Civility in the Legal Profession – Including Florida

Professional family, criminal, probate, DUI, traffic attorneys and lawyers

Cover of ABA Journal Jan 2013

The ABA Journal recently published an article about Civility and the Cost of Incivility in the legal profession.  It is a shame that our industry must deal with this topic however it is good to see it garnering attention.  The actual article is quite lengthy and addresses topics such as reasons for the apparent increase in civility issues in the legal industry,  how some in the profession are responding to the issues,  how some are using “Show Cause Hearings” in response to incivility, and Ethics or Professionalism Training.  Some of the article addresses issues in Florida and changes made in the legal oath in response to civility situations.

At Mario, Gunde, Peters, Rhoden & Kelley we have a high standard of professionalism and expect not only our own attorneys and staff to conduct their business at this level but also expect our dealings with other firms, professionals, and clients to be of the highest possible level of civility.

Read the full article on Civility in the Legal Profession.

The U.S. Supreme Court Will Take Up DOMA and Prop 8


Family Law Issue before the SCOTUS - Legal Eagles, Melbourne, FL

Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States announced yesterday, Dec. 7, that they will hear two cases relating to the topic of same sex marriage. Both cases have been closely watched as they made their way through the court systems to the Supreme Court. Each case has the potential for being an historic decision and together these two cases have those of us in the business of family law riveted on the arguments and outcomes.

An article from USA TODAY on the Supreme Court Announcement is located here.

DOMA is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was passed by Congress in 1994 and signed by President Clinton.  The impact of this legislation began to have impact when MA began on the same sex marriage issue in 2004. Then several states followed (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, DC).  California’s Prop 8 is the other of the 2 law being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

You can read more about DOMA on Wikipedia which offers a relatively good summary of the Federal legislation.

California’s Prop 8 is also being reviewed by the Court and you can read more about that state legislation as well.  Here is also an excerpt from a blog post provided by the newspaper, LA TIMES:

Burbank residents Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were catapulted onto the national stage Friday when the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would rule on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, the voter-approved same-sex marriage ban that the couple sued to overturn.

For most of the day Katami and Zarrillo, together nearly 12 years, were on a circuit of media interviews and conference calls as the nation learned that the Supreme Court had decided, for the first time, to weigh in on same-sex marriage.

“We’re excited, we’re anxious, we’re cautiously optimistic,” said Zarrillo when reached by phone. “This is what we’ve waited for.”

Last year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Proposition 8 based on the lawsuit filed by Katami and Zarrillo and a lesbian couple, setting the stage for Supreme Court review.

At the time, Katami said the legal trajectory of the case had been an emotional ride, but that at every legal victory along the way, it wasn’t about, “Hooray, we won,” it was instead more of sense that “this is the right path.”

Now the stakes are higher than ever. But the couple said they were confident that the high court would come down on the side of equal rights for all, noting they had history on their side.

“We hope that history has taught us one thing, that the courts are there to protect us,” Katami said.

For gay marriage backers, the excitement of Proposition 8 going to the Supreme Court was tempered by nervousness about how the conservative majority would come down on the issue. Had the court not taken the case, an earlier appeals court ruling invalidating Proposition 8 would have stood and marriages could have begun.

“I think any time our gay issues go to the U.S. Supreme Court we are all filled with anxiety because you never know,” said West Hollywood Councilman John Duran, who is gay. “Whatever decision they make, if it’s adverse, we have to live with it for a generation.”

In a sign of hedging bets, some activists said they were now mulling a 2014 ballot measure to repeal Proposition 8 if the Supreme Court upholds it.

Gay marriage foes were decidedly more ebullient, saying they liked their chances in front of the high court.

“Arguing this case before the Supreme Court finally gives us a chance at a fair hearing, something that hasn’t been afforded to the people since we began this fight,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for Protect Marriage.com.

Jim Campbell, the lead counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom and another of the lawyers in the case, added in a statement that “marriage between a man and a woman is a universal good that diverse cultures and faiths have honored throughout the history of Western Civilization.” Read the rest of the article here.

Home Sales, Foreclosures, Bankruptcys – Confusing?



Guest Post:

Buying a home these days may seem harder – it is in many cases.   Lending institutions are requiring higher down payments and credit scores and the restrictions on what you can buy and how soon seem to be getting more strict.  There is some excellent information on the web for home buyers including this article on Tips for VA Loans. There are mForeclosure Defense, Bankruptcy, Melbourne Lawyerany other articles available to help with foreclosures and bankruptcy as well.

Using all the resources available to you as a home owner or a future homeowner is important.   Nobody wants to buy a house and then end up in something they can’t afford and have to go through a foreclosure or bankruptcy.  If you or someone you know has a situation involving a foreclosure or even a personal bankruptcy there are legal resources available to help.    Foreclosure defense is an area practiced by Mario, Gunde, Peters, Rhoden & Kelley as well as bankruptcy proceedings.   Don’t go it alone.   Call for a completely free consultation about foreclosure processes and defenses or bankruptcy.  Experienced Brevard Attorneys are available to speak with you today.

Fingerprint Evidence Restrictions Per Judge

Here is a link to an interesting article about a ruling from south Florida relating to criminal law and the admissibility of fingerprint evidence. It is a quick read if you have a minute.

Miami-Dade judge rules fingerprint evidence
should be restricted

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch, who often wades into controversial legal ground, is questioning long-accepted scientific ideas on latent prints.

Read more here:

Comments from my Facebook post on this topic:

MJC:  Am I reading this right Ken? He thinks fingerprints should be limited b/c they could be similar?? I thought we all had exclusive prints like DNA?? Am I wrong??
Ken: The judge will allow fingerprint evidence to be presented to the jury but will not allow the fingerprint expert to say it “matches” the Defendant’s prints only that they are similar. From a strictly scientific point of view this is a correct ruling, however courts have allowed testimony that prints “match”.
DY: whats next throwing out confessions, oh wait they do that already, video tapes of the crimes, they could throw them out……
Ken: The area of false confessions is fascinating to me as innocent people sometimes confess where they have nothing to gain and the questioning seems non coercive. Then there are confessions made up by jail inmates and traded to the gullible. So yes, some “confessions” should be excluded from evidence.

You can follow my Criminal & Family Law related Facebook page or Twitter for updated information on many topics including local events, court rulings, interesting legal tidbits and more.

Great Day Oviedo – Seminole County Event 2012

From: Great Day in the Country

“… [This] is a huge family-oriented Arts & Crafts event hosted by the GFWC Oviedo Woman’s Club.

We have over 350 Arts & Crafts Booths, Business Booths, and Community Service Booths.  Entertainment is provided throughout the day on 2 stages.  We also have a special children’s play area and lots of food & drinks.

The event is located on the grounds of Lawton Elementary School, 151 Graham Avenue, Oviedo, FL 32765.  If you go to the intersection of Lake Jessup Avenue and Broadway (also known as S.R. 426 and Aloma), it’s impossible to miss it.

FREE parking is available at Oviedo High School, and you can ride the FREE shuttle bus to and from the show.

Shuttle Bus Details. The free shuttle bus will run continuously from 9 to 4, but if you’d like to walk, the high school is close enough to get to Great Day by foot. The bus picks up from the street that runs adjacent to the football field (King Street, look for a big sign). The bus drops/picks up at Great Day on the bus ramp of Lawton Elementary (on the east side of the cafeteria near ArtFest). It usually completes a drop-off/pick-up circuit once every 20 minutes.  The shuttle bus has room to stash strollers and wheelchairs for the ride, and it is air conditioned.

Paid Parking. Various close (and privately owned) locations around the show offer convenient parking at rates usually ranging from $5 to $10. The donations often benefit local civic groups or charities and the lots are typically roped off with signage indicating the rate and the cause.”