Legislature eyeing court’s request for more judges March 15, 2002 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Legislature eyeing court’s request for more judges Senior EditorFlorida’s budget crunch will be hitting the courts hard, as it appears likely only a small percentage of new judges sought by the Supreme Court will be approved by legislators. But plans to offer student loan repayment incentives to prosecutors and public defenders are moving ahead.The Senate Judiciary Committee on February 26 took up SB 1654, which originally contained the 49 new judges certified as needed by the Supreme Court earlier this year to keep up with rising caseloads and population growth.With little discussion, the bill was amended to include only 10 new judges — seven circuit and three county — for the 2002-03 fiscal year. A similar House measure, HB 1927, funds only two new district court of appeal judges, one each in the Second and Fourth DCAs.The court had asked for 34 new circuit judgeships, 13 new county judge posts, plus the two DCA judgeships in the House bill.Committee Chair Sen. Locke Burt, R-Ormond Beach, said the 10 positions are what were included in the preliminary Senate budget.“These are the 10 places where the court said there is the greatest need,” he added.The bill provides for one new county judge each in Duval, Palm Beach, and Broward counties, and one new circuit judge each in Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, 10th, 11th, 13th, and 20th circuits.The bill next goes to the Appropriations Committee. The action appears to continue the Supreme Court’s recent difficulty in getting new judgeships. In 2000, the court asked for 43 new positions, but due to a legislative oversight, none were approved. Last year, the court asked for 44 new judgeships, but only 26 were authorized.The committee also unanimously passed SB 1138, which sets up a state fund to repay the student loans for assistant state attorneys and assistant public defenders.Sponsor Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac, said the typical starting salary for those attorneys is $35,000 — far less that many private sector jobs — and they can have student loan debts of up to $120,000. That has, he added, contributed to a 25-percent turnover rate for public defender and state attorney offices.The bill authorizes the state to repay $3,000 a year of student loans after an assistant public defender or assistant state attorney has been employed in an office for three years. It hikes that to $5,000 after six years and terminates after 12 years, or a maximum repayment of $44,000.At Burt’s suggestion, Campbell agreed to an amendment that would add lawyers working for the three capital collateral regional counsels to the bills. The committee discussed but decided against making another change that would allow lawyers to count cumulative service between various public defender and state attorney offices toward getting the loan repayments. Sen. Jim Sebesta, R-St. Petersburg, said that could defeat the goal of getting stable employment within each office.Similar legislation, HB 307, has cleared two committees in the House and is pending before the Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, (CMC): Reigning World champions West Indies were humbled by Pakistan in the opening Twenty20 International here yesterday, after virtually condemning themselves with a feeble batting effort at the Dubai International Stadium. Sent in, they recovered from a shocking position of 48 for eight in the 12th over to stumble to 115 all out with a ball remaining in the innings, and Pakistan wasted little time in cruising to their target in the 15th over, to complete an uncomplicated nine-wicket victory and take a valuable 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was the only one to emerge from the encounter with any semblance of pride, striking a top score of 55 from 54 balls under pressure. Spinner destroys WI The damage was done by left-arm spinner Imad Wasim, who ripped through the innings with a Man-of-the-Match spell of five for 14 from his four overs. In reply, Pakistan never looked in danger of botching their run chase and Babar Azam made sure of this with a fluent unbeaten 55 off 37 deliveries. In only his second T20 International, the right-hander smashed six fours and two sixes and posted a match-winning, unbroken 88-run, second wicket stand with opener Khalid Latif who made a patient 34 not out from 32 balls. With the second T20 International scheduled for today at the same venue, West Indies were left with several problems to solve in a short space of time. Without the experience of axed captain Darren Sammy and the unavailable Chris Gayle and AndrÈ Russell, West Indies stumbled and stuttered from the outset. Imad became the first Pakistani spinner to take a five-wicket haul in T20s. When Sunil Narine (1) failed to beat Latif’s direct hit from mid-off on a badly judged quick single, West Indies were in a deep hole but Bravo bailed them out with a quality knock which included four fours and two sixes. He started slowly with his first 18 runs requiring 32 balls but accelerated to reach his fourth T20I half-century off 50 balls. He took 13 runs from the 15th over bowled by Tanvir and combined with Tylor to garner 19 from the following over from seamer Hasan Ali – the most expensive over of the innings. Bravo raised his half-century in the 19th over by clearing the ropes at cover with left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz but perished in the deep off the penultimate delivery of the innings, with West Indies desperately chasing runs. The Windies then needed an early breakthrough to remain in the game but none came, as Sharjeel Khan hammered three fours and a six in a 17-ball 22, to dominate an opening stand of 28 with Latif. And even when he bowled by leg-spinner Samuel Badree in the fourth over, Latif and Babar kept Pakistan on course with positive stroke-play.
Portmore United, last year’s Red Stripe Premier League’s beaten finalists, could have undermined their chances of going one better this year with their untimely separation from technical director Lenworth Hyde.Hyde, according to sources, was informed on Thursday last by Mrs Donna Ming, wife of Herman Ming, who founded the club under its original name, Hazard. Mrs Ming, the Sunday Gleaner was informed, brought Hyde on board in October to assist Coach Linval Dixon as two other members of last season’s coaching staff, Andre Waugh and Geoffrey Hewitt, were not re-engaged.In an attempt to get confirmation, Hyde was contacted, but he declined to shed any light on the matter. While not denying that there was a separation between himself and the club, Hyde said he had no comments to make.”I am neither in a position to comment on the situation nor do I wish to. You will have to speak with Mrs Ming or someone in the leadership of the club,” Hyde said tersely.Pressed further, Hyde again referred the Sunday Gleaner to Mrs Ming, expressed thanks for the call and said he had to go.The Sunday Gleaner called the phone of Mrs Ming no fewer than five times, but on each occasion, it rang and eventually went to voicemail.Hyde, one of the more successful coaches in the league, having led Tivoli Gardens, Portmore United and Harbour View to the title, was said to be very popular with the players and his departure has caused a division in the squad, the source also said.- N.W.