I want to both thank and congratulate Luke Newman for his recent victory in a case where he represented his client pro bono on behalf of FACDL’s Strike Force. The case involved Northwest Florida attorney Amanda Edge-Gougen. After Ms. Edge-Gougen was found in direct criminal contempt by a Santa Rosa County judge, Luke appealed the contempt order and the First District Court of Appeal reversed. A link to the opinion is attached to this email (and the facts are contained in the opinion).
I want to highlight a couple of points. First, Ms. Edge-Gougen agreed to the further dissemination of her case as a response to the “overwhelming, surprising support” which she received from her colleagues in the criminal defense lawyer community. She explained that it was important to call attention to the message in the opinion and the concurrence, even though it is embarrassing to her, in order to help colleagues in the criminal defense lawyer community – especially those colleagues that might be dealing with a substance abuse issue. Ms. Edge-Gougen believes that it is important for her colleagues to learn and believe that there is indeed support available, and that it is available within the profession. Ms. Edge-Gougen expressed her sincere thanks to FACDL, Luke, and Michael R. Rollo (who represented her during her contempt proceedings at the trial court level).
Second, I too want to thank Luke. He put in countless hours pursuing this appeal on behalf of Ms. Edge-Gougen and FACDL. Great job my friend!
Finally, this case is another example of the tremendous work being done by FACDL’s committees. FACDL members enjoy the great benefit of the Strike Force committee – a benefit that is surely appreciated when needed (as confirmed by Ms. Edge-Gougen).
Link to the opinion:
A Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Appellate Attorney
2015-16 FACDL President