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Jorge Labarga

Supreme Court admonishes judge over ‘misleading’ campaign conduct

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday publicly reprimanded an Orlando-area circuit judge for an advertisement during her 2014 election campaign that Chief Justice Jorge Labarga said included false statements that “misled” the public.

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Justices reject resentencing in 1976 murder

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

In a case stemming from the 1976 strangulation of a 13-year-old girl, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected arguments that a Death Row inmate should receive a new sentencing hearing. The arguments by attorneys for inmate James Ernest Hitchcock were rooted in a major 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling and subsequent Florida decisions that have led to requiring unanimous jury recommendations before defendants can be sentenced to death.

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Sixth Judicial Circuit judge Peter Ramsberger wins award for judicial excellence

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Peter Ramsberger is the 2017 recipient of the Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence. The Chief Justice Awards for Judicial Excellence, established in 2014 and bestowed annually, recognize one county court judge and one circuit judge who demonstrate exceptional commitment to the judicial branch and who personify judicial excellence. Ramsberger, who was elected to the Pinellas County bench in 1990 and appointed to his position in the Sixth Circuit in 1997, was presented with the award…

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Florida Bar will focus on ‘protecting the courts’ during constitutional revision process

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The new president of The Florida Bar says the organization is standing by to offer “technical legal” support to the Constitution Revision Commission as it readies to amend the state’s governing document, which could include changes affecting the judicial branch. But Michael J. Higer, a partner in Berger Singerman’s Miami office, won’t say which public proposals already filed he favors—or fears. He assumed the Bar presidency on June 23. “It is too early in the process to focus on any…

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Florida Bar holds annual convention this week

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by
The Florida Bar

The Florida Bar‘s Annual Convention begins Wednesday at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, with “a focus on the future of the legal profession and the challenges lawyers face,” the organization said in a news release. On Friday, Miami attorney Michael J. Higer will be sworn in as the Bar’s 69th president, and West Palm Beach attorney Michelle Suskauer will become the Bar’s president-elect. She’ll assume the presidency next June. The Bar is charged with regulating the state’s 104,000 licensed attorneys. The theme of this year’s…

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Progressive groups sue over Rick Scott’s judicial appointment power

in 2017/Top Headlines by

When Gov. Rick Scott appointed a conservative jurist to the state’s Supreme Court in December, he made clear he wasn’t done. “I will appoint three more justices the morning I finish my term,” he said, referring to the mandatory retirement in early 2019 of the court’s liberal-leaning triumvirate of Justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy A. Quince and R. Fred Lewis. Now, two progressive organizations are saying to Scott: Prove you can. They say he can’t. The League of Women Voters of Florida (LWVF)…

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Martin Dyckman: Judges are not politicians, nor should they play politics

in Statewide by

When the Florida Constitution Revision Commission was debating the election of judges 20 years ago, I sat in the gallery to hear my own words used to attack something that my editorials and columns consistently had supported. The issue was whether all trial judges should be chosen exclusively by appointment, without elections, in the same manner as Supreme Court justices and judges of the district courts of appeal. A commission member who opposed that found a column in which I…

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