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, February 28, 2008

ONE IN A HUNDRED: BROWARD DOES THEIR PART

One in a hundred americans is in prison or jail, and here's why Broward is helping to keep that number high:

The Broward Blog contains the welcome news that Broward Attorney Valerie Small-Williams was acquitted of the misdemeanor charge of failure to obey a police officer.

The disturbing facts of the case are that Ms. Small-Williams was stopped for speeding and then ordered out of her vehicle (a Jaguar) while her small child was in the back because the officer thought he saw a second drivers license in her wallet. She was arrested, cuffed, and initially charged with a slew of crimes, although the “second license” was never located.

This “serious” misdemeanor was prosecuted for two days North Of the Border, and Ms. Small-Williams was acquitted Thursday evening. Rightfully so.

Just how many ridiculous cases will the prosecutors North Of the Border continue to bring? Just when will someone stand up to these prosecutors and start filing bar complaints after they continue to ignore the sacred responsibility they have to screen cases and not prosecute innocent people? Who among us as defense attorneys has not had a Broward Prosecutor tell us that while they believe the defendant is innocent, it is their office’s policy to prosecute everyone and let the jury acquit them?

There isn’t a civil verdict enough to compensate Ms. Small –Williams for the emotional pain and suffering those poor excuses for prosecutors, not to mention police officers, put her through.

The Broward Blog and the Sun Sentinel also report that Judge Aleman is asking “for leniency” and to have the Florida Supreme Court not issue a public reprimand. Here’s hoping the court dispenses to her all the leniency she gave while a judge.
Lets not forget this is the Judge who was TWICE reversed by the 4th DCA after she terminated parental rights after a parent showed up to court late, explaining that they had to take the bus. Yes, this is a woman who would take the extraordinarily severe step of ending the parent-child relationship, because a poor litigant relied on public transportation and was late.


Oh there isn’t enough leniency in the universe for her to receive what we perceive as “justice” in her case. Here’s hoping her judicial days are confined to probate, where no matter how petty and vindictive she is, at least she is only doing it to dead people.

The prevailing view is that the Florida Supreme Court had no sympathy for the arguments advanced by the FACDL against the ROC system of public defenders. Welcome to the era of criminal justice ROC-n-roll.

And finally, the minimum mandatory sentences have come home to roost, as the NY Times reports that “More than 1 in 100 Adult Americans are now in prison.
The Times article is

HERE

And with over 2.3 million Americans in jail or prison, it should come as no surprise that Texas (motto: "Welcome to our state. Please place your hands behind your back…you have the right to remain silent…”) leads the nation with 172,000 of its citizens in prison.


While we can think of one more prominent Texan who should be locked up, has anyone decided to look at just what makes a person born in Texas so pre-disposed to break the law? Perhaps it’s the six shooter the state gives everyone who turns 13?

In any event, with 1 in 100 of our fellow Americans in jail or prison, lets not stop there. Lets just lock everyone up, and then give everyone the chance to prove they don’t belong there. Lets just make living in the US and being over the age of 18 a crime punishable by a mandatory 60 year prison sentence, and then hold parole hearings to see who among us deserves not to spend their life behind bars.

We’d better stop being so facetious before some republican legislator decides it’s a good idea and runs for the Senate.

See You In Court, where we are doing our part to lower that outrageous number.

29 comments:

CAPTAIN said...

I said it before, but it bears saying it again (I can't stand that judge) ...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Broward Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Aleman has asked the Supreme Court not to publicly humiliate her for her repeated acts of publicly humiliating others in her courtroom.

Funny, huh.

What do they say - "what goes around, comes around".

CAPTAIN OUT .....

Anonymous said...

After John Bruce Thompson is disbarred, does anyone think it'll actually stop him from filing suits pro se and continuing his publicity generating record requests?

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

WE'RE NUMBER ONE ....

You beat me to the post Rump.

And when I say NUMBER ONE, I mean it. Both the United States (in the world) and the great State of Florida (in the USA) are numero uno.

For the first time in U.S. history, more than one out of every 100 adults is in jail or prison and America has become the world's No. 1 incarcerator.

The new report issued today urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars.

FLORIDA is not listening:

... as they lead the nation in growth in prison population adding 4,447 inmates last year.

Our total prison population is 97,416 and we WILL hit 100,000 inmates during 2008.!!!

More Florida numbers:

A total of 41,268 were sent to prison in 2007 in Florida.

Broken down by crime, drug offenses and theft/forgery/fraud offenses are the two leading groups of offenses sentencing to state prison. These are the only two non-violent categories on Florida's list - (all other categories are of the violent nature).

Here are some more numbers:

2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 — one out of every 99.1 adults.

One in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure is one in nine."

The 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year.

The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending.

RUMP-Don't knock Texas

The report cited Kansas and Texas as states that have acted decisively to slow the growth of their inmate population.

They are making greater use of community supervision for low-risk offenders and employing sanctions other than reimprisonment for offenders who commit technical violations of parole and probation rules.

"The new approach, born of bipartisan leadership, is allowing the two states to ensure they have enough prison beds for violent offenders while helping less dangerous lawbreakers become productive, taxpaying citizens," the report said.

Oh, by the way ....

The U.S. also is among the world leaders in capital punishment. According to Amnesty International, its 53 executions in 2006 were exceeded only by China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Sudan.

So, Rump, you know what this all means .... lots of work for us. Pretty sad.

CAPTAIN OUT .....

Anonymous said...

I am not proud of my county. Indeed I'm embarrassed and shamed by it.

I vote. I fight for change. I support candidates with contributions. I express my views. But I am ashamed to live in a country that treats the poor like we do.

So why not leave?
-Because my wealth is easily in the top 2%.
-Because MY system of justice is secured by access to respected, experienced private attorneys who are unburdened by insane case loads.
-Because MY health care is secured by a health insurance and the ability to pay out of pocket when I need to.
-Because MY retirement is personally and privately funded.

We, (the U.S.A.), torture. We imprison. We ignore. We are hypocritical We lie. We are anti-intellectual. We are no shining light. The world sees us for what we are. Obnoxious boors.

Anonymous said...

While I'm not happy that 2.3 million Americans are behind bars, I think you self-proclaimed "defenders of liberty" are missing the point. The 2.3 million figure is disturbing primarily because it's further evidence of just how much crime there is in this country.

And while I'll be the first to admit that drugs should be legalized, I fail to see why y'all believe "theft/forgery/fraud" offenses are of minimal import. Tell that to someone who's had her car stolen and loses her job because she can't get to work. Tell that to the working poor who pay an extra 5-10% for everything they purchase due to the "shrinkage" costs affiliated with shoplifting and other retail fraud.

Since I've lived in Miami, I've had cars broken into, bikes stolen, and most of my friends have as well. These thieves belong in jail, as do of course the violent criminals. No, the real question we need to be asking ourselves, is why are Americans, alone among citizens of the developed world, so violent and so dishonest? I want to live in a society like Denmark's where no one has to lock a home or car, where crime practically doesn't exist. And if in order to achieve such a society here in America, we have to lock a lot of people up, then so be it.

Rumpole said...

7:58 AM- I do not doubt your history. Besides being attorneys, we are also citizens of this City and State and many of us also suffer the effects of crime.

So what bothers us most, as we are very close to the point of the spear if you will, is when the State spends resources on prosecuting an attorney because a cop over reacted and did it with the wrong person.

One Judge- at least two clerks, probably two uniformed court officers, one prosecutor, how many police officers as witnesses, and two full days of courtroom time to prosecute this woman, all because they wouldn't say "woops- we made a mistake. I'm sorry miss."

You see, the prosecutors, especially in Broward are driven by cops and alleged victims, and not by facts and justice- and thus they spend their time and our tax dollars on cases like this. And when they do that, real criminals go un-caught.

fake alex michaels said...

Vhat is dis number? Dis is BULSHEEEEET. In my country, you not real man until you do time.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like the criminal justice system is working. 1 of out 100 people is probably a rough ratio of criminal behavior. The difference now is that the law is catching up with the level of crime we have and keeping the other 99 of us safer. That said, I am glad you are on the case rumpole in those (probably quite few) cases where an injustice is being done. So, I disagree with your overall conclusion but am glad you are doing your job as well. And as for the state attorney in Broward, how is that prosecution of Ms. Williams defensible? Don't waste our money on first time offenders with silly charges. When you fail to exercise prosecutorial discretion, you are damaging the system just as much as the criminals who you are looking to prosecute.

Anonymous said...

has anyone ever had a pleasant experience with a broward judge or prosecutor???

Anonymous said...

Rump, the correct way of saying it is "Broward does its part" because their is referring to Broward. If you want to use "their" you have the add a word like "prosecutors" or "police officers" and say something like "Broward prosecutors do their part."

That being said, I have this question: Has anyone in Broward had a problem with a client being sent to ROC court (Judge Gardiner) when the client did not actually qualify for ROC court? I think this is a real big problem. Who actually makes the decisions to send certain cases to ROC court?

Anonymous said...

To 7:58 A.M., you are absolutely correct. Rumpole is not actually countering your statement, he is commenting on a very different problem that has nothing to do with the prison population. Actually, you are both correct. We cannot blame police officers for prison overcrowding although we can blame legislators for the ridiculous drug sanctions in both State and Federal court. At the same time, Rumpole is correct in that too many police officers should not have sole discretion to make arrests because they take things too personally. Those officers arrest people becasue they allow the people to get under their skin. False arrests, while they keep me employed, piss me off. By the way, 7:58, your post is one of the few I've seen without a spelling error, puctuation error, or parallelism error. Well said. Rump, I know you might try to connect the two, but you two are talking about COMPLETELY different things. Your comment that police are allowing people to get away has nothing to do with the high prison population. If anything, allowing people to get away actually reduces the prison population. I thought your logic was better than that.

Anonymous said...

Any prosecutor who takes a defendant to trial when he or she doesn't believe the defendant is guilty does not understand the first thing about being a prosecutor.

When I was a prosecutor (I left years ago), I routinely asked candidates a hypo that revolved around that issue. I never passed on anyone that would prosecute an innocent person. It's not the jury's job to exonerate people (in fact, they never do.......they just find people not guilty), it's the prosecutors.

For you prosecutors who don't get this, who just feel the need to cross-examine people you know are telling the truth, accuse people of committing bad acts, misdeeds or errors when you're not sure (or because you can) and can't speak the truth 24/7, you need to find another line of work (like, perhaps, criminal defense......where judges will allow you to do all of these things, seemingly without even a scintilla of evidence to support your position).

Anonymous said...

Justice Building regulars,

I'm going to be filling in as an editor for a couple weeks, replaced in the courthouse by Herald reporter Evan Benn. Please be as helpful to him as y'all are to me. He has a blackberry, email ebenn@miamiherald.com and if anyone has an interesting hearing or trial coming up, feel free to call his cell, (954) 422-2644 or email him, ebenn@miamiherald.com.

The trial he was hoping to cover was just continued, so he'll be looking for news.

I'll be back in a few weeks.
Thanks
Susannah Nesmith
Miami Herald

Not Bob Marley said...

Rump,

You live in a police state. We are all in jail.

Anonymous said...

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA

THE FLORIDA BAR,
Complainant,

v. Case Numbers SC 07 - 80 and 07- 354

JOHN B. THOMPSON,
Respondent.

RESPONDENT’S NOTICE TO COURT

COMES NOW respondent Thompson and notifies this court as follows:
The Florida Bar has provided Thompson the attached letter notifying him that federally indicted Bar Governor Ben Kuehne has not resigned from that office. Attached also is a letter to Governor Crist asking him to utilize the available Florida statute to suspend Kuehne, as he should.
What is remarkable here, aside from the ethical black hole that is Ben Kuehne, is The Bar’s disregard of the public. Even more remarkable is this Court’s utter failure to oversee The Bar. Its duplicitous nonfeasance assumes that Ben Kuehne must be innocent and that Thompson must be guilty, as its February 19 show cause order weirdly asserts that Thompson could not possibly have any defenses to The Bar’s charges against him and that it need not wait for the Referee’s Report and his response thereto. Thompson does appreciate this Court’s stripping away of all of its credibility, as this is useful in a federal proceeding about to be filed.
I HEREBY CERTIFY that I have provided this to The Florida Bar, 1200 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, Florida, February 29, 2008.
John B. Thompson, Attorney, Florida Bar #231665
1172 South Dixie Hwy., Suite 111
Coral Gables, Florida 33146, phone, 305-666-4366
amendmentone@comcast.net

Anonymous said...

the broward acquitted female atty should retain the trialmaster to file a 1983 and other civil actions against this officer and the entity that employees this jack ass

Anonymous said...

MARCH 1, 2.5 months before the qualifying deadline. Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of staving lawyers. Are GINA JOSIE AND MIGDA up and out again?

Anonymous said...

Juidical watchdogs dismiss charges against Broward judge
By Tonya Alanez | Sun-Sentinel.com
2:02 PM EST, February 29, 2008
Article tools

The state agency that serves as a watchdog over judicial conduct on Friday dismissed charges against a Broward County judge accused of misleading voters into thinking she already was a sitting judge when she ran for election a year ago.

Judge Terri-Ann Miller had argued that the Judicial Qualifications Commission failed to specify the charges against her or the judicial rules she had violated.

The commission has 20 days to amend its complaint.

The commission had accused Miller of distributing campaign materials "calculated" to imply she was the incumbent when she was not. Her campaign material also included a photo of her wearing a judicial robe, the state agency charged.

Miller was a judge for eight years in Miami-Dade County, but did not seek re-election there in 2000. She was in private practice when she successfully ran for election in Broward in 2006.

At the time, Miller said she used yard signs left over from a 2000 campaign. She said she put small stickers saying "former" before the word judge and posted about 10 signs near polling places.

Miller, 53, hears civil cases in county court at the Hollywood satellite courthouse.

Miller's attorney, Michael Catalano, argued to have the charges dismissed or clarified in a Feb. 8 telephone hearing with the commission's hearing panel chairman, Judge J. Preston Silvernail, of Brevard County.

"That is not clear language that says you did this in violation of that rule," Catalano said of the commission's complaint. "Simply instruct [the commission] to either dismiss, or clarify and renumber, or reorganize, in a way that we can make a meaningful answer."

Michael Schneider, a prosecutor for the commission, said: "The allegations are sufficient to acquaint the judge with the wrongdoing that the commission alleges."

Silvernail ordered a dismissal.

His order said: "The charging document fails to fully inform the Respondent of the specific conduct, acts or failure to act which violate standards of conducts or cannons of ethics to which the Respondent is sworn."

In 2006, the Florida Elections Commission and the Broward's Fair Campaign Practices Committee each dismissed similar complaints against Miller.

Had Miller been found guilty of misconduct by the commission, she could have faced anything from a reprimand to removal from the bench.

Tonya Alanez can be reached at tealanez@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4542.

Anonymous said...

Jack, would you please cite some authority to show that the governor has the authority to suspend a member of The Board of Governors of The Florida Bar? One of your crazy interpretations of the law doesn't count. I want a statute, case, rule of court or Bar rule.

And as for you, you have not been found guilty of anything yet. You had your day (actually two weeks) in court and are awaitng the decision of the Referee. You had every opportunity to participate in the discovery process and mount a defense to the charges brought against you by the Bar.

But instead of defending yourself, you chose to 1) personally attack everyone involved in the Bar Complaint against you, 2) attack the Bar discipline process in general, 3) slam the Bar and the Florida Supreme Court, to put things very mildly and 4) pretty much make an ass of yourself. It was your choice. Be a man and live with the consequences.

Anonymous said...

Ten Reasons why I love America: 1. 11000 handgun deaths a year are accepted and tolerable. 2. If you drop out of high school you can be all that you can be in the army before you die in combat. 3. Our borders make swiss cheeze look impenetrable. 4. the war on drugs continues unabated 5. we have the death penalty 6. we have more people in jail than any country in the world 7. we can fight an unjust war for 5 years and the rest of the world lets us 8.legal drugs are allowed to kill a million people a year 9. no health care if you don't have a job, alot of money, or are not an illegal alien or minority 10.sports arenas are more important than housing the homeless, poor, and those displaced by fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, eminent domain, divorce and unemployment. brought to you by the Miami Opera House, currently in between our once a month performances.

Anonymous said...

10:20.....amusing that you list the number of handguns that are out there, the ongoing war on drugs and the number of people in prison. Think there might be a relationship between those three? Maybe if fewer scumbags were using guns to rob and assault people and fewer people were getting high and committing burglaries (or other crimes to fund their habits)our prisons wouldn't be so crowded.

Legalization of drugs will cause more harm than good. There are plenty of people who haven't taken any illegal drugs simply because they are illegal. Regardless, we have enough people committing crimes to support their addictions. We don't need more.

Anonymous said...

Not such a long time ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed paying the poor and underprivileged for acting "the right way". Take your kid to the dentist, get $250.00, get an A in school $200.00 etc.
The US has long been paying terrorists Not to commit terrorist acts against America(ns), and but for Osama, it was going pretty well!
Why not pay the criminally prone not to commit crimes:complete probation-$500.00, no new cases for 12 months $750.00, etc...
Not only would this be cheaper than incarceration, but would give the "accused" a sense of accomplishment and self-worth!and some $$$.
Let's pay them! Staying out of jail is a tough job.

Anonymous said...

um, Jack? the Show Cause was because you continually file unnecessary motions, addendums, and miscellany to the point of clogging the system. there is precedence to restrict a lawyer from doing so on his own behest (like you do currently).

additionally, when some of those filings include your "picture book for adults" that flat out insults the people you are FILING TO, that is beyond the grounds of proffesionalism and into the realm of asshattery.

-Conejo.

Anonymous said...

11:59

Drugs don't kill people, money kills people.

Turf wars are simply black-market attempts to control distribution and profits of drugs.

Most theft and burglary can be tied to the need for junkies to pay for their habit.

Legalization solves this.

Think of the deaths involved in when the revenuers were fighting to enforce prohibition. That's gone. Legalize AND Quintiple drug treatment spending and you'll see a change. The current fight isn't working. The price of cocaine keeps dropping despite miltary efforts to interdict. When supply is INCREASING over the course of two decades of "War", that's pretty indicative of a failed policy.

Anonymous said...

from 1020 author; the purpose of most of my postings has been to highlight the total absence of leadership in the u.s. to combating the big social issues of our day by our elected officials. I use sarcasm because maybe it will get your attention. It took 3 assassinations in the 1960s for americans to start treating african americans as people and not slaves. we probably live in the most dishonest, corrupt and violent country in the world because our citizens and alien workers actually have options and opportunities that most of the world has. look at a typical day in the life in any major population area in the us.; violenct crime, indicted politicians and business leaders, theft, more theft, attempt at identity theft etc. etc. maybe we need a woman or black as president. white men sure aren't getting the job done, except for the fortunate 1/10000th of the population affileated with the most profitable of the forture 100.

Sam I Am said...

Cocaine prices:

Year ... < 2 g ...... 2-10g .... 10-50 g ... >50g
1981 - $544.59 - $345.64 - $280.55 - $201.18
1982 - $590.86 - $337.46 - $267.12 - $186.54
1983 - $471.87 - $311.02 - $215.06 - $158.20
1984 - $400.69 - $252.74 - $170.08 - $136.53
1985 - $389.60 - $239.24 - $170.56 - $135.34
1986 - $296.94 - $186.06 - $130.50 - $100.19
1987 - $250.55 - $145.78 - $98.63 - $74.56
1988 - $223.55 - $126.83 - $73.79 - $56.95
1989 - $189.92 - $109.54 - $67.02 - $52.98
1990 - $234.94 - $133.17 - $84.74 - $71.60
1991 - $198.34 - $99.18 - $67.19 - $55.79
1992 - $153.96 - $97.27 - $62.19 - $52.28
1993 - $156.18 - $95.57 - $63.58 - $49.68
1994 - $147.43 - $86.42 - $55.45 - $43.55
1995 - $181.58 - $87.64 - $57.68 - $48.68
1996 - $150.13 - $84.13 - $50.67 - $42.59
1997 - $145.72 - $80.21 - $52.07 - $45.75
1998 - $132.09 - $78.71 - $47.02 - $38.59
1999 - $135.51 - $82.39 - $50.16 - $43.52
2000 - $161.28 - $99.40 - $55.26 - $48.02
2001 - $168.29 - $81.38 - $53.98 - $44.87
2002 - $124.54 - $74.36 - $47.27 - $41.59

Office of National Drug Control Policy
The Price and Purity of Illicit Drugs: 1981 Through the Second Quarter of 2003.
November 2004 (Publication Number NCJ 207768), Table 1, p.58

Anonymous said...

EXACTLY. Legalization won't drive down the prices of drugs or diminish their abuse. It's a terrible idea.

Kincyr said...

Jack Thompson:
You do realize you are technically posting anonymously. One of your comments started with
"Anonymous said...
Dear Anonymous Posting Morons:
"

and signing with "Jack Thompson, and you're not" isn't too professional either. After all, Jesus wasn't Jack Thompson either.

Anonymous said...

9:37:

Exactly what? The numbers show that the price of cocaine has dropped 80% over the past two decades. This drop came despite an ongoing "war on drugs." So ask yourself, who is winning? Is the price tanking because of a decrease in demand? Nope. It's decreasing because more drugs are reaching our shores.

Legalization recognizes that interdiction is and will always be a failure. I don't favor taking drugs, so I'll repeat my point...interdiction is AND WILL ALWAYS BE A FAILURE.

Now, what is the harm of cocaine? Yes, tens of thousands are addicted and their lives ruined. But is that the real problem? Hardly. The real problem is criminal organizations formed to step into the black market. Those criminal organizations kill, steal, and corrupt. What is more damaging to society...organized crime or drunks. The same holds true for other black market items. Putting an end to the profits made by criminals is the point of legalization.