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. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

WHAT IF

they needed to appoint an experienced criminal defense lawyer, and no one agreed to take the case?

Judge Will Thomas is right in the middle of trying five individuals who are alleged to have committed the most heinous of crimes. One has already been convicted and the jury voted for death. On the pages of this very blog, the lead prosecutor commended the defense attorneys. He recognized what we all do- that a vigorous defense leads to a fair and just verdict.

It is very clear that the Florida Legislature will not continue to pay for the type of defense necessary for these types of cases. With the trend towards higher minimum mandatory sentences, and the fervent belief that any and all criminal cases should result in life altering lengthy prison sentences, why should we as criminal defense attorneys be surprised that the Legislature does not want to pay for the defense of the individuals they want to incarcerate forever and a day?

The first thing the prosecutor’s office does not want to do is lose a case at trial. The second thing they do not want to do, after having given a victim or next of kin some closure on a case, is to go back to them several years later and tell them that the whole process has to start over. Remember the spectacle of Jimmy Ryce’s parents sitting through the sordid Rule 3.850 hearing recently? Who among us did not feel their pain and angst as they wondered when the process would end? When the Legislature takes away funding for experienced criminal defense attorneys, in the end, like some Greek Tragedy, they will hurt those they pretend to want to help- good people like Jimmy Ryce’s parents.

Perhaps it is not enough to pontificate on these pages that the Florida Legislature will get what it pays for. But it needs to be said. Tragedies are currently happening now in the criminal justice system, and they will accelerate at a greater pace. Eventually, some nephew of a politician will be convicted of enhanced criminal mischief and sentenced to a 20 year minimum mandatory, and someone will stop and wonder what all this pandering to “being tough on crime” has wrought.

Until then, we can do what we have always done. Continue representing accused individuals to the very best of our ability. And some time in the hopefully not too distant future we will look back on these as the dark days of criminal defense.


See You In Court, doing what we always do, and doing it well.

35 comments:

Rumpole said...

Here's the deal. Enough about one particular judge golfing. 1) He is a hardworking and dedicated Judge. When he was in the REGJB he tried as many cases as anyone and was very considerate to all the parties. 2) Everyone is entitled to some free time.

3) You don't like the guy- we get it. Move on.org.

Rumpole said...

THE BBC REPORTS THIS MORNING

"The interior ministry in Iraq says it has received intelligence that the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been killed.
Abu Ayyub al-Masri, believed to be an Egyptian, has led the group since June 2006 when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a US air strike."

Rumpole said...

The Dolphins announced today that they traded all of next year's draft picks for Jay Fielder to return to his glory years as Dolphin QB. This trade was made in lieu of the Patriots offer of a seventh round pick and their punter for Tom Brady. "We passed on Brady" said Cam Cameron, "for some very sound reasons known only to us."

Rumpole said...

BTW since moderation readership went from 575 to 610 a day. Go figure.

Rumpole said...

the comment about firing a PD does not go up because it mentions where he lives. Try again. Blogging in court is fun!!

Anonymous said...

come on... it was rational. edit the island. iguessed anyway, i have no idea where that little fella lives.

Anonymous said...

"See You In Court, doing what we always do, and doing it well."

could you more more pompous, rump? pleeease. starting to sound like trialmaster.
we all get the picture that you're full of yourself, ok?

Anonymous said...

its gone up because all the Judges under the light are checking to see if any news on them pops up.

plus I keep hitting refresh 600 times a day so I could be your only reader?

Spicoli said...

1. Golf good. Judges are supposed to teach lawyers how to play properly. To my dismay, I will not play with them because of things I tend to enjoy in the golf cart. Plus, Chanel No. 4 could be watching. But of course, I like trying to flip the cart and dropping her off the green lips onto the beaches. Also, she runs on green energy and is a costly adventure.

2. Al-Quada... Doesn't matter who gets capped. Bush exponentially and infinitely multiplied their ideology the moment we invaded Iraq. They are "not quite dead yet," and never will be. Just a Hydra, this "head" is a replacable blow hard. Face it. We're screwed. No one has answers. Except maybe Charlie Rangle. The real draft we should do now. Everyone. The real Patriots. A lost VALUE.

3. On to more pressing matters... The Dolphins just traded Fiedler to New England for two rats named Saban and Billy Boy. Welker to be drawn and quartered for being an accessory under NFL tampering rules. You NE pretenders will never be a PERFECT house. Now you have moss growing from the inside.

The cherry on top is your pretty-boy, sell out, loser in life -- Brady. A right wing tool who hangs with GW during The State of the Union. P.S. Peyton is light years better than him anyways.

Miami will be back. I might need a wig like Rumpole, but, I'll wait and get my damn ticker tape by the Freedom tower with two wet feet.

I also won't be waiting 86 years for something I've already witnessed twice in my lifetime. Brady's no Peyton. And Peyton's no Marino. You do not need to be the Lord of The Rings to be the best QB of all time like Danny Boy. Ask Bradshaw.

Aloha.

Anonymous said...

Batman is Mark King Leban

Rumpole said...

10:41- if you were my only reader then we are having quite a little party by ourselves aren't we?

to 9:46 Full of ourselves? Just because we created a blog, refuse to admit our identity, and intersplice complaints about avoiding bill collectors will little tidbits about our over looked and underappreciated brillant victories in court?
Full of ourselves? Are you sure you have the correct blogger? Hmmm... a little self introspection maybe in order.....nah- we're great and we know it.

Rumpole said...

I cannot edit and copy and repost comments I have rejected. So if you want to post the scenario about firing one particular public defender, you need to re-do it without reference to where he lives, even if you were just guessing. I would suggest "Miami Mansion" as a replacement to what you wrote. That would clear our censorship comittee.

Three Sides Of A Wheel said...

On a very special episode of a special public defender case and getting on point with the post I reckon:

Now we can see some good ol' Monty Hall Justice.

"LET'S MAKE A DEAL! LET'S MAKE A DEAL!"

Monty to Elderly Woman with purse:

"If you have a peppercorn, I'll do your son's murder case."

Elderly Woman searches:

"I've got one!"

SHAKE. DEAL. RATTLE AND ROLL. Off a cliff.

Equal justice for all? All in the Family? Everyone? Ever think of the court-reporters or ancillary folks who could be hurt too. But that's just money. Imagine a lifetime behind bars.

Anonymous said...

interesting discussion over on the broward blog.

Batman said...

I agree with Rump. This is not an issue about any one of the Robed Warriors. This is about a pervasive infestation of arrogance and selfishness that must be addressed. I have named noone even though the names are easy and well known.

Set aside your personal animosities and deal with the greater issue. The issue is not whether particular judge on a particular day(s) has taken time off, but whether some have abused the system so as to create the reality that being an elected judicial officer is a part-time job. Is that what we want and do we have the right to expect more?

David S Markus said...

Below I pasted some of the features of the new conflict bill. Here are the highlights, courtesy of Paul Sullivan:

1. The legislature says that no fees over the caps may be ordered (“no relief under this section may be ordered”) unless the attorney put in more than 75 hours and deposed at least twenty witnesses. (This, of course, will encourage us to depose witnesses who might otherwise not be deposed, so we can reach the twenty witness cap.) With the cap at $1500 for a first degree felony, the lawyer that only put in 74 hours will be “compensated” at a rate of twenty dollars per hour, and it will be unlawful for a trial judge to order additional compensation. Furthermore, there has to be more than twenty witnesses deposed, or one can’t even apply to exceed caps. I cannot imagine that I would ever accept an appointment in a non-death case after 10/01.

2. The bill does not address cases we are currently appointed on, but are closed after 10/01/07. Are the current arrangements in place or are we bound by the new rates?

3. The fee total applies to all attorneys assigned to a case, not each attorney.





The compensation for representation in a criminal proceeding shall not exceed the following:
(a)1. For misdemeanors and juveniles represented at the trial level: $1,000.

2. For noncapital, nonlife felonies represented at the

trial level: $2,500.

3. For life felonies represented at the trial level:

$3,000.

4. For capital cases represented at the trial level:

$15,000



(b) If court-appointed counsel is allowed to withdraw from representation prior to the full performance of his or her duties through the completion of the case and the court appoints a subsequent attorney, the total compensation for the initial and any and all subsequent attorneys may not exceed the flat fee established under this section and the General Appropriations Act, except as provided in subsection(12).





The Legislature recognizes that on rare occasions an attorney may receive a case that requires extraordinary and unusual effort.
(a) If counsel seeks compensation that exceeds the
limits prescribed under this section and the General
Appropriations Act, he or she must file a motion with the
court for an order approving payment of attorney's fees in
excess of these limits.

1. Prior to filing the motion, the counsel shall deliver a copy of the intended billing, together with supporting affidavits and all other necessary documentation,to the Justice Administrative Commission.

(b) Following receipt of the motion to exceed the fee limits, the court shall hold an evidentiary hearing.
1. At the hearing, the attorney seeking compensatio must prove by competent and substantial evidence that the case required extraordinary and unusual efforts. The judge shall consider criteria such as the number of witnesses, the complexity of the factual and legal issues, and the length of
trial. The fact that a trial was conducted in a case does not, by itself, constitute competent substantial evidence of an extraordinary and unusual effort. In a criminal case, relief
under this section may not be granted if the number of work
hours does not exceed 75 or the number of the state's witnesses deposed does not exceed 20.

(d If the court finds that counsel has proved by competent and substantial evidence that the case required extraordinary and unusual efforts, the court shall fix the compensation to be paid to the attorney at a percentage above the flat fee rate, depending on the extent of the unusual and extraordinary effort required. The percentage shall be only the rate necessary to ensure that the fees paid are not confiscatory under common law. The percentage may not exceed 200 percent of the established flat fee, absent a specific finding that 200 percent of the flat fee in the case would be confiscatory. If the court determines that 200 percent of flat fee would be confiscatory, it shall fix the amount of
compensation using an hourly rate not to exceed $75 per hour for a noncapital case and $100 per hour for a capital case.

David S. Markus

Anonymous said...

Am I the last one to figure out that Spicoli is Panunzio?

Anonymous said...

Anybody willing to take any more court appointments?

Anonymous said...

david what about the fees for the crooks at juvi what do ya get for a tpr case etc

earl rogers said...

Somebody should find out how much the Florida Legislature has paid outside counsel for representation or advice in its many legal controversies (remember Terry Chiavo?). I seem to remember that either Fat Ass Jeb Bush or the Redneck legislature hired Kirkland & Ellis (Ken Starr's Law Firm) to defend one of its patently unconstitutional abortion limitation bills, and I'll bet that K&E was billing at more than the $20/hour than they want to pay attorneys to represent defendants in capital cases. How much more money gets wasted on frivolities (Florida Marlins stadium, etc) in this state? And how did the State end up over budget anyway; it wasn't only because of Court Appointed Counsel Money. I heard some people talking about raising campaign contributions for one of the Republican Senators who is trying to get this bill passed in what can only be termed shakedown protection money. I think that we should consider giving money to whoever the Democratic opponent of this clodhopper is as a much more effective use of our financial clout. I wonder who is even going to be doing court appointments if this is the new system.

no fan of the Q said...

The DUI power rankings are the biggest fraud perpetrated on the american public since the dewey decimal system.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole- you like physics: here is a question for you: if Alan Shuminer is in his multi million dollar vehicle on his cell phone shouting at his secretary, and the cell phone signal drops out, so no one hears him shouting, did he actually shout?

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, now we get PD office number two.

They will plead out everything and everyone will be happy except all the court appointed lawyers who will have to find clients who will hire them.

What will they do when you get 5 co-defendants?

You get what you pay for....

Spicoli said...

Dearest 3:24 - The First Lady of The White House! You're wrong. Way wrong dudette.

As I've already stated in a reply to an email I received from you a bit ago: You thik I look like the fellow you mention in my screen pic. HA! I ain't the guy you're looking for. The picture is of me, Jeff Spicoli. I'm a real person! I've actually gone to Iraq as well to educate our country on misadventures due to your hubby's war. How he got into an Ivy League school is beyond me. (cryptic for some here but not for the poster). Free advice. Watch a Crowe fly.

A lot of tasty babes dig my photo. I also can be seen with Martians.

Notice how I don't out you here despite not even knowing you or the identity you signed off with in an email I still have. I am trying to be cool with you, but, you're falsely outing someone.

I ain't the dude you're looking for sweetcheeks. But, if you wanna take a ride on Space Mountain, come aboard.

Take a closer look at my picture darling. I can't believe you think the dude in the pic is the person you mention in your post.

Just admit it, you have the hots for the guy you write about. It's a bagel in my pants, but, I'm still happy to speak with you.

You'll have to excuse me, I'm due back on the Planet Earth. That's how far afield you are. For me to state I have to come back to Earth is a bold statement intrinsically.

Aloha mamasita,
Jeff

Anonymous said...

The DUI power rankings are an essential feature of this blog. It is important that someone track the performance of attorney's in the DUI specialty because a)it is a very common offense that affects many people in the community and b) everyone should know that a DUI lawyer does a lot more than the hacks who charge $800 and yell at defendants in the hallways to take a plea when the state is ready and the defendant wants a trial.

Anonymous said...

Horace did you read the story in today's Herald about the poorly paid ASAs and PDs? I'd like to hear your comments.

Anonymous said...

i think no one should accept any appointments for a while. that new bill is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

We are in the process of forming an organization called The Florida Indigent Defense Association(F.I.D.A.)

We are gonna raise a lot of money.

And we are going kill this thing with the help of Pat Maloy.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me why it is that clients/work come to our offices in waves? Why is it that some months my phone rings off the hook while other times the phone is so dead I have to make sure it even works? I'm sure I'm not the only one this happens to so I'd actually like to have an intelligent discussion on this topic if possible. And by the way, right now I'm in a dry spell. Is anyone else honest enough to admit that it's happening to their office too? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The DUI power rankings are not accurate and that is why people write in and bitch.

Anonymous said...

Allison Haney is hot!!!!!

oliver wendell douglas said...

hear tell allison haney is the great grand daughter of mr. haney from green acres.

arnold ziffle said...

You know Oliver, I've often thought the same thing.

Anonymous said...

F.I.D.A. -- Dare I say, brilliant? By the people and for the people. What a novel throwback in a time most needed. In life. Not merely the situation.

Ask not...

The naysayers will follow of course, yet I think it's a slice of Americana. Go-getters, help others -- the works.

Why not?

Anonymous said...

she is a moron