By Dialogo June 11, 2009 (Updated with 13 bodies recovered and other data) Rio de Janeiro, 9 June (EFE). – Today Brazilian authorities began – nine days after the tragedy – the complex task of identifying the first 16 victims of the Air France plane accident, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The Joint Command of the Navy and the Air Force reported that today the boats in the disaster area recovered another 13 bodies, raising to 41 the total number of bodies recovered from the water since last Saturday, when the first floating human remains were found. The bodies found today were taken to refrigerated chambers in the frigate Bosisio, which is heading to the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha. The boat should approach the archipelago in a few days after sailing about 700 km, a military spokesperson at a press conference in the city of Recife (northeast) stated. Today the first 16 corpses reached the advance post set up in the airport of said archipelago, where coroners and fingerprint recognition experts start the preliminary identification procedures before sending the bodies to Recife. The Navy and the Air Force are leading rescue operations from that city. That will also be the site where Brazilian coroners, with the aid of French experts, will identify the victims by means of photos, DNA samples, and dental records, among other sources. The first bodies to arrive in the continent were examined today in a hangar at the Fernando de Noronha Airport by eight specialists from the Brazilian Federal Police and from the Civil Police of the State of Pernambuco. According to official sources, in Noronha each victim’s clothes and personal objects are “catalogued,” fingerprints are taken, and tissue samples are obtained for eventual genetic comparison. “The specialized work carried out in Fernando de Noronha is quite slow,” Lieutenant Colonel Ramón Borges Cardoso, general director of the Brazilian Aerospace Control Department, explained in a press conference. Once that procedure is finished, the bodies will be transported to Recife on a Hercules C-130 Air Force aircraft. According to the military chief, this could take place tomorrow afternoon. This first group of bodies was transported by the frigate Constitucion up to a point in the high sea approximately 50 km from Fernando de Noronha. From that point they were transferred to two helicopters, a Black Hawk and a Super Puma. The remains were received in the Noronha Airport by soldiers who were wearing green aprons, caps, gloves, and surgical masks over their camouflage uniforms. Despite the fact that several photographers could witness the unloading from a distance, the bags prevented them from seeing the state the bodies were in after floating in the sea for a week. Air Force spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Henry Munhoz reiterated that no comment will be made on the condition of the corpses recovered, and asked the press to refrain from asking related questions. Munhoz added today that, after delivering the first 16 bodies to the helicopters’ crews, the frigate Constitucion returned that same Tuesday to the affected area in order to proceed with the search for more human remains and the debris of the ill-fated A330 aircraft. The search and rescue operation in the middle of the Atlantic is concentrated at a point approximately 440 km northeast of Sao Pedro and Sao Paulo, two uninhabited rocky outcrops located 1,296 km from Recife and 704 km from Fernando de Noronha, which complicates and delays transporting the remains to the continent. Today an Air Force spokesperson presented photos of a piece of metal recovered from the sea which apparently is part of one of the Airbus’s wings, but he emphasized that only the manufacturer will be able to confirm which part of the plane it belongs to. Establishing the causes of the accident and the search for the black boxes are the responsibility of the French authorities, which have sent the submarine Emerade to the area. Its arrival is scheduled for tomorrow.
By Dialogo October 20, 2010 Another meaningless meeting. And half the world knows that Hugo Chavez Frias is a supporter and friend of FARC illegals. You do know that Spain is asking for the extradition of a member of the ETA that works with the Chavez Government and what do you think of that? SO NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN COLOMBIA. CHAVEZ IS GOING TO CONTINUE WITH HIS fundamentalist exploits with IRAN, Algeria, Bolivia, Nicaragua etc. so DO NOT TRUST COMMANDER Chavez. The top military commanders of Colombia and Venezuela will meet soon to discuss border security and cooperation in the fight against illegal groups, Colombian Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín indicated. “We’re going to have a meeting of the armed forces, something that has not happened for many years, and it will be after the meeting between the presidents, at which there will be a statement and an ongoing dialogue about the fight against armed groups,” Holguín told Bogotá private radio station RCN. The chief Colombian diplomat did not specify the date or place of the commanders’ meeting, but she indicated that it will be part of the process of fully normalizing bilateral relations between Bogotá and Caracas. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos plans to meet again at the end of October with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, in order to continue the process of improving ties. Santos said on 18 October that relations with Caracas “are going very well” and expressed the hope that “no one starts meddling in order to see how we can go back to fighting with one another, because that’s not our intention.” The two presidents restored ties between Bogotá and Caracas in August and agreed to set up five working groups on issues such as security, defense, and trade. Chávez froze ties with Bogotá in July 2009 due to a military agreement between Colombia and the United States, leading to a decline in bilateral trade, and chose to break off relations entirely in July of this year, in reaction to an accusation by then-president Álvaro Uribe, who affirmed that Colombian guerrillas were operating in Venezuela.
By Dialogo September 21, 2012 The Fifth Sentencing Court of Guatemala approved, on September 19, the extradition of Guatemalan Walter Montejo Mérida alias “el Zope” to the United States on drug trafficking charges. “It is so ordered that the detainee is extradited to the corresponding authorities, and that the [Guatemalan] Ministry of Foreign Affairs is informed about the decision reached,” stated a court clerk when reading the ruling. Montejo was captured on June 10 in the city of Huehuetenango, 167 miles (269 kilometers) northwest of the capital, in the department of the same name bordering Mexico. The Court of the District of Columbia is accusing him of conspiracy to manufacture or distribute controlled substances. The United States have been requesting his extradition since 2010. The Court specified in its verdict that the United States considers Montejo an alleged member of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel. The drug trafficker has been accused for allegedly receiving drug shipments in Guatemala from South America, and then transporting them to Mexico, with the U.S. as its final destination.
(Follow David Vergun on Twitter: @VergunDoD) By By David Vergun, Defense.gov December 13, 2018 Medical personnel aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort have thus far treated more than 25,000 civilians, and performed more than 600 surgeries in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Honduras, U.S. Army Colonel Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters December 10, 2018. The Comfort is currently treating patients in Honduras. A number of people who were treated are migrants from Venezuela who fled to neighboring nations, Col. Manning said. “Contrast this with Russia, whose approach to the man-made disaster in Venezuela is to send strategic bomber aircraft instead of humanitarian assistance,” he said. “The Venezuelan government should be focusing on providing humanitarian assistance and aid to lessen the suffering of its people, and not on Russian warplanes.” Making a Difference Medical personnel from the Comfort are making a tremendous difference on the ground, Col. Manning continued. “This is medical aid that civilians would not otherwise have access to,” he added. “Their presence speaks to how we see being a neighbor in the Western Hemisphere and how we see the importance of providing humanitarian assistance to those that otherwise would not have it.” The Venezuelan health care system is all but collapsed and can’t provide aid to its citizens, Col. Manning said. “We stand with the Venezuelan citizens during their time of need,” he told reporters. “That’s what the symbol of the Comfort means.” The crisis in Venezuela can be resolved only by the restoration of a democratic government’s rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, Col. Manning said. Pentagon officials said two Russian heavy strategic bombers — Tupolev TU-160 Blackjacks, which can fly at supersonic speeds — are in Venezuela, along with all of the required maintenance and refueling capabilities.
By Gustavo Arias Retana/Diálogo December 21, 2018 Nicaragua’s atmosphere has been tense since April 2018. What started as a protest against social security reforms led to a conflict that has continued for months, with a death toll of 264, according to a July 2018 report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Repression against protesters is constant, and involves the police force of Daniel Ortega’s government and paramilitary groups, known in the Central American country as Sandinista mobs. The weapons the mobs use are among the most worrisome factors for Nicaraguan and Central American non-governmental organizations. First, because authorities suspect that the Nicaraguan Police and Army provided the weapons, and second, because they might end up in the hands of regional criminal organizations. Protesting from exile Fátima Villalta is a Nicaraguan national who is also a member of the University Coordinator for Democracy and Justice, one of the groups leading the protests against Ortega. Exiled in Mexico, she told Diálogo that the mobs repress protesters as if they were official police forces, carrying weapons only the Army and Police used before the protests began. “We think that the Police and military forces provide the weapons. We are not talking about small firearms that can be obtained in other ways. There are pictures of mob members carrying rifles, automatic weapons, and even RPG-7 rocket launchers made in Russia,” Villalta said. “The conflict situation and total domination that Ortega has in place left control of military warehouses non-existent. For example, there are many videos of paramilitary members coming and going from the Dr. Alejandro Dávila Bolaños Military Teaching Hospital to be seen.” Ana Yancy Espinoza, academic director of the Costa Rica-based Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, said information indicated that the Police looted weapons from gun shops and security companies that ended up in the hands of paramilitary groups to be used in attacks against protesters. According to the Arias Foundation, the paramilitary units used the weapons that were in the Army’s arsenals, such as Dragunov sniper SVD rifles, PKM machine guns, rubber bullets, and stun grenades, all made in Russia. The military also took 12 mm shotguns from private companies, while the Nicaraguan Police seized weapons from private gun shops, including 50 mm Catatumbo rifles made in Venezuela. “According to our sources, Police seized weapons from people, gun shops, and security companies and gave them to the paramilitary, the so-called Sandinista mobs. We’re talking about weapons that enter the country legally, such as revolvers, pistols, and 12 mm shotguns,” Espinoza said. “Military weapons also circulate, some left over from the conflict that Nicaragua experienced in the 1980s, but also new models made in Venezuela and Russia, where the Kalashnikov AK-47 and the AK-103 prevail.” A risk to all of Central America The final destination of the weapons the paramilitary used in recent months is unknown, which is one of the most worrisome situations for Central America. Espinoza explains that in case of disturbances, regional criminal organizations take advantage of this chaos to access weapons more easily. For example, the Arias Foundation has reports of Kalashnikov rifles used in the Nicaraguan conflict that members of Mara Salvatrucha in El Salvador later seized. According to Espinoza and Villalta, several factors enable weapons used in Nicaragua to end up in other Central American countries. The crisis increased irregular migration flows toward other countries in the region, so there is the possibility that migration also moves weapons. In addition, there are criminal organizations linked to narcotrafficking and violence with an interest in accessing weapons. For Espinoza, gangs operating in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are clearly interested in getting weapons like those of the Nicaraguan paramilitary, especially military weapons. Another risk factor is that current conflicts might facilitate the diversion of weapons that enter the country legally. The current political panorama makes it difficult to verify the final destination of weapons purchased from Nicaragua. What to do? The means to confront this situation seem scarce. In May 2018, the Arias Foundation urged regional countries to subscribe to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and block the entry of new weapons to Nicaragua by land, so that arms distributors can’t sell more weapons to the Central American country. The reality is that Nicaragua hasn’t signed or ratified the ATT, and neither have other countries who are close to Ortega’s regime, such as Venezuela, Russia, and Cuba. “It’s a monumental challenge. Sections 6, 7, and 11 of the ATT serve as tools that prevent weapons transfers to countries that violate human rights or create instability. However, incrementing these measures requires a lot of political will, something that is not evident right now,” Espinoza concluded.
By Ricardo Guanipa D’erizans/Diálogo June 05, 2019 Amid the military crisis in Venezuela, Diálogo spoke with Javier Ignacio Mayorca, a member of the Venezuelan Organized Crime Observatory and a consultant on security and defense issues in Venezuela, to understand the country’s situation. Diálogo: People are asking a key question: If Nicolás Maduro doesn’t have military support, how does he remain in power? Javier Ignacio Mayorca: There are multiple perspectives to understand regarding the rupture within the Armed Force. The first one is related to defection, also known as arbitrary stay outside the military unit, a term they [the regime] invented. Defection is a crime, and if they prosecuted 6,000 soldiers, they wouldn’t be able to meet the demand. What they are doing is using administrative channels to remove or discharge the enlisted and professional troops, as they are called nowadays, without imposing any criminal sanctions. The other response has to do with service members’ low morale, but it’s harder to measure. Morale within the Armed Force is aimed at defending values, such as sovereignty, the homeland, etc., which were closely linked to the military training. However, during the last 20 years, the troops’ focus has been connected to defending the regime, which is different from what the traditional institutionalism of the armed forces used to mean. Diálogo: How can you tell if the troops’ morale is high or low? Mayorca: The best example is what happened on Bolivar Avenue in Caracas, on August 4, 2018, when the explosion of two drones surprised all the troops of the National Guard in a military parade. Without an order to break ranks, the troops fled all over the place, showing that there was no willingness to defend the president or defend what he represents. Then you have to consider those taking advantage of positions of power to become involved in crimes — corruption, narcotrafficking, etc. Now, the Venezuelan conflict has moved to the border with Colombia and Brazil, giving service members the opportunity to defect, as 1,000 service members already did. Diálogo: What is preventing a rupture between the military and the regime? Mayorca: Basically, there are no incentives to channel the energy of these troops toward a break with the regime. They believe it’s too difficult to accomplish so they work individually. They are not organized because fear and constant surveillance don’t allow it, so they flee the country instead on their own. Ultimately, the Venezuelan Armed Forces are of no use, except to defend a political status, but not much else.
Panel presents jury system review to the Supreme CourtIn Orlando’s high-tech ceremonial courtroom May 7, Florida’s Jury Innovations Committee presented Chief Justice Charles T. Wells and Justice Major B. Harding with 48 proposals to improve the state’s jury system, including the state’s first juror bill of rights. “A juror bill of rights is important to help address problems some jurors have faced in the past,” said Third District Court of Appeal Judge Robert Shevin, who chairs the panel. “These include improper discrimination against potential jurors, problems with employment and compensation, and properly balancing juror privacy against the right to a fair trial.” Appointed by the Supreme Court Judicial Management Council in November 1999, the committee has been reviewing Florida’s jury system for the last 18 months. It is comprised of circuit and county judges, a state attorney, public defender, a clerk of court, private attorneys, a college professor, a jury manager, and former jurors from around the state. The committee focused its efforts on the experience of jurors, the jury decision-making process, and jury management and administration. Apart from the juror bill of rights, the committee’s other proposals include: • Summons Enforcement. Courts should develop reasonable policies for summons enforcement. • Statutory Exemptions. The list of statutory exemptions for service should be greatly reduced. • Peremptory Challenges. A comprehensive study on the use of peremptory challenges should be conducted, including whether such challenges should be reduced or eliminated. • Questions Jurors. Jurors in both civil and criminal trials should be permitted to submit written questions to be asked of witnesses by the judge. • Expedited Trials. Lawyers should be advising their clients about the use of expedited trials as provided for in section 45.075 Florida Statutes. The committee provided a notification letter and affidavit in the final report to encourage the use of expedited trials. • Discussion of Evidence Prior to Deliberations. Jurors in civil trials only should be instructed that they may discuss the evidence in the jury room during recesses from trial, when all jurors are present, as long as they reserve judgment on the outcome of the case until deliberations commence. • Note-Taking by Jurors. Jurors in both civil and criminal trials should be permitted to take notes and be advised that they may do so. • Juror Notebooks. Juror notebooks containing information relevant to the trial can serve a useful function in lengthy and complex trials, especially civil cases. They should be specifically authorized by court rule. • Simple and Clear Instructions. All instructions should be as simple and clear as possible. • Procedures for Jury Deliberations. In both civil and criminal cases, judges should instruct jurors on procedures for conducting their deliberations, including an instruction suggesting to the jury how it should use the instructions. Jurors should be given instructions on how to organize their deliberations and what assistance, if any, they can ask of the court. • Judicial Answers to Deliberating Jurors’ Questions. Trial judges should be as responsive as possible and fully answer deliberating jurors’ questions, consistent with applicable case law. • Juror Impasse. Trial judges in criminal and civil cases should be allowed to assist deliberating juries in reaching a verdict where an Allen charge has been given and the jury continues to report that they are deadlocked. • Juror Time Management. Trial courts should employ the services of prospective jurors to achieve optimum use with a minimum of inconvenience to jurors. The court should coordinate jury management and calendar management to make effective use of jurors. • Post-Verdict Discussions. Judges should advise jurors of their rights regarding post-verdict discussions at the conclusion of a trial. • Juror Pay. Juror per diem rates should be reviewed every five years by the legislature and any increase should be tied to the rate of inflation as identified by the Consumer Price Index or some comparable index. • Employer Ordinance/Law. There should not be a statewide law requiring employers to pay their employees while serving on jury duty. However, an employer notification letter (signed by a judicial officer) should be made available upon request for any jurors to submit to their employers as proof of jury service. Panel presents jury system review to the Supreme Court May 15, 2001 Regular News
CCRC Northern Region Office goes private June 15, 2003 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News CCRC Northern Region Office goes private Associate Editor Wanted: Experienced private lawyers willing to take on complicated death penalty appeals beginning July 1, due to the legislature shutting down the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel’s Northern Region Office handling cases in the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Eighth and 14th judicial circuits. Minimum qualifications: Three years experience in the practice of criminal law, participating in at least five felony jury trials, five felony appeals or five capital postconviction evidentiary hearings or any combination. Earn $100 an hour and up to $84,000 per case that may take years and years to complete. Expect to drop everything in your practice when a death warrant is signed. Apply immediately to The Florida Legislature, Commission on Capital Cases, 402 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL, 32399-1300, 850-921-4704.With the rationale that death cases will move faster to their ultimate lethal conclusion and private lawyers can do it cheaper, the legislature eliminated one of three state death penalty appeals offices, laying off 10 lawyers and 15 support staff in Tallahassee.Now it’s up to Roger Maas, director of the Commission on Capital Cases, to scramble to find private attorneys willing to jump in and take 68 death penalty appeals cases.“We need to recruit a lot more lawyers for the Northern Region,” Maas said.That won’t be easy, predicts Larry Spalding, the first director of the state office of death row lawyers created by the legislature in 1985 and now legislative staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.“The concern is how many people are out there. Not many lawyers want to do criminal work. Period. Even the number of lawyers who do criminal work don’t want to do death cases. And people who do death cases don’t want to do postconviction work,” Spalding said.“Criminal defense lawyers are usually either solo practitioners or at small firms. When a warrant is issued, everything else stops. Some people will pick up some cases and some can handle it very well, if they understand the process and want to do it. It is really a very unique area of the law, and you’re never really sure how people will react until they do it. One thing we found at CCRC is that one of the dangers of working on a case for a long time is you get close to a client even if you don’t want to. There’s an old adage that those who do divorce cases see good people at their worst. And those who do death penalty appeals see bad people at their best.”One of the prime movers behind privatizing death penalty appeals is Brad Thomas, a policy advisor to Gov. Jeb Bush and a former prosecutor who has publicly bemoaned the fact that it takes forever in Florida to execute those convicted of murder, and he wishes Florida could be more like Texas in that regard.Thomas declined to be interviewed for this story, but during legislative committee meetings, he testified that lawyers on the Commission on Capital Cases private registry (used when CCRC lawyers can’t handle the overflow) “get paid when the work is done. That has been very successful.”Thomas also testified that Florida has invested $70 million in the CCRC system and delays have doubled.“What was taking eight years to resolve in 1980 is now taking 14, 16, even 20 years overall,” Thomas said. “The governor is extremely disappointed and frustrated that it takes 15 to 20 years for death penalty cases to be resolved.” (See March 1, 2003, News for story about the pro and cons of privatizing appeals).As Spalding notes, it is not the CCRC lawyers’ job to have their clients executed faster. In fact, CCRC lawyers have helped inmates walk off death row to freedom. If lawyers believe in the death penalty, they should apply for a job at the attorney general’s office, he says.“To me, it’s extremely ironic that you have a state agency that has performed well and is being punished for its success,” Spalding said. “CCRC has been very instrumental in having several individuals released from death row as a result of determination of innocence. And I think that has been an embarrassment.”When the legislative session began, the governor wanted to privatize all three CCRC offices, saying it would save the state $3.8 million. In the end, the legislature chose only to shut down the Northern Region, at a proposed savings of $1.3 million.Alia Faraj, a spokeswoman for the governor, said: “The registry (of private attorneys) is much more cost effective than the use of state agencies. We now have about 25 percent of cases on the registry and the cost is much less than the equivalent number of cases with CCRC.. . . The governor has recommended outsourcing all of the CCRC offices — he has full confidence in the competent and zealous representation private attorneys can provide clients — with over 100 attorneys who have an average of 17-18 years experience. . . “We believe that through private attorneys, clients will be better served and more efficiently served,” Faraj said.Spalding and Maas see it as the first step toward privatizing the entire death penalty appeals operation. The legislation keeps the CCRC offices in Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa open for at least three years. At that time, the legislature will evaluate whether privatizing the Tallahassee office has reaped the intended efficiencies.Until then, Spalding says, “It will be interesting to see how it works, because one of the great ironies over the last 18 years is that the legislature has really helped capital cases lawyers by changing the law periodically.”Death penalty appeals lawyers are always looking for new issues to litigate, Spalding says, and throwing new lawyers in the middle of death penalty appeals should buy more time in delaying executions.
Pursuant to Rule 3-7.10, Donald Tony Moses of Jacksonville has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for Bar reinstatement.Any person having knowledge bearing upon Moses’ fitness or qualifications to resume the practice of law should contact James Morton, staff investigator for The Florida Bar, at (800) 342-8060, ext. 5845, or (850) 561-5845.The Bar’s Ft. Lauderdale branch office is moving November 15, 2003 Notices November 15, 2003 LAWS Regular News The Florida Bar’s Ft. Lauderdale branch office is moving.. . albeit only upstairs one floor, according to Holly Carullo, manager of the office.The new address is The Florida Bar, 5900 North Andrews Avenue, Suite 900, Ft. Lauderdale 33309, phone (954) 772-2245. Corrected notice of proposed Board of Governors actions Pursuant to Standing Board Policy 1.60, the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar hereby publishes this corrected notice of intent to consider or take final action at its December 5, meeting on the following items. These matters are additionally governed by Rule 1-12.1, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, where applicable. * Item #12 (Rule 3-7.6 Procedures Before a Referee) has been added. ** Item #28 (Labor & Employment Law Section Bylaws) has been added. All other summaries previously appeared in the November 1 issue of The Florida Bar News. Most amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar that are finally acted upon by the board must still be formally presented to the Supreme Court of Florida, with further notice and opportunity to be heard, before they are officially approved and become effective. To receive a full copy of the text of any of these proposed amendments call (850) 561-5751 – reference any requested proposal by its title or item number and date of this publication. RULES REGULATING THE FLORIDA BAR Chapter 1 General Subchapter 1-3 Membership 1. Rule 1-3.6 Delinquent Members Summary: Consistent with related amendments proposed for rule 1-7.3, deems as delinquent members those members who are delinquent in the payment of monitoring fees, practice and professionalism enhancement program registration fees, and fee arbitration awards. 2. Rule 1-3.10 Appearances by Non-Florida Lawyers Summary: Within rule and subdivision (a) titles, amends verbiage to clarify that provisions address appearances by non-Florida lawyers “in a Florida court”; also within (a), adds requirement that any such non-Florida lawyer be “currently eligible to practice” in another state; in (a)(2), deletes language authorizing judicial discretion to allow additional appearances beyond 3 in a 365-day period; deletes (a)(4)’s prohibitions on inactive, suspended, or former bar members – now addressed in new (b); creates new subdivision (b), itemizing specific prohibitions on appearances by non-Florida lawyers; within new (c) – former (b) – rearranges content of verified motion for leave to appear, to track language of Fla.R.Jud.Admin. 2.061 and adds requirements for disclosure of all bar admissions and any pro hac vice appearances in Florida within the preceding 5 years; also adds non-refundable filing fee of $250 for all such motions, and requirements for the movant’s verification, and the signatures of any Florida Bar members associated for purposes of the representation. 3. Rule 1-3.11 Appearances by Non-Florida Lawyers in an Arbitration Proceeding in Florida Summary: New rule patterned after proposed amendments to rule 1-3.10, setting forth guidelines and procedures for a non-Florida lawyer to appear in an arbitration proceeding in Florida, provided that the appearance is for a client who resides or has an office in the lawyer’s home state, or the appearance arises out of or is reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in another state in which the lawyer is admitted. 4. Rule 1-7.3 Membership Fees Summary: Consistent with related amendments proposed for rule 1-3.6, expands subdivision (a) to include as delinquent members those who are delinquent in the payment of monitoring fees, practice and professionalism enhancement program registration fees, and fee arbitration awards. Chapter 3 Rules of Discipline Subchapter 3-2 Definitions 5. Rule 3-2.1 Generally Summary: Within subdivision (n), broadens definition of “staff counsel” to be any lawyer employee of The Florida Bar – rather than only the director of the legal division – designated by the executive director and authorized by the rules to approve formal complaints, conditional guilty pleas for consent judgments; diversion recommendations, and make appointment of bar counsel; creates new subdivision (q), defining “final adjudication” as a decision by an authorized disciplinary authority or court issuing a sanction for professional misconduct that is not subject to judicial review except by direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Subchapter 3-3 Jurisdiction to Enforce Rules 6. Rule 3-3.4 Grievance Committees Summary: Within subdivision (d), clarifies that a committee member whose term has expired may nevertheless participate in the disposition of cases pending at the time their term expired, but shall not be counted as a committee member for purposes of calculating the minimum required number of public members on the committee. Subchapter 3-4 Standards of Conduct 7. Rule 3-4.1 Notice and Knowledge of Rules Summary: Adds title language to clarify that rule provides for disciplinary “jurisdiction over attorneys of other states”; deletes limiting verbiage in last sentence and adds new rule text to confirm such disciplinary jurisdiction and authority over an attorney “who provides or offers to provide any legal services in this state.” 8. Rule 3-4.6 Discipline by Foreign or Federal Jurisdiction Summary: Expands current rule verbiage – retitled as subdivision (a), “Disciplinary Authority” – to additionally specify that an attorney may be subject to discipline in Florida regardless of where the attorney’s questionable conduct may have occurred, and to clarify that the attorney may be subject to discipline in more than 1 jurisdiction; within new subdivision (b), adds choice of law provisions, and labels such subdivision accordingly; similarly adds choice of law language to rule title. Subchapter 3-5 Types of Discipline 9. Rule 3-5.1 Generally Summary: Within subdivisions (g) & (j), revises the term “disciplinary resignation” throughout, to read “disbarment on consent”; additionally within (j), streamlines verbiage to reflect that disbarment by consent shall have the same effect as and shall be governed by the same rules as provided for disbarment, and that matters involving disbarment by consent shall be processed in the same manner as conditional guilty pleas for consent judgment. Subchapter 3-6 Employment of Certain Attorneys or Former Attorneys 10. Rule 3-6.1 Generally Summary: Consistent with proposed changes in rule 3-5.1, adds attorneys who have been “disbarred on consent” within subdivision (a) as individuals subject to this rule. Subchapter 3-7 Procedures 11. Rule 3-7.2 Procedures Upon Criminal or Professional Misconduct; Discipline Upon Determination or Judgment of Guilt of Criminal Misconduct Summary: Within subdivision (j)(1), revises verbiage to reflect discontinuation of the term “disciplinary resignation”, consistent with proposed changes in rules 3-5.1 & 3-6.1; also within (j)(1), adds further requirement that notice of a disciplinary sanction from another jurisdiction be provided to the executive director of The Florida Bar in addition to that already furnished to the Supreme Court of Florida; creates a new subdivision (j)(3) to provide a process for interim suspension when a member has submitted a disciplinary resignation or otherwise surrendered a license to practice law in lieu of disciplinary sanction, or has been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law by a court or other authorized disciplinary agency of another state, or by a federal court. *12. Rule 3-7.6 Procedures Before a Referee Summary: Within subdivision (k), deletes the current requirement that the referee serve a copy of the record on bar counsel with the report, and that bar counsel make such copy available to other parties on request upon payment of the cost of reproduction. 13. Rule 3-7.10 Reinstatement and Readmission Procedures Summary: Consistent with proposed changes in rules 3-5.1, 3-6.1 & 3-7.2, adds verbiage within subdivision (n) to make this rule applicable to an attorney who has been “disbarred on consent”; within subdivision (h), deletes language that requires the referee to copy The Florida Bar with the referee’s report as to reinstatement. 14. Rule 3-7.12 Disciplinary Resignation From The Florida Bar Summary: Deletes entire rule in view of proposed amendments to rules 3-5.1, 3-6.1, 3-7.2 & 3-7.10 which would supersede and moot current provisions, and otherwise create unnecessary redundancy. Chapter 4 Rules of Professional Conduct Subchapter 4-1 Client-Lawyer Relationship 15. Rule 4-1.5 Fees for Legal Services Summary: Within subdivision (b) and comment – affecting other related revisions pending with the Supreme Court – adds as an additional factor in determining reasonable costs the relationship and past course of conduct between the lawyer and the client; also within comment, adds language to suggest that lawyers should discuss with the client, where appropriate, other alternate billing methods beyond an hourly or fixed fee rate; adds further language in comment, that costs appearing in sufficient detail on closing statements and approved by the parties to a transaction should meet the requirements of the rule. Subchapter 4-3 Advocate 16. Rule 4-3.4 Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel Summary: Conforms subsection (e) and comment to existing case law, to provide that a lawyer may state a personal opinion about the credibility of a witness when the statement is authorized by current law or rule and/or is supported by the record. Subchapter 4-5 Law Firms and Associations 17. Rule 4-5.4 Professional Independence of a Lawyer Summary: Within subdivision (a)(4), clarifies existing language prohibiting bonus payments to nonlawyer employees based on the generation of clients or business, or calculated upon a percentage of legal fees received by the lawyer or firm. 18. Rule 4-5.5 Unlicensed Practice of Law Summary: Substantially amends rule title, text, and comment to allow for the mutijurisdictional practice of law in limited circumstances and on a temporary basis. Subchapter 4-8 Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession 19. Rule 4-8.4 Misconduct Summary: Within subdivision (c) and comment, adds new verbiage to allow a lawyer for a criminal law enforcement or regulatory agency to advise or supervise others – or to participate in a capacity other than as lawyer – in an undercover investigation unless prohibited by law or rule. Chapter 6 Legal Specialization and Education Programs Subchapter 6-12 Basic Skills Course Requirement Rule 20. Rule 6-12.3 Requirement Summary: Regarding the course components of the basic skills course requirement in subdivision (a), codifies that the Practicing with Professionalism program shall be 1 day in length, and reduces the number of basic elective continuing legal education programs, from 2, to 3; regarding the time for completion of the basic skills course requirement in subdivision (b), increases the time for advance completion of the Practicing with Professionalism program, from 8, to 12 months prior to admission to The Florida Bar; conforms other references to basic CLE requirement in subdivision (b) to reflect the proposed change in (a). 21. Rule 6-12.4 Deferment and Exemption Summary: Consistent with related amendments proposed for rule 6-12.3, substantial editorial reorganization of the rule, to reflect elimination of the government lawyer deferment from the Practicing with Professionalism course program; adds a requirement for members to provide written notice to the bar of the expiration date of their deferment; restructured rule otherwise maintains the current government lawyer deferment from the basic elective CLE course requirement. Subchapter 6-22 Standards for Certification of a Board Certified Antitrust and Trade Regulation Lawyer 22. Rule 6-22.1 Generally Summary: Adds text to emphasize that applicants shall be required to establish they have a special ability as a consequence of broad and varied experience in antitrust and trade regulation law. 23. Rule 6-22.2 Definitions Summary: Within subdivision (d), refines definition of “contested matters” to reference matters that were adversarial and binding, and in which an applicant had a significant responsibility and personal involvement in either reaching an adjudicated decision or settlement; adds new subdivision (e), to define “adjudicated decisions” and clarify their applicability as contested matters if arising from any single case within a 3-year period. 24. Rule 6-22.3 Minimum Standards Summary: Within subdivision (a)(1), revises discussion of “minimum period of practice” consistent with definition of trade regulation law in rule 6-22.2(b); within subdivision (a)(2), adds satisfactory completion of certain nationally recognized trial advocacy courses as possible substitute for minimum number of matters necessary for certification; revises subdivision (a)(3)’s discussion of “substantial involvement” consistent with definition of trade regulation law in rule 6-22.2(b); adds new subdivision (e), to provide a limited exemption from examination for selected applicants who have been substantially involved in antitrust and trade regulation law for a minimum of 20 years. 25. Rule 6-22.4 Recertification Summary: Within subdivisions (a) & (b), revises discussion of “substantial involvement”and “minimum number of matters” consistent with definition of trade regulation law in rule 6-22.2(b); within subdivision (e), expands provisions to allow the committee to waive the required number of contested matters if an applicant has been certified at least 14 years or has, since their most recent certification, become an officer in any judicial system or within other selected offices, or for good cause shown. STANDING BOARD POLICIES Series 500 Committees, Sections & Divisions 26. SBP 5.10 Standing Committees Summary: Conforms name changes, additions, or deletions of various committees as necessary. BYLAWS 27. Family Law Section Summary: Within Article III (Officers) increases the elected number of executive council members from 24, to 32, and alters the number of such members from 6, to 8, in the four separate subgroups of the council which allow for staggered terms of the body; within Article VII (Committees) deletes selected standing, special, and ad hoc committees. **28. Labor & Employment Law Section Summary: Within Article III (Officers) and IV (Executive Council) deletes“continuing” from various references to legal education committees and seminars; within Article VI (Standing Committees) streamlines and updates existing provision by deleting selected standing committees, and by creating a smaller standing committee structure with subcommittees; also adds appropriate section/subsection headings throughout Articles II through VI where omitted.Moses petitions for Bar reinstatement
Practicing with Professionalism changes suggested Senior Editor With agreement from affected Bar sections, the Board of Governors has approved the Young Lawyers Division’s plans to revamp its education program for new Bar members. Those changes including ending the government lawyer deferment for the Practicing with Professionalism seminar.YLD President Mark Romance reported to the board, at its December 5 meeting on Amelia Island, that an agreement had been worked out with the Government Lawyer Section over the PWP course. However, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association objected to ending the course deferment for prosecutors.Currently, new Bar members who are government lawyers are exempted from taking PWP within a year of joining the Bar and two additional basic skills courses within their first three years.Under the YLD’s proposed revisions, PWP is being reduced from two days to one, with the number of basic skills courses required increased from two to three. Government lawyers would maintain their deferment from taking the basic skills courses but be mandated to take PWP along with other new members, Romance told the board.Government lawyers who remain on the public payroll for six years and complete other required CLE would not be required to take the basic skills courses if they enter private practice, Romance said. Also, the new PWP requirement would not be retroactive, so all current public lawyers would maintain the deferment, and would be exempt upon six years of government service.The board was presented a letter from Government Lawyer Section Chair Keith Rizzardi endorsing the compromise worked out with the YLD. Rizzardi also wrote that his section and the YLD would jointly work to get financial help to pay the tuition for government lawyers who require it. Romance also said that the Criminal Law; City, County, and Local Government Law sections, and Attorney General Charlie Crist approved the new plan.The objections from prosecutors came from their long-time legislative consultant, Buddy Jacobs.“Essentially their objection is their assistant state attorneys and assistant public defenders should not have to attend a program at all because they adequately take care of that in-house,” Romance said.In his letter, Jacobs said prosecutors have both statewide and circuit programs aimed specifically at the needs of prosecutors which incorporate ethics and other topics in the PWP seminar.“The prosecutors of Florida have extraordinary case loads and are very much below the pay grade of the average young lawyer in Florida,” Jacobs wrote. “This proposed rule amendment would require them to do something that has already been accomplished by our own educational efforts and programs as accredited by The Florida Bar. This course would be superfluous and would require them to pay out of their own pockets to attend a seminar which would be, at best, redundant.”During the board’s debate on the issue, board member Louis Kwall agreed with Jacobs’ sentiment. “If there was a question that they didn’t receive any training, I would agree with our position,” Kwall said.“All we’re doing is taking them out of the courtroom and the court system more than they need to be. I don’t see any evidence historically that the deferment is hurting the system.”But Romance said the impetus for revising the program was “to have a uniform program for all new lawyers, no matter what their practice is.” He added cutting the course to one day reduced the out-of-office time.President-elect Kelly Overstreet Johnson agreed. “I think uniformity is the key, and we should have all young lawyers do it,” she said. “To the extent you make that argument for state attorneys and public defenders, the same argument can be made by other government lawyers.”Romance also noted the YLD program has been recognized for its excellence by the ABA and that the division recently was invited to present it at an ABA conference as a model professionalism program for new lawyers. The board approved the amendments on a voice vote, and they now go to the Supreme Court for consideration.Sotolongo petitions for Bar reinstatement Pursuant to Rule 3-7.10, Felipe Sotolongo has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for Bar reinstatement.Sotolongo was suspended for 91 days for misconduct including misdemeanor criminal charges and neglect of, and lack of communication with, a client.Anyone having knowledge bearing upon Sotolongo’s fitness or qualifications to resume the practice of law should contact Eric Montel Turner, Chief Branch Discipline Counsel, The Florida Bar, 5900 N. Andrews Ave., Suite 900, Ft. Lauderdale 33309, telephone (954) 772-2245.Novo petitions for Bar reinstatement Pursuant to Rule 3-7.10, Jesus Novo III has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for Bar reinstatement.Novo was suspended for 18 months, nunc pro tunc to August 31, 2001.Anyone having knowledge bearing upon Novo’s fitness or qualifications to resume the practice of law should contact Vivian M. Reyes, Bar Counsel, The Florida Bar, Suite M-100, 444 Brickell Avenue, Miami 33131, telephone (305) 377-4445. Practicing with Professionalism changes suggested January 1, 2004 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News