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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. Electronic links are only active in today's edition. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.

March 22, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH ATTORNEY MICHELLE SUSKAUER ELECTED FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT-ELECT DESIGNATE; THREE BOARD MEMBER SEATS FILLED

The Florida Bar | News release | March 22, 2017

West Palm Beach attorney Michelle Suskauer has been chosen as president-elect designate of The Florida Bar. Suskauer will be sworn in as president-elect at the Bar's annual convention in Boca Raton on June 23, when current President-elect Michael J. Higer of Miami becomes president. Suskauer will begin her term as Bar president in June 2018. Also decided in the voting, which ended March 21, were contested elections for The Florida Bar Board of Governors in the: 8th Circuit, Stephanie Marusak Marchman, Gainesville; 13th Circuit, Amy S. Farrior, Tampa; and 20th Circuit, Marcy L. Shaw, Fort Myers.

STATEMENT BY FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT WILLIAM J. SCHIFINO, JR., REGARDING PROPOSED FEDERAL DEFUNDING OF LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION

The Florida Bar | News release | March 21, 2017

President William J. Schifino, Jr.: "As Florida works on the difficult issue of access to civil justice, The Florida Bar and its more than 100,000 members stand firm in our longtime position to support adequate funding for the Legal Services Corporation and to oppose any funding cuts. It is distressing that the latest budget proposal eliminates funding for the national organization providing vital grants to nonprofit legal organizations that assist low-income people. Defunding LSC would cause a loss of more than $21 million a year to Florida's already stressed legal aid system, leaving vulnerable children, seniors, veterans and many other Floridians without advocates to protect their legal rights. I hope the voices of Florida's lawyers, joining with those of other concerned and affected Americans, will persuade Congress to maintain funding for the Legal Services Corporation."

NEIL GORSUCH CONFIRMATION HEARINGS: SUPREME COURT NOMINEE HEADS INTO DAY 3

The Washington Post | Article | March 22, 2017

Judge Neil Gorsuch prepared Wednesday [March 22] for a third day of confirmation hearings for a seat on the Supreme Court, after a grueling day during which he stressed his independence and defended the integrity of the federal judiciary as senators pressed him about his judicial philosophy. From the first question from a friendly Republican to a grilling by a Democrat hours later, Gorsuch was called upon to state his impartiality and reassure senators that he would not be swayed by political pressure if he wins confirmation, which appeared even more likely after his marathon session.

CANTERO: FLORIDA SHOULD REVIEW ENTIRE DEATH PENALTY PROCESS

Tallahassee Democrat | Column | March 21, 2017

Raoul Cantero, a former state Supreme Court justice, writes: "Last week, Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation sponsored by Criminal Justice Chair Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Ocoee, requiring that jury recommendations be unanimous (12-0) to impose death sentences. While this legislation corrected a longstanding process anomaly, there is a range of other compelling process issues impacting the fairness, accuracy and impartiality of Florida's death penalty process."

'TRIAL LAWYERS ARE ON THE MARCH' AND FLORIDA CHAMBER'S 'CAPITOL DAYS' ARE MORE LIKE 'DREARY DAYS'

Tampa Bay Times | Article | March 22, 2017

One by one, Republican lawmakers delivered dreary news at the Florida Chamber of Commerce's "Capitol Days" on Tuesday [March 21] in Tallahassee. On issue after issue, pro-business bills are stalled, from curbing growing abuses in property insurance claims to changing the workers' comp system. "Capitol Days" continues Wednesday with a panel discussion that asks: "Is Florida closed for business?"

FLORIDA DUI IGNITION INTERLOCK BILL PASSES HOUSE COMMITTEE

WTSP News 10 | Article | March 22, 2017

A bill that would require an ignition interlock device on someone's vehicle after their first drunken driving conviction has passed its first committee in the Florida House of Representatives. The bill (HB 949) passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Tuesday [March 21]. It must go through two more committees before reaching the House floor. Florida would join 28 other states and the District of Columbia with similar laws.

TEENAGER SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS FOR MURDER COMMITTED WHEN HE WAS 12

Florida Times-Union | Article | March 20, 2017

In sentencing one of Jacksonville's youngest murderers, Circuit Judge Jack Schemer acknowledged the Supreme Court's consistent finding that children are different and less culpable than adults, and then gave the boy 30 years behind bars. Sharron Tommy Townsend, 15, pleaded guilty in June to second-degree murder in the slaying of 54-year-old Thomas Zona Trent in June 2014. As a part of a negotiated plea, Townsend's sentence had to be at least 10 years, but couldn't exceed 40. Townsend was 12 when he killed Trent.

U.S. SUPREME COURT EXTENDS EXPENSIVE FLORIDA-GEORGIA 'WATER WAR'

Orlando Sentinel | Article | March 20, 2017

Florida's "water war" with Georgia is not over. The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday [March 20] that more legal briefs will be filed in the case, including allowing Florida to contest a special master's report that recommended a ruling in Georgia's favor. If the full amount of time is taken to file the briefs, it could extend a decision by the nation's highest court into late June. Florida has spent nearly $72 million in legal fees on the case so far.

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