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

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

NO MORE SOUNDINGS (for now)

THE HONORABLE SAMUEL J. SLOM

1351 N.W. 12 STREET ROOM 513

Miami, FL. 33125

Phone: (305) 548-5187

TO: ALL CONCERNED

FROM: SAM SLOM, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE, COUNTY CRIMINAL DIV.

RE: SOUNDING CALENDAR ANNOUNCEMENT

DATE: DECEMBER 1, 2009

The Judges of the Criminal Division of County Court have decided that the only cases that will be set for sounding in the future are DUI cases. It is anticipated that the elimination of sounding calendars on non-DUI cases will begin in January. It is hopeful that the elimination of sounding calendars on non-DUI cases will result in the following benefits:

· Attorneys and defendants will not be required to attend those sounding calendars thereby saving them both time and money.

· Fewer people will be summoned to the courthouse on Wednesdays thus reducing the delay in gaining access to the building as well as to the courtroom.

· It is hopeful that fewer continuances will be sought thereby allowing cases to proceed to trial in a timely manner.

· Judges can utilize that two to three hour period, previously reserved for such soundings, to address motions, reports, or trials.

Naturally, as with any systems change, there will be the need to adjust how certain matters are handled. Examples of such are the following:

Continuances: Should a continuance be needed on a non-DUI case, the party seeking such should contact the judge’s judicial assistant to be placed on the motion calendar. Every attempt should be made to calendar the matter no later than ten days before the trial setting. Judges will grant expedited access to their motion calendar so that this time frame can be honored. Continuances sought on the day of trial will be subjected to strict scrutiny.

Discovery issues: In the event that a party needs to address a discovery issue, that matter should also be calendared no later than ten days prior to trial by contacting the judicial assistant. All parties are expected to exercise due diligence by seeking relief as soon as they should have realized that a discovery issue has arisen. Continuances sought on the day of trial for alleged discovery violations will be closely scrutinized.


The nolle prosequi of cases involving driver’s license issues: Many if not all judges will continue to utilize report calendars that enable defendants to produce a valid license with the hope of obtaining a dismissal of the charge by the Assistant State Attorney. Should defense counsel wish for their client to be placed on the report calendar it is recommended that they indicate such at the arraignment setting. Those not wishing to be placed on the report calendar will need to coordinate with the Assistant State Attorney in the relevant division if they wish to obtain a nolle prosse because of a valid license. The State Attorney’s Office has indicated that they are unlikely to nolle prosse at a trial setting if their witnesses have appeared so it is probably prudent for defense counsel to establish the existence of a valid license at least ten days prior to trial.

There are some additional changes that you will likely notice as we head into the new year:

· Judges will have the flexibility to set as many cases as they wish on their calendars and will no longer be constrained by the current setting cap imposed on such cases. It is hopeful that this will eliminate the need for a DWLS blitz in the future.

· Judges will be able to separate their calendar settings so as to set private lawyer cases, public defender cases and pro se cases at separate times and dates. This will reduce the time that lawyers, defendants and witnesses spend in court as they will only be summoned at a time when that particular type of case is set.

In that we tend to be creatures of habit, we are sometimes resistant to changes that alter the way that we handle matters. We develop a certain comfort level with the status quo and may experience anxiety when change enters the equation. That being said, sometimes change is not only necessary – it proves beneficial.

Naturally, as these new changes are implemented, we may need to tweak a thing or two so that these procedures truly enhance our court operations. If some component proves problematic we will work to remedy that. I will say that the judges are excited about these changes and are quite optimistic that they will prove to be beneficial to the administration of our justice system.

In closing, as we enter the holiday season, on behalf of the judges and their staffs, we hope that this season and the coming year will bring you and your families health, happiness and prosperity.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

We had that system long ago and the police departments hated it as it created all kinds of overtime.

I wonder if they were consulted this time?

Defend305 said...

Not sure if this is a stupid question but, what about misdemeanor crimes? Do they still get sounding dates on Wednesdays? Based on what the memo said I guess they do not? I understand doing this for traffic criminal matters but not "crimes."

Anonymous said...

LOL...Is this a joke. Trying to get a JA on the phone in Dade is like trying to chase a wild horse. You can leave message after message and no one calls you back.
As for the sounding system, I think the new system will be totally useless. Many cases are resolved at sounding, thus reducing the amount of police officers present at the trial setting, and more active at arresting real criminals. The sounding system saves time for civilian witnesses as well.
Maybe, we need to get a new administrative judge. I think Judge Slom, has been in the same position long enough, and a new person needs to be appointed.

Anonymous said...

10:07 - You don't know what you're talking about. Less than 5% of the cases get resolved at sounding.

Anonymous said...

So, it looks as if the administrative judges found a way to save the SAO and Clerk lots of money by shifting the expenses to the police departments.

Anonymous said...

This really is ridiculous. The sounding calendar serves many purposes. Alot of our cases either get resolved at sounding or get seriously on their way to being resolved at sounding. It saves attorneys time by not having to call to set hearings, the way you have to do in civil cases, etc. This is a disgrace!