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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.

August 20, 2019

  1. Legal Profession

    THE BAR’S OLDEST ACTIVE ATTORNEY, WJ “JACKSON” VAUGHN, AT 105, IS A LIVING TESTAMENT TO THE HISTORY OF THE PROFESSION

    The Florida Bar News | Column | August 20, 2019

    Rebecca Bandy, director of the Henry Latimer Center for Professional, writes: “At 105, William Jackson Vaughn is the oldest active member of The Florida Bar. . .  He still reports to the WJ Vaughn Law Firm in Melbourne several times per week with the assistance of his daughter, Elise Vaughn, who is also an attorney . . . Mr. Vaughn said that practicing law has been quite pleasant most of the time. He says that attorneys should have high ethics, have high standards and should be looked up to in the community. “When I started, there were a limited number of attorneys in Brevard County, and we helped each other. There was competition, but it was with respect.”

  2. Criminal Justice Issues

    THIS IS WHY THERE ONLY WILL BE 6 JURORS IN THE MICHAEL DREJKA CASE

    WTSP | Article | August 19, 2019

    Florida is one of a few states in the United States to seat a jury of six in criminal cases. Those six people, not 12 like elsewhere, decide a defendant’s fate. Efforts are being made right now to find six impartial jurors, plus four alternates, in the case against 49-year-old Michael Drejka. He is charged with manslaughter in the July 2018 shooting death of Markeis McGlockton outside a Clearwater convenience store. Drejka has a right to a jury trial as inscribed in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In allowing a six-member jury, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Williams v. Florida (1970) that Florida’s use of a six-person jury in criminal cases does not violate a defendant’s right to a jury trial.

  3. Legal Discipline

    FLORIDA ATTORNEY SUSPENDED FOR WORKING ALABAMA MURDER APPEAL

    Alabama.com | Article | August 19, 2019

    A Florida attorney was suspended when a court ruled he misrepresented himself to a Shelby County woman, who was convicted of murder, without actually being licensed to practice in Alabama. The Florida Supreme Court last month ordered attorney David Jay Bernstein suspended from practicing law for one year. Angela Yvonne Allen was convicted of murder in Shelby County in 2011 for the stabbing death of 28-year-old Bobby Lee Bray. According to court documents in the discipline case, Bernstein said he would handle her case in federal court for $4,500.  Allen’s appeal was denied but Bernstein did not communicate the appeal’s dismissal to Allen and “continued to hold himself out as her lawyer and provide her with purported legal assistance.”

  4. Civil Justice Issues

    THIS SECRETIVE GROUP IS TRYING TO CREATE BARRIERS TO AMENDING FLORIDA’S CONSTITUTION

    Miami Herald | Article | August 20, 2019

    A secretive organization with the goal of thwarting amendments approved by voters after the 2020 election cycle has spent more than $800,000 on paid petition gatherers in the last four months, using funds from undisclosed sources and raising the specter of another high stakes fight over the future of energy regulation in Florida. The organization calls itself Keep Our Constitution Clean and says its purpose is to keep the state’s premier legal document uncluttered by special interest measures. But activists involved in other petition drives say they believe the group is linked to the utility industry, which is opposing a proposed amendment that would deregulate the state’s monopoly utilities. While Keep Our Constitution Clean has filed an annual report with the Division of Corporations, as required by law, it has not filed a disclosure of its donors as required for nonprofits by the IRS and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

  5. Civil Justice

    AMENDMENT 4 PANEL BEGINS WORK ON VOTING RIGHTS RESTORATION PROCEDURES

    Tallahassee Democrat | Article | August 19, 2019

    An eight-member panel appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to conduct a review of the state voter registration process for people with a felony conviction breezed through its first meeting in about an hour Monday [Aug. 19]. Lawmakers created the Restoration of Voting Rights Work Group after voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4 — to restore voting rights to those with felony convictions upon completion of all terms of their sentence. The panel will review of the voter registration verification process and issue a report in January. Although the ballot amendment did not say anything about financial penalties, when the Legislature wrote the implementing bill, they included a requirement that all court-ordered fines, fees and restitution be paid before voting rights are restored. When elections supervisors told lawmakers they did not know where to find that information, a working group was formed to streamline the process.

  6. Legislature

    PROPOSALS TAKE AIM AT STATE’S BAN ON FIREWORKS

    WOGX | Article | August 19, 2019

    Floridians could add more sparkle to the Fourth of July and two other holidays, under the latest attempt to water down the state’s prohibition against fireworks. The push to make the sale of fireworks legal on Independence Day, Memorial Day and New Year’s Eve is being spearheaded by two Republican lawmakers who have filed legislation (SB 140, HB 65) for consideration during the 2020 legislative session, which begins in January. Under Florida law, relatively innocuous devices such as sparklers are legal for Floridians to buy. But “firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles, dago bombs, and any fireworks containing any explosives or flammable compound or any tablets or other device containing any explosive substance” are off-limits.

  7. Criminal Justice

    PANAMA CITY POLICE HELP BUST MULTI-STATE HUMAN TRAFFICKING RING

    WMBB | Article | August 19, 2019

    A joint investigation performed by Panama City Police and the FBI has ended with the arrest of a Pensacola man and the dismantling of a human trafficking ring. The investigation began in 2017 when investigators sent a confidential informant into a massage business on Beck Avenue. Once inside an Asian woman offered to perform sexual acts on the informant for more money, investigators wrote. As the investigation continued officers learned that the business was owned by 41-year-old David Williams of Pensacola. Late last week, Williams was arrested and charged with using interstate facilities for purposes of racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the harboring of illegal aliens for commercial advantage or private financial gain. Agents in Pennsylvania executed nine search warrants in six  cities. And in Florida they executed multiple federal search warrants in Pensacola, Gulf Breeze and Gainesville.

  8. Civil Justice

    ICE AND ITS FLORIDA CONTRACTOR FAILED TO TREAT IMMIGRANTS HUMANELY, LAWSUIT CLAIMS

    South Florida Sun-Sentinel | Article | August 19, 2019

    A lawsuit filed Monday [Aug. 19] alleges that immigration detention authorities have failed to ensure that tens of thousands of immigrants are held in safe and humane conditions as required by federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit in California blames ICE for not providing the required medical care, attending to needs of the disabled, and segregating detainees who are at risk for suicide. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 55,000 detainees and future detainees in 160 ICE detention centers across the country. Most are under contract with Geo Group, based in Boca Raton, or CoreCivic, another private contractor based in Nashville. Geo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit. Geo is one of the largest prison and detention center contractors in the world with $2.33 billion in revenue last year.

  9. Criminal Justice

    RX FOR DANGER: A LOOK INSIDE BUILDING CASE AGAINST PILL MILL SUSPECTS

    Orlando Sentinel | Article | August 19, 2019

    Drug agents have called them the worst pill mills in Central Florida and among the worst in the state.  From a small pain clinic near downtown Orlando and an affiliated office east of there, a single doctor prescribed more oxycodone during a three-month period in 2010 than all doctors in the state of California combined, agents said. Ex-employees told law-enforcement officers that one of the clinics’ managers crushed and snorted painkillers in the office. A former office assistant said a shipment of 3,200 oxycodone pills had disappeared one day. Those are just a few of the details in a nearly 200-page affidavit filed in Orange County Circuit Court in the racketeering case against doctors Riyaz Jummani and Aron Rotman, and Lewis Shapiro and his sons Jarrett Shapiro and Darin Shapiro, who owned or managed the clinics the doctors worked in.

  10. Criminal Justice

    ‘BLOOD CAN TELL A COMPELLING STORY, EVEN 21 YEARS LATER.’ TRIAL BEGINS IN COLD-CASE MURDER

    South Florida Sun-Sentinel | Article | August 19, 2019

    Sondra Better’s daughters waited more than 20 years for an arrest in their 68-year-old mother’s brutal killing inside a Delray Beach consignment shop. But they only had to wait about five months for the trial of Todd Barket, 51, to begin Monday [Aug. 19] in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, on first-degree murder and robbery charges. “Blood can tell a compelling story, even 21 years later,” said Assistant State Attorney Richard Clausi. But Assistant Public Defender Joseph Walsh declared it’s not so simple: “Things aren’t always what they seem.” The trial continues today.

  11. Criminal Justice

    MIDDLEBURG MAN GETS 15 YEARS IN PRISON IN DEADLY HIT-AND-RUN CASE

    News4Jax | Article | August 19, 2019

    A Middleburg man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter in a deadly 2017 hit-and-run. Joseph Wayne Wooten, 28, entered the guilty plea last week as part of a plea agreement in which prosecutors dropped a count of leaving the scene of a deadly crash, according to court records. The charges stem from the death of Bradley Kirk, a 29-year-old Jacksonville father of three, who died after he was hit while walking along West Beaver Street. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Wooten left the scene, but authorities found his vehicle about 12 hours later. Surveillance video showed Wooten apparently drinking at a bar three hours before the wreck.

  12. Tech Tip

    OUTLOOK ADD-IN MAKES SCHEDULING MEETINGS EASY

    The Florida Bar | Article | August 20, 2019

    FindTime is an Outlook add-in and website that attacks the age-old problem of finding a meeting time among attendees. Via an Outlook email, it allows you to select and show a set of days and times to a group, allowing everyone to vote and quickly come to a consensus. To learn more and download and install the add in, visit: findtime.microsoft.com.

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