• Foundation helps fund newly formed Florida Innocence Commission

    by Nancy Kinnally   When James Bain of Lake Wales, Fla., was released at the age of 54 after serving 35 years in prison for a rape and kidnapping he did not commit, his smile said it all. Bain, who has the unfortunate distinction of having been imprisoned longer than

  • Sarasota Young Lawyers reach out: Partnership brings civic education to area students

    Students in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties have been learning this year about the U.S. Constitution, the branches of government, how bills become law and other fundamental principles of American government through a project spearheaded by the Sarasota County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (YLD). In partnership with the Sarasota

  • Goldstein Award winners challenge selective code enforcement

    Lake Worth resident Elena Diego had heard her mother’s stories of armed men entering people’s homes at night, unannounced, and suddenly forcing them out onto the street during Guatemala’s civil war. Such a thing, she thought, would never happen in America — until it happened to her. According to federal

  • All lawyers can help children thrive

    by Gabrielle Davis At the age of 17, Kamesha Grant made the hardest decision a former foster child could make: to re-enter the foster care system. What could have been a tragedy is turning into a triumph because of help from a Children’s Legal Services advocate. “[My advocate] has done

  • Paul Doyle Justice Center dedicated as Florida Legal Services headquarters

    by Gabrielle Davis When it came to naming the new home of Florida Legal Services, only one person would fit the bill, said FLS Executive Director Kent Spuhler. “There was only one name that could go on the state capital justice center,” said Spuhler at the Dec. 10 unveiling of

  • Keeping the developmentally disabled out of prison

    Growing up in Parsons, Kan., Katy DeBriere was surrounded by people with developmental disabilities, many of them residents at a state hospital and research center where her parents worked. “I went to school with a lot of kids with developmental disabilities and had a special connection to them because they

  • Help for Floridians lost in the health-care system

    For five years, Jodi Guin sat on a busy Tallahassee, Fla., street corner selling peanuts to earn enough money to buy the shady lot where she would later put the yellow doublewide that is now her home. Sometimes it got so hot, she’d put her feet —shoes and all —

  • Foundation grant helps demystify the bankruptcy process

    In 2006, when then Florida Bar Foundation Secretary Kathleen McLeroy first heard about the uphill battles faced by those who file pro se bankruptcy cases, she knew something had to be done. Just a year earlier, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act brought higher legal fees and costs.

  • Summer Fellow committed to helping victims of domestic violence

    Jarred Reiling knows the face of domestic violence. For nearly three months he has heard the heart-wrenching stories of abused women — one so severely beaten that a judge called it the worst case he had ever seen. Such emotionally gripping work isn’t for everyone, but for Reiling, 23, it

  • Saving Overtown’s “Little Oasis”

    Lois Rigby has lived in Overtown’s Town Park Village for two decades, but long before the HUD complex opened in 1971, she remembers the little shotgun houses that occupied the neighborhood when her grandmother lived there. Back then, you could walk to the store and get all the groceries you

  • Disproving guilt: The Innocence Project of Florida helps the wrongly convicted

    All Alan Crotzer wanted was for someone to listen, but no one did. Having served two years in prison for armed robbery, Crotzer had a record that made the prosecutor’s case more convincing. He would spend more than 24 years in prison, wrongly convicted of rape, burglary, robbery and aggravated