An assistant state attorney in Monroe County (The Florida Keys) has just agreed to a plea in which she will use her law license for one year as a result of prosecutorial misconduct. According to the article in the Miami Herald (December 5, 2019), Colleen Dunne withheld evidence from defense attorneys as to three recorded phone calls between the defendant and his son. The case will also result in her termination from her job as an assistant state attorney. The plea and sanctions are still subject to review by the Florida Supreme Court.
I have just heard the Podcast from the New Yorker Radio Hour called John Thompson v. American Justice. The Podcast connects the story from Riehlmann (Chapter 6) to Connick v. Thompson (Chapter 7). This includes interviews with Riehlmann and District Attorney Connick, as well as long interviews with John Thompson. I highly recommend for you and your students too. It runs about an hour, but is incredibly provocative and on point for the themes in both chapters.
The Florida Supreme Court will hear a case from the Florida Bar, asserting that the website TIKD.com violates unauthorized practice of law. There is also an issue of whether the information advertised on the site was false and misleading.
TIKD.com had sued the Florida Bar and the Ticket Clinic in federal court back in November, and the Ticket Clinic has filed a bar grievance against the lawyers who represent TIKD.com.
The Miami Herald reports this latest development in the saga here.
The TIKD website is here.
This case will definitely be a supplement to my discussion of Chapter 2.
The Chronicle of Higher Education (August 11, 2017), as well as social media, has been covering the unfolding story relating to the UF General Counsel Jamie Keith. The saga began with a Title IX investigation which involved UF wide receiver Antonio Colloway, represented by attorneys Huntley Johnson and Amy Osteryoung. The article below focuses on the report of the internal audit conducted by UF, now that Ms. Keith has resigned her post. But this entire case provides an opportunity to explore the role of the in-house counsel, and the multiple ethical duties and challenges faced when working for a large and complex institution. Note also that Ms.Keith threatened to report the attorney who initially complained about her actions to the Florida Bar for discipline. We will need to keep a watch on this case to see if any bar investigation or discipline results for any of the attorneys involved.
The first African-American state attorney in Florida history, Aramis Ayala, made national news this spring when she announced that she would never seek the death penalty in any of her cases. As a result, Florida Governor Rick Scott transferred two dozen cases to another prosecutor in the state from another county, one known to be a death penalty proponent. Ayala’s claims that these cases should be returned to her jurisdiction were heard by the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday, June 28.
The following article from the Miami Herald (June 29. 2017) provide a good overview of the Supreme Court hearing. This is a great case for highlighting the competing roles and professional responsibilities of the prosecutor. Keep a lookout for the Florida Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision in a case that has many legal experts filing briefs already on all sides of the issue.
Unfortunately, my slides for the section of Chapter 2 relating to the representation of difficult and mentally ill clients continues to grow each year with the tragic recurring incidents in our national news.
This year’s update is the trial of Dylann Roof, charged with the mass shooting in a Charleston Church in June, 2015.
Dylann Roof’s self-representation, both in the guilt and sentencing phases of his case, raises fascinating ethical and constitutional questions. The case has been well-covered in the New York Times in recent weeks.
See this interesting article by UM Law Professor Scott Sundby in the Huffington Post (January 4, 2017), relating to the constitutional questions raised by his self-representation, particularly in the death penalty phase of the case.
The personal injury law firm of Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA sued the Florida Bar challenging two aspects of its rules concerning lawyer advertising. On September 30, 2015, Judge Hinkle from the Northern District ruled that the challenge to the requirements that references to past results must be “objectively verifiable” was not yet ripe for review.
The lawsuit also challenged the Florida Bar’s ban on truthful statements regarding a lawyer’s specialty or expertise, absent certification under the Florida Bar certification program or some outside certifying organization. Judge Hinkle found that this rule failed all three prongs of the Central Hudson analysis, and granted the plaintiff’s summary judgment motion in part.
I expect this is not the last word from the federal courts on Florida’s efforts to regulate lawyer advertising. Stay tuned.
See Christian D. Searcy et. al v. The Florida Bar, 2015 WL 5769238