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

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

COME ON IN....TAKE A SEAT

UPDATE: We often opine that the ides of January are the worst time to try a case, as prosecutors and judges are busy working on their new year's resolutions to send more defendants to jail. Now comes this from the Broward Blog that North of the Border Judge Ireland has confirmed that indeed her new years resolution was to send more defendants to jail.   "No more sob stories" she roared in court the other day. 

How many times does an appellate court need to remind a trial judge that YOU CAN'T HAVE A POLICY OF SENDING EVERY DEFENDANT WHO LOSES A TRIAL TO JAIL?  

Listen up you robed readers: considering all factors in arriving at a just sentence is what they pay you for.  Do you get the fact that any idiot can total up a score sheet and throw someone in prison, but it takes a learned and skilled Judge to arrive at a just sentence?  

OK, I realize that the "any idiot" phrase cuts a little too close to home when talking about north of the border. But still, just how long do you have to sit on bench before you start losing common sense? Is it the altitude? Is the daily wearing of black that just eventually blackens your mood? What is it that finally and consistently causes  just about any and every judge to eventually lose their common sense and just try and put as many people as humanly possible in prison? Really, we want to know. Maybe you guys need term limits. Hmmm....there's a thought. Put every judge on the bench with the knowledge that in ten or fifteen years they have to go back to being a lowly lawyer. 


NEW SAO POLICY BELOW!!!  Wait until you get a load of this pile of ....

Senate democrats, a bit embarrassed because they let their emotions overrule the rule of law, have relented and will seat Mr. Burris as the junior senator from Illinois today. 

You have to say one thing about Governor Blagojevich- he has chutzpah. He is not backing down. He got the person he picked seated in the senate. He picked a rough and tumble Chicago trial lawyer and he is not backing down from this fight. What a great case to be a part of! 

BACK OF THE BUS- NO SEAT FOR YOU: 
Is still the prevailing rule for Al Franken, who like a hungry tyke, is forced to press his nose up to glass window and watch his possible future colleagues dine in the Senate dinning room. It may be some time before Franken can snap his fingers and get a bowl of that famous Senate Navy Bean soup, as Minnesota law prohibits the Secretary of State from certifying the election while there is a legal challenge.  Former Senator Norm Coleman has indicated he will challenge the results in court and for the foreseeable future the most exclusive club in the world will have to get by with 99 members, no comedians among them. 


SAO NEW POLICY!!!

We got an email from Rick Freedman forwarding a new SAO policy on county court. "Finally", we  thought, some leadership from our State Attorney.  "Here we go. She's going to take the bull by the horns and clear out the backlog of cases in County Court."

And how is she going to do this?  (Brace yourselves) BY  DISMISSING LESS CASES!!!!!

Yes, from the legal geniuses who brought you jail offers on misdemeanor marijuana cases comes a new policy designed to dismiss less suspended driving license cases!!!!


OFFICE OF THE STATE ATTORNEY KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE

ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT STATE ATTORNEY 



Effective January 12, 2009, the Office of the State Attorney will ONLY Nolle Prosse Driving While License Suspended and No Valid Driver’s License (DWLS/NVDL) cases when a Defendant brings a valid Driver’s License to a ONE TIME ONLY ,specially set, hearing docket. This docket will be known as the “DWLS/NVDL Report Calendar.” The report calendar will be specially set no later than 60 days following a Defendant/Defense lawyer’s initial in-court appearance. The report calendar will be set for the exclusive purpose of determining whether a Defendant has been able to get a valid Driver’s License. Habitual Traffic Offender cases, DUI Suspension or Revocation cases, and DWLS/NVDL accident cases will not be eligible for this report calendar.



Rumpole says: Yes,  to combat the extra work and backlog in county court, and meet the challenges of less employees with this budget crisis,  our State Attorney, in combination with Judge Slom in County Court has devised a system that: 1) creates an additional calendar; 2) creates another level of bureaucracy; 3) Will result in less cases being dismissed. Yup, the criminalizing of America continues. 

Lawyers who have emailed us have said that many times it takes more than 60 days to fix a license. Furthermore,  there is little time and energy now expended on these cases, as the lawyers just tell the judge they are working on the case, and the matter is reset a few times until the license is fixed or the case resolved. 

This solution has all the earmarks of a disaster. 

See You In Court, just not at that DWLS Calendar. 


21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good Grief. I give it a month tops. The policy will be buried before Blog is removed from office.

FACDL-MIAMI said...

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Anonymous said...

So they can get their license and if it's past the 60 days, take a w/h and pay court costs. What's the big deal? Some of these defendants will never get a license and are just stringing it out. Next issue.

Anonymous said...

The new SAO policy is stupid. A lot of people are going to get screwed. Fixing a drivers license can take some time due to the bureaucratic hassles involved. The SAO should institue a policy like now-retired County Judge Jack Block did in the 1990s. Enter a provisional plea of guilty or no contest. You get up to 120 days or so to get a valid license. If you can show you've made progress but need more time to straighten things out, you get a reasonable amount of time. Get a valid license--case is nolle prossed/dismissed. Don't get a valid license--you get fined. It puts a bit of a fire under defendants to get a valid license but on the whole is fair.

Next thing you know the SAO will be seeking jail on undersized lobster and other stupid "crimes." Has Rundle been hanging out with Mike Satz lately?

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know who is taking over for Adrien & Schlesinger? Are they switching next week. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

If license is suspended cuz of unpaid tickets, fine. Give em 60 days to fix (although I don't think that should be crim DWLS knowingly, anyway, under 2nd paragraph of 322.34(2))and if they don't, then give a w/h and cc.

But has the SAO ever tried getting a insurance company to remove a financial responsibilty susp.? or getting the state DMV to remove a habitualization that was in error?

Or getting the Dade Clerk's office to set a case so a judge can rule on a motion to reset the infraction that's causing the suspension?
It can take forever!!!

Anonymous said...

Why does this require a special calendar??? Is is so difficult the County judges can't handle it as part of the daily calendar?? Or, perhaps the administrative judge needs to justify his existence and the fact that he does no work???!!!

traffic lawyer said...

What you "big shot " felony lawyers don't know is that any combination of many various traffic offenses, including DUI and DWLS cases, INCLUDING WH'S on DWLS cases gets your client a 5 YEAR REVOCATION.

So what happens is that you dipshit felony guys come sauntering into county court, charging your clients 1500 for a dwls. You don't fix the license because you don't know how to do it, and then you get the person a withhold.

A few weeks later you call my office in a panic because you committed legal malpractice by having the client plea to a charge that revoked his or her license for five years, and you beg me to fix it.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS ...

The Supreme Court issued two opinions this morning, both of them striking down lower court opinions that had favored prosecutors. In one decision, the justices agreed that a failure to report to prison is not the kind of prior "violent felony" conviction that triggers a 15-year mandatory prison sentence for someone found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm. The other decision ruled that the clock for filing a federal habeas appeal should not start ticking until after the appeal is completed.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS ...

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down as unconstitutional a 2006 law that allowed the federal government to place under indefinite lock-up anyone considered "sexually dangerous" even beyond the end of prison sentences. The conservative 4th Circuit became the first federal appellate court to weigh in on the constitutionality of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, striking down the civil commitment of five men held years beyond their completed prison terms

miami loves migna said...

Miami Loves Migna!!! And now comes word that maybe Obama Loves Migna too...as rumors surface that our own beloved judge migna now is under consideration for a top spot at Justice.

You go girl.!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

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And then the crowd shouts in unison "DIS IS BULSHEEET!!!!"

"And these f'ing car companies. They can't make any money and then we have to bail them out?"

'DIS IS BULLSHEEEEEET!!"

Anonymous said...

in broward the SAO will not nolo a DWLS even if your client get a good DL the next day

Anonymous said...

Any Shumie Time updates? How's the shooting of "the making of Shumie Time" coming?

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

How come KFR didn't receive a Shumie Award for her new and moronic DWLS policy? I guess she's not so understaffed after all.

Anonymous said...

There is no entitlement to a nolle prossequi if one produces a valid license. Your complaint that this procedure somehow violates our client's rights is ill conceived. Our clients are entitled to a fair and timely trial. Dropping of charges without a legal basis is a gift - a gift that Broward does not extend to us even when we produce a valid DL at arraignment.

Furthermore, your complaint that giving a client only 60 days to clear up their license is also factually incorrect. Our clients have from the date of the suspension until their report setting to get their license reinstated. While it may be true that the time frame from arraignment to report is 60 days, our clients have from the date the suspension is first entered to clear up their suspensions.

Simply stated, while some of my clients will clear their suspensions by the report setting others may not. For those who cannot do so we can request a trial or take a plea - is that unreasonable? They are entitled to nothing more.

SHUMIE AWARD COMMITTEE said...

ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE:

For her moronic new DWLS program and for astounding nearsightedness, for doing nothing to decrease the work load in county court, and for actually making more DWLS cases because the new policy will create more 5 year habitual revocations, the Shumie Award Committee is proud to announce that KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE RECEIVES THE THIRD SHUMIE OF 2009

SHUMIE2009-003= KATHY FERNANDEZ RUNDLE

AND FOR FOLLOWING LOCK STOCK AND BARREL WITH THE SAO, AND for not seeing the forest through the trees, and for turning a blind eye to the problems of DWLS in county Court, JUDGE SAM SLOM IS THE RECIPIENT OF THE FOURTH SHUMIE AWARD.

SHUMIE2009-0004=JUDGE SAM SLOM.

TheTruth said...

Not so hard to avoid getting an infraction. If you do get one, not so hard to go to court or pay ticket. Tough shoot if you then drive on suspended license. If you can't fix your problem within 60 days that is because u are an ahole who shouldn't be driving anyway. Thank you for your time.

Anonymous said...

Normally, I agree with Rumpole but this time I will disagree>

KFR and Slom got this one right and here's why, by placing a special calendar appearance on one date for the sole purpose of the State dismissing in "BULK" a large number of cases will decrease the courts time on a simple task of dismissal.

Rumpole, think outside the box.

Anonymous said...

Former ASA and current defense lawyer here.

I have to stick up for KFR here. First, in many other circuits, such as in Nazi Broward, the SAO doesnt care if you come in with a good license. At least KFR gives you the chance to get a good license.
Second, the Drive Legal Program offers many drivers the chance to get thier license squared away with a minimum of costs BEFORE a driver becomes an HTO. My understanding is that a person can voluntarily go to Drive Legal even without a case pending.
Third, very few defendants have the resources or the true motivation to get thier licenses fixed. I can count on one hand the number of defendants who have actually fixed thier license when it involves paying any more than a few hundred dollars or fixing of a few tickets. Most defendants have so many other problems (SR22, FR suspensions, child support, HTO) that it is unrealistic to think they will fix thier licenses now. If they didnt have the motivation to fix thier licenses when all that was holding them up was a $97 dollar stop sign violation, what makes you think they will fix it with 20 violations and $1500 bill? Nothing.
I appreciate KFR and the county court judges at least allowing me to fix a license. I'm not going to sit there and clog up the courts with a DWLS case open for 9 months. If you cant do it in 60 days, it likely wont get done.

Anonymous said...

wow what happened to all of you south fla liberals???are you all up for your saint's coronation ...no more nasty posts?????