File this under you wouldn’t believe such things still happen in Florida Courts in the 21st Century.
The Scene: Courtroom 5900, Criminal Division, North Of the Border.
Dramatis Personae: Judge Eileen O’Connor; ASA Berki Alvaarez; Defense Counsel Gary Ostrow; Defendant Steven Turner; A criminal jury panel.
Courtesy of the Broward Blog, here is the exchange, which quite frankly we read several times because we could not believe what we were reading:
In any event, JAABLOG has obtained an excerpt of the transcript from October 5, 2007, State of Florida vs. Steven G. Turner, case number 06-6876-CF10A. The following exchange occurred after Judge O’Connor handed the last juror the Certificate of Appreciation:
JUDGE O’CONNOR: At this time the defendant having been found not guilty in this case, the defendant will be returned to Federal custody at this time. Thank you. All right, everybody, thank you very much for your service.
(JURY PANEL BEGINS EXITING)
ASA MS. BERKI ALVAREZ: He’ll come back. Hopefully you won’t be a victim.
THE JUROR: No, I won’t (laughing).
DEFENSE COUNSEL GARY OSTROW: That’s not appropriate conduct to a jury.
JUDGE O’CONNOR: Mr. Ostrow, you’re not dressed appropriately in this courtroom.
MR. GARY OSTROW: We’re even.
JUDGE O’CONNOR: You have jeans on and no shirt –
MR. GARY OSTROW: No shirt!
JUDGE O’CONNOR: No tie. Do not come back to this courtroom dressed inappropriately. Thank you very much. You can be excused. Okay. I’ll enter a finding of not guilty.
How in the world does a defense attorney get to try a case in court without a shirt??
Does the rule only apply to men, or can we expect some topless female attorneys North Of the Border to strut their stuff as well?
Will certain attorneys who spend more time in the gym or are otherwise well blessed by nature have an unfair advantage over other attorneys?
Will there be a two drink minimum in any courtroom in which an attorney is topless?
Can a spectator request a private meeting in the jury room with a topless attorney?
And if so, will there be couches and champagne?
Can anyone appear in a courtroom North of the Border topless?
Is this what Judge Tobin meant when he said he was going to bring changes to the criminal courts?
And is this how Judge Tobin won the election- by promising to allow attorneys to practice naked from the waist up?
Will our own Dade County be sending a contingent of Judges to observe the practices North of the Border?
Oh, and there’s that little matter of the rules of professional conduct which prevent judges or attorneys from saying anything to jurors that would affect their ability to serve in the future.
See You In court, where suit, tie, shirt, pants, underwear and socks are always the order of the day (ok- maybe no underwear on Fridays).