The United States hailed the results of Haiti’s second round of elections as an “important milestone” and urged Haitians to keep their demonstrations peaceful as the process moves forward. Michel Martelly, a carnival singer who seized the mantle of change, is Haiti’s new president after storming to a landslide victory, preliminary results showed. “The announcement by the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) of the preliminary results of the second round of the elections is another important milestone as the people of Haiti move forward to rebuild their country,” the US embassy in Haiti said in a statement. Martelly, 50, faces the huge challenge of leading efforts to rebuild the Caribbean nation, which was the poorest country in the Americas even before a January 2010 earthquake flattened the capital Port-au-Prince and killed more than 225,000 people. With 67.57 percent of the vote, the popular singer trounced former first lady Mirlande Manigat, who was vying to become Haiti’s first democratically elected female leader but finished with a disappointing 31.74 percent showing. “Election-day accounts by Haitian and international observers uniformly reported that, while there were cases of irregularities and fraud on March 20, these cases were isolated and reduced, especially when compared to the first round of voting,” the US statement said. Washington “calls upon all political actors to resolve any outstanding questions of the electoral results through the contestation process. The Haitian people have shown great perseverance and patience throughout this process, and we hope that they continue to express themselves peacefully,” it added. By Dialogo April 06, 2011
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has acknowledged that human rights in Colombia have improved, according to the organization’s director for the Americas, José Miguel Vivanco, who met with President Juan Manuel Santos. “The objective of this meeting was to engage in dialogue with the president on some human rights issues, and of course, to acknowledge to President Santos that the country has improved in its political climate, public debate, in all kinds of things, obviously including human rights,” the director told reporters after exiting the meeting. Vivanco also highlighted a law signed by Santos in June and intended to provide reparations to victims of the country’s internal armed conflict and also to restore lands to rural workers displaced by extreme right-wing paramilitary groups, leftist guerrilla groups, and drug traffickers. “We’ve also celebrated the approval of the ‘Victims Act.’ We made some comments to the president in relation to that law. We’re very interested in seeing that those who are going to benefit from the act’s implementation can invoke it without risk to their safety,” Vivanco said. Santos’s administration has acknowledged that the return of land faces great difficulties, because groups on both the extreme right and the left want to prevent it. At least ten rural leaders calling for the return of land have been murdered in the last year, since Santos sent the draft of that act to Congress for its approval. Vivanco said that this is a very difficult issue, because “it’s necessary to confront the criminal gangs, the armed groups that terrorize rural workers who have been displaced from their lands in the course of this whole conflict” and who should be placed in a position in which they have a real opportunity to exercise their rights. By Dialogo October 13, 2011
Presently, the Colombian government is deepening its positive relations with the United States and expanding its role in the fight against the illicit industry of drug trafficking. Under a multi-national agreement, they are working together with the Americans to export what they have spent their blood and sweat learning to partner nations that are suffering similar scourges. DIÁLOGO: In your opinion, do criminal gangs —or BACRIM, as they are known in Colombia—have connections to the FARC and to the ELN? After years of confronting a polemic nexus between terrorism and drug trafficking first hand, the Colombian Armed Forces, with the joint support of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), have become experts in confronting this threat to society. Gen. Rodríguez: I think that the strategies that we are implementing in meetings like these in order to guarantee regional security in the face of transnational threats could be improved despite the fact that they have allowed us to achieve many results that are very important. We have to understand that the strategies must be adjusted further and be more effective to have better results and periodically apply lessons learned we gain from this fight. On many occasions, criminal groups communicate more quickly in order to change their strategies swiftly and neutralize the response of those same states where, at times, progress is slower and less expeditious. What I did was invite all those who participate at this security conference in order to generate channels for faster communication in real time to allow us to react to transnational crime in a more effective manner. Gen. Rodríguez: General Kelly’s presence as head of SOUTHCOM, as well as the presence of other commanders, has been very important. We owe General Kelly all our gratitude and appreciation for the collaboration provided to us, not just to Colombia, but also to the entire Western Hemisphere in the fight against the main transnational threats. I believe that General Kelly implemented a very rewarding program and showed his leadership capacity to integrate the most important areas [and for] this cooperation, which is so essential for the fight against transnational threats, to succeed. We have nothing but feelings of gratitude and appreciation for him. [His work] was very rewarding, and the Colombian Armed Forces are very appreciative, first for his support and collaboration, and second for having given us his friendship. We wish him all the best and are immensely grateful to him. As Commander of the entire Colombian military, I salute him and thank him, and we hope that the very good relations that we have had with SOUTHCOM and with the U.S. government and all the governments of the region can continue to stay on that course and create an even more secure situation in the future. By Dialogo September 30, 2015 Exported!!! To the contrary, they should be thrown out, eliminated in spite of having all their armed forces and having 7 military bases, drug trafficking, terrorism, narco politics and crime are at their highest in Colombia, it is sad to see Colombia governed by these scourges!! Where will the World Cup Games be held in 2018? Every effort to fight the “cancer” corroding society is valid, and it’s good to see the forces of good fighting together to combat drug trafficking and other resulting crimes such as arms trafficking and other drug-related crimes. This was humanitarian labor by this soldier… I wonder: In the peace talks in Havana, what does the FARC do to help the people who have lost their limbs, who have been left invalid or incapacitated because of the land mines? Is there anything in the agreement for them to collect their mines or help the victims of these cases? What would happen if there were a leader or member of the higher level of the FARC in the negotiations? We have to see every side of what is negotiated in Cuba. The FARC want to come out of it free and it seems they’ll be successful. It’s not fair to leave the victims hanging. Excellent reports. good to know we’re not alone against the threats. That we have crazy neighbors and terrorists fed by them Excellent article. I dream about this [military] intervention. It’s the only solution for Brazil. What is sad is that not one of the broadcasters, male or female, or hosts, uses Spanish correctly, the only thing the Spaniards brought. Language spoken by millions of people on earth. Lately foreigners are coming close to the language. You say “space of time” “Periods of time”, what’s left now is for you to say “decades of time”. Correction: age, period, century, month, day, lapse, year, etc. all these words translate time by just mentioning them. All day long you say “precisely”, you don’t know how to conjugate the verb “HABER”, that’s why all day long you say “there (plural) will be festivities in Pereira.” “There were (plural) horses on the street”. You’re starting to bother me, I have spoken to people interested in defending our language, and they express their displeasure to me. You made fun of Maduro because he said “a millimeter of a second”, NO, MAKE FUN OF YOURSELVES WHO MURDER THE LANGUAGE AND CORRECT EXPRESSION. YOU HAVE NOT studied Spanish thoroughly, nor do you care to do so. We will file a report against you with the ACADEMIA COLOMBIANA DE LA LENGUA, for language abuse. Horacio Aldana How long will we have to wait to see news about the capture of the head international investors in drug trafficking embedded in governments and financial monopolies in the capitalist world? DIÁLOGO: How do you see civilian-military cooperation in support of regional security? Gen. Rodríguez: Colombia is a country that is committed to the fight against all transnational threats. I would like to mention that this year, between the Armed Forces and the National Police, 175 tons of cocaine hydrochloride were seized, with a value of $4 billion in the United States. This shows that Colombia, its police, and its armed forces are committed to fighting the scourge of drug trafficking which, as you know, acts in parallel with other related crimes such as trafficking of arms, explosives, and munitions, trafficking in persons, laundering assets, and other crimes that affect security. Colombia is very committed to the fight against transnational threats. In particular, last year we had the opportunity to participate actively in the training and capacity building of 24,000 commandos in Central and South American countries, exchanging experiences on the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking with other countries that requested our support and we have stood ready to support them, sharing our experience after spending more than 50 years fighting those instigators of violence. DIÁLOGO: What can you tell us regarding the visit of the hospital ship USNS Comfort to Buenaventura? DIÁLOGO: During your presentation (at SOUTHDEC 2015) you mentioned the gap between what is said when two countries meet in order to discuss something and the action that is taken in this regard. Why did you discuss this? DIÁLOGO: Obviously none of that will work if the state does not invest in the most underserved areas so that especially children do not become involved in drug trafficking. What can you tell us about your Integral Action effort? Gen. Rodríguez: Integral Action is a strategy that has fortunately been used by the Colombian government. It consists of joint, coordinated interagency action between the National Police and other agencies. We have come to understand that the fight against all those agents that instigate violence and against which the Colombian state has had to confront requires a holistic strategy, where the everyone must contribute their piece of the puzzle, not just to prevent all levels of violence instigators from taking action, but also to consolidate this military and political action that is so important through the intervention of each of the roles and responsibilities of other government agencies. DIÁLOGO: Is the model of fighting drug trafficking that Colombia used exportable? Gen. Rodríguez: Drug trafficking has been the common thread in all of these instigators of violence. As you know, drug trafficking has become the catalyst for the economic needs that these illegal organizations have, which agrees with the information we have from our intelligence agencies. They have an economic interest and other interests, while ideology, for example, is relegated to the side. General Juan Pablo Rodríguez Barragán: Yes, I believe that the Colombian model has been a successful model by virtue of its results. Some very important lessons we have learned can be shared with the international community so that this scourge and these criminal phenomena do not affect regional security and security in other countries. Colombia is helping and cooperating with the other countries; we have very important experiences which, as I told you, we have acquired in all this time spent confronting these phenomena of organized crime, and we believe that these experiences are very valuable for these countries which are beginning to suffer this type of phenomena, so that they apply them and avoid the situations we had to confront in our country. DIÁLOGO: At the Seventh F-Air Colombia 2015 Aeronautical Trade Show, from 9 to 12 July, the U.S.’s B52 bomber flew over Rionegro. What is the importance of this flyover for Colombia? Diálogo met with General Juan Pablo Rodríguez Barragán, Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Colombian Armed Forces, to discuss these and other topics during the South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC 2015) which was held in Asunción, Paraguay, from 18 to 21 August. Gen. Rodríguez: I hope that visits like this are repeated periodically. Buenaventura has been very impacted by illegal groups on different occasions, although the Armed Forces and Police have neutralized them. Visits like this, which help the community and create well-being, are very important and in this case, the Comfort’s visit was received very well by all the citizens of Buenaventura and by us as well. We thank SOUTHCOM for this visit which made very important medical care available to the entire population of Buenaventura, and I hope visits like this can be repeated. Gen. Rodríguez: It’s very important for us, because this aeronautical trade show developed by our Colombian force is becoming more and more relevant. The trade show began with a regional presence and now has a global presence. The participation of this bomber was very important for us: it graced the show and generated a better idea of all strategic and aviation capacities. This is what the trade show is about, getting to know the capacities that our Air Forces have at a global level and exchanging them with the ones we have. This event is more important each time and has a significant presence not just at a regional level and for the countries of the Western Hemisphere, but also at a global level. It means that the countries and businesses participating in this event are interested in getting to know what the experience of Colombia and its Air Force has been in fighting diverse instigators of violence and they want to share the technological knowledge that each one of the businesses that participate in this event have in order to improve security and interoperability conditions. DIÁLOGO: General John Kelly will be leaving SOUTHCOM soon to retire. What is your opinion on General Kelly’s three-and-a-half years as Commander, and how were Colombian-U.S. relations and relations between both Armed Forces strengthened during this time?
By Nastasia Barceló/Diálogo July 12, 2016 The Argentine Secretary of Strategy and Military Affairs, Ángel Tello, along with other leaders, were in Washington, D.C. to participate in meetings with the U.S. Department of Defense, with the main objective of deepening bilateral relations and resuming bilateral military exchanges. A New Era in Argentine-U.S. Relations Bilateral relations between the U.S. and Argentina have improved noticeably since President Mauricio Macri assumed office on December 2015 and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama visited Buenos Aires in March. President Obama’s visit was the first time an American president visited Argentina in almost 11 years. Renewing Military Cooperation Between the Two Countries Noteworthy among the main topics discussed by the heads of state during bilateral meetings are: aid for re-equipping and promoting shared interests in the area of security and defense; the intensification of the fight against drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime; protecting and monitoring the Triple Frontier separating Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil; military missions in Africa; and deepening hemispheric defense ties. Both countries indicated their desire to move forward with mutual aid for catastrophes, emergencies, and disaster response and preparedness. “We anticipate that the United States will help develop the capacities of law enforcement, specifically assisting the Department of Justice, with respect to terrorism and the financing of terrorism in the region of the Triple Frontier,” announced Secretary Tello. During the meeting, officials also signed the Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime, intended to expedite the exchange of information on known and potential criminals and terrorists. U.S. Army Colonel Willie Berges, chief of the Political-Military Affairs and Policy Division at U.S. Southern Command, said, “To demonstrate the willingness for both nations to work together and share information. We have invited the government of Argentina to send Liaison officers to HQ USSOUTHCOM and JIATF-S in Key West. We expect to have agreements signed for both Liaison officers in the near future.” Meanwhile, Tello noted that in August of 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department will organize the first Bilateral Working Group with the Argentine Armed Forces. “The agenda includes topics related to disaster response and preparedness, peacekeeping, and hemispheric cooperation on defense,” he said. He also highlighted their interest in strengthening relations between the two countries ahead of the next Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, which will take place in October of this year in Trinidad and Tobago. To this end, a working group was created to promote a political dialogue to promote cooperation as well as to define common goals in the region for defense and hemispheric security. Military Missions in Africa During the meetings, the countries agreed that the United States would help strengthen Argentine capacities to increase the size of its deployable military units, and therefore expand its participation in different peace missions on African territory. Tello pointed out that “the U.S. commitment to allow Argentina to increase its presence in peacekeeping missions in Africa is very important since the U.S. is the main source of financing for U.N. peacekeeping operations (28 percent).” “This commitment includes the training and modernization of the C-130 cargo transport aircraft fleet used by the South American country on African territory as well as a resource review for the Argentine Joint Training Center for Peacekeeping Operations (CAECOPAZ), all of which is anticipated to occur in a two-year period (2016-2018). Combating Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Terrorism According to the Logistics Secretary of the Argentine Defense Ministry, Walter Ceballos, within the framework of the “Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime,” the United States committed to assisting the Argentine security forces on terrorism and the financing of terrorism in the Triple Frontier region (Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil). Accordingly, Argentine officials are expected to receive training at the International Police Academy and to carry out study visits to the United States, where they will receive training from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI will also help the Defense Ministry to establish a national network of Intelligence Fusion Centers to detect and interrupt terrorism and organized crime. Secretary Ceballos indicated that there is a “strong commitment in the fight against drug trafficking and international terrorism on the part of the new government.” Satisfied with the Results “Argentina has managed to resume a political dialogue that occurred regularly in the relationship between Argentina and the United States. This resumption of dialogue is a part of President Mauricio Macri’s goal of returning to the world,” affirmed Secretary Tello to Diálogo. “The meetings that took place with members of the Pentagon have been excellent, so that opens the door to great possibilities for working together,” he added.
By Lorena Baires/Diálogo May 07, 2020 U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo) is deploying its humanitarian arm in Central America to strengthen response capabilities and halt the rapid spread of COVID-19.JTF-Bravo is sending health supplies to protect doctors, nurses, service members, and police forces. This aid began to reach the region in early April. El Salvador was one of the first countries to receive U.S. support, with deliveries of basic health supplies to stock up containment centers, where people potentially infected with COVID-19 receive treatment.During the Vita exercise, the medical evacuation team of JTF-Bravo’s 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, trained together with the Colombian Military Forces on victim assistance and air transport operations to improve capabilities and increase interoperability. (Photo: Joint Task Force Bravo)The United States has also sent food rations to service members in the field who prevent people from evading health controls. “The Sumpul Command, deployed in more than 186 illegal border crossings, received meals ready-to-eat donated by the U.S. military,” said Salvadoran Naval Force Rear Admiral René Merino, El Salvador’s minister of Defense. “They have also sent disinfecting gel and masks, because personnel are in contact with many people every day.”JTF-Bravo practiced setting up a field hospital to care for its COVID-19 patients internally, if it were to be needed, at its José Enrique Soto Cano Air Base headquarters in Comayagua, Honduras. This would allow them to avoid burdening the local health system. According to a press release, their Army Forces Battalion has also rehearsed a plan to treat and evacuate infected service members, while the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment has been conducting humanitarian assistance training and demonstrating its ability to mobilize forces when needed during a crisis.Months before the virus was detected in the region, several armed forces refreshed their knowledge in emergency interoperability.“The best strengths our military provides are the tangible U.S. commitment to alleviate human suffering and for people to know that they will receive the help they need,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Laura Miller, JTF-Bravo’s Civil Affairs officer in Honduras.An example of this assistance was the Vita exercise, conducted in La Guajira region of Colombia in March 2020, to offer preventive care, and public health, pharmacy, and dentistry services.“We have significantly increased the task force’s readiness to execute humanitarian assistance operations in austere environments, which is particularly critical, because aviation crews needed to become familiar with the unique demands of flying over mountainous and desert terrain,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Bob Yerkey, head of Operations for JTF-Bravo. “Our civil and medical affairs staff has made valuable contacts that will prove essential in future humanitarian assistance operations.”In another exercise in Panama’s Darién province, conducted in December 2019, JTF-Bravo and Panama’s Public Force worked to respond to a simulated disaster following a natural event. “This exercise became a forum for various agencies to come together and solve problems, such as displacement of people, food assistance, and humanitarian supplies to communities,” said Lt. Col. Miller, who led the exercise. “We not only strengthened ties between countries, but also between civilian and military response agencies. [It’s] a cooperation effort currently being put into practice.”“All the above are on top of the numerous medical preparation exercises and other activities that we coordinate in the region. By working with partner nations’ forces, we are prepared to face together the challenges of today and tomorrow,” said U.S. Air Force Captain Beau Downey, head of JTF-Bravo’s Public Affairs. “The most relevant competency both sides get is interoperability; we build relationships with each other and learn where contact points are, so as to use them quickly during a crisis.”
By ShareAmerica December 03, 2020 The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) state-owned companies are destroying the environment in countries around the world, one corrupt infrastructure project at a time.The PRC is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases and mercury pollution and the leading consumer of illegal wildlife and timber products. And the PRC’s state-owned companies are exporting the Chinese Communist Party’s disregard for the environment through the often-corrupt infrastructure projects of the regime’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative.“In recent years, Chinese-backed projects on several continents have displaced local populations, negatively affected water quality, polluted adjacent land, and spoiled fragile ecosystems,” the U.S. Department of State said in a September 25 fact sheet on China’s environmental abuses. “Many planned Chinese infrastructure projects worldwide would do similar harm.”A May 2018 study published in Nature Sustainability warned OBOR projects could lead to “permanent environmental degradation.” And in November 2017, the World Wildlife Fund found OBOR projects could affect almost 265 threatened species, including antelopes, tigers, and giant pandas.Beijing’s OBOR initiative promises new infrastructure to developing nations, but projects — often marred by corruption — lack adequate oversight and deliver shoddy work. Labor abuses and unsustainable debt are also common, according to numerous reports. In Latin America, Chinese infrastructure investment may be linked to increased wildlife trafficking.The program’s lack of clear environmental guidelines can leave countries facing the consequences of projects that failed to meet international standards.In South Sudan, PRC state-run companies, including the China National Petroleum Corporation, have financed oil consortia that polluted water and soil with toxic chemicals, the Associated Press (AP) reports. Residents living nearby have suffered an alarming number of health problems, including birth defects.One PRC-supported oil consortium also has engaged in corruption, using funds earmarked for development to support lavish lifestyles of senior politicians, the AP reported, citing a September 2019 report from the The Sentry, a watchdog group based in Washington.On September 15, the United States sanctioned the Union Development Group Limited (UDG), a PRC state-owned company, for its role in corruption surrounding the development of a multibillion-dollar resort in Cambodia.U.S. officials say UDG falsely registered as a Cambodian-owned entity to lease the land before reverting back to PRC control. The company, through a senior Cambodian general sanctioned for corruption by the United States in 2019, used Cambodian military forces to clear out land for the project by force, devastating the environment and hurting the livelihoods of local residents.
Lung cancer claims former Chief Justice Alan Sundberg February 15, 2002 Managing Editor Regular News Mark D. Killian Managing EditorFormer Chief Justice Alan Sundberg was remembered by friends and colleagues attending a packed memorial service at the Supreme Court as a man “who walked with kings” yet never forgot the common touch.Sundberg, a member of the Florida State University Board of Trustees and one of the most highly regarded appellate lawyers in the state, died January 26. A Tallahassee resident, he had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. He was 68.Chief Justice Charles Wells said Sundberg was a positive force for the court, the state, and the nation and said his life was dedicated to service to others. Wells also said Sundberg was a very close friend of those serving on the present court, and his counsel and guidance will be missed.Former Attorney General Jim Smith remembered his good friend and law partner as a brilliant Harvard-educated attorney with a down-to-earth manner who throughly enjoyed the outdoors.“Alan could sit up here during the week and do battle with the greatest legal minds in Florida and on the weekends go to the hunting camp or the fishing camp and just be one of the guys,” Smith said.Sundberg was born June 23, 1933, in Jacksonville and graduated from Florida State University in 1955 and Harvard in 1958. He practiced in St. Petersburg for 17 years before Gov. Reubin Askew appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1975. Askew and many others credited him with rebuilding the reputation and image of the court. Sundberg served until 1982 and was chief justice from 1980-82.Probably Justice Sundberg’s most significant opinion was in 1979, a landmark case allowing cameras in state courtrooms. He wrote the opinion that found that having cameras in courtrooms was consistent with the state’s commitment to open government and did not violate defendants’ constitutional rights. After leaving the court, he was a partner in the Carlton Fields law firm in Tallahassee.FSU President Sandy D’Alemberte then brought Sundberg to FSU to serve as the university’s general counsel in 1997. Sundberg returned to private practice in 2000 at the Smith, Ballard & Logan firm in Tallahassee.D’Alemberte said Sundberg gave Florida State great legal advice, “but more than that he was a wise counselor — a lawyer statesman.”“He was tall and jovial and bright; he was large and never intimidating; interested but never invasive; principled but certainly not stuffy; intelligent but not arrogant; humble but not reserved,” D’Alemberte said.Arthur England, who met Sundberg when they both served on the court, remembered him as a man who was “unfailingly kind” to everybody, from the other justices to clerks in the mail room.“He was a man who believed the law was a profession,” England said. “He was a man who was invariably fair to the people who opposed him, just like he was to the people who supported him.” And he possessed a common sense that served him, and the state, well.“Alan loved the intellectual aspects of decision-making as a justice of the Florida Supreme Court and he vigorously applied this intellect in every single thing he did on this court,” England said. “Yet Alan never let the intellectual side of decision-making interfere with his practical common sense.”England said Sundberg could be humble and had a special way of reminding himself that he did not always have all the answers.“With almost every decision this court rendered. . . on the Wednesday before those decision were released. . . he would say to me, ‘How will this play in Perry?’” England recalled. “What he meant by that is: How will this decision be received by the people 50 miles down the street in Perry, Florida? Will it affect their lives? Will it make a difference? Will they even care? And that’s how he worried.”Miami lawyer and longtime Sundberg friend Robert Parks served as Sundberg’s campaign manager for a Supreme Court election in 1976 and remembered an eventful day during the campaign as he was driving Sundberg to the airport in his small sports car.Running late to catch a flight, Parks said the 6-foot-6 justice split his pants “from waist to crotch” when he climbed down into Park’s Datsun 240Z. Not wanting to miss his flight, Sundberg told Parks to “keep driving” as he climbed into the back of the small hatchback to change.“He said, ‘If you don’t get me to the plane on time, your appellate career is history,’” Parks said. To which Parks replied: “If I get stopped going 80 miles an hour with a half-clothed Supreme Court justice in my car, we’re both history.”Sundberg is survived by his wife, Betty Steffens, a lawyer in Tallahassee; his son, William L. Sundberg, also a lawyer in Tallahassee; daughters Allison Lane, La Jolla, Calif.; Angela Estes, Winter Park; and Laura Sundberg, Orlando; a brother, Richard Sundberg of Jacksonville; and eight grandchildren. Another son, Alan Jr., died of skin cancer in 1998.In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Florida Skin Cancer Foundation, 335 Beard St., Tallahassee 32303, or the American Diabetes Association. Lung cancer claims former Chief Justice Alan Sundberg
March 1, 2006 Letters LettersRighting Wrongs I am a criminal defense attorney in Miami. I was a prosecutor here many years ago. I read the story in the February 1 News about Wilton Dedge being released after many years in prison as a result of DNA evidence. I am really glad to see that the prosecutor said he was sorry it happened. When I was a prosecutor, I handled a minor case against a juvenile. I had doubts about her guilt. I dug deeper and found out she was innocent, beyond any doubt. I nolle prossed and I apologized to her and her family on the record. I was told later that “we don’t apologize.. . . ” I cannot think of many times when government attorneys ever said they are sorry, but I can think of thousands of times when they should have. I commend the prosecutor, Chris White, for his comments. Michael A. Catalano Miami Reading the February 1 article “Dedge prosecutor details decision-making process” containing the conciliatory words of the assistant state attorney in which he tells how sorry he is for the “injustice done to an innocent man.. . . ,” but claims not to know how to avoid making the same mistakes again, was upsetting. Perhaps, in the future, he might discount the generally perjured testimony of uncorroborated jail house snitches who speak with the thought of obtaining a better deal for himself. Perhaps the assistant state attorney might not hire a bogus dog to sniff out two-years-old “evidence” and call it science. Thirdly he might consider even though victim/witness eyewitness testimony is generally known to be less than accurate and, in this case, the age, weight, and height of the defendant did not come close to that victim/witness’ description, just maybe he might have considered not prosecuting. Fourth, he might try to listen to the words of the alibi testimony from six co-worker witnesses indicating Dedge was at work at the time of the crime. As for the $2 million compensation Dedge received, I wonder if any prosecutor would give up 22 years of his or her life for a crime they did not commit for a paltry $2 million. If prosecutors thought they might have to take the place of the wrongly convicted, perhaps they would consider first trying to find the truth instead of trying to close a file. The state attorney is the public’s shield and should not be motivated by something other than finding the truth. In making this error, the real rapist went free, probably to rape again and again. Louis E. Slawe Philadelphia IOTA Pioneer Henry Zapruder passed away January 24. Henry practiced law in Washington, D.C., and was not a Florida lawyer. His contribution to the poor, to law students, and to the administration of justice in Florida was inestimable, however. When the Florida Supreme Court adopted a first-in-the-nation program for utilizing the interest from unproductive lawyers’ trust accounts for the benefit of the poor and the improvement of the administration of justice, the program required a ruling from the IRS to become effective. The court, the Bar, and the Bar Foundation turned to Henry, a youthful but talented D.C. tax attorney, to attempt to get the necessary tax ruling. Henry was immediately receptive to the concept of the program, and worked with Florida’s IOTA proponents on a pro bono basis. The product of Henry’s efforts was the tax opinion which made possible the implementation of IOTA in Florida, and the implementation of comparable programs (called IOLTA) in 49 other states and the District of Columbia. Henry’s contribution to Floridians and residents throughout the U.S. did not stop there. He worked tirelessly and gratuitously in the years that followed with jurists, bar leaders, and legislators in other states to help them attain and preserve favorable income tax treatment for their distinctive IOLTA programs, both individually as called upon and generically as tax counsel to the ABA’s IOLTA Commission. Henry also counseled attorneys throughout the United States who were defending IOLTA programs in the courts from relentless assaults by individuals and organizations opposed to aiding the poor with the interest generated from otherwise unproductive lawyers’ trust accounts. The name “Henry Zapruder” is not a household word among lawyers, and there is no building, street, or monument in Florida that bears Henry’s name. Henry’s unheralded tribute is in the heart of every Florida law student who participated in an IOTA-funded Legal Services Summer Fellowship Program, every legal aid attorney who participated in IOTA’s Law School Loan Repayment Assistance Program, and the administrators of every Florida organization that was able to deliver legal services to the poor from an IOTA grant. Henry’s reward was knowing that, since 1981, he made it possible for Florida’s IOTA program to receive more than a quarter billion dollars, and for programs nationwide to receive more than $1.5 billion. Dollars, however, cannot possibly measure Henry’s contribution. Henry leaves an immeasurable legacy of goodwill for those who have benefited from his efforts, and an indelible memory of boundless admiration and pure joy for those who knew him. Few have improved the lives of so many people out of the pure goodness of their hearts. Henry will be missed, but never forgotten. Arthur J. England, Jr. Miami Metadata I am troubled by the Bar Board of Governors recent pronouncement in the January 1 News that lawyers should not be looking at metadata. Metadata has been around for more than 10 years and is an invaluable tool for ferreting out fraud and unethical individuals. For example, a customer of the corporation I represent presented us with a counterfeit part and a certificate of conformance, claiming that it was a genuine part made by my company. I examined the metadata on the certificate and discovered that it was not generated by my company, but instead was written by the Chinese broker who sold them the counterfeit part. Further, negotiating agreements is a part of my daily life. Tracking additions and deletions (i.e., metadata) is part of the normal process until the parties reach an agreement. I have encountered attorneys and others who make changes to documents without turning on the “Track Changes” feature of Word, thereby attempting to conceal what they changed. Those individuals should bear the brunt of the “unethical slime” label given by the letter writer in the February 1 News, not the individual who discovers such underhanded tactics. If the board does not fully appreciate the ethical usage of metadata, they should not be so quick to issue a wholesale condemnation. Douglas A. Balog Palm Bay Lawyer Regulation Our system of government demands that the legal profession command the public’s full trust and confidence. A recent survey by The Florida Bar’s Research, Planning and Evaluation Department revealed 68 percent of those surveyed say the public does not have confidence in the legal system. Under the current system, Florida’s attorneys are licensed, supervised, and regulated by the Florida Supreme Court through The Florida Bar, which is the delegated administrative arm of the court. While self-regulation of the profession by the Bar may have been a worthwhile experiment, it is becoming increasingly apparent that it fails to even-handedly regulate lawyer misconduct. The Bar’s failure is a disservice to both the public and the professionally responsible attorneys who suffer by association. Among the greatest flaws in the Bar’s grievance and disciplinary process are inadequate investigation and documentation to support grievance committee decisions. Written records are not ordinarily kept of grievance committee proceedings. The discussions are typically oral and not, routinely, recorded. This fosters cronyism characterized by a lack of meaningful investigations and nod-nod, wink-wink decisions when well-connected lawyers are involved. Many firms are political juggernauts that enjoy a unique shield against consequences for violating the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. Is there a solution to the Bar’s inability to appropriately regulate lawyer misconduct? It doesn’t seem capable of investigating itself. Maybe the current system just cannot be fixed and must instead be changed. Legislators, public officials, and special interest groups have in the past called for the regulation of the legal profession by an entity other than the Supreme Court. Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation seems the logical entity to take over since it already oversees licensing and regulation of most other professionals including accountants, veterinarians, contractors, and about 200 other occupations. It seems likely the DBPR would be a far better watchdog over the legal profession than the current system of the Bar and the Supreme Court of Florida. The fox has guarded the hen house long enough. Jeffrey R. Hill Jacksonville Paralegal Regulation I read with great interest the February 1 letter in the News regarding paralegal regulation. I’ve worked in the legal profession for approximately 30 years, working my way up through the ranks. I received my CLA/CP certification a few years ago. If attorneys aren’t familiar with the intensity of the tests or the wide range of legal knowledge and skills required to pass this test, I encourage them to do so. The attorney I work for was quite amazed when he reviewed the review course book and mock tests for this exam. In order to be in a position to comment, one would have to know that the CLA/CP exam is a two-day, multi-sectional test that involves comprehensive testing in areas such as legal writing, legal research, and other practice areas that are much more than just multiple choice or true/false questions. In my position, and with my years of experience, I can honestly say that I perform many of the tasks a new associate would, and more. In cases where our clients have been awarded fees, my hourly rate was awarded by the court at $l25 per hour, and considering this is the tiny town of Clearwater, I believe that is significant. While my salary isn’t anywhere near the $60,000 figure mentioned in the letter, I will say that, unlike a new lawyers’ salary that will undoubtedly soar, mine will not as I’ve pretty much reached the salary cap for paralegals. Our purpose for wanting to be regulated is not driven by salary increases, but rather to indicate our dedication to our profession. Isn’t that why attorneys strive to become board certified? Lynn Adams Buckley Clearwater March 1, 2006 Letters
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Strong thunderstorms, heavy rains and wind gusts of up to 60 mph capable of downing trees and power lines are forecast to sweep across Long Island on Wednesday.Wednesday morning is expected to give way to a chance of rain during the afternoon before the winds and downpours intensify Wednesday evening.“This could pose a hazard to anyone out driving or walking Wednesday night…and to houses and other structures near larger trees,” Upton-based National Weather Service meteorologists said in a statement while issuing a high wind watch.Temperatures in the low 50s and up to an inch of rain is expected as rain and high winds continue into Thursday morning. The skies will likely clear up for a breezy Thursday afternoon with a high near 49.There will be a slight chance of snow showers before noon on Friday that may turn into a rain/snow mix in the afternoon before turning over to just snow. Temperatures will drop to the 2os for the weekend, and a slight chance of snow showers will return for Saturday night into Sunday.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York An eastbound Long Island Rail Road train struck a vehicle on the tracks just east of Mattituck Wednesday morning, the railroad said.It’s not yet clear if anyone was injured in the accident, which occurred just before 11 a.m., a LIRR spokesman said.The railroad was still waiting on Metropolitan Transit Authority police to confirm if someone was inside the vehicle at the time of the incident, the spokesman said.The train left Ronkonkoma at 10:42 a.m. and was due to arrive at Greenport at 12:07 p.m. The train is operating two hours late, the LIRR said.There were no other service delays due to the accident, the railroad said.