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TFB Daily News Summary - June 15, 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017  

THE FLORIDA BAR

Daily News Summary

An electronic digest of media coverage of interest to members of The Florida Bar compiled each workday by the Public Information and Bar Services Department and distributed to the Board of Governors, section and committee chairs, voluntary bar presidents, members of the judiciary and others.

 

JUNE 15, 2017

 

Judiciary

CITING POTENTIAL ‘CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS,’ VOTING GROUPS ASK COURT TO TELL GOVERNOR HE CAN’T APPOINT MORE JUSTICES

Tampa Bay Times| Article | June 15, 2017

The Florida Supreme Court is being asked to avoid a potential “constitutional crisis” and affirm that Gov. Rick Scott does not have the authority to appoint judges whose terms expire on the same day he leaves office in 2019. The request came in the form of a quo warranto petition filed late Wednesday [June 14] by the Florida League of Women Voters and Common Cause. Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince are scheduled to retire because they will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 by Jan. 8, 2019, the same day a new governor will be sworn in to replace Scott.

 

ALSO READ:

VOTERS CHALLENGE SCOTT'S PLAN TO REPLACE JUSTICES ON HIS LAST DAY

Daily Business Review | Article | June 14, 2017

 

PROGRESSIVE GROUPS SUE OVER RICK SCOTT’S JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT POWER

Florida Politics | Article | June 14, 2017

 

Judiciary

FLORIDA GOVERNOR APPROVES PAY RAISES FOR STATE WORKERS

Palm Beach Post| Article | June 14, 2017

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation Wednesday [June 14] providing across-the-board pay raises to state employees for the first time since 2013. Judges, state attorneys and public defenders will see 10 percent raises. The bill includes a complex matrix of raises for different state employees. Employees making $40,000 or less will get a $1,400 boost to their pay, while those making more will get an additional $1,000. State law enforcement officers will get a 5 percent hike, while most current correctional officers will get an extra $2,500 a year.

 

Civil Justice Issues

SUPREME COURT TAKES CASE ABOUT JUDGES V. JURIES IN CIVIL ACTIONS

Daily Business Review| Article | June 14, 2017

The tough question of when it’s appropriate for judges rather than juries to decide civil cases is back in the Florida Supreme Court. The issue surfaced in Harvey v. Geico, a bad faith insurance case from the Fourth District Court of Appeal. A Fourth DCA opinion from 2015 was Exhibit A in a brief that persuaded the Supreme Court to review the Harvey case on the basis that the Fourth District’s ruling defied high court precedent.

 

Legislature

CORCORAN DOESN’T PLAY SMALL BALL

News Service of Florida| Article | June 14, 2017

With his new-found alliance with Gov. Rick Scott, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, is already envisioning another “bold, transformative” legislative agenda in 2018. The session, which starts early in January, will be the last regular session for Corcoran and Scott, who both face term limits. Likely items on the House agenda will be a few Corcoran-backed items that came up short in the 2017 session. Among them may be another attempt to impose term limits on appellate judges, including the members of the Florida Supreme Court.

 

Civil Justice Issues

A BLIND CUSTOMER COULDN’T USE WINN-DIXIE’S WEBSITE. HE SUED. CHANGES ARE COMING

Miami Herald| Article | June 13, 2017

A Miami federal judge has ruled that Winn-Dixie violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to make its website accessible to blind and visually impaired users. In a landmark win for civil rights advocates on Monday [June 12], the Jacksonville-based grocery and pharmacy chain has set aside $250,000 to revamp its online site and was ordered to pay the plaintiffs legal fees. The case was brought by Miami resident Juan Gil, who is legally blind and uses screen reading technology to access the internet. The software could not read information on www.winndixie.com when he tried to order a prescription and look up store hours.

 

Criminal Justice Issues

MURDER CHARGES FOR FATAL FENTANYL DEALERS: NOW FLORIDA LAW

Florida Politics| Article | June 14, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 477 on Wednesday [June 14], a bill that would subject opioid dealers whose toxic product killed the end user to murder charges. HB 477 targets fentanyl and similar drugs by adding them to the Schedule 1 classification, along with heroin, MDMA, LSD and cannabis. The potential death penalty for traffickers already existed for cocaine, opium and methadone.

 

Legal Discipline

DISBARRED WINTER PARK LAWYER SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON

Orlando Sentinel| Article | June 13, 2017

A federal judge sentenced a disbarred Winter Park attorney who pleaded guilty to defrauding clients to 10 years in prison Tuesday [June 13] and ordered her to pay $2.7 million in restitution, a U.S. Attorney’s spokesman said. Julie Kronhaus, 52, was accused of taking clients’ money and spending it on personal expenses. The Florida Supreme Court disbarred Kronhaus in 2015. She pleaded guilty to wire and bank fraud in January. She could have faced more than 50 years in prison.

Criminal Justice Issues

CONSERVATIVE GROUP FORMS TO OPPOSE FLORIDA’S DEATH PENALTY

Florida Politics| Article | June 14, 2017

A handful of Republicans and Libertarians gathered in Orlando on Wednesday [June 14] to announce formation of a conservative group to oppose Florida’s death penalty, yet distanced themselves from controversial and progressive anti-death penalty State Attorney Aramis Ayala, whose office was only 30 feet away. Florida Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty is an offshoot of a national group Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty seeking to get death penalty laws repealed state-by-state. Marc Hyden, national advocacy coordinator with the group, was joined by several Republican public defenders and Libertarian and Republican activists.


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