Republican power grab in the judiciary warps midterm election dynamic
Jen Psaki, former Biden White House press secretary and new member of the MSNBC family, talks with Alex Wagner about how Republicans overreach through courts stacked by Donald Trump has made them the target of midterm voters who might otherwise be focused on President Biden and congressional Democrats.news.yahoo.com
Parents of students with disabilities sue Florida governor, school districts over mask mandate ban
A group of parents and their children with disabilities filed suit against the state of Florida Friday claiming Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates in schools violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Markeith Loyd’s attorney suspended from representing indigent clients
The attorney representing accused murderer Markeith Loyd has been suspended from receiving taxpayer money to represent indigent clients after a state agency accused the lawyer of submitting “excessive and concerning” legal bills, News 6 has learned.
Orange-Osceola state attorney creates new policy for officer-involved shooting review
Prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office in the Ninth Judicial Circuit, covering Orange and Osceola counties, will independently investigate police officer or deputy-involved shootings in addition to the review conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Woman shot by Winter Park police during well-being check found not guilty
A woman was found not guilty Thursday night of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer following a jury trial more than four years after she was shot by a Winter Park police officer in her bed during a well-being check.
Ex-Seminole County tax collector awaiting federal trial arrested on bond violation
ORLANDO, Fla. – Former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg was arrested Tuesday after prosecutors say he violated the conditions of his release on bail by traveling to Jupiter. Greenberg appeared before a judge at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday on the bond violation. On Friday, both sides agreed to lessen Greenberg’s bond restrictions but it’s unclear why since those court records are sealed. AdGreenberg, 35, served as Seminole County tax collector from January 2017 until June 24, 2020 when he stepped down from office following his indictment. The trial was set for March but Greenberg recently hired a new attorney, which could delay proceedings again.
Audit finds missteps in Orange County Clerk of Courts handling of guardianship cases
The Department of Elder Affairs oversees the program and includes more than 550 professional guardians statewide. Our office just released the Audit of the Orange County Clerk of Court’s Administration of the Guardianship Program report. The hourly rate the guardian was paid was more than twice the approved Orange County rate. “One professional guardian still had five active cases when they were suspended and a replacement was not timely appointed. As for the audit, Orange County Clerk Tiffany Moore Russell said she disagrees with four of the findings and recommendations, partially concurs with seven and concurs with two.
Mother accused in death of 2-year-old pleads guilty to child neglect
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – An Orlando woman accused of abusing her toddler to death in 2018 pleaded guilty to aggravated child neglect Wednesday. Victoria Toth, 26, originally faced charges of aggravated manslaughter in the brutal, deadly beating of her son, 2-year-old Jayce Martin. AdDoctors later determined the child died of injuries to his stomach, as the toddler seemed to have suffered a powerful punch. An arrest report said Toth had noticed the child acting ill and vomiting for nearly three days. Toth’s attorneys offered a plea deal Wednesday during an Orange County Courthouse hearing.
Former Orange County judge accused of molestation won’t face charges
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A former Orange County judge accused of molesting a girl will not be facing charges, according to a court memorandum. [TRENDING: Winter storm shuts down Fla. schools | Fla. man arrested in Capitol riot: I was following Trump’s orders | Shoe removed from 341-pound croc]AdGov. In another interview with prosecutors, the girl denied Apte had touched her breasts. Upon further investigation, the girl also told interviewers she reported the alleged molestation to a teacher and a guidance counselor. When interviewers went to cross-reference the story, the two denied the girl had accused Apte of abuse.
Assistant fire chief sues Orlando, former chief alleging gender discrimination, harassment
ORLANDO, Fla. – A veteran firefighter with the Orlando Fire Department is suing the city and the former fire chief alleging gender discrimination and sexual harassment. That employee, assistant fire chief Dawn Sumter, filed a lawsuit against the department and Williams Tuesday and is seeking a jury trial. According to the lawsuit, Sumter was fully qualified to be promoted but during William’s tenure, she was not considered or interviewed. According to the lawsuit, the prevalent behavior and discrimination against women within OFD have continued under the new fire chief. Increased diversity in the first new hire class under Chief Barksdale - Class 0620 was the largest class for the Orlando Fire Department at 32 members.
Fraudulent ministry attempted to buy $3.1 million Orlando home with CARES Act funds, documents reveal
U.S. Secret Service agents allege he used fabricated and/or fake documents to obtain more than $8.4 million in PPP funding. Joshua Edwards was listed as the chairman and president of the organization, while his son, Evan Edwards, was listed as the vice president. Joy Edwards, Evan Edwards’ daughter, was listed in the documents as a secretary and director, documents show. Joshua Edwards, Joy Edwards and Evan Edwards were all account holders, documents show. Secret Service agents visited the address and found no one there, records show.
Gotha homeowners plagued by flooding sue Orange County, FDOT, housing development
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Several Gotha homeowners filed a lawsuit again Orange County this week following years of area flooding threatening and even forcing them to abandon their homes. News 6 has previously detailed the record flooding in the Gotha area, specifically at Lake Fischer, Lake Nally, Lake Hugh, Mills Pond and Gotha Pond, as neighbors searched for answers as to what was causing the sustained flooding. In September, engineers detailed the findings of a $200,000 study commissioned by Orange County into the cause of flooding concerns in Gotha. For months, neighbors blamed the flooding on nearby housing development and expansion on the Florida Turnpike. In September, homeowners impacted by the flooding told News 6 they disagreed with the findings from the county report.
Clermont woman accused of killing husband found buried in backyard posts bail
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – UPDATE: Laurie Shaver posted bail Thursday night and has since been released from the Lake County jail. Original story below:Four months after her arrest in connection with her husband’s death, Laurie Shaver was granted bond by a Lake County Judge Thursday. She was being held in the Lake County Jail without bail but jail records show her bail was set at $50,000 for the murder charge and $2,000 for the accessory charge. Her friends were told Michael Shaver was stalking her. Authorities have not said how Michael Shaver died and his manner of death was redacted from the arrest affidavit.
Accused cop killer Markeith Loyd won’t stand trial this year
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Markeith Loyd won’t stand trial this year in connection with the shooting death of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Judge Leticia Marques told attorneys Tuesday morning during a hearing not to expect a new trial date until next year. It’s unknown at this time when Loyd will stand trial, which was originally scheduled to happen in May before COVID-19 closed down courts. “I can safely tell you gentlemen that you will not be in trial on this case before spring of next year. If convicted of killing Clayton, Loyd could face the death penalty.
Florida Supreme Court: Gov. Ron DeSantis must make new Supreme Court justice pick by Monday evening
Ron DeSantis must pick a new Supreme Court justice by 5 p.m. Monday because the judge he picked to fill a high court vacancy is constitutionally ineligible to serve, the court said in an order issued Monday. The Florida Supreme Court ordered DeSantis to appoint another judge by Monday, nullifying the appointment of Judge Renatha Francis. After DeSantis did not make another appointment by noon on Monday, the Florida Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus ordering him to do so by 5 p.m. after missing the previous deadline. DeSantis acknowledged the shortfall at the time, but said she wouldn’t be sworn in until Sept. 24, the day she would meet the requirement. The Supreme Court said that DeSantis was required to name a constitutionally eligible new justice within 60 days of the resignation of former Justice Robert Luck.
Judge sides with Florida teachers, rejects putting schools ruling on hold
Siding with teachers unions, a Leon County circuit judge Thursday lifted a stay of his earlier ruling that a state order requiring schools to reopen in August is unconstitutional. Under law, that notice of appeal automatically placed a stay on Dodson’s ruling --- effectively putting it on hold until the Tallahassee-based appeals court can resolve the case. Late Tuesday, attorneys for the Florida Education Association and the Orange County teachers union asked Dodson to lift the stay. In Thursday’s order, Dodson scolded the state for misrepresenting his temporary injunction. What the order did, for the reasons stated, is require that local school districts be given authority under their individual circumstances to open or close the local schools, based on local conditions,” the judge wrote.
Judge slated to rule on Florida teachers union lawsuit next week
Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson, who is slated to issue a ruling early next week, heard closing arguments in lawsuits filed by the Florida Education Association and the union that represents Orange County teachers. Schools risk losing funding if they don’t comply with Corcoran’s order, which teachers’ attorneys called “financial bullying.”But lawyers representing Gov. Ron DeSantis, Corcoran and state education officials, who are defendants in the case, maintain that the Constitution also requires the state to provide “high-quality education” to Florida schoolchildren. Although DeSantis and Corcoran have said publicly that teachers with medical conditions should be accommodated during the pandemic, local school officials have denied some educators’ requests to teach remotely. During testimony this week, the unions spotlighted the potential risks to teachers’ health, while the state focused on children’s educational needs.
Judge denies Floridas motion to dismiss educators lawsuit
The battle to stop Florida brick-and-mortar schools from psychically reopening is going to trial after a judge denied the states motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Floridas largest teachers union. On Thursday, lawsuits filed by the Florida Education Association, the Orange County teachers union and a parent were combined. The state had motioned to dismiss the lawsuit; however, on Friday morning a judge denied the motion to dismiss. Stuart and attorney, Billy Wieland are representing the plaintiff in a lawsuit that was filed against Gov. Both Stuart and Wieland represent the three OCPS teachers and the parent who are part of the lawsuit.
Judge agrees to keep police officers identity protected under Marsys law for now
Judge Charles Dodson last week decided that the amendment known as Marsys Law, approved by Florida voters in 2018, doesnt apply to law enforcement officers and that their names should be released. I dont see how we can differentiate between the Tallahassee case and the Delray Beach decision, Newman told Dodson on Thursday. But Assistant City Attorney Hannah Monroe argued that an automatic stay isnt warranted in the Tallahassee case. The First Amendment Foundation, the Florida Press Association and a number of media outlets have intervened in the lawsuit, arguing that allowing Marsys Law to apply to law enforcement officers would undercut the states open-records laws. There were numerous times in there that I referred to officers acting in their official capacity, the judge said, referring to his order.
US Supreme Court asked to lift stay in Florida felon-voting case
On Wednesday, the Atlanta-based appellate court scheduled arguments in the case for Aug. 18, the same day as Floridas primary elections. The Atlanta-based appellate courts July 1 order also put a stay on Hinkles decision, as requested by DeSantis. The appeals court then refused the states request for a full court review of the panels decision. To bolster their argument, the plaintiffs pointed to a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision in a case known as Purcell v. Gonzalez. Wednesdays Supreme Court filing, submitted to Justice Clarence Thomas for procedural reasons, urges the court to allow Hinkles order to go into effect.
Former felons voting rights in limbo again after federal appeals court ruling
This week a federal appeals court judge granted Gov. Ron DeSantis motion to review a judges May ruling that determined the requirement for Floridians to pay all court costs and fees prior to being able to vote unconstitutional. A group of Florida residents impacted by this decision sued the state, along with the attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Foundation and the NAACP, among other voting rights groups. In May, a federal judge ruled that Florida law cant stop an estimated 774,000 disenfranchised felons from voting because they cant pay back any legal fees and restitution they owe. Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting a stay of Hinkles ruling and a review of the case by the full appeals court.
Central Florida property owners join federal lawsuit against Gov. DeSantis demanding reopening of vacation rentals
ORLANDO, Fla. Two Central Florida property owners added their names to an existing federal lawsuit, demanding that vacation rental properties be allowed to reopen amid the pandemic. Ive been dealing with clients anxious, clients that want to reschedule, clients that are upset, Greenstein said. In the complaint, the lawsuit alleges that vacation rental property owners have been unfairly targeted during the pandemic, since they are forced to remain closed while hotels, timeshare condominiums, and resorts can remain open. The county has us licensed as a hotel/motel which is essential, but the state has us licensed as a vacation rental which is criminal. Its going to be done on a case-by-case basis.The best-case scenario is allowing vacation rentals to open up immediately, albeit with common sense restrictions just like everyone else is required to follow, Greenstein said.