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Letters.

MDPs

Those of us who two years ago warned our profession against the siren song of multidisciplinary practice coming from the big five accounting firms did not need the Enron/Andersen debacle to make our case. However, it now becomes an object lesson not only with regard to the dangers of MDP for the independence and integrity of the legal profession, but for the wider society's need to be educated and informed about the difference between economic ideology, such as the Chicago School's version of "law and economics," and critical economics informed by economic history, such as Ron Chernow's Titan, a biography of John D. Rockefeller.

Michael L. O'Neill

Daytona Beach

First Amendment

The Florida Bar's Public Interest Law Section, First Amendment Law Committee, recently sponsored a "first-of-its-kind CLE seminar called 'Sex, Laws and Government' Adult Entertainment Law Symposium." The Bar spends lots of money to get the public to respect Florida lawyers. I see this is more money "well-spent."

I am a Florida native, and I see where this "adult entertainment" industry has gone in the state, extending its tentacles far and wide. Is this the wholesome image of Florida for families?

Basically, in the guise of discussing First Amendment issues, I believe this CLE course is really designed not to equip government lawyers to fight porn and predators in their communities, but instead to arm the sleaze industry with weapons and legal techniques. It is acknowledged that the adult industry is incredibly successful financially. Certainly now many more lawyers with little regard for public morals will be enabled to accept some of that porn-fueled cash in the form of legal fees. Pornography and "adult" entertainment destroys families, creates predators, and injures innocents, especially children.

It is appalling, and as a member of The Florida Bar, I protest this abuse.

Amy M. Jones-Baskaran

Arlington, VA

JNCs

I recently participated in the selection process for a county court judge position for the 12th Judicial Circuit.

Under the current system, two-thirds of the judicial nominating commission are appointed by the Governor, and, as such, judgeships are political appointments.

I do not have a problem with judgeships being political appointments. It was an insult, however, to have participated in a process which pretends to be something it is not.

Commission members appointed by the Bar should refuse to serve and applicants should not apply. By default, the only applicant should be the lawyer selected by the Governor's appointees, as instructed by the Governor. Participation by others is a waste of their time, and it is misleading to the general public.

Skip Berg

Venice

Disciplinary Actions

If you missed the February 1 News Disciplinary Actions, I would highly suggest that you find that issue and look over the case of the Miami lawyer who was publicly reprimanded for professional misconduct because he 1) "made facial gestures after rulings by the court," and 2) was "found guilty of aggressive conduct" for being "obnoxious, insulting, and belligerent to adversaries outside the presence of the judge and jury."

Now I don't know that lawyer, but I do know plenty of learned counsel who have been obnoxious, insulting, and belligerent outside the presence of judges and juries, and plenty more who have made facial gestures after rulings by a court. And yes, I myself have probably made a few unexpected facial gestures after rulings, but I try like hell not to be obnoxious, insulting, and/or belligerent, but by no stretch of the imagination do I want my Bar to start publicly disciplining attorneys for such conduct.

If we allow this, it will become open season by the purveyors of justice to whack each and every counselor who doesn't look or talk just right. I know attorneys who by their very nature are obnoxious, insulting, and belligerent, and whose normal facial gestures are disgusting (I've got this one myself, where I try to dislodge food in my wisdom teeth with the tip of my tongue -- if you don't think that looks disgusting, look in the mirror and try it), but I don't want them or myself publicly disciplined in the News for it.

We've got thieves, cheats, and other various and sundry crooks out there among our ranks who need and deserve the attention of the long arm of our disciplinary system. So, please, let's not sweat the petty stuff, let alone publicize it; that sets a very dangerous precedent for unchecked power.

J.D. Hadsall

Treasure Island

Sales Tax

Here they go again. The Florida Senate, in its infinite wisdom, has declared that they are planning to reform taxes by imposing a service tax upon us. They further proclaim that they are going to save over $100 per year per family for this "reforming."

First and foremost, I am puzzled as to how the average family may save more than $100 per year. Who is going to pay the service tax? It appears to me that the service tax is going to be paid by more Floridians across a wider spectrum of services. The carpenter that fixes your home repair problems, the accountant or lawyer that tends to your business or financial problems, the banker who provides you with banking services, and the waiter or waitress who provides you with food service will be required to charge this tax to their customers, unless they want to eat the tax.

These additional taxes will be paid by someone; I presume that someone will be the residents of the State of Florida. We are not taxing services performed outside the State of Florida, only services provided inside the State of Florida. At the same time, the Senate tells us we have to cut taxes on tourists to come to our state to purchase goods, restaurant meals, or the like. So in other words, we are cutting down the amount of taxes the people spend at Disney World, but increasing the amount of taxes upon those of us in the rest of Florida. Sounds dumb to me.

In addition, this is the same Florida Senate that has sought to reduce the intangible tax on stock and bond portfolios, claiming there is not a need to tax the stock and bond portfolios. Mind you, the stock and bond portfolios we are talking about are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the same time, since we can cease taxing the stack and bond portfolios, the Senate wants to throw a tax on struggling people who need a service in the State of Florida to get by with daily living. I think this tax reform is a sop to the out-of-state manufacturing interests and to certain instate manufacturing interests, such as newspapers who want to see this sales tax cut.

The tax-and-spend crowd in Tallahassee understands that the only way to sell this tax is to line up some powerful interests who will benefit from a reduction in the sales tax. I heard absolutely no one at any recent social or political event who clamored for a services tax. In fact, I think this is simply a way to expand the overall burden that we have on our state. After all, there seems to be plenty of money to plant palms around intersections and to provide lucrative benefits to certain state employees. Perhaps some of these individuals ought to enjoy and experience private business and then decide whether to inform us of the need to tax the people that clear the lands, repair the homes or machinery, or provide the services to the elderly and the poor; then their view may be different.

Floridians oppose a services tax.

Charles E. Ray

Port St. Lucie

Gremlins

I'm willing to spring for the cost of an exorcist to cast out the gremlin who invaded the January 1 edition of The Florida Bar News. This mischievous being wrote the article concerning the application for readmission to the Bar filed by a man in Tampa.

The article stated that the application for readmission would be the subject of a hearing by the "Florida Board of Ear Examiners." Perhaps the gremlin has a point. Ear examiners should have exclusive authority to hear, but I suspect the bench and bar wouldn't hear of it.

On second thought, I am withdrawing my offer to pay for the exorcist. I see no reason to exorcize a gremlin simply because he has an ear for humor.

Lance K. Stalnaker

Tampa

Security

Federal courthouses should stop demanding photo identification from everyone who enters. The policy is resulting in court security refusing entry to witnesses (even defense witnesses in criminal cases) when their testimony is needed in a hearing. Worse still, the courts are not being informed that witnesses are being turned away at the door.

It is a miscarriage of justice and a violation of a party's civil rights and a denial of every defendant's right to due process of law and the right to call witnesses in his/her own behalf.

Some people may even be using the ID policy as an excuse to avoid coming to court, or testifying. All they have to do is show up without identification and they will be refused entry.

There is no law that requires anyone to carry photo ID nor any ID at all. Thanks to our country's libertarian heritage, there is no law that requires anyone to even have photo ID, much less to carry it. That is what makes our government not-quite-so-offensive as governments elsewhere.

The ID policy is again playing into the stereotype of the federal government as a growing leviathan, forcing everyone to routinely carry and display identification, and forcing everyone into a police state with a national ID card and the routine command "show me your papers."

Rex Curry

Tampa

Mentors

Seven years ago, I began serving as a mentor to an "at risk" child. I have to admit that I was hesitant and filled with uncertainties when first committing to Big Brothers/Big Sisters. One of their many compassionate and dedicated social workers matched me with Shamain, who was a shy, 11-year-old, who didn't communicate much. Through frequent outings and discussions, our friendship and trust blossomed. His grades in school gradually improved, and his outlook on life became increasingly positive. Although we went everywhere from the auto show to the zoo, his favorite activity was joining me in criminal court to watch me defend the rights of the accused.

Because Shamain recently turned 18, our match, under the supervision of the agency, has officially come to a successful conclusion. We are both committed to continuing our relationship throughout our adult lives. After he graduates from high school this year, he will begin proudly serving in the U.S. Air Force. After becoming a pilot and/or a law enforcement officer, he has plans to return to our community and also serve as a mentor to a child in need.

I can say, without reservation, that serving as a mentor to Shamain over the past seven years has been one of the most worthwhile experiences of my life. Words cannot describe the satisfaction that I have received from knowing that I have made a positive impact on his life. He has become a dear friend and a significant part of my family. I encourage others to contact a Big Brothers/Big Sisters agency in your city and commit to mentoring a child. If you have any reservations about serving, I would be happy to discuss them with you. I can be reached at (800) 226-9550. You too can make a difference... one child at a time.

Mark Eiglarsh

Miami
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Publication:Florida Bar News
Date:Mar 1, 2002
Words:1933
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