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, December 07, 2009

BUTCHKO BLASTS SCRUGGS

Judge Butchko has granted a defense motion to suppress two tape recordings
in the State's prosecution of Reverend Gaston Smith for allegedly misappropriating $10,000.00 in County grant funds.

The New Times is all over this story. The title links to the New Times article.

Some tidbits from the article:

The judge reserved her harshest comments for Scruggs, a veteran prosecutor who cut his teeth in Miami's U.S. Attorney's Office....

She chastized Scruggs for not immediately notifying Smith's lawyer and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle about the recordings.

"The way you handled this disclosure was very unprofessional," Butchko railed. "As soon as you found this out, not only did you need to call them, you needed to draft a letter explaining exactly what happened and the purpose of the tape and the meaning of it, to avoid an appearance of impropriety...That didn't happen."

Butchko even scolded Scruggs for his dealings with Miami New Times staff writer Gus Garcia-Roberts. "I couldn't believe," Butchko said,"you testified in court that you intentionally tried to get around complying with a lawful public records request because you don't like the practice. You can't do that."

Apparently Scruggs had Smith's entire case file on a CD. He could have easily made a copy for Garcia-Roberts. But instead the prosecutor had the reporter unnecessarily sift through boxes of documents.

More from Butchko:
You testified that you had this face-to-face meeting the reporter to avoid, you know, a full disclosure of your boxes, and you directed him as to, I believe, what you thought was relevant. You wanted [Garcia-Roberts] in and out of there as quickly as possible, in my opinion.

Rumpole notes: Of course Mr. Scruggs doesn't believe he has to follow laws he
doesn't like. He used to be a US Attorney. Res Ipsa Loquitor.



25 comments:

Fake Mario Puzzo said...

Michael Tein Corleone:
Barzini's dead. So is Tattaglia. And Stracci and Cuneo.

So tell me Richard- and don't lie to me. WHo approached you?

Richard "Carlo" Scruggs. "I swear Mike..."

Michael Tein Corleone: Ahhh did you think that little game you played in court would work on a Corleone? No Scrugss, your penalty is banishment to county court. BUT DONT LIE TO ME. WHo approached you?

CAPTAIN said...

FOR 8:39'S benefit, the Slom memo on new CC procedures was printed as a comment on the previous post.

On a separate note, looks like Butchko shows her true stripes again.

Oh yeah, she ruled for the defense. How about all of you who critized her in the past taking a fresh look. Butchko has made several rulins protecting defendants' rights since taking the bench.

Cap Out ....

Anonymous said...

Tein is relentless. He can be reasonable, but G_d help the opposing counsel who takes a shot at him. They will go down, along wiht their case.

Rumpole said...

And isn't that just the type of attorney you'd want defending you? As to the Captain- I have my doubts about the Judge. Certainly her calendar demeanor, like Judge Tunis leaves a lot to be desired. Sarcastic with a "you're incompetent and bothering me" attitude. Now I would take that in a minute if I could get decent rulings out of a Judge. Certainly Judge Adrien was a polite as could be, while hurting clients as much as he could. I don't have enough experience with Butchko on motions, but she certainly has shown she is not afraid of the state on this case.

The Straw Buyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Straw Buyer said...

What's the big deal about making some recordings? How about an Asa fabricating witness testimony? Isn't that more fun?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who knew Butchko as a prosecutor could've predicted that she wouldn't be intimidated by the State or anyone else. Betty is, and always has been, a straight shooter. Testy? At times. She hates incompetence. Maybe if more judges were like her we wouldn't have to waste our time watching people half ass their way through court.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Rumpole
I have spent a year and a half in front of Judge Butchko. I have know her for 20 years, and tried cases against her when she was a ASA.

Betty Butchko tries to do what she thinks is right. I dont alawys agree with the final results; but, she tries to follow the law. She does want to be fair.

I have seen her regularly challenge, prod or overrule the State; I have seen her call cases BS and tell the State to Nolle Pross. She WILL likely be stiff at sentencing, and close calls will likely go "conservatively" , but we all know that going in.
DS

Anonymous said...

As a Lawyer on the other side of the fence at this moment, I am experiencing for the first time the lack of ethics, and the games that prosecutors engage in. There are others in the State Attorney's office who make Scuggs look like a choir boy getting caught sleeping during mass. There has to be a higher standard for prosecutors and their actions, when the power they wield and the actions they take can destroy a person's life permamently. As Attorneys, we took an Oath to seek Justice, not to win at all cost, especially when dealing with a person's most sacred right, their freedom.

Anonymous said...

wholly gracumolie!

Anonymous said...

How was Tien as an ausa?

Anonymous said...

I'm on Judge Butchko's side on this one. And Gus Garcia-Roberts ROCKS!

Anonymous said...

Quite a chuckle watching the defense bar - who called Butchko a nasty witch, or worse when she was trashing their clients -- suddenly being quoted as if it were Scripture when she speaks against an ASA.

When will you turkeys figure out that a mean-spirited and stupid judge will always revert to form?

I have no idea what to think of Scruggs, but I sure know what I have always thought of Mean Betty.

Anonymous said...

Rump. the trialmaster has a winter retreat in Lake Tahoe. why are you in the low rent district in Truckee?

CAPTAIN said...

The Captain says:

Rump, it's nice to see that I am not alone in my assessment of the job that BB is doing on the bench.

Cap Out ....

Anonymous said...

Tiger has just signed to do the next season of The Bachelor. "Will you Number 9, accept this putter?"

Now that the magic number is 9 I'm surprised re the lack of speculation on this blog re the Woods' future maritial status and Tiger's new found public perception. Will he become a "Darth Vader" like figure on the Tour. Will he now wear all black in the tourneys? Winning all tournaments will being scorned by the sponsors and fans. Or will this all roll off his back, just like Bill Clinton, because above all else, fans love those who finish first.

Anonymous said...

Who was Tiger on the prowl with in Miami? Must have been a hottie since he did/does so well at Doral!

Anonymous said...

Rump: What is the over/under on El Tigre's mistresses? You would have to figure by now he has had one at every Tour stop, plus a few at media hubs where commercials are filmed like NYC, LA, Vegas & Atlanta. Plus he did have a fancy for the waitresses at Perkins, so this would put all IHOPs and Friendlys in play.

Do you think he studied these' temptresses lies before his approach? Or did he just walk up and blast 'em out of the trap, so to speak.

Tiger has diverted me from Rothstein. I'm torn. The Daily Pulp or TMZ. How do yo decide?

Anonymous said...

You are sure right about Tunis running an ineffective calendar. Wow.

Anonymous said...

6:31............there is a higher standard for prosecutors. Prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, all day and every day. They are to follow the letter and spirit of the law (assuming it's not unduly unjust/punitive/capricious) and do the "right thing" even when it's unpopular (of course, our views of right and wrong vary considerably).

Those who don't understand or abide by these simple rules don't know what it means to be a prosecutor and should seek another line of work. Every prosecutor who is a "TRUE believer" knows this to be true.

BTDT

P. Nis said...

" Anonymous said...

6:31............there is a higher standard for prosecutors. Prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, all day and every day. They are to follow the letter and spirit of the law (assuming it's not unduly unjust/punitive/capricious) and do the "right thing" even when it's unpopular (of course, our views of right and wrong vary considerably).

Those who don't understand or abide by these simple rules don't know what it means to be a prosecutor and should seek another line of work. Every prosecutor who is a "TRUE believer" knows this to be true.

BTDT"

That gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Here in the real world, that isn't how it works. Here in the real world we have prosecutors who prepare witness statements without consulting the witness then browbeating the witness to sign, here in the real world we have prosecutors that go before the court and rattle off nonsense that contradicts and negates the information that they themselves filed.

You believe that "Prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, all day and every day." bull$hit? I have news for you, that's a fairy tale. When the prosecutors that I've dealt with find that they screwed up and perhaps charged an innocent person, all they do is further entrench themselves and do whatever is in their power to save their asses and their case.

I watched one of your fellow "prosecutors" destroy an innocent attorney, just to make a headline with no evidence whatsoever. The co defendants in this particular case have all testified that the attorney was innocent and had no part in the crimes they were charged with yet the ASA over a year and a half later still refuses to drop the charges.

Sorry about the rant, I have a tendency of getting worked up when it comes to the subject of prosecutorial ethics.

Anonymous said...

I did a 4 day trial against Scruggs and found him to be ethical, honest and polite.

Even when he lost, he was gracious and polite.

He left the Department of Justice because he did not like the politics of the time.

If you know Scruggs, you like him.

Anonymous said...

5:03---------contrary to what you apparently think, I haven't been a prosecutor for years.

Regardless, my post was what prosecutors SHOULD believe, not what a minority do. Most prosecutors I've dealt with aspire to the principles I spoke of. But, like any group of human beings, there are some who don't understand what the job is about or don't care (and abuse their power or neglect their cases; both of which are inexcusable given how important their jobs are).

You sound very angry. Perhaps if you stopped projecting your bad experiences on everyone (ie. stereotyping), you'd get different results. When I was a prosecutor, I was lied to on a regular basis by defense attorneys. When I was young, it affected my relationship with all of them. As I gained more life experiences, I realized that there's good and bad everyone and found plenty of defense attorneys who were honest, ethical and reasonable (especially when I started handling higher level crimes with more experienced/competent opposition).

Relax and give people a chance as individuals. You'll enjoy your job a lot more and see that there is a lot more "good" out there than you apparently believe.

Good luck.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

@ 5:03, FIGHT THE POWER!

The Straw Buyer said...

@6:31, tell me how you feel after you get "nifonged"!