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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.

September 19, 2023

  1. The Florida Bar

    ALMOST 7,000 RESPOND TO JUDICIAL CIRCUIT CONSOLIDATION SURVEYS

    The Florida Bar | Article | September 19, 2023

    The Supreme Court panel reviewing the consolidation of Florida judicial circuits has received nearly 7,000 survey responses, with Fourth District Court of Appeal Judge Jonathan Gerber, who chairs the Judicial Circuit Assessment Committee, expressing gratitude for the robust response. The committee was appointed by Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz after House Speaker Paul Renner suggested consolidation for efficiency and cost savings. The committee’s recommendations, due by December 1, will focus on whether there’s a need to reduce Florida’s judicial circuits. Public opposition to consolidation was evident at a recent public hearing. The committee is still compiling survey results, which include input from court professionals and the public. The panel is also considering fiscal impacts of consolidation. Public comments will be accepted until October 13.

  2. Legal Discipline

    FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SUSPENDS STATE PROSECUTOR FOR 2 YEARS

    Daily Business Review | Article | September 18, 2023

    The Florida Supreme Court has suspended prosecutor Bryon Aven of the Brevard State Attorney’s Office for two years due to knowingly presenting false information during a trial. Aven failed to show surveillance video to jurors that contradicted the false testimony of multiple witnesses in a case dating back to May 2017. The defendant, Robert Cason, faced two felony counts and up to 30 years in prison for an altercation involving a minivan for hire. Aven, in violation of The Florida Bar’s ethical rules, introduced the surveillance video but did not present it to the jury. When the video was eventually shown, it contradicted the witnesses’ testimony. Aven’s supervisor and the court found prosecutorial misconduct, leading to the two-year suspension.

  3. Florida Supreme Court

    FLORIDA SPORTS GAMBLING FIGHT HEADS TO U.S. SUPREME COURT

    News Service of Florida | Article | September 18, 2023

    Owners of two Florida pari-mutuels, Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room, plan to seek U.S. Supreme Court intervention in a case questioning the legality of a multibillion-dollar deal giving the Seminole Tribe control of sports betting in Florida. A Washington, D.C.-based appeals court recently declined to reconsider its ruling that found the 2021 agreement did not violate the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The owners argue that this decision conflicts with other appellate rulings and could set a precedent for expanding gaming beyond Indian lands. The dispute centers on the sports-betting aspect of the deal, with the plaintiffs contending it violates federal law and could harm their operations. The case has wide-ranging implications for legalized gaming policy in the state.

  4. Civil Justice

    FLORIDA DEMOCRAT FILES BILL TO SHIELD WOMEN WHO GET ABORTIONS FROM CRIMINAL CHARGES

    News Service of Florida | Article | September 18, 2023

    Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book filed a bill in response to Governor Ron DeSantis’ recent comments to prevent women from being charged with crimes after obtaining abortions in Florida. DeSantis signed a law in April prohibiting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, with felony charges for those involved in performing the procedure. However, DeSantis clarified that the penalties were aimed at medical providers, not women seeking abortions. Book’s bill, SB 34, aims to explicitly state that criminal penalties do not apply to pregnant women who terminate their pregnancies. The bill seeks to address concerns about women facing criminalization or jail time due to the abortion law. The six-week ban is contingent on a Florida Supreme Court ruling regarding a 15-week abortion restriction. Critics, including Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Nikki Fried, expressed skepticism about trusting DeSantis’ assurances regarding the law’s impact on women.

  5. Civil Justice

    FLORIDA DEFENDS IMMIGRATION LAW THAT TARGETS PEOPLE WHO TRANSPORT UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS

    News Service of Florida | Article | September 18, 2023

    Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody urged U.S. District Judge Roy Altman to reject a preliminary injunction sought by the Farmworker Association of Florida and individuals challenging a new state law targeting those transporting undocumented immigrants into Florida. The law, part of a broader immigration bill, threatens felony charges for such transport. Plaintiffs argue federal immigration law supersedes it and claim it’s unconstitutionally vague. Moody’s office counters that the law reasonably focuses on inspections for health and security reasons. Supporters say it prevents human smuggling, while opponents argue it can disrupt family visits, healthcare access, and aid from churches. Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Moody have actively pursued immigration policy, challenging the Biden administration and organizing charter flights for migrants.

  6. Legal Education

    THIS FLORIDA LAW SCHOOL SCORED HIGHEST PASSAGE RATE FOR FIRST-TIME BAR EXAM TAKERS

    Daily Business Review | Article | September 18, 2023

    Florida International University College of Law achieved the highest passage rate of first-time test takers in the July bar examination in Tampa, exceeding 91%. This success was attributed to the dedication and excellence of FIU Law graduates, who benefited from a strong foundation provided by the dedicated faculty. Out of over 2,160 first-time applicants, nearly 71% passed the bar exam, with FIU Law leading with over 110 out of nearly 125 successful candidates. Florida State University College of Law followed with more than 83% passing. Stetson University College of Law and the University of Florida College of Law tied for third place, each with an approximately 80% passage rate. In contrast, Florida A&M University College of Law had the lowest first-time bar passage rate at less than 42%, followed by Barry University School of Law with less than 58%, and St. Thomas University College of Law with nearly 60%.

  7. Tech Tip

    IN-MEETING ZOOM SECURITY OPTIONS

    The Florida Bar | Article | September 18, 2023

    By utilizing the Security icon in the Zoom control bar, you can minimize disruption and keep your meeting secure. Features in the Security icon allow you to lock meetings, hide profile pictures, and remove participants. Simply start your Zoom meeting as the host or co-host and click “Security” on the control’s toolbar.

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