Our readers responded with some well placed questions about what is representative JC Planas up to. Rumpole knows: he’s MADD. Mad for votes from MADD. Lets face it, no politician is going to win office doing anything fair or even handed for the criminal justice system. The game is how much print can you get enacting tougher and tougher laws. And the public loves it until their little Johnny or Sally gets caught up in one of these stupid laws.
Wasn't Representative Planas Brian Tannenbaum's partner? What the hell is he doing then? Didn't he learn anything Brian? Its bad enough that DUI offenders are required, under the law, to remain in jail at least 8 (which usually turns into 20) hours after arrest. Brian, I suggest you have a sitdown with your ex-partner, as he has been behind several very sketchy proposals as of late.
Anonymous claims to know Rep. Planas:
Planes is and will always be a clown.
And Anonymous thinks he knows what happened at the firm:
MAybe Tannenbaum saw this coming and ditched Planas
And another reader seems to know it all:
Its actually rather amusing though to watch a guy who picked up a DUI in December, then come up for the next DUI that he picked up January in bonds while he was out on the previous DUI, get some ridiculously low 1500 bond and then deal with a county division judge who indicates, "I am not changing the bond status, this should have been argued at first appearance." And of course the bond duty judge would indicate that the defendant should never be asked what level DUI this would make for him and that its the state's fault that the computers are down and there are no traffic printouts so he gets the benefit of the doubt.I would agree, that penalizing others for these limited incidents is overreacting. However, it is a bad position for the state to be in, if people start calling for blood as to why an alleged repeat offender is playing the system. It just seems like a raw deal without vaseline all around
Anonymous has an opinion about the Cannons of Ethics:
Standard bond blows dog chunks, the ones who have the worst records, usually post it before 24 hours. Hey at least Fast Gerry isn't credit time serving the DUI defendants, that has to be a plus.If a judge is behind drafting legislation, then I would think that would fall under Florida Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3E(1)(c), requires that: "A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned..." Florida Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 2, states in relevant part that: "A judge shall avoid impropriety in all of the judge's activities." If a judge is not impartial because they favor the zealous prosecution of DUI, that does sound like grounds for recusal.But then again, there are a number of defense oriented judges in that courthouse who make their opinions known, particularly one who likes to do off the record sidebars.There are few county court judges who are saints in the respect, that they have not tipped their hands as being more towards one side over the other.
Rumpole responds: There are two points to this issue: 1) The fairness of the proposed legislation; 2) Whether Judges should be involved in drafting laws they have to enforce.
Looking at this in the light most favorable to Judge Slom: lets say that Slom and his colleagues have identified a flaw in the system: that Defendants who have pending DUI’s and pick up a second (or third) are able to post standard bond before a Judge can raise the bond.
Is it an appearance of impropriety for a Judge to work with the prosecutor's office in drafting a bill to fix this problem?
We say yes.
As Judges are fond of saying: “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
The responsibility for fixing this problem does not lie with the judiciary.
The SAO can lobby for a bill, so can numerous other organizations.
A judge should play no part in solving this problem.
In the final analysis, increasing a bond does little. Raising a bond from $1,000.00 to $3,000.00 dollars doesn’t keep anyone in jail longer. It just puts an extra $200.00 in a bondsman’s pocket. Make the bond $10,000.00? The client’s family pays the bondsman $500.00 today and $500.00 next month, and the defendant still gets out at the same time.
We all know what’s coming: MADD and JC Planas and the Tallahassee Lassies will get together and enact a law requiring NO BOND for a person who has a DUI pending and is unfortunate enough to drive past Officer Closius or his “tough guy” partner Davenport, or any other officer that earns an extra 100 grand a year making DUI arrests.
And when that doesn’t work, eventually the madness will reach epic proportions and we will start to see the first cracks in the Constitution:
A Bill to amend Florida Statute 316.193.
The Legislature finds that DUI is a serious crime requiring serious solutions. Upon the arrest of an individual for DUI, the court shall order all Defendants held without bond. Upon the trial of a person accused of DUI, the court shall instruct the jury that all individuals who are arrested for DUI are presumed guilty, and it shall be the exclusive burden of the accused in these special cases to prove their innocence.
Far fetched? Just wait and see.
See You In Court watching the Constitution crumble.
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