The following post was on the Broward Blog. We thought we'd reprint it here as proof that things are indeed getting better North of the Border........NOT.
My Midsummer Nightmare" by Maury Halperin
Maury Halperin wrote:Attention: criminal defense lawyers/F.Y.I.
Re:scheduling conflicts/contempt/judge Gold.
MY MIDSUMMER NIGHTMARE. NOW PLAYING IN ROOM 6900.
ACT ONE. a couple of months ago, I announced ready on a Gold case and was sent to the pool/trial unit. a few days later, I was called at 11:45 a.m. and told to be in front of Backman at 1:30 p.m. for trial. I told the caller that I had just left the dentist office (having recently broken a tooth), that my mouth was numb, and that I had to go home, change, etc, and may not make it on time. She could not excuse me, so I called Backman's J.A., she could not excuse me, so I did my best and arrived at 2:00 p.m., only to find Backman picking a jury on another case. I went home. few days later Gold issued a rule to show cause why I should not be held in contempt for failure to appear. (rule later dismissed based on above explanation)
ACT TWO.more recently, i announced ready on another Gold case and filed a speedy demand. The case was sent to the pool. On Monday 8/27, I started trial in front of Fogan on an unrelated S.Kaplan case that went into tuesday. The jury retired to deliberate around 5:00 p.m. I then checked my voicemail to find that my Gold speedy case was set for Wednesday, 8/29 in front of Weinstein. I was previously ordered by a federal judge to be in Miami on 8/29 at 8:45 a.m. to start a federal trial. I called Diane from the pool and explained to her my prior commitment. On wednesday, 8/29, I went to Miami. A few days later, I was served with a second rule to show cause why I should not be held in contempt signed by Gold. (rule pending, hearing set for 9/27 at 9:45 a.m.)
ACT THREE.because I did not show on 8/29, the prosecutor scheduled a staus on the case/speedy, for 9/5/ at 9:00 a.m. he gave me notice on 9/4 at 1:00 p.m.I showed up on 9/5/ at 9:15 a.m., after a hearing in O'Connor's courtroom, and the judge was not on the bench yet. (surprise). I had a previous commitment in a federal case in Miami for 11:00 a.m., so I told my client to stay, and when called, to tell the judge I had a previous commitment in Miami, and to please reset the status. Gold illegally removed me from the case over my client's begging to keep me on, (I was an s.p.d), appointed a new s.p.d., and, you guessed it, told me that he will be issuing yet another rule to show cause why I should not be held in contempt. (rule promised and coming to the theatre soon).
can anyone believe this? wouldn't a status to first get the explanation for the non-appearance be the better course? and if not satisfactory, then do a rule?
Thought I should share this with you. obviously, nobody bothered to look at the rules governing conflict. maybe judge Gold's cases get priority over all others, but I cannot find the rule that says that.
Rumpole says: Now you know what its like for us attorneys in Miami to practice North of the Border. Actually when we emerge from a Broward case with a mere Rule to Show Cause, we consider it a victory.