WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Monday, November 05, 2007

PLEASE IN ABSENTIA

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.


43 comments:

Rumpole said...

What you saw on MNF last night was pretty amazing. Under any other circumstance, in any other year, the Steelers would be the team to be beat. And yet, despite having the number 1 defense in the NFL and the number 3-4 offense, they are the THIRD BEST team in the AFC.

After watching Sunday and Monday, ingoring the Cheaters for a minute- those Colts are really good- as Super Bowl Champs should be. As good as the Steelers are, I'm not sure they can run with the Colts- the Colts are a speed team built to run on the indoor turf at their stadium. The Steelers are a mixture of speed and tough hitting. Anybody see Hines Ward plant Ed Reed and knock him out of the game? Reed is only the best defensive player in the NFL. And how about Harrison's hit on Reed on the punt return?
Dolphin fans will be happy to learn that Harrison is the guy the Steelers kept so the Dolphins could give Joey Porter 20 million. All Harrison did was have 3.5 sacks; 2 caused fumbles; 1 fumble recovery and one interception. In one game. How many sacks does Porter have for our wonderful Dolphins all year? This is why the Dolphin's GM MUST GO NOW. The Steelers have two starting players who are pro-bowl caliber WHO WERENT EVEN DRAFTED- Harrison and Willie Parker. Our Dolphin draft picks can't even make the team after a few years.

That being said, all Miami fans better start buying terrible towels, because those Steelers visit NE in December, and the way it looks, the Steelers are the only team standing between the Cheaters and a perfect season.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if FHP Troopers are still on one hour standby during 'the blitz' ?

Fake former Judge said...

How about a midweek blog pick me up?

Shumie news? Q? Q? What's up with the Q?

Bloom PDs still the best?

California Surfer court options girl or the Spinner Clerk?


Lets get this blog back to the rumours and humors where it belongs.

Anonymous said...

People who pay $69.00 for a lawyer get what they pay for.

Who gives a fuck what those stupid ticket lawyers do or say. They don't even know who their client's are and expect others to care about their problems.

What a shitty way to make a living.

Anonymous said...

Remember the days when county court judges would just dump stupid cases that no one cared about? And yesterday at the blitz they're applying technical crap to keep these cases going - good use of tax dollars - that'll teach those traffic defendants a lesson.

Rich Traffic Lawyer said...

He big shot- do the math: Every day, 5 days a week, I have between 10-20 people on average walk into my office and hand me, on average $250.00 for their traffic stuff. I average 3500 a day, 17,500 per week- I don't pay bondsmen, I don't visit jails, and I pay other lawyers 10-20 bucks to cover those cases for me in court. My Porsche is paid for. You still driving a leased BMW? My Condo in the Keys was bought with cash- you still trying to get a room at the La Concha Holiday Inn in Key West.

And that doesn't include my DUI cases for which I charge 5K upfront, and I could care less if they walk to someone else. I don't need the case. The money is gravy for my Vegas trips or the Condo foreclosures on the beach I am snapping up. But hey, leave your name and number and I'll refer you all my Grand Theft Auto cases. Don't forget to take those depos. (hehhehehehe)

Please- this way to earn a living sucks- so stay out of it.

(lauging on my way to the bank) hahhahahahahahahahaha.

Anonymous said...

The answer is simply found in Rule 3.180(d) Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure:

"(d) Defendant May Be Tried in Abstentia for Misdemeanors. Persons prosecuted for misdemeanors may, at their own request, by leave of court*, be excused from attendance at any or all* of the proceedings aforesaid."

*Please note these words.

Such leave could be granted even on the day of trial, but is within the sound discretion of the court. There is no requirement that it be accepted for any reason other than those which the judge choses.

In the case of Newman and Bloom that was solely for the purpose of a plea and no other, including testing the readiness of the State. End of story

Anonymous said...

What's going on with the PD '08 election? Any news on who's filing yet?

Anonymous said...

11:47, have a drink in Key West on me. Those of us who handle BIG criminal cases wish we could have your practice - we're just too stupid to admit it.

Anonymous said...

You mean you couldn't care less if they go to another lawyer. You said you could care less, which makes little sense in the context you were trying to use it.

Anonymous said...

Yo, rich traffic lawyer-your mother must be so proud!

Anonymous said...

Read this just in from Channel 7 and tell me again why the Miami-Dade School cops did not have a right and duty to protect students and teachers from those who are on the sidewalks outside the schools:

"Teacher shot, schools on lock down":

They say two suspects walked up to two teachers, one male and one female, who were taking a cigarette break across the street from Carol City High School. The suspects tried to rob the teachers, but they resisted, and one of the suspects shot the male teacher, who Miami-Dade Fire rescue took by ground to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Anonymous said...

Assuming those traffic ticket numbers are not completely made up, do you really want to be posting this on a site that has dozens of lawyers waiting to jump in on your "easy" money?

Anonymous said...

Midweek blog pick-me-up: Press pause on the ladies for awhile. There are enough women and gay men who read this blog to stroke the men's egos for a change. Hottest male attorneys roaming the halls of the REGJB? My votes go to Brody and Braxton, in that order. Who's with me?

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Anonymous and Rich Lawyer for displaying the very visible and, sadly, ugly side of our profession. One degrades and one gloats.

Anonymous said...

hahaha. That comment by the rich traffic lawyer was GOLD!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Sy! We miss you.

Anonymous said...

Very bright teachers:

1. smoking; and

2. resisting armed robbers.


And somehow this justifies the arrest of a reporter on a sidewalk.

Moron.

Anonymous said...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007 11:47:00 AM

That was pertfection at its best!

I litigate and very easily could pay for parking attend several court hearing, file motions, argue with the State about why U deserve a W/H or Traffic School for that 5th Speeding or 6th U-Turn but for $69 bucks I forget about the case hire Mr. 11:47:00 AM, and get this if I get point I get $69 refund.

Get real people what they have is gold. Problem is that when I got several tickets coming from the keys I was fucked! No Traffice Lawyers for $69 bucks it cost me $200 for same results.

Rich (and happy) Traffic Lawyer said...

1:36 PM. I assure you that those numbers are conservative. Those numbers don't happen overnight. It takes advertising on multi-levels that I would never begin to divulge. Any two bit criminal lawyer that just wants to start sending out mailers- have fun spending 3 grand a week for a few years before seeing a return on your investment.

You see, if you do this right, you take a wash on the client's first visit, but you continue to stay in touch with them with updates, mailers, emails, end of year calendars, and you get the return business and the referrals- that's where the 100% profit lies. You reach a point of critical mass (or as the business gurus write- "from good to great") and then you need to break through to the next level. When that happens, you truly own a "cash cow." Now it just takes loving care to keep the cow providing milk.

You need a great staff- one well paid secretary; two fairly well paid secretaries; and three to four office staff at 10/an hour that you constantly lose. You need good connections in the "coverage community" so those lawyers that cover your cases don't screw you. In summary- you need good business sense. I do the other legal stuff for fun, and for the extra bucks. As I said- a 5K DUI is all gravy to me, and I do a very good job on those.

Is my Mom proud? She liked the last Cruise to Italy I gave to her and Dad in September. She likes the Lexus I lease for her. She likes knowing I used my education to build a business to take care of my faimly. She likes my charitable work that I do. She liked the article on the pro bono case I won in Texas for an indigent inmate. Yes, I think she's proud of me. More importantly, I'm proud. It wasn't always like this. I haven't been doing this the longest- Marc Gold, Scot Hidnert and Randy Maultasch all got into this before me. But I worked hard, managed my practice as best I could, and now, before the age of 50 I work as hard as I want to, and I'm planning an early retirement and the next phase of my life. Maybe I'll run for PD.

I know this much: No scummy lawyers with bondsmen are stealing my cases; I don't sit for hours waiting for depos that don't show up; and I'd rather deal with a truculent Ed Newman then an out of control Will Thomas or Betty Butchko any day of the week.

Have fun at Metro West. You can eat a Burger King in car on the way home tonight, while I think I'll have a bite at Prime 112 on the beach. (Its a 50 at the door, but its worth it.)

Anonymous said...

4:16 stop already! You are great!

fake barry wax said...

Rumpola, the Holidays are soon upon us, and I think your readers should know that we at the FCADL have worked out a schedule with Judges Farina, Blake, and Slom regarding HOLIDAY TIPPING:

THIS IS THE FORMAL FACDL HOLIDAY TIPPING SCHEDULE:

BAILIFF CIRCUIT COURT: $250.00 +10% for case referrals.

CLERK CIRCUIT COURT $250.00

JA'S (who answer the phone and give you little trouble about setting a case on calendar): $400.00

Other JA's (who insist on a written motion for any damn thing before they will even speak with you): $100.00

Correction Officers: $200.00
(Correction officers who bring defendants to court so you can speak to them even though their case is not on calendar: $750.00 +10% of all referrals for the year)

WE HOPE THAT BY CREATING A STANDARIZED LIST OUR MEMBERS WILL AVOID THE INFLATIONARY PRACTICES THAT IN PAST HAVE MADE THE HOLIDAYS A VERY EXPENSIVE TIME.

Thank You: President for a year Barry Wax on Wax off.

Fake former judge said...

Please: More Shumie; More QQQQ: More Bloom PDs; More Hot Clerks and California Surfer Court Option Girl chatter, and less boring stuff about who has a better practice.

Thanks. Done and ordered on this the 6 th Day of my retirement, in Miami, Dade County at Joes, Florida.

Anonymous said...

1:44,
Braxton and Brody are pretty good choices, but I still have a thing for thoses ASA boys in Krieger Martin's courtroom.

Anonymous said...

I would rather have one of the $69.00 ticket attorneys then Roy Black for my ticket(s). They know every motion and more important which hearing officers take which motions and every cop that shows or does not (to plea out or set for trial) and just will simply get the best possible result. They help out the blue collar of society, providing them an affordable legal service historically out of their reach. A janitor get's his license back (because he pays 3 DWLS infractions unknowingly and get's HTO 5 year revoke) and a second chance to drive to work and feed his family. They have that to be proud of too.(in addition to the money)

fake JOA JOE said...

Hiya all. Just signed on with your blog. Fairly decent terms. This is becoming the BLOG for discovering new blogging talent accros the country. I will be leaving funny, pithy and amusing comments from time to time.

See Ya.

Fake Miami 2L said...

Rich Traffic Lawyer:

How does one get into that business.

Yes, I'm serious.

Anonymous said...

Pat Malloy and Brian May have done an outstanding job in lobbying on FIDA's behalf. They have done it once again in Broward County.

Thank you Com. Stacy Ritter leading the charge against the ROC in Broward!!

Funding for the regional conflict office was denied for office space in Broward despite the threat of monetary reprisal from the state!!

Anonymous said...

Rump.......here's why judges hate the waivers of appearance........

The traffic lawyers play games that felony lawyers never would because no circuit judge would put up with the crap the county judges do.

Here's the game. File the waiver. Cop shows. Defendant isn't present. Judge calls case for trial. State announces ready. Defense attorney asks for continuance. Judge refuses to grant the continuance. Defense attorney refuses to stipulate to ID. Judge berates defense attorney (who doesn't care since none of the judges ever do anything about their game playing). Case gets continued.

Traffic court defense lawyers do nothing but delay, delay, delay (with a few notable exceptions). Most can't try a case to save their lives. If cops actually showed up, they'd take please left and right, especially if the judges followed the law.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

For all of you BB supporters:

The Miami-Dade public defender's office has received a national award for its efforts on behalf of indigent defendants.

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association's Clara Shortridge Foltz Award is named after the woman considered the founder of the country's public defender system. She was also California's first female lawyer.

Miami-Dade Public Defender Bennett Brummer praised his staff for meriting the award. He said in a prepared statement: ``We received this high honor because of their commitment to high quality client service and exemplary dedication. I'm humbled by the award and feel fortunate to work with such wonderful people.''

The award will be presented Friday at the NLADA 2007 annual conference in Tucson.

CAPTAIN OUT ....

Anonymous said...

it appears the captain may actually be a private as he has been silenced by a reader in yesterdays comment section.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Arriving soon at a cable channel near you:

The HBO movie "RECOUNT".

The movie is about the Florida fallout from the 2000 presidential election. Sounds like it will be a real comedy; (just look at who is directing the movie - and his past accomplishments)!!!

"Recount" stars Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey as Ron Klain, Vice President Al Gore's former chief of staff who led the Democrat's side of the vote controversy.

Laura Dern is playing former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who was thrust into the national limelight during the electoral pingpong match. Bob Balaban is taking on the role of Benjamin Ginsberg, who was the national counsel in George W. Bush's corner.

Other big names in the cast include Oscar-nominee Tom Wilkinson as former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, Denis Leary as Gore operative Michael Whouley, Ed Begley Jr. as Gore legal eagle David Boies and Oscar-nominee John Hurt as former Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

"Recount" is being directed by Jay Roach, who is best known for comedies such as "Meet the Parents," "Meet the Fockers" and the series of "Austin Powers" spy spoofs.

CAPTAIN OUT ......

Anonymous said...

Reckless is not lesser included of Racing thus State may not amend.State may have officer write new citation and file same or the State must file Information with Defendant having oppurtunity to be arraigned.It is no different than in felony cases when a new charge is being file.Why does everyone feel that the Rules of Criminal Proceedure are totally different in County Court?(they are not but for specific exceptions:i.e.speedy trial,discovery etc.).By the way,as in circuit court,motions must be set and heard;they are not automatically granted as many county court attorneys/traffic attorneys believe.Attorneys must also appear with btheir clients in court lest the judge begin to hold some of these attorneys in contempt and report them to the Florida Bar.

Rich and miffed traffic lawyer said...

RE: 6:29 W.R.O.N.G WRONGWRONGWRONG. Did I say s/he was wrong?

I have the authority to represent. When I appear in court, if the State is ready, I plead. If the State is not ready, I expect a Nolle Prosse. But Bloom and Newman will not allow it.

On the rare case I want to try with the client in absentia, I will seek permission of the court. For all the Expired DL's, reckless drivings, etc., I would venture to say 99.9% of all traffic lawyers do what I do. I have NEVER seen a traffic lawyer pull the kind of crap 6:29 talks about. That is not what I was talking about and that is not what the blitz is about. As I wrote before, the Blitz has turned into a no-win situation for the defense. In the future I will now file written motions to continue on all my cases, clog up the Judge's calendar the weeks before, and opt out of the blitz because my clients are getting screwed.

Rumpole said...

Ms. Nesmith- the Herald email will no longer accept my emails. I do not think you have received my reply to your email.

Lest my readers think salicious thoughts, Ms. Nesmith was reminding me that the Sun Sentinel has no Miami Bureau. The SS's article that I cited in the post was a re-print from the AP, who picked up Ms. Nesmith's Herald article.

Anonymous said...

Who are Brody and Braxton and what court rooms are they in?

Anonymous said...

To Rich, miffed and not really being straight traffic lawyer:

Experience has shown me that what you say does not equate. On one hand you say “...if the state is ready, I plead” and in the next paragraph say “On the rare case I want to try with the client in absentia, I will seek permission of the court.” The problem is when were you planning on asking the judge for permission, at trial? If that permission is denied you would ask for a continuance. In other words you want all the options and if a judge says: “no the options belong to me”, then you think that is wrong. You are WRONG WRONG WRONG, and did I say WRONG, that you are in control of what happens. You are not. The judge is and the judge decides what options you have. It is your arrogance that is a perfect example of what is wrong in traffic court.

Not 6:29, but someone who knows the way it really works.

Rich annoyed traffic lawyer said...

You are really wrong. If I didn't make it clear let me do so now: when I said "ask permission" I meant BEFORE THE DAY OF TRIAL. As I said- that is a rare event to actually try a client in absentia. About once every two years. Otherwise I just take my authority to represent and if they are ready-just like if my client is there- the case is settled. This is not Organic Chemistry 101. This is simple stuff. What you write is the rare event that I am certain you have never seen. Its just some def atty horror story you like to pass around. For those of us in traffic court on a regular basis, none of us would be so stupid as to show up with an authority and then not stipulate to identity. I have 50-75 cases a week in county court (more with tickets) how long would my firm last with the reputation for pulling that crap?

Anonymous said...

Okay Randy (or should I say Horace), you are a god. The fact of the matter is that you want to test the waters with all of the options.

Make the representation that you have never moved for a continuance after the judge refused to let you try a case in abstentia when you sought permission at trial. Tell me you have never come back into court to set aside pleas with your client in tow after that permission and continuance were denied and you wanted another bite at the apple.

Again I say you are wrong wrong wrong and did I say wroooooooooong. You don't make the rules, the Supreme Court does and the judges set their policies applying those rules.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised by the support for judicial moves that clearly defeat the point of the Blitz. If you've got permission from your client to take a plea in their absence, then the case should be resolved at the time of trial. Period. It should either be a plea, if the State's ready or a NP if they're not. Just because the judges CAN misuse their discretion doesn't mean that they should.

Anonymous said...

I PROSECUTED the case where the traffic attorney did what I said (I will not name the attorney because I don't think it's necessary). I can list at least a dozen unethical things I've seen well known traffic attorneys do to avoid trial. I will not do so. Suffice it to say that you all get away with a lot more in county court than you could in circuit court.

For every ethical lawyer (and I think I know who you are..........and acknowledge that you are legit), there is at least one sleazy SOB.

Anonymous said...

www.therobingroom.com/florida

Complain on this web site. It will make you feel better.

Anonymous said...

how about those krieger-martin girls? That ASA with the dark hair and glasses is damn cute.