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35 Fla. B. News 1 (2008)

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             Go to FloridaBar.org for Committee Preference Forms



Diner named president-elect M


By Gary Blankenship
Senior Editor
   Veteran Bar Board of Governors member Jesse Diner had long thought
about running for president of The Florida Bar, but the time had never seemed
right.
   Then one day his wife and law partner, Adele Stone, asked him if he was
still considering it.
   She said 'I think you ought to do it,' and I said, 'Well, we can talk about
it.' She said, 'We just did,' Diner recalled with a smile.
   After some further reflection, he decided, Basically life is too short; it
was time for me to get off [the board] or run for president.
   So Diner filed and on December 17, when no other Bar member submitted
papers by the qualifying deadline, he became the Bar's president-elect
designate. His supporters submitted more than 1,900 signatures, more than


the 820 (1 percent of the Bar's membership) required by Bar rules.
  The commercial and construction litigator from Ft. Lauderdale will be
sworn in as president-elect in June, when President-elect Jay White becomes
president for the 2008-09 Bar year. and will be sworn in as president of the
Bar in June 2009.
   I am delighted. He is one of the most prepared president-elect designates
there has ever been. He has served as chair of every major committee on the
board and for years has been one of the leaders of the Board of Govemors.
He has been a good advisor and friend to me, Bar President Frank Angones
said. He's a very level-headed individual and a genuinely nice guy.
   Jesse being a very close friend for many years and basically a mentor of
mine on the Board of Governors. I cannot think of a better, more qualified,
                                        See Diner, page 7


                                                                                                                                   es. 19)7-1





cThe Flonda Bar News


Volume 35, Number 1                                              FloridaBar.org                                                     January 1, 2008


Foundation grants 'save' Panel takes a look at


state's Innocence Project sales tax exemptions


By Jan Pudlow
Senior Editor
    Clutching his worldly possessions in one small packet, Chad Heins walked out of the
 Duval County Jail on December 4 a free man, after spending nearly 14 years locked up for
 the stabbing death of his sister-in-law he'd insisted from the beginning he did not commit.
    With a broad grin, Heins, now 33 - only 19 when he was sentenced to life in prison
                                           - gratefully hugged his lawyers one by
                                           one.
                                             Among them were Jennifer Greenberg
                                           and Seth Miller of the Innocence Project
                                           of Florida, buoyed by yet another flesh-
                                           and-blood reminder of the merit of their
                                           .nonprofit legal clinic's work: the ninth
                                           DNA exoneration in the state and the
r210th nationwide.
                                             After four long years since he
                                          received his DNA results proving his
                                          innocence and 14 years of imprisonment
                                          as an innocent man, Chad Heins can
                                          finally walk free with his dignity intact 
                                          said Greenberg, policy director of IPF
                                          and co-counsel on Heins' case, along with
  CHAD HEINS,jailed for 14 years for a murder he
  insists he did not commit, talks with reporters.  See Innocence page 20:

Live Bar CLE Webcasts begin this month
   In a response to growing demand for   The first live broadcast is an all-day
distance education, The Florida Bar will  program scheduled to be broadcast from
begin offering live online Webcast services  Tampa January 25.
to all of its sections in January.       The program is Environmental and
   Members will be able to watch       Land Use Considerations for a Real
educational programs on the Internet while  Estate Transaction sponsored by the
simultaneously viewing graphics, asking Environmental and Land Use Law and Real
questions, taking interactive polls and Property, Probate, and Trust Law sections.
quizzes, and collaborating in an online More than 20 video Webcast sessions are
chat room, according to Programs Division  being planned for 2008.
Director Terry Hill.                      We are beginning to offer more


Footing the


         Bill

    paysforthe costs
of our CLE coUrse?:


Florida Bar's Research, Planning
for Department,


See Webcasts, page 3


Legal services are an exempted, not

excluded, service under current laws


By Gary Blankenship
Senior Editor
   Florida's Taxation and Budget Reform
Commission, the constitutional agency required
to examine the state's fiscal underpinnings,
is taking a generalized look at sales tax
exemptions that could
include the exemptions
on most services.
   The commission's
Finance and Tax
Committee has voted to
submit two proposals,
one on sales tax
exemptions and one on
sales tax exclusions, for
further consideration by
commission committees.
And   commission
member John McKay       BARNETT
has filed a proposal
mandating property tax relief to be financed
by sales tax reform.
   I would describe it as fulfilling the
constitutional mandate of reviewing the
sources of financing for state and local
government, said Tallahassee attorney and
commission member Martha Barnett of the
two committee proposals. In order to review
you need not only to have a lot of background
education, but also the structure of the tax, the
fairness, the basis, how it's collected... that's
where we are on these two [proposals].
   It's way too early to get nervous about


U.S. SUPREME COURT Justice Clarence Thomas recently spoke to members of the Palm
Beach County Bar Association and the Forum Club during a joint membership luncheon at the
Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. More than 700 members attended the event to hear Justice
Thomas speak about his life, which he characterizes as an ordinary person to whom extraordi-
nary things have happened. Justice Thomas was in West Palm Beach to promote his memoir,
My Grandfather's Son. Pictured in the front from the left are Richard Schuler, president-elect,
Michelle Suskauer, Adam Rabin, Justice Thomas, Meenu Sasser, president, Lisa Small of The
Florida Bar Board of Governors, and Michael Napoleone. In the back from the left are Bryan
Poulton, Adam Doner, David Prather of the Bar Board of Governors, and Wade Bowden.


S MDYARMEIG  E:FR.almt NANU  AG-9


the revival of the services tax. It's still a
preliminary stage of review by the commission.
But I would also say those who are interested
in the possibility should be vigilant, because
if we are going to do anything constitutionally
we have to do it by May 4.
   Under the constitution, the commission
niects every 20 years to review the state's
fiscal operations. It is empowered to directly
place constitutional amendments on the
ballot, without legislative approval, for voters'
review. To meet the deadline for the November
2008 election, the commission must submit
any constitutional amendments by May 4.
   But the commission does not have to
rely solely on amendments. It can also make
recommendations to the legislature on policies
or law, Barnett noted.
   The services tax matters are listed as CP,
or constitutional proposals, by the commission.
If they were to pass as recommendations
to the legislature, it would require a simple
13-member majority of the 25-member
commission. If they were to be sent directly
to voters as constitutional amendments, that
would require a 17-vote supermajority. Voters,
in turn, would have to approve the amendment
by 60 percent.
   Commission member Susan Story, chair
of the Finance and Tax Committee, noted
the commission is functioning like a mini-
legislature. Any member or any of the
                See Taxes, page 4

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