Making the court more accessible and user friendly?
All this and more is being promised by new Chief Federal Federico Moreno in a
BROWARD GOES TO THE POLLS TOMORROW
And speaking of new chief Judges, we get a new one tomorrow in Broward, as those wacky fun-loving, gift receiving group of jurists meets to elect a new Pope…err…Chief. Look for the white smoke coming from 201 SE 6th street in a time honored ceremony announcing the new Judge. The new Judge will then be escorted out of the courtroom, where grateful lawyer vying for favors and court appointments will throw gift cards loaded with money redeemable at the local malls.
THE FEDS ARE NOT SUPERSTITIOUS
The Federal Blog reported that the Government rested it’s case against Padilla and his co-defendants on Friday the Thirteenth. Assistant United States Attorney Russ Killinger made the announcement before the jury while standing under a ladder, holding an opened umbrella in one hand and a black cat in the other. We shall see how the government’s tempting of fate flies in this matter. Mr. Markus had some interesting points on his blog about how lawyers speak in the third person future in court. (“The government will rest our case” etc.) We are from the plain speaking school – The Defense Rests. Period.
And speaking of the Feds, we came across this nice ruling from Federal District Court Judge Lewis A Kaplan of the Southern District of New York. Judge Kaplan dismissed charges against 13 defendants in a wide ranging prosecution of KPMG former employees for use of illegal tax shelters. The Government had pressured KPMG to reverse its long standing policy of paying for the legal fees of its employees. With the government choking off the legal fees, and thus their choice of counsel, the Judge dismissed the case.
Such pressure, Judge Kaplan wrote, “foreclosed these defendants from presenting the defenses they wished to present and, in some cases, even deprived them of counsel of their choice. This is intolerable in a society that holds itself out to the world as a paragon of justice. The responsibility for the dismissal of this indictment as to thirteen defendants lies with the government.”
What we like about the ruling is the line about a society that holds itself out to the world as a paragon of justice. It echo’s the recent dissent of Justice David Souter in Bowles v. Russell, decided this term: “it is intolerable for the judicial system to treat people this way.” He added, “There is not even a technical justification for condoning this bait and switch.”
Lets get off the bandwagon of this Country having the greatest system of Justice in the world. We have a Justice System that has blatantly stated that there is no problem with innocent people remaining in prison if they do not meet the myriad of requirement necessary for a hearing when there is newly discovered evidence. We have a justice system that tolerates convictions in death penalty cases where the attorney for the defendant was sleeping, so long as he was not sleeping during the important parts. And for that matter, we have a justice system that still has the death penalty, which puts us in the company of China, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
The bottom line is our justice system was founded on great ideals and currently operates in a manner that is oppressive, confusing, and draconian. Thanks goodness we have a President courageous enough to stand up to these draconian prison sentences, as he recently did for Scooter Libby. But enough with this “best in the world” crap. Our system is far from the best in the world, and there are tens of thousands of victims of injustice at the hands of our system to prove it. The problem is not that mistakes are made, the problem is that judges and legislators are just not that bothered over rules that lend themselves to results like those in Bowles, or where innocent people remain incarcerated and nothing can be done about it.
See you in court, not tooting our system of justice’s horn.