19 Dec

Pro Bono Awards

first_imgPro Bono Awards The Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Service Award February 15, 2003 Regular Newscenter_img Presented by the Chief Justice The purpose of the Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Service Award is to recognize, when appropriate, a voluntary bar association which has demonstrated a significant contribution in the delivery of legal services to individuals or groups on a pro bono basis. < p> Unlike the Tobias Simon and Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Awards, the Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Service Award is not an annual award. < p> Indian River County Bar Association The Indian River County Bar Association is a voluntary bar association which has served the Indian River County legal community since 1984, the year of its incorporation. Indian River County Bar Association members devote their energy, resources and attention to public services, charitable organizations, and informing the public of the importance and privilege of being a citizen of this country. One program the bar uses to reach the community is a monthly local access television show discussing topics of interest to the public. The pro bono services provided by members of the Indian River County Bar Association have continued over the years, including those years preceding the formal incorporation of the bar association. The Indian River County Bar Association works hand in hand with Florida Rural Legal Services in order to ensure the provision of attorney services to those who, because of financial conditions, are unable to afford the services of a lawyer. The Indian River County Bar Association established a formal Pro Bono Committee a number of years ago. For the past several years the Indian River County Bar Association has been able to place, into the hands of a competent attorney, all cases referred to it by Florida Rural Legal Services. The Committee also works in coordination with local judges of the 19th Judicial Circuit in and for the state of Florida. The Indian River County Bar Association contributed to the establishment of a visitation center where children of divorced parents can meet with the noncustodial parent in a home-like residential atmosphere. Prior to the establishment of this meeting place, supervised visitation usually occurred at various fast food restaurants, county parks or other open and public places. This did not meet the needs of children to be with a parent in a non-threatening and private setting. The Indian River County Bar Association has also established what is known as a “Wills on Wheels” program in which members of the bar association reach out to the indigent citizens of Indian River County in order to provide legal assistance in preparing last wills and testaments, durable powers of attorney, and other documents of an estate nature needed by those individuals who could not otherwise afford the services of an attorney. Although one of the smaller legal bar associations in Florida, the Indian River County Bar Association is proud of its efforts and services provided on a pro bono nature to the legal community and expects to increase its efforts and its productivity over the coming years.The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award was established in 1981. Its purpose is twofold: “to further encourage lawyers to volunteer free legal services to the poor by recognizing those who make such public service commitments, and to communicate to the public some sense of the substantial volunteer services provided by Florida lawyers to those who cannot afford legal fees.” This award recognizes individual lawyer service in each of Florida’s specific judicial circuits. It is presented annually in conjunction with the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award given by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Florida.The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service AwardRecipients The First Judicial Circuit is represented by two recipients, Sharon W. Potter and James R. Stokes. Both were involved in the same high profile King case. In November 2001, Terry King was found murdered and in a matter of days, his two minor sons were arrested for the murder. The children were 12 and 13 years old. Upon hearing about the boys’ case, Sharon Potter and James Stokes immediately offered their services free of charge, and between the two, they contributed hundreds of hours on the case. Sharon W. Potter Pensacola, Florida First Judicial Circuit In 1994, Sharon Potter graduated from the University of West Florida summa cum laude with a B. A. in Legal Administration, and in 1997 she graduated cum laude from Florida State University College of Law. Ms. Potter has been in practice for five years, primarily in the areas of criminal and family law. She is a member of the Pensacola Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Florida Association of Women Lawyers, the American Bar Association, and the American Inns of Court. She received the Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year award in 2000 from Pensacola’s Society of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Her pro bono work this past year consists primarily of the King case, a case she took late in 2001. She represented a 13-year-old boy charged with the first-degree murder of his father. When she first became involved with the case, her client was still charged in juvenile court. Shortly thereafter, he was indicted for first-degree murder in the adult system. She quickly learned that “representing a child in the adult system has many questions to which answers are difficult to find.” She burned up the phone lines between her office and the ethics advisors at The Florida Bar seeking guidance. She also quickly learned that the young client needed much more attention from her than adult clients. He was in jail during the entire pendency of his case. She visited him several times a week for many months, and spoke to him on the phone almost every day for a period of time. He was a gregarious child with severe ADHD who was put in solitary confinement at the adult jail – not for punishment, but for protection. She was usually the only person he could talk to when he was feeling lonesome. She got to know “a child who had experienced a difficult life with no real family and little stability.” After a long pretrial process, extensive depositions, trial, and subsequent mediation, the case was resolved after almost a year. Dennis Corder, a new partner, joined her firm July 1, 2002 and helped tremendously with the case, handling many pretrial and post-trial matters as well as the trial itself. James R. Stokes Pensacola, Florida First Judicial Circuit James Randall Stokes obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in education at Oklahoma State University in 1982 while serving in the United States Marine Corps. He received flight training in 1984 at NAS, Pensacola, Florida, and served in the Gulf War as a helicopter pilot where he received numerous decorations, including the Air Medal. After leaving the Marine Corps, he earned his Juris Doctor at Florida State College of Law in December 1995. At that time he began an internship and worked in the Public Defender’s Office in Pensacola until 1999 when he began his private practice in Pensacola. His practice concentrates in criminal defense and family law. He has performed hundreds of hours of service working with indigent clients; including the controversial King case, which aroused unprecedented and challenging legal issues and decisions. Mr. Stokes is an active member of the Escambia/Santa Rosa County Bar Association and also a member of the American Inns of Court, Pensacola Chapter. Bruce R. Conroy Tallahassee, Florida Second Judicial Circuit For the past three years Bruce Conroy has endeavored to establish a pro bono program for the Florida Department of Transportation with Legal Services of North Florida. He drafted and obtained his agency’s approval of a pro bono legal services policy, which encourages DOT attorneys to provide legal services to the poor and authorizes them to do so throughout Florida. He also established, participates in, and coordinates a Pro Bono Legal Advice Telephone Hotline program for DOT attorneys through Legal Services to provide volunteer attorneys to handle legal questions for the poor. He completed an annual calendar providing DOT volunteer attorneys four days a month at Legal Services. He helped establish, participates in and coordinate, an evening of monthly legal assistance by lawyers from DOT (along with other state agency attorneys he recruits to participate) at the Tallahassee Homeless Shelter. Also, he set up opportunities for DOT attorneys to participate in Legal Services Family Mediation Assistance Program, which helps Legal Services attorneys by representing their clients at court ordered family mediations in Leon County. Finally, he made his attorney staff available to handle pro bono cases directly. Although he spends well over 50 hours annually in these endeavors, the hours generated by volunteers he recruited can be approximated at over 500 hours, the equivalent of $75,000 worth of legal services. The nature of the cases handled runs the full gambit of civil legal matters generated through a legal services organization. Mr. Conroy is Florida Bar board certified in city, county, and local government law. He is also the DOT Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Coordinator. Further, he currently serves on the Florida Supreme Court appointed Task Force on Rule II of the Rules Relating The Florida Bar, which includes use of law students by legal aid organizations. He served on a court appointed professionalism committee in the 20th Judicial Circuit. He is licensed to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. He is a member of the Florida Government Bar Association and Administrative Law and Government Lawyer Sections of The Florida Bar, a past president of the Cape Coral Bar Association; and serves on the organizing committee for the St. Thomas Moore Society, a guild of Catholic lawyers in Tallahassee. He and his wife have 5 children, 2 of whom are in high school, and 3 of whom are home-schooled. Kathleen McCarthy Bishop Perry, Florida Third Judicial Circuit Kathleen Bishop grew up in East Rutherford, New Jersey. After graduating high school in 1984, she attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando. She received a B.A. in Legal Studies with a minor in Psychology in 1988. She was active on campus with Kappa Delta Sorority and Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity where she began to volunteer for such worthwhile charities as the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. She received her J.D. from Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Georgia in 1991. While at Mercer she was active with the Environmental Law Society and Women in Law. She practices law with her husband, Conrad C. “Sonny” Bishop III and her father-in-law, Conrad C. Bishop, Jr. with offices in Perry and Lake City. She handles primarily probate, guardianship, wills, corporations and Social Security Disability cases. Ms. Bishop is active with both the local and state bar associations. She currently serves on the Florida Bar Board of Governors, Young Lawyers Division (1998-present). She was voted Most Outstanding Young Lawyer by the YLD Board of Governors in 2000-2001. She served as president of the Third Circuit Bar Association (1997-98) and serves on the Third Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission (2000-present), Third Circuit Committee on Professionalism, Third Circuit Pro Se Committee, Taylor County Law Week (Chair) and Taylor County Bar Association. She has also served as chair for the Third Judicial Circuit Bar Young Lawyers Committee “Lawyers for Education” project, which provides school supplies to 12 primary schools in the Third Judicial Circuit. Ms. Bishop served on the board of directors for Three Rivers Legal Aid and volunteers in their pro bono program. She felt honored and humbled to receive this award. Her pro bono efforts have not resulted in large settlement awards but cover a wide range from drafting wills and durable powers of attorney, probating estates, handling stepparent adoptions, establishing nonprofit corporations to serving as the attorney ad litem for cases involving Adult Protective Services. In particular, one estate that she handled involved a sole heir who lived in Mexico. Her inability to communicate with the heir was frustrating, but she found her colleagues on the YLD Board of Governors and her friends in the community most generous in offering their time to translate. The case lasted about two years due to unforeseen complications with the IRS, but the heir finally received her inheritance in excess of $25,000. Ms. Bishop believes that “not only the cases that make the headlines deserve recognition, but also the small cases that lawyers handle every day to help others, cases that make a difference in our profession and in our communities. The efforts of the legal profession serving our clients, our communities and our colleagues are the foundation of dignity in the law.” Katherine Bliss Para Jacksonville, Florida Fourth Judicial Circuit Katherine Para received her Juris Doctor with honors from Florida Coastal School of Law in December, 2000. During law school, she was listed as a Dean’s Scholar, was on the Dean’s List, and served on Law Review. Ms. Para completed internships for Judge Gerald B. Tjoflat, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, and for the Office of General Counsel for the City of Jacksonville. Ms. Para was admitted to The Florida Bar in April, 2001. She is currently employed by JEA (formerly Jacksonville Electric Authority) as a contract attorney responsible for policy writing, legislative analysis, and alternative fuels reporting to the Department of Energy. Upon admission to the Bar, Ms. Para began her pro bono work for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. The director of the Public Service Project identified a need for more comprehensive legal services for youth seeking emancipation and Ms. Para responded to that need. Through collaboration with community agencies, she has defined and continues to develop The Emancipation Support Program. The program offers youth in extreme situations the opportunity to become emancipated. It provides the youth with an informational clinic, legal services, and a life skills course that serves as a conduit to community support resources. In addition to her role as the coordinator of Pro Bono Emancipation Services, Ms. Para has provided counsel to indigent and elderly clients in the areas of wills and guardianships. For 15 years, prior to pursuing her law degree, Ms. Para established and maintained a Jazzercise Fitness Center that ranked in the top 10% of the corporation for eight consecutive years. She is married, the mother of two daughters, and is a committed civic volunteer. Catherine F. Ackerman Ocala, Florida Fifth Judicial Circuit A native of Chicago, Illinois, Catherine Ackerman graduated with honors from the University of Florida College of Business Administration in 1980 with a B.S.B.A. in marketing. She earned a J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law in 1987 and started practicing law in Ocala the same year. Areas of concentration are estate planning; wills and trusts; probate and guardianship and elder law. Ms. Ackerman, admitted to The Florida Bar in 1987, is also admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. She is a member of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. Ms. Ackerman contributed primarily through the Fifth Judicial Circuit Public Guardian Program, the Fifth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Project, the Marion County Bar Association and Adult Protective Services. She was instrumental in establishing the Circuit’s Public Guardian Program and last year worked to establish a Ward’s operating system, a task that required meetings with a multitude of state and local officials. She contributed over 500 total pro bono hours in 2002. Ms. Ackerman’s civic interests include serving on the Board of Directors of Marion County Senior Services and serving as the president (2001-2002) of the Fifth Circuit Public Guardian Corporation (a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation). She is active in the Marion County Bar Association (president 1999-2000) and the Altrusa Club of Ocala (Literacy Committee, Read-In Coordinator). Ms. Ackerman and her husband, Bryce, have been married for 26 years. They have a daughter, Katie (20) and a son, Philip (5). In her spare time, she enjoys backpacking and snow skiing. Susan H. Bingham St. Petersburg Sixth Judicial Circuit Susan Bingham was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1992 and joined the Community Law Program shortly thereafter. She has donated 438 hours of service through the Community Law Program in individual case representation and by providing advice at clinics. In addition to assisting clients, Ms. Bingham served as president of the Community Law Program Board of Trustees for two years and was actively involved in the Program’s fundraising activities. She is a sole practitioner. Ms. Bingham received the 1996 Attorney of the Year Award presented by the Community Law Program just four years after she was admitted to The Florida Bar. She was Community Law Program Attorney of the Month, February 1999, and served on the Community Law Program’s Board of Trustees from 1999-2002, and as president from 2000-2002. She has been very instrumental in fundraising efforts for the program. She was also recipient of the 2002 Family Law Attorney of the Year Award presented by the Community Law Program. At the Sanderlin Center Advice Clinic, Ms. Bingham participated as a member of her former law firm (they send one person each week) and also availed herself at other times when there was a last minute cancellation. Ms. Bingham has provided more than 120 hours of time at the Wednesday Evening Intake Clinic where she interviews low-income people to assess their legal problems. She often left the clinic with a client for whom she offered further assistance. Ms. Bingham also assists in three separate advice clinics that offer low-income people assistance with completing the Florida Supreme Court Approved Simplified Family Law Forms. She taught one session of Forms 101 which provides line-by-line assistance in completing the forms in a classroom setting. Ms. Bingham has helped many low-income clients obtain a dissolution of marriage to escape an abusive relationship and to establish visitation and custody issues. Ms. Bingham’s pro bono hours also included assisting clients with collections and wage claims. She is a member of The Florida Bar, the Sixth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee, the St. Petersburg Bar Association, the Marital and Family Law Section and the Professional Responsibility Committee. Susan A. Fagan Daytona Beach, Florida Seventh Judicial Circuit Susan Fagan did her undergraduate work at the University of Dayton where she made the Dean’s List. She received her B.S. degree from the Ohio State University in 1980 and her J.D. from Capital University Law School, Columbus, Ohio in 1984. She was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1984, the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio in 1988 and The Florida Bar in 1990. Between 1984 and 1989, she was engaged in general practice in Ohio, concentrating in commercial and residential real estate contracts, estate planning, will drafting, general debt collection, property damage and civil litigation. She had two articles published in Law Review and was admitted to the Law Review in September 1982. She left practice to relocate in Florida to increase career and personal interests. While her admittance to The Florida Bar was pending, she was employed as a law clerk with Dickinson, O’Riorden in Sarasota. She has been with the Public Defender’s Office, Seventh Judicial Circuit since June 1990, where she has done criminal appellate, juvenile criminal and trial work. Ms. Fagan provided over 100 hours of pro bono work between July 1, 2001 and June 30, 2002 through Central Florida Legal Services and Teen Court. She says it has been her “extreme pleasure to have participated in the legal services program provided by Central Florida Legal Services over the past year.” Ms. Fagan feels her participation in the evening intake screening sessions with legal services’ clients allows her to be a part of the vital community outreach program. She highly recommends it to all Florida attorneys. Cynthia Stump Swanson Gainesville, Florida Eighth Judicial Circuit Cynthia Swanson practices mainly in the area of adoptions, family law, and wills and probate. She is a member of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, the Clara Gehan Association for Women Lawyers, and the Florida Adoption Council. She is also a member of the Pilot Club of Greater Gainesville (a service organization). She has handled family law cases through Three Rivers Legal Services for 15 years, with cases ranging from simple uncontested divorces to complicated enforcement matters. She has also handled pro bono family law cases for referrals from the Interfaith Hospitality Network in Gainesville, and has been a volunteer attorney for the Eighth Circuit’s Guardian ad Litem program, representing the guardian in many trials and in less contested matters. In addition, she has provided volunteer legal services for several non-profit groups, including the Gainesville Commission on the Status of Women, Inc., Micanopy Historic Preservation Trust, Inc., and Current Problems, Inc. She represented the Pilot Scholarship House Foundation in the probate of an estate, through which the Foundation received a bequest of approximately $250,000. With these funds, the Foundation built a new scholarship house on the University of Florida campus, a project which she oversaw. She has also been the volunteer legal advisor for Planned Parenthood of North Central Florida, Inc. for nearly 10 years, with issues ranging from employment contracts and policies to responses to subpoenas for medical records. Richard A. Leigh Winter Park, Florida Ninth Judicial Circuit Richard Leigh of Swann & Hadley, P.A., has been in private practice in Orange County since 1970. His primary areas of practice are estate planning, probate and guardianship, real property, and business organization. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska’s undergraduate law school. After graduation, Mr. Leigh served in the U.S. Navy as a J.A.G. officer with service in Vietnam. While serving in Vietnam, he was awarded the Navy achievement medal for meritorious service. Mr. Leigh has been an active member of the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc., and has handled 45 cases, contributing over 800 hours since 1980 on such cases as guardian ad litem and to establish guardianships. In 1996, his partner at the time, William Trickel, Jr. died suddenly, and Mr. Leigh willingly assumed responsibility for several legal aid cases being handled by his partner. Mr. Leigh’s previous firm, Trickel & Leigh, P.A., received the Legal Aid Society’s firm award for the number of cases handled and the mentoring support provided. In 1997, Mr. Leigh received an Individual Award of Excellence from the Legal Aid Society for his pro bono work. This year, Mr. Leigh received the Legal Aid Society’s highest award, the J.C. “Jake” Stone Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Leigh is active in the Orange County Bar Association, currently serving as chair of the Estate Planning, Probate and Guardianship Committee. In addition to his community service to the Legal Aid Society, Mr. Leigh serves on the boards of many volunteer, charitable, and nonprofit organizations. Mr. Leigh has been married to his wife, Sharon, for 36 years. They have two grown daughters, both of whom have master’s degrees. His youngest will graduate from law school in May 2003. Susan L. Barber Lake Wales, Florida Tenth Judicial Circuit Susan Barber is a sole practitioner admitted to The Florida Bar in September, 1990 and has practiced for 12 years. She was born and raised in Lake Wales and graduated Salutatorian from Lake Wales High School in 1984. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree, with honors, from the University of Florida in 1987, and graduated from the University of Louisville College of Law, as the Brown, Todd, and Heybum Scholarship Recipient and a member of Law Review, in May 1990. She is a member of the American Bar Association, The Florida Bar, the Polk County Family Bar Association, and the Polk County Dependency Defense Bar Association. Ms. Barber’s pro bono hours include time served as a hearing officer for the Polk County Board of County Commissioners for daycare licensure violations, and serving this year on the Bench-Bar Committee to revise the child visitation guidelines in the Tenth Judicial Circuit. She has served consistently as a volunteer guardian ad litem in child custody cases, dependency and termination of parental rights cases, and has been active for over ten years, providing substantial service to the interests of children in Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties. She is married to Russell Flood, and has four children: Benjamin, 13; Lauren, 11; Kathryn, 7; and Joseph, 3. She is the oldest daughter of retired Polk County Judge Jesse C. Barber, and has two sisters admitted to The Florida Bar. Jacqueline Marie Valdespino Miami, Florida Eleventh Judicial Circuit Jacqueline Valdespino is the founding partner of Valdespino & Associates, P.A. She graduated with a B.A. in American Studies from Georgetown University in 1983. She then attended the University of Michigan in Florence, Italy, where she studied Comparative History and Art History. Upon her return from Europe, she earned her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law. Ms. Valdespino was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1988, however, her commitment to Florida’s children began before she became a lawyer. As a college student, Ms. Valdespino volunteered as a pro bono guardian ad litem representing children in dependency and delinquency proceedings. She continued to volunteer her time after entering law school because for her it is all about the children – our future. Her devotion to children caught in the maze of court proceedings has never wavered. Ms. Valdespino approaches pro bono work as a “calling rather than an obligation.” Once she received her law degree and began working as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Florida, she volunteered her time as an attorney guardian ad litem. In 1992, she went into private practice as a sole practitioner and intensified her efforts for those less fortunate. In her first year as a sole practitioner, she received the Put Something Back Pro Bono Service Award in recognition of her outstanding commitment and service to the disadvantaged of Miami-Dade County. She has received that recognition every year since. In 1997 she was the Put Something Back Guardian ad Litem of the year. In 1995, Ms. Valdespino accepted appointment as a pro bono guardian ad litem in a particularly contentious family case. Ms. Valdespino’s devotion assured that the child’s voice was heard through numerous post dissolution trials, appeals and remands. The court file numbers over 23 volumes, yet Ms. Valdespino continued to appear for seven years. Since 1992, she has accepted appointments through the Put Something Back Program, as well as at the request of the judges of the Family Division in thirty-three pro bono guardian ad litem cases. In 2000, she received the Ray H. Pearson Guardian ad Litem Award. Ms. Valdespino’s volunteer work extends beyond offering legal services to indigent people. Between 1999-2001 she served on the Board of Directors of the Child Abuse Prevention Program, a program that provides education to school children throughout Miami-Dade County in an effort to prevent child abuse. In addition to the time she spends on GAL cases or community service, Ms. Valdespino devotes time to educating volunteer lawyers, not only because she is committed to raising the level of the profession, but because she recognizes that we must train others to do the work required to protect our children. Whenever called upon by Put Something Back to speak or organize continuing education seminars, Ms. Valdespino gives of her time freely. Since 1996, Ms. Valdespino has participated in The Florida Bar Family Law Section Pro Bono Mentor Program, assisting young lawyers in family law cases. Ms. Valdespino’s commitment to professional development extends beyond our state boundaries. This summer she produced a Presidential CLE program for the American Bar Association’s national meeting in Washington, D.C., on representing children in child custody cases. Ms. Valdespino is board certified in family and matrimonial law and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She continues her tireless advocacy for children and for the improvement of the practice of family and matrimonial law. Christopher A. Likens Sarasota, Florida Twelfth Judicial Circuit Christopher Likens graduated cum laude from Stetson University College of Law in 1993 after obtaining his undergraduate degree in history from the University of South Florida. Mr. Likens is board certified in elder law and has been practicing in Sarasota since 1993, primarily in the areas of estate planning/administration and guardianship/elder law. Since 1994 he has served on the executive council of the Elder Law Section of The Florida Bar, having served as chair of the Medicaid and Legislative Committees. He currently serves as vice-chair of the section, and is a member of The Florida Bar Elder Law Certification Committee. He is a member of The Florida Bar and Sarasota County Bar Association, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). He was recognized by The Florida Bar president for co-producing the Bar publication Florida Powers of Attorney, and is a recipient of The Florida Bar Elder Law Section Member of the Year Award. Mr. Likens has been active in civic and charitable organizations, serving as a board member or project director for numerous organizations in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. He currently serves as president of Senior Solutions, an organization responsible for contracting for services and distributing over $10 million in state and federal funds in Southwest Florida for at-risk seniors. Mr. Likens also serves on the state board of directors for the Florida Council on Aging (FCOA). Mr. Likens has been involved with Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc. since 1994, and in that time has provided approximately 1,125 hours of pro bono assistance, averaging 10 pro bono cases per year. Mr. Likens was selected as the 2002 Manasota Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. He provides legal representation in guardianship cases which often requires that he remain legal counsel for years, as well as in other elder law matters. In addition to handling pro bono cases, Mr. Likens has also staffed a Saturday morning free legal advice clinic for indigent clients in Sarasota. He routinely accepts problem cases at the request of the probate court and has served as guardian ad litem and as guardian pro bono. Mr. Likens and his wife, Christine, have three children – Calvin, age nine, Kayleigh, age six, and Kip, age three. Gwynne A. Young Tampa, Florida Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Gwynne Young graduated from Duke University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1974, she received her law degree from the University of Florida College of Law, where she was executive editor of the Florida Law Review. Ms. Young is a shareholder in the Tampa office of Carlton Fields and has litigated a wide variety of corporate and business disputes, probate, real estate, land use and environmental matters. She is also a certified arbitrator and mediator. During her 28 years of law practice, Ms. Young has donated hundreds of hours to pro bono representation of indigent clients in civil and criminal matters. Her pro bono cases have consisted of guardianship, consumer, probate, foreclosure, criminal appeals, and a wide variety of family law matters including divorce, custody disputes, paternity, child support, adoption, termination of parental rights, and juvenile dependency actions. In addition to her active representation of indigent clients in civil courts, Ms. Young has donated hundreds of additional pro bono and public service hours to her community. In 1976, she served as a member of the community task force that founded the Child Abuse Council, Inc., an agency that provides services to victims of child abuse and neglect and to their families. Ms. Young has served in a variety of leadership positions with the council and she and her firm have donated many hours of legal services to assist the council with litigation, employment, corporate and tax matters. She served on the American Bar Association’s Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children. As president of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, she placed particular emphasis on the support of programs sponsored by Bay Area Legal Services and the Guardian ad Litem Program. She currently serves as development chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation, which has as its primary beneficiaries, Bay Area Legal Services and the Guardian ad Litem Program. In 1990, Carlton Fields volunteered to handle 12 appeals due to the excessive caseload of the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s office. Ms. Young coordinated the project with Sylvia Walbolt, head of the firm’s appellate practice group. In three reported appellate decisions, the firm obtained reversals on behalf of clients. The Board of County Commissioners recognized Ms. Young and the firm for outstanding contributions of legal services for pro bono criminal appeals. In 1994, Carlton Fields offered to assist Bay Area with hundreds of indigent applicants turned away each year due to a conflict of interest. Ms. Young took charge and has donated hundreds of hours to the Conflicts Project. In addition to her work with conflict clients, she has mentored attorneys participating in the project, organized training for volunteer attorneys, and collected project statistics. Under Ms. Young’s supervision, participating attorneys have interviewed more than 500 conflict applicants and accepted 100 conflict cases for representation, donating over 1,650 pro bono hours in the process. Currently, Ms. Young is representing conflict clients in a termination of parental rights case and a partition action. Sherri L. Allan Panama City, Florida Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Sherri Allan is a fifth generation Floridian who graduated from Florida State University College of Law in December 1989 after having interned in the State Attorney’s Office in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit. Upon graduating, she immediately began practicing under the “Student Practice Rule,” with the State Attorney’s Office in Quincy (Second Circuit), while awaiting notice of passing the Bar examination. She was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1990 and the Federal Bar for the Northern District of Florida in 1994. She continued her employment with the State Attorney’s Office until January 1992, handling a diversified felony caseload. In January 1992, she returned to Bay County. In 1993, she was associated with Charles Isler, a Bay County attorney recognized for his outstanding skills and experience in corporations and estates. Ms. Allan opened her general practice in 1997 concentrating on estates practice, real estate, wills and trusts, probate and guardianship; domestic and juvenile law, family law, adoptions, delinquencies, dependencies and child/family in need of services; criminal law in both state and federal courts; civil litigation including collections, personal injury and insurance law; incorporations and bankruptcies. Ms. Allan is a member/agent of The Fund (Attorney’s Title Insurance Company) and provides title insurance and closing services. She is a certified family law mediator and enjoys great success in assisting parties in arriving at resolutions through alternative dispute techniques. While in law school, she was certified as a guardian ad litem. Although unable to continue her GAL work due to conflicts with other areas of practice, she continues to serve her community by providing legal and mediation services to indigents and charitable organizations. Specifically, she volunteers her time to assist with the First Saturday Legal Clinic and takes referrals from Legal Services of North Florida. She also performs mediations, in which one or both parties are indigent, at no charge to the indigent parties. She has assisted in presenting the class designed to meet the guardian’s educational requirement and regularly speaks to church groups and other organizations concerning areas of interest, such as estate planning. She routinely participates in career day at her local high school, speaks to students in the areas of law and government and acts as an adviser to the trial advocacy team. She has provided free consultation, advice and representation to a number of charitable, philanthropic and religious organizations and her door is always open to a worthy cause. In addition to the pro bono causes she champions, she provides legal services at a reduced fee on an appointed basis and to others who would not otherwise be able to afford counsel. Ms. Allan has contributed a significant amount of time in pro bono work through Legal Services of North Florida, the Bay County Court, Legal Club of America and Caldwell Legal Services. She is currently working on two pro bono mediations that were appointed by the Court. A list of matters she is handling or has handled as of late include two dissolutions of marriage, two criminal matters, and three mediations. In the last fifteen months she has had at least three pro bono cases ongoing. Her latest endeavor, and the one she enjoys most, is mothering 9-month old son, Hunter. Gary L. Kornfeld West Palm Beach Florida Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Gary Kornfeld is a 1976 graduate of George Washington University and a 1980 graduate of Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center (cum laude). He was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1980 and the New York and District of Columbia Bars in 1990. In practice for 22 years, he is with the firm of Levy Kneen Mariani, LLC. His primary areas of practice are real property and business law. He is a board certified real estate attorney; a former chair of The Florida Bar Real Estate Certification Committee; former secretary of The Florida Bar Condominium and Cooperative Committee; and former chair of Palm Beach County’s Realtor/Attorney Joint Committee. Mr. Kornfeld provided over 80 hours of pro bono service in the last year through the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, specifically, the Health Emergency Legal Project (H.E.L.P.), which provides free legal services to those facing life threatening illnesses and who would not otherwise qualify financially for legal assistance. He is attorney for the Florida Brain Tumor Association and the North American Brain Tumor Coalition. In 1996, he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. After he recovered from surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, his doctors and nurses asked him to help other patients who were faced with a wide range of legal and financial problems as a result of their illnesses. He began asking friends and colleagues to provide free legal services to people referred to him by the doctors and nurses in the Palm Beach County area and his colleagues were willing to assist cancer patients who had lost their jobs; were in the middle of a foreclosure process because of the extensive hospital bills; involved in divorces, and other similar situations. In 1999, he met with the executive director of Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Robert Bertisch, with the hope that Legal Aid could take on this program on a full-time basis. After tracking calls to see whether or not the need was great enough to justify such a new program, Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County launched the H.E.L.P. program. At this time, the H.E.L.P. program has 33 attorneys volunteering to provide advice, counseling and advocacy to families facing cancer and other life threatening illnesses. These attorneys are assisting patients with problems such as wills, insurance counseling, real estate issues, bankruptcy, Social Security, insurance problems and family law matters. Over the past few years, Mr. Kornfeld has provided legal services to both the South Florida Brain Tumor Association (aka Florida Brain Tumor Association) and the North American Brain Tumor Coalition with the formation and revisions of their 501(c)3 corporations, articles, bylaws and other necessary filings. He has also reviewed contracts and agreements for the provision of services to these organizations as well as addressing general legal matters. He has since become a board member and vice-president of the Florida Brain Tumor Association; and a board member of the North American Brain Tumor Coalition, where he is also the vice-president in charge of advocacy, trying to attain more research grants for the eradication of brain tumors and other cancer-related issues through the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute and Congress of the United States. Richard J. Fowler Key West, Florida Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Richard J. Fowler, a member of The Florida Bar and the Judicial District Bar Association, practices in the areas of criminal defense, civil practice, family law, mediation and appellate practice. He received his B.S.F.S in 1970 from Georgetown University and his J.D. from Loyola University in 1975. Mr. Fowler served as an assistant state attorney for nine years and was chief assistant for five of those years. He went on to serve as a circuit judge for 12 years and chief judge for six. Mr. Fowler provides legal assistance through the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Monroe County where he sits as Special Master. He also takes on special pro bono “causes” through his firm. The majority of his pro bono work is in the area of family law. He has contributed in excess of 100 pro bono hours in indigent mediation, special master work and the acceptance of court assigned cases. He is also a past president and member of the Monroe Association of Retarded Citizens (MARC). Mr. Fowler and wife Peary are co-founders of Fowler & Fowler, P.A. and it is with amusement that Peary recalls their first year – they did not hang a sign nor did they run an ad in the yellow pages – but Mr. Fowler was so well-liked by the community that “the clients flocked in.” F. Blane Carneal Fort Lauderdale, Florida Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Blane Carneal, a rural Kentucky native and resident of Florida since 1973, has devoted hundreds of hours to the defense of unit owners in disputes and foreclosure with their condominium and homeowners associations, as well as first mortgage foreclosures. A 24 year member of the Florida and Kentucky Bars, Mr. Carneal, a sole practitioner, has represented the poor, disabled, AIDS victims, and senior citizens for Broward County’s Legal Aid and Broward Lawyers’ Care. He has utilized his trial experience, developed as a plaintiffs’ personal injury attorney, to provide a competent and experienced defense of those who would otherwise lose their homes. He has accomplished this in spite of being diagnosed with osteoarthritis and a rare medical condition associated with muscular dystrophy. Mr. Carneal obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown College, Kentucky, where he pitched on the baseball team for four years, and was president of his fraternity, and each of his classes. He received a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Eastern Kentucky University, a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from Kentucky State University, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Kentucky in Political Science. After graduating from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, he was admitted to the Florida and Kentucky Bars in 1978. He has work experience as a Baptist minister in Appalachia, an assistant city manager, grants consultant, developer, and juvenile court administrator for Lexington-Fayette County in Kentucky. In 1999, Mr. Carneal was the recipient of the coveted Broward County Legal Aid’s Lawyer’s Care Award as Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year. He also received the Broward County’s Philanthropist Award. Blane and his wife Jacki, an elementary school teacher, have a blended family of five sons and also assist in the raising of their 4-year-old granddaughter. A student of American history, philosophy and religion, Blane derives inspiration from the study of great American heroes, the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling, the biblical phrase, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and Proverbs 22:22-23: “Do not rob the poor because he is poor; nor oppress the afflicted in court; For the Lord will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them.” Daniel P. Faherty Cocoa, Florida Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Daniel Faherty is a partner in the Brevard County law firm of Cianfrogna, Telfer, Reda, Faherty & Anderson. After graduating with honors from Rockhurst High School (a Kansas City, Mo. Jesuit preparatory school, where he was also Phi Beta Kappa), he went to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where he obtained a B. S. in Business Administration in 1980 and his J. D. from the School of Law in 1983. At 24, he joined the then firm of Cianfrogna, Telfer, Evans & Reda in Titusville, where his Midwestern puritan work ethic was put to the test working all day, nights and most weekends on behalf of his new employer. They allowed him to create a niche practice in workers’ compensation, maritime/longshore and police misconduct cases, as well as a variety of personal injury related areas of practice, but the fit was even more perfect given the firms’ commitment to representing the poor of Brevard County. The mission statement of his alma mater, Rockhurst, was, in part, and according to the Jesuit tradition, “Men for others, committed to justice through service.” When Mr. Cianfrogna, the firm’s senior partner and a previous recipient of The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award in 1996, told Mr. Faherty “You always have to give something back to the community where you make your living,” it was not a difficult sell to him. In addition to accepting cases from Brevard County Legal Aid, Mr. Faherty and his family have also been active in organizing and supporting various projects for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, including sponsoring and funding the Rebecca Ann Wright Dance Scholarship many years ago, in honor of his niece, now 15, who was diagnosed with this fatal genetic disease shortly after being born. Mr. Faherty has never refused a legal aid referral, no matter how many he is already handling, nor based on the prospective client or type of case. He has also accepted pro bono cases at the request of the local Guardian ad Litem’s Office and even directly from people off the street. Two cases completed in 2001, one in a termination of parental rights/adoption case and the other, defending a client against claims by the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection, show the diversity of cases pro bono lawyers can be asked to handle. In late 2001, another domestic violence case was referred by Brevard County Legal Aid and upon noticing the case for trial, Mr. Faherty was able to receive a favorable property/custody settlement agreement after expending approximately 25 hours. Yet another Legal Aid referral was accepted in July of 2002 and remains pending. Mr. Faherty has been, and continues to be, dedicated to serving the poor. He personally believes, as a lawyer, in giving back to the community from which he receives. He supports the county’s Legal Aid pro bono program through monetary and pro bono contributions. Brevard County Legal Aid awarded the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for 2001 to Mr. Faherty. It was presented by incoming Supreme Court Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead. Paul R. Berg Vero Beach, Florida Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Paul Berg received his undergraduate degree in finance from Florida State University in 1984 and graduated with honors from Florida State University College of Law in 1991. While in law school he represented indigent clients as a certified legal extern in the Second Judicial District Public Defenders’ Office in Tallahassee. Mr. Berg also served as a legal intern to Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Raymond Ehrlich. Since graduating law school Mr. Berg has concentrated his practice in civil and commercial litigation and is a partner in the law firm of Clem, Polackwich, Vocelle & Berg located in Vero Beach where he has practiced since 1992. Mr. Berg has been active in Bar-related activities and pro bono services since his admission. He served on the state wide Judicial Nominating Commission for Judges of Compensation Claims from 1994 to 2000 and served as chair in 1999. He was appointed to The Florida Bar Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee in 2001. As a member of the Indian River County Bar Association, he was co-chair of Law Week activities and is currently on its board of directors. He has served as a board member of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, has lectured in schools and acted as both a coach and judge to the Indian River County Teen Court Program. In the last year alone, he has volunteered over 200 hours handling pro bono family law cases and coordinating the distribution of pro bono cases in Indian River County for Florida Rural Legal Services. Mr. Berg and his wife, JoAnn, have two teenage sons.The Young Lawyers Division Legal Aid Public Service Award 2003 The purpose of the Young Lawyers Division Legal Aid Public Service Award is to recognize the outstanding contributions by a public sector attorney to those in need of free legal services. Laurel F. Moore Tampa Laurel Moore earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida in 1996, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law in 1999. During her second year of law school, Ms. Moore was elected by the student body to serve as Chancellor of the Honor Court for the university. Her many leadership activities while a student resulted in her selection to the University of Florida Hall of Fame and Florida Blue Key. Ms. Moore practiced insurance defense litigation at the law firm of Hurley, Rogner, Miller, Cox, and Waranch in Orlando, Florida, from August 1999 to August 2001. She is currently serving as a law clerk to United States District Court Judge James S. Moody, Jr. Ms. Moore is a member of the American Bar Association, the Hillsborough County Bar Association, and the American Inns of Courts. Additionally, Ms. Moore serves as a volunteer attorney for the Bay Area Legal Services Volunteer Lawyers Program in the Domestic Violence Assistance Project. She also participated in the HCBA’s Law Day Program and volunteers as a mentor for at-risk elementary school students. Ms. Moore has also served as a pro bono guardian ad litem, and as a member of the Homeless Advocacy Project of the Orange County Bar Association’s Legal Aid Society.The Law Firm Commendation Presented by the Chief Justice The purpose of the Law Firm Commendation is to recognize, when appropriate, a law firm which has demonstrated a significant contribution in the delivery of legal services to individuals or groups on a pro bono basis. Unlike the Tobias Simon and Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Awards, the Law Firm Commendation is not an annual award.Carlton Fields Miami, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach Since its founding in 1901, Carlton Fields has been committed to the principle that all attorneys have a professional responsibility to provide pro bono legal service to the poor. All Carlton Fields’ attorneys are encouraged to provide legal services to individuals who cannot afford legal services and to organizations that provide services to the disadvantaged. Consistent with these principles, Carlton Fields’ attorneys have been “working in the trenches,” quietly providing legal representation to both individuals and nonprofit organizations. fostering a culture that reinforces the legal profession’s responsibility to provide legal assistance to those unable to afford counsel, Carlton Fields’ attorneys annually provide nearly $2 million of legal services to those less fortunate and to organizations that serve the disadvantaged. Carlton Fields’ lawyers are encouraged to donate at least 50 hours per year of pro bono legal services. The attorneys at Carlton Fields are encouraged to select the pro bono matters that match their individual interests and areas of practice. Because the firm’s attorneys select work that is individually meaningful, Carlton Fields handles a wide variety of pro bono matters. Pro bono work performed by Carlton Fields’ attorneys range from representing inmates in death penalty appeals to representing individuals in landlord/tenant actions, mortgage foreclosures, public benefit appeals, and other consumer matters, to providing advice and counsel in all areas of the law to nonprofit entities, particularly those serving the disadvantaged. During the firm’s Centennial year, each of Carlton Fields’ six offices adopted an additional group pro bono or public service project designated as the office’s Centennial Project. These Centennial Projects served as Carlton Fields’ 100th birthday gifts to their local communities. In addition to providing pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations, Carlton Fields’ attorneys have consistently taken the lead in promoting pro bono legal services within the profession. For example, William Reece Smith, Jr., chairman emeritus of the firm, as president of The Florida Bar, helped create Florida Legal Services, Inc., Florida’s first statewide legal services organization supporting the delivery of legal services to the poor. During his tenure as president of the American Bar Association, largely due to his work, nationwide voluntary pro bono programs were created. During Mr. Smith’s tenure as the president of the International Bar Association, he served as an advocate for the rights of the poor in third world countries to have access to the judicial system. This tradition continues at Carlton Fields. Sylvia Walbolt, serving in her fourth year as the firm’s chair of the Board, has worked within the American College of Trial Lawyers to institute and then implement a program encouraging these experienced trial lawyers to assume personal responsibility for pro bono cases of importance to the public at large. She is currently chair of the College’s Florida Access to Justice Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Firm member Kathleen McLeroy, an active member of the board of The Florida Bar Foundation where she presently serves as a member of its executive committee, Investment Committee, Legal Assistance to the Poor Grant Committee and the IOTA Grant Program Committee, recently served as chair of the IOTA Rules Change Committee and participated in all aspects of the recent amendment to the provision of The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar regulating IOTA accounts. The Florida Bar Foundation estimates that this effort, to which Ms. McLeroy contributed in excess of 200 hours, will yield millions of dollars in additional IOTA revenue annually. Numerous other Carlton Fields attorneys have served and continue to serve in positions of leadership throughout the legal services community, including such entities as The Florida Bar Foundation, Southern Legal Counsel, numerous ABA committees tasked with pro bono issues as well as the boards of directors of various legal services and legal aid agencies. For example, in the past 20 years Carlton Fields has consistently had one or more attorneys on the Board of Directors of Bay Area Legal Services, many of whom served as president. In addition to providing actual legal services to disadvantaged individuals and the groups that serve the disadvantaged, and to serving in leadership positions within the organized bar and legal services communities, Carlton Fields has also served as an example to its peers. For example, in 1993 Carlton Fields became a charter signatory to the American Bar Association Pro Bono Challenge project. The project was initiated by the ABA to address the unmet legal needs of the poor and disadvantaged in the communities served by legal employers. In response to the challenge, the firm pledged to annually contribute an amount of time equal to three percent (3%) of the firm’s total billable hours to pro bono work. Last year The American Lawyer magazine ranked Carlton Fields 29th out of the nation’s Top 200 law firms in the category of pro bono commitment, the highest of any Florida law firm. This ranking is based on the average number of pro bono hours per lawyer and the percentage of lawyers dedicating more than 20 hours to pro bono work. Carlton Fields also has a distinguished history of public service contributions throughout the state of Florida. In addition to the thousands of hours of pro bono legal services logged by Carlton Fields’ attorneys, the firm’s attorneys and staff contribute countless hours to public service work in every facet of their communities. Finally, in addition to the above, Carlton Fields has a long history of providing financial support for pro bono, public service, community and educational causes. doing so, Carlton Fields enhances the service it provides to the community with funding to ensure the economic viability of these important community entities. For more than a century, Carlton Fields has been steadfastly “working in the trenches,” providing pro bono legal representation to individuals and nonprofit organizations that help those in need. Their commitment to “giving something back” has never wavered, and continues to be an integral part of the firm’s culture and identity.last_img read more

16 Dec

Nassau District Attorney Race: Kate Murray Versus Madeline Singas

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]T[/dropcap]he hottest—and potentially the closest—race in Nassau County pits Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, a Republican who’s run the town for 12 years, against acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas, a Democrat, who took command in January.A poll released a month before the Nov. 3 election showed Murray holding a six-point lead over Singas, with a margin of error of 4.9 points, plus or minus, so it could be a lot narrower than that. Conducted by Siena Research Institute for News12/Newsday, the survey tellingly had Murray below the 50 percent approval mark—the political equivalent of the Mendoza line that measures mediocrity in baseball—with 48 percent to Singas’ 42 percent, and 10 percent undecided.The two women’s campaign could also be the county’s costliest contest this year. According to the most recent filings, Murray has collected almost $1.4 million, while Singas has raised nearly $1.6 million.In terms of endorsements there’s no contest, depending on who’s counting. Murray, who’s been part of the Hempstead Republican machine for years, has racked up the support of 28 police unions in Nassau, Suffolk, and even New York City. She’s never been a prosecutor, whereas Singas has served that role for 24 years, starting in the Queens District Attorney’s office before being asked in 2006 by then-Nassau DA Kathleen Rice to head a newly created Special Victims Bureau. Four years ago, Rice promoted Singas to chief assistant. Her campaign countered Murray’s police union backing with 64 former prosecutors endorsing the acting DA.Murray’s lack of prosecutorial experience didn’t deter Rudy Giuliani, the former Republican mayor of New York City and ex-US Attorney for the Southern District, from proudly appearing with her in a new political ad. Looking into the camera, he says, “It takes a commitment to law and order to be a good district attorney. That’s Kate Murray.”Jay Jacobs, Nassau Democratic chairman, acknowledged that Murray “calls herself the ‘law and order candidate.’ That’s because all of her experience comes from watching Law and Order on television.”The county leader also took issue with Murray’s ubiquitous lawn signs in Nassau that refer to her as “tax cutter” and “crime fighter.”“It’s a blatant lie,” he told the Press. According to town records, the total town tax levy is reportedly 40 percent higher now than it was in 2003 when she was appointed town supervisor.“She has raised taxes virtually every other year in the Town of Hempstead,” Jacobs said. “She is not a tax cutter, and she is certainly not going to be a crime fighter. She has never cracked open the criminal code, the penal code, of New York State.”That view was echoed by a recent New York Daily News endorsement of Singas, which slammed Murray as “wholly unqualified” after she spoke with the Daily News Editorial Board: “Whether the issue was bail, grand jury immunity, prosecution of drunken drivers or investigation of police shootings of unarmed civilians, Murray was clueless about the law.”Nassau PBA President Jim Carver, a prominent Murray supporter, took issue with that conclusion. “She’s not clueless about the law. That’s their opinion.” Nor was he concerned that Murray had no prosecutorial experience. “The DA never prosecutes a case, anyway. The DA’s office is about vision and how you manage your people.”“I think there’s some truth to that,” said Richard Klein, the distinguished professor of criminal law at Long Island-based Touro Law Center. “Someone who’s a very good administrator can transfer those skills to running a sanitation department or running a DA’s office. I think it’s certainly helpful if someone understands how a DA’s office operates. We have to remember that the DA doesn’t really go into court. It’s very, very rare when the DA actually makes a court appearance. But how much of a learning curve do you want?”Interestingly, electing a district attorney with prosecutorial experience is also the key issue in the hotly contested Staten Island race, but there the politics are reversed. Giuliani has weighed into both but taken contradictory positions.The Staten Island campaign involves Michael E. McMahon, a prominent local Democrat whom Giuliani painted “as a legal lightweight” when he spoke on behalf of the Republican challenger, Joan Illuzzi. Until she resigned this spring to run for DA, she served as senior trial counsel for Manhattan DA Robert M. Morgenthau, a Democrat, who praised her legal expertise and ethics, telling The New York Times that Illizzi is “going to want to see justice is done in every case.” Her campaign brands Illuzzi as “a prosecutor, not a politician.” McMahon, who served one term in Congress, slams her for spending her career in Manhattan.No one can make that claim stick against Murray, who grew up in Levittown, or Singas, daughter of Greek immigrants who founded the Singas Family Pizza chain in Queens.But where they stand in Nassau is another issue.“There’s a real question about Kate Murray’s ability to address, to respond and seek the input of a community that is basically the fodder for the criminal justice system,” said Frederick Brewington, a noted civil rights attorney in Hempstead.“The black and brown communities of Nassau County are the ones that are the great majority of the population in our jail. Our young people are being made part of the criminal justice system that because of the hue of their skin is unforgiving. They will bear marks well into their adult livelihoods that will prevent them from having jobs, but if they happen to be white, they might be forgiven.”Brewington, who’s handled cases involving police brutality against civilians, was questioned whether Murray’s many endorsements by the police unions might compromise her ability to prosecute impartially, should she be elected Nassau district attorney.“There is a necessary working relationship between the district attorney’s office and the police department, but that necessary relationship requires separate bedrooms,” Brewington told the Press. “And in this situation it appears as though what candidate Murray has decided to do is break down the wall that requires the DA to be an independent source for justice. Remember, the district attorney is the lead law enforcement officer for the county, not the commissioner, not the county executive. Her independence is necessary to ensure that citizens’ rights are protected and respected in addition to enforcing the law. She’s a constitutional officer that has very important responsibilities. By showing that she is basically depending on the police to be her voice in this campaign, she has abdicated that independence.”“If a prosecutor is dependent and beholden upon the police for getting elected, it’s just like any other part of our political system,” explained Touro’s Professor Klein. “An elected official pays back those who helped their campaign, through financial contributions or here, perhaps, even more meaningfully, by endorsements.”Klein raised another, equally troubling concern that he had.“What does the DA do if the DA has a case and it seems like the cop has lied?” the professor asked. “If I’m the DA, and I reach a conclusion that the police are fabricating a case, is the fact that the police have endorsed me as a candidate going to come into the picture? Or am I going to independently say, ‘I don’t believe this police officer, and therefore the case has to be dismissed.’”Murray’s campaign spokesman, Bill Corbett Jr., insisted that she’d be an independent district attorney.“Kate Murray will aggressively investigate all allegations regardless of the subject’s political party, uniform or any other factors other than the facts of the case,” he said. “It speaks volumes when the men and women of law enforcement who know and have worked with the acting district attorney for almost a decade line up with one voice to endorse Kate Murray.”Another issue between the women is how they’d respond to the rising use of heroin in Nassau.At the beginning of September, Murray held a press conference with Carver, the Nassau PBA president, Nassau County Police Department Detectives Association President Glenn Ciccone and Warren Zysman, CEO of Addiction Care Interventions, to call “for the formation of a Nassau County Task Force to combat the rising epidemic of heroin throughout our region,” which her campaign said in a press release, had increased “over 100 percent in fatal heroin overdoses (YTD) in 2015 versus last year.” According to the campaign, “the officials will seek a greater presence of both police officers and detectives on the streets to track down dealers, interrupt the home delivery of drugs and provide educational resources to young people.”How that initiative would differ from the Nassau County Heroin Task Force, a bipartisan effort formed in the summer of 2009 by the county executive, the district attorney and the police commissioner as well as community activists, local leaders and public health advocates, is a matter of interpretation. This ongoing task force has been meeting on the last Friday of the month since its inception, and as far as the Press can determine Murray has never attended. Her campaign spokesman, Bill Corbett Jr., said Murray’s proposed task force would be created “within the police department.”The Singas campaign says that Murray is only a recent convert to the cause, whereas the acting DA has been prosecuting drug-related crimes for almost two decades. To prove their point, they released a video of the candidates’ debate sponsored by the Garden City Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 30, which quotes Murray saying that “I have been talking about this heroin epidemic, this heroin scourge, since I was nominated to run for District Attorney.”Murray’s supporters counter that Singas hasn’t done enough to curb the “heroin epidemic.”“Madeline is a little bit in denial,” claims the PBA’s Carver. “She’s addressing it, but if she’s addressing it, how come heroin deaths have doubled in the last year?”Another contentious issue aims at the heart of Hempstead itself, the most powerful bastion of Republican power in the Empire State. In its editorial endorsement of Singas, the Daily News wrote: “Like Murray, former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is a product of the Hempstead GOP. In May, federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint that depicted Skelos and his son as participating in a wide-ranging extortion scheme. A district attorney’s duties include cracking down on corruption.”In Singas’ new cable TV ad, the Hempstead supervisor is shown at a ribbon cutting ceremony wielding scissors with state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) holding the blue ribbon and smiling. To the Daily News editorial board, Murray conceded that she hadn’t read the federal indictment of Skelos and his son, charged by Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a position once held by Giuliani. Snarkily, the editorial concluded that “she’s perfect for the machine.”Murray’s town spokesman, Mike Deery, insists that the supervisor has scrupulously followed all the proper contracting procedures. Her campaign carped that Singas is just raising this issue for political purposes right before the election and it otherwise would have no merit.One thing’s for sure, the voters will have a clear choice because these two candidates for district attorney have taken very different paths to be on this ballot.Singas, who lives in Manhasset, went to Barnard College, majoring in political science, and got her law degree from Fordham University in 1991, when she entered the Queens District Attorney’s office. She became Nassau DA Kathleen Rice’s top deputy in 2011, and acting DA when Rice was elected to Congress to replace former Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.“For me, the message is that who the district attorney is matters,” Singas told the Press. “Experience matters. Qualification matters. And to do this job, even though it’s an elected job, is completely apolitical. It requires someone with a very specific skill set. It requires someone who speaks to criminal justice issues, knows criminal law, and that’s very stark in my race. My opponent has none of that. She is a political animal who came up through the political machine, so the choice for voters is very clear. You could either have a prosecutor who is going to be the DA or you can have a politician.”Murray got a Bachelor’s degree in English literature from Boston College in 1984 and her law degree from the Boston-based Suffolk University Law School in 1988. Murray worked as a junior lawyer in two firms and as an assistant in the state attorney general’s office before getting elected to the Assembly in 1998 and Hempstead Town clerk in 2001.“My father got involved in local politics and I did too,” Murray told the Press. “I loved it from a very early age… Actually, the three offices that I’ve held–I was the first woman in each of those. So I like to think three fewer glass ceilings to shatter.” She said she was glad when she got the chance to run Hempstead Town. “I think there’s a serious role to be played as a government servant–that’s what I prefer to call myself. I always cringe when I hear [the word] ‘politician.’”–With Jaime Franchi,Alure cube,Alure cubelast_img read more

26 Sep

Ajayi: I have made up my mind on Nigeria

first_imgWest Bromwich Albion centre-back, Semi Ajayi, has admitted it was an easy decision for him to play for Nigeria. Eagles ace Semi Ajayi The versatile player made his senior debut for the Super Eagles against Seychelles in September 2018, which he described as a great ‘honour’, having previously featured for the West Africans at U20 level. The former Rotherham United star has played 11 times since his maiden appearance for the three-time African champions. The English-born player spoke of his delight to visit the West African country along with his parents and the Nigerian food he enjoyed were part of the reasons that swayed him to play for the country. “The decision was made a long time ago. I decided to play for the U20s when I was 19 and the goal was always to play for the first team,” Ajayi told the club website.Advertisement Promoted Content8 Things That Will Happen If An Asteroid Hits EarthWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A Drone6 Stunning Bridges You’ll Want To See With Your Own EyesThe Best Cars Of All TimeWhat Is A Black Hole And Is It Dangerous For Us All?Which Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?The Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read MoreThe Funniest Prankster Grandma And Her Grandson6 Incredibly Strange Facts About Hurricanes11 Most Immersive Game To Play On Your Table Top7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The World “As a youngster, we would go there every two years to visit my mum and dad’s families… it was nice to meet my grandparents and all my cousins. “It’s a really nice country; mum’s family is in Lagos. She makes Nigerian food at home but it’s different when you go out there and get the real thing. The ingredients are that bit fresher I think. It’s lovely food; I really enjoy it.” Ajayi was one of the star performers as Gernot Rohr’s men played out a 1-1 draw with five-time world champions Brazil in October. The defender believes the game gave him huge confidence but admitted his disappointment of missing a chance to get Neymar’s shirt. Read Also:Bolaji Sakin, Junior Ajayi move closer to CAF continental titles “That was a great confidence boost for me, to be able to measure myself against players of that quality and come out with with a 1-1 draw,” he continued. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 center_img Loading… last_img read more

23 Sep

Online ordering of Southeastern Indiana local foods available

first_imgBatesville, IN—The Food & Growers Association has announced a new partnership with Hoosier Harvest Market, a food hub that has serviced Central Indiana for 8 years. It has formed a sub-hub called Hoosier Harvest Market Southeast.In addition to all the wonderful ways a consumer can obtain local food (farmers markets, road-side stands, direct sales from farmers, home delivery services, CSA’S), this program will give our Southeast Indiana consumers a way to order local food online from local southeastern Indiana farmers. Kathy Cooley indicates, “this program will hopefully bring a greater diversity of products to our local customers.”To order, click here and set up an account.  Indicate your distribution location as HHM Southeast and Tuesday/Wednesday as your pick up time and when ordering, southeastern Indiana area farmer’s products will populate your product availability as well as other central Indiana farmer’s products that will be able to be distributed in this area.The ordering window is from Wednesday at 1 pm through Sunday midnight.  Farmers will be posting available products in that time period.  The pick up of the ordered product will be on Tuesday from 4 to 6 pm at Dotty’s Bulk Foods in Batesville.  A second pickup site will be added at Beneker Family Farms near St. Leon in the coming weeks.  Information will be on the website.  Ordering is no open.  Any farmers interested in participating should reach out to Value Chain Coordinator, Oak Hawk, at [email protected] or 765-561-6207.last_img read more

17 Sep

Henson: Big Ten not so terrible after all

first_imgWhen USC running back Stafon Johnson forced his way into the end zone last Saturday, we all realized that Ohio State had lost yet another big game on a big stage. And I knew that once the Matt Barkley praise died down, the Big Ten trashing would once again rise up.Every year, Big Ten football players and fans are smacked across the face by mainstream media outlets that insist the conference has reached rock bottom. The most popular topic of discussion next to Tim Tebow’s eternal greatness is the state of the Big Ten and, more specifically, how bad the conference has become.But enough is enough — at least for one Big Ten fan.It’s about time someone provided some insight from the other side of the argument. It’s about time someone stood up for the historic, revenue-pumping conference that is the Big Ten.I’m about to be that guy.For me, the conference debate comes down to three main points: perception, recruiting and bowl game records.Now people’s perception of the Big Ten is greatly influenced by mainstream media, so let’s take a closer look at the unbalanced media coverage. In week one of the college football season, we saw a ranked Iowa team struggle to win a game against Northern Iowa and, in week two, we saw Michigan State lose to Central Michigan. These poor performances brought a ton of negative attention to the Big Ten.But what about the other conferences? Is the Big Ten the only league that suffers from an upset?In case you missed it, the high-powered Oklahoma State Cowboys from the mighty Big 12 Conference (arguably the nation’s best conference at the start of the season) lost to Houston. That’s right, the No. 5 team in the nation lost to Houston, at home. In all honesty, I heard more discussion about Northern Iowa’s near upset of Iowa and Central Michigan’s win over Michigan State.Where is the criticism of the Big 12? I know Oklahoma was without Sam Bradford, but the Sooners already have a loss, and the Cowboys couldn’t even hold off Houston at home. Throw in Colorado’s blowout loss to Toledo and Kansas State’s loss to Louisiana Lafayette (who?) and that looks like a pretty weak Big 12 to me.It just seems like an upset in the Big Ten is always front and center, even when a team in the top five suffers a defeat to a team no one has ever heard of.When this issue of national perception comes up, something about Big Ten recruiting usually follows. With all of this negativity surrounding the Big Ten, one must assume that Big Ten recruiting has taken a major hit. That couldn’t be further from the truth.Despite getting destroyed in recent National Championship games, the Ohio State Buckeyes have continued to recruit at an elite level. Take star ratings with a grain of salt, but according to Rivals.com, OSU had the third-best recruiting class in 2009. Terrelle Pryor — the nation’s top recruit in the class of 2008 — made the choice to continue his football career in the Big Ten.Plus, other top programs like Penn State and Michigan have continued to bring in highly rated classes, despite this supposed dark cloud that surrounds the conference.When push comes to shove in college football, or any sport for that matter, it comes down to winning, and it is quite obvious that the Big Ten has struggled to win bowl games.So, how could I argue with the Big Ten’s 1-6 bowl record last year?Well, for one, the system does not do the Big Ten any favors. In fact, the way the bowl system works, middle-of-the-pack Big Ten teams are put at a significant disadvantage.First, let’s look at the conference’s top teams from last year.The Nittany Lions earned a spot in the Rose Bowl and met USC in the Trojan’s own backyard. They were put up against a potent USC team, a team that — in my opinion — would have given Florida all they could handle had they met in the National Championship.Ohio State was put up against Texas in the Fiesta Bowl and lost on a last-second touchdown. If you asked Texas head coach Mack Brown how big a gap he saw between his conference and the Big Ten conference that Ohio State represented, I doubt he’d tell you he saw any gap at all.Ohio State played well enough to win that Fiesta Bowl and they should have beaten USC last weekend, but the Buckeyes just continue to lose these big games at the end.But one or two teams do not make up an entire conference. What about the rest of the Big Ten?Iowa was the only Big Ten team to win a bowl game (they beat South Carolina), but take a closer look at the individual matchups and you’ll see the disadvantages.Our own Wisconsin Badgers, who held the seventh-best record in the Big Ten, played Florida State, an ACC team that finished second best in its conference.The Northwestern Wildcats — a resurgent program that was fifth overall in the conference last season — played the Big 12 North Champion Missouri Tigers.Every year we see teams near the top of the ACC or Big 12 standings play Big Ten teams that are no better than fifth overall in the conference. Are those bowl games fair? It sure doesn’t seem like those are equal matchups to me.The Big Ten has certainly seen better days, but the state of the conference is not as bad as everyone makes it out be. It’s a flawed system, and the Big Ten suffers from it.Yes, Ohio State has struggled to win big games and that has contributed to the conference’s lack of respect, but the national media and unbalanced bowl system have contrived this “Big Ten crisis” that simply does not exist.I understand that the conference needs to start winning bowl games despite the disadvantages it faces, but I refuse to believe the Big Ten is falling apart.last_img read more