Reflections of 2016
By: Cheri Hobbs, Esquire
The past year has had some surprising outcomes – both wonderful and sobering. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and reflect on what the year 2016 has meant for Pates Law Group.
Criminal Law changes:
House Bill 75 House Arrest passed and became effective October 1, 2016. It expands rules regarding electronic monitoring devices. The measure makes it a third-degree felony to ask another person to remove or help circumvent the operation of a monitoring device.
House Bill 1149 Alternative Sentencing passed and became effective July 1, 2016. It creates a new program to allow defendants to avoid prison time for technical violations of probation.
House Bill 93 Body Cameras passed and became effective March 24, 2016. It requires law enforcement agencies that use body cameras to have policies and proper training for their use.
House Bill 7101 Death Penalty was signed into law and became effective March 7, 2016. It requires at least 10 of 12 jurors to agree on recommendation of death sentence.
Senate Bill 498 Cohabitation passed and became effective April 7, 2016. It abolishes criminal penalty prohibiting unmarried men and women from living together.
Family Law update:
The alimony reform bill (Senate Bill 66😎 was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott and thus did not pass. The bill had proposed changes to how judges handle alimony by providing certain guidelines and calculations. It also had proposed changes to child time-sharing that provided a mandated 50/50 time-sharing and presumption that equal time-sharing between parents is in the best interest of the minor child.
House Bill 967 passed and became effective July 1, 2016. It designates act as “Collaborative Law Process Act” and provides that collaborative law process begins when parties enter into collaborative law participation agreement; prohibits tribunal from ordering party to participate in collaborative law process over party’s objection; provides conditions under which collaborative law process concludes, terminates, or continues; provides for confidentiality of communication made during collaborative law process; and provides exceptions.
Pates Law Group update:
For the firm, we welcomed a new family law and criminal defense attorney, Cheri Hobbs, in March 2016. Attorney Hobbs primarily practices with family law matters in the Central Florida area and is collaboratively trained as well as serves as a guardian ad litem. In the summer 2016, we welcomed an additional paralegal to the firm, Amanda Hyman.
Central Florida update:
For our community, we suffered the effects of the tragic Pulse shooting on June 12, 2016. Omar Mateen, a 29 year old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse. Pulse is a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and on this night was hosting a Latin Night which resulted in a majority of the victims being Latino. The incident, which is the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since the September 11, 2001 attack, has been said to be the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter as well as the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history. We in the legal community as well as others in the medical field have reached out to these victims and their families to assist through this tragedy.
Community Outreach update:
Pates Law Group has gifted several hundred dollars’ worth to Foundation for Foster Children through our Giving Tree. Additionally, we have raised over a $1,000 through the bagels the firm purchased to also benefit kids in foster care through the Foundation (community has raised over $20,000 for same). In June, the Firm sponsored the Father/Son March in downtown Orlando which is an outreach for Father’s roles in children’s lives.
We at Pates Law Group have sincerely enjoyed meeting new friends and have been truly blessed to get together with longstanding friends this past year.