Can someone please (pretty pleas) resolve this?
Rich and Angry Traffic Lawyer said...
RUMP I'M PISSED.You may not be a traffic lawyer or a ticket lawyer, but I am and here is what sucked about this blitz.There are a number of stupid stupid acts that are crimes. Driving without glasses. Driving with an expired (not suspended) license. Etc. This was the type of crap on today. No DUI's. No serious traffic cases with accidents. Judges Bloom and Newman would not accept waiver's allowing representation in absentia. Technically, they require court approval. So when the State was not ready, and you had a waiver, they either issued a BW or let you plea. The whole point of this Blitz is to clear out junk cases that are in the system and cops aren't showing up on. Furthermore, normal Monday trials have prior Wednesday soundings. Not these Blitz cases. So according to Newman and Bloom, they wanted me to take my 125 cases this week where I have authority to proceed in absentia and place them on their busy calendars last week, and because I didn't do that, I was put in the position of pleding a case where the state was not ready, or getting a bench warrant.
Now bless her soul, Judge Ortiz gets it.
She lambasted the State for that type of behavior and made them NP all cases they were not ready on. Oritz gets the idea behind the Blitz.
Wait- it gets worse. Apparently MDPD changed the way they notify officers this week and the State's hundreds of subpoenas for them did not reach them. I don't know about the other Courtrooms, But Judge Newman gave the State a continuance in every case they asked for. Some Blitz- if the state is ready you plead- if their not ready they get a continuance, unless you have an authority to plea in absentia, in which case you get a bench warrant. Sounds like a no-win situation for the Defendant. Rumpole, you and only you can publicize this outrage. Please help.
HERE IS THE RULE: Rule 3.180 (d) Defendant May Be Tried in Absentia for Misdemeanors. Personsprosecuted for misdemeanors may, at their own request, by leave of court,be excused from attendance at any or all of the proceedings aforesaid.
It sounds to Rumpole like the Judges are correct. However, there is a difference between technical legal correctness and the right thing to do. Also, what the reader was trying to say was that the Judges would accept the authority to represent in absentia for the purposes of a plea, but not for purposes of trial, and we are not so sure the Judges were correct in their distinction. Either accept the authority (and the state Nolle prosses the case when they are not ready) or reject the authority because the lawyer did not obtain prior approval- which seems kind of ridiculous under the circumstances.
If there was no sounding then the individual who complained is correct: Did the Judges really want this lawyer placing 125 cases on their calendars last week to seek permission to proceed in absentia on a failure to wear eyeglasses case (and is that really a crime that people get arrested for????)
Isn’t a “blitz” supposed to be about quickly resolving cases. If you’re going to resort to technical “gotchas” then just leave the cases on the regular trial calendar.
In our humble opinion this is much ado about nothing, but we would bet that the majority of cases are handled by these lawyers in those misdemeanor courts, so someone should probably step in and resolve this conundrum.
Here is a more vexing situation:
A reader wrote in:
The 4th DCA correctly declared Ralph Arza's drag racing statute unconstitutional but the state, during the blitz, is trying to amend those drag racing tickets still in the system to reckless driving. Some judges are incorrectly allowing it and giving a state continuance, while other judges, like Karen Mills-Francis, are correctly dismissing those tickets because the state had plenty of time since the statute was found unconstitutional to file a reckless driving informations and serve the defendants with them, yet they didn't do it. If the state tries to do that on your cases, check the speedies and statute of limitations dates because reckless driving is a totally new charge with different elements from reckless driving and should be filed by information with personal service to the defendant, but if a judge were to allow the amendment to reckless driving, such an amendment would operate as a nolle prosse of the drag racing charge and a filing of a new charge, with all the legal consequences of such sequence of events.
Rumpole says: Several readers have emailed us privately asking that their names not be used complaining about this. As near as we can figure, this is what is going on: Officer arrests defendant for speeding- 4th DCA declares statute unconstitutional. Case appears in Court. State “amends” the charge to reckless driving and wants to proceed on the new charge. The reader says the state needs to file an information and obtain personal service over the Defendant on a new charge.
We tend to agree. Any thoughts?
Really, this is too much traffic stuff for us to stomach.
See You In Court, just not those courts, especially this week, where chaos seems to be the rule of the day.
PS. The Sun Sentinel REPORTS:
A former Miami Dade Police Officer was convicted of molesting a young woman during a traffic stop.
What a heinous thing to do. Police Officers who use their badge to rape women are about the lowest of the low.