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- 2014 - May - 12th -
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50 years ago: Judge Gooding weighs in on family court proposal

Compiled by Max Marbut

The Duval County Legal Aid Association heard details about the possible establishment of a family court from a man who said he was not yet convinced of its merits: Circuit Judge Marion Gooding.

He had served more than six years as a Duval County Juvenile Court judge before joining the circuit bench and was a member of a committee studying the feasibility of establishing a family court.

Gooding told his audience at a luncheon in the George Washington Hotel he was speaking for himself, not for the committee.

“In order to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a family court for Duval County, I feel it is necessary to study what we now have and see if the family court would be a better system and would offer more in solving the many complex problems surrounding family life in this community,” he said. “We have operated under the Juvenile Court system in Duval County since 1911 and the whole system is built around individualized treatment of the child. The concept of reformation and rehabilitation is emphasized rather than retribution and punishment.”

Gooding said the judge of a juvenile court was the county’s “father” of every child appearing before him and he should do for the child what any wise father would do for his own child.

“The family court idea arose from the fact that the parents and the home life of the affected child are so allied, and in many instances the problems of the child have arisen because of the conditions in the home,” he said.

Gooding said that at first glance, it would seem like a valid system – just bring in the whole family and solve everything at one time.

He warned, however, that the child could be “lost in the shuffle” because the court’s attention would be focused on all the troubles in the home, whether the child was affected or not.

Gooding said that in family courts in other cities, the jurisdiction extended to divorce, property rights, separate maintenance, adoption, guardianship of minors, bastardy proceedings, mental competency proceedings and removal of disability on non-age.

Gooding said that such a court would require at least five additional judges, plus secretaries and clerks.

• With two weeks to go before the Democratic Party runoff primary in the race for governor, Jacksonville Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Haydon Burns pounded away at the civil rights bill being considered by Congress, saying it would destroy one of America’s most cherished constitutional rights.

Speaking at a $75-a-plate lunch meeting in Tallahassee, Burns said the bill would allow the federal government to dictate to business owners the number of people they could employ, their salaries and the number of people in supervisory positions.

One section of the bill, Burns said, would take away the “cherished” right of trial by jury for people accused of violating the bill’s provisions. He said free enterprise was “one thing that has set the American businessman aside from all others” and described free enterprise as “the right of a person to invest his money in the business of his choice, suffering the loss if it was a failure and reaping the profits if it was a success.”

Burns said that as a candidate, he was concerned over the civil rights bill because of a proviso that he said would allow the federal government to withhold all funds from a state, city or county that showed reluctance in complying with the bill’s provisions. He said that would include money for education, the school milk program, hospital construction, road building and airport development.

“I will use every proper legal approach to halt the inroads of the federal government into the lives of the citizens of Florida,” Burns said.

• The Board of County Commissioners approved adding a paper ballot to the May 26 second primary election to give Duval County’s registered voters the opportunity to vote on whether they favored forced integration of privately owned restaurants, hotels and motels.

The condition was that the cost of adding the ballot be paid by the Duval County Federation for Constitutional Government.

The federation, through its chairman Fitzhugh Powell, requested the ballot and offered to pay the cost after County Attorney J. Henry Blount ruled it would not be legal for the county to bear the expense.

Supervisor of Registration Robert A. Mallard said the federation had agreed to supply materials for the ballot and he would asses $7.50 per precinct as administrative cost, a total of $1,110 for the 148 precincts.

Richard Milligan, president of the Jacksonville Restaurant Association, supported the ballot on behalf of the organization.

“We have stood on the fence wondering which way to go,” he said, adding the ballot would enable restaurant owners to make a decision on integration pending the outcome of Congressional action on the civil rights bill.

• The board also pledged financial support to the sheriff’s vice squad to police bottle clubs in Duval County.

On the motion of Commissioner Bob Harris, the board committed to fund beginning Oct. 1 the hiring of more vice squad officers to do the job.

It then would be up to the Duval County Budget Commission whether to approve the appropriation.

Harris cited a report by the Duval County grand jury that branded bottle clubs as “detrimental to the moral climate.” The jury also called on the Legislature to more strictly regulate the clubs.

• At a kickoff breakfast in the Wilmington Room in the Atlantic Coast Line Building, the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce launched a one-week drive to sign up 400 new members.

The campaign was led by chamber Vice President for Memberships Donald Martin, Executive Vice President William Johnson and President William Mills.

Martin stressed the economic impact the area received from the chamber’s activities, particularly in the field of attracting business and industry or increasing the productivity of established industries.

Backed by a chart showing the impact of just 100 new workers brought into the area, Martin said they mean $270,000 in bank deposits, $360,000 more in retail sales, 290 more people living in 112 new households, 51 more students, 174 more workers, four new retail establishments, 107 more automobiles and an increase of $590,000 in personal income.

“We must continue to add to our chamber’s capability to attract new business here, to guide Jacksonville’s growth and development,” he said. “The activity of our chamber affects the economy of every business in our area.”

Later, with one day left on the drive and 167 new members short of the goal, the committee decided to extend the campaign until the end of May.

• The Jewish Community Council dedicated its camp site near Switzerland along Florida 13 in St. Johns County as “Camp Leitman,” honoring the man whose family donated the property.

An estimated 400 people attended the ceremony on Mother’s Day afternoon and then launched the summer day camp season by swimming in the camp’s Olympic-sized pool.

Max Leitman, who died in 1960, was a former president of the JCC. He also was a board member of the Jacksonville Jewish Center, chairman of the Israel Bonds in Jacksonville campaign and a member of many civic organizations.

His son, Alvin, presented the deed to the property to George Richter, JCC president.

In presenting the deed, Leitman recalled his father’s interest in the JCC day camp program. He said the family felt the camp would be “a fitting memorial” to his father’s name.

The five-acre facility included the swimming pool, a wading pool, picnic area, baseball field, locker rooms, billiard hall, meeting lodge and a 410-foot fishing and boat pier, said to be the longest on the St. Johns River.

The camp was “an experience in communal cooperation and collective Jewish unity,” said Joe P. Safer, chairman of the Day Camp Committee.

• Total revenue on Jacksonville’s toll bridges during April were $369,434, reported Samuel Draper, director of the Revenue Projects Division of the State Road Department.

The tally was an increase of $2,713 compared to April 1963.

Figures showed 957,743 vehicles used the Mathews Bridge, paying $130,233; on the fuller Warren Bridge, 945,335 vehicles paid $156,305 in tolls; and $63,396 in tolls were paid by 349,756 vehicles that passed over the Trout River Bridge.

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