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

Monday, August 17, 2009

STAYING STUPID ON CRIME


YOUR EXCLUSIVE REGJB BLOG AFTERNOON CONE OF CONTINUANCES UPDATE (just got back from court)

Bill is upgraded to a Hurricane but appears to be heading off to the east. Bermuda and the Carolinas need to keep an eye on Bill. 




Ana is downgraded to a Tropical Depression and Tampa and the Panhandle look to be likely targets, but it might graze Key West, so if you are down there the only thing to do is to increase your level of alcohol consumption IMMEDIATELY BY ORDER OF RUMPOLE (just don't drive).




From NY Times Op-Ed Columnist Charles Blow, an Op-Ed piece entitled "Getting Smart on Crime" caught our attention. (The title links to the article.)

Stats: US Prison population has quadrupled over the last 25 years while the population has grown by less than a third.

The US has more inmates per capital than any of the 36 European Countries with the largest inmate populations. The total number of US inmates is MORE than the combined total of inmates of those 36 countries.

States spend 1 in every 15 dollars on corrections.

Yeah, those drug minimum mandatories are really working well aren't they?

A 2006 UCLA study found that in California it was cheaper to put drug offenders in rehab programs than to incarcerate them, and the recidivism rate is much lower.

As Judges Rosinek and White-Labora like to remind us: "Drug Court Works!!"

Anybody want to defend the reasoning behind the legislature investing the discretion in drug cases with a 25 year old prosecutor and taking it away from a 50 year old judge?

We elect or appoint Judges (beyond the three hour lunches they take) to make tough decisions on cases. There is no justification, beyond political pandering by politicians seeking votes, for legislatures to enact minimum mandatory sentences beyond the review and discretion of Judges.

Want to piss off a prosecutor in Miami? Watch them preen around court waiving a 15 or 25 year minimum mandatory at some kid- just waiting for the defense attorney to coming begging for something...anything. Then you tell the Judge the client is eligible for youthful offender sanctions and the judge has the discretion to sentence without regard to the minimum mandatory. Makes the prosecutor crazy. They just can't stand to have anyone other than them play the role of the almighty.

But YO sentencing works. When given the opportunity with YO sentencing options, Judges make well informed and reasonable sentencing decisions almost all the time. The same cannot be said for "Dr. NO, Esq," at the SAO and his policy on minimum mandatory sentences. But then again, most judges have a lot more legal and life experience than that .....(fill in the blank with your own choice derogatory adjective.)

Maybe someone reading this will cite the above mentioned statistics to a judge or prosecutor in court today or this week.

It's a start.


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you get high you deserve life in prison and we as the taxpayers should foot the bill for food, medical care and housing. I mean don't all free citizens in America have a roof over their heads and medical insurance and food on the table

Anonymous said...

1. You cannot compare the way other countries handle criminal justice issues to the United States. We have more prisoners because we have more crime. I am talking the violent variety, not some crack addict who now finds himself eating breakfast every morning with Bernie Madoff. America is a very violent country. Always has been and always will be.
2. And speaking of Madoff, his fraud is nothing compared to another financial ripoff of the last 30 years: the so called war on drugs. Both political parties are to blame for this fiasco: Republicans for ignoring the principles of federalism and states' rights in allowing the federal government under Reagan and then Bush (the Yale first baseman) to hijack police and prosecutorial responsibilities that belonged to local law enforcement. So now the feds are in the business of warehousing street criminals because possession of crack/cocaine or a weapon affects interstate commerce. The Democrats bear an even heavier burden. Most liberals knew full well the consequences of this idiotic policy but never had the guts to stand up and say so. They were scared to death of being labeled "soft on crime" so went along with it all. The end result of this stupidity is that we have wasted billions of dollars and civil liberties have been eroded. The worst part is that once we lose a little bit of freedom it becomes all that much easier to convince people to accept a further reduction in their liberty.

Anonymous said...

7:37 a.m., you've been drinking too much Chateau Wagner Creek enriched with dioxins.

Anonymous said...

Prison's are big business and corrections officers represent a large and growing political force. Compounding that force is the political risk of being tarred "soft on crime." The result is an unceasing ratcheting of prison sentences.

Perhaps we should require prosecutors to accompany all requests for prison with the expected cost of incarceration. It might induce shame in the shameless.

Anonymous said...

I think it important that we realize just how much effect jail has had on the availability of drugs like cocaine.

In the early 80's, a user could expect to pay over $500 (in 2007 dollars) for a gram of pure powdered cocaine.

By 2007, after two decades of the war on drugs, the price of a pure gram of cocaine hovered around $100.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/the-drug-statistics-war-cocaine-prices/

And just how much did cocaine use drop? In 1990, 1 percent of the population had used cocaine in the previous month. In 2007, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health pegged that figure at 1.1 percent.

Anonymous said...

Rump,

I agree with the vast majority of your post, especially the "Dr. No" comment (which made me chuckle).

But, the whole thing that got the problem started was the Legislature's reaction to a few judges giving away the farm. For every five judges who would be reasonable in sentencing w/o mandatory guidelines/ min mans, there's one who would give outrageously and unjustifiably low sentences on serious crimes. And, that's what begat the whole problem.

If you want judicial discretion, you have to: (1) forbid judicial campaign contributions from members of the bar (not going to happen); or (2) eliminate the idea of an elected judiciary.

Anonymous said...

If you are looking at a 15 or 25 year min-man, then you likely dont have a drug problem. You have a drug dealing problem. Simple possession of cocaine or marijauna does not have a min-man. Having a grow house with 50 marijuana plants or half kilo of cocaine in your trunk is not exactly a Drug Court issue.

Anonymous said...

The min/mad sentences came at a time when the white good looking defendant got probation while a dark black man who did not look like Tiger Woods got 20 years for the identical crime and similar set of facts.

Now everyone gets 25 yrs for having 7 percocets that did not belong to them.

Justice got lost somewhere in the legislation.

Anonymous said...

I suggest actually making the Miami Dade prosecutors take a tour of the corrections facilities and boot camp facilities. It's easy to say 25 years to someone, when you have no clue as to what it really means.

Anonymous said...

2:19- Most of the prosecutors at the SAO have been on a tour of the detention center and medical examiners offices. The opportunity is open to them at least once a year, usually 2.

Anonymous said...

I always thought it was a good idea to require any prosecutor to have been a criminal defense attorney for at least two years before being hired.

Eye on ASAs said...

ASAs should all have to spend one night in jail.

Lets start with Fernundle and work our way down. She can share a cell with Gail Levine. Throw Leslie Rothenberg in with them, too.

County Court ASAs should spend the "mandatory DUI 8 hours" in the misdemeanor wing holding their bladders. Get some perspective, bitches.

abe laeser said...

I agree with the 4:35 comment.

Now after you have been a defense attorney for two years, apply for a $40k job, with little hope of a raise in future years.

Put your thoughts to work - not just your mouth. I am sure that your application will be placed on top of the pile.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole
CNN.com/Health reports a recent study says 90% ( yes Ninety) of US Dollars have cocaine residue. Stop locking up drug users, ( except DUI) and tax the product. Then we can balence the budget.
D.Sisselman

Anonymous said...

Heck with that, you must be a pd. figure how to extract the coke and party

Anonymous said...

i agree with 5:25. all ASA's should have to spend if not one night, at least a few hours in jail....then maybe they would think twice about seeking 30 days on stupid DWLS cases

Anonymous said...

@ 4:42

While I agree DWLS is a relatively minor infraction, they should still be sentenced to some time in jail.

I don't want someone DWLS crashing into my car and fleeing before the Police arrive. They are going to end up leaving me with a bag of crap.