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Monday, August 17, 2009

NPR REPORT: PD PLIGHT

Be warned: this is a very disturbing post.

(If you're interested in a Dolphins preview, check out the previous post. And we are happy to report that Ana's cyclonic circulation has dissipated to point where she is not even being tracked for the time being. )

The title of this post links to the NPR article on the failed PD system. The article actually appears to deal with the problems of SAPDs or "conflict counsel". While Miami gets a mention - with PDs complaining the only time they have to see their clients in jail is on the weekend - ( and we respond by saying that they should do a little better at the bond hearing and they won't have so many clients in the can)- the real terror is the appointed private lawyer system in Detroit.

One Bob Slameka has been making a living - if you can call it that- for the last 40 years by handling appointed cases in Detroit, where the fees haven't been raised in 30 years. Slameka proudly refuses to take phone calls from his clients because he won't get reimbursed for the costs, and only sees his in custody clients a few moments before court.

A lawyer like this is a tragedy waiting to happen- and that's just what did happen when Slameka did his usual slip-shod work on an appeal for a client named Eddie Joe Lloyd who ended up serving 17 years for a murder he didn't commit. Another team of lawyers eventually succeeded in proving Lloyd's innocence through DNA.

Here's the outrage: When Lloyd complained about Slameka's poor work on the appeal, including failing to consult with him about the issues in the brief- here is what Slameka wrote back to the state Bar about his innocent client:

"This is a sick individual who raped, kidnapped and strangled a young woman on her way to school. His claim of my wrongdoing is frivolous, just as is his existence. Both should be terminated."

When asked if he really thought his own client should be executed, Slameka said yes, that's what he wrote at the time and that's how he felt.

"That's exactly what I wrote. That's exactly how I felt," he said. "You know something? Because of people's actions, a lot of people don't deserve to live. OK? You take people's lives — I'm not saying, an eye for an eye — but because of the nature of your behavior, sometimes maybe you don't deserve to live on this Earth."

When reminded that Lloyd was exonerated and never actually killed anyone, Slameka brushed it off. He said he didn't have DNA evidence at the time, and criminal defense is a very different job now.

Rumpole says: You get what you pay for in life. And make no mistake- there isn't a legislator around who believes running a campaign with the promise of paying more money to defend accused individuals is a winning cause.

"Getting tough on crime" is the slogan that gets them elected. And once elected, politicians have no desire to be accused of raising taxes to pay for indigent defense. This causes the Bob Slameka's of the world to crawl out from under a rock and take up the job nobody else wants,

We're so damn proud of our legal system. We like to call it the best in the world. Ask Eddie Joe Lloyd how good the US legal system is. He served 17 years for a crime he didn't commit.

Wait. You can't ask Mr. Lloyd. He died two years after getting out of prison. His life mostly wasted by the incompetence of a lawyer who wanted to see him executed.

A lawyer advocates for the execution of his client who turns out to be innocent. And this lawyer is STILL practicing law!!!!
This makes us sick.

See you in court.

16 comments:

Rumpole said...

Not to brag BUT
I told you earlier in the evening in the previous post that rookie CB Sean Smith is THE red zone press defender- and what did he do? Intercepted a pass in the end zone.

I told you earlier this evening that rookie first round pick Vontae Davis does not have the intelligence to play well in the NFL. What did he do?
3- countem- 3 penalties including a pass interference, a fair catch interference (which is rare to see some one be that stupid) and a personal foul on a punt return.

I really should charge for these insights.

fake mendy said...

sign carried by a woman protestor at Eagles training camp today:

"HIDE YOUR BEAGLE/VICK'S AN EAGLE"

Priceless.

Cheech & Chong said...

We heard Ricky Williams was SMOKING out there tonight!

Rumpole said...

Really, not very funny at all.

fake stooge said...

Moe: Come here Cheech. (Hits Cheech over head with bong)

Chong: Hey man, what's with the violence.

Larry tried to hit Chong with a hammer but misses and hits Moe. Moe grabs hammer and throws it at Larry who ducks. Hammer hits Curly.

Curly hops around in pain."Woop woop woop woop woop. Ouch ouch ouch!"

Moe smacks Chong on head with board.
"Try this on for size funny guys."

Cue three blind mice music.

Anonymous said...

Separated at birth?

Slameka: "This is a sick individual who raped, kidnapped and strangled a young woman on her way to school. His claim of my wrongdoing is frivolous, just as is his existence. Both should be terminated."

Hirsch: "Casey has accused me of being part of a conspiracy against him. But the simple facts in this case are that Sean Casey is the one who got drunk; the one who brutally killed an innocent old woman; and is the one who fled the scene... Sooner or later, Sean Casey is going to have to accept that."

Anonymous said...

613
I was thinking the same thing you were. If Hirsch really can't make it out in private practice he should beg Cathy for a job.

Anonymous said...

The mean-spirited, hateful comments about Milton Hirsch are misplaced. The circumstances are not comparable. The individual in Michigan was exonerated by DNA. There is no question that the individual in the local case was the driver of the car. I too have problems with Milton's inflated ego, but find these comments about him to be absurd.

Milton did not say that his client should be terminated - just that he would have to accept
responsibility for his actions.

And BTW to 8:06 a.m., your ignorance is showing - both the State Attorney and the Federal Public Defender are Kathy with a K, not Cathy with a C.

Anonymous said...

I love the word "terminated." It implies that the person killed is less than human, perhaps not even a living creature.

It's use is an example of corporate speak filtering into an impersonal, bureaucratic military. It gives emotional distance to those who are asked to kill. For those who are forced to kill, such as grunts on the ground, a certain emotional distance is protective.

It is problematic, however, when we, as a culture, adopt such distance from killing. Whether street killers, lawyers, or legislators, the value of life is cheap and getting cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Its the "Business of Law Enforcement".

Promotion through "stats"- it doesn't matter if the ASA does the right thing (remember that "oath"?). The question is - did you close the case with hard plea or a conviction. When the case load gets backed up, have a "Fire Sale". Justice at its finest.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Slameka should come work for the local regional counsel's office. He seems like Joe George's kind of lawyer.

Eye on Milt said...

Milt:

Save the money you were going to use for your Circuit Judge campaign. You are still in the news cycles, buddy.

This cloud over your head does not have a silver lining, Milty. Your arrogant attitude and jokes at the expense of others has caught up with you. Karma is a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Was in the Family Courthouse today and there is a notice from the clerk regarding Joel Hirschhorn's divorce case being sealed.

Wonder what is so highly confidential in there?

Eye on Diamond Joel said...

My guess is Joel's finances and those of his ex-wife, Evi, the heiress to the O'henry Candy Bar fortune... or Post-its, I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

Killing is wrong. That is why we kill people. If we did not kill people, how would they know killing is wrong?

Anonymous said...

Somewhere in that file is probably evidence of Joel Hirshhorn being an asshole.... oh wait, that's public knowledge....