WHAT TO DO ON YOUR ERNESTO DAYS OFF? Rumpole has the solution: CLE!!
That pesky Bar requires we keep current on CLE:
(despite a popular myth, CLE does not stand for Come. Leave Early).
Today we have a quick refresher course on DISCOVERY IN FLORIDA:
Q: What is discovery in a criminal case in Florida?
A: Discovery is the bedrock principle that all citizens accused of a crime are entitled to view all of the evidence against them, speak to all of the witnesses before trial, and receive all evidence that tends to show they may be innocent.
Q: How does it really work?
A: At arraignment you ask for discovery. The prosecution responds that they gave to the PD who sneezed at the bond hearing, triggering discovery. The PD in court tells you to call their secretary to arrange to copy it. The secretary will be available on December 29 at 4:15 PM.
Q: But it’s August now.
Q: Can’t the PD’s secretary make you a copy sooner?
A: No, their handwriting is not that good.
Q: No, I mean with a copy machine?
Q: What else can I do?
A: Log on to Amazon.com and purchase several large Russian novels and when they are delivered, go to the clerk’s office to request a copy of the file
Q: Then what?
A: Pick up your copy of the file on December 29.
Q: Let’s say you got a copy of discovery, what do you then do?
A: Nothing. The prosecution will revoke all plea offers, including CTS, seek life in prison plus court costs, sue you and your client in civil court, and order that you be stripped searched at the door of the court room if you actually attempt to use the rights guaranteed to your client and take a deposition before pleading guilty.
Q: That’s outrageous! Shouldn’t the FACDL do something about that?
A: Yes. As we speak, your Miami FACDL representative is busy scheduling a banquet and selling ads on the menu to court reporters and bondsmen.
Q: Well, thank goodness for them.
Q: Lets say we decide to subpoena witnesses. What do we do?
A: First, decide where you want to take the deposition. At the PD’s office or the SAO.
Q: What’s the difference?
A: Not much. However, an ever expanding list of attorneys are banned at the PD’s office, and will be forced to use the SAO. At the SAO you will be forced to wait in a long line to speak to a highly trained “deposition specialist” at the window on the SAO’s first floor.
Generally, the exchange will go something like this:
Attorney:” I’m here for a deposition”.
Highly Trained Specialist (HTS): “A what?”
Attorney: A deposition. “We sent you a notice. It’s in that book you have.”
HTS: “A what?”
Attorney: “Can you call the prosecutor?”
Attorney: ” I need a deposition room.”
HTS: “A what?”
Attorney: “My court reporter is here.”
You get the idea.
Discovery in summary:
Once you get a copy of the discovery (average time 6 months); decide to take depositions ( Plea offer becomes life at best) ;
get a deposition room (average wait: 2 hours);
you will sit in that room for the length of the time your depositions were set. Once the time expires, and no witnesses have appeared, get up, and leave.
NEXT TIME: RULES TO SHOW CAUSE. Fun with JA’s and getting a case on calendar.
CLE Rules: Carefully read and study the above re-fresher course. Print out the course and write your bar number at the bottom. Hand the form to one of the cashiers at Au Bon Pain (they have great soup lately) and in six or seven years your 2 hours for Discovery Re-fresher course will be applied.
Thanks for reading.
LATE BREAKING ERNESTO UPDATE: Its going to rain. And there will be some wind. Channel 7 (motto: "give us a rain drop, and we'll give you panic") reports, the end is near.