St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Gore's backers: GOP out to scare
  • Group: McCollum anti-environment
  • Suit challenges pool safety law
  • Bush brothers pop up in potion peddler's magazine
  • Florida Bar to investigate commission's actions
  • March trial set in teacher's killing
  • FDLE worker protests punishment for shirt's message

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    Florida Bar to investigate commission's actions


    © St. Petersburg Times, published September 29, 2000

    TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Bar will open a formal investigation into the actions of a Judicial Nominating Commission that got a bit too personal while interviewing applicants for the 1st District Court of Appeal.

    Herman J. Russomanno, president of the Bar, said a formal written complaint has been filed with the commission. That triggers a rule that requires a formal investigation to be completed within 60 days.

    The complaint was filed by the Justice Coalition, a Jacksonville victims rights group that has accused the commission of acting with partiality and partisanship and failing to disclose conflicts of interest.

    Last week, when Jacksonville lawyer Scott D. Makar went before the commission to be interviewed, commission member Elizabeth White had distributed copies of selected documents from Makar's divorce file. Other documents that contradicted those records were not given to the commission.

    White did not disclose the fact that she and her husband, Jacksonville lawyer Bill Sheppard, have a close friendship with another one of the applicants.

    Chris Martinez, chairwoman of the commission, was also close to the situation. She was listed as a witness for Makar's former wife in the divorce proceeding. Martinez said Thursday that she disclosed her own connection to Makar after the commission went into a closed session to deliberate on who would be recommended for appointment.

    In a written complaint filed Thursday, Justice Coalition president Ted M. Hires Sr. said White "has brought discredit to herself" and the selection process.

    The coalition's members include Duval County Sheriff Nat Glover and a number of Jacksonville businessmen and lawyers.

    Six members of the nominating commission are appointed by the governor and the Florida Bar. Those members select three citizens as members.

    The nine members determine which applicants will be interviewed and conduct the interviews in a public session. Florida law allows them to deliberate in private to select the nominees.

    Martinez and other members of the commission say they were not aware that the documents from Makar's file were not complete.

    Martinez said she didn't stop the personal questions because she felt the commission was entitled to ask about anything that might reflect on an applicant's ability to serve as a judge.

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk