News

  • Friday, September 28, 2018 8:45 PM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)


    STATEMENT BY GSCBWLA PRESIDENT MELBA PEARSON ON JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH CONFIRMATION PROCEEDINGS

    FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

    Like many of you, I saw the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh yesterday.

    It was a tough day.

    I remember 27 years ago when another victim came forward— Anita Hill. She was lambasted as a political plant and trying to “hold a good black man down”. Her story was dismissed, with her name being shamed. We later discovered there was corroborating evidence of her statement that was withheld in order to assure the confirmation of Clarence Thomas.

    Here we are again. Multiple women have come forward, with one testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Dr. Ford reminded me of so many victims I worked with as a prosecutor— frightened, embarrassed, yet determined to tell her story.

    But what is different than a criminal trial is that Dr. Ford was not facing a jury of her peers. She was facing a group of mostly older white men, who wished for her to disappear.

    To be clear, GSCBWLA is nonpartisan. But we stand for justice and the rule of law. We join the American Bar Association in calling for the FBI to conduct a full investigation to ensure that the same mistakes made with Anita Hill are not repeated. This is the highest judicial office in the land, with the ability to change the country for decades to come. It can’t be rushed; it must be gotten right. I have to note that while there were intellectual disagreements about the viewpoints of Justice Neil Gorsuch, not one person came forward to question his integrity or decency. The same applies to every other sitting justice, with the exception of Justice Thomas.

    Lastly, but most importantly, I must address those brave individuals — male and female — who have survived sexual assault or abuse. We stand with you. We believe you. Please practice self care, because the pain of watching the news this week can trigger the past and be emotionally damaging. Seek professional counseling if you need it. The Florida Bar has resources; if you attended the WLOC Summit, one of our presenters, Dr. Delvena Thomas, specializes in emotional trauma.

    Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Every 8 minutes, that victim is a child. 6 of every 1000 offenders go to prison. 2 out of 3 sex assaults go unreported.

    These numbers are a reminder why we need to lift up victims, and end the cycle of rape culture.

    If you want to take action, call Senator Marco Rubio (or the Senator in your home jurisdiction) and tell him to delay the confirmation at 202-224-3121.

    Additionally, you can volunteer at a domestic violence or rape crisis shelter to provide help to women in need.

    The takeaway for me is that more women need to run for office - especially the Senate - to end the chokehold of the old boys club. We have miles to go on the topic of sexual assault in America. But nothing is impossible - every journey starts with a single step. 

    In solidarity, 

    Melba V. Pearson, Esq. 

    President 

    Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association

  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 12:50 PM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)

    Miami's Next Leaders, is a non-profit organization training young leaders to take their leadership skills to the next level, become civically engaged and lead our community into the future. We are seeking nominees and applicants for our 2019 Institute which consists of one weekend a month (both Saturday and Sunday) for five months Starting January 2019. You can find more information about us at: https://www.miamisnextleaders.com/. You can also apply here. Or nominate someone who you think would benefit from this program here. Also, we are having a Launch Party on October 11th, please see the flyer below.


  • Monday, September 17, 2018 12:34 PM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    September 12, 2018
    CONTACT: Hayden P. O'Byrne, Esq., Chair
    Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission
    TELEPHONE: (305) 539-3381


    MIAMI – The Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission has been asked to provide Governor Rick Scott with nominees for the vacancy in the Miami-Dade Circuit Court created by the resignation of Circuit Court Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan.

    The Commission requests that interested candidates submit an application for consideration. Applicants must meet the qualifications for circuit court judges described in Article V, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution.

    Applicants must submit three copies (3) of their application by 5:00 pm on Friday September 28, 2018, as follows:

    (1):  The original unredacted paper application shall be delivered to:

    Hayden P. O’Byrne
    K&L Gates, LLP
    200 S. Biscayne Blvd. 39th Floor
    Miami, FL 33131-2399

    (2):  The original unredacted application shall be emailed in .pdf format to:  hayden.obyrne@klgates.com.

    (3):  A redacted .pdf of the application shall be emailed to eleventhcircuitjnc@klgates.com. Personal information not subject to public disclosure—such as the social security number—shall be redacted as permitted by Section 119.071 of the Florida Statutes.

    Untimely applications will not be considered.  The filename for .pdf applications should be as follows “18.9.28 FIRSTNAME LASTNAME Circuit Application (redacted /unredacted).”

    Applicants are invited to provide the Chair with a one page sheet listing the date, location and time of hearings or trials that they would want the Commissioners to observe.  The one page disclosure sheet is not mandatory and can be provided to the Chair at any time before the interview day.  No information other than the date, location and time should be provided on the one page sheet.

    Applications may be downloaded from The Florida Bar’s website at www.floridabar.org and the Office of the Governor at www.flgov.com.  Applicants should include a recent photograph.

    NOTE TO APPLICANTS:   To assist the Judicial Nominating Commission in its review of applications, all questions must be fully and completely answered.  Applications must include current contact information, including e-mail addresses, for judges, co-counsel, opposing counsel, and references to facilitate the background investigation that will be conducted by the members of the Commission:

    ELEVENTH CIRCUIT JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSION MEMBERS

    Hayden P. O’Byrne (Chair)
    K&L Gates
    Southeast Financial Center, Suite 3900
    200 South Biscayne Blvd.
    Miami, FL  33131
    Tel.:  305-539-3381
    hayden.obyrne@klgates.com

    Walter James Harvey (Vice Chair)
    School Board Attorney’s Office
    1450 NE 2nd Avenue, Suite 400
    Miami, FL  33132
    Tel.:  305-995-1304/Fax:  305-995-1412
    walter.harvey@dadeschools.net

    Paul Huck, Jr.
    Jones Day
    600 Brickell Avenue
    Brickell World Plaza, Suite 3300
    Miami, FL  33131
    Tel.:  305-714-9700/Fax: 305-714-9799
    paulhuck@jonesday.com

    Daniel S. Fridman
    White & Case LLP
    Southeast Financial Center
    200 So. Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 4900
    Miami, FL  33131
    Tel.:  305-995-5264
    daniel.fridman@whitecase.com

    Robert H. Fernandez
    Gunster Law Firm
    Brickell World Plaza
    600 Brickell Avenue, Suite 3500
    Miami, FL  33131
    Tel.:  305-376-6000/Fax:  786-425-4119
    rfernandez@gunster.com

    Robert R. Pardo
    Robert R. Pardo, P.A.
    7700 N. Kendall Drive, Suite 512
    Miami, FL  33156
    Tel.:  305-596-7794/Fax:  305-596-5854
    rpardo@pardolaw.com

    Christine Hernandez
    United States Attorney’s Office
    99 N.E. 4th Street
    Miami, Fl. 33132
    Tel.:  305-961-9001
    cherna25@aol.com

    Jorge A. Mestre
    Rivero Mestre, LLP
    2525 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Suite 1000
    Miami, FL 33134
    Tel: 305-445-2500
    jmestre@riveromestre.com

    Scott  M. Dimond, Esq.
    Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A.
    Offices at Grand Bay Plaza
    2665 South Bayshore Dr., PH 2B
    Miami, FL 33133
    305-374-1920
    sdimond@dkrpa.com

    ###

  • Monday, September 17, 2018 12:31 PM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    September 12, 2018
    CONTACT: Jason L. Unger, Chair
    Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission
    TELEPHONE: (850) 577-9090


    TALLAHASSEE, [September 12, 2018] — The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission is accepting applications to fill three positions of Florida Supreme Court Justice, appointed by the Governor, upon the mandatory retirement of Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, and Peggy Quince.  Based on the Supreme Court’s current composition, one seat must be filled by a qualified applicant who resides in the Third Appellate District; the other two seats are at-large.

    Applications may be obtained  from https://www.floridabar.org/directories/jnc/applications/. Applicants must submit (1) an original application (including all attachments); (2) an electronic copy of the original application (including all attachments) in pdf format; and (3) an electronic redacted copy of the original application, which excludes all material that is exempt or confidential under applicable public records laws.

    The original signed, unredacted paper application must be provided to JNC Chair Jason L. Unger, GrayRobinson, 301 S. Bronough St., Ste. 600, Tallahassee 32301-1724 no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 8, 2018.  Additionally, an unredacted copy of the original application (including all attachments) and a redacted copy must be e-mailed, in pdf format, to all Commission members by the same date and time.

    Applicants who are selected by the Commission for personal interviews will be informed of their interview times by e-mail.

     

    The members currently serving on the Supreme Court JNC are:

    Chair Unger, Tallahassee, jason.unger@gray-robinson.com

    Vice Chair Nilda R. Pedrosa, Coral Gables, nildapedrosa@gmail.com

    Cynthia G. Angelos, Port St. Lucie, cynthiagangelos@gmail.com

    Fred Karlinsky, Weston, karlinskyf@gtlaw.com

    Heather Stearns, Tallahassee, hstearns@libertydentalplan.com

    Jesse M. Panuccio, Palm Beach Gardens, panuccio@gmail.com

    Israel U. Reyes, Coral Gables, ireyes@reyeslawfirmpa.com

    Hala A. Sandridge, Tampa, hala.sandridge@bipc.com

    Jeanne T. Tate, Tampa, jeanne@jtatelaw.com

    ###

  • Monday, September 17, 2018 12:28 PM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    September 11, 2018
    CONTACT: Darla Marsters
    The Florida Bar
    TELEPHONE: (850) 561-5667


    Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission: Two attorneys to serve six-year terms commencing on January 1, 2019 and expiring December 31, 2024. The 15-member commission is authorized under Article V, Section 12, Florida Constitution, to investigate complaints against judges whose conduct demonstrates a present unfitness to hold office and recommends disciplinary action to the Supreme Court. No member of the commission, except a judge, shall be eligible for state judicial office while acting as a member of the commission and for a period of two years thereafter. No member of the commission shall hold office in a political party or participate in any campaign for judicial office or hold public office; provided that a judge may campaign for judicial office and hold that office.

    Persons interested in applying for this vacancy may click here to download the Application for Special Appointment or should call Bar headquarters at (850) 561-5667, to obtain the application form. Completed applications must be received by the Executive Director, The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, Florida, 32399-2300 or submitted via e-mail to specialapptapp@floridabar.org  no later than the close of business on Friday, October 19, 2018.  Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of the required application.  The Board of Governors will review all applications and may request telephone or personal interviews.

     ###

  • Saturday, September 15, 2018 12:26 AM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)


    Please RSVP here.

     Approved for 2.5 CLE Credits (General and State and Federal Government and Administrative Practice)!

  • Thursday, September 06, 2018 12:48 PM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)


    Please apply to serve as a volunteer judge. 

    Additional information about Teen Court can be found here.

  • Saturday, September 01, 2018 10:10 PM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)

    The Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. has various pro bono opportunities below. If you are still busy getting ready for school or catching up from vacation perhaps you have a colleague that has the time to help out!

    Looking for a fulfilling after work event? Join us during one of our clinics:

    Small Claims Clinic

    Simple Divorce Clinic

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES

    GENERAL CIVIL

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #1 (18-0473825)

    Mortgage Servicer Refuses To Explain Constantly Changing Mortgage Amounts

    Client is afraid that he will be in foreclosure if the mortgage history discrepancies are not resolved. He has called company several times and gets various conflicting explanations. Client previously battled company for almost 4 years before the matter was resolved in client's favor. He needs help battling this mortgage servicing company that is no stranger to bad practice!

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #2 (18-0474786)

    Veteran Needs Help Probating Sibling’s Estate

    Veteran is caring for his deceased brother’s minor and disabled children. He needs legal assistance with probate process for car and bank account.

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #3 (18-0475102)

    Hidden HOA Costs Driving Veteran Out

    Client is a vet on disability who is threatened with loss of his home from a master association maintenance cost never disclosed to him at closing, which closing documents support. The client has the money for the maintenance but does not want to pay late fees, attorney’s fees and costs. This is a Mission United veteran pro bono opportunity!

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #4 (18-0474835)

    Needs 501 c 3 -Creating Opportunity for Teenage Youth

    Long time Overtown community member and educator is seeking legal representation to obtain 501 c 3 status for non-profit organization that will provide community service opportunities and educational programs to underprivileged youth, ages 14-20 years old.

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #5 (18-0472457)

    Tax Situation in Puerto Rico

    The case involves an individual who was living and working in Puerto Rico. She filed her PR returns. In 2015, the IRS issued a CP2000 because client did not report her PR income on her US return. She had to file a US return because she took a distribution from her 401(k) and also failed to report that event. In 2016, the IRS disallowed client’s Form 2555EZ saying that her foreign tax home was disallowed. The taxpayer really did live and work in PR. She paid rent and everything.

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #6 (18-0474359)

    Creditor Debtor/ Secured Transaction

    Opa-Locka company trying to expand the business. Client seeks to recover possession of a solid waste disposal truck purchased using personal loans. Truck possession, title and registration was placed into another business entity controlled by client's relative in Central Florida, and business proceeds were intended to cover debt service. No security agreement or lien was ever placed on truck. Business has stopped making debt service payments. Clients looking to understand options to recover possession of truck and operate waste disposal business in Miami-Dade County. Legal needs include: advice and counsel on options to recover truck and assistance with perfecting security interest in truck, if possible, and recovering possession.

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #7 (18-0473404)

    Chap.7/Debt Collection

    Client lives alone. She suffers from severe diabetes and cognitive impairment. Her 43 year old son, who lived with her and supported her financially, was recently killed in a motorcycle accident. Her mother has helped her pay her mortgage, taxes, and insurance but now has stage 4 lung cancer. Client has $50,000 in credit card debt. She has multiple collection cases pending and anticipates more. Seeking an attorney to assist with debt collection regulation and potential Chap. 7 Bankruptcy.

    FAMILY

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #8 (18-0474405)

    Respondent Vacationing From Family Responsibilities Monroe County (Divorce)

    Petitioner seeks a divorce, child support, alimony and equitable distribution of assets (marital home and business). Petitioner explains that she worked as the assistant to the husband in his realtor business for nearly 20 years. Respondent recently indicated that he will be moving, or has moved, to Honduras and has failed to pay the mortgage for months or provided any support to Petitioner and children. Petitioner filed action in May 2018 and Respondent/Husband filed answer and counter-petition.

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #9 (18-0474507)

    Four Children Desire To Be Adopted

    Combat veteran is seeking your assistance to adopt his 4 step children. The veteran's wife (biological mother) was granted 100% legal and physical custody of the children, via a Virginia Court Order. The children, range in ages 12-16. They have not had contact with their biological father for over 6 years, despite family attempts to facilitate a relationship. The children have strongly expressed a desire to be adopted, going so far as to inquire about the time frame for them to be adopted.

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #10 (18-0474061)

    Disabled Child Needs True Guardian and Disability Benefits

    Client is seeking assistance in getting legal custody of her disabled great niece. Client’s sister had a court dependency shelter order from Broward County giving her custody. Client’s sister became sick, and moved in with client bringing the disabled great niece. Client’s sister died and left great niece in client’s care. It has been a year since Client’s sister died. Child’s biological mother has continued to receive the child’s disability benefits. Client is trying to get child into better educational programs and provide assistance but is unable to do so legally. Biological mother has abandoned child.

    PRO BONO OPPORTUNITY #11 (18-0474134)

    Establishment of Paternity for Veteran Who Wants to be a Father

    Navy combat veteran is seeking your assistance with establishment of paternity in Miami Dade County. The mother is seeking full custody with no time sharing. She is not allowing the veteran to see his child. The veteran wants to be a father and be a part of his child's life. Case has been ordered to mediation. This pro bono opportunity is brought to you via the Mission United Project.

  • Thursday, August 16, 2018 3:17 PM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)

    Early voting is underway for the August 28th Primary. Be informed, be ready, vote!


    On August 6th, GSCBWLA hosted its biennial judicial forum at New Birth Baptist Church, co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County, the Dade County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta  Sorority, Inc., ACLU of Florida, the Miami Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc., and the National Action Network - Miami-Dade Chapter.

    With over 100 people in attendance, the judicial candidates made their cases for why they were best qualified for the bench, answering several questions posed by Moderator Chris Norwood. 

    To learn more about the candidates, take a look at the 2018 GSCBWLA Judicial Candidate Forum Booklet.

    Please be sure to reach out to our members if you have questions about the various races. Judges play such a critical role in our system; as many of us serve as a resource for others, please be sure to have all the information you need before stepping into the ballot box.


    Palm Beach County

    Broward County

    Miami-Dade County


    Sample Ballot: 

    Please click here for Palm Beach’s sample ballot. (Voters must input their information to obtain their sample ballot, which is specific to their precinct.)

    Early Voting: Fifteen sites are open for early voting from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day from

    Aug. 13th through Aug. 26th. You can find directions to each of them at pbcelections.org.



    Sample Ballot: Please click here for Broward's sample ballot. 


    Early Voting: Begins August 18th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day through Aug. 26th. You can find the voting sites here.


    For more information, please see:

    Do your research and vote for judges


    Sample Ballot: Please click here for Miami-Dade’s sample ballot. 


    Early Voting: The sites are open from Aug. 13th through Aug. 26th at various times. You can find the times and locations here.


    For more information, please see:

    The 2018 GSCBWLA Judicial Candidate Forum Booklet


Copyright © 2018 Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association