Thursday, February 15, 2007

TO SERVE, PROTECT AND....INTIMIDATE?


Walk into any police station in South Florida and ask for papers to file a complaint against a law enforcement officer. And watch what happens next. Better bring the phone number of a good bondsman with you as well.

CBS4 did that and a Rumpole Irregular posted the link to the story last night. It’s worth reading.
STORY





This is how we lose the Bill Of Rights. Not with any sweeping law, but with small encroachments every day by those who think the public works for them, not the other way around.

Police Officers are unique in that they go to work every day with the possibility they may not come home at night. For that they should be respected, well paid, and well trained. However, what we often see is that some of them forget what it is they are putting their life on the line to protect. They protect not only people and property, but they also protect the Constitution. In a very real sense, when they intimidate people and create an “us versus them” attitude, they diminish the value of the job they may one day die for.

We applaud the attitude of City of Miami Chief Timoney and his statements of zero tolerance for this behavior. However, actions speak louder than words, so what’ going to happen to those officers under his command who behaved poorly?

As a trial lawyer, we have the occasion to speak to hundreds of jurors each year; thousands over the years we have been picking juries. Even as a defense attorney, the most troubling stories we hear are from those citizens who say they could never be fair to a police officer because of some unfair treatment they received in the past.

Miami has had it’s share of shameful police conduct over the years. And Miami has been blessed with someone of the most dedicated law enforcement officers in the nation. The task for the Prosecutors and Police is to weed out the former, and train more officers to follow in the proud traditions of the latter.

And if we haven’t been clear enough in this post, let us reiterate the point again: for every officer who acts inappropriately like those in the channel 4 story, there are dozens of officers who spend their days helping people, taking a few bucks of their own money and buying a hungry family some food, and hundreds of other small acts of kindness that never get reported. That makes the task of weeding out these bad if not dangerous officers all the more important.


Would you really want one of the officers in that video responding to your home to assist you if you or your family were the victims of a crime? As a prosecutor, would you really want your whole case to rest on the credibility of one of these officers?

There are compelling reasons to avoid having one bad apple spoil the whole bunch.

See You In Court.



51 comments:

Anonymous said...

The lack of a form is not, in and of itself, damning (though, it is certainly not the smartest thing in the world). Departments need to talk to complainants to properly process complaints anyway.

What offends me (as a citizen and former prosecutor) is how some of the officers treated the reporters. They are a disgrace to everything law enforcment officers stand for.

I would not, however, then most of the videos were cut off after the officers said that the department did not have a form. I suspect that those officers treated the reporter politely. It's a shame that CBS chose to edit the tapes the way they did..........I think they made the problem appear much more pervasive than it may be (and, hopefully, is).

Anonymous said...

The last two cops in the video who tried to give the reporter a ticket needs a good ass woopin.

As for the cop who put his hand on the gun I think he was the cop who tried to get an injunction against CBS4 to prevent the airing. The judge denied the TRO

Anonymous said...

While there are certainly bad police officers, who disgrace the profession (as there are lawyers who discgrace our profession), I think it extremely important to stress that police officers do a thankless job, putting their lives at risk every single night for people who would so easily spit at them. How many times have we seen video footage of a trooper who pulls someone over for a traffic offense and then gets shot to the death by the driver? Do we remember Trooper Robert Smith who was on the side of I95 conducting a traffic stop and got crashed into and killed? How about Cheryl Seiden? How awful was that? How about the Homestead cop who got shot in the face and almost died choking on his own blood after conducting a traffic stop? I really hope this doesn't turn into a bash cops thread.

Anonymous said...

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/16701053.htm

Anonymous said...

Although I strongly disagree with the policy and the way that the officers treated the person asking for a complaint form, I find it very unprofessional, that CBS4 would air this report on the same day that the same reporter was arrested for resisting with and assaulting a P.O. http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/local/16701179.htm

On other hand, it is suspicious that the reporter was arrested on the same day. Did the MDPD get word that the segment would air and used the arrest as a means to intimidate the reporter and silence the airing of the report?

Either way it just doesn't seem right.

Anonymous said...

Like in all professions, about 95% of all officers work hard and care about their responsibilities to the rest of us. Sure, there are lousy cops -- lousy lawyers, lousy judges, etc.

You feel like venting? Just make sure that the lousy ones (like in the video) learn a lesson.

Anonymous said...

In honor of Judge Glick's pending retirement, here's a little ditty from yesterday's comments that I enjoyed- and by the way- I like Glick and think he's a great Judge.

Anonymous said...
There Once was a Judge Named Glick
In Calendar his temper was a mite quick
In Trials he elated
Guilty verdicts he rarely abated
And his sentences were laid on too thick

Rumpole said...

Trooper Smith, Officer Seiden, Officer Scotty Rakow From the Beach, the list of Hero Officers who died in the line of duty is way too long.

The point of the post is that arrogant cops who abuse citizens dishonor their memory as well.

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear Rump de la Rump. Well said old chap.

Rumpole said...

The JBB BLog: People are reading!!!

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Rumpole Hunter said...

"Rump de la Rump" at 11:50 am.

There's another coded message in there somewhere. This has got to stop. It's driving me crazy.

agent provacateur said...

Speaking of police corruption, how about the biggest scam of all--police overtime. When I was leaving the Justice Building this morning, wondering why we had to have so much police security for the Jessica Lansford case (what do they expect--a NAMBLA organized conspiracy to assault the courthouse and rescue the defendant?), I saw Big, Fat Jerry Davenport hanging out in the new media village on N.W. 13th Court, and it suddenly all made sense to me. This is just another chance for all of the underworked cops in Dade County to suck at the public teat again and earn time and a half for sitting around and talking to each other, while occasionally hassling somebody who wants to see what is going on with the case. Even worse was the Super Bowl, when my friend and I were walking in and saw at least 200 police cars lined up in a makeshift parking lot to the north of the stadium. Did we really need this sort of police presence or were all of these public servants there to earn overtime and see the big game for free? I wonder what the budget is for the Lunsford trial and if Dade County has to pay any part of it.

Anonymous said...

OK, 1 MORE TIME FOR YOU SLOW LEARNERS; THE IDENTITY OF RUMPOLE IS NOT ONE PERSON. Rumpole is a collaboration of over 10 gossip hounding attorneys in the building with like minded former asa, pds who are judges. the amount of information, history of the people, places, things of the bldg.and miami-dade are too much for one person. if you want to know who these people are they are the ones who gossip incesantly, follow people around the courthouse, go into courtrooms where they don't have a case pending, a pd on a different floor from his assigned judge, people who make fun of the best and most professional lawyers who mind their business and don't do all the illegal crap so they can live in the gables and drive a mercedes. rumpoles are the ones who chase the roy black's around the building wondering why they are there ,etc. Here is my list of rumpole coconspirators in no particular order: lurvey, reisenstein, denaro, tannebaum, federal marcus, moldovan, zenobi, grey, shuminer, steckl,lyons, roark, dui hacks, waks, gaer, laesaer, chilotis before he left, a couple of pds, glick, piniero, hague,. will you all please get a life.

the anti-tannenbaum said...

State Newbies:

In cases where Mutley made a statement to the police, make sure you voir dire that issue. Ask jurors if the think the cops should not talk to people accused of a crime. Find out if they think its ok to bluff a confession out of Mutley. If the statement is not recorded, find out if the juror will hold it against the police. To many people think all police are like the guys from piece.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Chilotis, they added charges.

Rumpole said...

1:09 PM.
I'm flattered...I think.

Anonymous said...

what are the added charges on cholakis?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for him they added 2 more counts of DUI serious injury, 2 counts of reckless driving/serious injuries, 1 count of reckless driving property/person and 1 count of DUI damage property/person.

Anonymous said...

Rumps, shouldn't that be: "We're flattered....we think?"

DUI DAN said...

The addition of the reckless counts appears on first blush to indicate a potential problem with the DUI counts. Is there a problem with the breath/blood?

George, you have lots of friends pulling for you.

Rumpole said...

Longtime and careful readers of the blog know that in the comments section we drop the royal we and speak in the first person.

Anonymous said...

Rump
All that evil needs to triump is for good people to do nothing. Every time the State/Gov't trys to take anyones LIBERTY some lawyer must challlenge the State, if only so evil does not triump.Most cops I know are good guys; but the bad seeds pollute freedom and betray their oaths.
D. Sisselman

Anonymous said...

from that article about the CBS guy being arrested:

"BSO's Police Benevolent Association's website posted a mock police bulletin warning of Kirsch's reporting that included personal information, such as his home address and driver's license number."

I agree 100% with Rumps post and have respect and gratitude for the vast majority of the law enforcement community.

Any employee of the state or city who assembled that website should be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

"Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb."

Anonymous said...

I purchased on February the Peter Pan Peanut Butter that is all over the news today. That day I had a P&J and got very sick that night and worse yesterday.

Now this morning I see on the news that the jar and lot number is part of a CDC and FDA recall due to other people getting sick.

Do I have a case and what should I do? I am still felling bad.

Anonymous said...

Wrong blog. Try the DCTLA blog: www.chaseanambulance.com

Anonymous said...

you may have a case of the runs

Anonymous said...

"the new media village on N.W. 13th Court,"

Possibly one of the funniest lines on this blog.

Anonymous said...

8:27 someone attempts to seek serious discussion and you just pop him in the face.

Anonymous said...

George Alvarez as Circuit Judge? The beggining of the end of Western Civilization as we know it!

Anonymous said...

like Feiler being a judge is not one of the signs of the Apocalypse mentioned in Revelations.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nbc6.net/news/11025450/detail.html?dl=mainclick

anti-anti-tannenbaum said...

to anti-tannenbaum:

since you have so much advice for asa's why not point out that a revocation or increase in bond based on the additional charges in state v. chilokis is in order...or is your standard different when its one of your own?

abe laeser said...

Why?

Did George Cholakis become a greater flight risk because additional charges were filed?

Would you accept that result if he were your client?

I only wish that those who cry aloud about their client's rights would have the decency not to trash my friend -- because he worked as a prosecutor.

The 'power' of the State is arrayed against him - it would be nice to think that the criminal defense Bar (Liberty's Last Champions)could just hold its collective breath, and let the case evolve on its own.

Anonymous said...

RE: your 10:19pm blog poster...Judge Loree Feiler will make an excellent judge. Jeff Feiler would be even better. They both have been around the justice bldg. for 25 years and are our good friends. Would you rather have Judge Amy Steele Donner rotate back to the justice bldg. and be sentencing your client? Think about it.

CAPTAIN said...

The Captain Reports:

Abe:

Standard practice in Broward - fortunately not in Dade yet - is to automatically revisit the bond status anytime new or changed charges occur.

As a defense attorney, I think the practice in Broward sucks, but, according to the law and what all the bondsmen tell me, the judges up North are doing it correctly.

The bonding company is immediately off of the hook on the original bond, if there has been any change in the charges. The bonding company only guaranteed the defendant's presence on the original charges; not the new ones. That is why, in Broward, the Clerk/Judge automatically sets a bond status hearing any time there are new or changed charges.

Having said that, I agree with Abe that George needs our support.


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

Rumpole said...

The Captain's post is 100% correct in his application of the law, and his view of this tragic case. And Mr. Laeser, it is our experience that some prosecutors take advantage of this and routinely file new and different charges, especially after a contentious bond hearing prior to the arraignment, if for no oter reason than to get the client incarcerated and have another bite at the apple on bond. Indeed, I have had prosecutors threaten to do just that if I continued in my request for bond. As is my policy in all cases where my client is threatened, I immediately proceeded to the hearing, and made sure the prosecutor had the chance to acknowledge his/her "discussions" with me, on the record.

Anti-Anti-Tannenbaum said...

ABE:

perhaps my point was lost in its sarcasm.

i was attempting to draw out any hypocracy of another poster (anti-tannenbaum), no doubt an ASA. lately he/she has been posting tips for young ASAs, such as techniques for increasing bond, etc...

and i was waiting to read what he had to say on the chilokis matter. would a double standard emerge and reveal his hypocracy? so far. no reply.

i oppose an increase/revisitation of bond for george and i only wish him well.

Anonymous said...

Great ceremony Judge Marino-Pedraza!

YEY!

Anonymous said...

Abe:

I do not know your friend and I am sure he was a great friend.

Can you tell me if the shoe was on the other foot how would your friend as a prosecutor deal with the additional charges?

That answer would be telling

I personally wish him well as with any professional who made a terrible mistake.

Anonymous said...

His friend would have dragged the person through the mud!

Anonymous said...

I had a case in broward where the charge increased from a fleeing and eluding to an aggravated fleeing and eluding. Parents posted cash bond and were present at hearing. Both prosecutors had no objection to leaving the original bond. Judge Holmes took him into custody immediately as if she enjoyed it. Funny thing about it was State bound it back down to 3rd degree after the fact. Too late for my client though. Spent another day in jail waiting for parents to post the additional bond. What BS.

Anonymous said...

Batman says:

11:28 Your ignorance of the rotation system is only exceeded by the transparency of who you are. Amy Steele Donner will never be rotated back to Criminal. Under her present senioity status and the rotation system in place, she can not be forced to, nor will she ever, be rotated back to criminal. And even if she is, I would rather have Donner, than a has been, nasty, egotistical, back-biting, gonoff of a judge who has been living in Colorado for years, not practiced law in 17 years and could not get retired judge time here, only in Broward (And has not even done that in 4 years.)

It does not really matter. Feiler is just hoping that Donner will change her mind, not run and let her have the seat. Not going to happen. Feiler can not afford a campaign. The Feilers do not have the money to run a campaign. Donner will run just to keep Feiler from having the seat.

Loree, stay in Colorado. I say this in all sincerity and with your (not really - our) best intersts at heart, as I speak for all law abiding citizens of this great Gotham. When you left it was good riddance. NOBODY WANTS YOU HERE.

Anonymous said...

Batman speaks with such venom. My, my he taketh it all so personally. What have you done to anger the Feilers. I suggest you get your facts straight. Loree Feiler has sat in Dade and not just Broward. She has practiced law in the last several years. She has more than ample money to run a campaign and she isn't waiting around for anyone to do anything. She doesn't operate that way. IF she decides to run you'll know it and you can feel free to support her opponent. She is as honest and forthright as they come. She is a hard worker and a good person. Lay off. We know you don't like her.

Anonymous said...

she is a lazy person

Anonymous said...

Batman says:

This is the last I will waste my time on this subject. Every two years Feiler tests the waters for reactions to her possible comeback. Each time the reaction is the same. Stay in Colorado.

I challenge anyone to show one matter as a lawyer she has handled in the past 17 years. It does not exist.

Farina stopped giving her work 5 years ago. Only Dale Ross gave her work up until 3 years ago, when she lost her certification.

The Feilers are in hock up to their eyeballs. They have no cash. They are incapable of borrowing or obtaining any more money.

She IS hoping Donner will drop. I repeat, Amy Donner will never let Loree Feiler have her seat. Someone else, maybe, but never Feiler.

Honesty and forthrightness are not Feiler's traits.

Anonymous said...

Loree was prohibited from sitting due to a bill passed in the legislature which does not permit a judge who loses an election to sit as a senior judge. 9:21, how do you know the Felier's financial situation?

Anonymous said...

Batman you really should get your facts straight. Jeff Feiler's practice is great and he has settled some pretty large cases over the years. Loree does not need to work, nor does she need this job. Money is NOT an issue with them.Whoever started the rumor of Loree running against Amy Donner should check with their source or better yet with Loree. Trust me, I have personal knowledge of their finances. They own some pretty valuable properties with no mortgages in multiple states and have some other great things happening now. I don't even think Loree is interested in running for judge. Who needs to deal with such nonsense. You all need to get a life!

Robin said...

"Trust me." Interesting choice of words by someone called Anonymous. Tell me counselor, would you accept "trust me" from an anonymous CI? Geez.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole:

The only difference between an alleged suspect and a cop, is that a cop uses a uniform, badge and legitimate gun.

Have you noticed that cops leave patrol cars iddle with A/C freaze on for hours while shooting the breeze with another officer sitting in a patrol car, under the same conditions? In ten minutes time, condensed water from the A/c form puddles of water. I call it the coffee break at tax payers expense.

These officers have no consideration of the public coffers.
How much is gasoline per gallon ?

Thought about how many cops make stops at small, midsize cafeterias and modest restaurants seeking a free cafe cubano, snak or lunch? Too many. In the traditional Mafia, this is customary. In Colombia, it is called "vacuna", i.e. innoculation. To serve and protect, this for that. Look at what happens in Doral, Little Havana and other neighborhoods. Not in higher $$$ neighborhoods, i.e. Pinecrest, et.al.

Anyway, cops get perks from civilians, willingly or unwillingly, just because they chose to be cops. Serve and protect, only when if one is a cadaver. A formality to be deposited in a cemetery.

Courtesy of Miami-Dade redidents !

Smootch A/k/A MUAK

Really amused.

I requested a FOIA and personnel file on Jacqueline Rojas, a Key Biscayne police officer. She was charged on shop lifting and perjury. You should have seen her colleages comming to my window to take a look at me.

Traffic Court: I cannot remember his name now,P.O. Travelling from K.B. to a theater, on the strip nearbgy, Stealy Dan Concert, a blondie poo cop, nearly pulled his gun because I used a side road to accelarate access to the event.

In court, I was a neophite then, not even a lawyer at that time, I realized the cop went to chambers, to sound off his perspective. Had a temper tantrum when my case was dismissed.

Cops, are members of our society. Not the worst and not the best. I do not like them. Feel safer that way.

Anonymous said...

I am sure reporters can try anyone's patience, but listen to what happened to my friend in Miami Beach. Following a parking dispute, her cell phone was taken by the owner of the other car, who would not return it. After unsuccessfully trying to resolve the issue herself, she called MBPD. The officer who responded got her phone back and the proceeded to yell at her, placing his hand on his gun, and threatening her with arrest. With the help of a lawyer friend, she filed a formal complaint with MBPD asking for an apology (and nothing else). Only after months of persistence by her lawyer friend by phone and in writing, did someone from MBPD interview her. She was told they would follow up. this was back early last year, and she is still waiting. The officer in question is not only still there, he was seen on duty as security for a Hillary speech a few months ago. My friend decided not to continue pursuing for fear of retribution.