Karen Gievers has been on a legal roll of late, as high-profile cases keep randomly finding their way to this circuit judge in Tallahassee.
She ruled that Floridians have the right to smoke medical marijuana — a defeat for Gov. Rick Scott, who’s appealing. She refused to dismiss a legal challenge to Scott’s blind trust in another setback for the governor, who’s asking an appeals court to toss the suit.
Earlier, Gievers handed a defeat to House Speaker Richard Corcoran, when she threw out his “facially defective” subpoenas of a Visit Florida vendor’s business and tax records. That was after she approved Corcoran’s lawsuit accusing the state lottery of illegally extending a contract. She even had a case in which the state broke leases to flee a bat-infested office building that workers claimed made them sick.
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A long-time child advocate in Miami, Gievers, 69, spent years battling the state over a deficient and underfunded system that kept foster children in state care too long.
A judge had appointed the Miami lawyer to represent six siblings, which became a class action lawsuit. She was a Democrat taking on Democratic bureaucrats and politicians and won the backing of the Florida Supreme Court in a budget crisis early in Lawton Chiles’ career as governor.
She was the first woman president of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, and was president of the Miami-Dade Bar Association in the year following Hurricane Andrew in 1992 when many people desperately needed pro bono legal help.
As a lawyer, she grew frustrated with the snail’s pace of justice. As a judge, she manages