The article details some of the thoughtless, heartless, and ultimately improper sentences Judge Ross doled out when he was doing the majority of Probation Violation Hearings North of the Border. Improper because time and again, Ross was reversed by the 4th DCA., sometimes with statements from the Judges that they were troubled by what they were reading. In one particular egregious instance, the majority opinion noted how Ross crossed the line from Judge to prosecutor as he assisted an Assistant State Attorney during a hearing where the prosecutor was otherwise incapable of proving a violation.
The article quoted the 4th DCA’s opinion:
¨We cannot escape a settled feeling that [Ross] went too far in assisting an unprepared state attorney to establish the [violation of probation],¨ Judge Gary M. Farmer wrote for the court. ¨Simply stated, the trial judge´s conduct crossed the line of ostensible neutrality and impartiality and operated to deny the defendant essential due process by depriving him of the appearance of an unbiased magistrate and an impartial trier of fact.¨
But wait! There’s more.
Anyone who has ever appeared before Judge Ross has come away with that unpleasant feeling of thinking “I never in my life have seen or heard a sane human being talking in that clipped - 3rd person diction.” The article addresses Ross’s penchant for speaking about himself in the 3rd person:
That´s Dale Ross on Dale Ross in the third person. Why does he do that?
¨I don´t know,¨ Ross says, hesitating. ¨You´d have to ask a psychologist. I can´t answer that question.¨
Finkelstein (the Broward PD) , Gelin (who runs the Broward Blog), and others think they know the answer to this question.
¨I think he talks that way because he´s an arrogant, pompous guy,¨ says Gelin, who was assigned to Ross´ courtroom when he was an assistant public defender five years ago. ¨He thinks he´s larger-than-life and strolling the Earth amongst the mortals, and that´s the worst kind of attitude a public servant can have. A megalomaniac. When I was his staff public defender in the juvenile division, I saw some of the most outrageous behavior. And he´s setting the example.¨
Rumpole says: Mr. Gelin, there isn't enough beer in the world that we want to buy for you.
Perhaps the last word –by our friend and colleague Fred Haddad- as he was quoted in the New Times Article, is the best word:
Fred Haddad, a high-profile defense attorney who has practiced law in Broward County for 34 years, disagrees. ¨There are 101 judges in the county,¨ Haddad says. ¨They all have the right to tell Dale to fuck off. The only thing Dale can really do is assign divisions, give them a parking spot.
¨It´s not a lack of leadership. You can´t lead when you´ve got people who don´t want to be led. I don´t think anybody could run Broward County judges.¨
Oh Fred- but were we one of those 101 who have the right to tell Dale to……. You get the picture.
It’s refreshing to hear Mr. Gelin speak. For decades we have gone to Broward and come back shaking our head, thinking “doesn’t anyone see the lunacy we are seeing?” Finally, we get confirmation that we were not the only lawyer shocked and astounded by what loosely was called “justice” in Broward County.
The Times, North of the Border, they are a changing.
And not a moment too soon.
See You In Court.