Monday, March 08, 2010


Our Colonel of County Court has a report, but before we get to it, we are happy to report that Attorney Bob Lamons, stuck down on Friday with a medical incident, is fine and on his way to recovery.


Gather round and take a knee soldiers.

The great war has ground to a halt. We have a trench war stalemate. Casualties are high.

First a little background: The County Court Judges (Motto: Reemberto Diaz ) decided to do away with soundings for all traffic crime cases except DUI cases.

The reason was to ostensibly reduce calendars and court appearances and move cases quicker.

Defense attorneys often have new clients sign rights waiver forms and authorizations to proceed in absentia.

The reasonable Judges (ie., Judges Krieger-Martin and Ortiz) allow this reasonable solution- on trial day if the attorney has a valid rights waiver form and authorization to proceed in absentia, and if the state is not ready for trial, the case will be dismissed. If the state is ready for trial, the attorney enters a plea. In the unusual circumstance where the attorney actually intends to conduct a trial in absentia, prior approval is needed.

The unreasonable Judges have not adopted this solution and will force a defense attorney with a waiver and authorization to plea in absentia to take a plea or get a bench warrant on trial day EVEN WHEN THE STATE IS NOT READY.

SHAME ON JUDGES BLOOM, NEWMAN, AND FERNANDEZ. (It's not clear yet on Seff and Miranda's position.)

The unreasonable response of those unreasonable judges is that prior to proceeding in absentia the lawyer must calendar a motion to proceed in absentia- or to put it another way- a busy traffic lawyer with 30-40 traffic cases on any Monday must create and schedule their own sounding calendars before being able to do in those courtrooms what Judges Krieger-Martin and Ortiz reasonably allow.

The practical effect of the decision of these unreasonable judges is that they are forcing pleas on cases the prosecution is not ready on.

Where is Judge Slom to restore order and reason and help move cases and calendars?
On this issue- nobody knows.

So the stalemate continues and our side continues to suffer heavy losses from the artillery fired by the State in the courtrooms of Judges Newman, Bloom, and Fernandez.

Clearly a new strategy is required.

Dismissed. And remember.... there's gold in them there misdemeanors.

Rumpole says: Thank you Colonel. A real problem is brewing in County Court. Can anyone explain why the solution allowed by Judges Krieger-Martin and Ortiz is not followed by the other judges?


Anonymous said...

Explain to me again why the state should have to bring in witnesses when defense attorneys are ready to enter a plea in abstentia?

Talk about wasting tax dollars............

Anonymous said...

9:31:00. Yea! To hell with the State's burden to prove their case!

Viva Fidel!

Anonymous said...

3.180 (a) Presence of Defendant. In all prosecutions for
crime the defendant shall be present:
(4) at the beginning of the trial during the examination,
challenging, impanelling, and swearing of the jury;
(d) Defendant May Be Tried in Absentia for
Misdemeanors. Persons prosecuted for misdemeanors
may, at their own request, by leave of court,
be excused from attendance at any or all of the proceedings

A waiver is ineffective without leave of court ... which would typically be done prior to trial ...

Anonymous said...

9:31, it's absentia, not "abstentia". Attorneys are ready to enter a plea in absentia if, and when, prosecutors are ready. If the state is not ready, the case should be dismissed.

CAPTAIN said...


Here's a thought - how about, in Bloom, Newman, and Fernandez, attorneys' file their Motion, pursuant to 3.180(d) and request "Leave of Court to Proceed in Absentia", enclose the Motion with a Proposed Order and return SASE's and a cover letter asking the Judge to sign the Order and return a copy of the Order to their office. In the letter, they can mention that, if the Judge is not inclined to grant the Motion without a Court Hearing, that you are therefore requesting one. If the Judges get bombarded with all of these Motions, they are not going to spend the time calendaring them, they simply don't have the time. They will sign the Order, and viola', your problem is solved.

Just my two cents.

Cap Out ......

Anonymous said...

More likely, they will ignore your Motion and letter and envelopes and screw you on the trial date...

Judge Joe Fernandez:"Counsel, if you didn't hear from my office, why didn't you call us"?

It's all on us these days.

Anonymous said...

I read this blog periodically because it is both amusing and informative. I'm a former prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney far to the North of Dade County.

I always marvel at the things I read on this blog that cause outrage from the criminal defense bar. Take the procedure described in this post. Judges really dismiss cases on "Trial Day" when the state announces they're unprepared (as an aside is Trial Day voir dire or the actual trial). This is a procedure I cannot fathom occurring anywhere North of Miami.

I always knew Miami was a different place when as a county court ASA a young man from Dade County was arraigned on a DWLS. I'll never forget his CDR. There were over 30 convictions for DWLS within a year's period. I overheard him say to the PD he'd never served a day in jail, but only paid fines. It was astonishing.

I know the case loads are massively unmanageable. I know you've much bigger fish to fry. Just keep in mind that lawyers with as much experience and talent as you who represent clients similarly situated fight tooth and nail for things you take for granted. Know this and be thankful for you truly live in a different world.

Anonymous said...

The Captain is smart.

Anonymous said...

Freaking e-file already.

Letters, postage, envelopes, photocopies. Court notices being mailed by the thousands to attorneys instead of e-mailed for FREE. Stop practicing like its the 1930's.

I know I'm making too much sense, so I'll shut up now.

Anonymous said...

11:12.......it has nothing to do with the state's burden. If a plea is going to be entered, enter it. There's no right to force the state to produce witnesses. All you're doing is wasting tax dollars. Judges should discourage this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

So glad to know that the "Captain" is advising fellow bottom-feeder attorneys to file frivolous pleadings in violation of his ethics obligations. What a fine example he is to the legal community.

CAPTAIN said...


So, you want to be a Judge?

The JNC has received 28 applications to replace Judge Amy Karan. The JNC will meet to review the applicants and then narrow the list and set an interview schedule. The initial list includes:

Olanike Adebayo
William Altfield
Bart Armstrong
Kurt Berman
Tanya Brinkley
Gary Costales
Ivonne Cuesta
Jeff Cynamon
Marie Davidson
Joseph Davis
Michaelle Gonzalez-Paulson
Monica Gordo
Tamara Gray
Maria Guitian-Baker
Michael Jones
Patricia Kopco
Robert Kuntz
Steven Lieberman
Miranda Soto
Anita Moss
Gordon Murray
Silvia Perez
Andrea Wolfson
Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat
Margaret Rosenbaum
Sorraya Solages
Jeffrey Swartz
Marie Toussaint

On a separate note, interviews for the Norman Gerstein seat will be held tomorrow evening with up to six names chosen to be sent to the Governor.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

why is it always such a sorry ass list of people who want to be judges? and what is really sad is the few good people on the list like bill altfield never get sent to the governor and losers who never left juvenile court (wont name any names so you dont censor the email) get sent to the governor?

no justice man

Anonymous said...

Captain, that looks much like the same list of people who don't get the message every single time a seat is up. Can those of you who don't get it, get this - no, never.

Anonymous said...

Same list of losers over and over and over and over, minus a couple very good ones. It is funny how some who are on the list are also running. A few were useless asa's and would be even more useless on the bench. If we try hard, maybe we can even get a few people seeking judgeships who are not even 30 years old yet.

Anonymous said...

Re prospective judges......I'd like to see the state change the rules so that

*people cannot serve as judges unless they have at least 10 years experience (not 7). The reality is that the vast majority of us don't have sufficient life experiences or perspective to be good judges before our mid 30's.
* judges are permanently designated as civil or criminal judges (that way we don't end up with criminal lawyers who don't have a clue about civil law handling civil cases and vice versa)
*civil judges must have at tried at least 10 cases, including 3 jury trials
*criminal judges must have tried at least 10 jury cases, including 5 where they served as lead counsel at 2 that they tried without co-counsel (which may be part of the 5).

These simple changes would ensure that the newbies at least have a vague idea of how to do their jobs before they take the bench.


Anonymous said...

Good suggestions BTDT. Under your rules, this guy running, Robert Kuntz, would not be eligible. I like it.

Anonymous said...

Fernandez does allow you to represent in absentia in the non DUI cases. If it's a DWLS however, the defendant is required to give fingerprints. In those cases he lets the attorneys bring in the client or fingerprints by the end of the week. Wise up Colonel.

Anonymous said...

And 10:23, re-read your comment and you will see how stupid you are