WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Friday, December 23, 2005

DEFENSE OF THE PROSECUTION

A former Prosecutor Defends the SAO:

As a former ASA (and one with close contacts still in the office) the only ASA's that have internet access are division chiefs. That could explain why there have not been many ASA/Kathy related posts.

Furthermore, this site continuously bashes on the incompetence of ASA's and how they don't look into their cases, they are apathetic, it is easy for the defense to beat them, etc, all the while extolling the virtues of the APD's (see previous comments as to how PD's do a better job than SAPD's, etc.) Perhaps, as many ASA's have long griped, if they didn't have a caseload at least two times of what their counterparts in the PDO have, made comparable salaries to the APD's that do half the work the ASA's have to do on their cases, they might be able to do a better job prepping cases and might even have some time to read this blog. Instead they get buried by: motions made without merit ("Look, my client is paying me, I have to make this motion even though I know it's crap, and force you to argue it so I don't get a rule 3" or worse--the attorneys that know the motion is complete crap but still insist on arguing like it actually has merit, requests for continuances solely because the attorney hasn't been paid yet, and then deal with the added joy of the daily dose of whiny privates arguing for the millionth time why their client with a list of priors longer than my arm needs a break on this case. There are many ASA's out there who do prep their cases, take their job seriously, and do a good job for the State. You just don't hear about them because that wouldn't make interesting blog reading, would it???

Rumpole Responds: Excellent comments. First, we are astounded that in this day and age not all ASA’s have internet access. They are entrusted with the ability to incarcerate someone, but not the ability to access the internet? And that in a way proves our point.

An ASA is (by definition) an attorney. So they should be trained to think, plan, and act like an attorney. Have you ever heard an Assistant PD say they need to speak to a supervisor? Granted, the client is to a large part in charge. But still, the PD’s learn to think quickly on their feet. In the Janet Reno era, when a prosecutor made a decision in court, based on the facts, and was otherwise prepared to try the case, that prosecutor was ALWAYS supported by Reno if someone complained. Reno never tolerated prosecutors who made mistakes because they were not prepared, but she expected and supported her attorneys to think and act like attorneys with the responsibility and respect commensurate with their office.

Our criticism of ASA’s is not that they are less bright, or anything ridiculous like that. Our criticism is that the culture of their office does not create an independent and confident attorney who feels trust and in turn earns that trust. What we hear is that no matter what kind of job you do as an ASA, there is an undercurrent of distrust. And that breeds apathy, and all the other adjectives you have read.

There are many many dedicated prosecutors. And we have long heard that the PD salary is not comparable but exceeds the salary for the ASA and we have heard that the reason squarely rests on Bennett Brummer’s ability to fight for additional money. That is an inequity that should be redressed, but only Ms. Rundle and her administration can do that. If a PD of comparable experience is earning 5-10K more than their counterpart in the SAO, that is bound to cause morale problems.


An Attorney with a Fee due writes:

Anonymous gripes about "requests for continuances solely because the attorney hasn't been paid yet". There is nothing wrong with such a request. None of us does this job for sport and we all know that once a case is closed we'll rarely get paid the balance owed unless the client picks up a probation violation or the case is re-filed. Most judges and prosecutors understand this and will not object when you tell them that your client still owes you money. I even heard a judge once tell attorneys to say that "Mr. Green failed to appear for deposition" when requesting a continuance under this circumstances


An Optimistic Poster writes:

Rumpole, since you don't want to focus the blog on which judges should get opposition, perhaps it'll be more positive to ask the bloggers which attorneys they would like to see running for, or seeking appointment to, judgeships in Dade County.



Rumpole Replies: Why not focus on the positive instead of the negative? Because sex and scandal sells more papers. But we are a free service, and without being the unintended mouth piece for judicial candidates, we would welcome a discussion of people who should be judges. To start the discussion we nominate________


Our Poet Laureate writes

Hi Rumpole,
It was the week before XMAS & all through MJB , who was in trial? Not any Private Attorneys, just a lonely PD.
Liberty's Second to Last Champion.




NEWS RELEASE:

Some times we are called upon to perform a public service. The Dade County Department Of Corrections has requested that we inform the members of the defense bar that the following items will not longer be allowed to be given to inmates at the TGK detention center:

1) Hacksaws; 2) Mountain Climbing gear, including ropes, hammers, pitons, etc.
3) 3 dozen sets of bed sheets.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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 still needs a bath and a comb.

Anonymous said...

poet laureate:

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.

Anonymous said...

the problem is that we mistakingly bundle people together, when what we should do is categorize them. In any field there are incompetent or lazy people. The real issue is the character that these people have when entering the office.

There are ASA's who come in to the office hating the defense and defendants and wonder why the podium next to them even is allowed to be staffed with a lawyer. They are on a "mission" and have no perception.

Then there are PD's who believe all of their clients are getting screwed by the government and that they should not only fight their cases, but hate the ASA's personally.

The best ones are the ASA's and PD's (especially the ASA's as they hold the "power of the plea offer") who understand that there is a system that we all live in and that respect for each other, FOR EACH OTHER is most important.

So let's stop debating what the "problems" are in the system. If PD's or ASA's came to the office for money or appreciation, they should resign immediately. These jobs are a calling, and wonderful experience. There's nothing we can ever do about some of the jerks who accept them.

Anonymous said...

rumor has it that herb smith(a.p.d.) was involved with the tgk break out of his client Rapalo as yet another delay tactic to avoid trial. rumpole, have you heard of this astonishing rumor??