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, February 02, 2010

GOT A TICKET?

UPDATES BELOW:

FHP Trooper Paul Lawrence has been arrested for official misconduct (a felony) for writing traffic tickets.


Oh yeah. He was issuing those tickets to people without actually stopping them and giving them the ticket. He was just making the offenses up while using real people with real driver's licenses.

And just last year Trooper Lawrence was voted the Miami Ticket Attorneys' "Trooper of the Year."
What a "Tigeresque" downfall for the fifteen year FHP Veteran. (We're gonna patent that phrase: "Tigeresque downfall". Has a nice ring to it, and something tells us it's going to be used more than once.)

The title of the post links to the Herald story.

UPDATE: A reader writes
Anonymous said...

I was helping a friend who received one of these bogus tickets. He started getting letters from ticket attorneys and couldn't figure out why. He researched it and learned he was "ticketed" without ever being stopped - speeding and no seat belt. When we pulled a copy from the clerk's office, the ticket was obviously unsigned by my friend. Upon further research we learned Trooper Lawrence had given him a legitimate ticket in 2006 at the same location of this new ticket. We had set it for court when it was suddenly dismissed by the SAO. Unbelievable that this guy thought he could get away with this.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 9:15:00 AM


328 Million?

North of the Border is getting a new 328 million dollar courthouse tower according to the Daily Pulp.
328 million!
For those....$%^#@!s??

We say put em in tents and let them earn their way into a courthouse.

328 million for a group of blacked robed misery merchants to peddle their nastiness in the luxurious splendor of a new courthouse?

We can think of 328 million other deserving groups before they get that money. Spend it on rebuilding Haiti.
Spend it in Kamchatka.
Spend it anywhere but there.
Please.

UPDATE: A reader has a good idea:

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just build a muti billion dollar mega Court house for Miami Dade and Broward right on the boarder say US1 and Bicayne Blvd. Half of the buidling sits in broward and the other half sits in Miami dade.

The cafeteria can be positioned in the center so you can sit across from a broward Judge while he is in broward and you are in dade. County line food fights would be a plus.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 12:35:00 AM


UPDATE: A "ticket attorney" weighs in:


Many of us 'ticket attorneys' disliked Lawrence even though he did write a lot of tickets and probably got us a lot of business. It was always interesting to me that everyone he pulled over was going at least 25 or more over the limit and never had a seatbelt on. Every speeding ticket had at least one companion; seat belt, registration, window tint, etc.
And he seemed to be the 'poster boy' for hard working troopers at least to some of the hearing officer. They took his word as gospel. It was hard to get a tpr. Lawrence ticket dismissed becuase he had such credibility. Ha!
I hope more hearing officers and judges will realize that just because a trooper is standing there in his snazzy shiny boots, he's not always what he seems.




20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rump,

on a serious note, the new Broward courthouse is desperately needed. But it also begs the question, when will Miami-Dade get a new or refurbished and bigger criminal courthouse? The new children's courthouse is a good thing, but the REGJB is simply outdated and incapable of handling the number of people comes through the doors everyday and should be priority. When will the blog, along with the legal community, start pushing for a better criminal courthouse in Miami?

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN RETORTS:

Ticket Quota ....????

Here is the real question we need to be asking ourselves. WHY?

According to the article, an FHP spokesman said there was no incentive for FHP Lawrence to write the bogus tickets because FHP does not use a quota system.

``I can't speculate as to why he did it,'' said Capt. Mark Welch, who is based in Tallahassee. Writing tickets, Welch said, is ``just our job. It's what we're supposed to go out and do.''

Well, then, what could possibly have been this Troper's motive? Why would an officer spend so much extra time and energy fabricating traffic citations if he had nothing to gain?

Was it for the extra court time? Was he getting kickbacks from the ticket clinics for sending them extra cases? Is MADD now giving out a new award to the Trooper that writes the most tickets each year?

This isn't the first time the dirty "quota" word has been suggested.

Remember this little note:

In Florida in July, 2006, an internal memo from a lieutenant to all patrol personnel appears to imply a quota for writing tickets. According to a First Coast News report, the memo, in part read: “After assessing the April Statistics it was obvious I had not made the department's expectations for an Officer's monthly activity known. Thus, following is a list of my expectations for the minimum activity for each patrol officer/supervisor each month. 1) Approximately 2 UTC's for each shift worked. 2) Approximately 2 traffic warnings for each shift worked.”

Quotas are commonplace throughout the US, and they are not always illegal. In Georgia, recently, news reports that DeKalb County Police officers are told during roll call that they must issue 65 citations a month and make 25 arrests. Those on traffic duty must issue a minimum of 150 citations a month and make 11 arrests. Unlike in many states, ticket quotas are not illegal in Georgia.

They are, however, illegal in Florida:

316.640: "An agency of the state as described in subparagraph 1. is prohibited from establishing a traffic citation quota."

So, fellow bloggers, what say you as to why Trooper Lawrence had his pen working overtime???

Cap Out ...

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this article. How does he write tickets without stopping someone. Didn't he know people would say they were not even stopped and thus get himself in trouble? He can't be that dumb.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just build a muti billion dollar mega Court house for Miami Dade and Broward right on the boarder say US1 and Bicayne Blvd. Half of the buidling sits in broward and the other half sits in Miami dade.

The cafeteria can be positioned in the center so you can sit across from a broward Judge while he is in broward and you are in dade. County line food fights would be a plus.

Anonymous said...

CAP,

Yes, quotas are illegal in Florida. But, I always laugh when people bring up the Lieutenant's memo regarding his "expectations." Having riden or driven on South Florida roads for decades, a trooper who doesn't issue at least 2 UTC's and 2 warnings in a shift is either asleep, spending too much time at the local donut shop, or otherwise screwing around(of course, there may be rare exceptions when they're working a major accident or something).

While we obviously don't want our officers writing stupid citations (ie. 56 in a 55) or ticketing innocent people to make quotas, we do need them to do there jobs. The minimum standards in that memo were a joke. I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with the high taxes I pay and the thought that they're going to some joker who can't find four dangerous drivers per shift. Our families and friends travel on these roadways each and every day; I WANT the cops to do their jobs.

Suggesting that FHP is somehow responsible for Trooper Laurence's alleged (funny how you use that term when discussing your clients and lawyers who are accused of crimes, but not cops) behavior is ridiculous. Is there a shred of evidence (you know, the thing we require the State to produce when someone other than a cop is accused of a crime)to suggest that FHP did anything wrong? No, just your desire to tacitly smear the department by suggesting that there's some grand conspiracy. Maybe the man on the grassy knoll is working for FHP and ordered the Trooper to write the tickets........

BTDT

PS----Are you seriously concerned about cops giving out a minimum number of warnings? Really? Is it really so abusive for cops to tell people to drive more carefully?

Anonymous said...

Of course Trooper Lawrence was voted the Miami Ticket Attorneys' "Trooper of the Year." He generated a lot of business for the attorneys who had to hire ticket attorneys to defend them on tickets they were not guilty of. Trooper. Thanks Trooper Lawrence. Much luv, M.T.As.

Anonymous said...

The Captain is so right on this one. Quotas??? How about just looking out for traffic violators. Quotas created this whole mess.

Anonymous said...

I was helping a friend who received one of these bogus tickets. He started getting letters from ticket attorneys and couldn't figure out why. He researched it and learned he was "ticketed" without ever being stopped - speeding and no seat belt. When we pulled a copy from the clerk's office, the ticket was obviously unsigned by my friend. Upon further research we learned Trooper Lawrence had given him a legitimate ticket in 2006 at the same location of this new ticket. We had set it for court when it was suddenly dismissed by the SAO. Unbelievable that this guy thought he could get away with this.

Rumpole said...

I was being facetious on the "Trooper of the Year" That's what I do. Sarcastic comments and all that.

Anonymous said...

Many of us 'ticket attorneys' disliked Lawrence even though he did write a lot of tickets and probably got us a lot of business. It was always interesting to me that everyone he pulled over was going at least 25 or more over the limit and never had a seatbelt on. Every speeding ticket had at least one companion; seat belt, registration, window tint, etc.
And he seemed to be the 'poster boy' for hard working troopers at least to some of the hearing officer. They took his word as gospel. It was hard to get a tpr. Lawrence ticket dismissed becuase he had such credibility. Ha!
I hope more hearing officers and judges will realize that just because a trooper is standing there in his snazzy shiny boots, he's not always what he seems.

No Pague Ese Ticket! said...

Could there really be a connection with the "TICKET CONSORTIUM" and this FHP Trooper?

How does he pay for all those frickin bus benches?

Geez Louise.

CAPTAIN said...

How bout this chamber of commerce weather for our friends from Ne Orlins and Indy.

Nothing better than wintertime and living in South Beach.

Anonymous said...

sun in rising
weather is sweet
make u wanna move
your dancing feet

Anonymous said...

The conspiracy theory is ridiculous. The amount of tickets this guy allegedly forged was a drop in the bucket compared to the number of tickets issued by other officers/troopers. Jst how were these specific tickets supposed to get back to the ticket attorney? Do you think someone who got a failure to comply notice would call the trooper himself and then he would say 'why don't you hire attorney x"? How much would it cost an attorney to pay the trooper to write a few hundered bogus tickets on the ridiculously slim hope that they might get business on some of them? Not worth it! Now if you told me he was handing out someone's business card as he gave the defendant a ticket....

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN's EDITORIAL:

Congrat to Bill Gelin ....

Most of you are probably asking, "Who"? Do you read the Broward Blog? If not, you should. And, without knocking Rumpole and his anonymity, the JAABLOG, is run by a named attorney, and his name is Bill Gelin.

Bill writes with passion and he calls em like he sees em. His writings, and his Blog, have helped to bring down a Chief Judge, contributed to the downfall of several other judges, and, Bill is doing his level best to bring down the elected State Attorney of Broward County.

Yesterday, Bill stood up before the Broward County Commission. He stood up against the current Chief Judge Vic Tobin and several other judges, up against the Courthouse Administrator, the Clerk of Courts, the President of the BCBA, and many others.

Bill was the lone voice, for the Broward County taxpayers; you know, the ones that have no voice, and who don't show up to these meetings.

If I were a resident of Broward County, I would be writing Bill a thank you note for standing up and telling those nine elected Commissioners the real facts.

Bill was arguing against the building of a new courthouse and he made two very good points. First, if you read Gelin's BLOG, you know that he occasionally does his JAABLOG walks, where he visits all of the courtrooms on several floors on an unannounced day. He usually finds more than half of them empty on any given day. Only the criminal wing is regularly busy. (The pros were arguing that the courthouse is packed and that they need more courtrooms).

Second, Gelin makes an argument similar to the one made about drugs and addiction. You can pay to rehabilitate and it's a lot less expensive than building more prisons.

But here, his argument was, put some money into drug rehab, rather than spending nearly $400 million on a new courthouse. Rehab the addicts BEFORE they become a defendant and you will have less cases to fill that new courthouse with.

Alas, Bill was all by himself up there on the podium yesterday. And the Commissioners voted 6-3 to fund the building and to do so without a VOTE by the citizens of the County.

Congratulations to Bill for constantly standing up, without fear of reprisal, for the things that he believes in, and for trying to make the criminal justice system a better system, North of The Border.

Cap Out ....

eyeonmendy said...

1:17- you talkin about mendy the dancin fool?

Shumie Bowl sponsor said...

Whose ready for the SHUMIE BOWL this Sunday??

Anonymous said...

Tpr. Lawrence always wrote tickets for speeding at more than 70 mph in 55 mph zones. Most, if not all, defendants always complained at trial that Tpr. Lawrence had exaggerated their speed and that they were not going so fast. It always struck me as odd to hear everyone saying the same thing to the hearing officers.

Anonymous said...

Rump
Gotta luv the FHP spokesperson, Like the Police Captain in Casablanca. Ticket Quotas/Gambling going on here , I am shockerd.
DS

Anonymous said...

But Captain,you ARE a resident of Broward. Along with your civil PI firm where you do most of your work. But don't fret- I'll keep it a secret. For now.