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, December 20, 2007

TRIAL LAWYERS' BILL OF RIGHTS

We're bored.
Nothing's going on.
The phones in the office are dead.
Without any reason to go to court, there is nothing to stimulate our imagination for blogging.

Therefore, as we previously have threatened, we shall re-post some of our favourite posts and invite new comments.

The first of these repeats is the TRIAL LAWYERS'S BILL OF RIGHTS.

Originally posted January 1, 2006, but just as relevant today.


HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Our favorite Bard wrote “It is the purpose that makes strong the vow.”

Here’s an idea that’s been on our minds for a while:

TRIAL LAWYERS' BILL OF RIGHTS.


The Trial Lawyer needs protection from their biggest enemy.
The one entity that can with a wave of the hand completely screw up years of hard work and preparation.We are speaking of course of the Judiciary, some of whom are our wonderful Robed Readers.

Herewith [ and we strongly invite submissions] is our Trial Lawyers Bill of Rights:

A TRIAL LAWYER SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT

1) TO BE FREE FROM BEING EMBARRASSED AND CHEWED OUT IN FRONT OF OUR CLIENT.
We know we say and do stupid things from time to time. But Judges have chambers- and there’s sidebar. We have enough troubles with our clients without having to deal with them after a Judge has just dressed us down for something in court. [ Half the time the judge is upset because we’re late. Well, usually we’re late because we just spent 45 minutes doing an arraignment in front of the Governor's latest new nominee to the bench. ] Does Judicial demeanor matter? Ask Judge Larry Schwartz.

2) TO AT LEAST ONE WEEK AFTER RETURNING FROM VACATION BEFORE STARTING TRIAL.

This one really frosts our ass a little bit. We have an important trial. And when the Judge suggests a date, we tell the Judge we have an FACDL Ski trip for that week. So the Judge gives us a big smile and tells us that sure, she’ll accommodate our vacation, “after all , lawyers are entitled to a vacation as well.”
And then she sets the trial for the Monday after we return that Sunday.


Hey- wake up!

Don’t you know what’s involved in a trial? Don’t you realize that no matter how well an attorney plans and prepares that there are literally dozens of last minute problems that spring up?No. We can’t fly across the country Sunday night, stagger home at 1:00 am and be fresh as a daisy and ready to go to trial Monday morning. If Judges don’t want us to believe that the reason the majority of them became Judges is because they couldn’t try a case, then show some common sense and give us at least a week from retuning from a trip before trial. This may surprise some of you future Supreme Court nominees, but other than the really successful or truly awful lawyers, the rest of us have more cases than the one case clogging up your precious docket. We have clients that want to see us, employees that need guidance and your equally dense colleagues who want us to try a case in their division on the day we return from vacation.

Sometimes, and we really mean this, we wonder how some of you even got into law school.

3) THE RIGHT TO AS MUCH TIME AS WE NEED IN VOIRE DIRE.

First of all, many lawyers who get stuck in a trial don’t try a lot of cases and couldn’t conduct a good voire dire with Perry Mason sitting with them as second chair. So you needn’t worry about them taking too much time. They ask a few moronic questions about which section of the Herald the juror’s husband reads, and then they stagger back to their table sweating bullets and grab their law school text on opening statements to see what to do next. For the rest of us, the ones who devote time and energy to our craft, a good voire dire is crucial. It is the most important part of the trial.We are not asking you to give us a long leash. Keep the leash short. But as long as we’re asking the right types of questions, then our clients (be it a defendant or the people of the state of Florida) are getting their moneys worth from the advocate they hired. Just leave us alone and let us do our job. Surprisingly, when that happens, the Jury system works just fine.

You want a short voire dire? Get an appointment to the Federal Bench.

4) THE RIGHT TO BEGIN AND END THE TRIAL AT A DECENT HOUR:

We see this with a lot of new Judges, especially in County Court. Trying to establish some sort of macho reputation, they work until 11 PM and then send the jury out at midnight.What are you people thinking?Would you want the most important day of your life in the hands of someone who has been in the Justice Building since 8 AM making a decision about your life some 16 hours later?What’s so difficult about coming back the next day?

That’s a good start. We have cast our bread upon the waters. Lets see what happens next.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Poor rumpy doesn't have anything to do, boo hoo. What's up with the pd race, anyone file other than Carlos Martinez? January 10 begins a new reporting cycle for paperwork and contributions so maybe some people are waiting till after jan. 10. it is a presidential election year, and congress etc. a local pd of one of 20 circuits in fl, with all the other dozen offices and all state reps makes it not the most important thing in the world. trials are entertainment and our country is addicted to violence more than oil, what would the media do without murders to report.

Anonymous said...

Now that the Mitchell/steroid report is out will we see hundreds of fbi agents spending thousands of hours trying to find out who committed perjury in interviews, who obstructed justice, who lied before congress, who lied to the fbi agents, who engaged in interstate commerce in illegal steroids or will they continue to try to twart terrorism. Is it just me or have all the train derailments, explosions and fires at chemical plants and god knows what else been terrorist acts covered up by the fbi. by the way, a tom clancy book about 3 years ago laid out a scenario where terrorists cross the mexican/u.s. border, go to malls-4-around the country in vans loaded with ammo and machine guns and start blowing away people at the food court. since that book there have been about 6 mall shootings, 2 in the last 3 months. My prediction- the fbi will investigate steroids and political candidates and their appointees after the 2008 election and we will be attacked again. Do we really care if Guiliani had security for his mistress while mayor. any adult over 40 should know by now that all politicians are flawed which is why they enter politics, for pussy, power and money. i will be traveling out of the country for xmas, see you at the airport my federal friends. after all i exericise my 1st amendment rights and speak the truth, hence i have a file. how sad.

Anonymous said...

I hope you read the blog Judge Thomas. If you want a dime from the defense bar next go around,,,,

Fake Bill Parcells said...

Rump,

Because you are a football fan and a superb trial lawyer, I wanted ask you if you ever have pulled a Romo? Have you invited a significant other to court and completely bombed?

3rd floor PD said...

Coupla thoughts- Barzee kicking some butt in the poll, huh? From the sentiments on the third floor over here: Run Bill Run!!!

My friend swears he is one of the famed "fakes" who posts on the blog and that they have their own Fake Rumpole blog with about ten people running it and posting all kinds of hilarious stuff that they try out and sort of vote on before putting it on this blog. What do you know about that Rumpola?

Rumpole said...

Dear Big Tuna- welcome to Miami. We need all the help we can get. Trade that number one to some team that needs the top pick and get a number one a two and maybe a one or two next year (remember- the Giants swaped a number one with San Diego to get Manning and included the next years number one, so there is precedent for this.)

Anyway- as soon as I saw Simpson sitting in the Box during the Cowpokes game, I knew Romo was going to have a bad day.

I avoid at all costs having friends or family in the courtroom. There is enough pressure on me already. Plus, my reputation is such that when I am in trial, the word spreads and the seats are quickly filled by admiring young PDs and ASAs wanting to watch a true pro in action, so there is rarely room for friends/family.

I have (in the past) been known to agree to discuss the finer points of cross or closing with some particular fetching young PD who came to to watch me, at a cozy and dark restaurant while celebrating the victory. But that is not what you asked, so I will not discuss it further.

Fake snitch lawyer said...

Rump,

I want to get a good deal for my guy.
I think he should snitch. He knows where the murder weapon was thrown.

Should I contact the press and let them know my guy is a snitch and what he has to say?

Anonymous said...

Jessica Simpson was also present at other games this year where Romo has gone off--so cut the shit. Its still Dallas-NE.

Colonel Angus said...

Colonel Angus says: A Circuit Court Judge in Tallahasee has ruled in favor of FACDL on the regional counsel suit. The A.G. will appeal.

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS!!!

Second Circuit Judge Kevin Davey granted the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s request for a Writ Quo Warranto. This writ quashes the Governor’s appointments of the 5 Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Regional Counsel and enjoins them from performing any duties!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure FIDA will try to take credit for this even though they did nothing except take money from desperate defense lawyers.

Anonymous said...

PRESS RELEASE

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NEW PUBLIC DEFENDER SYSTEM DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Criminal Defense Lawyers Win Suit Against Governor and Legislators

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (December 21, 2007) – Only one day after hearing legal arguments on the issue, Circuit Judge P. Kevin Davey issued a comprehensive opinion yesterday striking down Florida Law 2007-62. The law was passed in July in an attempt to create new, state-run conflict public defender offices in five regions throughout Florida to handle criminal cases from which the elected Public Defender was obligated to withdraw due to ethical conflict. In his opinion, Davey declared the law to be, “...an attempt to amend the [Florida] Constitution by legislative fiat.” The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL) had sued Governor Charlie Crist, Senate President Ken Pruitt and others in order to overturn the legislation.

“From the beginning of this process, our primary concern has been to ensure that Florida citizens accused of committing crimes received a vigorous defense from competent lawyers armed with the necessary resources to protect their Constitutional rights,” said FACDL President A. Russell Smith.

Judge Davey heard the matter by special order of the Florida Supreme Court.

“We are fortunate that this lawsuit was heard by an experienced judge who understood the issues, read the pleadings, and thoroughly researched the applicable law. The credit for our success belongs to Sonya Rudenstine and Todd Doss, the two volunteer lawyers who led our effort, and did a magnificent job,” said Smith.

Florida Law 2007-62, commonly referred to as SB 1088, created a burdensome new government bureaucracy, establishing five Offices of Regional Criminal Conflict and Civil Counsel. Critics have argued from its inception that the program was not only unconstitutional, but also severely understaffed and under-funded.

Since the law’s passage earlier this year, none of the Regional Conflict Counsel have been able to open their offices on schedule, and the program is already over its budget. Projections show that costs will far exceed those of the traditional public defender program it replaced for this fiscal year.

Even Governor Charlie Crist, who had to be named in the lawsuit because of Florida law, expressed grave reservations about the system when he signed SB 1088. In his signing statement, he described the replacement of the previous system as “radical,” and also recognized that the cases-to-attorney ratio afforded by the new law “may be challenging” for the regional offices to handle.

Although Judge Davey declined to rule on two collateral issues, he agreed with the fundamental argument made by FACDL: that SB 1088 was unconstitutional because it attempted to set up an appointed second public conflict defender system. In the opinion, he held that “... Chapter 2007-62, Laws of Florida, cannot alter the constitutional requirements provided by Article V, Section 1B of the Florida Constitution.”

Because SB 1088 effectively dismantled the previous network of local systems that utilized specially appointed private defense lawyers in conflict situations, it appears that the Legislature will have to rebuild the system from scratch. It is not clear whether the state will appeal the ruling, but FACDL President Smith offered to begin working with the Governor and Legislature immediately.

“We are prepared to roll up our sleeves and work shoulder-to-shoulder with the Governor and the Legislature to develop a conflict defender system that is efficient and effective in protecting the rights of Florida citizens,” Smith said. “FACDL will also immediately begin contacting the Chief Judges of each Circuit to ensure that no person currently facing charges is adversely affected by the unconstitutionality of SB 1088.”

To read the entire order from Circuit Judge Davey regarding this ruling, go to www.FACDL.org.

Anonymous said...

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO MY FELLOW CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY; I HOPE YOU HAD A PROFITABLE YEAR AND BEST WISHES IN 2008. My Christmas wish list is for the twelve days of xmas 1. Reveal the identity of Rumpole so this blog ends and I can get a real life. 2. Continued handgun murders, armed robberies etc. so we have cases. 3. An increase in the number of law graduates so we become more Darwinian- you know -survival of the fittest. 4.Increased ICE and Patriot Act enforcement and infringement on our rights so we have work. 5. A new juvenile courthouse. 6. Likeable jail guards. 7. competent judges. 8. a tv gig as judge ______ for fat, bald unattractive white males. 9. money. 10. women 11. a new pd other than carlos( bennett II) martinez. 12. abolition of rule 3.850's.

Fake Mcgillis said...

all unempolyed conflict lawyers and staff please contact the campaign of darrin mcgillis for immediate work.

Anonymous said...

i think that rumpole is not a criminal defense attorney but is actually ASA david Ranck