Fla. Chief Justice Becomes Voice For ‘Civil Gideon’

Jorge Labarga, the Florida Supreme Court chief justice, has become anĀ outspoken advocate of “Civil Gideon,” the idea that certain civil courtĀ issues should require the same access to legal representation we have inĀ criminal courts. He’s been making the rounds in the Sunshine StateĀ discussing his views and which cases seem to demand better legal access.

He shared a personal story with a Daytona newspaper, saying that ā€œ… I wasĀ a trial judge for 13 years. It was always painful to see the bankerā€™sĀ lawyers, prepared and professional, on one side, and the judge looks on theĀ other side and thereā€™s a husband and wife, holding a little file with two orĀ three pages of paper in their hand, wondering what to do next… I used toĀ come home at night with my stomach in knots. I couldnā€™t help them. It wasĀ very frustrating.ā€

The newspaper pointed out that “… last November, Labarga did something toĀ help them by signing an order setting up the Florida Commission on Access toĀ Civil Justice. Members include state Cabinet members, legislative leaders,Ā bar officials and industry executives. Itā€™s charged with finding ways toĀ improve access to civil courts.”

Read more about his efforts here.