Sunday, January 21, 2018
News Roundup

Judge: Supreme Court justices can stay on November ballot

TALLAHASSEE — In a rare ruling from the bench, Circuit Judge Terry Lewis on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit arguing that three state Supreme Court justices seeking merit retention on the November ballot should be disqualified for using court-appointed staff to help them complete their qualifying papers.

Lawyers for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and for Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince argued that the suit, brought by two voters from Lee and Seminole counties, was without merit.

They said there is a framework in place already, through the Florida Elections Commission and the Judicial Qualifications Commission, to address the concerns of the two voters. Detzner has determined that the three judges properly submitted their qualifying paperwork and should remain on the ballot.

Lewis said the plaintiffs, Bernard Long and Ron Flores, failed to prove they were personally harmed by allowing the process in place to go forward and ruled that they had no standing to bring the lawsuit.

"I don't think your clients get to speak for everybody,'' Lewis said, before dismissing the case with prejudice, ending the case because it was brought in error. Anticipating an appeal, he added, "We'll let the district court of appeal decide whether I'm right or not."

The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Shannon Goessling, immediately announced they will appeal the case, and, if they lose there, will take it to the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

She said the justices flaunted the law with impunity when they stopped a hearing on the Senate redistricting case to complete their last-minute paperwork to be on the ballot for the merit retention vote in November.

"I don't believe any Legislature or governor who signs anything into law thought that appellate judges would be able to conduct themselves in a way that is contrary to law and should be qualified," she said.

"This was a political action without merit,'' said Sandy D'Alemberte, a former dean of the Florida State University law school and former president of the American Bar Association. D'Alemberte said it was "very much a frivolous suit" intended as part of a years-long effort to purge the court by conservatives and replace judges with like-minded, politically sympathetic jurists.

Comments
USF women blow late lead, lose at Wichita State

USF women blow late lead, lose at Wichita State

WICHITA — USF led by eight points in the fourth quarter but went cold, and Wichita State pulled off the upset 64-56 Sunday afternoon in a potentially costly loss for the Bulls.USF (15-5, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) missed 14 of its last 15 fiel...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
‘Big Hug’ brings out fun-loving  crowd

‘Big Hug’ brings out fun-loving crowd

GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | TimesDaniel Evangelista, 17, dressed as a rooster; Knox Johnson, 16, dressed as Stay Puft Marshmallow Man; Rachel Rowland, dressed as a panda; and Luke Evangelista, 15, dressed as Captain America, joke around before comp...
Updated: 1 hour ago
At second St. Petersburg Women’s March, 5,000 focus on

At second St. Petersburg Women’s March, 5,000 focus on "what we can do"

ST. PETERSBURGNear Mirror Lake, as protesters posed for pictures, hung signs on their dogs and distributed chant scripts just after noon Sunday, Linda Pair and her friend Beth Gavin arrived to march.Asked why she came out, Pair, 72, of Largo put it b...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Deputies: 18-year-old speeding on U.S. 19 faces charges of DUI, fleeing scene

PALM HARBOR — A speeding driver on U.S. 19 refused to stop for deputies and took off, later rear-ending a car and injuring three people early Sunday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.A little after 1:30 a.m., Kingzig Montanez...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Factory fire traps in workers, killing at least 17; Kabul siege ends violent 24 hours; more in world news

Factory fire traps in workers, killing at least 17; Kabul siege ends violent 24 hours; more in world news

IndiaFactory fire kills at least 17A fire at an industrial building on the outskirts of New Delhi broke out as workers were stuffing gunpowder into firecrackers, trapping many of them on the factory’s upper floors as it spread, and leaving at least 1...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Up to 1,000 more US troops could be headed to Afghanistan this spring

Up to 1,000 more US troops could be headed to Afghanistan this spring

The U.S. Army is readying plans that could increase the total force in Afghanistan by as many as 1,000 U.S. troops this spring beyond the 14,000 already in the country, senior military officials said.Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not signed off on...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Fifth-grader thought she brought gummy candies to school, but they were laced with marijuana

Fifth-grader thought she brought gummy candies to school, but they were laced with marijuana

A 9-year-old student in New Mexico gave fellow students gummies - only to realize later they were not ordinary candies.The candies had apparently been laced with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical responsible for how marijuana affects the bra...
Updated: 7 hours ago
The St. Petersburg Women’s March: Here’s what you need to know

The St. Petersburg Women’s March: Here’s what you need to know

ST. PETERSBURG — On Sunday afternoon, people will take part in the Women’s March, part of a series of marches taking place this weekend. Here’s what you need to know:When is the Women’s March?The march begins at noon on Sunday, Jan. 21, and a rally w...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Forecast: Sunny, high of 78 in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Sunny, high of 78 in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — Temperatures should reach the upper 70s on a warm, sunny, mild Sunday, kicking off a mild week in Tampa Bay, forecasters predict. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels...
Updated: 10 hours ago