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Archived News Stories From January-June 2005

June 27 Florida Judiciary Honored at Florida Bar Annual Meeting
June 15 Circuit Court Judges Hold Annual Meeting
May 31 Florida Court Public Information Officer Conference and Training
May 11 Chief Justice Promotes Jury Service Across the State
May 2 One Last "Hear Ye" for Marshal Wilson Barnes
April 28 Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
April 25 Chief Justice Unveils Diversity Resources Center
April 21 Justice Institute Acquaints Secondary School Teachers with Florida Court Activities
April 13 Staff and Docents Enlighten Tour Audiences
April 8 National Summit Emphasizes Court Security
March 31 Supreme Court Trio to Present “Disaster” Paper at National Conference
March 23 Improvements Recommended for State Courts
March 18 Florida’s Chief Justice to Focus on the Florida Jury in May
March 16 Justice Anstead Presides Over Sculpture Unveiling and Dedication
March 7 New Judges College Encourages the Advancement of Judicial Knowledge and Ideas Exchange
March 2 Drug Court Coordinators Meet at the Florida Supreme Court
February 24 Florida House and Senate Members Attend Justice Institute
February 17 Supreme Court Day at FSU Law School
February 11 Subcommittee meetings in Tallahassee
February 4 Leadership Tallahassee Comes to the Supreme Court
January 31 The Family Court Conference Self Assessment Reports are now available online
January 24 The Work Group on Standards for Jury Panel Sizes held a public hearing on January 19 in Miami to receive input from the public regarding Florida's jury system. Audio and materials from the hearing are now available on this website. Additional information regarding the Work Group's efforts are accessible on the website using the link above.
January 20 Gearing Up Against Substance Abuse-A Guide is a how-to manual designed for those programs in the beginning or planning stages of drug courts. The manual contains specific guidelines to assist in the successful implementation of programs in urban and non-urban sites. The manual is formatted in a question/answer style and includes sample protocols, procedures, contracts, and other guiding documents used by various drug courts throughout Florida and the nation. The appendices are in the process of being updated.

January 7 The Committee on Privacy and Court Records has a two day meeting scheduled in Miami on January 18 and 19. A notice for the meeting and additional information is available on the Committee webpage accessible using the link above. Persons with disabilities who need a reasonable accommodation to participate should contact Sherri Waites , 500 S. Duval Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1900, 850-488-6569, at least five days prior to the public hearing. Persons using a TDD may contact Ms. Waites through the Florida Relay Service, 711.






Posted June 27, 2005

Florida Judiciary Honored at Florida Bar Annual Meeting

Chief Justice Pariente with Dave BarryThe Florida Judiciary was honored at a judicial luncheon at the 2005 Annual Florida Bar meeting in Orlando, Thursday, June 23. The luncheon, attended by over 500 guests, featured Miami Herald columnist and humorist, Dave Barry, and Chief Justice Barbara Pariente, who was the guest speaker.

In her opening remarks at the luncheon, the Chief Justice said, “I have had a lot of experiences this past year as Chief Justice—some friendlier than others. But, this moment is unique. You can’t imagine how daunting it is to give my first ever State of the Judiciary speech sandwiched in between dessert and Dave Barry.” On a more serious note later in her presentation, the Chief said, “ The State of the Judiciary and the judicial system may be the ultimate responsibility of the Chief Justice but its health depends on the work of many judges, lawyers and court personnel throughout this State. And I thank all of you here who give so much time to make our justice system the best in the country.”

Dave Barry took the podium immediately after the Chief’s remarks and reflected on the speaking order. He said, “She’s stolen all my jokes.”

Justice Raoul Cantero, Chairman of The Florida Bar Professionalism Committee, took part in the luncheon by Justice Raoul Cantero with Professor Rebecca Morganpresenting Professionalism Awards to two Stetson College of Law faculty—Professors Roberta Flowers and Rebecca Morgan. Justice Cantero also presented the Wm. M. Hoeveler Judicial Award that was presented to 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Durand Adams.

Also at the luncheon, Judge George Greer, Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida, received the President’s Award of Merit. Judge Greer said, “When you honor me today, you really honor the entire judiciary.”

Later in the Thursday afternoon programming, the Florida Supreme Court Justices heard the final round of the Robert Orseck Moot Court Competition, followed by an open discussion with the justices. The event was sponsored by the Appellate Practice Section and the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar. Florida Coastal School of Law won the competition.

The Florida Bar meeting took place from June 22-25.

(Photos courtesy of The Florida Bar Association/Gary Blankenship)


Posted June 15, 2005

Judge Stan Blake role plays with media speakerCircuit Court Judges Hold Annual Meeting

The Florida Conference of Circuit Judges took place June 12-15 near Tampa. The conference attracted judges and court administrators from throughout the state to the annual business and mid-year education meeting.

Judge Frederick Tygart, 4th Judicial Circuit, served as the Conference Chair this year, while Judge Meg Steinbeck, 20th Judicial Circuit, and Judge Bob Scola, 11th Judicial Circuit, served as Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the Education Section.

Judge Schaeffer with Judge TygartThe educational programming at the conference was designed to provide attendees with practical information that could be useful in judicial settings throughout the state. Some of the topics covered during the conference included: The Media—Friend or Foe; Dealing with Pro Se Litigants; Alternative Dispute Resolution—Options for Reducing Your Docket; Relocation and Age Appropriate Parenting Plans; Media and Confidentiality; Criminal Law Update;Photo of the Chief Justice with attendees and Juror Misconduct.

During Judge Tygart’s opening remarks in the filled, main conference ballroom, a Special Tribute Award was presented to retired Circuit Court Judge Susan Schaeffer. A three-screen video presentation incorporated verbal testimonials from friends, judges and justices about her achievements and her commitment to the judicial community. In her acceptance of the award, Judge Schaeffer said, “Whereas some of you may have heard that ‘I would strangle you if you did not support Revision 7,’ now, when I see you, I will probably come up and hug your neck!”


Posted May 31, 2005

Greg Cowan Leads Preparedness DiscussionFlorida Court Public Information Officer State Courts Administrator Lisa Goodner
Conference and Training

The Florida Court Public Information Officer Conference and Training begins May 31 and extends through June 3 at the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee. On June 1, State Courts Administrator, Lisa Goodner, will make opening remarks about the rising importance of communications in court operations and the importance of Revision 7 (amendment to the Florida Constitution) communications over the past two years.

The conference and training is hosted this year by the Florida Supreme Court, the Office of the State Courts Administrator, the National Judicial College and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers. The Florida Bar Photo of Craig Waters, Public Information OfficerFoundation also provides support for this program.

In general, the conference and training focus on a wide variety of media and communications topics. Speakers from around the state and nation will present. Some of the topics include: Journalism 101—Overview of Working with the Media; Knowing When to Talk and When Not to—The Court Spokesperson and Ethics Rules; The Court Spokesperson in the Middle—Planning for a Media Onslaught; and Emergency Preparedness in the Florida State Courts. In a closing session, titled Interview Practicum—An Emergency Hits the Court!, Supreme Court Director of Public Information, Craig Waters, will challenge participants to use information gained throughout the week to react to “a sudden pressing emergency” that will place them in front of reporters and cameras.


Posted May 11, 2005

Chief Justice Promotes Jury Service Across the State Chief Justice at Jury Appreciation Event

Florida Chief Justice Barbara Pariente brought a message to jurors at both the 15th Judicial Circuit in West Palm Beach and the 2nd Judicial Circuit in Tallahassee as a way to promote Florida's "Juror Appreciation Month." In her message, the Chief Justice said, "your service as a juror is vital to our country's judicial process, and we greatly appreciate what you do. May 1st is annually designated as National Law Day, and the theme this year celebrates, you, the American juror." (Hear the Chief's West Palm Beach message)

In a Proclamation issued earlier this year, the Chief Justice declared May 2005 as Juror Appreciation Month, honoring the right of trial by jury guaranteed by the state Constitution since 1838. 

"Jury service is a privilege and a responsibility of citizenship," said Chief Pariente, "and few civic activities provide such a direct contact with our democracy as does jury service, which affords an opportunity for citizens with a variety of life experiences and backgrounds to actively participate in the justice system." The Chief's proclamation calls upon all people involved in the state justice system to take measures to strengthen the Florida jury as a device for seeking justice and to honor Floridians who answer the call to serve on juries.


Posted May 2, 2005

Photo of former Chief Justice Leander ShawOne Last "Hear Ye" for Marshal Wilson BarnesPhoto of the Chief Justice with Wilson Barnes

In a Ceremonial Session on May 5, 2005, the Supreme Court honored its Marshal, Wilson E. Barnes, who will retire June 1 after serving 15 years in office. Barnes, 67, took office as the Court's 5 th Marshal on July 1, 1990, and oversaw the massive overhaul of court security made necessary by events during his tenure. He successfully kept the Court secure through the 2000 presidential election appeals, the anthrax scares following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and many other high-profile events.

Barnes is a retired U.S. Army colonel with a 29-year military career capped by his final stint at U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base. There, he served as director of military and civilian personnel in 16 countries. Barnes' military decorations include the Bronze Star medal, the Defense Superior Service medal, and the National Defense Service medal. He received a bachelor's and master's degree from Virginia State University, and has been active in community service in Tallahassee.


Posted April 28, 2005

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
Chief Pariente invites students into her office for a visit

"Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” was a way for relatives of State Courts employees to learn about and visit the Supreme Court on April 28. During the day’s events, children were given an historical tour of the building, heard a mock oral argument (“The Surprise Bookbag”), enjoyed ice cream in the courtyard and finished the day with a welcome by Chief Justice Barbara Pariente in the Chief’s private office.

The event served as a unique opportunity for children to observe work at the Court and to learn how the Court family of employees interacts with one another to support the mission of the Court.

Photo of Catherine McDowell, a young studentDuring the welcome provided by Chief Justice Pariente, she answered a variety of questions posed by children and gave them a description of her duties as the Chief Justice. In turn, she asked them questions about their day at the Court. In the photo (above right), it came as a surprise to most children to learn how much reading was involved in just one case brought before the Court.

Though many Court staff were responsible for the success of the day, a special thanks goes out to Gerrie Allen, Maria Barker, Teresa Farley, Robert Hanson, ViElla Lindsay, Chief Justice Barbara Pariente, Annette Pitts, Phillip Pollock, Al Simmons, Kris Slayden, Jeff Spalding and Mara Tickett.


Posted April 25, 2005

Chief Justice Unveils Diversity Resources CenterPhoto of Chief Justice Barbara J. Pariente


C
hief Justice Barbara Pariente made the creation of the Diversity Information Resource Center web site official on Friday, April 22. In her announcement, the Chief Justice said that she encouraged “submissions of best practices” and announcements.

The Chief Justice created the Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity by Administrative Order AOSC04-225 on November 19, 2004. On January 21, 2005, the Standing Committee held its first meeting in Miami, with The Honorable Gill Freeman presiding as Committee Chairperson. The committee was established to advance the State Courts System’s efforts to eliminate from court operations inappropriate bias based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, or socioeconomic status.

The site can be visited by going directly to http://www.flcourts.org/diversity. Florida Courts site visitors can find the permanent Diversity Resources link on the home page, on the General Public tab in the upper right.


Posted April 21, 2005

Justice Institute Acquaints Secondary SchoolAnnette Pitts Leads Discussions
Teachers with Florida Court Activities

For the past four days, the Florida Supreme Court has hosted the Justice Teaching Institute. The Institute provides innovative, hands-on training to 20-25 middle and high school teachers throughout Florida. The program ends April 21.

The five-day training acquaints teachers with a broad spectrum of court activities that include: an overview and history of the State Courts System; visits to trial and appellate courts; issues currently confronting the state courts; alternative measures to resolve disputes and many more topics. Go to the Justice Teaching Institute to learn more about the program.

Justice Quince with Judge KrathenThe Justice Teaching Institute prides itself in, and encourages participation by, teachers who interact with students from diverse backgrounds or who are themselves members of a minority group. One of Florida's greatest strengths is the rich social, ethnic, and gender diversification of its citizenry. Inclusion of these diverse population groups is a priority of the State Courts System.

After successfully completing the Institute, teachers receive a certification from the Chief Justice and the Commissioner of Education, and in turn, these “graduates” are able to go into their local communities and conduct similar trainings for colleagues. Contact Cathy Brockmeier to find out about program participation.

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Posted April 13, 2005

Photo of Annie BaxterStaff and Docents Enlighten Tour Audiences

Throughout the year, particularly each spring, students come from around the state and region to tour the Supreme Court. Trained, knowledgeable staff and docents, who are part of the Supreme Court Law Related Education Program, lead tours. Students visit the upper and lower rotunda areas, the Courtroom, Clerk's Office, Supreme Court Library, Portrait Gallery and Lawyer's Lounge. School groups and the general public are welcome to schedule building tours and mock oral arguments.

In addition, once a month, Oral Arguments are held at the Court, and school Photo of Toyca Williamsgroups and the general public are welcome to observe this important judicial process take place.

On Wednesday, April 13, students from W.H. Rhodes Elementary School in Santa Rosa county were given a tour by Annie Baxter and Toyca Williams, both Public Information Coordinators with The Florida Bar. In the associated photos, Baxter and Williams were explaining the role of the Petitioner and Respondent during Oral Arguments.


Posted April 8, 2005

Photo of Mary McQueenNational Summit Emphasizes Court Security

At a press conference held March 16, Mary McQueen, President for the National Center for State Courts, announced plans for a National Summit on Court Safety and Security.

McQueen said, "The National Center for State Courts is committed to ensuring that our partnership with the entire stakeholder community results in the development of effective safety and security measures for our courts. With the commitment of resources from the U.S. Department of Justice, our community has support that can only further our efforts on behalf of America's courts."

In part, the summit, and a need for action and increased funding, comes about as a result of the recent tragic events in both Chicago and Atlanta. Go to National Summit.


Posted March 31, 2005

Photo of Three Staff MembersSupreme Court Trio to Present “Disaster” Paper at National Conference

Greg Cowan, Alan Neubauer, and Craig Waters have been invited to be on the faculty for the National Court Technology Conference held in Seattle in September. The three Court employees will present their paper, “The Technology of Disasters,” as part of several educational panel presentations offered during the three-day conference.

Cowan, Court Operations Consultant, and Neubauer, Information Systems Support Center Manager, are employees with the Office of the State Courts Administrator. Waters is Director of Public Information for the Florida Supreme Court, and this will be his third faculty invitation over the past eight years.

The paper, subtitled “What you Can Learn About Court Emergency Preparedness from Hurricane-Battered Florida,” discusses how the Courts planned, developed and implemented emergency preparedness plans and procedures, using innovative technology, to respond and recover from the 2004 hurricanes.

Lisa Goodner, Florida State Courts Administrator, said, “We are so proud of their accomplishments on this issue. Their involvement at the conference lets participants see how seriously we approach technology at the Courts.”


Posted March 23, 2005

TaxWatch Logo


Improvements Recommended for State Courts

In a press release issued March 23, Florida TaxWatch, a non-profit, non-partisan research institute recognized as the watchdog of citizen's tax dollars, took a $35 million recommendation to the 2005 Legislature to "assure equal justice. In its report, Proper Management, Accountability and Funding of the State Courts System is Crucial to the Rule of Law, Taxpayer Confidence, and a Healthy Economy, TaxWatch concluded that an additional funding of $35 million was needed to implement recommendations to help assure timely, equal and fair justice for all Floridians in furtherance of the rule of law.

Go to Press Release for more information.

 


Posted March 18, 2005

Proclamation Logo

Florida’s Chief Justice to Focus on the Florida Jury in May
(See Proclamation and Full Press Release)

Florida Chief Justice Barbara Pariente has issued a Proclamation declaring May 2005 as Juror Appreciation Month, honoring the right of trial by jury guaranteed by the state Constitution since 1838. 

Photo of Chief JusticeThis is a part of Florida's participation in National Law Day observances organized each year by the American Bar Association, which has chosen "The American Jury" as this year's theme.

"Jury service is a privilege and a responsibility of citizenship," said Pariente, "and few civic activities provide such a direct contact with our democracy as does jury service, which affords an opportunity for citizens with a variety of life experiences and backgrounds to actively participate in the justice system." Pariente's Proclamation calls upon all people involved in the state justice system to take measures to strengthen the Florida jury as a device for seeking justice and to honor Floridians who answer the call to serve on juries.


Posted March 16, 2005


Photo of SculptureJ
ustice Anstead Presides Over Sculpture Unveiling and Dedication Photo of Justice Anstead


Justice Harry Anstead presided over a Miccosukee Indian sculpture unveiling at the R.A. Gray Building in Tallahassee on March 15. The unveiling and dedication of the sculpture, four Indian family members titled “Movin’ On,” was the opening event for Florida Heritage Month in Florida.

Secretary of State Glenda E. Hood and Chairman of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida Billy Cypress were also present at the event, along with the sculptors, Bradley Cooley and Bradley Cooley Jr. (photo credit at right, Roy Lett)


Posted March 7, 2005
New Judges College Encourages the Advancement of Judicial Knowledge and Ideas Exchange Photo of Judge Gross

The New Judges' College, offered this week from March 6-11, is devoted to the development of judicial knowledge and skills in specific subject areas. Because participants will have acquired several months of bench experience and will have attended Orientation and the Trial Skills Workshop, the college curriculum focuses on more complex substantive and procedural matters. During the week, participants will be encouraged to discuss problems they have encountered as judges and to exchange ideas about effective ways to solve them.

The Florida Judicial College relies heavily on student participation. Participants exchange methods, procedures, experiences and ideas. They are exposed to different perspectives from diverse areas of the state to foster creative and innovative approaches to the art of judging.

In the photo (above right and on previous page), 4th DCA Appellate Judge, Robert M. Gross, encourages his audience to decide, from a fictitious set of circumstances, whether evidence is “hearsay” or “admissible” in the court.


Posted March 2, 2005
Photo of Justice QuinceDrug Court Coordinators Meet at the Florida Supreme Court

Drug Court coordinators met February 23-24 at the Florida Supreme Court. Justice Peggy Quince welcomed participants at the opening of the meeting on Wednesday. She commended participants for their successes and for continuing to make this model program work.

Over the two-day session, topics focused on proposed drug court legislation, data requirements, an overview of 2nd and 4th DCA opinions, jail sanctions, reviewedPhoto of Jennifer Grandal manuals and brochures used by Drug Court coordinators and other updates.

Florida started the drug court movement by creating the first treatment-based drug court in the nation in 1989. For more information about the Drug Court Program, go to Drug Court.


Posted February 24, 2005
Photo of Justice LewisFlorida House and Senate Members Attend Justice Institute

As Florida House and Senate members await the 2005 Legislative Session to convene March 8, many took advantage of the Justice Institute at the Florida Supreme Court. The House members met on February 21, while Senate members attended February 23.

Chief Justice Barbara Pariente welcomed legislative guests and was followed by Photo of Nan Richpresentations made by Justices Raoul Cantero, Fred Lewis and Ken Bell. Discussion focused on the function of the judicial system, the structure of the State Courts System and challenges of administering justice in courts today.

Kelly Overstreet Johnson, President of The Florida Bar Association, and Paul Hill, General Counsel for The Florida Bar, discussed The Bar’s function during the Legislative Session. Chief Justice Pariente gave concluding remarks and a question and answer period with the members of the Court finalized the two events.


Posted February 17, 2005

Photo of Student Audience

Supreme Court Day at FSU Law School

Florida Supreme Court justices met at Florida State University College of Law to greet students and participate in an hour-long question and answer session on February 16. The annual event is always one of the most popular law school activities, and this year was no exception. Students filled the largest lecture hall on the school’s campus.

As in the past, the candor and humor the justices displayed in their interaction with each other and with the students kept the mood in the auditorium very upbeat. Justice Anstead said, "We face very serious, complex issues all week long. We look forward to coming here and letting our hair down a bit. Talking back and forth with students in this sort of forum brings the whole idea of practicing law down to fundamentals, and that's particularly enjoyable."

Justice Barbara Pariente reflected on a question regarding opportunities for women and said, "When I look out into the audience and see the number of women there, and I compare that to the ratio of women to men when I got my J.D., it is really gratifying. I think being a woman on the Florida Supreme Court is a measure of how far we've come on the issue of gender."



Posted February 11, 2005


Meeting Photo
Subcommittee meetings in Tallahassee

Bernie Warner, Assistant Secretary, and Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, Research Specialist (left), represented the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in a Delinquency/Domestic Violence Subcommittee meeting February 10 in Tallahassee. It was one of several meetings that occurred over a two-day Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Courts event. Warner and Roe-Sepowitz discussed disposition alternatives for juvenile domestic violence offenders and data that exist for these offenders.

The Delinquency/Domestic Violence Subcommittee also dealt with plans to provide outreach and education on Unified Family Courts for stakeholders, along with a site visit to the West Palm Beach Juvenile Domestic Violence Program.

Meeting Photo Pat Badland, Court Program Manager; John Couch, Court Analyst; and Jeanne Howard, Assistant State Attorney (West Palm Beach) note remarks made by Carlos Martinez, Chief Assistant Public Defender for the 11 th Judicial Circuit of Florida.

Posted February 4, 2005

Photo of Justice Lewis
Leadership Tallahassee Comes to the Supreme Court

Approximately 50 Leadership Tallahassee participants, taking part in their “Overview of Justice” day activities, were greeted by Chief Justice Barbara Pariente in the  courtroom on February 3. Chief Justice Pariente provided an overview of the Supreme Court's jurisdiction and spoke about its role in the administrative oversight of the Judicial Branch. Justice Fred Lewis gave a power point presentation on the organization, structure, workload, and budget of the Florida State Courts System. In addition, Justice Harry Lee Anstead spoke about the critical importance of local leaders in addressing the needs of Florida's children to prevent their later involvement in the adult criminal justice system.

The Chief Justice concluded the Leadership Tallahassee event by discussing priorities that she will address during her two-year term, including successful implementation of the Revision 7 funding transition; unification of court technology; and unified family court implementation.

 

Posted January 31, 2005

The Family Court Conference Self Assessment Reports are now available online. A self assessment report is available from each of the 20 trial court circuits. The reports are one of the results of the October 2004 Family Court Conference, “A Vision Without Division: The Key to Serving Families and Children in the Court.


Posted January 24, 2005

The Work Group on Standards for Jury Panel Sizes held a public hearing on January 19 in Miami to receive input from the public regarding Florida's jury system. Audio and materials from the hearing are now available on this website. Additional information regarding the Work Group's efforts are accessible on the website using the link above.


Posted January 20, 2005

Gearing Up Against Substance Abuse-A Guide is a how-to manual designed for those programs in the beginning or planning stages of drug courts. The manual contains specific guidelines to assist in the successful implementation of programs in urban and non-urban sites. The manual is formatted in a question/answer style and includes sample protocols, procedures, contracts, and other guiding documents used by various drug courts throughout Florida and the nation. The appendices are in the process of being updated.


Posted January 7, 2005

The Committee on Privacy and Court Records has a two day meeting scheduled in Miami on January 18 and 19. A notice for the meeting and additional information is available on the Committee webpage accessible using the link above.

Persons with disabilities who need a reasonable accommodation to participate should contact Sherri Waites , 500 S. Duval Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1900, 850-488-6569, at least five days prior to the public hearing. Persons using a TDD may contact Ms. Waites through the Florida Relay Service, 711.