Briefs

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first_imgBriefs Florida A&M University will host one of the 17 regional tournaments leading up to the American Intercollegiate Mock Trial Association’s national competition and the school is seeking volunteers to help officiate the tournament.Twenty-six teams from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Tennessee will compete in the FAMU- hosted regional February 27-29 in Tallahassee. Nearly 160 judges will be needed to preside over and score the tournament.The tournament’s four rounds are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. February 27. Should you decide to participate, you will be given a brief orientation to the case and the rules of competition before each trial. Each trial lasts approximately three hours.This year the students will argue a criminal case: Tony Sturmanis was a rising star in the world of professional hockey. Tragically, he was killed during a playoff game in Midlands City following a fight with Michael Harmon. Harmon was later indicted on homicide charges. His wife, Victoria, had recently been romantically linked to Sturmanis. Also, Harmon lost a lucrative contract to Sturmanis just hours before the confrontation during the game.Those interested in volunteering may contact Tyra Mason at (850) 599-3664 or via e-mail at [email protected] CLE credit is available for participation in the tournament.Kitchen to lead Second Circuit’s new Professionalism Committee Chief Judge Charles A. Francis has reappointed the Second Judicial Circuit Committee on Professionalism. The committee ­— a Florida Supreme Court mandate for each judicial circuit — is headed by Chair E.C. Deeno Kitchen, and seeks to assess the status and conditions of professionalism within the Second Circuit.To promote professionalism and ethics with the establishment of such a committee, members agree, accomplishes several goals.“It heightens everyone’s awareness; it helps to raise the bar for professional behavior; and it provides a mechanism for identifying problems early,” said Mike Glazer, a member of the committee, who also represents the Second Circuit on the Bar’s Board of Governors.Glazer said one of the primary goals of the committee is to be able to recognize situations where an attorney’s conduct is not up to the level the Bar expects, and encourage change before things get out of control.Without an immediate idea of all of the issues to be addressed, Kitchen said the committee plans to survey the lawyers in the circuit to assess their concerns.“Essentially, we want to know, what can be better and what can we do to make it better?,” Kitchen said.Working with the circuit’s previously appointed Bench/Bar Liaison Circuit Committee, Kitchen hopes the two panels will be able to coordinate efforts to better identify issues to be addressed.Glazer said that with the number of government and private sector attorneys in the circuit, the committee should be meaningful to all lawyers.The three principles that encompass what the committee aims for are “professionalism, ethics, and civility,” said Kitchen, who takes pride in the committee’s efforts to make a difference.“That’s what we’re all about — helping in any way we can.”Court interpreter training set for Panama City Imagine facing a judge in a foreign country where you cannot speak the language. The judge will decide your fate, but you cannot understand her and she cannot understand you. That is a daily reality for thousands of immigrants living in Florida.To lessen this problem, the state court system has begun a series of programs to recruit and train foreign language interpreters. The next program will be held January 23-25 in Panama City. The registration deadline is December 12. Those who successfully complete the program will be listed on the State Courts’ Registry of Tested Interpreters.During the two-and-a-half day program in Panama City, participants will receive training about how the courts operate and how interpreters must work during court sessions. This will be followed by a written exam testing participant’s English proficiency.The registration fee is $150 for Florida residents and $300 for others. For more information visit www.flcourts.org/osca/divisions/interpret/index.html.Scholarship program puts young people on fast track Assistant Editor A deposition may be in his briefcase, but racing is in his blood.To facilitate the matriculation of young drivers into a new age of racing, Bradenton lawyer Leonard “Q” McCue, along with his wife Barbara, founded the Q Motorsports Family Student Racer Scholarship Program. Designed to promote continuing education and community service activities, McCue believes the scholarship program, which is overseen by a board of directors, will better prepare the youth both on and off the track.McCue said he can remember when his passion for racing was more accessible.The auto racing industry has shifted gears from the sandy beaches of yesteryear Daytona to the two and one-half miles of pavement that it is today.“What I observed years ago,” said McCue, “(is that) there was a mentality out there that all you needed to do was get in a jalopy and race around the dirt and you could be another Dale Earnhardt.”That’s not the case today. With advancements in technology and an increased fan base, the auto racing sport has become a multi-faceted, multi-national, multi-sponsorship phenomenon, making it more difficult for those interested to get involved.“That’s the new image,” said McCue. “They (drivers) know as much about computers as they do racing.”Students in McCue’s program are judged in three categories in consideration for scholarships: grades at school, sanctioned motorsports participation, and community service/self-promotional activities. The scholarships are awarded to Florida students ages 5 to 21 for tuition, books, and dorm fees at vocational/technical schools, colleges, universities, or junior colleges. The monies are reserved in a savings account until the drug- and crime-free recipients enroll in college.Since the program’s inception in 1997, more than $60,000 has been raised. Beyond dollars, McCue sees a group of young people who have faith in themselves, something he believes is a more accurate assessment of the rewards of the program.“I think that the success can be measured by the number of young people we have in college,” said McCue, noting that the scholarships offer a necessary education to those who otherwise might not be able to afford it.Aside from balancing academics and hard work on the racetrack, students in the program mature in their everyday lives, learning sportsmanship and self-promotion, he said.The spirit of self-promotion and entrepreneurship is something McCue wants to instill with his program. Late NASCAR driver Alan Kulwicki serves as inspiration for McCue, both as a lawyer and in his personal life:“He raised his own money, ran his own team, and became a NASCAR champion,” said McCue.In addition to gains in self-confidence, the students also learn from each other, something McCue refers to as a virtual fraternity of kids. Incredibly supportive parents are another reason the attitude is so positive, he added.“They (the parents) spend a lot of time on the road with these kids,” said McCue. “The challenges they (the kids) meet on a weekend don’t compare to the challenges they encounter sitting on their living room couches and playing a video game.”The McCues consider Casey Johnson a prime example of the goals of the program. Raised by his grandfather, Johnson didn’t know how he would ever be able to afford college.An 18-year-old honor student who has dedicated numerous hours to his community, Johnson understands the importance of securing his education, in addition to becoming a professional race car driver.Now attending the University of North Carolina with engineering aspirations, Johnson has maintained his interest in racing, having established contacts with Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Gordon’s race team.“We are hoping that we have another Jeff Gordon here,” said McCue. For more information, call 1-800-332-1992, or write Q Motorsports Family Scholarship Program, 524 9th St. W., Bradenton 34205.Lawyer works to help Jews in Argentina FAMU seeks volunteers for mock trial competition November 15, 2003 Daniel Staesser Assistant Editor Regular News Argentina may be thousands of miles away on a map, but for Miami attorney Richard Bernstein his heritage has never been closer to his heart.Co-chair of the United Jewish Communities National Argentinean Response Task Force, Bernstein was asked to chair the task force in December 2001. Designed to provide money, food, shelter, and education to the ailing population of Jews in Argentina, the task force has raised $89 million toward their rescue and relief since January 2002.Bernstein took on the challenge during the aftermath of the country’s economic collapse in late 2001. The governmental breakdown left Argentina in poverty and its education system in disarray. The Jewish segment of this population nears 200,000, the fourth largest Jewish community in the world.When you don’t have the time to help, “you make the time; there’s no better answer than that,” Bernstein said.Bernstein said because of the task force fund-raising efforts — which include the efforts of South Florida leaders such as Michael Adler, Norman Braman, Ezra Katz, and Aaron Podhurst — the community today has food, shelter, and medicine, as well as a more functional educational system and a decent standard of living.“It appears as though things have stopped getting worse,” said Bernstein, who noted that welfare had been on a steady ascent, and tuition rose so high nobody could afford an education. The task force provided scholarships, job training, and emergency welfare for those who needed it. Since the relief, the economy has maintained an even keel, and welfare has declined.“People are cautiously optimistic,” said Bernstein, who also said that the task force provides the option for Jews to leave the country if they desire.Providing finances for those who wish to relocate to Miami, or even Israel, the task force does everything it can to provide for the Jewish people an exodus from their oppression, he said. For more information, contact the Greater Miami Jewish Federation at (305) 576-4000.last_img

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