A judge on Thursday recommended that three Tampa lawyers be permanently barred from practicing law for their involvement in a conspiracy to have an opposing attorney arrested during a high-profile trial in 2013.
Rejecting the defense's arguments that the lawyers were merely helping local police get a drunken driver off of city streets, Pinellas Senior Judge W. Douglas Baird found the men's actions "inexplicably egregious, spiteful, and malicious."...
Almost a year after a federal judge in Tallahassee declared Florida's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, the state is finally getting around to updating its marriage and death certificates.
By mid September, the state plans to have removed gender-specific language from these forms, which still refer to a "husband" and "wife," according to the gay rights organization Equality Florida.
Since same-sex marriage became legal in January, gay couples who have tied the knot have had to make the odd choice of whose name to write in which space. Once the change goes into effect, the forms will provide a place for the name of each "spouse."...
The Florida Bar asked a Pinellas judge on Monday to revoke the law licenses of three Tampa lawyers accused of arranging the arrest of a rival attorney during a high-profile trial in 2013.
The Bar's lawyers recommended that Stephen Diaco, a partner at Adams & Diaco, be permanently disbarred for his role in orchestrating C. Philip Campbell's DUI arrest in 2013. Calling Diaco's motives "malicious and for personal gain," the Bar's lawyers wrote that his actions not only interrupted a trial, but also "tarnished the reputation of the legal profession and the Tampa Police Department."...
After losing its yearslong defense of Florida's same-sex marriage ban, the state is arguing it shouldn't have to pay the full cost of its crusade.
Last week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi objected to a motion concerning legal fees from lawyers who represented gay couples seeking to have their marriages recognized in Florida. In response, she wrote that because Florida voluntarily dismissed its appeal after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right to same-sex marriage nationwide, the state should not have to cover the cost of the lengthy appeals process it initiated....
CLEARWATER — The disciplinary case of three Tampa lawyers found guilty of orchestrating the DUI arrest of a rival attorney has come down to a single question: Will they be disbarred?
For a second day, Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut came to the Pinellas County Justice Center on Friday to listen as a half-dozen witnesses gave testimonials designed to sway Pinellas Senior Judge W. Douglas Baird, who will recommend their punishment....
CLEARWATER — A procession of witnesses streamed through the Pinellas County Courthouse on Thursday, each of them more effusive than the last in their praise of three Tampa lawyers in serious trouble with the Florida Bar.
They spoke of the lawyers' charitable deeds. They extolled the men's efforts to help friends in need. Many of them claimed to know next to nothing about the highly publicized legal scandal that was the reason for their appearance in court....
TAMPA — Outraged by what he saw as a Tampa lawyer's underhanded tactics, a Miami chiropractor filed a complaint in 2010 against Robert Adams, a partner at the Adams & Diaco firm. The Florida Bar dismissed his concerns six days later.
Now, in the midst of a high profile disciplinary case against Adams and two other lawyers, the Bar's attorneys have suddenly become keenly interested in what chiropractor Robert Frankl has to say....
TAMPA — Two middle-age men sat in a Hillsborough County courtroom last October, studiously avoiding each others' eyes.
Outwardly, they had little in common — one entered in handcuffs, the other through the front door — but both knew it could easily have been the other way around.
Dean McKee, 43, had waited years for the chance to put the man who helped send him to prison for life back on the witness stand. And there he was: thick-set, gray-bearded, with a tear-drop tattoo leaching from one eye. It was one of the most hopeful hours in McKee's 27 years of incarceration....
ST. PETERSBURG — Attorneys for Hulk Hogan say they don't know who leaked a transcript of their client's racist and homophobic remarks to tabloid reporters. But they have a theory, and they're looking at Gawker.
At a hearing Thursday, lawyers for the former professional wrestler asked Pinellas Judge Pamela Campbell to authorize an investigation into whether the news and gossip website's employees and lawyers communicated with reporters for the National Enquirer and RadarOnLine.com. ...
The judge in the case of Curtis Reeves Jr., a retired Tampa police captain accused of shooting to death a fellow patron in a Wesley Chapel movie theater, has recused himself.
Last week, after a hearing in which he appeared aggravated by repeated delays in the case, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa issued a notice removing himself from the proceedings. Although Siracusa did not make his reasoning public, Reeves' defense attorney Rick Escobar said the judge told lawyers that his decision stemmed from comments he made at the hearing....
TAMPA — A Pinellas judge on Tuesday found three Tampa lawyers guilty of "deliberately and maliciously" arranging the arrest of a rival attorney during a high-profile trial in 2013.
In his decision, Pinellas-Pasco Senior Judge W. Douglas Baird concluded that the lawyers — Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut — had orchestrated C. Philip Campbell's DUI arrest to gain an advantage in a multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit pitting their client, radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, against his radio rival, Todd "MJ" Schnitt. Campbell was representing Schnitt....
07/04/15 Human Interest
BRANDON — The Vietnam veterans gave out bead necklaces, the Veterans of Foreign Wars gave out candy, and the Sons and Daughters of Confederate Veterans gave out Confederate battle flags, as they have always done.
In most respects, Brandon's Fourth of July parade, with its classic theme of "Red, White and Blue," was no different than it has ever been. More than 100 groups paraded down Parsons Avenue on Saturday in front of tens of thousands of people gathered for one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in the state. The parade has been a Brandon tradition for decades, and is run by the Community Roundtable, a local nonprofit....
ST. PETERSBURG — An appellate court's ruling has delayed next week's scheduled start of the highly anticipated trial between former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and New York-based media company Gawker.
In a 14-page decision handed down Thursday, the 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned a Pinellas circuit judge's order setting the trial for Monday, saying that the civil trial could not begin on that date because of several technical violations....
ST. PETERSBURG — The 1-minute, 41-second sex tape at the center of a high-stakes case between Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, and Gawker, will be hidden from the public during the trial.
A Pinellas circuit judge Wednesday ordered that jurors in the trial, which is set to begin Monday, will be permitted to view the video on a TV monitor angled away from the rest of the courtroom....
ST. PETERSBURG — Don't call him Mr. Hogan. Mr. Hulkster is off limits, too.
When former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan goes to trial here next week against Gawker, the New York-based news website, he will be called by his real name, Terry Gene Bollea. That order came from a Pinellas judge on Monday at the request of Bollea's attorneys, who are representing him in his effort to win $100 million in damages from Gawker for publishing an excerpt of his sex tape in 2012....