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

Thursday, November 08, 2007

SWITCHING ROLES

UPDATED: SEE BELOW

We have long advocated Public Defenders and Prosecutors switching jobs for six months during their first three years.

Now comes a speech from former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who says she favors just the same thing. For our robed readers, Justice O'Connor advocates doing away with the election of Judges.

JUSTICE O'CONNOR


From the article:

In England, lawyers serve both as prosecutors and defense lawyers, paid from the public treasury. "We see a level of courtesy we don't see in our country," O'Connor said. "They realize there are problems in both areas."
She said would like to find some state or local governments in the United States that would be willing to create a staff of public lawyers, who "would spend some time on both sides."


Lord knows we have taken our shots at the Miami Judiciary (all well deserved in our opinion) . And yet our Judiciary has been marked over the years by a wonderful ability to create innovative programs and challenge old ideas. We started the first drug court in the country. Ms. Reno's office had some of, if not the first, specialized divisions dealing with sexual abuse of children, domestic violence, and before drug court, Ms. Reno and Mr. Brummer worked on several programs to deal with the crack cocaine epidemic.

Now is the time for Ms. Rundle, Mr. Brummer, Chief Judge Farina, Judge Blake and others to sit down and make this happen. We are talking about County Court positions here. It's not like PD's will be sitting down rifling through sensitive files. There are plenty of Branch Court positions where ASA's deal mostly with unrepresented defendants, and that would be a great place to start. On the other side, put a few ASA's in the early representation division and have them spend a few weeks speaking with defendants who have just been incarcerated. Learning about the traumatic toll being in jail takes on a defendant and their family might just help those ASA's from throwing around 364 offers without any thought as to the consequences.


See you in court.

A reader wrote in with these comments, and s/he is 100% correct:

Anonymous said...
funny you dont mention any things that a pd might learn serving as an asa.

1. there are actually victims of crime who suffer at the hands of the defendants.
2. not all asa's are nazis (that line must be fed to baby pd's like mothers milk.
3. asa's dont give you discovery not because they dont want to, they are overwhelmed and deal with cops who dont give them all reports.
4. if you think you have it rough in court dealing with defendant's, its not so easy dealing with cops, victims and witnesses who dont give a shit about what you are doing

Rumpole says: Our motto: When you're right, write.

Two small points: any generalization by any group of attorneys against another group is counterproductive to resolving issues.
However, we recently heard a County Court Prosecutor say to another prosecutor "I don't trust anything any defense attorney says. They're all scum."
Now beyond the problem of stereotypes, Prosecutors are paid to dispense justice. Thus, a greater problem arises when a prosecutor thinks like that, then when a defense attorney thinks like that about prosecutors. Is it fair? Nope. But that's the point- as law enforcement officers and lawyers prosecutors are held to a higher standard. When prosecutors perform to that standard (as most do) they have every right to be especially proud.

Anyway, we thank the reader for saying what needed to be said. Well Done.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

The VOID in the race for Miami-Dade P.D. is about to be filled. Intelligence has confirmed that a former wheel attorney is getting organized to file papers to take on BB. BB should not seek reelection if for no other reason than that the sao and pd are the only statewide constitutional and legislative officials immune from term limits. Furthermore one need look no further than the demographic/racial/ethnic lack of diversity in his office to demonstrate his total lack of sensitivity to the changing needs of Miami which has about 85% hispanic/black population and the pd clientele is probably 97% black hispanic. the number of black and hispanic attorneys in his office is probably less than 20%. If you want to succeed in BB's office you better be Jewish. Now Rumpole; who is better suited to be pd, an attorney with significant trial experience and a reputation for excellence in the courtroom OR a politician/administrator like the last opponent Gabe Martin. What is your position? You cover the gossip of who is running but what is your position on what qualifications the next pd should have? A further example of the need for fresh blood in that office is the inablility of BB to effectively lobby the legislature and/or Miami Dade for better parking and office space for his attorneys. For 20 years the juvenile courthouse has needed to be replaced but still circuit court continues to be held in what is half trailer park and half a building which should be condemned and is an insult to Seymour Gelber that he name is on a dump like that, the staircases are unsafe, there is no parking, and the courtrooms are wood paneling from the 60s. I have an inquiring mind Rumpole and want to hear your wisdom on this?

Anonymous said...

funn you dont mention any things that a pd might learn serving as an asa

1. there are actually victims of crime who suffer at the hands of the defendants
2. not all asa's are nazis (that line must be fed to baby pd's like mothers milk.
3. asa's dont give you discovery not because they dont want to, they are overhwlemed and deal with cops who dont give them all reports.
4. if you think you have it rough in court dealing with defendant's, its not so easy dealing with cops, victims and witnesses who dont give a shit about what you are doing

Anonymous said...

Yeah, great idea, next.

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. Aren't both sides about seeking justice?

Don't they do this in the miltary? If I remember correctly JAG officers switch roles on a case by case basis.

Anonymous said...

When is Carlos going to file for PD? WE NEED HIM!

Anonymous said...

Clerk Adler actually created the data base and initiated the sprint funding and technology. Why is Ruvin getting all the credit for something he did not start.

Can you say "opportunist". Again Rumpola ask Ruvin "what have you done for me lately" in the past 10yrs. Would someone else Please run for Clerk of Court pretty please.

Anonymous said...

11:05...
I may agree with some of your points. However, blaming BB for the inability to get a new juvenile courthouse is nuts.

Besides the fact that the legislature just cut the court's budget 2%, the lobbying responsibility rests primarily with Chief Judge Farina and the administrative judges for the division. (Lest there be suggestions of ineffective lobbying on their part, I'll simply say that I'm confident that if anyone could, the CJ could squeeze blood from a stone.)

Anonymous said...

11:05

A politician/administrator like Gabe Martin??? Parking spaces? BB a bad lobbyist? Cut back on the hallucinogenics, you're going to hurt yourself.

Anonymous said...

To 1:21. I was an asa and like most went on to defend. What did I learn as an asa; I will list a few. ASAs are not nice people, most are republican rascists who hate minorities and are ambitious in politics. They look the other way when they know they are dealing with bad cops, departments, police brutality and illegal or incompetent police work. Every sao office has a couple of chief assitants to the elected state attorney who would have been great ss thugs in Hitler's army. No matter how hard you work, competent you are, sooner or later you will get fucked by office politics unless you have some great dirt on your boss. You will not make a dent in crime, poverty, or improve society. You will piss off defense attorneys and defendants when 90% of you will some day defend people. you will asked to try someone who is or you believe to be innocent and this will be one of the first major tests in your life of your ethics and morality. do you do it, or do you start looking for a new job. when you leave the sao you will realize you worked with a bunch of two faced hypocritical assholes and will only be grateful for the trial experience and maybe some publicity if you were good enough to handle the toughest cases. and you will find most employers others than insurance defense companies could care less that you were a prosecutor.the bottom line is that most asas probably had a bad experience with a bully in elementary school and want to get back at society and when you leave the sao you realize you didn't get back at anybody- you were just an overworked underpaid pawn used by a politician who makes 10 times as much money and never has to go court, write a motion, do research, or read the flw, they just delegate, supervise, and put out the occasional fire like whether to not prosecute another corrupt MIami politician.No go back to your office you neophyte.

Anonymous said...

I think the ASA's are more paranoid about the defense bar hating them than is warranted. The ones in a certain courtroom constantly say to me "I know you guys are taught from day 1 to hate the State". . .which couldn't be farther from the truth. The fact is some ASA's are good, some are bad (like everything else in life). I'm more than happy to hold the state to their burden, which is apparently why they think I (and other attys) hate them. Tough, I do my job and make you prove your case. That is not a personal reflection upon you.

Rumpole said...

I cannot disagree with that last comment more. Lord knows I have my troubles with prosecutors. Mostly they cannot believe they are losing a case to someone as hung over as I appear (and usualy) am. However, they are NOT racists Nazis. The comments of most prosecutors about hating all defense lawyers are usually made by young and inexperienced prosecutors. The SAO is staffed by many many dedicated, fair, and hard working prosecutors. Guys like Billy Howell, Abe Laser, David Gilbert, Frank Ledee, Bill Altfield, Bill McGee, Don Horn, David Ranck, Gary Winston, Howard Pohl, Laura Adams, and I am forgetting dozens more(hangover) these are people dedicated to justice, and we need more like them.

Anonymous said...

Howard Pohl and Don Horn are backstabbers. Add to your list of nice asas: penny brill, angelica zayas, marie matos, and rubin. EVERY SAO OFFICE HAS AT LEAST ONE NAZI- and the person is usually called chief assistant. remember shay bilchik, george yoss, lenny glick and whoever is telling gail levine it is ok to treat everyone like shit.

Anonymous said...

RUmp, 3:41 is partially correct, and that's really all that matters

Anonymous said...

to 337; let me amplify about the office space/parking. the sao has a beautiful building with fresh paint and landscaping, the pd has a view of a sallyport. the asas walk 30 feet to the front door, the pds walk a half mile. the interior of the pd looks like shit, the interior of the sao looks like a real law firm, and I could go on and on. Now, are you telling me that an effective politician/lobbyist could not get more money in 30 years for a real office building and not what looks like a jail extension.

Anonymous said...

BARZEE FOR PD!!!

Anonymous said...

WHY IS JUVENILE COURT STILL IN A TRAILER PARK? Have you seen the Naples, Orlando, W.Palm Beach and Ft.Lauderdale courthouses. why does dade continue to get the short end of the stick. there obviously is a lack of effective lobbying and teamwork between the head judge, clerk, pd and kfr or else dade would get more money. 800 million for an opera house used ten times a year but no money for a courthouse used 5x a week. but gotta love them dolphins.

Bruce said...

Rump= warning: Bobby has a gun that he keeps beneath his pillow.

Rumpole said...

And "out on the street your chances are zero."

Who do you think you're dealing with here? I was at the stone Pony watching Bruce and Clarence and the Scooter and Miami Steve and Niels when you were in diapers.

The reader is quoting from the opening lines of a Springsteen song "Murder Inc.," which as all Springsteen trivia fans know, was never released on any album as a new song (it is on a best hits album). It was a favorite at concerts.

Paint ball assassin said...

Ladies and Gentleman, the next Public Defender of Dade County, and one of the worst paint ball competitors in the history of paint ball...The Honorable William "Bill" Barzee.

Anonymous said...

It's a trailer park so that the trailer park trashey people feel at home.

Man try and use the disgusting bathrooms at juvi...that's ok I can hold it.

Anonymous said...

Bennett Brummer for PD!

The man simply gets the job done.

SleepyB said...

I could prosecute cases in my sleep.

Rate your favorite or worse Miami Judge said...

LMAO have you seen this link? All the Miami Dade County Judges are listed and you click on your Judges and rate them.

http://www.therobingroom.com/florida/ListingByCounty.aspx?ID=109

Boy of boy the internet is about to change the politics of judging. Rumpole a pioneer in the field of exposure has started a avalanch of sorts.

Rumpole said...

OK jackass- if you're looking for your comments they are not here. That individual has more courage and integrity in his pinkie than you have in your whole miserable body.

I did not publish a comment calling an individual who has been sober and in recovery for many years " a drunk". That person who wrote that is a jackass, and quite frankly worse.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole that just upsets me. Now I sit here enjoying my chips and oreos looking for gossip and you block a jackass with no details of what and who....

come'on give a guy some entertainment

Anonymous said...

Rumpole just tell people who it is that is clean..

Anonymous said...

No one is running for PD.

It will be Bennett's job if he
wants it. Otherwise, Carlos will
run unopposed. Let's get real,
no one cares about who the Public
Defender is.

Anonymous said...

To 3:41-
anyone who actually thinks things like that can't be reasoned with.
Up yours, Jackass.

Regards,
An ASA that votes democrat.

Anonymous said...

Rump,

You don't know me, so don't compare me to the person you are protecting. I know him, I've worked with him, and in the integrity contest, he loses. It sounds to me like he's your friend. Your venomous post was disproportionate to my passing comment, and unfair in itself. Calling me names? I've lost much of the respect I had for you.

Anonymous said...

Here's how the PD's office determines raises: They keep stats on how many depos you take. If you don'yt take 40 depos a month, you are presumed to be not working hard enough. Now the PDs waste our money by taking every transporting officer's depo just to pump up their stats. This is encouraged by none other than Carlos Martinez, so he has ammo to take to the idiots in Tallytown in his efforts to get more money for the budget.Does anyone else think this is insane?

Anonymous said...

3:41--you are embarrassingly transparent. The combination of your atrocious grammar/spelling, and your evident bitterness at the SAO leads to the inescapable conclusion that you were an ASA who was fired, probably after no more than two years with the office. And fired, not because, as you believe, your "racist nazi" supervisors were out to get you, but fired because you were too stupid and incompetent to do the job effectively, as evidenced by your atrocious grammar/spelling. You are in desperate need of therapy. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

341 i was a prosecutor for a lot longer then you were you 3 and out motherfucker.

you must be a punkass little bitch as a defense attorney if you actually went to ct as an asa, thinking someone is innocent. i was there for more than 8 years and never had anything like this happen. if you have a brain and can articulate your reasons as to why you think a defendant may be innocent no one will ever make you try a case.

i feel so sorry for any clients of yours becuase if you cant convince a DC of why a case sucks you couldnt convince a judge let alone a jury of anything.

republican racists? funnny but if you ever got your head out of your lazy fat ass you would know that almost the entire office is democrats, especially those in management who you whine about.

i am sure you are sad the wheel is gone becuase a stupid ignorant loser needs to government dole to survive because no defendant would hire you unless you are one of those scumbags who gets all your cases from bail bondsmen

Anonymous said...

The interior of the PD's office may look odd, but the offices of the APD's look nicer than the officers of the ASA's.

I think they invest more in furniture too.

Anonymous said...

2:55 wrote......

"This is a great idea. Aren't both sides about seeking justice?"

I can't decide if he was being sarcastic or simply has no idea what he is talking about. Defense attorneys don't seek justice. They are ethically bound to zealously represent their clients regardless of guilt or innocence (ie. get them off). Prosecutors, on the other hand, ARE required to seek justice. Whether or not they all are mature enough to do so is another matter.

Anonymous said...

11:05........I can't stand Brummer. But, the reason the Jewish lawyers are succeeding is not because they're Jewish. It's because they're damn good. Good over your anti-semitism.

Rumpole said...

6:44- and you don't know me. You're upset about name calling?

You call a man who has a disease "a drunk" when he gets up every day, looks in the mirror and admits his disease and the power it has over him, and then does something about it. He has been sober a long time, and it really makes me mad when some two bit coward calls him or anyone like him a drunk. Want to really settle this? Send me a private email with your name, and we can talk. Until then, hide behind the anonymity that allows you to call a brave man a drunk. Yes, I too am anonymous. But I have never stooped so low as to denigrate a person for a disease. You make me sick.

Anonymous said...

SOMEBODY CALL THE Q!!!!!!!!!!!!

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - A scooter-riding Mickey Rourke was arrested Thursday on suspicion of driving under the influence. Rourke, star of "Sin City," "Diner" and "9 1/2 Weeks," was arrested at 4:20 a.m. and booked at the Miami-Dade County Jail, said Janelle Hall, a jail spokeswoman. He was released on a $1,000 bond, she said.

I LOVE WRITING THAT.

Anonymous said...

The only anonymity that I hide behind is that which enables me to remain employed. I guess we're both "two-bit cowards."

But please don't turn every two-bit recovering alcoholic into a hero.

Anonymous said...

You call me a jackass. You say you don't call people with a disease out? Liar. Everyday you bash Darrin McGillis with below the belt comments.

Anonymous said...

6:58 - It's called remedial English. Look into it, jackass.

And, 8:42, can you explain how your theory re: justice applies to those ASAs who put lying cops on the stand to prosecute marginal cases? Take your time; this won't be easy.

Rumpole said...

Every day? Show me where in the post yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that or the day before that, etc., etc.

And any problem I may have with Mr. McGillis has to do with his view of the blog and what I believe is his anger that he cannot control what I write. If Mr. McGillis or anyone that I had a problem with was in recovery (and there is nothing to suggest whatsoever that is the case with Mr. McGillis) that would be their private matter and I would never-ever-attack or denigrate an individual who had a drug or alcohol problem, especially when that person overcame that problem. I may not like some people- but I have never called them a drunk on a blog read by their colleagues, which is what you wanted to do. That is why you are a jackass and you make me ill.

Rumpole said...

Actually 10:13 I do believe that every recoverng alcoholic is a hero. They have a disease that they have chosen to fight. That takes guts and to me, everyone of them are heroes in their own right.

Anonymous said...

Did BHB ever lift the ban on the lawyers? Never got a update since the 06' spectacle.

Anonymous said...

County court and C prosecutors need to develop some common sense and perspective, which thy could only get if they were given a bit of discretion and were taught to think for themselves instead of having to ask a supervisor for permission to do each and everything.

Prosecutors should have to intern in major crimes for a semester before being hired to work in county court. That will teach them perspective quick and wil help them set prosecutorial priorities and resource utilization according to the seriousness of the crimes and common sense.

Jason Wandner said...

To anonymous 8:42:00 p.m.: I would like to comment on your remark that defense lawyers do not seek justice.

Firstly, I agree with you, that a defense lawyers' ethical obligation is to advocate on behalf of the client regardless of the client's ultimate "guilt or innocence."

That being said, your view that advocating a client's position naturally means you are attemptng to "get him off" and is therefore inconsistent with the concept of seeking justice is a very simplistic and false view of the defense attorney's role.

A defense attorney's role is to seek justice for his client, within the confines of the law and of ethical considerations.

Clearly, seeking justice for a client sometimes means asserting his innocence throughout the proceedings and if necessary, standing beside them in trial in order to obtain full exoneration while risking conviction and all the penalties that come with it.

Other times, seeking justice for a client means accepting some responsibility for a client's conduct while seeking to mitigate the penalty through counseling, contrition, incarceration, supervision, restitution, or whatever other conditions might apply to obtain an amicable resolution to a criminal matter.

Either way, the defense attorney works within the justice system as a constitutional officer whose role is to seek justice from the accused's perspective, in conjunction with a prosecutor, whose role is to seek justice on behalf of the government and citizenry. In other words, justice would not be served without the defense attorney doing exactly what his role is within the system, seeking justice for his client.

As to your final thought, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Anonymous said...

People are talking about office space and decor as being crucial when on 11/7/07 guess which Public Defender Office received an award as the best PD office in the Country from the NLADA-- PD11.

Anonymous said...

Jason, nice try. Defense attorneys ARE essential to our justice system and the pursuit of justice. However, their role is NOT to achieve a just result. It is to achieve a result that their client's want. If you get a child molester off, that's great for you client. But, that's not justice for the victim or our community. While I appreciate everything you do as a defense attorney and the importance of your job, you can't claim that truth and justice are your goals any way you slice it.

Anonymous said...

The effeminete lawyers says the discerning connoiseur of fashion would recommend bb decorate the pd in a pastel color to accentuate the sao office. just a thought, ta ta! P.S. when those pds argue passionately for their clients it just makes my forearm hair tingle.

Tom Cobitz said...

Rump,

Have you noticed House Bill 109?

Sec. 2 revising FS 318.14(11)(a) would take away the power of a Judge or Hearing Officer to withhold on a Traffic Infraction.
Can you imagine how this will impact our favorite Ticket Law Firms.

Anonymous said...

TC,
Imagine how it will affect our community as well. For the majority of 'decent' drivers out there, those who may only get a ticket every several years, the only effect of receiving points is that fact that their insurance rates will go up.
If you think there's a problem now with uninsured motorists driving on our streets, wait until even the 'good' drivers get hit with 30% increases.

Anonymous said...

Rump, i luv ya but i gotta 'gree wit 10:24pm. Y'all taunt and disparage the clerk candidate like he's some kinda threat, instead of recognizing possible illness issues.

Jason Wandner said...

To anonymous 11:38:00 a.m.: While I appreciate that you appreciate the role of the defense attorney in the criminal justice system, I am struck by your continued assertion that seeking a just result is not our role.

As stated earlier, we do seek a just result, for our client. There are others whose job it is to seek justice for the alleged victim and society. Those roles are no more, or less important, than those of the defense bar. We all seek justice on behalf of those we advocate for.

As to the situation were a defense attorney "gets off" a child molester, I assume you are speaking of a situation where a person is accused of child molestation but is acquitted at trial or has a case dimissed for some legal reason or lack of evidence. While the person may have committed an act which constituted a despicable crime, in our system, if the legal process led to the result you are complaining about, then justice was done according to our laws.

A defense attorney identifying and exploiting a lack of evidence, mistake of the prosecutor, credibility problem with the witness, or other reasonable doubt, is seeking justice just as much as a prosecutor who points out those facts that leads to conviction.

Finally, there are those instances where an attorney has obtained a beneficial and potentially lenient sentence for his client after a trial or through the plea bargaining process. The conditions attached to those sentences, such as counseling, supervision, treatment, etc., often result in the person changing his life around for the better, which helps society as a whole. There certainly is justice in that, isn't there?

Anonymous said...

This weekend should be a reminder of the evils that are created when government power goes unchecked. Defense attorneys may end up "getting off" an individual, but we do so in an effort to keep our system and government honest and accountable. The worst atrocities known to Man have been at the hands of governments gone wild. Keeping a watchful eye on the only entity that can "legitimately" wield unspeakable violence is critical to our way of life. More importantly, it's critical to all we know to be justice. Anyone in our profession who doesn't get that is short-sighted at best.

Anonymous said...

Jason, you are 100% correct, only problem is that we have people in our system, prosecutors, judges, and even defense lawyers, that do not believe in the simple premises of the adversary system. Trying to convince them otherwise, especially on this blog, is a complete waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Jason, do you really believe that nonsense? When you hammer a witness you know is telling the truth, do you think that you're leading to a "just" result? Justice doesn't mean getting a good result for you client. Justice contemplates the administration of punishment in appropriate doses and situations when deserved. You fight that every day. Ensuring the system works properly is not the same thing.

And that's the difference between prosecutors and defense attorneys. Prosecutors are ethically and legally bound to seek justice (unfortunately, we all know of some who forget that). Defense attorneys are not. That's why prosecutors have to abide by special rules of conduct that defense attorney's don't.

There's no shame in protecting your client's rights and zealously advocating on his behalf. In fact, it's critical to our system and, frankly, we can use more zealous advocates like you. You don't have to justify or rationalize your job by claiming to pursue justice (which you're not).

PS---you have a future as a PR guy for the defense bar.

Anonymous said...

Rump. I saw that you once had a poll with q's like, "If you had a complicated DUI motion, which judge would you want to hear it?", etc. How about another one of those where the answers are posted?