Wednesday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today.
In a docket packed with controversy, the Florida Supreme Court is hearing cases on some of the most contentious items facing the state. Here's a round-up of some of the top items in the news:
» Florida justices to decide whether to punish 'robo-signing'
On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court will consider whether banks should be punished when they file fraudulent documents in foreclosure cases. At center stage will be "robo-signing," where banks and law firms recreated loan documents -- and hired someone to sign them -- because the originals could not be found.
Florida Supreme Court
Front row, L-R: Justice Barbara J. Pariente, Chief Justice Charles T. Canady, Justice R. Fred Lewis
Back row, L-R: Justice Jorge Labarga, Justice Peggy A. Quince, Justice Ricky Polston, Justice James E.C. Perry
» Fla. Court To Rule: Can A Lawyer Be Undocumented?
Jose Godinez-Samperio is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico -- and now he's fighting to be admitted to the Florida bar. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners adopted a policy in 2008 that requires all applicants to offer valid citizenship or immigration papers. Now 25, Godinez-Samperio received a waiver from the state Board of Bar Examiners to take the bar exam and passed. But after several months of consideration, the board declined to admit him -- instead referring the case to the state Supreme Court.
» Florida Supreme Court hears 3 immigration cases
Attorneys for three immigrants urged the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday to throw out their guilty pleas to felony charges because defense lawyers failed to warn them the result would be almost certain deportation. They cited a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in a Kentucky case that says failing to give immigrants such advice violates their constitutional right to effective counsel.
» Florida Justices hear case for denying homestead exemption for immigrants A Honduran couple’s case argued yesterday before the Florida Supreme Court could have major implications for an non-residents, including undocumented immigrants, trying to live the American dream. The court could determine if the couple and other non-resident homeowners, whether they are from foreign countries or other states, can obtain homestead property tax exemptions.
» For more, see the Florida Supreme Court docket
Attorney Steven W. Marcus helped Uri Rantz obtain a $650-a-month pension from the German government. [Photo: Eileen Escarda]
After surviving the Holocaust, Uri Rantz initially refused to seek reparations from the German government. "Money could never compensate us for our losses," says Rantz. But his medical bills -- hundreds of dollars a month -- convinced Rantz to change his mind about accepting payments from the German government. Jewish Family Services of Broward County referred Rantz to Steven W. Marcus, a shareholder at Fowler White Boggs in Fort Lauderdale. Marcus, along with Carey Villeneuve, an associate at the firm, signed up to give free legal help to Holocaust survivors last year.... continued.
» Read the full story here.
Jacksonville's manufacturing sector trails other metropolitan areas and has not grown like other parts of the country, according to a report by the Brookings Institution. The report says technological advances in sector pave the way to higher-paid jobs. Manufacturing accounts for 4.5 percent of all jobs in the Jacksonville area, compared to 8.5 percent nationally for the 100 biggest metropolitan areas. By that measure, Jacksonville ranks 90th among those cities, [Source: Florida Times-Union]
When the Florida Senate was looking for someone to put its budget data online, it set aside $5.5 million and turned to the business partner of a close friend of the Senate's chief of staff at the time, Steve MacNamara. The developer of the program, Anna Jo Mattson, owns a software company with Tallahassee lawyer and lobbyist Jim Eaton, MacNamara's long-time friend. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
If the so-called tanning mom Patricia Krentcil really wanted to put her 5-year-old daughter in a tanning booth -- as authorities accuse her of doing in child endangerment charges brought last month -- she should have come to Florida. Because in this state, it's entirely legal -- provided she accompanies her child. Florida is one of 21 states that don't specifically set a minimum age for indoor tanning, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Local businesses highlighted at Tally Chamber awards
More than 300 of the Capital City area’s movers and shakers gathered at Florida State’s University Center Club recently to hear winners of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Awards. “This is the 27 th year of our awards ceremony to recognize entrepreneurship, businesses, the commerce of our community and individuals,” said Chamber President Sue Dick. A total of sixty-nine area businesses and non-profits were in the initial running for this year’s Chamber Awards.
› Pinellas County tourism posts highest-grossing month in its history
Start with stellar weather. Add a popular attraction about a dolphin with a prosthetic tail. Toss in pent-up demand for some fun in the sun. The result: March was the most lucrative month for tourism tax dollars in Pinellas County history.
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