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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 8, 201906:20 AM EST

The Marbut Report: Bar members, educators exchange roles

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Civics teachers learn about the law at the Duval County Courthouse.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Judges and attorneys became teachers and teachers became students Wednesday at the Duval County Courthouse.

The occasion was the 7th annual Teachers Law School, a civics education program presented by the American Board of Trial Advocates Jacksonville Chapter.

About 40 middle school civics teachers from Duval County Public Schools learned about topics including jury selection, how the state and federal courts are structured and operate and how the U.S. Constitution protects individual rights.

“What you do determines how our citizens grow and become productive,” said U.S. District Judge Brian Davis, who established the program in 2013, as he welcomed the teachers.

He also presided over a mock jury selection with the teachers as the jury pool and court staff representing plaintiffs and defendants in a theoretical medical malpractice case.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard and 4th Circuit Judges Karen Cole and Virginia Norton also were presenters.

The attorney presenters were Mitchel Woodlief, Sam Jacobson, Eric Friday and state Sen. Gary Farmer.

This year’s program was different from previous years to match the upcoming school year’s civics curriculum in the middle schools, said Jim D’Andrea, president of the Jacksonville chapter.

Local applicants for appellate bench

The 1st District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission received 26 applications for the two vacancies on the court created by the federal appointment and confirmation of Judges Allen Winsor and T. Kent Wetherell II to the U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida.

Seven of the applicants are from Duval County:

• Laura Boeckman is an assistant state attorney general and chief of the North Florida Consumer Protection Bureau.

• Craig Feiser is an assistant general counsel for the city and interim director of the Public Accountability Office.

• Gilbert Feltel Jr. is a city assistant general counsel and independent agency counsel.

• Bryan Gowdy is a partner at Creed & Gowdy.

• Jennifer Shoaf Richardson is an associate attorney at Jackson Lewis.

• Eric Roberson is a judge in the 4th Judicial Circuit.

• Cristine Russell is a partner at Rogers Towers.

The commission will interview applicants Aug. 29-30 at the 1st DCA’s courthouse in Tallahassee and submit to Gov. Ron DeSantis up to six nominees for the two vacancies.

The 15 judges of the 1st District court hear appeals of judgments and verdicts from the circuit courts in 32 North Florida counties, as well as appeals in civil complaints against actions taken by the governor and Legislature. 

New branch office for Tax Collector

The Duval County Tax Collector applied for a permit to build-out 8,300 square feet of space in a shopping center at 6331 Roosevelt Blvd. to relocate the Cedar Hills branch office from 3520 Blanding Blvd.

The shopping center, South Ortega Marketplace, is anchored by Super Target and owned and managed by Sleiman Enterprises.

The job cost is listed at $660,440 on the permit application. The contractor is Custom Builders by Grubbs Inc.

Legal Briefs

• Melody Kitchen joined Kubicki Draper in Jacksonville as an associate attorney. She graduated in 2011 from Florida Coastal School of Law.

• Attorney Ratna Arora joined the Department of Children and Families/Children’s Legal Services in St. Augustine.

• Jason Havens of Holland & Knight in Jacksonville and Tallahassee was elected a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He’s a double master of laws in estate planning and international taxation.

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