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

Saturday, April 25, 2009

RICK FREEDMAN ON THE BUTCHKO BLOW-UP

Rick Freedman decided to straighten us out about the Judge Butchko issue. (yawn)

Rump:
Technical foul on you for not getting all the facts before commenting. I was there and it went something like this:

This was Judge Butchko's finest hour on the bench and she deserves nothing but praise for the lengthy hearing held in her courtroom on Friday.

Over the course of 2 1/2 hours, she heard from the State (Penny Brill); the PD (John Morrison); Regional Counsel's Office (Richard Joyce); the Justice Administrative Commission (General Counsel Stephen Presnell); the proposed "wheel" attorney to be assigned the case (Michael Petit); and me as a "Friend of the Court" and on behalf of the FACDL.

The Judge was concerned that the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution was being violated as it related to the particular defendant in this case and it was going to continue to happen in many other cases coming down the pipe. Judge Butchko wanted to do something about it and that is why the hearing took place.

This particular defendant had been charged with a third degree felony and his case was 90 days old.

Judge Butchko was really looking at the bigger picture and not just this one case. This was just the first case of many that the PD has filed a Notice with the Court called a Notice of Inadequate Representation indicating to the client that they have not done anything to prepare their case for trial. They are filing these documents in all of their 3rd degree felony cases where the client is not in custody. They have decided that the priority cases are those that are more serious and those that are in custody cases. The problem with that is, that this case, and others to follow would start to fall through the cracks and Judge Butchko sees this coming and wanted to do something to stop it.

And this particular defendant was concerned that his defense witnesses may leave the jurisdiction before the PD's office ever got the chance to speak with them; hurting his chances for an acquittal.

The Judge held a Nelson Inquiry on Wednesday and as a result of the answers she got from the defendant, she discharged the PD finding that she was providing ineffective assistance of counsel in this case. She by-passed the Regional Counsel and attempted to appoint the next person on the wheel; that person was Michael Petit.

Reg. Counsel objected and at the hearing Mr. Joyce indicated that they could take the case and provide effective assistance of counsel and do it in a timely fashion.

The Judge questioned how this could be possible when her assigned Reg. Counsel Attorney was a part-time attorney that was already handling 65 cases in her court while trying to run a private practice as well. And those 65 cases range from Life felonies to 3rd degree felonies.

The Judge was also told by Mr. Presnell of the JAC that they would not pay Mr. Petit, if she insisted on appointing him, because she did not follow the Statute by appointing RC.

Judge Butchko was adamant about the fact that she saw her upcoming C weeks and that this same scenario would begin to be played out on many of the out of custody C cases. She also stated that common sense dictated that the part-time RC attorney could not possibly take on so many additional cases and provide competent and effective representation in a timely fashion.

She called on me and I told her that she had every right to be concerned about what was happening in her courtroom. The Gideon case from the US Supreme Court, cited to the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution, and provided that the indigent defendant should receive competent counsel and adequate representation. The Florida Supreme Court said that "the problem of excessive caseload in the PD's office should be resolved at the outset of representation, rather than at some later point in a trial proceeding." Other cases I cited tell the court that "when excessive caseload forces the PD to choose between the rights of the various indigent criminal defendants he represents, a conflict of interest is inevitably created".

The Florida Legislature has decided that they can fund “due process on the cheap” and that what is happening in her courtroom today is the result of their legislative wisdom.

I also told her that the Florida Bar's Code Of Professional Responsibility and the Rules Regulating all attorneys of The Florida Bar state "a lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client". And, "a lawyer's workload must be controlled so that each matter can be handled competently. Perhaps no professional shortcoming is more widely resented than procrastination ... Unreasonable delay can cause a client needless anxiety and undermine confidence in the lawyer".

Justice delayed in Justice denied.

Judge Butchko was right on yesterday when she forced the issue to a head in trying to protect the indigent defendant in this case and other to follow – she saw them getting the extremely short end of the stick and she was trying to do something about it.

I hope that gives you a better insight into what happened in Court on Friday.

Rick Freedman
FACDL-MIAMI
President

42 comments:

the trialmaster and judges blake, emos, and all the gators at the reg. said...

Good luck Percy. Thanks for your 3 yrs in Gainesville[titletown]. and for our 2 national titles in 3 yrs. not to mention our back to back national title in hoops. we will win another national title in football next yr. Please make arrangements to be on the side lines at the national title game at the rose bowl next yr. go vikes and stay healthy.

Anonymous said...

Rick, can you summarize the above in four or less paragraphs? Yawnnnn....

Anonymous said...

Rumple
I have known Betty Butchko for almost 20 years. I opposed / fought with her when she was with the State. I have tried a Murder case against her, twice. I still argue and disagree with her today. But she works hard and trys to do what she thinks is the right thing. In this matter Judge Butchko did the right thing . Being aware of all the underlying facts (and carring a lot of her divisions C cases myself ) I say Rick Freedman got it right. Kodos to Betty Butchko.
D. Sisselman

Anonymous said...

The State of Florida is acting very short sighted when it comes to fiscal policy and the RCA/wheel policies. The old system where wheel attorneys at least made a few bucks and put time in to work a case was cheaper than the current system, and helped make lawyers a few bucks.

The new system they pays a grand for a second degree felony is a joke. No lawyer takes a grand for an F2. Not even close. Would you pay a doctor a grand for surgery? No way, so how does the state reconcile paying an experienced lawyer 1,000 when 15 years of someone elses life is on the line.

Justice on the cheap don't work. The reality is that someone paying me 7500 for a strong arm robbery is getting more of my time than the JAC client where I should get a grand down the road, after the JAC spends months objecting and finding reasons to delay payment. That's reality.

Rumpole said...

Because I really could care less about Butchko's bellyaching over a PD not being ready ( and I really am not comfortable as her as the poster child for the 6th amendment and the rights of defendants) I will instead comment on the Dolphin's second round:

Pat White- QB. FANTASTIC. This guy threw the ball BETTER than any other QB at the combine, including the top two pretty boys. He can really wing it. And he can run. And he can catch passes and take it to the house. This is a great football player, period.

Sean Smith-CB. 6'4, yup you read that right, six feet four inches tall. Can look Randy Moss right in the eyes when he lines up against him in press coverage.

The last CB who I remember who played at 6'4 215 had a nickname of "Soup." If you want to see him now, go to the Hall Of Fame and look at Mel Blount's stats.

The Fins got a pair of CBs that should start together for the next five years beginning in 2010 the latest. Smith also needs some coaching, but different than Davis. Smith needs to learn how to hit. And he also needs help in cover 2 and cover 3 zone. But on 3rd and Goal at the 5, stick him in Randy Moss's face or TO's grill and watch him shut their butts down.

The Dolphins have done real well here in the first two rounds. Now they need a big ol boy to clog up the middle on the D- Line. How about Sammie Lee Hill, 6-4 330, at NT from Stillman? Or Vaugn Martin, 6-3 330?

How about a nice WR? Ramses Barden, 6-6,, yeah you read that right- six foot six inches, from Cal Poly.

Anyway, the draft is much more interesting than this other stuff, which is all posturing in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Rick Freedman has taken FACDL and made them more establishment then ever. I wish he were banned from sending me emails and posting on this blog. He is better suited as a legal secretary or a male cheerleader then a trial lawyer. I call a technical foul on you sir,, for you brown nose approach to life and your two a day emails. When is your term up!!!!

Rumpole said...

Someone just posted in an earlier thread that the Judge was doing this not because of her abiding and overriding concern for the the rights of defendants, but because she likes to put people in prison and doesn't want any appeals.

I tend to agree with this assessment. I have found this judge to be a sneering and sarcastic individual who has a severe case of robitis. She's always in a rush, usually sarcastic and overly polite, which makes for a good record, but when you are in court you can see right through it.

I respect Mr. Freedman, but I do not think he is seeing clearly here. He has his own agenda. FACDL wants to kill the RC system, so here politics makes strange bedfellows. The Judge wants the ability to sentence people and not be reversed on appeal and Freedman wants her help in killing RC.

This is a dangerous mix, and I will tell you this Rick- this judge is not your friend, nor any friend to the defense community. This is my personal opinion.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me, from the earlier reply in an earlier post, that the caseload is no higher than it was in the 90's. Funny how none of us had problems then (and, many of the PDs were going home by 3:00; most of the ASA's by 5:00----sorry, but those aren't lawyers' hours). While I agree that these folks still are underpaid (especially the ones who actually care enough to work long hours), the case load argument is baloney.

Anonymous said...

Rump,

Your comment, "I have found this judge to be a sneering and sarcastic individual who has a severe case of robitis. She's always in a rush, usually sarcastic and overly polite, which makes for a good record, but when you are in court you can see right through it", is spot on.

This is how she behaved handling dependency cases in juvy court.

rick freedman said...

to 10:14 am:

Boy, I never knew I could stir up such harsh feelings - I must have done something really wrong to you in the past. So let me apologize to you for whatever makes you feel that you must throw such mean words in my direction.

As I say in all of my emails, if you don't want to receive them, just write to me and I will take you off the email list.

Ah, but then you would have to reveal who you are and not write in as “anonymous”.

And don't feel too bad, my term ends next Saturday at the annual banquet where we will be honoring Judge Hoeveler, the Liberty City Seven trial team, and Bennett Brummer. I hope to see you there where you can more formally introduce yourself.

Then I can go back to my full-time legal practice. That's the one that has brought in $7.3 million in legal fees in the past 24 months from the personal injury cases I have been trying and settling. Not bad for someone better suited as a legal secretary than a trial attorney.

How's your practice going?

And as for FACDL going establishment, whatever that means? If it means an organization that now exceeds 450 members (we had 107 paid members just four years ago). If it means an organization that is now offering its members Free Luncheon Seminars every single month? If it means an organization that offers a Judicial Luncheon every single month? And a new website? And a Judicial Candidates Forum during the election last year? And being able to get an A form by fax, yes by fax, from the Clerk by simply making a phone call or emailing them? Or having Liaisons with the Clerk’s Office, the Gerstein Justice Bldg., the State Attorney's Office, the Department of Corrections, and many of the other groups we interact with on a daily basis as criminal defense lawyers? Or as an organization that files Amicus Briefs with the United States Supreme Court when we believe that there is an issue that calls for our input? Or our Strike Force that has been called out on more than one occasion in the past couple of years to stand by a colleague that is being accused of something by a Judge or the State?

By the way, have you signed up for the Pro Bono Initiative like the other 47 attorneys who were listed on this blog early this week as volunteering their time for the indigent defendants in our community? Have you volunteered for Legal Line which helps the citizens of our community by taking phone calls and answering their legal questions every month? Have you donated any of your time and/or money to the Minority Mentoring Picnic, or the YMCA Court Care Program, or any of the other worthwhile projects FACDL has contributed to in the past year?

If that is what you define as establishment, then I guess we have gone establishment. I will let the members decide whether they want and like establishment. So far, from the emails I have been getting this year, the consensus is overwhelming - they love establishment and couldn't be happier with the way things are going. Except for you.

I am extremely honored to have been President of FACDL for the past year. We are now 46 years old and one of the largest and most respected voluntary bar associations in the County. I have received hundreds of emails from our members over the past year letting me know that they are happy with the direction of our organization. I have no doubt that we will continue to do great things in this community in the coming year under the leadership of our recently elected new Officers and Directors.

Anonymous said...

Even the E charges $1,500 for a first degree felony, so I think that if $1,000 is not acceptable to the E, it is not acceptable to any other private practitioner.

Anonymous said...

what a great draft thus far for the dolfins

Anonymous said...

Rick freeman is a clown....every time he calls the sao, the first 5 minutes consist of him taking about his position and how important he is. It gets worse in court.

Anonymous said...

Frederick please stop it please.

This caseload crap is ridiculous.
Just bring down Martinez, Weed,
Stein, Robinson, Osborne and the
other 20 administration hacks with no caseload and give them a full
caseload. Then get rid of the ERU
attorneys and put them in division.
Then get rid of the training attorneys and put them in a courtroom. Then just put two lawyers in every juvenile courtroom instead of four.
Then get rid of half of the social
workers and investigators and replace them with lawyers.

Now you've got about 40/50 extra lawyers to handle courtroom work
and this issue is done. This is
all being done for the media exposure and for Rory Stein's ego.
He's found an argument he likes and wants to get national attention out of it.

Anonymous said...

SHOULD JUDGES WHO ARE MARRIED TO POLICE OFFICERS BE PERMITTED TO SERVE IN THE CRIMINAL DIVISION? IN THIS NEW ERA OF TRANSPARENCY SHOULD THE JUDGE DISCLOSE TO EVERY DEFENDANT ON THE RECORD THAT THEY ARE MARRIED TO, OR HAVE CLOSE FAMILY TIES TO A POLICE OFFICER OR IN SOME WAY TO A DEPARTMENT (PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT) IN DADE COUNTY? SHOULD THERE BE AN IN-DEPTH COLIQUY WHEN SUCH A RELATIONSHIP EXIST OR EXISTED IN THE PAST? NOW KNOWING THAT THIS JUDGE HAS/HAD SUCH A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH A POLICE OFFICER, WOULD YOU LIKE ANOTHER JUDGE TO PRESIDE OVER YOUR CASE, PERHAPS A JUDGE WHO IS NOT MARRIED TO OR RELATED TO A POLICE OFFICER OR WHO HAS NOT WORKED AS A POLICE OFFICER? NOW KNOWING OF MY SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WOULD YOU PERMIT ME TO PRESIDE OVER YOUR CASE? (THE ABOVE SHOULD BE READ SLOWLY, PAUSING BETWEEN CLAUSES, AND OFFER THE DEFENDANT TIME TO THINK ABOUT THIS MATTER.) IF YOU WERE ON TRIAL FOR A SERIOUS OFFENSE WOULDN'T YOU WANT TO KNOW? ISN'T IT ODD THAT IN MANY SITUATIONS THE ONLY PERSON IN THE COURTROOM WHO DOES NOT KNOW THAT THE JUDGE HAS A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH A POLICE OFFICER/DEPARTMENT IS THE DEFENDANT? HOW WOULD YOU YOU LIKE TO BE PULLING A 15 YEAR SENTENCE AND IN THE 5TH YEAR FIND OUT YOUR LAWYER, WHO KNEW OF THIS SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP, DID NOT TELL YOU THE JUDGE WHO TRIED YOUR CASE WAS MARRIED TO A COP? (I GUESS I WOULDN'T MIND IF THE JUDGE'S EX-SPOUSE WAS A COP, BUT I WOULD STILL LIKE TO KNOW THESE THINGS.)(FORGIVE THE SPELLING ERRORS AND THE RAISING OF THIS TOPIC IF IT HAS ALREADY BEEN DISCUSSED AT LENGTH.)

Anonymous said...

"I have found this judge to be a sneering and sarcastic individual who has a severe case of robitis. She's always in a rush, usually sarcastic and overly polite, which makes for a good record, but when you are in court you can see right through it."

Thanks for the prior bad acts, propensity argument Rumpole. It is said that a person's past has no bearing on their current guilt or innocence on a current case.

But it seems to me like you are the judge, jury and executioner of Judge Butchko, Rumpole. You've already made up your mind.

Once bad, always bad.

Glad at least if a police officer thinks that way about your client, that they are not invalidated in thinking so, since you apply the same thinking as well. After all, that officer sees through your client and knows that even though intent is hard to gauge, that he can't escape his true colors, ever. All he needs to do is look at the rap sheet.

But then again, since this is all just commentary, she doesn't get any presumption of innocence at all.

Fake Anonymous Judge said...

Rumpole, you are hereby summoned to my courtroom at 11:00 A.M. on Monday, April 27 to show cause as to why you should not be held in contempt of court for your earlier posts.

HON. FAKE ANONYMOUS JUDGE

P.S.--Rick Freedman cannot represent you. His head has swelled up to the point where he can no longer get through the courtoom doors without Vaseline or other lubricant.

Anonymous said...

Rick,

New attorney here. I really gave you the benefit of the doubt until you started throwing in the amount of money you make. I would have expected a well thought out response, and instead you came off as juvenile.

Now, I don't get why the PDs dump these cases at the outset instead of waiting 90 days. This is a disservice to their client.

I believe the caseload argument is very much BS as well. The PDs waste so many resources on ridiculous things such as misdemeanor depositions, and when you call the office at 3:00 they are gone for the day.

Rumpole said...

8:14 Pm= just when am I allowed to make up my mind? How many experiences constitute, in your dimwitted brain, sufficient exposure to form an opinion.

This is my opinion of this judge, based on my experience in her courtroom, and, not that it matters, at least some people agree with me.

The rest of your blathering is so incomprehensible, that I don't think it merits a response.

Anonymous said...

Rick

You should retire with all your millions you claim to have. But 7.3 million pesos does not go very far, even in Miami. And by the way, why is a civil lawyer running FACDL anyway?

Anonymous said...

jeez louise, would someone please explain to Rick what the meaning of summarize is!!!

SUMMARIZE:
"1. to make a summary of; state or express in a concise form. "

really do you think I have forty minutes to read your postings.

Anonymous said...

8:14 here.

Hence why I caution at the end, that it is really all just commentary - Butchko ins't actually on trial here.

At the end of the day, I don't really even like Butchko myself.

Just expressing an opinion about your opinion. In a country that allows us to express our opinions as we see fit. If I think you're being too judgmental because it would seem to me that with your experiences you think you have all the right answers, then there's nothing wrong with that.

And you're free to be dismissive... after all, this is your blog. Nonetheless, that's what the free market of ideas is all about - man's mind will not function at the point of a gun.

You're free to call my opinion blathering, and I'm free to call your opinion garbage. Yada, yada.

Anonymous said...

rumpole, you're a dick

Anonymous said...

I have to agree - posting your money wins is a technical. Hit the showers

Anonymous said...

Rump,
Check out the political cartoon in the Herald this morning.

Anonymous said...

So, we should all love Betty now? She is super state oriented and treats defense lawyers like they are in her way.

She is right on this one but, she is not a champion of defendant's rights. She just wants publicity.

Anonymous said...

Rick Freedman - it's amazing that you are able to talk so much, what with your lips so firmly attached to the behinds of others. Here's a little unsolicited advice: the best lawyers don't go around bragging about themselves because their work does the talking for them. The more you open your mouth (or post on blogs) the less consequential you become. Now, take a big boy pill and SHUT THE HELL UP.

Anonymous said...

The CONTRARIAN says:

While the efforts of RF and FACDL to "help" the system by drafting pro bono lawyers to do 3rd degree felonies is well-intentioned, it is a bad idea. If these lawyers really want to help the defendants who are represented by overworked PDs and RC attys, they should not enable a broken system to stay afloat. Real help would be to let the system fall flat on its face so that courageous judges like Judge Butchko can say "enough" and appoint lawyers who actually have the time and skill to defend these clients. The system has to reach its "bottom" before any real change occurs.

Rumpole said...

7:17 Am. Now after all this time, how come you, and you alone, have guessed my first name??

Rick F- when I posted your response, containing your success, I cringed, because I knew what was coming. These pages can be rough,

Anonymous said...

Posting the monetary judgments is a personal foul not a technical requiring disqualification. Everything else in the post is noteworthy, and as a FACDL member I believe this has been a great year for FACDL; In previous years, we barely heard a peep from the president. I believe what Rick has done this year is what FACDL should be about, and I hope it continues with the new regime.

Anonymous said...

Rump - (I'm 7:17 am) because I am the man, even though I started out making 23,000 as a state PD and ain't making anything close the the millions little Rickie is making.

dependency lawyer said...

Dependency attorney here folks. I know that you all don't head over to our place too often, but we were at your building every couple of months from 2004 - 2007 when the Indigent Services Committee was meeting.

I used to attend those meeting for the dependency wheel attorneys and every single meeting I saw Rick and Eugene Zanobi (?) and David Markus fighting for more money for the criminal wheel attorneys and talking about the minimum qualifications of the court appointed attorneys and how important it the work that their committee was doing to insure that qualified attorneys were getting appointed.

We are dealing with the regionel counsel here too. All we want are good attorneys representing those folks that need us, same as you.

rick freedman said...

Rump, thanks for the vine. I can handle the criticism. After 25 years of handling criminal defense work, god knows I've heard worse.

I'll stand by my convictions and what I have been doing for the past 20 years. I have been trying to make sure that we have well qualified court appointed attorneys getting assigned to conflict cases.

Remember that when I started, it was under the old system where only 50 attorneys were getting all of the appointments and making all of the money. At least from 1992-2007, we were able to change that and have a fair system where every qualified attorney that wanted to participate in the system could do so after applying to the Screening Committee. We had about 450 qualified attorneys until this new system took over at the beginning of 2008.

I will keep trying to persuade the elected ones in Tally to provide enough money to fund the system so it is fair to everyone, including the indigent defendant. They deserve competent counsel and in many cases they are simply not getting that under the new system since 2007.

Anonymous said...

Judge Betty is super HOT!

Anonymous said...

1. Rick is a good guy and should be praised for all his efforts with FACDL.
2. Butchko is a prosecutor with a robe. She has no respect for defense attorneys.
3. To the person who thinks the top managment of the PDs are lazy and should try cases, I ask you one big question: Who do you expect to run the place if everyone is in trial. The PD has less that half the number of "managers" than you find in a SAO of the same size. Get real!
4. To those who complain that FACDL presidents send too many emails, I say, be glad they keep us informed.

To all others I say, have a nice day.

Satan said...

If you believe that Rick Freedman made over $7 million in the past two years from PI work alone, then you should believe me when I tell you that hell froze over this morning. The ice is over an inch thick in places.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Liberty City jury is out, for the third time. If you are keeping score, it is Liberty City: 1 acquittal and 12 hung juries vs. US Attorney: wasting lots of taxpayer money.

Cap Out ...

Anonymous said...

FYI to those who say the PD caseload argument is BS and that the managers like Stein et al should try cases - try coming to juvenile court. Marie Osbourne is in the courtroom handling an entire week of disposition calendars every other week so that her attorneys actually have time to take depositions, interview clients, write motions, etc (you know, all the consitutional stuff their clients are entitled to have done). And, she actually did have a caseload last summer when they were short staffed and even tried cases! As for Martinez, Stein and Robinson, who exactly should run the office if everyone has a caseload and is trying cases? Strantely enough, a law firm of the size of the PD doesn't run all by itself. Finally, why don't you try looking at the number of cases the training attorneys actually try, the cases they staff w/ their attorneys, their time spent in court monitoring and helping their attorneys, and all the other things they do at the office. Taking them out of training and giving them their own caseload will solve NOTHING - they are vital to keeping the younger attorneys, who are drowning in their caseloads, afloat.

Anonymous said...

When Butchko talks she is condescending in her calm tone but she totally is a nasty woman who does have robitis! She's phony and the robe doesn't hide it

I agree, her husband is a homocide detective, what business does she have on the bench in criminal court!

Anonymous said...

Homicide!

Homocide is NOT politically or morally correct.

Anonymous said...

Monday, April 27, 2009 11:01:00 AM

Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

funny I never heard anyone whining like little bitches over the fact that judge TUnis is on the criminal bench and her husband was a public defender? never heard anyone bitch that shuminer was on the bench and her husband was a criminal defense attorney, or judge pooler an surowiec when they were married. funny.

i guess it is only when a judge like butchko doesnt given in to whatever silliness the defense bar is spouting, does thier spouse profession matter.

rump reizenstein you truly disgust me now go back to your well read copy of the fountainhead and jerk off all over yourself