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Lake Legal News A Quarterly Magazine

Issue No. 20


th Anniversary Issue! p. 30 Also: Our Album Of Lost & Forgotten Photos...



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Legal News Meet A Local Attorney:


Attorney Frank Remsen, of Tavares, Florida, sat for the LSAT and GMAT just one day apart; he chose law.


The “Chitwood defense.” Don't bother looking for it in any law book...but then again, it won't work for an average Joe, anyhow.


Fe at ure:


Fe at ure: In the spirt of ‛share-and-share-


Some handpicked humor from the finest batch of cartoons available. (Licensed, by the way, not stolen!)

Fe at ure:

Lake County lockout? The law says that “what transpires in the courtroom is public property”—so who owns the key? alike,’ learn how we here at LLN started saving a ton of time and money on our mailing costs!

Humor's Last Stand:

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JudgeLeg “Buddy” AullsJosh & Trenton Duckett al News Lake A Quarterly Magazine

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2011 Con feren


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al ism

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Judge Ba x ley ’s I nvest i t u re

David W. Nor r is, J. D.

Judge Donna F. Mi

Al so :

Lake's Erik Slaby: Law School At 17!

– Grave La ke Mike L eg alsNe wsLake Leg al News The First 100 Days ne

Issue No. 6

p. 30 Bar.Org Gets A Make-Over !

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ller Lake Leg al News

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The "Open" Dunca n Plea ws La ke Lega l Ne

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Jud ge T. M ich ael Joh nson Ret i res

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Shaqu ille O’Nea l: rs ‘Depu ty Shaq? ’ Sheriff Gary S. BordeLake’s Carla Pepper man & G u e s t Au t h o r s: YeAars lso : Ga ry Co Th e “S kip” BalbbNew s oney Lake Lega l New s La eg a Issue No. 16 La ke Legal News 19 ke L Issue No. eg al NewsJud ge “Re d” Boy lston A Quarterly Magazine a k:erley MaL LAlso gaz ine La ke Legal News e: A Quart A l s o I n s i ding Judic ial Nomi nat views ... Sp ec ial Ca rto on Iss ue ! Committee Inter Also: Behind The Scenes of L aw Day 2 012 ‘Courtroom 2’ T V L ak e Count y t! c A g Polic e Dogs hin Va nis Library p. 26


Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

Cele bra t i n g

r s! O u r Pa st 3 Yea

ra Scot t / Dan

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Pi ncus

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Gregory P. S mith, J.D. James F. Feuerstein, J.D.

p. 20

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Issue No. 11

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Admitted 1958

L aw

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unty Lake Co Als o:

Tra ps Speed


2) p. 28

“Let Your Mind Wander Back...”

James Durden

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e Lawyer

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Al so :

. Also: Anonymous Web Confessions..

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Remember ing

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Mr. Durden

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Hat f ield Ra i ls A g a i nst

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T wo Cham ps Retire From The Ri ng



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Legal News Issue No. 20

To make our 5th Anniversary Issue special we searched our LLN digital-photo archives all the way back to the beginning; think of it as a hunt for lost or forgotten treasure...


Book Br iefs:


Veteran newsman Frank Stanfield's latest book is chock-full of the people, places, and events that LLN readers know!

Author, radio talk show host and syndicated book reviewer Gary S. Roen shares his book reviews with Lake Legal News.

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Main Featu re:


Newsworthy happenings from the civil and criminal arena, with a local emphasis.


Teen Court Report: Get


At t orney Di rec t or y: A


A hodge-podge of local announcements and other random tidbits that strike our fancy.


Last Rol l Of Fi lm: ‘Around town’

updates and an insider's perspective on local Teen Court events from teenage-reporter Connor Jenkins.

44 PHOTO: Bonnie Whicher

L ega l Blott er:




helpful directory of attorneys listed by their main area of practice.

and other photo events—look for someone you know.

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Lake Legal News Nov. 2014



Legal News

Publisher / Executive Editor James Hope, J.D. Website:

Associate Editor Marilyn M. Aciego Contact:

Official Photographer Bonnie Whicher Website:

Official Webmaster Kevin Robson Website:

Advertising James Hope, J.D.

Photo: Bonnie Whicher

Contact: Contact:

Marilyn M. Aciego

Cover Photo / maystra Contributing Authors Gary S. Roen Connor Jenkins

All contents 漏 2014 by James Hope D/B/A Lake Legal News. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Lake Legal News is not responsible for the contents, products, or services represented in any advertisements. Statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of Lake Legal News or its staff. Any advice contained within this publication is general in nature, and is not intended to be relied upon in lieu of an actual consultation with a licensed attorney concerning the specific facts of your own situation and the most current state of the law. Unless pursuant to prior written arrangements with Lake Legal News, all submitted materials, whether written, photographic, or in other form will become the permanent property of Lake Legal News and shall be treated as unconditionally licensed and assigned to Lake Legal News for publication in print, via the internet, or through other medium, however logos and other legal marks as well as original copyrights remain the property of their respective owners. All submissions grant a right to Lake Legal News to edit said materials for accuracy, brevity, legality, or other concerns, and to title, caption, or make editorial comment upon such materials. Persons submitting materials agree to hold the publisher and staff of Lake Legal News harmless against claims of defamation, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy and unauthorized use of any person's name, photograph or personal information.

For advertising information and all other inquiries about this publication, contact the Publisher / Executive Editor: Write: Lake Legal News 路 Post Office Box 790 路 Tavares, FL 32778 E-mail: 路 Visit: Phone: 352-408-6338


Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

Photo: Bonnie Whicher

James Hope, J.D. Publisher Executive Editor

prognostications pontifications platitudes prattle f r^om the Publisher NOVEMBER, 2014

Usually this “prattle” page is either written first, or else I chisel away at it during the quarter—but every once in a while I write it last, as I'm doing now. Somehow such a wait-and-see methodology seemed most appropriate for our 20th Issue: I thus get to retrospectively collect my thoughts (spanning the past five years), before telling the printer to hit the ‘go button’—assuming they have such a thing. Etiquette would probably dictate this as the appropriate time to thank people for helping me make this magazine possible, such as our advertisers. I could thank my mother (“Thanks, Mom”) for always being proud of whatever I do; thank my wife (“Thanks, Michele”) for always putting up with me; thank Marilyn Aciego, Bonnie Whicher, and Kevin Robson for being part of a small, but powerful team that make big-things possible. Yet in addition, the mood strikes me to say “Thanks” to whomever came up with the idea of streaming ample Bob Dylan to my computer (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at Can it be any wonder why, from time to time, Dylan quotes slip into LLN?—not to mention my jury trials, to be honest. Of course, if it's time for the so-called “Four o'clock court block” to begin, then Judge Judy might be playing in the background—a strange guilty pleasure. Some of the music that plays while I work on LLN... Bob Dylan CDs fill up more than two rows!

Lake Legal News Nov. 2014


meet L




A TT o r n e Y Frank P. Remsen Attorney at Law

For attorney Frank Remsen of Tavares, Florida, it's about family. Family is often the last feeling you'd get in a law office, but it's apparent as soon as you walk in the door of the once two-story house that Remsen has now converted into an office. Pictures of his 5-year-old daughter Paige adorn his walls and one can't help but notice her gorgeous red hair. When Lake Legal News recently interviewed Remsen, he was still glowing from baking a princess cake with her which he proudly showed off. “I'm a very active and involved dad,” Remsen tells LLN. Though he sometimes sees the uglier side of society, Remsen remains practical: “When I go home, I shut it off,” he explains. “I go home and that's time for family.”

Writer: Marilyn M. Aciego Photo: Bonnie Whicher

with the law, but he quickly knew it was right where he belonged. After graduating from Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor's in business administration, his best friend encouraged him to go to law school and he took the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) test just one day apart. He decided to go with law school and enrolled at St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami. And it was in the courtroom, while clerking for an insurance defense firm, he knew he made the right decision: “I loved it. I loved the courtroom, I loved the litigation battle,” he tells LLN. “That's my favorite part of the law.”

Remsen practices bankruptcy, family, and criminal law, and recently began offering his services as a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL.) A GAL can be court-appointed or agreed upon by both parents—and Remsen offers flat-fee rates based on a sliding scale. The compassion in his eyes is obvious as he talks about children and their needs. “In family court, children don't Remsen's career aspirations didn't begin have a voice (without a GAL),” he notes.  A transplant from South Florida, Remsen was born at Homestead Air Force Base and raised in Boca Raton. He moved to Orlando in 2003 and finally purchased a house in Mount Dora in 2006 with his wife, Teri. “You can buy a bigger house and more land than you can in Orlando,” he explains. “We were trying to expand the family.”

Frank Remsen sat for both the LSAT and GMAT—just one day apart. 8

Lake Legal News Nov. 2014


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Legal Woes?

Try The “Chitwoo  by James Hope, J.D.

Much closer to home, Floridians have for some time now been [cough] entertained by Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood's colorful news comments about alleged law violators—although the term ‘colorful comments’ must here be acknowledged as a euphemism for Chitwood's frequent verbal diatribes. As an aside, it appears that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree; in 2013 Chitwood's father (also named “Mike”) released a book chronicling his own career in law enforcement, 10

Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

titled, “Tough Cop: Mike Chitwood vs. the ‘Scumbags.’” Again, anyone familiar with the histrionics displayed by the younger Chitwood during his frequent news interviews is familiar with his penchant for referring to criminal suspects

Oh my, it's all such a terribly embarrassing mistake!

Thinkstock / Nina Malyna


f you watch a lot of national and local television news programs, as I do, then you are acquainted with some of the more ‘in-your-face’ law enforcement personalities who enjoy serving and protecting (as they all like to say). Maricopa County , Arizona, for example, has its “Sheriff Joe” (Joseph Arpaio), who revels in the perception that he is “America's Toughest Sheriff.” (Housing male inmates in pink tents and giving them pink underwear to put on is part of his famed ‘toughness’ on crime.)

od Defense!”

All of this background material is a prelude which allows me to discuss, in context, how intrigued I was just a few months ago when Chief Chitwood appeared once more in the media spotlight—but this time due to his own legal faultering. From widely published reports it was learned that Chief Chitwood—this self-promoting, towering figure of good citizenship—was stopped at a Florida airport checkpoint by TSA personnel with a Smith & Wesson .38-calber revolver inside his carryon luggage. (Did this possibly signify a momentary lapse, by Daytona Beach's top cop, into ‘dirtbagdom’ or ‘scumbaggery?’ Be still, my heart, at the thought!) Of course, it is common knowledge that if one is a person of societal stature, then a simple verbal mea culpa is going to suffice in the type of situation Chitwood found himself in. In fact, one thing that I have noticed throughout my nearly 30 years of practicing law is how easily a mere

Thinkstock / Hemera Technologies

as “dirtbags” or “scumbags”—people who in the Chitwood lexicon “should rot in jail.” Get on Chitwood's bad-side, and you just might find out that you fall anywhere on his verbal rating system between “slumlord” and “knucklehead.”

Sorry! I never meant any harm... plus, it will never happen again!

“I'm sorry” seems to work for people of a certain social, political, or economic station—yet it rarely works for the average Joe when similar legal difficulties are encountered. Nonetheless, Chitwood was quoted in The Daytona Beach News(Continued on next page) Lake Legal News Nov. 2014


oldest lines in the book: That the elected state attorney had transferred knives and ammunition from suitcases that were Journal (August 27, 2014) as saying, “I'm too heavy into carry-on bags, without telling you, I never felt so embarrassed realizing it was a violation of the law. and stupid in my life.” “I thought I was going to be arrested and my career would Not to miss my point: I have no trouble be over.” Chitwood's explanation for the grasping the fact that we all make mismix-up—or what undoubtedly would be takes. But on that note I question why the deemed a worthless excuse, if offered by same logical rationale that serves to benthe average Joe—was, “I took my gun off efit some is not readily available to all. (In my ankle and threw it in the wrong bag.” song, Bob Dylan eludes to a fair and just Moreover, as the elite so quickly rally to world where “the ladder of law has no top the defense of the elite, the News-Journal and no bottom.”) For example, I would be also reported the contents of an e-mail by a much more successful defense attorney Daytona Beach City Manager Jim Chisholm if I had the luxury of knowing that I could that could just as easily have begun with advocate an ordinary person's cause to the phrase, “There, there, now, it's OK.” the local police or state attorney and Part of Chisholm's e-mail read: “We are all assert the following: “My client, Mr. Doe, human and with the hours and schedule of is not a ‘dirtbag,’ ‘scumbag,’ ‘slumlord,’ our outstanding Police Chief it is no won- or even a ‘knucklehead.’ He is simply like der that we find he is human like all of us.” Mr. Chitwood (or Mr. Tanner). He is simply Human like all of us, or as Chitwood was ‘Human like all of us.’ It was merely a ‘stuquoted in the Orlando Sentinel (August 28, pid oversight.’ My client has ‘never felt so 2014) as maintaining in his defense, it was embarrassed,’ although ‘he's done it the all just a “stupid oversight” on his part. same way every time, and nobody's said anything.’ Why, he ‘didn't even realize he Some may recall that in the past, one of was violating the law.’” (For shorthand, Florida's very “human” elected state attor- I'd call this the “Chitwood defense.”) neys made a similar “stupid oversight” which, as in the case of Chitwood, likewise In my career, both as a prosecutor and did not end in either arrest, prosecution, as a defense attorney, I can honestly say or demotion. It was back in the year 2003 that I've lost track of how many times I when State Attorney John Tanner and his have seen the “Chitwood defense” work wife were discovered by authorities try- in favor of a cop, an elected official, or ing to board an airplane with undisclosed some other big-wig, and how many times handguns, bullets, pocketknives and a can I've heard it fall on deaf ears in the case of of pepper spray in their luggage. Quickly a ‘nobody.’ For the average person, even rising to John Tanner's defense at the offering—as the plain, simple truth—the time was First Assistant State Attorney defense of ‘I forgot’ can be a real challenge. David Smith, quoted in the Orlando Sentinel (September 11, 2003) as protesting One of my past cases coming to mind in behalf of his boss: “He's done it the involved an elderly man who was lossame way every time, and nobody's said ing his mental sharpness. He ventured anything.” More particularly with regard inside a large grocery store, specifically in to some of Tanner's weaponry, Smith is search of a small, cheap packet of sewing quoted in The St. Augustine Record (Sep- needles and thread. Finding the tiny item, tember 11, 2003) as offering one of the he continued down the isle where a larger

(Continued from previous page)


Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

grocery object caught his attention. He picked that up as well. As he continued to walk, a third item drew his attention, a bit higher on the store shelf. (If you are counting, this will make three items, for his two feeble hands to manage.) Before reaching up for the third item, he placed the small packet of sewing needles in his shirt pocket and—you guessed it—this easily forgotten item would become the item the old man ‘shoplifted’ (according to the store's loss prevention officer), when my client finally passed through the cashier's station and paid for the two items in his hands. The next thing the poor man knew he was being arrested over a dollars-worth of needles and thread... probably for not knowing enough to invoke the “Chitwood defense.” 

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La ke Legal News A Quarterly Magazine

Issue No. 13

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Celebra t i n g O u r P a st 3 Yea r s!

p. 30 Lake Legal News Nov. 2014


Lake County Lockout?  by James Hope, J.D.


t's always spoken of in a hush-hush whisper, but the sound gets around the Lake County Courthouse in Tavares, Florida, quickly... the rumor that Judge So-and-So has just kicked out all of the lawyers, and locked the courtroom... or of ‘secret’ in-chamber first appearances at ‘unannounced’ times, where attorneys who do manage to show up are persona non grata. The talk has been going around for years, and was just heard again recently. So what is taking place in these alleged surreptitious proceedings (often impacting unrepresented members of the public) that lawyers aren't allowed to observe? That members of the media— or even merely curious, random individual—are denied access to witness firsthand? More to the point, what is the law? “Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don't stand in the doorway Don't block up the hall...”

―BOB DYLAN (Continued on page16)


Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

Who Own To A Cri

PHOTO: Thinkstock / Wavebreak

ns The Key iminal Courtroom? Lake Legal News Nov. 2014


(Continued from page 14)

The touchstone for any analysis in this important area of law is a criminal defendant's right to a public trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution; First Amendment rights of the press and public are also implicated. Flowing from this, distinctions thereafter can be made between situations where a judge orders a partial closure of a criminal courtroom, as opposed to a complete closure. In Florida, and presumably elsewhere, the most common scenario in which a judge is likely to order that a criminal courtroom be partially closed involves cases where testimony from a minor relates to matters of a sexual nature. (Florida has codified the rules a judge must follow in order for such a partial closure to be deemed lawful.) The Florida Supreme Court's decision in Kovaleski v. State, 103 So.3d, 859 (Fla. 2012), for example, serves to illustrate the law: After being convicted at his first trial of two counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor, Kovaleski complained on appeal that although Fla. Stat. 918.16 allows a trial judge to partially close a courtroom during the testimony of a victim who is under the age of 16, concerning a sex offense, in Kovaleski's particular case it became clear during the proceedings that the victim was not under the age of 16. Because no further constitutional analysis was conducted by the trial judge, the conviction was reversed for a new trial. At Kovaleski's retrial, the prosecution invoked a slightly different statutory provision—one allowing a courtroom to be cleared of all but certain statutorily-authorized persons at a sex victim's request, regardless of the victim's age. Once more (following his conviction), Kovaleski appealed and complained that his constitutional right to a public trial was again violated. This time, however, the conviction survived appel16

Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

late review. Most notably, the Florida Supreme Court found that the statute relied upon by the trial judge in partially clearing the courtroom comports with the United States Supreme Court's four-prong holding in Waller v. Georgia, 467 U.S. 39 (1984). C.f. Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court for Norfolk Cnty., 457 U.S. 596, 607-09 (1982)(automatic mandatory exclusion of the press and public from the courtroom with no particularized finding is constitutionally infirm as not narrowly tailored to the State's compelling interest of protecting the testifying victim). Not surprisingly, things generally turn out far differently when a judge seeks to completely close a criminal courtroom, even in cases in which an alleged victim of child sexual abuse testifies. Thus, in Whitson v. State, 791 So.2d 544 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2001): Prior to calling the child victim, the prosecutor asked “that the courtroom be cleared.” Mr. Whitson's counsel objected, arguing that section 918.16 requires a showing before closure can occur. The trial court disagreed, concluding that the “statute requires it.” Accordingly, the trial court ordered that “all of the people other than the Defendant that are not parties to this will have to remain outside” until the child victim's testimony has been complete. [LLN Editor's note: Footnote 3 reads in part, with emphasis added: “The prohibition against closure of a courtroom without an appropriate inquiry, however, inures to the benefit of the public at large and the accused, under the First and Sixth Amendments to the Unites States Constitution. By ordering exclusion of the public and the press without any analysis, the trial judge violated the defendant's constitutional right to a public

trial.] This closure was erroneous. *



We further observe that section 918.16 does not authorize total closure of the courtroom but expressly provides that specific persons, including media representatives, are exempt from exclusion. Thus, the trial court's blanket exclusion of spectators was a statutory error as well. As one might expect, large media companies are the ones with not only a keen interest, but also sufficient monetary resources, to mount the most aggressive challenges to courtroom-closures. Such litigation can help clarify (if not define) the outer bounds of a trial judge's legal authority. One recent Florida decision of interest involved the highly publicized first degree murder trial of Michael Dunn—who was put on trial for shooting into an SUV containing four black teenagers during a dispute over loud music. The issues and holding in Morris Publishing Group, LLC v. State, 136 So.3d 770 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014), may be summarized by means of the following excerpts: Petitioners filed an emergency petition with this court to review the orders of the trial court excluding the media from the courtroom proceedings. *



Before turning to our analysis, a decision of the Florida Supreme Court is also relevant to review. In Miami Herald Publishing Company v. Lewis, the Court recognized a common-law presumption of public access to pretrial hearings in criminal cases. 426 So. 2d 1 (Fla. 1982). Initially, the Court rejected

the argument of the media that the First Amendment guarantees the right of public access to pretrial proceedings, “as distinguished from the right to attend a criminal trial.” Id. at 6. But given the Court's support for open government and its recognition that “[w]hat transpires in the courtroom is public property,” the Court instructed trial courts to operate under the assumption that the public and the press should ordinarily have unrestricted access to judicial proceedings. [Emphasis added; citations omitted.] *



[In the instant case, the] trial court's February 8 written order, which memorialized its oral ruling on February 3, excluded the media from physical access to the courtroom during the voir dire examination of prospective jurors. While the media were given access to an overflow room with an audio feed to the courtroom, the media's ability to hear the proceeding was severely compromised that day. At some point during the second day of jury selection, the trial court reconsidered its earlier ruling and allowed a limited number of media to attend the proceedings in person. In sum, the trial court's order restricted the media's access to Mr. Dunn's criminal trial for the first of three days of jury selection, and for a portion of the proceedings the second day. Our first decision point is to determine whether the qualified right of public access to criminal trials, guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, attaches to the jury selection proceedings at issue. We conclude that Press-Enterprise I is Lake Legal News Nov. 2014


directly controlling and answers that question affirmatively. See Press-Enterprise I, 464 U.S. at 505 (holding that the First Amendment right to a public trial in criminal cases includes the voir dire process). *



have no right of access to sidebars or bench conferences [footnote omitted], or to certain conferences conducted in judicial chambers. As explained by Justice Brennan in his concurrence to the plurality opinion in Richmond Newspapers: The presumption of public trials is, of course, not at all incompatible with reasonable restrictions imposed upon courtroom behavior in the interests of decorum. Thus, when engaging in interchanges at the bench, the trial judge is not required to allow public or press intrusion upon the huddle. Nor does this opinion intimate that judges are restricted in their ability to conduct conferences in chambers, inasmuch as such conferences are distinct from trial proceedings.

The orders barring the media from physically attending jury selection fail to overcome the presumption of openness, and this failure constitutes reversible error. B. The February 5, 2014, oral order of the trial court similarly fails to comply with the constitutionally mandated balancing tests described above. The audio feed was left off while the courtroom was empty of press, public, and prospective jurors, and the striking of jurors was conducted until the process of jury selection was completed. Far from conducting a hearing on this closure, making findings of fact to support the closure, or considering alternatives to closure, the trial court simply declared the juror challenge proceeding to be an “in chambers” hearing, with no notice to the media or opportunity for the media to object. The State does not argue before this court, as did the State Attorney below, that the proceeding constituted an “in chambers” hearing; instead, the State argues that the proceeding was effectively a “bench conference” [footnote omitted] to which the media have no right of access. We fully agree with the premise that the public (and by extension, the press) generally 18

Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

Richmond Newspapers, 448 U.S. at 598 n.23 (emphasis added) (internal citation omitted). [LLN Editor's note: See, e.g., Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc. v. Harper, 417 So. 2d 1100 (Fla. 4th DCA 1982) (holding that a chambers conference, the purpose of which was to inform counsel that the judge's secretary had received an anonymous telephone call relating to one of the parties, was not a judicial proceeding at which the press and public were entitled to be present). *



[E]ven if First Amendment rights were not implicated by this closure, the trial court was constrained by the common-law right of access to criminal proceedings recognized by the Florida Supreme Court in Lewis, supra. Although Lewis dealt specifically with access to a pretrial

suppression hearing, its reasoning equally applies to the juror challenge phase of jury selection. In an illustrative juxtaposition, the Court in Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc. v. Burk rejected press access to unfiled depositions in a criminal proceeding by reiterating its rationale for finding a presumption of access in Lewis: Our commitment to opening the judicial process to [pretrial suppression] hearings was predicated on the fact that suppression hearings were judicial proceedings and we, therefore, provided a method for press participation because the public has “a right to know what occurs in the courts.” Discovery depositions are judicially compelled for the purpose of allowing parties to investigate and prepare their case, but, unlike a suppression hearing, they are not judicial proceedings “for the simple reason that there is no judge present, and no rulings nor adjudications of any sort are made by any judicial authority.” Palm Beach Newspapers, 504 So. 2d 378, 384 (Fla. 1987) (emphasis in original) (internal citation omitted). *



[B]ased upon the analysis above, we GRANT the media's petition for review of orders excluding the press or public and VACATE the orders identified in this opinion. Returning attention, now, to local Lake County whispers, even a casual reading of pertinent decisions (such as the ones referenced above) makes clear that substantive and procedural consti-

tutional safeguards must be rigorously applied, prior to closing a criminal courtroom. It is axiomatic that “[T]he public has a ‘right to know what occurs in the courts,’” inasmuch as “what transpires in the courtroom is public property.” The carved-out exceptions to this legal premise are extremely few in number and scope; they would almost never apply to the daily, routine operations of a docket-driven courtroom where “judicial proceedings” are taking place in which ‘a judge is present, and rulings and adjudications are made by judicial authority.’ In short, there is simply no room (locally, or beyond), for ad hoc decisions by judges to exclude—or even discourage—attorneys, media, and members of the public from having “unrestricted access to judicial proceedings” in their entirety. The answer to the question, “Who owns the key to a criminal courtroom?” should thus be resounding: The public. 

GAYLORD & ROGERS, LLC Attorneys at Law

* Frank T. Gaylord: 352-589-1731 Michael J. Rogers: 352-483-4888 * Fla. Bar Board Certified in Wills Trusts and Estates since 1988

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ne of Lake County's best-kept secrets is hiding in plain sight— and it has been since 1986, after moving from its Orlando, Florida, beginnings in the 1970s to Mount Dora—a more than 40-year operation, in total. Integrity Mail Services offers bulk mail services for newsletters, advertisements, magazines and anything else that might need to get mailed to a large group of peo22

Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

Photo: Getty Images

for being a

ple. A large wedding or party could also benefit from Integrity Mail Services. They also offer graphic design, personalized letters, envelope stuffing, wafer sealing, and bulk rate postage—the list goes on and on. Started in 1971, the idea for Integrity Mail Services was hatched at a kitchen table and in 1989 then-owner Dean Highberger moved operations to Lake Center Drive in Mount Dora. In July 2013, Ken and Carole

LAKE LEGAL NEWS EDITOR'S PROLOGUE: All I can say is, some mistakes are more expensive than others—both in terms of time and money. Something told me, five years ago, that ‘there had to be a better way,’ but I was so excited to get the LLN Premiere Issue out in the mail to readers that I personally stuffed hundreds of the magazines into large white envelopes and hauled them to the post office; that's where I affixed hundreds of stamps by hand. Very quickly the number of mailouts topped a thousand, and Uncle Sam was taking me to the cleaners—big time. Naturally, I had convinced myself that lower-cost mailing services must only operate out of places like Miami, Tampa, or Jacksonville; yet a fortunate tip revealed to me the existence of a hidden local gem called “Integrity Mail Services”—and ever since I have considered myself to be a proverbial “satisfied customer.”

Old, who hail from Devonshire, England, purchased the business. (In keeping with tradition, the couple keep a kitchen table in the office and invited Lake Legal News staff to have a seat for this interview.)

Writer: Marilyn M. Aciego Photos: James Hope, J.D.

While living in England, the Olds began visiting Florida in 1988 and purchased homes in Sarasota and Orlando, usually spending half the year in Florida. “We stumbled across Mount Dora 15 or 20 years ago,” Ken recalls. It was a flier for Christmas lights that brought them to the quaint town and they developed a fondness for the area. “Back then the Christmas lights were a big deal,” Ken remarks. Ken—who owned and operated a construction company for several decades— built their energy-efficient home in Eustis in 2003. He and Carole waited on their green cards and started looking for a business to buy and in the summer of 2013, things fell into place. Highberger was looking to retire and the Olds bought the business. They made some changes since taking over, including adding a website to display what they offer at their customers' fingertips and more efficient machinery. It continues to be a small operation with just the two of them, their daughter Samantha (“Sam”) and Georgia-born Cody Smith— who they fondly refer to as the “computer

guy.” Smith, just 19, is a wiz at knowing what their customers order and how they want it done. During our recent LLN interview, Smith fired off a laundry list of postal regulations and customer specifics from memory that was just short of amazing. Without the expertise of Integrity Mail Services, one could spend thousands of dollars for what this efficient company (Continued on next page) Lake Legal News Nov. 2014


(Continued from previous page)

can do for less than half the price. They offer assistance in obtaining addresslists to target a certain demographic and can also assist with EDD—“every door direct.” In an EDD mail out, every single

In the end, all one needs is an idea and Integrity Mail Services can handle the rest. “It actually costs less than doing it yourself, it's a win-win,” Ken emphasizes; it's a sentiment shared by LLN's Publisher and Executive Editor, attorney James Hope. (See Editor's prologue.)

house on a certain postal route (usually Our main job is to keep our custom600 to 700 homes) is sent a particular ers happy,” Carole adds with a smile.  piece of mail. This can be especially beneficial to service-based businesses, such as landscapers, pest control and 25,000 educated, the like. When targeting specific demographics, Integrity Mail Services can affluent readers obtain address-lists that target certain income brackets and age groups just to just saw this name a few. There are approximately 2,000 different target groups to choose MONKEY from, Carole tells LLN, and the company can provide these lists in just 24 hours. Integrity Mail Services also offers a unique bar-coding system; bar-coded addresses can be automatically read by the United States Postal Service, bringing postage costs down considerably. To do it yourself, each piece of mail would cost 49 cents to mail, but often Ken and Carole can get the cost as low as 26 cents per piece (when mailing at least 200 pieces). Non-profit organizations receive an even larger discount. From printers, to graphic designers, they have close working relationships with numerous businesses across Lake County. 24

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ive years have now elapsed since the very first Issue of Lake Legal News was released to (unleashed upon?) the public, and that naturally takes in a lot of photographs. For what was styled the “Premiere Issue” I was completely untrained and on my own, photography-wise, and I still remember heading down to Venetian Gardens to photograph an educational fund-raising event known as “No Duck Left Behind.” Let's just say that an anonymous, middleaged man standing around with a zoom lens photographing people's kids on a climbing-wall and water slide did not go over well with the mothers, and I found myself being interrogated by parents more than once that afternoon. Thankfully, by just the second Issue, a professional photographer — Bonnie Whicher, of Tavares, Florida— took pity on me and rescued me from myself. (I will still snap a photo now and then, but the difference between wanting to and having to is huge.)

 by James Hope, J.D. The photographs on the following pages are a compilation of my photos, Bonnie's photos, and contributed photos—strays of all kinds that heretofore didn't make the magazine. The composition includes a nice mix of judges, lawyers, bailiffs, clerks, police officers, and elected officials... probably mirroring quite well our loyal readership from the past five years. Enjoy! 

ersary: Our Forgotten Photos See next page

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Š / Donna Elkow-Nash

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Lake Legal Book

News: Briefs

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By: Gary S. Roen

• Carnal Curiosity By: Stuart Woods Publisher: Putnam

and daughter) are back again in “Have a Nice Guilt Trip”—a witty and fun excursion into the lives of both authors. Though the pieces have appeared in other publications they are together for the first time in the same collection. The two authors comment on many subjects ranging from dating and relationships to living alone in a home. The most surprising thing I found with “Have a Nice Guilt Trip” are the many unflattering things Lisa reveals about herself, and I was surprised she would be that honest.

Like “Standup Guy” (the last Stone Barrington novel), “Carnal Curiosity” moves along on several different storylines including one that involves the first lady of the United States. Another has Stone dealing with a fraudulent security company and the things they were supposed to protect, including Stones own home and business. “Carnal Curiosity” is a great addition to the Stone Barrington thrillers. • Justice In June By: Barbara Levenson Publisher: CreateSpace • Have A Nice Guilt Trip

By: Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella Mary Magruder Katz is back in another Publisher: St. Martin's Press great legal thriller. This time she has to defend a judge who has been accused of Scottoline and Serritella (who are mother being crooked, and defend a man who

Author, consultant and syndicated book reviewer Gary S. Roen has been writing his appraisals of books for over 35 years; his reviews have appeared in hundreds of daily and weekly newspapers and other periodicals. Over the years Roen has been the Promotion / Sales Representative for several publishing houses. He was a talk show host on the Rollins College radio station, was co-host on a weekly radio talk show on “Desperate and Dateless,” was the roving reporter for “The Tourist Breakfast Travel Show,” frequently appeared on The Michelle Valentine show on cable and was a monthly guest on the Bobbie Thomas show. Find him currently on the “My Home Town” show with Jim Turner (WBZW, Orlando) and the Larry Steele show (WPUL, Daytona Beach). Roen also works for numerous companies in the field of market research in the Central Florida area as an independent contractor. 42

Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

is accused of being a terrorist. Levenson who was a practicing attorney and later judge in the Miami area, brings a sense of realism to her Mary Magruder Katz novels. With the terrorist defendant she shows how Homeland Security is obsessed with its job to the degree of being just as radical as the people they are after. “Justice in June” is another great legal thriller for fans of this genre. • Quake By: Jack Douglas Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp. As “Quake” opens in New York, U.S. Attorney Nick Dykstra is beginning to prosecute one of the terrorists involved in the 911 bombing. As the trial begins an earthquake hits New York, changing everything in a few minutes. Now this case takes a back seat to everything as the city struggles with the devastation while the terrorist somehow survives, escapes and sets his sights on destroying the lives of Dykstra and other New Yorkers. Douglas masterfully has readers turning pages in this tense nail biting suspense thriller that is a great entertaining novel. • Fair Play By: Gunnar Angel Lawrence Publisher: G.A.L. Publishing The court system is on trial in Orlando, Florida, in the page turning novel “Fair Play.” The tale begins with the killing of a judge in the garage of his home and continues with a missing police officer, and later an attorney. All have something to do with the Orlando's court system and the story races along with

many interesting characters and conflicts that are resolved at the end. The old promotional statement to advertise Florida long ago, “The rules are different here,” applies to “Fair Play”—a first class legal thriller by a new talented writer. • Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction • Sizzling Style: Every Word Matters • Dynamic Dialogue: Letting Your Story Speak • C r e a t i n g C h a r a c t e r : B r i n g i n g Y o u r Story to Life • Perfecting Plot Charting the Hero's Journey By: William Bernhardt Publisher: Red Sneaker Press All five of these titles are part of “The Red Sneaker Writers Book Series” that are a great resource for any new writer to read and learn many different tricksof-the-trade. Bernhardt, who is a bestselling author of legal thrillers, gives many insightful tips on how to write better by the use of dialogue, character development, and many other aspects that starting out writers often forget. He also has many different quotes from fellow writers that also are very helpful as well as good and bad examples for novice authors to learn the craft of writing. “The Red Sneakers Writers Books Series” is one of the best series because there is so much information that is easy to follow and learn how to be a better novelist. 

Read Online @ Lake Legal News Nov. 2014



aving spent so much of his life pounding the news beat, veteran journalist Frank Stanfield is once again hitting the road, this time making promotional stops throughout Florida in support of his second book, “Vampires, Gators and Wackos.” It truly does provide a unique window into—as the tag line reads—“A Newspaperman's Life.” Stanfield recently returned to what has for years proved to be one of his happyhunting-grounds for intriguing news stories, namely, the Lake County Courthouse in Tavares. This time, Stanfield became part of the story as a steady procession of people visited him in the jury assembly room to obtain copies of his new book, which he gladly signed. Whereas some people left with a single copy, others left with two, three, or even more, intending to give copies as gifts to the great number of people who are still around and who lived some of the events detailed within the book—numbering over 450 pages. (It should be noted that in a very userfriendly way, the author wisely provides an alphabetized list of names and the page number where those names appear: Quickly finding a passage mentioning, for example, “Duckett,” “Knupp,” “Lockett,” or even “O'Keefe,” is a simple task.) With a master's degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Florida under his belt, Stanfield retired as a newspaper reporter and editor after spending more than 30


years working for publications such as the Ocala Star-Banner, The Orlando Sentinel, the Wilmington Star-News, Leesburg Daily Commercial and The Augusta Chronicle. To immediately catch the flavor of what Stanfield's book contains, one need only read the teaser printed on the back cover: During his decades-long crime coverage in Central Florida, journal-

How To Obtain A Copy: To obtain a copy of Frank Stanfield's latest book (or his previous work, “Unbroken: The Dorothy Lewis Story”), visit www. There is a “Buy Now” button for immediate credit card purchases, as well as a mailing address to purchase copies via check.

Just how STRANGE

Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

Copyright 2014, Lake Legal News: Reprinted by permission

ist Frank Stanfield covered every atrocity that man or nature could unleash. Vampires, Gators and Wackos: A Newspaperman's Life recounts the frequently craven, and at times downright stupid, crimes Stanfield covered during his time in the field. He somehow made it through without winding up more mental than the crackpots he tracked. However, his unvarnished, no-holds-barred accounts of news events reveals just how crazy

 by James Hope, J.D. making a case can be when you are dead set on nailing the truth. Throughout Central Florida, even at this moment, several juries are likely in ‘deliberation’—but not so with regard to Stanfield's fascinating new book: It's verdict is already in, and it's a favorable one. 

is central florida ? Copyright 2014, Lake Legal News: Reprinted by permission

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ensuring national referred justice should the criminal a document commonly al possibilities and I.C.E. may issue to a local jail or correction you citizen, then of an individual to as a “detainer” a non-U.S. is seeking custody you engage If you are facility when it instituting removal ing that if for purposes of should heed-warnof criminal activity—even known as an in that facility detainer is better traveling in any type proceedings. This A common practice in Florida g—or when simply be as simple as shopliftin n, it may cause you to immigration “hold.” immigration detainers against placed using and “hold” I.C.E. trial, on with another non-citize before involves an immigrati ‘without status’ process—because in a criminal arrested and have a defendant rial your case in resolved d. against you until legal status can be determine before any prosecuto not have grounds for often does of the court and/or your such person generally of the outcome U.S. regardless legal citizen, the scope remaining in the defendant within involving a U.S. Conversely, a violations is t Resident In a typical case criminal case. ces for criminal such as Legal Permanen to of possible consequen in jail, paying a fine and/or immigration status, not subject to a “hold” prior time . limited to serving other court-imposed conditions unless he/she status, is generally for , state criminal matter, fulfillment of some many cases, the law allows conclusion of the s rendering him/her removable in lly, remain at liberty When arrested, has prior conviction removal order. Additiona the accused to in bail so as to allow matter is pending. However, on holds) give and has a standing (i.e., immigrati allowed while the criminal undocumented ns, before being I.C.E. detainers detain to non-citize authority the law requires cases involving date, pending local jails the criminal custody their release whether The to bail out of immigrants beyond to immigration officials. to first determine (I.CE.) agency at ent the arresting on detainees transfer of custody Customs Enforcemviolation of immigration holds in the State of in Immigration and placement of d practice detainee a person once widesprea a Hence, placed is considers the jails local are illegally (and thus of interest). cases, the holds of the charges, Immigration laws judges, and Florida. In many is arrested, regardless and have the enforcement officials, the non-citizen immigrants are by local law s are notified undocumented arrested person. immigration authoritie jailers. As a result, unauthorized detentions even a “hold” on the and power to place subject to lengthy have been cleared. charges U.S. I.C.E. hold? though their criminal and what is an ent (I.C.E.) Who is I.C.E., on a jailed imCustoms Enforcem an I.C.E. hold is a request to directly under Immigration and Who can place investigative Agency Security. It’s immigration detainer an indiis the largest migrant? An nt of Homeland nt agency to detain the U.S. Departme to protect national security, a local law enforceme is U.S. page 38) primary mission integrity of the (Continued on (including the on. The public safety trade and immigrati encompass borders), customs, enforcement authority agency’s law in Spanish). is bilingual (fluent Florida, and in Leesburg, practices law Mr. Cardona


1012 West Main Street, Leesburg, FL 34748

Lake Legal News

Aug. 2010

Mr. Cardona is a contributing author for Lake Legal News

Civil Blotter

● Trial judges are becoming more attuned to the fact that a divorcing party may seek to dredge up stale allegations of mistreatment and seek a delayed injunction—often as a sword rather than a shield. Appellate courts are not oblivious to this tact either. Moreover, the reasonableness of a claimed ‘fear’ remains a touchstone. Thus, in Phillips v. Phillips, 39 Fla. L. Weekly, D2343b (Fla. App. 2 Dist., November 7, 2014):

© / James Benet

Despite the allegations in her petition, Mrs. Phillips acknowledged in her testimony at the injunction hearing that there had been no violence or threats of violence from Mr. Phillips since the parties' separation four months before she filed the domestic violence petition. Because Mrs. Phillips failed to establish that she was the victim of domestic violence or that she had a reasonable fear of becoming the victim of domestic violence, we reverse. [Citations omitted.]

● Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeal recently cited with approval decisions from the First and Fourth Districts with regard to an increasingly common sex offender probation scenario. Specifically, in Staples v. State, —So.3d— (Fla. 5th DCA 2014): On appeal, Staples argues that his dismissal from the sex offender treatment program based on his repeated refusal to admit to engaging in deviant sexual behavior cannot constitute a willful and substantial violation of probation where he was never advised, prior to the entry of his plea, that his admission to such behavior would be required. * * *

Criminal Blotter 48

Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

At the violation of probation hearing, Staples' probation officer testified... she had advised him on “probably [a] monthly” basis that his continued denials “would get him kicked out of the treatment program and violate his probation.” * * * The trial court found that Staples had committed a willful and substantial

Although the injunction has expired, we reverse and remand with instructions to vacate the injunction because of the unintended collateral consequences that may result from such a judgment. [Citations omitted.] ● One area which, for whatever reason, does not seem to attract much litigation has to do with the dissolution of an injunction, due to a change in circumstances. A clear example of legally seeking this type of relief was presented recently in Spaulding v. Shane, 39 Fla. L. Weekly, D2293a (Fla. App. 2 Dist., November 5, 2014). In 2011, Spaulding sought to have a 2003 domestic violence injunction against him dissolved, inasmuch as he is currently serving a thirty-year prison sentence. The court in Spaulding first briefly reviewed the legal standard to be applied: In order to establish entitlement

violation of probation and sentenced him to twenty-six months in prison. * * * The decisions in Mills v. State, 840 So. 2d 464 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), and Archer v. State, 604 So. 2d 561 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992), [footnote omitted] further support our position. In Mills, the defendant pled no contest to two sex offenses. 840 So. 2d at 465. He was sentenced to two years in prison followed by four years' probation. One of the conditions of Mills' probation was that he complete a sex offender treatment program. After being released from prison, Mills was admitted into, and later terminated from, a sex offender program. One of the several grounds for Mills' termination included his failure to take responsibility for his offending behaviors. The trial court's decision to revoke Mills' probation was upheld on appeal. The Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected Mills' argument that because he had entered a “best interest” plea, he could not be required to admit his offending behavior as part of the treatment program. The court concluded that

to dissolution of an injunction, the movant must prove that there has been a change in circumstances since the injunction was entered. Baker v. Baker, 112 So. 3d 734, 735 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013); Alkhoury v. Alkhoury, 54 So. 3d 641, 642 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011). This requires the movant to “demonstrate that the scenario underlying the injunction no longer exists so that continuation of the injunction would serve no valid purpose.” Alkhoury, 54 So. 3d at 642.

dling of Shane [back in 2003]. We acknowledge the trial court's comment that the injunction appeared to be working as there had not been recent contact between the parties. But under the applicable legal standard, the court erred in denying Spaulding's motion to dissolve because he is incarcerated, he is not likely to be released anytime soon, and he has not had any contact with Shane for over ten years.

In concluding that the lower court had committed error, the appellate court in Spaulding went on to explain and direct as follows:

We therefore reverse the order denying Spaulding's motion to dissolve injunction with directions for the court to grant the motion on remand.

Spaulding is serving a long prison sentence with an anticipated release date that is decades away. And this prison term constitutes a change in circumstances that eliminated the scenario underlying the injunction which was Spaulding's man-han-

● Whenever engaging in closing argument it is important to keep in mind the permissible goals of such summation. Counsel crossed a line in Hill v. New Horizons of the Treasure Coast, Inc., 39 Fla. L. Weekly, D2311a (Fla. App. 4 Dist., November 5, 2014), as ap-

because Mills did not move to withdraw his plea, he could not argue that his probation conditions were improper because he was not guilty of the charged offenses. Id. at 466. (“Furthermore, Mills has not moved to withdraw his plea in the trial court and, as the plea “remains of record,” he cannot argue that the punishment is unjust because he is not guilty.”)

of its consequences, his remedy is through either a motion to vacate his plea... or a motion to vacate his judgment and sentence... Id. at 563.

In Archer, the defendant similarly contended that his dismissal from a sex offender treatment program, based on his failure to acknowledge a sexual problem, could not constitute a violation of probation where he was unaware of this requirement at the time he entered a no contest plea to four counts of attempted sexual battery upon a child under twelve years of age. 604 So. 2d at 562-63. The First District Court of Appeal rejected this argument, concluding that if Archer did not understand the consequences of his plea, he should have sought to vacate his plea and/or his judgment and sentence: Where a defendant's claim is that his plea was entered without a full understanding

Therefore, we find that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Staples had willfully and substantially violated his probation by failing to complete his court-ordered sex offender treatment program. ● In Tipler v. State, —So.3d— (Fla. 1st DCA 2014), Tipler filed a pro se motion to withdraw his plea, explicitly stating that he was not assisted by counsel in preparation of the motion, and that he requested permission to amend his motion once he regained such assistance. The trial court denied the motion without holding a hearing or appointing counsel—the result being that a timely appeal followed (and the case was reversed and remanded). Florida law recognizes that a 3.170(l) motion is a "critical stage" of a proceeding, entitling the defendant to the Sixth Amendment right to representation and assistance of counsel. See Pagan v. State, 110

parent from the appellate court's ruling: On the plaintiff 's appeal, we affirm the trial court's order granting the defendant's motion for new trial. See, e.g., Intramed, Inc. v. Guider, 93 So. 3d 503, 507 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012) (“The closing argument shifted the focus of the case from compensating the plaintiff to punishing the defendant. .. . The purpose of damages here was to compensate, not to make the defendant care, ‘take responsibility,' or say it was sorry. Counsel's arguments improperly suggested that the defendant should be punished for contesting damages at trial and that its defense of the claim in court was improper. The closing argument was designed to inflame the emotions of the jury rather than prompt a logical analysis of the evidence in light of the applicable law.”) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). 

So. 3d 3, 5 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012). Because Appellant was completely denied representation and assistance with regard to his motion to withdraw plea, reversal is required. See Stephens v. State, 141 So. 3d 701, 702 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014) (reversing summary denial of a motion to withdraw plea because the appellant's counsel withdrew prior to the court's ruling on the motion). See also Jones v. State, 74 So. 3d 118, 123 n.5 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011); Schriber v. State, 959 So. 2d 1254, 1257 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) (“[T]he thirty-day window provided in Rule 3.170(l) is a critical stage of the criminal proceedings and it would be hollow indeed if the defendant were not allowed the guiding hand of counsel to assist in preparing the initial motion to withdraw the plea.”). * * * We do not address the merits of Appellant's motion. Instead, we simply find that Appellant should have been given the opportunity to be assisted by counsel before its merits were considered. [Original emphasis.]  Lake Legal News Nov. 2014


Lake Legal Teen Court Image: Jamesbin / iStock

News: Report

By: Connor Jenkins


ne of the most peculiar and memorable cases I was ever involved with as a teen prosecuting attorney entails a defendant who lost his temper while being antagonized by the dunking tank clown at a local fair. (The clown attracts customers to the booth by enticing them by challenging the individual's skill.) Attempting to start an altercation with the provoking clown, the middle school defendant attempted to enter the back of the dunking tank. While approaching the ladder to the dunk tank, a patron blocked the path of the defendant which sparked the juvenile's frustration. The offender punched the victim in the left eye, knocking him to the ground. The injury to the victim's eye socket required immediate medical care as well as surgery. As the prosecuting attorney, I pointed out the severity of the victim's injury as well as the defendant's erratic behavior. I requested an anger management program and high community service hours as a way of restitution to the community member he injured. The delinquent's attendance in the anger management course allowed him to learn alternate ways to express anger and defuse situations in the future.

knowing voice that seeks justice for the victim and for the public. Sometimes it can be hard prosecuting juveniles because they can be suffering from an impoverished household or an abusive guardian persuading these kids to steal or to fight.� Defense attorneys, on the other hand, seek fairness for the defendant by explaining their interpretation of the story as well as progressive conduct outside of the crime. This includes: good behavior elsewhere, educational motivation, and extracurricular activities. The attorneys are also required to wholeheartedly discuss the defendant's reasoning behind the crime in a positive light. Alternative coping procedures the offender has learned to prevent future crimes are displayed to the jury (comprised of teens). Although these alternative coping methods seem quite repetitive, the defendant can choose the substitute path to positively change their future. Closing arguments permit the defense attorney to compile all the respectable facts about the defendant and the modifications they have made since committing the crime. Explaining these to the jury allows the defendant to be exposed under a new light, as an improved individual.

Ryan Cross (17), teen prosecuting attorney, states, “The prosecutor is the all- Recently as a defense attorney, I repre50

Lake Legal News Nov. 2014

sented a 14-year-old girl who was charged with retail theft because “her friend asked her to take some stuff.” The female defendant entered Claire's Boutique while her friend persistently cajoled the defendant to steal gauges for her. The defendant herself did not have gauges, but to prevent her friend from constant imploring, she complied. The delinquent stated, “I am disappointed in myself and I feel guilty about what I did.” (The offender no longer associates with the co-defendant, allowing distance from the poor influence that caused her to steal, and also learned to distance herself from similar situations in order to avoid another crime.) The juvenile is now prohibited from leaving the house unless accompanied by a parental guardian and is not permitted to have friends over. These facts were taken into account in closing arguments recognizing the peer pressure and restrictions imposed by her parents in prevention of another crime.

Editor's Note: Connor Jenkins is a Eustis High School senior, AP Honor's Student, Girl's State delegate, National Honor Society member, and Jefferson Awards member. She has been involved with the Teen Court Program in Lake County, Florida, since 2009. The Teen Court Program is a diversionary program that holds first time juvenile offenders accountable for their actions while affording them a second chance through the court system.

the prosecuting attorney seeks restitution for those impacted by the offender's delinquency. The foremost objective of participating attorneys is to inspire the juvenile delinquents to make improved choices for the future and become beneficial contributors to society. 


Tyler Whitaker (16), Teen Court defense attorney, explains, “I truly enjoy the challenge of defending, however, it is harder to defend someone who has already admitted guilt. The most difficult part of defending is representing those who appear to have no remorse.” Striving for a strict, but reasonable, consequence for the defendant's rehabilitation becomes a mutual goal for the state and defense. In order to truly receive justice,

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Fla. Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Law Expert Qualifications: I have practiced criminal law in Tavares, Florida, for 27 years. I am a former Assistant State Attorney, with supervisory experience at the juvenile, misdemeanor, felony and postconviction relief levels, including a designation as Lake County's first sex battery and first careercriminal prosecutor. My actual jury trial experience ranges from shoplifting and DUI to capital sexual battery and first degree murder—and I have stood before a felony jury an average of twice-a-year for 27 years. In fact, I have quadruple the number of felony jury trials required for initial Board Certification.

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Profile for Lake Legal News

Lake Legal News #20  

Lake Legal News is a high-quality, quarterly magazine, blending current events with both topical and historical profiles of Lake County, Flo...

Lake Legal News #20  

Lake Legal News is a high-quality, quarterly magazine, blending current events with both topical and historical profiles of Lake County, Flo...


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