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

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

HERE WE GO AGAIN

THE NY TIMES REPORTS:

DNA Evidence Frees Man After 15 Years in Prison

WHITE PLAINS, Sept. 20 — In 1990, a jury convicted Jeffrey Mark Deskovic, then 16, of raping, beating and strangling a high school classmate, even though jurors were told the DNA evidence in the case did not point to him.
They believed a police detective, who testified that Mr. Deskovic had confessed to the crime. A judge sentenced him to 15 years to life in prison, and at age 17 Mr. Deskovic was locked up.


Today, another judge set the 33-year-old Mr. Deskovic free, saying he agreed with his lawyers and the Westchester district attorney that more sophisticated DNA testing showed that someone else had killed and raped Angela Correa in November 1989.
When he heard that he was being set free, Mr. Deskovic, who has been arguing his innocence for years, sat speechless for a few minutes. Then he hugged his lawers and walked out of the courtroom.

Afterward, he talked to reporters and others about his overwhelming sense of relief, mixed with anger, over what he has lost by spending almost half his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

“I was supposed to finish out my education, begin a career,” he said. “Marry, have a family, spend some time with my family, share the last years of my grandmother’s life with her.”
He said his plans to marry his girlfriend were thwarted when he went to prison. His family grew apart.
“My family has become strangers to me,” Mr. Deskovic said.

Court records show that the police became suspicious of Mr. Deskovic when he showed unusual interest in the case, telling the police he was investigating the case himself, and visiting the crime scene.
A police detective said Mr. Deskovic had confessed.
But Mr. Deskovic had pleaded not guilty from the beginning of the case, and DNA evidence from the crime scene indicated he was not involved in the murder of his Peekskill High School classmate, who was 15. Ms. Correa’s body was found in a woods near an elementary school.

Even after he was imprisoned, Mr. Deskovic insisted he had not killed Ms. Correa, taking his case to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the matter.
Finally, with the aid of the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, the Westchester district attorney considered results of more sophisticated DNA evidence that pointed to someone else.
Prosecutors ran the results of the testing through a national databank, which turned up a match to another inmate already serving a life sentence for another Westchester murder.

Once again Rumpole notes that if the more serious murder cases are supposedly defended by the better defense attorneys, then who is working on the cases of innocent individuals in prison who were represented by "not the best attorneys" on cases involving questionable confessions or tainted eyewitness identifications for crimes like burglary or robbery?

Just a sobering, depressing, nightmarish thought.

How many times does this have to happen before we get it through our thick heads that the criminal justice system is broken and needs to be fixed?

We are so entranced with the American ideals of cross examination, the right to remain silent, the burden of proof, and a trial by jury, that we cannot see the forest through the trees.

Those ideals while worthy and deserving of praise, do not make up for the fact that thousands of innocent people (if not more) are in prison serving sentences.
There are over a million people incarcerated in our country. a five percent error rate means that more than 50,000 innocent people are in prison.

See You In Court, trying our best to prevent an injustice from occurring.

54 comments:

Haikku Harry said...

Rhymin Simon
You stupid fool
DUI guys not good
not cool

Anonymous said...

Deskovic probably would have committed a crime at some point in his life, so don't feel so bad for him.

judge ivan hernandez said...

To: "another cuban lawyer said" who gave me such holier than thou advice, I say to you:

http://www.bordergatewayprotocol.net/jon/humor/web_animations/1.swf

Judge Ivan Hernandez

Anonymous said...

preventative medicine is a good thing. a stitch in time saves nine; that sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

mad props to hugo chavez for charging g bush with leaving a sulphur like smell at the un lectern. finally a reason to watch c span 2

judge ivan hernandez said...

In fact, to all of you who feel the way "another cuban lawyer" feels, I say to you:

http://www.bordergatewayprotocol.net/jon/humor/web_animations/1.swf

Judge Ivan Hernandez

Anonymous said...

My proposal would call for all police officers to have at minimum
a four year college degree. The fact that you can start out with a high school degree and end up as
a Homicide Detective is just plain
wrong. They need more educated cops
who are more professional.

"But he confessed to it" would be
less likely to be the standard if
you had some Detectives out there
who had at least studied the phenomenon of false confessions
and/or DNA.

Rumpole said...

something tells me we are reading "fake"judge ivan hernandez's posts. Just a hunch.

Anonymous said...

It's that time of year again, apple season. Our trees are practically raining Granny Smiths. In anticipation of a long apple season we have begun to experiment with apple pies

abe laeser said...

To 7:29 p.m. blogger: Love your idea. Most police start at $38-40k now. Perhaps we could have better prosecutors if the legislature gave us more than $38,317 to start. Better public defenders, too. Once hired, so few stay long enough to be really skilled - and resist the monetary temptations on the 'outside'. Truth be told, for the most part the public gets the public servants they are willing to pay for. I wish it were not so.

Anonymous said...

Nobody picks a jury like Elortigui. Nobody.

Anonymous said...

Police officers should have a bachelor's degree and, according to a veteran cop, be no younger than 30 years old when they join the force.

Arista Records said...

Arista Records said...
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Billy Joel’s “I am an innocent Man”

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Anonymous said...

Alan. Business is slow. I'm worried.

another cuban lawyer said...

OK Ivan I Understand your reference to the following:

"to have no errors
would be life without meaning
no struggle, no joy"

if you are asking for forgiveness then my friend forgiveness is yours.
It is sad that you let yourself get carried away by D'arce to the point of losing your job inspite of a myriad of warnings.

Like my Grandmother used to say:
" El que por su gusto muere la muerte le sabe a gloria"

A jewish lawyer said...

My grandmother (Bubbie) used to say: Oy Vey...eat tatala eat.

Anonymous said...

DOLPHIN TICKETS FOR SALE

2 SWEET SEATS ON THE 45-LOWER DECK-PLUS PARKING PASS- $150.
YES 150.

I WILL NOT PAY MORE THAN $150 FOR ANYONE TO TAKE THESE OFF MY HANDS.

Anonymous said...

ABC PRESENTS: DANCING WITH THE CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS

THIS WEEK: Alex Michaels does the tango; Pat Nally does the Cha Cha Cha; and Scott Saul does the Hustle.

Anonymous said...

you can be a homicide detective with a high school diploma, and you can seek the death penalty as a 27 year old asa. whats wrong with these pictures.

Anonymous said...

it is a crime what they pay asa's. whats really sad is the disparity between asa's and county attorneys. To sit around and bless all the crooked shit the county commission dream you get paid at least 120 grand a few years out of law school. at the sao you are trying murder cases a few years out and you are lucky to crack 60g's


while pd's and asa are both underpaid they should not be paid on the same scale. before all you pd's start your bellyaching, the fact is that you guys are allowed to have outside legal employment that does not conflict with your pd work. asa's are not allowed to do this.

Anonymous said...

Elortigui has actually tried a case? To a jury? Really? Are you sure he's not dating Gwen Stafani, too?

Anonymous said...

A petition drive to dedicate one of the court rooms at the REGJB to the late Judge Manuel A. Crespo has begun. Also A petition drive to dedicate and rename the "South Dade Justice Center" to the "Manuel A. Crespo Justice Center" has begun. PLEASE CLICK THE LINKS BELOW, We need your help to get the word out:


http://www.operationrestorejustice.com/Crespo%20Petition%20Court%20Room.pdf

and

http://www.operationrestorejustice.com/Crespo%20Petition%20SDJC.pdf

-------------------------

Comments/Suggestions/Information etc; on this matter please E-mail:

ceo@operationrestorejustice.com

Anonymous said...

I doubt that D'arce brought Hernandez to anything he did not take himself to. D'arce could not force him to miss all the judge's meetings or the conferences with his colleagues that he missed. That was his own doing. Aside from that, I am sure that the "Fat Lady" has not sang her last song on this Chapter of judicial corruption. That is right, judicial as in sitting judges with the help of Bar Associations and Treasurers. Can't wait to see the last act.

Anonymous said...

Equanimity, Flexibility, Mercy which is balanced, not overwhelmed by Retribution, Creativity and Engaging and Sense of Humor. These are perhaps some of the necessary traits that make up "great judges." But we all seem to have various and divergent opinions as to the subject. I'd like to throw it out there as a possible discussion. What are the hallmarks of a great judge? Who is the best judge in your book, and why? How would you defend that? How would you strive to be if you were given the privelege

Anonymous said...

Proposed Rule:

A retracted confession shall not be admitted into evidence unless A)there exists wholly independent evidence corroborating the confession and B) the court finds a substantial basis for the truth of the confession.

Anonymous said...

Alan.

Anonymous said...

Yes Chris

Anonymous said...

on another more important note, norberto is gone, hence the clerks office is re-opened for business.

on a sanitary note, the bathrooms on the ground floor of the REG have reached a new level of stench. now it is not even possible to walk down the hall without smelling someone's bombs. i cant beleive that a bathroom can smell that bad, and am now forced to buy into the theory that dade county sprays fecal scented air freshener in all the commodes.

Anonymous said...

...and let's not forget that old favorite: " I fought the law and the law won. "

Anonymous said...

Regarding good judges, judges can start by attempting to learn the pertinent and current law before them by reading the Florida Law Weekly every week.

Anonymous said...

In Georgia:

Woman jailed for months over $700 fine
Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:07 AM ET

By Matthew Bigg

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A U.S. woman held in jail for seven months longer than her original sentence because she was too poor to pay a $705 fine was freed on Wednesday, her attorney said.

Ora Lee Hurley was ordered to pay the fine and sentenced in August 2005 to 120 days in jail after she was convicted in Georgia of possession of cocaine for personal use and breaking the terms of probation for a similar offense 15 years before.

She served the sentence at Atlanta's Gateway Diversion Center, a halfway house that allows its inmates out on day-release to work as long as they pay room and board.

Hurley, 45, worked at a restaurant earning $700 a month and was supposed to pay the fine with that money, according to a petition filed this week.

But monthly bills including a $600 payment to the center and $52 for transportation left her with only $23.22, out of which she also had to buy soap, toothpaste and other items.

Once the sentence was completed in February she was detained further because the fine, which dated back to the original probation terms from 1990, had not been paid.

"The justice system is designed with the intention that the amount of money you have should not factor into the length of time that you are in prison. But that's not the reality here," said attorney Sarah Geraghty of the Southern Center for Human Rights.

A petition filed on Hurley's behalf by the rights center argued that her imprisonment violated constitutional principles "which prohibit imprisoning a person whose poverty makes it impossible to pay a fine."

Hurley said she paid $7,643 in all but nobody explained why so little of that money went toward paying off the debt.

"I went through my little anger stage but I feel a lot better now that something has been done," she said from her home in Americus, Georgia. "It feels good (to be home). I have been away from home for 14 months."

Hundreds of people in Georgia alone may have suffered extended periods of incarceration due to the failure to pay fines, Geraghty said.

http://today.reuters.com/misc/PrinterFriendlyPopup.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=2006-09-21T120652Z_01_N20231436_RTRUKOC_0_US-CRIME-PRISONER.xml

Anonymous said...

i thought i heard something in con law about debtors prisons being aboloished or something

Anonymous said...

Ivan didn't lose because of D'Arce although that albatross certainly helped. Ivan lost because he simply wasn't a good judge and did none of the things necessary to remain on the bench. Being a good judge means you actually work for the public good rather than your own. You care about the cases and make yourself accessible rather than invisible. And you don't allow your employee to direct you, rather, you direct the employee.

He deserved opposition and when he got it there was no respect for him and no one there to protect him because he never earned it. Respect is something you earn, it doesn't come by virtue of the robe you wear. He sullied those robes and his loss is the judiciary's gain.

Don't feel sorry for him. He hasn't earned that either.

Yo, Judge Pineiro said...

To Rob Pineiro:

Your deluded if you think that judges (and judical candidates) dont directly solicit campaign contributions from attorneys.

I can count on my hands the number of times that its happened. I am quite sure not you, or most of your robed colleagues, but plenty of others.

I like you, youre a good guy,and a good judge but you have no clue what goes on in the real world.

btw, give both sides a little more time for voir dire and you would be paying manny crespo a great tribute. i think you mis-apply the term "speedy trial".

Anonymous said...

Why is Hugo Chavez kickin' it in Harlem promising reducated rate fuel to minorities?

Any response, preferably in Haiku format, will be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

NOVATO, Calif. - A man was convicted of various theft charges, after prosecutors say he stole computers from the courthouse while he was on trial for computer theft.

"It just amazed me that someone could be in the middle of a jury trial for a burglary involving computers and immediately get involved in another burglary at the Civic Center," said sheriff's Sgt. Jerry Niess.

Jon Houston Eipp, 39, of Novato pleaded guilty Monday in three separate cases involving 10 different charges, including burglary, theft, drug possession, attempted auto theft and more.
He could be facing nearly five years in prison when he is sentenced next month.

In an interview Monday night at the county jail, Eipp said he stole the computers "for personal reasons."

"I needed help, and I didn't know how to ask for help," he said. "And I guess, in my crazy way, that was my way of asking for help. Help with my drug problems, help with my sanity."

Anonymous said...

I do believe code compliance would cite the powers that be of the REG for unsanitary bathroom facilities. Either that or all who enter the REG ate way too much bean chili the previous night.

We need a courageous code compliance whistleblower to step in and possibly bite the hand that feeds you. Any takers?

Anonymous said...

The bathrooms located in floors 2 through 9 are ok, however the ones on the first floor are awfully stinky.

Mr. Clean said...

no way i'm giving up my secret bathroom locales, now way!

Mr. Clean said...

no way i'm giving up my secret bathroom locales, now way!

Mr. Clean said...

Mr. Clean gets rid of dirt and grime
And grease in just a minute
Mr. Clean will clean your whole house
And everything that's in it
Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean
(ping-ping-ping of xylophone)

Anonymous said...

at least guys can stand up in the bathrooms. how do women navigate this, thats what inquiring minds what to know?

Anonymous said...

I hear D'Arce looking for work. Does he have the required mop & pail.

not fake Haiku Harry said...

Hugo Chavez
crazy like fox
wonder if its a
hoax

Anonymous said...

I talked to Tony Marin today and he told me hired DArce

Anonymous said...

the bathrooms on the third floor are the best. and half empty most of the time. the first floor bathrooms should only be used by inmates and Judge Adrien. the fourth floor bathrooms smell funny no matter what.

thetruth said...

We should rename the city Mannyami.

Anonymous said...

if you can make it up to the 9th floor, the little bathroom by the side of the elevators is nice.

when the DUI judges had chambers behind 1-1 through 1-5 the JAs would let me pinch one off there. loree feiler had nice bathroom spray, but teri-ann miller didnt.

ive used bathrooms in jury rooms most often.

the 1st floor bathrooms need to be shut down. i guess the old expression that shit flows downward holds true.

Bert Parks said...

is this what we've become? talking about where to drop a deuce in the regjb?

i think we should have a judical hottie poll.

i'll start:

5. Pereyra-Shuminer
4. figarola
3. barzee
2. pozo-revilla
1. miller

Anonymous said...

THIS BLOG IS LITERALLY FULL OF SHIT

; )

Anonymous said...

we all have our secret locations, but you guys need to stay out of the jury room. thats MY location!

Anonymous said...

now that everyone has provided all the hotspots to let one go, its going to be one smelly floor after another

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

An important new report about the death penalty was just released. Many newspapers throughout the State have commented on the issue today. Here is one from the St. Pete Times that warrants reading:

"Broward County's Frank Lee Smith spent 14 years on death row for a crime that DNA evidence finally determined he did not commit. Smith died of cancer protesting his innocence even as the state pushed for his execution. His case is not unique. With 22 death-row inmates exonerated, Florida leads the nation in the number of capital convictions that didn't hold up upon further scrutiny. All told, this group spent 150 years in prison before being set free.

Even to supporters of capital punishment, this fact should cause some discomfort. When the proportion of inmates exonerated equals more than 30 percent of the number executed, there is something about the system that needs fixing.

Those deficiencies have been detailed in a 400-page report generated by leaders from Florida's legal community, including both supporters and opponents of the death penalty. The group put its substantial talent toward diagnosing the problems and offering concrete remedial suggestions for a fairer and more accurate system. Now it is up to the state, which executed Clarence Hill on Wednesday for the murder of a Pensacola police officer, to implement the recommendations.

Many of the findings are consistent with what has been known for a long time. Florida's system is designed to give the accused the appearance of due process rather than providing the resources necessary to do the job right.

The report says that the private counsel on the state's capital collateral registry are often unqualified to do the complicated legal work required in death penalty appeals, and the experience standards should be much higher. Part of the reason that the quality of legal representation is so poor is that the state caps fees at an absurdly low level - so low that the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the caps could be exceeded in extraordinary cases. But even with the high court's ruling, the state Legislature has put up roadblocks to paying these lawyers fairly.

Florida is one of only a handful of states that doesn't require jurors to be unanimous in their recommendations for death. Moreover, judges may override a jury's determination for life imprisonment and unilaterally impose death. It wouldn't cost anything to make our rules conform with procedures adopted in most other death penalty states, which would limit the death penalty to universally agreed-upon cases.

There are a number of other sensible recommendations, including writing statewide protocols for charging defendants with a capital crime as a way of standardizing the penalty. This also wouldn't cost anything, and it would bring a needed uniformity to the state's penal code.

Even those who support the death penalty should be pushing for these changes. No one wants another innocent Frank Lee Smith scheduled to die while the real killer gets away with murder. Only a process that ensures competent representation and reasonable safeguards against the death penalty's overuse will serve justice and our state."

CAPTAIN OUT .............

Anonymous said...

Speaking of duece's, aren't the dolphins 0 and 2?