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.