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.
May 25, 2023
The Florida Bar
FOUNDATION’S 2023 FLORIDA PRO BONO LAW SCHOOL CHALLENGE WINNERS NAMED
The Florida Bar | Article | May 25, 2023
The Florida Bar Foundation has announced the winners of the 2023 Florida Pro Bono Law School Challenge in May. The University of Florida Levin College of Law won the MVP Pro Bono Award for matching the most students with its own alumni. Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law won for most alumni engagement, and St. Thomas University Benjamin L. Crump College of Law won for most student engagement. This is the fifth year of the challenge, which transitioned to a year-round platform in January. Winners were calculated based on numbers from the spring semester; going forward, the entire school year will be used to determine award winners. The Foundation will present the awards to the winners at its Annual Award Ceremony and Breakfast on June 22 during the Annual Florida Bar Convention.
GOV. DESANTIS SIGNS ‘GREYSON’S LAW’ SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AT RISK OF PARENTAL HARM
Politico | Article | May 24, 2023
Starting on July 1, “Greyson’s Law” will introduce additional factors that courts must consider when determining guardianship and time-sharing in Florida. The law is named after Greyson Kessler, a boy who was killed by his father in a murder-suicide in 2021. The new law requires courts to consider evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, neglect, abuse, or abandonment. It also recognizes a parent’s reasonable belief that they or their child are in immediate danger. These factors will be considered alongside existing provisions in Florida Statutes that allow individuals to seek injunctions for domestic violence if they have been victims or reasonably believe they will be. The law also updates the format of domestic violence forms, making it easier for victims to document their experiences. These changes aim to enhance protection for victims of abuse and improve the reporting process.
A NEW BAR EXAM IS COMING. HERE’S WHAT IT WILL TEST.
Reuters | Article | May 25, 2023
The National Conference of Bar Examiners has released details about the NextGen Bar Exam, set to launch in July 2026. The 42-page outline outlines the specific lawyering skills and areas of law that will be covered in the revamped exam. Unlike the current exam, which heavily relies on memorization, the NextGen exam will incorporate more legal skills and resources. It will integrate knowledge and skills through a variety of question formats, using common fact patterns to test multiple areas of law. The exam will focus on seven skills areas, including client counseling, legal research, and negotiations, and will test examinees in eight areas of law, such as civil procedure and contracts. The exam will no longer include subjects like family law and the Uniform Commercial Code. The National Conference has conducted pilot tests with law students and graduates and plans to release sample questions soon. The final length of the exam is yet to be determined but is expected to be shorter than the current one.
PRIVATE EMPLOYERS WITH 25 OR MORE WORKERS MUST NOW USE E-VERIFY IN ONBOARDING PROCESS
Daily Business Review | Article | May 25, 2023
On May 10, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that expands the use of E-Verify for employment eligibility verification. Starting July 1, the new law requires all private employers with 25 or more employees to use E-Verify as part of the onboarding process for new hires. Previously, the requirement was limited to public employers and contractors. E-Verify is a digital tool that compares employee information with records from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. Employers must verify employment eligibility within three business days using Form I-9 and E-Verify. If there is a mismatch, the employer receives a tentative nonconfirmation (TNC) and the employee has 10 days to resolve the issue. Failure to comply may result in fines, license suspension, or revocation. The law also provides incentives for employers voluntarily using E-Verify.
SHOCKED BY ‘HORRIFIC’ STORIES OF KIDS HOUSED IN NURSING HOMES, JUDGE TELLS FLORIDA: FIX IT
Miami Herald | Article | May 25, 2023
A civil rights lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department against state health regulators in Florida may finally free 140 children with complex medical needs from nursing homes after a 12-year delay. U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks presided over the recent trial, where testimony indicated that children in these facilities experienced loneliness and isolation. The judge tentatively believes that Florida is violating the civil rights of these children, citing a landmark 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deems it unlawful discrimination to confine individuals with disabilities to institutions. Dr. Mary Ehlenbach, a witness and medical director, testified about the bleak conditions and lack of interaction for the children. The judge expressed a desire to act quickly and bring the case to a conclusion without undue delay. While a settlement is encouraged, the judge is prepared to order reforms if necessary to address the state’s discrimination against these children.
JURY RECOMMENDS DEATH FOR JOSEPH ZIELER IN DECADES-OLD CAPE CORAL DOUBLE HOMICIDE
Fort Myers News - Press | Article | May 25, 2023
Joseph Zieler has been unanimously recommended the death penalty by a jury in the case of the 1990 murders of Robin Cornell and her babysitter Lisa Story. The victims were asphyxiated and sexually assaulted, and their bodies were discovered by Robin’s mother. The case remained unsolved until November 2016 when DNA evidence linked Zieler to the crime. Mental health experts testified about Zieler’s competency during the penalty phase, with conflicting opinions on his condition. Relatives of the victims expressed their emotions upon hearing the verdict, while Zieler showed no reaction. The jury considered aggravating factors, including Zieler’s criminal history and the severity of the crime, before reaching their decision. Zieler will have an opportunity to appeal the jury’s decision in a Spencer hearing on June 26.