Sunday, April 29, 2007


David S. Markus said...

The Monday meeting in Au Bon Pan is off.

Thank you to the many lawyers who responded to Joel and I, stepped up and contributed. We were too little, too late.
We all should have gotten involved months ago. Now, the battle will be trying to undo this system. It can be undone. We need to have concrete ideas on how to reduce the costs of conflict representation.

Perhaps now would be a good time to seriously address the need to depose every "A" police officer in every case, particularly where a detailed report is provided........... Or how about if the SAO were to review death penalty cases at the front end to determine if the case is really a death case. Most of my "death cases" begin with the ASA saying that they will probably waive death, but can't right now. A second chair is appointed and tens of thousands of dollars in atty fees, expert fees and investigative fees (for penalty phase investigation)are generated in cases where the facts and the defendant's age and lack of significant priors drive the decision to waive the death penalty-facts that are known in the beginning of the case. The SAO has to deal with the next of kin and often it is easier to get their assent to a waiver after the case is delayed a couple of years- but that should not be the reason to unnecessarily spend so much money preparing a penalty phase case that everyone knows will never be presented to a jury. I truly believe that the role of second chair counsel only matters in about 25% of the cases. Those are the cases where the fruits of our mitigation evidence search really matter.

I invite all to think about these ideas, and others that will save money yet not deprive our clients of a meaningful defense. The legislature cares only about how much money the system will cost. We can undo what they have done this year only if we present alternatives to the old way of doing things. We need to do more than simply tell them to "Stay The Course"- It's not working for Bush in Iraq and it won't work here.
Time to think outside the box.
Anyway, these are my random musings on a Sunday night.

David S. Markus

Rumpole says: Haven't we been saying "think outside the box" ever since we started this blog? Nobody listens to us (except juries).

Anyway, to paraphrase another of our favourite movies: "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily."


Spicoli said...

It's a zit. Get it?

Anonymous said...

Welcome to baseball season Heat fans

Anonymous said...

The boys who sold out and killed SPD's were Marco Rubio and David Rivera.

Its dead, the only person who can save us is Crist. If you want to contact someone contact him to use the line item veto on this.

If the Gov is a true Republican vetoing this is a no brianer. Republicans say they dont want bigger government yet we are creating a whole new government agency.



I heard the same thing as the earlier report so it must be true (see below from earlier blog report) - I heard that they have unbelievable footage that happens on repetitive days and will be embarrassing:

"To all of my JUDGE colleagues: be aware that the investigative reporters from ch. 4 and the Miami Herald are reportedly monitoring the Judges who leave the court house early and have been seen picking up their children, golfing in the early afternoons and taking more than their reasonable vacation time. They also will be reporting on certain Judges at the Judicial conferences and how their official time was spent during educational periods of time and the receipts turned in for expenses of familiy members and for items not covered by State rules. They are compiling quite a blockbuster week report and should cause many Judge's much concern for their jobs."

Anonymous said...

This blog has so much censorship on people it likes, it is worts than the Herald. I mean, Judges are elected officials and open to all sorts of criticism. What gives Rumpole? Are you a Judge as well and thus, protect those in your clan? How bias can you be?

Anonymous said...

Why do we have to figure out ways to save money? Sounds like the legislature figured that out on their own.

abe laeser said...

I wish the 'death' decision were simple, but it never is.

Can I submit a document to the reviewing committee which lists a substantial number of aggravating circumstances? I often can.

Do I know, even before presenting the case to the Grand Jury, what the mitigating factors are? Nearly never.

Do I even get a straight answer from the defense about their case for mitigation years after the arrest? Not very often. In the case we have together, even after regular prodding, the two attorneys for one defendant have yet to decide what they will disclose in mitigation (after more than FIVE years).

Does it anger me to see five or six attorneys come to watch jury selection or opening statements at $125 per hour, per attorney? You bet!

But I fully respect the idea that the defendant facing such a potential punishment should have effective counsel who explores every possible avenue of defense.

The solution to the expenditure of funds in capital litigation cannot lie with the SAO. We evaluate each case and every defendant within each case. The likelihood of a jury/judge deciding for the death penalty is best understood only if we are fully informed of the case for mititgation. Lacking that information, we can only evaluate if the aggravating factors would justify going forward.

I have to try to decide wisely in a partial vacuum. If you and your peers could present the matters in mitigation, list the family and expert witnesses (and not object to their being deposed), and try to present a packet for consideration to the ASA - this will expedite the decision-making process. That would certainly result in one of the attorneys being excused from further service in some cases.

Unfortunately, for some, it represents a substantial portion of their income & the motivation to act rapidly is lacking.

Anonymous said...

Sure David. Blame the SAO for the problem. How about asking the second chairs to not race the SAO's decision by investigating (and billing) the hell out of the state on mitigation issues as quickly as possible when they think the penalty will be waived? We all know attorneys who bill the crap out of these files unnecessarily. The defense bar made its bed here (yes, it's unfair for the State to change teh system because of a minoirity of attorneys who are abusing it, but holding the defense bar accountable for its own abuses sounds a lot more reasonable than blaming the State).

You can't expect the SAO to rush these decisions.

PS---I am NOT a prosecutor (though I was one).

Anonymous said...

LOL. Is this the same blog where attorneys defended asking for Arthur Hearings they know they'll lose because it "helps their clients see the weaknesses of their cases." A large part of the problem is the minority of defense attorneys who routinely abusing the system.

Rumpole said...

I think David S Markus is trying to do a good job. Fair ciritcism is one thing- mocking him with meanness is another. The comment stays down. Try again.

Anonymous said...

Let's do something reasonable, civilized, and commonsensical. Abe, why don't you and Kathy take the lead in not asking for the death penalty anymore? You'd join the rank of civilized nations and leave the company of countries like China, Cuba and Iran. You'd show leadership and humanism. And you'd save a lot of money to taxpayers while protecting them by keeping the murderers locked up for life without the possibility of parole.

Spicoli said...


You folks haven't the FOGGIEST idea of why this happened. Read that other lost blog. Follow the money. Figure out where the diversion of funds went and ask some damn questions instead of speculating.

Also, dig your heads out of the Smooth Sands of South Beach for a moment, and examine the tri-county area and lastly, the state capital. I don't like to spelll that world.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Laeser,

We're not talking about the violent, nasty and unspeakable cases which obviously are close
calls as to Life or Death.

We're talking about the felony murder cases where one drug dealer
kills another. We're talking about the cases where the State seeks death on someone under the principal theory. We're talking about the cases where the State waives death on one co-defendant
with similar facts to another co-defendant who the State keeps death on the table for. We're talking about the cases where the victims family doesn't even want
death yet the State keeps death on
the table.

Maybe these are not your cases, since obviously you get the cream of the crop of cases. But be sure
that these cases exist in your office.

What do you say counselor?

the trialmaster said...

the trialmaster is amused by the botttom feeders concerns about not being able to charge $90 an hour to the scum they represent/

Anonymous said...

Do any of you realize that the trialmaster is a fake? He writes for response, he doesn't exist.

Spicoli said...

For the record Trialmaster,

Before presenting the following analsi; a prolouge if you will in jest and not.

I'd kick you damn ass from here to Kalamazoo. I'd be impressed perhaps with your skills, but your writing reminds me watching Ishtar with subtitiles in a dubbed language from some place far off in Asia. You are a pimple on the buttocks of my trial skills.

Fully impaired, with Dade Booze, pizza's on the house, if wrong, I'll try pentagons around you.

And just when you think you have the jury in your hand, they split open and melt in my mouth. Not in my hands.

The exapserated look of defeat I dearly envision after each braggart who loses by virtue of not knowing their own weakness. How simple it is to spot yours. Easy pickens'. You do master something. Ought not be mentioned here I'd think.

Once you think you're any good is when you really suck. When you think you have mastered the game the only answer which flows is that you are losing.

Much you assume in you last post. And we all know what happens we you assume TrialMaster (at least you used your true birth name as I).

When you assume, and I'm not going to use a cliche and tell you what happens. You lose. That, and you have terrible, stank, body odor which would make Mr. Clean pass out. That's what happens when you assume. Good ol' stinkeroo are you I'd bet.

One day, I'd be happy to take you to The Palm and explain the facts of life to you. To be a master of anything you must know there is no master. Thus, you are a fool. With a catchy sceen name.

Aloha... I'm sure you're good, but people like you are so easily picked apart. Peace!

A Robed One said...

Am I the only one who thinks Spicoli is perpetually high? Dude, spend some more money and buy good stuff. Whatever you're on is rotting your brain.

Anonymous said...

trialmaster is none other then howard ..... - got ya hot shot.

abe laeser said...

To 1:10 blogger:

I may have a perceived caseload of 'special' cases, but it not true. I have two separate druggie-kills-druggie cases. Each has two defendants. In one case I am seeking death, but not in the other. One was a roadside robbery and a single gunshot. The other involves a planned armed burglary, cutting of phone and electrical lines - duct taping of 'druggie' and visiting neighbor, and shooting them both multiple times in the head while face down on the floor, with hands and feet taped-in order to prevent any witnesses to the burglary/robbery (with lots of bad priors).

I mention all of that because you seem to have mis-understood my basic premise. Each case and each defendant is different. Each is evaluated by the ASA on a written document listing the factors under 921.141. The form is approved by at least one Chief ASA - AND - the Chief of the Legal Unit.

While I listen to the victim's family, it is not in the statute as either an aggravator or mitigator. I may have to disagree. When I do, about 95% are families who insist on the death penalty when the law does not support it.

Should I make a distinction between a defendant who has genuine mental illness issues and the one who has spent his adult life behind bars for numerous violent crimes? The law says I should, and my heart tells me that I must.

I will continue to seek death, even for a 'principal' if the facts and the law are with me.

However, I cannot operate in a vacuum. Playing the tactical 'game' of hiding the mitigation for as long as possible just means that the snowball has gathered momentum downhill - and the police and family may have come to believe that the State would seek one course; and stopping the inertia is a daunting task.

Help me out defense counsel. Show me your cards. The rules (3.220) require you to tell me about witnesses within just days of arraignment, not five years later.

If you feel that any prosecutor is wrongly seeking the death penalty, ask to see the Death/Waiver form for the case. Set up a meeting with the Chief over that ASA. Appeal that decision to Ms. Brill. Ask that the ASA set up a staffing of senior ASA's. Ask to be invited so that you can make your best pitch for leniency. Schedule a meeting with the State Attorney. The death penalty issue should not be written off just because you and the ASA disagree. After all, your client's very life is on the line.

Stop crabbing anonymously in the blog, and defend your client.

So say I, counselor.

Spicoli said...

May I approach Robed One!

I looked at your blog. You're stone cold nekked over there. Excellent work. Perhaps you have some dry wit with a blank blog titled, "a robed one" and are inferring the Judiciary is empty. I look up to the judicary as a whole and such a blanket attack on The Bench, even a mockery of it with your screen name, perpetuates the system's failures.

Perhaps look up the phrase, "nom de plume." In that spirit, i can tell you my spirits are better than all. I can take any shots dude, but don't you dare insult my buds or buds.

What's wrong? Afraid to figure out where the money went? Me lady doth protest too much. I doubt the Great Florida Senatorial mystery will be uncovered.

O Great Robed One, I will assume arguendo you are a judge (although I have a vision of you in some pink numbered frilly robe circa 1970).

The grass is always greener on my side of the fence dude!

You side with people who besmirch the names of those who tried their best to help. For that, you ought be disrobed. In private. I don't want to get sick.

I'd like to think I'm an allright guy. I don't understand why people make personal attaacks on those who write under their true names. You do so by proxy and in anonymity. Any True Robed One, with thought and discourse, would never allign themselves with people who are out to harm others. Or attempt to harm those who try to help. Regardless of your ideology.

With that, I am done smoking your post filled with stems and seeds.

:) Aloha Mr. Robed One Dude. I rarely rip on anyone. But you crossed the thin green line.

P.S. If you are true to your word, you can help another robed one or at least advocate for him.

--~ Peace

Anonymous said...

And to that I say-tell him the chair is a ride at Walt Disney World.

Anonymous said...

Abe, when we seek a meeting with the State Attorney herself to ask for leniency in a death penalty case, do you think we'd have a better chance if we hire Bob Levy to lobby her to waive death?