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. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Thursday, December 13, 2007

THE COURT REPORTERS STRIKE BACK

Tomorrow (or today if you are reading this on Friday) Circuit Judge David Miller will be hearing an emergency motion at 7:15 AM (yes 7:15 AM!!!) on this lawsuit:

GOLDMAN, NACCARATO, PATTERSON,
VELA, & ASSOCIATES, INC.,
Plaintiff,


versus

KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE,
Miami-Dade County State Attorney;
Administrative Office of the Courts of the
11th Judicial Circuit, JUSTICE ADMINISTRATIVE
COMMISSION, an Agency of the State of Florida,
RICHARD ROSENBAUM, “Private Court-
Appointed Counsel” or attorneys representing
“indigent for costs” defendants.
Defendants.



This gist of the lawsuit filed by attorney John R. Sutton: Goldman Naccarato, a well known and well respected court reporting firm, demanded that JAC pay their firm for 40 thousand dollars in unpaid court reporting bills. JAC responded in the manner that we would expect this wonderful agency to do- they terminated Goldman Naccarato's contract, including the six felony courtrooms the firm was contracted to cover.

HERE IS PART OF THE LAWSUIT'S REQUEST FOR A DECLARATORY JUDGMENT:
32. The Plaintiff anticipates certain orders of transcripts after being terminated by JAC.
33. The Plaintiff recognizes and wishes to comply with its duties to timely provide proper transcription of all necessary proceedings.
34. The Plaintiff is unable to identify a responsible party for the invoices.
35. The Plaintiff has no available remedy as a matter of law and has come to
equity with clean hands.
36. This is a very real and emergent controversy for which there is an adversarial relationship regarding the payment of the Plaintiff’s invoices for orders in the future after termination.
37. This controversy is as emergent as is the operation of the Circuit Courts in and for Miami Dade County which require reporters to function.
38. The Plaintiff emphasizes its satisfaction in working for the State Attorney, Public Defender, and the Circuit Courts, but suffers the quagmire of substantial and sometimes overnight transcription, and delivery of lengthy transcripts of court proceedings when the Plaintiff is terminated by JAC and has no certain right to payment by any known party. As such, all interested parties are named herein.
39. The Plaintiff’s business is at stake as its reporters will resign if prompt payment under contract is not assured and the Exhibit 2 termination overruled as an improper tortious interference with contractual rights.
40. Upon knowledge and belief, it is clear and apparent that PCAC and indigent for costs attorneys will order both transcripts of court proceedings and deposition transcripts.
41. In contradiction to the above, it is clear and obvious that appellate courts will enforce prompt delivery of transcripts.
42. The Plaintiff wishes to carry out its duties under Exhibit 1 and urges interested Defendants to assist in the development of a certainly reliable plan for compensation.
43. This Court should take jurisdiction of this matter and find that it is a matter of great importance and schedule an appropriate evidentiary hearing to evaluate the status of the conflict in Exhibits 1 and 2 and thereupon render instructions to the Plaintiff so that it is not required to deliver transcripts on penalty of fine or contempt and then without payment.
44. It is the Plaintiff’s concern and belief that the JAC terminated its contractual relationship with Plaintiff as retaliation for Plaintiff filing a Complaint for outstanding payments.
45. The Plaintiff has elected to file this action to identify the predicament and obtain instruction from this Court regarding transcription of depositions and court proceedings including trial transcripts, to Defendants represented by court-appointed counsel or who have been declared insolvent for costs

Wherefore the Plaintiff prays for Declaratory Judgment, emergency evidentiary hearing and requests this Court order all Defendants appear in Miami Dade County Circuit Court to present its analysis of the problem and solution to the problem.

Rumpole says: when JAC refuses to pay court reporters, our clients suffer. In a sense, the prosecution is getting through the back door, what they couldn't get through the front door: doing away with depositions in felony cases. If JAC prevails, we will enter an era where your clients will truly only be able to get the justice they can afford to pay for.

Many of our readers know the court reporting firm and the principals who run it. We have had no contact with them on this matter whatsoever. We obtained the lawsuit from another source. However, it might be nice to tell the reporters that you stand behind them, and offer them whatever assistance they may need- from a donation to pay for costs of the litigation, to offering to be a witness in their case. We as defense attorneys are strongest as advocates for our clients when we speak with one united voice. In this matter more than the welfare of this court reporting firm is at stake. Our ability to defend our clients is also being directly threatened by JAC. We need to support these court reporters as they "strike back." May the force be with them.

See you in court.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

the jac is on steriods

abe laeser said...

Who in the world wants to do away with depositions?

90% or more of the SAO lawyers are so busy, they can only learn their cases by reading the depos. For the more senior people, the deposition is a great motivator to meet (again?) with witnesses and prepare for their testimony.

They also allow us to confront the witnesses, resolve strong cases by plea, nolle prosse the weak cases -- in essence, try to do justice.

Let me assure you, if we wanted to kill depositions, the $$$ issue would be enough to get the legislature to back us in a second.

I, for one, appreciate their existence. I detest the fact that JAC thinks that they can get justice on the cheap. As my Dad told me after we came to this country: "In America, you get what you pay for."

Anonymous said...

To Abe Laesar From: da gov and ag. 48 states don't do depos. we will be 49. get used to it. gov out.

Anonymous said...

Easy for you to say Abe when you handle so few cases. Try talking to the many County Court, C, B, and A attorneys who would LOVE to get rid of depos. Not to mention the cops who get dragged in, the municipalities/county that pays them, etc., or the civilian witnesses/victims who must take time out of their days (often at their own expense). It's not all about you.

Anonymous said...

Court reporters are thieves. The charges are outrageous. The quality is horrible. Read transcripts and it's like they don't even know how to use spell check. The reporters never come prepared, i.e. know what the matter is that they've been hired for, who the attorney's are etc. What's the point of sending them a notice if the office does not send it to the reporter. Oh, and did I mention timeliness. It would be nice if they showed up more than 1 minute before a proceeding was to start. And don't get me started on the goofball cone talkers.

Rumpole said...

The States that don't have depos, have preliminary hearings. From my point of view, a Preliminary hearing would be easier for me, because I wouldn't spend two months fighting to get the cops to show up. The Court and the Prosecutor would do all the work- I would just show up and ask my questions and work my magic.

So here is the question- if you do away with depos, you are adding a layer of bureaucracy- a Judge, a court reporter, a courtroom, a bailiff, a clerk- to the discovery process. Not to mention the support staff from the prosecutors office to get it all lined up. It doesn't sound cheaper to me.

And as I wrote the post I realized that it did sound (unfairly) as if all prosecutors want to do away with depos. And Mr. Laeser is correct- there is a strong line of thought, starting with former Justice Kogan of the Florida Supreme Court (who was a former prosecutor and trial Judge in Miami Dade) who wrote as a Supreme Court Justice of the benefits Mr. Laeser mentions to prosecutors in the deposition process.

As always, the system can use some tweaking to get better, but we shouldn't just abandon it altogether.

fake alex michaels said...

The JAC is bulsheeeet. The court reporter thing is bullsheeet. I love Rosa. They are treating her bad. That is bullsheeet. They should hire me as their lawyer. I go to court and tell the judge that this is all bullsheeet.

Anonymous said...

As someone who began practice in a jurisdiction that did not have depos, I agree, we should do away with them. Preliminary hearings are much more efficient, resolve evidentiary issues, and often alert the judge to the weaknesses of the case. The time spent coordinating depos, chasing after witnesses who fail to appear, and filing rules is a waste of time and judicial resources. Additionally, prelims that determine what evidence comes in and other matters allow attorneys to be better prepared for trial and have an idea of what evidence the prosecutors have. Florida should step away from its current system and join the rest of the country.

Anonymous said...

YOU GO ABEMAN !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

why is everyone so jacked up on depos with this court reporter problem? That's not really the issue. Take away depos from that firm or whomever, fine, but what about the courtrooms that sapd or pcac appear in? Should they have the right of getting court proceedings transcripts and have jac pay for it not? What if a defendant is found guilty at trial and the judge appoints a pcac to represent him on appeal, who pays for those transcripts? Jac has a problem paying people, period. Period as in :WE'RE NOT PAYING YOU, AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT ATTITUDE. That's the problem that jac has. and it's not just court reporters, or just that firm, but quality-lawyers are turning down cases because the pay from jac sucks.

Anonymous said...

While there are many incompetent reporters, it's not fair to lump them all together (just as it would be unfair to slam all attorneys because some are unethical). As anyone with a modicum of experience in Miami knows, Rosa and her crew are a pleasure to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Depos are only part of the issue for GNPV, think about it. How about a five day trial with a notice of appeal filed by pcac atty. JAC says pcac pays for transcript that's crazy. Pcac work at reduced rates. If GNPV does not deliver the transcript judge orders contempt and fines or jails reporter who has not gotten paid. JAC pays reporters at reduced rate under illusory contract where JAC has no obligation to pay GNPV or PCAC withing any time specific. the K that JAC terminated with GNPV only has illusory terms favoring JAC. Court reporters, asa, pcac, and sapd, should join for themselves to follow tha law in Griffin v. ILL. 76 S.ct 585 (1956). venue is in Dade because constitutional rights are violated in Dade according to Judge Miller. Attys Fleisher and Rosenbaum have filed appearances in GNPV v. JAC as interested parties. we need more of those. All reporters, all asa's, pcas's and sapd's should be paid on time and at fair rates. Pcas's and sapd's are even capped now by JAC on death/murder cases. Equal justi
ce regardless of financial status is fair. John R. Sutton

Anonymous said...

Miller's venue ruling will be successfully appealed. This is a simple contract case not a constitutional fracas; the sword wielder doctrine is inapplicable. Meanwhile, Rosa still won't get paid because Miller denied the request to force payment by the JAC. As a civil case, this will move slow. That's fine with the JAC but could be a death sentence for Rosa's firm.

The JAC needs to be trashed. County funding of court buildings needs to be trashed. For the sake of simplicity, there needs to be a single agency that pays. The current game of pass-the-buck is a bureaucratic mess.