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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.

February 20, 2020

  1. The Florida Bar

    BILL WOULD MOVE MOST COUNTY COURT APPEALS TO THE DCAS

    The Florida Bar | Article | February 20, 2020

    The Daily News Summary features Florida Bar News articles on legislation addressing “no-show” jurors and a bill that would move most county court appeals to the District Court of Appeal. The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Subcommittee voted unanimously Feb. 18 to approve SB 1510, which would eliminate circuit court review of most county court decisions and end Florida’s distinction as being one of only five states that asks trial court judges to also hear appeals.

  2. Civil Justice

    FEDERAL APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS RULING THAT LIMITING AMENDMENT 4 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

    Miami Herald | Article | February 19, 2020

    A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday [Feb. 19] it was unconstitutional to force Florida felons to first pay off their financial obligations before registering to vote. The ruling by three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta applies only to the 17 felons who sued the state, claiming they were too poor to pay back all fines, fees and restitution to victims before voting. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who opposed Amendment 4, signed a bill into law last year defining “all terms” to include all financial obligations. The Florida Supreme Court recently agreed with that definition. But that requirement violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the judges wrote Wednesday. A spokesperson said the governor disagreed with the ruling and will seek a review from the full court.

  3. Criminal Justice

    FORMER LYNN HAVEN CITY MANAGER TO CHANGE PLEA IN FRAUD CASE

    Panama City News Herald | Article | February 18, 2020

    Former City Manager Michael White, indicted in a Lynn Haven corruption scandal, is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee Feb. 27 to change a previously entered plea of not guilty.  White was among five indicted in November following an investigation conducted by a Public Trust Unit established by Larry Keefe, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, and accused of conspiring to steal more than $5 million from the city of Lynn Haven in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

  4. Criminal Justice

    PLANT CITY REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER SENTENCED TO 20 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR BANK FRAUD

    Tampa Bay Business Journal | Article | February 19, 2020

    A U.S. District judge has sentenced Marek Harrison, 56, a Plant City real estate developer, to 20 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay $2.7 million in restitution for his role in a bank fraud scheme involving Saratoga Resort Villas, a condominium conversion of a former hotel located in Kissimmee.

  5. Civil Justice

    PENSACOLA’S BAYVIEW PARK CROSS CAN STAY, DOES NOT VIOLATE CONSTITUTION, APPEALS COURT RULES

    Pensacola News Journal | Article | February 19, 2020

    Pensacola’s Bayview Park cross can stay on city property after the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday [Feb. 19] that the presence of the cross does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated previous rulings that the cross violates the separation of church and state and ordered the circuit court to rehear the case in light of the high court’s ruling on the Bladensburg cross case, which was similar, but involved a World War I memorial on public land in Maryland. Applying the new Supreme Court ruling to the Bayview Park cross case, a three-judge panel concluded “the cross does not offend the Constitution.”

  6. Civil Justice

    PRIVACY ADVOCATES EXPRESS CONCERN OVER FLORIDA SCHOOLS SAFETY PORTAL FOR PREVENTING SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

    CBS Local 4 | Article | February 19, 2020

    The Florida Department of Education’s Florida Schools Safety Portal (FSSP) contains information on students including law enforcement data, Baker Act records, school discipline records, and information from FortifyFL, an app that details reports of suspicious incidents and social media information. The data would be available to school threat assessment teams but some are expressing concerns about the privacy of the information and bias in the data. The Florida Department of Education says that there are 1,065 authorized users in the Florida School Safety Portal from 26 school districts.

  7. Legal Profession

    LAWYERS REVEAL TRUE DEPTH OF MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLES

    Law.com | Article | February 19, 2020

    ALM’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey found that 31.2 percent of the more than 3,800 respondents in the legal field feel they are depressed, 64 percent feel they have anxiety, 10.1 percent feel they have an alcohol problem and 2.8 percent feel they have a drug problem. Asked whether their work environment contributes to those mental health issues, 73 percent said yes. And nearly three-quarters of all respondents, 74 percent, said yes when asked: “Do you think the profession has had a negative effect on your mental health over time?” When asked whether their firms have certain other procedures and programs in place to support good mental health, more respondents answered, “don’t know” than “yes.”

  8. The Florida Bar

    DID YOU SPOT A LLAMA IN DOWNTOWN TAMPA? WE SOLVED THE LLAMA DRAMA!

    Tampa Bay Times | Article | February 17, 2020

    A llama was seen walking through downtown Tampa Monday [Feb. 17] and it spurred much social media speculation. Photographs proliferated on social media. The Florida Bar later Tweeted a photo of a group of attorneys posing with the animal and his handler. From The Florida Bar Twitter account: “Sooooo, here’s an update on #TampaLlamaGate: The llama’s name is “Thaddeus.” He came from his farm into @Tampasdowntown today with his owner for “official llama business,” per sources.

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