The Miami Herald reports that North Of the Border Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Korda was arrested and given a promise to appear for smoking Cannabis Sativa this weekend.
We left the Death Penalty post up over the weekend and through Monday because of the lively debate (notwithstanding the participation of some character from Fast Times At Ridgemont High) in the comments section.
We now move on to less serious, but no less important matters.
Kudos to Judge Jacqueline Scola.
She handled an issue the other week in a way that is near and dear to our heart. When a young infant cried in her mother’s arms in court the other day, rather than just have her bailiff chase her out into the hallway, Judge Scola had the bailiff get the case name the woman was in court for, so the matter could be called out of turn. Too often parents who bring their children to court are harassed and treated like criminals because their child cries. We have written about this problem before, and it is nice to see at least one Judge treating the citizens in her court with respect and dignity.
Prosecutors Prosecutors Prosecutors.
We have had little success at getting those county court prosecutors out of the middle of the road. Like little ducklings hyped up on Starbucks, they trek though the parking lot by walking right in the middle of the road, and give anyone who honks at them dirty looks. The irony is that they prosecute traffic and traffic related crimes.
We suggest to these young Hamilton Burgers that the next time they're bored in court, to try perusing section 316.130(10) Florida Statutes.
(10) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
It may seem like a little thing, but it bothers us. We have to start our day by negotiating a gaggle of prosecutors, then go through the highly trained security personnel before being yelled at by some Judge because we are late.
Get out of the way will ya?
"BUT JUDGE, WE DON'T HAVE IT"
Once we get in court, we can’t help cringing at this argument, which is continually accepted by the Court. We suggest all Judges and Prosecutors read Kyles v. Whitely, 514 U.S. 419, 115 S.Ct. 1555 (1995). Longtime and careful readers of the blog know that the times we actually read case law are as infrequent as one of our dear Robed Readers picking up the cheque at Happy Hour. But Kyles is worth perusing.
Here is the scenario- a defense attorney informs the court that the prosecution has not turned over some piece of discovery like a police report, the autopsy report, the accident report, etc. The Prosecutor retorts that they don’t have the document in question. The police have it, and there is nothing they can do.
Au contraire mon ami.
We quote from Kyles:
This in turn means that the individual prosecutor has a duty to learn of any favorable evidence known to the others acting on the government's behalf in the case, including the police. But whether the prosecutor succeeds or fails in meeting this obligation (whether, that is, a failure to disclose is in good faith Page 438 or bad faith, see Brady, 373 U.S., at 87), the prosecution's responsibility for failing to disclose known, favorable evidence rising to a material level of importance is inescapable.
Kyles, 514 U.S. 437-38.
Prosecutors have a duty to speak with their witnesses, learn about discoverable evidence, and obtain it and disclose it. It is not sufficient to legally aver “no my job” as we hear time and time again.
And you Judges, stop accepting that as an excuse. The defense does not have the ability to get an officer to turn over a report. All the officers are instructed to give their reports to the prosecution. When a report exists, the prosecutors have to get, pure and simple.
'WE THE JURY THIS _ DAY OF MARCH, 2007, FIND THE DEFENDANT, AS TO THE CHARGE OF MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE...."
Those words will soon be spoken this week as a murder trial extraordinaire comes to a conclusion. Judge Blake presided over the trial, while Prosecutor Gayle Levine slugged it out for the last three weeks with defense attorneys Bob Amsel and David Raben.
The defense represented a CPA charged with orchestrating his wife’s death. The prosecution has already secured a conviction against the killer- the current defendant’s brother. But whether the defendant had his brother kill his wife- well, it’s been a good old fashion Dade County slug fest, with homicide detectives sleeping with witnesses, and the prosecution left with want of an interficio telum (murder weapon). We hear that the prosecution has had a tough road to hoe and the outcome is anyone's guess.
We await the Jury’s verdict.
We cited a case and praised a Judge- all in one remarkable post. You won't see the likes of these two odd occurrences again for quite some time. Must be the Ides Of March.
See You In Court.