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In Robaina flap, shades of Villalobos

Lawyers are fuming over the removal of state Rep. Julio Robaina of Miami from his committee chairmanship after he bucked House Speaker Larry Cretul and Attorney General Bill McCollum over a bill to restrict attorney's fees.

Miami attorney Brian Tannebaum, a Democrat who serves as legislative chairman of the Florida Brian2005_ Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said Robaina had also angered Republican leaders by refusing to hear a bill that would limit the right of defense layers to take depositions in third-degree felony cases.

Tannebaum said the whole episode reminds him of when state Sen. Alex Villalobos of Miami lost his chance to be Senate President after crossing former Gov. Jeb Bush on key education votes. Bush allies then recruited a Miami-Dade school board member to run against Villalobos in 2006. Villalobos won.

"Are they going to get someone to run against Robaina too?'' Tannenbaum asked, referring to Robaina's bid for the state Senate in 2010. "I've talked to lawyers and lobbyists and there is a firestorm over this.''

Today's Herald story on the Robaina controversy is here.