Fla. Chief Justice Becomes Voice For ‘Civil Gideon’
Jorge Labarga, the Florida Supreme Court chief justice, has become an outspoken advocate of “Civil Gideon,” the idea that certain civil court issues should require the same access to legal representation we have in criminal courts. He’s been making the rounds in the Sunshine State discussing his views and which cases seem to demand better legal access.
He shared a personal story with a Daytona newspaper, saying that “… I was a trial judge for 13 years. It was always painful to see the banker’s lawyers, prepared and professional, on one side, and the judge looks on the other side and there’s a husband and wife, holding a little file with two or three pages of paper in their hand, wondering what to do next… I used to come home at night with my stomach in knots. I couldn’t help them. It was very frustrating.”
The newspaper pointed out that “… last November, Labarga did something to help them by signing an order setting up the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice. Members include state Cabinet members, legislative leaders, bar officials and industry executives. It’s charged with finding ways to improve access to civil courts.”
Read more about his efforts here.