More funding and new judges are on the way

first_img More funding and new judges are on the way More funding and new judges are on the way Florida courts appeared headed for increased funding while the number of new judges for next year remained in limbo as the Florida Legislature wound down its work for the 2005 legislative session.The legislature was scheduled to end its work on May 6, as this News went to press.Although budget approval had been reached on May 3, under state law final action couldn’t come until 72 hours later, or mid-afternoon May 6.In the meantime other issues were still pending, which included the number of new judges to be approved (which was being handled independently of the budget) and the Art. V, Revision 7 glitch bill. Others of concern to the legal profession appeared unlikely to pass, including a lawyer advertising bill, regulation of paralegals, and challenges to the Supreme Court’s rulemaking authority.The Supreme Court had certified the need for 110 new judges for the 2005-06 fiscal year. The House of Representatives, under the leadership of House Fiscal Council Chair Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and Rep. Bruce Kyle, R-Ft. Myers, approved a bill creating 108 new judgeships. That gave the court all of the county and circuit judges it sought, but neither of the two district court of appeal judges.The Senate responded by offering 34 judgeships, but leaders there said they remained committed to approving at least half of the certified positions this year and the remainder next year.The final bill appeared to be adopting that approach, according to State Courts Administrator Lisa Goodner, calling for 35 new circuit judges and 20 new county judges, all to be appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush. Where those judgeships would be created was still being determined as this News went to press.Senators said they wanted to approve the remaining 55 judges next year.The Art. V, Revision 7, glitch bill was moving, clearing the House 115-1 on the morning of May 5. The main issue of interest to the Bar and courts, concerning judicial oversight of clerk functions that support the courts, had been worked out. That gave judges, working in cooperation with clerks, oversight of those operations that support the courts. It also required clerks to give a year’s notice if they wanted to cut those functions, to give the courts time to seek replacement funding from the legislature.On other issues, the agreed upon budget is beneficial for the court system, Goodner said, giving it most of what was requested.Highlights include:• The Supreme Court got $4 million of its requested $5.8 million for maintenance and renovations. Goodner said the court will put off a planned $1 million of its courtroom renovations and address other needs of the building.• The legislature approved 10 of the 13 new positions Goodner requested to continue dealing with the Art. V, Revision 7, changes that saw the state take over more funding from the counties for the trial court system. Lawmakers also approved new positions for the Supreme Court’s Inspector General and security operations.• “The district courts of appeal had a number of maintenance and repair issues, all of which were funded,” Goodner said. “The Second and Fifth DCAs had additonal workload positions which were funded.”• “In the trial courts, we were able to get a fair amount of additional funding for court reporting,” Goodner said. “We’re looking at some substantial revamping of court reporting services across the state to make it more efficient.”• Some Art. V, Revision 7, issues were not funded, Goodner said, such as improving mediation services around the state.• The courts lapse funding wasn’t fully addressed, which will leave it short of salary dollars again. “We just have to kind of continue to buckle down and make it stretch,” Goodner said.• The state’s judges will get the 3.6 percent pay raise given to all state employees, and county court judges will get an additional $5,000 to bring their salary more in line with what circuit court judges make. Goodner said the court system has been seeking a fixed relationship between the salaries at the different levels of the state court system, and the $5,000 boost is in response to that.• Supreme Court employees will get an additional pay raise, Goodner said, in recognition that pay there has lagged behind other public and private agencies.On other issues, efforts to amend the Supreme Court’s procedural rulemaking died in committee. HJR 1007, by Rep. Dick Kravitz, R-Orange Park, originally would have created a judicial conference to propose criminal rules of procedure, similar to the process used to create procedural rules in the federal courts — except the legislature would appoint members of the panel instead of the Supreme Court. But the bill was ultimately amended to have the Supreme Court continuing to adopt procedural rules, but amends the constitution to give the legislature the power to overturn those rules by a simple majority of each chamber, instead of the current two-thirds vote of the membership. The measure also held that nothing in the constitution “shall be construed to restrict or limit the power of the legislature to enact laws relating to substantive or procedural matters.” The resolution also says the courts may not regulate any aspect of collateral or postconviction judicial review of a criminal judgment or sentence, except as authorized by general law, and that no procedural rule shall be inconsistent with general law or modify any substantive right. While the measure was set for a vote a number of times, a definitive vote on the issue was never held.The Senate did pass SB 192 on lawyer advertising, but the bill was never considered in the House. In its final version, the bill required all lawyers, including out-of-state lawyers advertising in Florida, to file an affidavit with the Bar saying they have read and understand the Bar’s advertising rules, and that their ad conforms to those rule. That affidavit, if submitted by a multi-lawyer firm, must be signed by a lawyer who is responsible for the ad and can be disciplined if the ad is found in violation of Bar rules.The law would also impose a civil fine of $1,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for any succeeding offense.Bills introduced in the House and Senate to regulate paralegals died without being heard in any committee in either the House or Senate, but the issue may come back.Sen. Nancy Argenziano, R-Crystal River, Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, Rep. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, and Rep. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, sent a letter to the Bar urging them to reach an agreement with the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations on paralegal regulation. They said the bills would be reintroduced next session and taken up early in committee meetings if there is no action.“Our strong desire is for the parties to negotiate a meaningful, viable result that will effectively regulate the paralegal profession in Florida prior to September 1, 2005; however, if the parties are unable to reach satisfactory agreement by that date, let us assure each of you that your support and sponsoring of this bill remains and the bill will be promptly scheduled for hearing in the first set of committee hearings for the 2006 legislative session,” the letter said.The legislators noted in the letter that the Bar had objections to the bills, which were filed at the behest of FAPA, but that the parties indicated they could work out an agreement.center_img May 15, 2005 Regular Newslast_img read more

READ MORE

Thompson in line to extend Ja’s run in 200m

first_img OTTEY’S BRILLIANT RECORD Ottey has a brilliant record in the event. In addition to her two gold medals, she has a silver and three bronze medals. If justice is ever done, she might get Koch’s 1983 gold. The East German, like all her compatriots from the 1970s and ’80s, were found to be beneficiaries of a state-organised steroid-boosting programme. Fraser-Pryce is bypassing the 200m at the 2015 World Championships; however, her 2013 win earned her a couple of distinctions. She is the first locally training athlete to win the World 200m. Second, she is the first winner not to have attended Vere Technical High School. Thompson could be second on both counts. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at track side since 1980. If Elaine Thompson wins the 200 metres at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing, she will extend a long history of Jamaican success. The women’s 200m has given Jamaica more medals than any other individual discipline. A win for the University of Technology sprinter would match gold-medal runs by Merlene Ottey, Veronica Campbell-Brown (VCB), and Thompson’s training partner, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Ottey won twice, in 1993 and 1995, with VCB and Fraser-Pryce winning the last two titles in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Gold for Thompson, Sherone Simpson, or VCB would, therefore, give Jamaica three wins in a row. That’s a feat no other country has ever accomplished. East Germans won the first two titles thanks to Marita Koch, who beat Ottey in 1983 and Silke Gladisch in 1987. Together, with Bev McDonald and Merlene Fraser, who were second and third in 1999, Ottey, VCB, and Fraser Pryce have won 12 medals for Jamaica in the curved sprint.last_img read more

READ MORE