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Judicial term limits

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

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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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Term limits for Supreme Court, appeals judges clear the Florida House, if barely

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A proposed constitutional amendment to impose term limits on justices of the Florida Supreme Court and state appellate judges squeaked through the Florida House Wednesday after a majority defeated a series of unfriendly — even sarcastic — amendments. HJR 1, by Eustis Republican Jennifer Sullivan, won 73 “Yes” votes — one more than the three-fifths support it needed. Forty-six members voted “No.” The measure would limit judges of the district courts of appeal and justices of the Supreme Court to 12…

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Guns, gambling and taxes: Legislators return to work

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Once the Florida Legislature kicks off its 60-day Session March 7, legislators are expected to pass, or kill, dozens of measures dealing with everything from abortion to gambling and the environment. So far, more than 2,000 bills have been filed, but in the end, legislators usually pass fewer than 300 pieces of legislation each year. Here’s a look at some of the top issues this Session: DEATH PENALTY: Florida legislators are expected to quickly pass a measure that would require…

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Judicial term limits, death penalty bills clear final House committee votes

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Bills that would require unanimous jury votes to impose the death penalty, and ask voters whether to impose term limits on appellate judges, were headed to the House floor following their approval Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee. The death penalty bill attracted a single “no” vote, and that was from Democrat Joe Geller, who said he would never again support any proposal that would “keep the horror of a death penalty.” The judicial term limits bill passed on a vote of 11-8.…

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House panel approves three measures tamping down on the judiciary

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A House committee voted Thursday to approve three proposals to tie the hands of Florida’s judiciary, including a proposed constitutional amendment to impose term limits on judges of courts of appeal and Supreme Court. Altogether, the measures would limit appellate judges to two six-year terms; remove a judicial education program from the Supreme Court’s supervision; and require the high court to report its caseload clearance rate to the governor and House and Senate leaders. Legislative leaders have chafed at court rulings striking down…

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Jorge Labarga, other judges qualify for merit-retention election

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Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and a raft of other appellate judges have already qualified to run for this year’s merit-retention election. The state’s Division of Elections posted the results online. In order of district, here are the judges who will stand for merit retention: 1st District Court of Appeal (Tallahassee): Ross Bilbrey, Susan Kelsey, Lori S. Rowe, Kent Wetherell, Bo Winokur, Jim Wolf.  2nd District Court of Appeal (Lakeland): John Badalamenti, Marva L. Crenshaw, Nelly N. Khouzam, Matt Lucas, Robert Morris, Stevan Travis Northcutt, Samuel Salario Jr., Craig C. Villanti, Douglas Alan Wallace.  3rd District Court of Appeal (Miami): Edwin A. Scales,…

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Judicial term limits bill likely dead in Senate

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A House initiative to place term limits on state Supreme Court justices and appellate judges was assigned to three committees of reference in the Senate late Tuesday: Judiciary, Ethics & Elections, and Rules. Under Senate rules, though, “Unless approved by the President, no committee shall meet after the fiftieth (50th) day of a regular session except the Rules Committee.” Tuesday was the 50th day of the 2016 Legislative Session, which is scheduled concludes March 11. “It received the same references as the Senate companion, which was…

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