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AG Crist: Lawyers have the skills to make justice happen

first_img July 15, 2003 Regular News AG Crist: Lawyers have the skills to make justice happen AG Crist: Lawyers have the skills to make justice happen Charlie Crist, Florida’s first Republican attorney general, serves as one of three members of the newly organized Cabinet of the State of Florida. He and Bar President Miles McGrane have something in common: They both received their law degrees at Cumberland in Birmingham, Alabama. Crist gave this keynote speech at the General Assembly at the Bar Annual Meeting in Orlando:“I’ve prepared a power point presentation on the riveting topic of in rem jurisdiction. It will take about an hour. Of course, I am kidding.“Actually, what I’d like to talk to you about today is a guy named Gregory Peck. As you know, Gregory Peck passed away just a few days ago. He was applauded in life. In death, he received remarkable reviews for his extraordinary achievements as an actor. Although he starred in dozens of films, the film that was consistently mentioned in his talking about his defining role, it was the film I liked very much, To Kill a Mockingbird.“As most of you probably know, in that film he played a lawyer, a character named Atticus Finch. He was small town lawyer in Alabama who defended an African-American man accused of attacking a white woman. What is immediately obvious from watching this film is the passion and courage that Peck displays and conveys as a lawyer.“Given the time and place and circumstances, he takes on this fight in the face of those difficult odds, yet he fought brilliantly.“What is truly memorable, however, about the scenes that Gregory Peck performs in, is not so much the skill and cleverness he exercises as an attorney, but rather the authentic decency that he exercises. That is why, I suppose, one newspaper included a picture of Gregory Peck in the role in To Kill a Mockingbird, and under the obituary, the caption of that photograph ran the following: ‘The last decent man.’“Now, I want you to think about that for a moment, in these days and times, a picture of a lawyer, or at least somebody playing one, and the word ‘decent’ on the same page. Yet there it was.“I’m here today to tell you that it is somehow perfectly correct that the word and the picture should appear together. There are many men and women in this room who could and will use their skills to propel social justice, to secure for the least among us the same privileges and rights that the most powerful have. That I think is our highest calling as lawyers. That is why someone, someone in this room, will be the next decent man or woman.“I was reminded of the need for this person recently in my own job as attorney general. While society at large consoles itself with the fiction that racial prejudice exists only in old movies, and that separatism is a relic that has left us over half a century ago, the reality is that these diseases have never been entirely eliminated.“Does it surprise any of you that not long ago in Perry, Florida, at a bar, that it segregated its black customers from its white patrons? It surprised me. But what surprised me even more was there was no recourse or good remedy that Florida’s attorney general could bring to bear. That is something that we wanted to change. That is why I proposed and pushed legislation that would right this wrong. Today I am proud to say that the Dr. Marvin Davies Civil Rights Act of 2003 was signed into law by Gov. Bush just a few days ago. This is legislation that gives the Office of the Attorney General the authority to bring a civil action with strong penalties against patterns or practices of discrimination.“This is one small contribution of the towering legacy of social justice and civil rights that lawyers have helped create. We can trace the pedigree of this movement to places that scar and illuminate the American soul. Examples are the Freedom Riders of 1961, the march in Selma, Alabama, the Mississippi summer project of 1964. Truly, today we stand on the shoulders of giants. You should take pride in the fact that many of you and your colleagues were instrumental in elevating the circumstances of entire segments of our society.“In the push and pull of daily assignments that we engage in as lawyers, it is easy to lose sight of our heritage and our higher purpose. I hope that some of you in this room can sense the destiny outside these doors. Today, your legal skills are needed more than ever in a society that is still grappling with old problems, even as new complex problems emerge.“Who would have guessed just a few years ago that we would be confronted with the quandary of pervasive technology, or that there would be such a compelling reason to use it to combat terrorism? At the same time, we confront old issues, providing fair and humane treatment to all of our citizens. The concept of social justice, I think, casts a very broad net.“We don’t all have to be at the forefront of the modern civil rights movement to advance social justice, although that would be admirable. It can mean working to right corporate misdeeds, becoming involved in our political process, or simply doing things in a way that reflects decency that should lie at the core of our profession.“One of the things I’m most proud of is my recent work with the Prescription Drug Safety Act. It is legislation that was recently passed to create more effective oversight for wholesalers of prescription drugs and more severe penalties against drug counterfeiters. The practical effect of this legislation is to protect prescription drug recipients, mostly seniors, against those who would operate in an untoward fashion to them. The most notable example of this occurring in our country involved a drug called Taxol that is used to treat breast cancer. A pharmacist actually was willing to dilute the amount of the drug to gain monetarily. Before we passed this law in Florida, the greatest penalty someone would suffer was five years in jail. Now they will serve a life term.“This is but one example of my modest attempt to better the lives of Floridians. I dare say, given the skills and knowledge in this room— the gentleman we just heard from as president of the Young Lawyers Division is a great example—that we can do better. And I know that we will.“I would like to end today as I began, to share with you a story about a film. It is one of my favorites. The name of the movie is Philadelphia. You probably have seen it. Tom Hanks stars in it, along with Denzel Washington. And there is a beautiful scene in that movie that I particularly enjoyed.“The story line, as I’m sure you know, is that Tom Hanks’ character has AIDS, and he has been dismissed from his law firm, and he is now suing them for discrimination. Denzel Washington plays his attorney. And the one scene where Tom Hanks takes the stand in the role of Andrew, Denzel Washington asks him why does he love practicing the law. And the answer is compelling. Tom Hanks responds: ‘Why do I love the law? I love the law because every once in a while, not often, but sometimes, you get to be part of making justice happen. And that is truly a thrill.’“That is what all of us have the opportunity to do. And that is thrilling.”last_img read more

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Indicted USC parents to plead guilty in admissions scandal

first_imgSinger collected payments from 33 wealthy parents through his Key Worldwide Foundation, a nonprofit that allegedly worked to conceal bribes made to college coaches and an athletic official as donations. The bribery scam helped the children of celebrities, executives and professors gain admission to universities like USC, UCLA, Yale University and Stanford University. Two USC parents are among the 13 who agreed to plead guilty for their involvement in the college admissions bribery scheme, an attorney for one of the parents said in a statement Monday. Bay Area real estate developer Bruce Isackson and Davina Isackson are accused of paying over $600,000 to help their two older daughters gain admission to UCLA and USC, according to FBI documents. According to the FBI documents, the Isacksons paid over $15,000 to Singer to have a proctor change their younger daughter’s ACT scores in 2017. Singer also contacted former USC senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel for help admitting the Isackson’s younger daughter as a fake crew recruit. “Our duty as parents was to set a good example for our children and instead we have harmed and embarrassed them by our misguided decisions,” the statement read. “We have also let down our family, friends, colleagues and our entire community. We have worked cooperatively with the prosecutors and will continue to do so as we take full responsibility for our bad judgment.” The parents will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, and Bruce Isackson will additionally plead guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy and a count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. “Among many factors investigators could consider in reviewing each case are any developments in the criminal cases, including plea deals by parents,” USC wrote in an updated statement Monday. Other parents indicted in the FBI investigation who will plead guilty include actress Felicity Huffman and marketing guru Jane Buckingham. Buckingham allegedly paid mastermind William “Rick” Singer to have a proctor take her son’s ACT with the hopes of getting her son admitted to USC. Former assistant soccer coach Laura Janke created a profile claiming the Isackson’s daughter had previous competitive crew experience, and Heinel informed the family in December 2017 that their daughter would be admitted as a student-athlete, according to FBI documents. After their daughter was officially admitted to USC in Spring 2018, the Isacksons paid $250,000 to the Key Worldwide Foundation, part of which was also paid to Heinel, according to the documents. USC previously announced in a statement that it is conducting a case-by-case review of any students who could be associated with the admissions scandal. The accounts of the students connected to the bribery scheme have been placed on hold, preventing them from withdrawing from the University or requesting transcripts. They cannot register for classes until they agree to participate in their case review. Heinel and water polo coach Jovan Vavic were terminated from their positions in March when the investigation revealed their alleged involvement in the scheme. Janke left USC in 2014. In a joint statement released by attorney David Willingham, who represents Davina Isackson, the couple apologized for their involvement in the scandal and said they will cooperate with law enforcement. USC parents Bruce and Davina Isackson are among 13 parents who have agreed to plea guilty in the college admission bribery case. (Sasha Urban/Daily Trojan)last_img read more

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Chiefs spoil opening night for Nelson Leafs

first_imgMorgan Scriber, Darren Medeiros and Tayden Woods scored three unanswred goals to give host Castlegar a 3-1 win over Fernie at the Castlegar Complex.Justin Peers scored late in the third period on the power play for the only goal for Fernie.Joseph McLeod registered the win in goal for Castlegar while Jeff Orser took the loss for Fernie.Castlegar hosts Kelowna Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.Hawks outlast Braves in Lilac CityJake Yuris snapped a 3-3 tie with a goal late in the game to lift Beaver Valley to a 5-3 win over Spokane Friday in the Washington State City.Spokane took a 1-0 first period lead on a goal by Kurtis Redding, his first of two on the night.Beaver Valley outscored the Braves 2-1 in the second to pull the teams even after 40 minutes.Devin Nemes for the Hawks and Mason Jones for the Braves scored in the third before Yuris snapped home the winner.Ryan Terpsma, Jace Weegar and Braden Fuller also scored for the Hawks.The story originated at The Nelson Daily http://thenelsondaily.com/news/chiefs-spoil-opening-night-nelson-leafs-39161#.VfOuOc7QoUU Wow, nobody saw that one coming.Brady Lenardon stopped all 22 shots to power the Kelowna Chiefs to a 3-0 shutout of the Nelson Leafs on opening night of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Friday night in the Heritage City.Josh Kobelka, Jeffery Schiegel and Jaden McNulty, into an empty net, scored for the visitors from the Okanagan/Shuswap Division.Kelowna led 1-0 after 40 minutes as the hometown Leafs struggled to generate any offence.Everett Yasinski took the loss in goal for Nelson.Kelowna finished third overall last season in the Okanagan Division with a record of 23-24-2-1-2 mark. The Chiefs were ousted in the first round of the playoffs in seven games.The Leafs look to bounce right back Saturday when Nelson hosts Fernie Ghostriders at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.Rebels shock Ghostriderslast_img read more

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