Month: December 2020

  • Brazil Will Send Two Helicopters For Rescue Operations In Chile

    first_imgBy Dialogo March 04, 2010 Brazil will send two Brazilian Air Force (FAB) helicopters with dialysis equipment to Chile on an emergency basis, to assist with rescue operations following Saturday’s earthquake, the Institutional Security Cabinet (GSI) announced Tuesday. The two Blackhawk H60 helicopters will depart immediately, and the FAB will subsequently send Hercules aircraft to set up a field hospital in Chile with an operating room and an Intensive Care Unit. The Hercules planes that take the equipment for setting up the field hospital to Chile will then be used to bring back Brazilian citizens who have requested this assistance from the Brazilian embassy in Santiago, the GSI announced. The installation of a field hospital in Chile was announced Monday by Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who added that the hospital will remain in operation for the length of time that the Chilean authorities request. The GSI will decide on aid for Chile using the same model adopted for sending donations and assistance to Haiti, which also suffered a devastating earthquake in January. An FAB plane landed in São Paulo Tuesday with thirty Brazilian citizens who had been stranded in Chile as a result of the earthquake. The government still does not know whether any Brazilians were among those killed by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated the country early Saturday. According to official estimates, around twelve thousand Brazilians live in Chile.last_img read more

  • Operation MARTILLO seizes more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine

    first_imgBy Dialogo May 01, 2014 ALAMEDA, U.S.A. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Active seized an estimated 1,043 kilograms of cocaine in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean about 225 kilometers off the coast of Panama as part of Operation MARTILLO in late March. The cocaine was valued at about US$37 million. The USCG Cutter Active, home ported in Port Angeles, Wash., was on a routine patrol in the region when it was directed to intercept a suspicious Panamanian fishing vessel sighted earlier by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection P-3 aircraft. A Coast Guard boarding team was launched as Active approached the fishing vessel. During an inspection of the vessel, the boarding team discovered more than 40 burlap sacks filled with cocaine. The fishing boat, the contraband, and five suspected smugglers were turned over to Panamanian authorities. “I am extremely proud of this crew. They have continually lived up to the cutter’s nickname, the ‘Li’l Tough Guy’,” Cmdr. Philip Crigler, Active’s commanding officer, said in a prepared statement. “Through their tenacity we have had great success on this patrol keeping illegal drugs from reaching the shores of the United States.” Operation MARTILLO is a multinational effort that includes Canada, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Unites States. It strives to disrupt transnational criminal organizations by limiting their ability to use Central America as a transit zone. [USSOUTHCOM (United States), 24/04/2014; US Coast Guard (United States), 23/04/2014; (United States), 24/04/2014]last_img read more

  • Continuing Promise 2017 Begins Honduran Operations

    first_imgBy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brittney Cannady, Expeditionary Combat Camera March 02, 2017 An opening ceremony marking the start of operations for Continuing Promise 2017’s (CP-17) second mission stop took place on February 21 in Trujillo, Honduras. The event was attended by local government officials, United States and Honduran military personnel, and the honorable James Nealon, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, who highlighted how the two nations’ partnership will make the 10-day mission stop successful. “I’m glad for the opportunity to be able to participate in the opening ceremony here today. The medical, dental, and veterinary services being provided to citizens all require an enormous amount of coordination with many people working together, and I am very thankful for the personnel here supporting Continuing Promise,” said Ambassador Nealon. Following the festivities, U.S. Navy Captain Errin Armstrong, Commodore Destroyer Squadron 40 (CDS 40) and CP-17 Mission commander, shared that the team was eager to work with their Honduran counterparts to provide services to local residents. “I know that our team is ready to get out into the local community and assist as many people as we can. This visit is a great chance for the team to work alongside host nation providers, learn from each other, and build partnerships that will continue to benefit the people of Honduras in the future,” said Capt. Armstrong. During the visit, host nation and mission personnel provide a variety of medical and dental services at a local elementary school in Trujillo and participate in several knowledge exchange and training (KET) events at Hospital Salvador Peredes. Also, CP-17 team members collaborate with the ministry of Public Health for family planning, nutrition, and infection control training at KET sites throughout Trujillo. Members of the veterinarian team provide animal sterilization and vaccination services for residents and local dairy farmers in conjunction with the Trujillo Pet Project. The U.S. Fleet Forces Band performs for students at the Centro de Educación Básica in Puerto Castilla and the Plaza Trujillo Parque Central while in Honduras, and the preventative medicine team conducts training with local public health officials on insect control, waste management, and water quality testing. Honduras is the second stop of CP-17’s humanitarian and civic assistance mission and will be followed by a scheduled stop in Colombia before concluding in April. CP-17 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian assistance, training engagements, medical, dental, and veterinary support in an effort to show U.S. support and commitment to Central and South America.last_img read more

  • Brazilian National Defense Sector Gains More Ground in the World of Academia

    first_imgBy Nelza Oliveira/Diálogo July 19, 2017 The Brazilian Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC per its Portuguese acronym), through the National Education Council (CNE, per its Portuguese acronym), has added national defense to the list of sciences studied in Brazil at the master’s and doctoral levels. There are now some civilian and military institutions offering sensu stricto (strict sense) courses related to this topic which did not exist prior to the regulation. By formalizing the subject, it becomes better known in academia and facilitates approval by the Foundation for the Coordination of Graduate Education (CAPES, per its Portuguese acronym), which is connected with MEC, for more courses in the area, whether they are requested by civilian or military institutions. The Brazilian Army made the request to CNE, and a favorable finding was published in the Official Gazette on May 15th. For the military, this initiative opens up a new world of well-qualified professionals who will compete for defense careers in the future. Students interested in this subject will now have greater access to strategic studies on issues that most affect national sovereignty. “This finding was a regulatory necessity. It is formal recognition that this is an area capable of attracting financing and training at the master’s and doctoral levels. With the creation and inclusion of this new field, CAPES now has the conditions necessary to list defense in its records and insert it as a knowledge area, allowing institutions to offer the course,” explained Councilman Luiz Roberto Liza Curi, CNE’s president and the author of the finding. “I think this qualifies the training of our human resources in a specialty that includes various subspecialties which must tie strongly to defense issues in other areas, not only for defense against invasion,” he added. More civilian involvement Seizing the moment, the Brazilian War College (ESG, per its Portuguese acronym) will propose that CAPES do a sensu lato (broad sense) evaluation of its pilot course for the International Defense and Security specialization, which could become the first sensu stricto course at that institution. Created in 1949, ESG is an institute within Brazil’s Ministry of Defense for political, defense, and strategic research and study, open to service members and civilians alike. “From the time it was created, ESG already had that pluralistic vision of bringing together civilians and service members from the three branches of the armed forces. The selection process is done through public notices and by invitation to civil institutions and businesses,” explained Brazilian Navy Rear Admiral Antonio Ruy de Almeida Silva, a graduate advisor at the ESG’s Graduate Studies Coordination Office. “When speaking of defense, the institution that most spreads the topic in the civilian world — I would even say to academia and the defense sector — is ESG. Our intention now is to have sensu stricto master’s and doctoral [programs] within the scope of CAPES,” he continued. Rear Adm. Ruy said that studies in the defense area have progressed greatly since 2005, when the Ministry of Defense launched the Program to Support Scientific and Technological Research and Education in National Defense (Pró-Defesa, per its Portuguese abbreviation), to promote cooperation between civilian and military institutes of higher learning in order to implement projects that produce scientific and technological research, as well as developing sensu stricto graduate courses in the field. For Brazil’s public and private institutions to be able to apply for financing from Pró-Defesa, they must have sensu stricto graduate programs recognized by MEC, with areas of concentration or lines of research in national defense, or must present a viable implementation project for those research areas. Among the projects considered by the program are those from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, entitled “Developing Composite Materials for Use in Military Vehicles,” and from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, entitled “Developing Biotechnology Tools for Rapid Detection of Pathogen Agents Potentially Used as Biological Weapons.” Rear Adm. Ruy also cited the creation, also in 2005, of the Brazilian Defense Studies Association, a civilian academic association that brings together professors and researchers pursuing studies linked to national defense and international security. “After that, several programs emerged. In reality, the recognition of defense now is a continuation of the process, a consolidation. It doesn’t end here. These are stages in a process that will keep moving forward: a larger opening, a greater understanding, bringing in civilians to learn about defense programs and to participate in defense policies. The more civilians and legislators who participate in these defense programs, the more credibility, legitimacy, and resources will be directed to this area,” Rear Adm. Ruy stated. Academic exchanges For Sergio Felicori, a specialist in public policy and governance at the Pandiá Calógeras Institute (IBED, per its Portuguese acronym), a research and advising portion of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, the university can contribute to defense by producing technology, engaging in dialogue with the intellectual elite in society, preserving the history, and generating knowledge that is applied to strategy and international security. “We feel this is a great step towards recognizing the defense area as a scientific field of study. That opens the door for implementing specific lines of defense research at universities and other institutions of higher learning,” he pointed out. Since last year, IBED has promoted the Voluntary Service Program (PSV, per its Portuguese acronym), which offers students and researchers an opportunity for greater contact with defense issues, as well as grants for university academic work in this area, both in undergraduate and graduate courses. IBED designates tutors who provide access to databases and networks of contacts, giving scientific and technical guidance and acting as intermediaries with other institutions and researchers. In return, the Ministry of Defense is able to use the content the researchers create for the benefit of national defense activities. For 2017, the areas of research offered were Amazon, Blue Amazon, Defense Culture, Defense Economics, Strategic Environment, Peacekeeping and Defense Operations, and Parliament. “The themes developed through these projects relate to some of the Ministry of Defense’s priority issues in the areas of strategy (South America and the southern Atlantic, including the west coast of Africa) and defense economics,” explained Carlos Timo Brito, a public policy and governance specialist at the Ministry of Defense and coordinator of IBED’s Volunteer Service Program. “In addition to the contributions these research programs are making to the improvement of policies and activities developed under this portfolio, it is hoped that this will bring our governance closer to academia,” he concluded.last_img read more

  • El Salvador in Last Phase of Preparing New Peacekeeping Contingent

    first_imgBy Lorena Baires / Diálogo September 17, 2018 United Nations (UN) delegates screened the equipment and flight technology the Salvadoran Air Force’s (FAS, in Spanish) Gavilán I Air Contingent will use as it joins the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA, in French) in September 2018. UN experts carried out the second-to-last inspection at the Combat Helicopter Air Unit (UAHA, in Spanish) of FAS’s First Air Brigade in Ilopango municipality, July 30th. “Delegates evaluated and verified operational and logistics capabilities of our personnel and supervised the refurbishing of three MD 500 assault helicopters to be deployed in the city of Gao, in northeastern Mali,” said FAS Colonel Eduardo Salazar, UAHA commander. “The evaluation was successful thanks to the personnel’s efforts and dedication, their knowledge, and the skills they developed in the field.” The Gavilán I contingent will consist of pilots and specialists in communication, maintenance, and weaponry. “This is the third air contingent FAS deploys in MINUSMA; it will work simultaneously with the Torogoz IV contingent and the Airfield Ground Services Unit,” Salvadoran Minister of Defense David Munguía Payés said during the UN experts’ visit. “Their mission will be to provide air and land escort, and air fire support when required. We contribute to international security and peace by supporting transition authorities.” The most outstanding work of Gavilán I’s maintenance team is the full installation of different systems in three helicopters. “Our personnel excelled in adapting the avionics equipment the United Nations requires, including GPS; emergency locator transmitters; cabin audio and video systems for pilots, and VHF communications; and the filtering system to prevent polluting dust from entering the engines,” said FAS Chief Master Sergeant Alex Fuentes, UAHA maintenance supervisor. Service members will transport the three helicopters on a cargo plane, along with basic aircraft maintenance equipment. “The main equipment will be transported by sea in containers. [Trucks], micro-buses, and an electric plant will be included, as well as medium and large capacity power generators,” Col. Salazar said. High-profile team UAHA is an elite team within FAS. “Our unit is trained to carry out operations such as reconnaissance and observation, personnel transport, medical evacuation, escort, and air fire support when necessary,” Chief Master Sgt. Fuentes said. Maintenance personnel traveling to Gao were selected based on practical capabilities and experience. The contingent consists of 12 service members specialized in avionics, radio communications, aircraft electrical systems, instruments, metal frame construction, air weaponry, supplies, and aerospace support equipment. According to FAS authorities, the personnel’s constant training, especially maintenance personnel, who received different training at avionics companies of the United States, made UN delegates’ approval possible. “They recently took part in a training event on engines, to learn to solve machines’ most common failures. This makes us more competent,” Col. Salazar said. To take over the new mission, the maintenance squadron has a test pilot in charge of analyzing the equipment on the ground and doing test flights to certify the aircraft is in optimal condition to fly in Gao. “We are also equipped with spare parts, accessories, tools, and aviation equipment,” Chief Master Sgt. Fuentes said. The Salvadoran contingent will be based in Camp Castor, with service members from Austria, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. The camp, managed by German service members, was built in 2014, and is separated from the so-called “super-camp” that hosts almost all peacekeeping troops. The Gavilán I contingent will replace the German assault helicopters group and conduct combined work with European countries and Canada, which recently joined to strengthen the camp with air transport resources.last_img read more

  • Hostages As Bargaining Chips: An Iranian Tradition

    first_imgBy Mary Jane Maxwell / Share America January 03, 2020 Hostage taking has been a constant and contemptible feature of the Iranian regime ever since Islamic fundamentalists overthrew Iran’s government in 1979. That year, radicals took more than 60 U.S. Embassy employees hostage and held 52 Americans prisoners for 444 days.Foreigners who come to Iran today to work, study or visit family are frequent targets for the regime, who see them as opportunities to extract money or policy changes from governments.Dual nationals — citizens of both Iran and another country — continue to be targeted for “arbitrary and prolonged detention” and often are not allowed to obtain lawyers and defend themselves, according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2017 Human Rights Report on Iran.In some cases, dual nationals have received 10 years or more in prison. For example, American-Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi was visiting his parents in Tehran in 2015 when he was arrested for “collaborating with enemy states” and sentenced to 10 years in prison. In 2017, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considered “that there is an emerging pattern involving the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of dual nationals in Iran.” Namazi is being held in Iran’s infamous Evin Prison and denied access to his lawyer or visits by family members.British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested on trumped-up spying charges in April 2016 following a family visit. A judge in Tehran ruled that she will not be released until Iran receives payment for an old debt owed by Britain, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran.The judge “has confirmed what we have been suspecting for some time,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran in July 2018. “His statements confirm that Nazanin is being held in prison as a bargaining chip,” he said.Former FBI agent Robert Levinson has been missing for more than 12 years in Iran, becoming the longest-held U.S. hostage in American history. The Iranian government previously committed to helping the United States in locating Levinson and the U.S. government continues to press Iran to uphold this commitment so that he can rejoin his family.And Princeton University student Xiyue Wang, a naturalized American citizen from China, was arrested on spying charges in 2016 while learning Persian and conducting historical research for his doctoral dissertation. Princeton officials said they continue “to hope that the Iranian authorities will allow this genuine scholar, devoted husband, and caring father to return to his doctoral studies and his family.” The university will continue to support efforts to “seek his safe return home.”Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has arrested at least 30 dual nationals in recent years, mostly on spying charges.last_img read more

  • Senate takes up slip-and-fall cases

    first_img Senate takes up slip-and-fall cases April 1, 2002 Regular News Saying a recent Supreme Court decision shifted too much of the burden of proof to defendants in “slip-and-fall” cases, a Senate committee has approved a bill setting a new standard.The Banking and Insurance Committee approved SB 2256 March 12 by a 12-0 vote, after hearing it was supported by most business lobbies and the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers.Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, sponsor of the bill, said it was intended to change the burden of proof in premises liability cases set by a Supreme Court majority in Owens v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 802 So. 2d 315 (Fla. 2001).Before Owens, the plaintiff had the burden of showing that the defendant either knew a hazard existed or should have known that it existed, Brown-Waite said, while the decision required the defendant to show reasonable care was exercised to prevent dangerous conditions.The minority in the 4-3 decision criticized it as going too far, including saying it “rewrote the law in slip-and-fall,” Brown-Waite said. “It’s the prerogative of this legislature to examine court decisions and make changes.”“What the Owens case did was virtually shift all of the elements on burden of proof over to the defendant,” said Bill Hurley, representing the Florida Retail Federation. “All the plaintiff has to show is duty [to provide a safe premises] and injury.“What we have done with the compromise is shifted the burden back to the plaintiff,” he added, noting the plaintiff, however, can show a negligent mode of operation by a preponderance of the evidence.Paul Jess, of the academy, said while his organization preferred the standards set out in the Owens decision, “We do not object to the bill in its present form.”Mike Huey, representing the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, opposed the bill, saying it didn’t go far enough in protecting business owners.“The old duty was the premises owner had to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the premises in a safe condition,” he said. “The new duty will be that the business premises owner owes a duty of reasonable care. . . including reasonable efforts to keep the premises free of transitory foreign objects or substances that might foreseeably give rise to injuries, loss or damage. What is a transitory foreign object? There is no such thing as a transitory foreign object that might not give rise to injury, loss, or damage.”But Brown-Waite called the bill fair.“The business community considers it a win, and the trial lawyers consider it less of a loss than the original bill,” she said.The Senate bill has been sent to its calendar for floor action while an identical House measure, HB 1545, is already pending action before the full House.center_img Senate takes up slip-and-fall caseslast_img read more

  • Chief Justice Awards honor service to the legal system

    first_img Chief Justice Awards honor service to the legal system January 1, 2003 Regular News Chief Justice Awards honor service to the legal systemcenter_img Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead recently recognized a number of lawyers, judges, and court employees for thier extraordinary service to the judicial branch.“We need to emphasize how much we do in the courts that is truly above and beyond the call of duty or that advances our mission in commendable ways,” Chief Justice Anstead said. “In my visits around the state, I routinely see staff, volunteers, and others who until now have been the unsung heroes of the judiciary. I want to see that they are unsung no longer.”Those recently honored include: • Mark Van Bever of Viera for exemplary work as trial court administrator of the 18th Judicial Circuit. • Bern Wiklendt of Viera for work as the 18th Judicial Circuit’s Court Technology Officer. • Indian River County Judge Paul B. Kanarek of Vero Beach for contributions as an original member of the Trial Court Budget Commission. •Doug Wilkinson, Sr., of Ft. Myers for contributions as an original member of the Trial Court Budget Commission. • Sandra Bazo of Key West for more than 30 years’ service to the courts. • Palm Beach County Judge Virginia Gay Broome for long and faithful service as a judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit. • Judge James T. Carlisle of Palm Beach County for long and faithful service as a judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit. • Judge Kenneth A. Marra of Palm Beach Count for long and faithful service as a judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit. •Judge Marvin U. Mounts, Jr., for long and faithful service as a judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit. • Mary Carrier of Bartow for service above and beyond the call of duty with Teen Court. • Judge Randall G. McDonald of Bartow for contributions as an original member of the Trial Court Budget Commission. • Sarasota County Judge Lee E. Haworth for contributions as an original member of the Trial Court Budget Commission.· • Judge Jerry R. Parker of Tampa for extraordinary contributions to the state courts as chair of the Court Technology Commission.Chief Justice’s Awards are issued as worthy recipients are identified based on nominations due at the end of each month, which are accepted electronically via the court’s Web site. This can include 10 or more years of faithful service to the courts, special contributions to the judicial branch or a local court, volunteerism, heroism, lifetime achievement, and other similar categories. Nominations must be authorized by the chief judge or court administrator, who will be contacted for verification.The Web nomination form is located on the Florida State Courts Internet page under the Supreme Court link at or at (a duplicate site).Deadlines will be the last day of each month, though awards will be issued on an ongoing basis.last_img read more

  • House Judiciary Committee takes up UPL

    first_imgHouse Judiciary Committee takes up UPL House Judiciary Committee takes up UPL Senior EditorThe hot topic at the first meeting of the Florida House Judiciary Committee was the unlicensed practice of law, and specifically, how The Florida Bar and the legislature could work together to better protect Florida residents.Ostensibly, the January 8 gathering was the organizational meeting for the committee for its next two years of operations. That included a presentation from State Courts Administrator Rob Lubitz on the structure of Florida’s courts, an address from Bar President Tod Aronovitz, and Chair Rep. Jeff Kottkamp’s outlining of issues likely to be considered by the committee.But following Aronovitz’ talk, several committee members peppered him with questions about UPL, particularly on immigration and bankruptcy issues.] Rep. Gustavo A. Barreiro, R-Miami, started the UPL conversation when he noted that operations have set up in South Florida offering immigration and bankruptcy services, which are governed by federal rules and laws.“A lot of these offices have sprung up,” he said. “People pay two to four times more money than going to (attorneys) and they think they’re getting an attorney. What can we do as a legislature so we put in place parameters for that kind of abuse?”“We are the ones who receive daily the complaints from someone who has gone to someone they think is a lawyer and pays thousands of dollars and they get no legal services,” Aronovitz replied. He said the Bar files cases with the Supreme Court to “protect Floridians who can be hurt by those who hold themselves out as professionals and really aren’t.”Rep. Philip Brutus, D-Miami, asked if the Bar could help draft laws that criminalize some UPL activities. Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas, R-Miami, said he was concerned that lawyers licensed in other states can come to Florida and practice immigration and other federally regulated areas without joining The Florida Bar. Those lawyers frequently have been disciplined or had other problems in those other states, but still can come to Florida and offer services without any oversight, he said.“We have no controls over what other states do,” Aronovitz replied. “All we can do is work closely with you. If there is legislation on this subject, we will assist you where we can. We have the legal support staff and protecting the public is important to us.”Committee Chair Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, said the issue is complicated because it’s the federal government that has jurisdiction over immigration and bankruptcy law. “We will have to work with Congress if we want to regulate immigration attorneys,” he said. “But unless someone complains to the Bar, no one is going to know about it. We will look at it and see what passes constitutional muster.”Rep. Carl Domino, R-Palm Beach Gardens, raised a different issue, asking Aronovitz why, in the business scandals surrounding Enron, WorldCom, and other corporate wrongdoing, accounting problems were highlighted, while attorneys who approved many of the questionable deals were not spotlighted.Aronovitz replied that Florida has very high standards and strict rules and would prosecute such misdeeds. “We are the gold standard of bar associations in the country. We do have in place an outstanding process,” he said.Kottkamp added that each state has its own attorney regulations and “had those actions been performed by an attorney in the state of Florida, I can assure you they would lose their license. Those attorneys were in other states.”In his presentation to the committee, Aronovitz said the Bar would be pursuing three general goals at the legislature this year.One is that the regulation of judges and lawyers remain under the Supreme Court. “That’s historic and we support it,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of all lawyers historically follow our high ethical standards and our oath of professionalism. For those one percent who don’t, they are prosecuted vigorously.”That included in 2001 the disbarring of noted attorney F. Lee Bailey following a complaint by a federal judge. “We are proud at The Florida Bar of our lawyer regulation and our discipline,” Aronovitz said.The second area is adequate funding of the courts, especially with the legislature scheduled to take over more funding of the trial courts from counties by July 1, 2004. That’s important to business, the criminal justice system, and other parts of society, he said.The last will be to continue funding of the Civil Legal Justice Act that the legislature, at the urging of the Bar and others, began last year. “That has been a tremendous success,” Aronovitz said. “We commend you, and we are going to come and ask for a continuation of that.”The Bar president talked about the ongoing Dignity in Law program, which promotes the many positive things lawyers do to help clients every day, from pro bono to routine legal work on a variety of needs.“Some people don’t know that The Florida Bar is not a trade organization of attorneys,” Aronovitz said. “We are a unified Bar and that includes the real estate attorneys, probate, tax law, family law — it’s the whole umbrella of attorneys. But we function primarily for the benefit of the citizens of the state of Florida.. . . “We as the lawyers of Florida, pursuant to Article V of the constitution, act as the arm of the Florida Supreme Court to discipline and regulate attorneys; that is our function. We are very mindful of our role at The Florida Bar in recognizing and protecting the public trust.”Lubitz provided an overview of the court operations and its caseloads.“Our chief justice [Harry Lee Anstead] often talks about the importance of the rule of law and how important the courts are,” he said. “We see our role in the courts system as protecting democracy by upholding the law, protecting individual liberties, enforcing public order, and providing peaceful resolution of disputes.”Florida’s courts handle more than one million criminal cases each year, around 1.2 million civil cases, and around 500,000 juvenile and family type cases.The majority of that work falls on the trial courts, where 280 county judges handle around two million cases and 527 circuit judges preside over 800,000 cases, Lubitz reported. Sixty-two district courts of appeal judges handle 23,000 cases annually, he added, while the seven Supreme Court justices preside over 2,800 writs, appeals, and orders.The courts have seen a constant, if not overwhelming, growth in filings, with cases rising overall 12 percent in the past seven years, Lubitz said. That includes 10 percent increases in circuit criminal and family filings, but a 30-percent increase in circuit civil cases. At the county level, criminal filings are up 5.5 percent, while civil cases are up 35 percent.Florida judges typically handle 31 percent more cases that other judges nationally, and while the national average is 3.5 judges per 100,000 population, Florida has 3.1 per 100,000, Lubitz said.The total court budget is $292 million, he added, of which 77 percent goes to the trial courts, and 15 percent goes to the appellate courts. Administration accounts for about six percent and the rest is for other programs.For the upcoming session, Lubitz said the court system will have three priorities:• Passage of the annual certification for new judges. That opinion should be out early in February, Lubitz said. Last year, the court asked for 34 new circuit judgeships, 13 county judgeships, and two new DCA seats. The legislature wound up approving 18 new circuit judge posts.• Renewing the $2.50 charge on each civil filing that goes to support the court education trust fund. Lubitz said that levy supports one of the country’s best judicial education programs and gives Florida judges the background and training to operate efficiently. The assessment is scheduled to expire later this year.• Working with the legislature on the constitutionally mandated transition that will have the state picking up more trial court costs from the county. That must be done, by under a 1998 constitutional amendment, by July 1, 2004. “We are hopeful that in this session some of the structural decisions will be made,” Lubitz said. “What will be the county requirements, the local obligation? There’s an awful lot of uncertainty. We would like to have some of these broad policy decisions made during this year.”Some chief circuit judges, he added, are already dealing with budgets that will extend past July 1, 2004.In his opening remarks to the committee, Chair Kottkamp said he anticipates some major issues will come before the committee. Those include proposed changes to medical malpractice laws, a glitch bill on last year’s adoption rewrite, the judicial certification bill, and likely rewriting workers’ compensation laws.“There’s going to be a lot of reading, but it’s going to be very interesting,” Kottkamp said. February 1, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

  • October 1, 2003 On the Move

    first_img October 1, 2003 Regular News Bill McBride, a Florida gubernatorial candidate in 2002, and former managing partner of Holland & Knight, has joined the newly named Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long & McBride, with offices at 601 Bayshore Blvd., Ste. 700, Tampa 33606, telephone (813) 253-2020. The firm concentrates in corporate, tax, real estate, and litigation. Pamela H. Izakowitz, former partner of Backhus & Izakowitz, P.A., Tampa, has joined the 10th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Office, with offices in Polk, Hardee, and Highlands counties. Ginger Renee Cooper, formerly of Cobb, Cole & Bell, Daytona Beach, has joined the 10th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Office, with offices in Polk, Hardee, and Highlands counties. Dan Armstrong, of the Law Offices of Dan W. Armstrong, P.A., announces the opening of additional offices at 501 Centre St., Ste. 128, Fernandina Beach. The firm concentrates in elder law, wills, trusts, estate planning, probate, and corporate law. Stephen H. Luther and Chelse A. Ferrero have become associates of, and Michael Taylor has been made shareholder of Allen, Dyer, Doppelt, Milbrath & Gilchrist, P.A., with offices at 255 S. Orange Ave., Ste. 1401, Orlando 32801, telephone (407) 841-2330. Mary M. Earnest, former partner with Truex & Earnest, P.A., announces the opening of The Earnest Law Firm, P.A., with offices located at 500 S.E. 15th St., Ste. 106, Ft. Lauderdale 33316, telephone (954) 525-5644. The firm concentrates in business litigation, collections/bankruptcy, real estate, and probate. Smith & Fuller, P.A., announces the relocation of its offices to 455 N. Indian Rocks Rd., Ste. A, Belleair Bluffs 33770, telephone (727) 252-5252. The firm practices in construction litigation and tire tread separation and rollover litigation. Scott A. La Porta, has joined Abel, Band, Russell, Collier, Pitchford & Gordon, Chartered, with offices at 240 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota 34236, telephone (941) 366-6660. He concentrates in securities law, restrictive covenants, commercial litigation, and arbitration. Daniel Matlow, formerly of Vezina, Lawrence & Piscitelli, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, has joined Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A., with offices at 200 E. Broward Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale 33302, telephone (954) 527-6214. He concentrates in commercial litigation, including business and contract disputes, real estate disputes, and construction litigation. Olga L. Martin has been promoted to partner of Miller, Kagan, Rodriguez & Silver, P.A., with offices located at 75 Valencia Ave., Ste. 800, Coral Gables 33134, telephone (305) 446-5228. The firm concentrates in workers’ compensation and labor and employment law. Mark Kluger has been promoted to partner of Miller, Kagan, Rodriguez & Silver, P.A., with offices located at 5900 N. Andrews Ave., Ste. 920, Ft. Lauderdale 33309, telephone (954) 776-9966. The firm concentrates in workers’ compensation and labor and employment law. Trent Miller has been promoted to partner of Miller, Kagan, Rodriguez & Silver, P.A., with offices located at 8433 Enterprise Circle, Ste. 130, Bradenton 34202, telephone (941) 907-0129. The firm concentrates in workers’ compensation and labor and employment law. Thomas H. Justice III announces the formation of Thomas H. Justice III, P.A., with offices at 549 Wymore Rd. N., Ste. 107, Maitland 32751, telephone (407) 740-0077. He practices in the areas of complex business, commercial litigation, and construction. Barry Rigby, formerly chief headquarters discipline counsel with The Florida Bar, has joined DeCubellis & Meeks, P.A., with offices at 837 N. Garland Ave., Orlando 32801, telephone (407) 872-2200. He practices in the areas of commercial litigation and family law. Arnstein & Lehr, LLP, announces the relocation of its Boca Raton offices to 2424 N. Federal Hwy., Ste. 462, Boca Raton 33401. Jason L. Molder has become an associate with Young, Berman, Karpf & Gonzalez, P.A., with offices at 17071 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach 33160, telephone (305) 945-1851. He concentrates in marital and family law. C. Timothy Corcoran III, retired U.S. bankruptcy judge, announces the opening of C. Timothy Corcoran III, P.A., with offices located at 400 N. Ashley Dr., Ste. 2540, Tampa 33602, telephone (813) 769-5020. He will concentrate in business and commercial litigation, including bankruptcies and insolvencies. Colleen M. Fitzgerald, formerly with Morgan, Padgett & Associates, P.A., has joined GrayHarris, with offices at 201 N. Franklin St., Ste. 2200, Tampa 33602, telephone (813) 273-5000. She practices in the areas of business and commercial litigation. Mark D. Siegel has joined Levin, Tannenbaum, Wolff, Band, Gates & Pugh, with offices at 1680 Fruitville Rd., Ste. 102, Sarasota 34236, telephone (941) 316-0111. He concentrates in real property and commercial transactions, choice of business entities, tax and estate planning, probate, and contracts. Richard A. Hujber, former attorney-advisor in the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, has joined Ellis & Ged, P.A., with offices at 7171 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton 33487, telephone (561) 995-1966. The firm concentrates in personal injury and immigration law.The attorneys and staff of G. Donald Thomson, P.A., of Bonita Springs, have joined Henderson Franklin, with offices at the Bonita Bay Executive Center II, 3461 Bonita Bay Blvd., Ste. 220, Bonita Springs 34134, telephone (239) 498-6222. G. Donald Thomson, Richard S. Annunziata, and Marianne H. LePera practice in commercial litigation and business matters. Steve Prevaux has become general counsel for the University of South Florida, located at 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa 33620, telephone (813) 974-4014. Prior to joining the university, Prevaux concentrated in labor and employment law and cyber law. Andrea M. Fair has become a shareholder of Wetherington, Hamilton & Harrison, P.A., with offices at 400 N. Tampa St., Ste. 2625, Tampa 33602, telephone (813) 225-1918. She practices in construction, collections, contracts, real estate, and business matters. Ronald E. Cotterill has become a member of Wetherington, Hamilton & Harrison, P.A., with offices at 400 N. Tampa St., Ste. 2625, Tampa 33602, telephone (813) 225-1918. He practices in the areas of commercial and construction-related litigation, condominium, homeowners association law, litigation regarding events of flooding damage to residential and commercial properties. Seth R. Nelson, former law clerk to John C. Godbold, senior judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, has joined Wetherington, Hamilton & Harrison, P.A., with offices at 400 N. Tampa St., Ste. 2625, Tampa 33602, telephone (813) 225-1918. He practices in the areas of commercial and general business litigation, including real estate law, civil litigation, collections, and appellate practice. Gregg H. Lehrer has become a partner of GrayHarris, which has offices located at 301 E. Pine St., Ste. 1400, Orlando 32801, telephone (407) 843-8880. He concentrates in commercial real estate law. Mark Mirkin, formerly of Mirkin & Woolf, P.A., West Palm Beach, has joined Smith Moore LLP, with offices at the BB&T Bldg., 2800 Two Hannover Square, Raleigh, NC 27601, telephone (919) 755-8700. He practices in corporate and securities law. Joseph A. Corsmeier announces the opening of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A., with offices located at 2655 McCormick Dr., Ste. 212, Clearwater 33759, telephone (727) 799-1688. The firm practices in the areas of attorney admission and disciplinary defense, expert ethics opinion and testimony, workers’ compensation, and labor law. Suzanne Youmans Labrit has joined Shutts & Bowen, LLP, with offices at 201 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami 33131, telephone (305) 358-6300. She joins the firm’s business litigation practice group. Fowler White Boggs Banker announces the opening of offices at 8891 Brighton Lane, Ste. 128, Bonita Springs 34135, telephone (239) 947-8940. Theodore F. Schwartz announces the relocation of his offices to 230 S. Bemiston, Ste. 1010, Clayton, MO 63105, telephone (314) 863-4654. October 1, 2003 On the Movelast_img read more