf Richardson is ready to trade her gavel for her briefcase. “I’m looking forward to focusing on my practice and working on my board certification in employment law,” said Richardson, an associate attorney in the Jackson Lewis law firm’s Jacksonville office. The state association convened during The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention two weeks ago in Boca Raton to review the year, recognize its outstanding leaders and install Richardson’s successor, Tampa attorney Kyleen Hinkle.
WOGX FOX 51 Alachua County | Article | July 10, 2019
With backers trying to get a series of high-profile constitutional amendments on the 2020 ballot, three proposals are dominating the critical process of collecting petition signatures. As of Wednesday morning [July 10], the political committee Citizens for Energy Choices had submitted 339,553 signatures for a ballot proposal that would require major changes and deregulation in Florida’s electric utility industry, according to the state Division of Elections. The political committee Florida For A Fair Wage had submitted 331,694 signatures for a ballot proposal that would gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. The All Voters Vote committee had submitted 219,401 signatures for its proposal, which would revamp the state’s primary-election system. Each committee must submit 766,200 valid signatures to the state and get Supreme Court approval of the proposed ballot wording to reach the November 2020 ballot.
Civil Justice Issues
Miami Herald | Article | July 11, 2019
The city of South Miami will soon join the Southern Poverty Law Center and the University of Miami and push back against a new law banning sanctuary cities, as commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday [July 9] to hire an attorney to file suit against the controversial measure. Passed by the state Legislature this spring and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis in June, the measure requires local and state law enforcement to comply with federal immigration detainers. Detainers are law enforcement requests that police agencies detain immigrants arrested for other reasons if a federal agency has probable cause to believe the immigrant could be deported.
Criminal Justice Issues
Fort Myers News-Press | Article | July 11, 2019
If local activist Anthony Thomas has his way, Fort Myers will become the next Florida municipality to decriminalize marijuana. Thomas is collecting signatures to have the proposed amendment to the city charter on the ballot during next year’s election. The amendment calls for officers to issue a $100 citation in lieu of an arrest. If the referendum gets on the ballot and is approved, Fort Myers would join more than a dozen other Florida municipalities that have moved in this direction. The cities include Miami Beach, Hallandale Beach, Key West and Tampa, and Osceola, Palm Beach and Volusia counties have similar programs.