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

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

ETHICS

A putative prosecutor complained on the blog last night about defense attorneys who announce ready when the state asks for a continuance and then the next time the case is up, the defense asks for a continuance to take depos, file motions, etc., when the state announces it’s ready for trial. The prosecutor believed this was not ethical.

Rumpole responded that lawyers (on both sides) who use the system to their client’s advantage are not acting unethical.

Query: What is ethical, and what courtroom manoeuvres have you seen that have crossed the line?

Have at it.

See you in court, not objecting to first continuances, and announcing ready for trial.

PS. That’s how we spell manoeuvre at Eton.

58 comments:

History Hank said...

This Day In History

Hitler Is Appointed Chancellor of Germany (1933)
After the Nazi party lost seats in Germany's 1932 parliamentary elections, leading German businessmen and political figures appealed to Hindenburg, the president of Germany, to appoint Hitler chancellor, and Hindenburg reluctantly complied.

Quintin The Quoter said...

For Those Judges who always start at 9:00 precisely:

He was always late on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Anonymous said...

this debate will self destruct in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6.......

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this question is best answered by robed readers. When a judge asks, "are you ready?" is "yes" (but only because the state isn't) an honest answer?

Rumpole said...

That is an interesting point. Perhaps the way the case is called creates the issue: there are many times when a case is up for the first time that I am not ready. For instance, when I have a vacation set for the week of the trial, and the Judge asks if I am ready, I always say no- but ask for the continuance to be charged to the state and there not to be a waiver of speedy trial under the theory I can have another attorney stand in for me if necessary. Some attorneys have pulled me aside afterwards to tell me that they disagree with what I did and that it hurts the client.

Perhaps if Judges agreed to charge a continuance to state when they announce they are not ready regardless of the the defense's status, it would make lawyers less inclined to be disingenuous with the court. I remmeber one Judge who made the defense announce first. That's another way to do it. The more I think about it, the more I belive the current system often puts the defense attorney on the spot where he or she beieves that if they are honest, they are also hurting their clients.

Anonymous said...

Bullshit. A lawyer shall not make a false statement to the court. Squirm with it all you like, saying ready when you are not is a lie and is sanctionable. It does not matter who does it.

Rumpole said...

That's why I don't announce ready when I am going away. But the system as set up puts lawyers at odds with their clients best interests and needs to be changed.

Rumpole said...

PS. I would encourage a little more thought process into the language we use on the blog. We are supposed to be trained advocates. A good thesaurus might be of assistance.

Anonymous said...

Disagree totally. We all remain bound by the rules of professional conduct. If it is in the best interest of the client to take the stand and lie, we are obligated to attempt to withdraw, and if not able to, to notify the court. We cannot put on perjured testimony, no matter how much it would help the client. The system is at odds with the shady-lawyer's ethics. It is terrible that the court would have to change the order of inquiery as to the status of the parties to ensure that defense attorneys don't lie to the court. Same goes for the state, nobody should lie to the court.

Anonymous said...

I interned with the PD office north of the border and ended up working for the SAO. When I was an intern I thought that ASAs were unethical. I was appalled when the state announced ready when clearly they knew they were not.

I had a situation where the state announced ready for trial- all they way to calling the first witness. they rested.We knew the state was not ready because the witness skipped town. The state was forced to rest when the judge refused to allow a continuance for one day in order for the state to find the victim. The ASA stated to the judge that he had contact with the witness through calendar call and after informing the court that he was ready for trial, the witness disappeared.

On the other side, we at the PDs office knew that the witness never appeared for depos set twice and that the address came back as unknown and rather than file rules to show cause, we rolled it for trial.

I now work for the SAO- not saying which County but I now see both sides. The ASA relied on his victim witness coordinator to make contact with the victim. The victim witness coordinator at the last moment tells the ASA that he has lost contact with the victim. The ASA tries to locate the victim and finds out from some neighbor that he is too scared and decided to disapear or take that much needed vacation. The ASA asks for a continuance at trial. The PD office objects. the ASA eventually gets reprimanded for announcing ready in the first place.

We at the PD knew that one more delay would result in the ASA convincing the witness to come forward.

As PDs we were obligated to find the best outcome for our client whether he was technically guilty or not and that outcome was fighting for the poor , innocent guilty soul so that he could be release to yet again rob another person.

After that experience, I chose to work for the SAO.

Is there a right or wrong answer to asking for continuances? It seems to me that it is all trial stategy. The only people hurt is the public at large.

Maybe I should be drafting wills instead

Rumpole said...

I see your point. I agree about the issue of perjured testimony. This issue of announcing ready seems to be more of a slippery slope. I am not advocating lying to the court under any circumstances. Lets look at it another way:

Say there is a month left for speedy trial. The case appears for sounding and the state is not ready because they cannot find their alleged victim. The defense has already taken the person's depo, but was planing on calling a police officer who arrested the alleged victim for perjury, but that officer is on vacation until the week after the trial setting. What does the attorney say?

Anonymous said...

ready for trial

Rumpole said...

But is that the truth?

sleezy sam said...

sort of....

the trialmaster said...

the TRIALMASTER is always ready for trial....

Jane Doe said...

The attorney announces ready.

I'm sure the ASAs will hate this comment, but being "ready" depends on the circumstances... all of the circumstances.

It doesn't mean that I've taken all the depos.

It doesn't mean that I've looked under every stone.

It doesn't mean that I've requested and received every last piece of irrelevant discovery.

Announcing ready means...

In light of what I think the State is going to be able to bring forth against my client... on the scheduled trial date... I am ready for trial.

Rumpole Hunter#06A said...

Is Rump Dela Rump Miguel De La O?

Here is why I ask: I have spent I estimate 35 hours tracking down Rumpole through his clues. I am now at a website which claims to be three websites away from "The Seven Seals Of Rumpole Website" which sounds so complicated I don't even want to think about it.

But back to Rump De La Rump. Those of us who cracked the initial codes (the email is the key...hehehe) have entered a world of intrigue where up is down and left is right. Some of us, including me, believe certain messages on the comment board are coded and when someone addresses a post to a take off on Rumpole's name- like "rumpy" "rumparoo" or "Rump del la Rump", it means something more than it seems.

So....If anyone knows if Rump dela Rump is addressed to Miguel De La O, please post your reasons why here, as it will help me with the clues on the website I am now stuck at.

You may not believe me- but once you get started,i.e., past the initial cluses, this is like the best video game I have ever played. Even if I never get his identity, it is fun.

The website where you get an identity is kind of cool as well.

Anonymous said...

i agree. that's why readiness can change from one sounding to the next. when i announce ready... i'm announcing ready for a particular trial date/period.

Anonymous said...

If announcing ready when the state has the burden of proving the case is what it takes for my client, no matter how sleezy he is to get off then that is what I will do as his advocate. It is not a lie- it is in trial strategy.

Rumpole said...

Jane doe said in part:

Announcing ready means...

In light of what I think the State is going to be able to bring forth against my client... on the scheduled trial date... I am ready for trial.


Rumpole says: See, she did a great job putting her finger on the exact pressure point. This is exactly where the problems arise.

Rumpole said...

I am stunned beyond words at the post regarding my identity and cannot even begin to formulate a reply to an individual who is living on another planet. Rump de la rump is a code???Pleeze.

Huh??? said...

The Seven Seals Of Rumpole Website??? This is turning into a biblical fantasy!!

Anonymous said...

I can assure you Miguel de La O is not Rumpole. I would try Brian T?

I am of the opinion that Rumpole is a DV Judge because Rumpole is very sensitive to any bad mouthing of former Judge Samuels. (go back and read).

Rumpole shoves his "I am not a Judge" way too much and that makes be think that he is a Judge. Plus add to the fact that many ethical Judges write in under real name. This makes me think they are all in on the secret and feel ok writing in because they know it is a fellow Judge running this gig.

Another thought is that I do not think that a Judge would write in on a Blog that is run by an anonymous lawyer due to the fact that once the identity of the fellow lawyer is found it may not turn out to be a peachy guy. (no offense Rumpole).

In any event the creator of the blog is someone who seems to be a ok guy.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole seems like a good guy. He's doing a good job running the blog. Does it really matter who he is? And, where I have gone wrong in my life, that I don't have the time to spend 35 hours trying to break a non-existent code? I guess I should get an associate or something.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole seems like a good guy. He's doing a good job running the blog. Does it really matter who he is? And, where I have gone wrong in my life, that I don't have the time to spend 35 hours trying to break a non-existent code? I guess I should get an associate or something.

Anonymous said...

Geez. Some of these guesses about Rumpole cannot even compose a sentence with a comma in it; let alone have ever read the Classics, or even went to History class. Wake up people!

P.S. Rumpole, it is ETON. Eaton makes paper products.

The Profiler said...

i used to get speedy dismissals all the time, b4 the plate glass "window" exception was created for the state.

these were mostly in county court where s/t period was 90 days with no wiggle room for the state. judge mapp (all-righty-diddy, what say ye state?) would set a case for trial on the 89th day and continue it for a day if the state wasnt ready or they gave you late disco.

i remember coming back like 3 days in row for a dui case, on the 88th, 89th and 90th days.

ive been a defense attorney for over 20 years, after 3 at the sao. truth is defense lawyers want speedy dismissals, not speedy trials, and to say otherwise is disingenuous. true believers at the pdo can say whatever drivel they want about burdens of proof and the state's obligations and so forth, but the truth of the matter is that its a smokescreen for what we really want...have the client walk.

of course we defense lawyers play games, but so do the asa's...especially the young ones who do so out of fear, lack of honesty or lack of persepctive or a combination of those. i have no problem with what i do

Anonymous said...

At least you are an honest sleedeyrou!

Anonymous said...

Frank Nitti had no problem with what he did, either. Did that make it right?

Anonymous said...

Does anybody really gives a rat's ass about the identity of Rumpole?

Anonymous said...

i could not care less... regardless of who he/she is i think they're great..... GO RUMPY!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wait... you just referred to him as Rumpy. That must be part of the code!

Anonymous said...

If you would worry more about determining if your evidence is in order, your witnesses are available, and whether you've completly complied with the rules of discovery rather than whether WE have taken our depos or filed our motions or conveyed a plea offer, then maybe you would be ready more often.

By the way, you should listen to your mommy more often.

Anonymous said...

If the State isn't ready to prove the case, I'm ready to defend. Without its witnesses the State has no case and I am ready to defend. Its a no brainer. IT is NOT unethicial at all, just good tactics. The ASAs are wrong, we are bnot in court to seek the truth, but to see if the State can prove the Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If I know they are shooting blanks or brought a knife to a gun fight, I'm ready, bring down the jury
D. Sisselman

Anonymous said...

I believe that Rumpole and The Captain know each other and may even share the same space.

Right, Rumpy

Anonymous said...

Normally, a defense attorney does not have to make any announcement when the State announces not ready. The judge will then grant a State-charged continuance without the defense attorney having to say a word.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, if the State is not ready, then the Defense should not be charged with a continuance because the delay is not attributed to the Defense. Regardless if the Defense is ready or not the case cannot go to trial. Remember, the burden is 100% on the State.

This is coming from a VERY conservative Asshole former ASA.

Anonymous said...

To 4:26: Maybe they share the same bed, like The Captain and Tennille...

Anonymous said...

muskrat susie, muskrat sam?

Anonymous said...

ewwwwwwwww, muskrat rumpole love.

Anonymous said...

what is Judge Ortiz's personality on the bench like ?

Rumpole said...

Anonymous said...
In all fairness, if the State is not ready, then the Defense should not be charged with a continuance because the delay is not attributed to the Defense. Regardless if the Defense is ready or not the case cannot go to trial. Remember, the burden is 100% on the State.

This is coming from a VERY conservative Asshole former ASA.

Rumpole says= that works. If all judges would agree to this then it would lessen the temptation for an attorney to be less than candid at a sounding.

I am not a Judge. I do not know the Captain. I am astounded people would believe there is a "seven seals of rumpole" website.

Rumpole said...

Blogger has finally been able to update the blog. The comments may have been lost. I'm working on it with my Tech Dept.

Anonymous said...

david marcus is the tech dept

Anonymous said...

expressions that are overused:

"at the end of the day"
"slippery slope"
"i'm ready"

Anonymous said...

the truth is the only fair way to keep everyone honest is to make people submit a piece of paper in whcih you announce to the judge in writing without the other side knowing. that way you cant cheat or engage in the "mickey mousing" that built the homes of Catalano, Reiff and Hersch.

The other thing is how many continuances county judges grant on dui's. No dui should ever ever be continued more than once per side. Bobby I know you File such complex motions but you can cut and paste them like everyone else does

Anonymous said...

Rumpole is none other than Joe Farina!

Anonymous said...

"mickey mousing" that built the homes of Catalano, Reiff and Hersch."

Thats just wrong.

Anonymous said...

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz to this whole segment

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but calling a misrepresentation a "trial strategy" does not make it any less of an ethical violation.

If the defense is not ready, the continuance should be a joint continuance. Speedies are waived when the defense is not ready, regardless of the state's readiness (check the rule, there's no exception for situations where the state is not ready also). Fortunately, most of this nonsense is confined to county court. When I was an A and a DC at the SAO I routinely coordinated my trial schedule with the PDs (of course, when I was a C and B, I was too naive and inexperienced to do that). Everyone came out better for it, including the defendants. Why? Because we got along and didn't waste time on nonsense or posturing (I didn't keep crappy cases pending and made reasonable plea offers and the PDs didn't argue silly motions or ask for diversion on murder cases). Of course, I also had good to great judges, which helped a lot.

Anonymous said...

Umm, on a little more pleasant note, I'd like to suggest the following thread to Rump:

What's your funniest trial war story? It should be something that happened in a case YOU were trying, and not something you saw or some urban legend.

Rumpole said...

On a pleasant note- I deleted that comment.

Hey- Mr/Ms. rage against the machine- don't you understand that every time you leave a comment like that it will get deleted? If it makes you feel good to see it on the blog for 10 minutes or so, so be it. But It will never remain up for long.

I suggest: 1) Decaf in the morning;
2) More therapy
3) Less masturbation.
4) An adult evening class at FIU entitled "How to express yourself in writing without cursing."

Your Pal, Rumpole.

Anonymous said...

On A lighter note... The J.A.C. has run out funding again.. the defense is ready..

Anonymous said...

of funding... sorry.

Anonymous said...

ON THE SUBJECT OF ETHICS:

After drafting a will for an elderly client, the attorney announced a fee of $100.

The client gave the attorney a $100 bill.

After the client left, the attorney saw that the client had in fact paid $200, as two of the client's $100 bills had stuck together.

Looking at the $100 overpayment, an ethical question arose in the attorney's mind: "Do I tell my partner?"

rick freedman said...

This is the message from the JAC re funds for Court Appointed Counsel:

The Justice Administrative Commission has processed a request for early release of 4th quarter funds for the Court-Appointed Criminal Due Process and Dependency/Other Civil Due Process appropriation categories. The Governor’s Office has notified the JAC that these funds for both appropriation categories will be released on Monday, February 5th. As of January 29, 2007, funds in the Court Appointed Criminal Due Process category were exhausted. Currently there are adequate funds available in the Court Appointed Dependency/Other Civil appropriation category. The Chief Financial Officer’s staff has requested that JAC continue to send over payment processing data on a daily basis, so that when funds are available on Monday, they will be prepared to process this week’s payments as soon as possible. Payment requests submitted by the JAC to the CFO this week would likely either be returned to JAC in the form of a check to be mailed to vendors, or deposited in vendors’ accounts via the direct deposit process next week, many as early as Tuesday.

FACDL and FACDL-Miami will continue to lobby the appropriate officials, (state senators, state house reps, members of the criminal justice appropriations committee, governor's office, etc.) to try and resolve this funding problem. We appreciate your support.

Rick Freedman
FACDL-Miami

Rumpole said...

1

Anonymous said...

Talk about ethical ASAs. David Kahn just got promoted to felonies! Keep an eye out for the bastion of truth, justice, and the State's way, "Death Penalty Dave."