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 ‚Äú… I was¬†a trial judge for 13 years. It was always painful to see the banker‚Äôs¬†lawyers, prepared and professional, on one side, and the judge looks on the¬†other side and there‚Äôs 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‚Äôt help them. It was¬†very frustrating.‚ÄĚ

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‚Äôs charged with finding ways to¬†improve access to civil courts.”

Read more about his efforts here.