RICK FREEDMAN GIVES US AN UPDATE:
Court Appointed Counsel Update:
In reference to the money, or lack of it, many people on both a local and statewide level are working very hard to get the money released ASAP.
On a more critical issue: As many of you know, this new statewide system took birth on July 1, 2004 as a result of the 1998 constitutional amendment that voters passed transferring funding from a local level to a state level. With that, the legislature spent two years writing legislation that was passed in 2003 and 2004 to help run the new system. While the CAC system is run by the JAC in Tallahassee, we were very successful in keeping local input to a maximum with the creation of the local ISC (Indigent Service Committee), the FRC (Fee Review Committee) and the Screening Committee. Each of the 20 circuits still have these groups in place to help keep most of the decision-making local.
Now, only 27 months into this new system, there is a move afoot to change it again.
The present system would be replaced by one run 100% out of Tallahassee.
An "Executive Director" would be hired (sort of like a Chief Public Defender) who would then hire Regional Directors and Local Directors. They would rent office space and hire staff throughout the state. All decisions would begin and end with the Executive Director.
What's good for the attorney in Palatka or Pahokee would be good for the attorney in Miami. [Rumpole notes: what a wonderful thought. We need a little Pahokee in Miamah."
All staff would be paid employees of the State. They would replace all of the above committees that are VOLUNTEER committees.
We would have NO local input.
Needless to say, we are fighting like hell against these changes.
We are lobbying members of the Commission that is responsible for this new proposal. We are lobbying judges throughout the State that we feel can help our position. We are lobbying State Senators and State Representatives. We will be lobbying both the Lt. Gov. and the Governor.
Someone asked what FACDL-Miami does.
This is just one of the things we do.
We do many, many other things that benefit the members of the criminal defense bar.We invite your comments and suggestions and hope to have you as a member of our organization for 2007.
Rumpole says: Pay your 2007 FACDL dues now. President David O Markus just sent out an email with the bill. If you are not a member, go to the link for Markus's blog and shoot him an email. Before you can say "The people in Tallahassee are not the brightest bulbs on the tree" Markus will have you signed up.