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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.

November 19, 2020

  1. The Florida Bar

    FEBRUARY BAR EXAM TO BE ADMINISTERED REMOTELY

    The Florida Bar | Article | November 19, 2020

    The Florida Board of Bar Examiners, with the approval of the Supreme Court, will administer the General Bar Examination scheduled for Feb. 23-24, 2021, remotely. This decision is based on current COVID-19 infection rates, which are rising in almost every U.S. jurisdiction.  Based on that current trend, and with the future trend of COVID-19 infection rates in Florida being uncertain, any plans to have an in-person administration in February 2021 would have been at risk of cancellation depending on the pandemic conditions in early 2021, according to the FBBE.

  2. Criminal Justice

    WOMAN SENTENCED FOR SETTING UP FAKE LAW FIRMS

    Bay News 9 | Article | November 19, 2020

    A Florida woman accused of setting up two fake law firms and pretending to be an attorney has been sentenced to four years and six months in prison. Roberta Guedes, 41, was sentenced Wednesday [Nov. 18] in Tampa federal court, according to court records. She pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. She was also ordered to pay $14,318 in restitution to her victims. According to court documents, Guedes graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 2014 but twice failed The Florida Bar exam. Despite never being licensed to practice law, Guedes incorporated two fake law firms in downtown Tampa. She took on multiple client-victims, representing them in immigration proceedings and family law matters.

  3. Judiciary

    EDITORIAL: JUDGESHIPS SHOULD BE AWARDED BASED ON MERIT

    Orlando Sentinel | Editorial | November 19, 2020

    The editorial states: “A Florida Supreme Court justice once tore an incriminating piece of evidence into 17 pieces and flushed it down a toilet. That kind of foolishness prompted Gov. Reubin Askew to reform how judges are hired in Florida. He created Judicial Nominating Commissions, which would recommend judges based on merit, not politics and patronage. A half-century later . . . . Political ideology is now the key qualifier for judges.  Since the governor and majority of legislators share that notion . . . It will require a constitutional amendment to restore JNCs to their original setup and purpose. That means the public needs to take charge, much like it did in 2018 when Amendment 4 restored voting rights to ex-felons. “

  4. Criminal Justice

    PASCO’S SHERIFF USES GRADES AND ABUSE HISTORIES TO LABEL SCHOOLCHILDREN POTENTIAL CRIMINALS

    Tampa Bay Times | Article | November 19, 2020

    The Pasco Sheriff’s Office keeps a secret list of kids it thinks could “fall into a life of crime” based on factors like whether they’ve been abused or gotten a D or an F in school, according to the agency’s internal intelligence manual. The Sheriff’s Office assembles the list by combining the rosters for most middle and high schools in the county with records protected by state and federal law. Four hundred and twenty students are on the list, the Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t tell the students or their parents about the designation. Sheriff Chris Nocco declined requests to be interviewed, but in written statements, the Sheriff’s Office said the list is used only to help the deputies assigned to middle and high schools offer “mentorship” and “resources” to students.

  5. Judiciary

    SENATE CONFIRMS FEDERAL JUDGE TO SERVE IN TAMPA

    Tampa Bay Times | Article | November 18, 2020

    The youngest U.S. district judge nominated by President Trump was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday [Nov. 18] evening to serve in the Tampa division of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. But the nomination of Washington, D.C., attorney Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a 33-year-old Lakeland native, has made waves in the legal community. The American Bar Association sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September saying that, despite her credentials, Mizelle’s lack of trial experience renders her unqualified to be appointed to the federal judiciary.

  6. Civil Justice

    NEW ‘LEGAL TUNE UP’ APP HELPS PEOPLE CHECK PUBLIC RECORDS FOR LEGAL ISSUES AND RESOLVE THEM

    LawSites | Article | November 09, 2020

    Minor legal infractions from the past can have major consequences in the present when they appear in public records, keeping some individuals from obtaining gainful employment. A unique new app called Legal Tune Up is designed to help Wisconsin residents address that problem. It enables them to access public data to identify legal issues — issues they might not even be aware of — and then resolve those issues on their own. A study published in June in the Harvard Law Review found that individuals who obtain expungement of criminal records see sharp upturns in their wage and employment trajectories, with an average 22% increase in earnings within a year.

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