Sunday, December 25, 2005


Anonymous theorizes:

Perhaps the legislature has to take some responsibility for prosecutors with no discretion: ho, hvo, gort, prrp, vcc, drug min man, etc.....

Rumpole Ponders: Judges do not have any groups lobbying for them. The real insult with the legislative mandated sentences is to the Judges. The legislature has said loud and clear to the judiciary: “You shall be a well paid calculator. Just add up the points and impose the min-man.” Legislative sentencing is both a violation of the separation of powers and a clear statement by the legislature to the Judiciary that Judges will not be trusted with sentencing issues. A 24 year old prosecutor has more influence and say over a 3 year drug min-man case then a judge with 30 years experience. Something is wrong with that.

We have a fan:

Anonymous agrees with Rumpole:

I agree with Rump, the beef with Pasano and Calli was over what Pasano said himself.Complaining about the 90 per hour fee, when you'll get more publicityfrom this case than you've ever gotten before and your already pullin' in 250,000 plus per year is stupid.

Rumpole affirms. Yup.

We have another Fan:

Anonymous writes:

re: "andrew stanton - best appeals lawyer."thank you thank you! that's hilarious!reminding us constantly of the law school from which he graduated, but not offering much substance on the practice of law, he [edited out by Rumpole]

Rumpole Responds: The last barb is a personal attack and was stricken. Mr. Stanton should log on and defend himself.

And Now For Something Completely Serious:

A Barrister with experience reminisces:

I read with interest the blog and comments about ASAs. I was an ASA under both Gerstein (who asked me, at my 20-second interview, whether I could send people to prison) and early Reno (who carved in stone the present system of "career prosecutors"), and those regimes had their own problems. Under both, for example, there was NO training. The first jury selection I ever saw was the jury I selected in my first felony trial (arresting Miami PD officer Gerry Green, then a narc, bet $5 I would lose; I don't know if he paid up, but it was certainly a fluke that I won). Sentencing was not the grueling and rigid guideline score sheet & HFO/HVO/Gort minefield it is today: many felonies were pled to the ubiquitous "2 years probation and a withhold," and no one opened a law book. The fact is that today both ASAs and APDs are sorely lacking in research skills and most lack any realistic understanding of what they are doing. ASAs think the accuseds are animals without feelings; the APDs think the victims deserve no thought or consideration, and dismiss the cops as dumb (at best), but more probably thugs. Time will moderate both of those youthful and therefore heartless views; we just hope someone's life is not lost while we are waiting. I say this because I lived it; only after I did some post-ASA time as a cop did I actually learn what "probable cause" was, and how a case could and should be developed and prepared for trial. There are opportunities for defense lawyers to offer helpful advice to the puppies on both sides; some did for me, and this blog is a new and wonderful way to exchange such information. But some defense lawyers, now and then, persist in being arrogant jerks. For them, I have often thought with satisfaction of the cops' true saying: "What goes around, comes around."

Rumpole Responds: We think you are painting with a very broad brush when you characterize the ASAs and PDs. However your comments about the “early years” and training by fire are right on the money. Today, the training for both sides is much improved. While age and experience tend to moderate a lawyers conduct and views, that is not always the case.

Our Battle of Poetry Continues:

twas the week before chrismas and what you say is not true, for a long trial took place in courtroom 2-2.
There was, however, not a public defender in sight,
instead a lonely private, defending his client with all his might.

Rumpole Responds: We are aware of one very very long trial as private attorney Andy Rier battles the State Attorneys Office in a Murder slugfest before Judge Miller. But this is the wrong courtroom for that.


ratchtaphol said...

oh! write very good

Anonymous said...

one last poetry response:

ah, rumpole, again you are wrong, for the judge murphy trial was not quite as long

a week and a half was all it took for the jury to declare the client a crook

Anonymous said...

Rump you have taken the politically correct and expedient position on the HVO/PRRP sentencing issue. I know what I write will be heresey among my fellow criminal defense attorneys BUT the fact remains that the Judges of the 11th judicial circuit have themselves to blame for all the Career criminal sentencing laws. When I was an ASA in the mid to late 1990's the Judges in Miami did everything they could to undermine the Guidelines and the Career criminal statutes. Rump I know you remember the days when you could send Jethro or Merry a few hundred bucks and have your client whine about his drug problem and voila', you had a BARBERA deviation and a sentence of 364 SORT on a career criminal case. That all ended when the Miami Herald in one its few decent investigative pieces, exposed the sham of the SORT program in its "crime and no punishment series". The SAO through the FPAA then lobbied and passed a law outlawing drug deviations.
The next attempt by the Miami Judges to subvert the intent of the legislators on Career Criminals came when they decided that the word "Shall" really meant may and that Judges had the Freedom to not impose Minimum Mandatory sentences on HVO cases. Incredibly the Third DCA accepted their reasoning and the response was the GORT statute which proposed minmans which were only waivable if the judges filed a written reason stating why it was not necessary for the protection of the commuinty to impose the minmans. Without skipping a beat Judges waived the minmans like there was no tomorrow and now we have the PRRP statute which only allows the state to waive a Min Man.

What used to disturb me as an ASA and now helps me as defense attorney is that the judges biggest concern always seems to be getting the case off thier aduit as opposed to what the facts and the offenders prior record is. Sometimes with a particularly ugly case or the rare case when the media is watching the Judges were more cautious. For the most part the question on a Judges mind seems to be "what is the lowest sentence I can offer this guy to make this case go away and not have the SAO appeal me?". I know this is great as a criminal defense attorney but is that really how important criminal cases should be handled?
Also Rump I know you will never admit this but the strengthening of the Career Criminal Sentencing Laws has also helped in the enromous reduction of crime that has occured from the late 1990's untill the present. Many of your younger readers may not recall but in the Mid 1990's this town was the Wild West. German Tourists were getting gunned down with a depressing regularity and robberies were close to 50 percent higher then they are now. I know you wont admit this Rump but part of this massive reduction came about because of the tougher sentencing laws.

As to the Drug Min Mans you are right on the money. They make no sense at all and the truly insidious thing about them is that the Major Drug Dealers can get waivers becuase they have info to give but low level mules get stuck with the min man becuase they cant rat anyone out.

Finally you are incorrect that Judges have no one to lobby for them. It has come to my attention that the DCA Judges are trying to get a pay increase and that A well connected lobbyist is lobbying on thier behalf without compensation. Anyone else out there heard the same rumor?