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, April 13, 2010

CARLOS MARTINEZ IS NOT BORED

A message from your Public Defender.

Silent Charlie speaks!!! (so to speak).

From: Carlos J. Martinez
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 7:57 AM
To: All Users
Subject: LEGISLATIVE ALERT - CRITICAL BUDGET ITEM

Good afternoon.

This email is a follow up to our face to face meetings. By now, I hope you have had an opportunity to read the
Miami Herald editorial
(<-----click for the link to the editorial.) opposing privatization of our office. The battle is not yet over. The privatization proposal is much more than a rumor. It is an open secret. Last week, I was in Tallahassee meeting with legislators, FPDA, and lobbyists regarding the proposal being pushed by some Miami lawyers to cut our funding so they can be paid for handling the third degree felonies assigned to our office. I am in Tallahassee this week.

The proposal seeks to privatize a substantial amount of our felony work and pay a private law firm to do that work, transferring a disproportionate amount of our current funds to do so.

This privatization proposal is the biggest threat the office has ever faced. If approved, it would result in massive layoffs, between 100 and 240 employees, depending on how much money is taken out of our budget. While I do not want to alarm you, it is important that you have the facts.

The lobbyists for the Private Defenders’ Clinic have been trying to convince Representative David Rivera to file a last-minute proposal during budget negotiations. We have been fighting to prevent that from happening, and if it happens, from being approved. The Florida Bar, Florida Public Defender Association and Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are actively lobbying against the proposal. The Dade County Bar Association, Florida Public Defender Association, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers-Miami have also unanimously passed resolutions opposing the proposal.

I met with Representative Rivera and explained why it’s a bad idea for our employees, clients, residents and the court system:
· The government bailout of private lawyers will not save one cent of taxpayer money.
· It’s a bad deal for taxpayers. It’s a waste of money.
· It’s bad public policy to have no bid contracts.
· Don’t fix what is not broken.
· We do it cheaper - $125-150 per case vs. $300-700 - with better quality.
· Cutting our budget would adversely impact our ability to provide quality representation in more serious felony cases.
· It will require massive layoffs.

Right now, Representative Rivera is the key person on this issue. Many of you live in the Representative’s current or possibly future district (zip codes 33014, 33015, 33016, 33018, 33030, 33031, 33032, 33033, 33034, 33035, 33157, 33166, 33170, 33175, 33176, 33177, 33178, 33182, 33183, 33184, 33185, 33186, 33187, 33189, 33190, 33193, 33194).
IF YOU THINK THE PRIVATIZATION PROPOSAL AND RELATED BUDGET CUT AFFECTS YOU AND WISH TO CONTACT REPRESENTATIVE RIVERA (850-488-7897) OR YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE OR SENATOR TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION, PLEASE DO NOT USE STATE RESOURCES (TELEPHONE, COMPUTER, EMAIL, ETC.) TO CONTACT THEM.
If you plan to call, know that personal stories are the most effective. Do not expect to speak to the legislator when you call. You can inform staff about your position.

Some tips if you decide to contact a legislator:

1. Keep the message short and to the point.
2. Start with your position (“I’m against” or “I’m in favor” of cutting the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s office budget to enrich private lawyers).
3. State your personal situation.
4. Ask staff to inform your legislator that you want the legislator to fight for your position.
5. Be polite; do not argue.

Thanks,
Carlos


Rumpole weighs in: We don't know much about the proposed legislation to sell off part of the PDs office. As a rule we avoid speaking to pimps, prostitutes and legislators. However, what we can gleam from the Herald editorial (and we also avoid the Herald, preferring the Times and Le Monde) is that this proposed legislation is the fallout from silent Charlie's lawsuit with PD Jay Kolsky as the busiest lawyer in the US. See our coverage about that here and here.

The Dade PDs went to court and said they should be able to conflict from a case simply because they have too many and cannot provide adequate representation to all their clients. This is turning out to not have been a very smart move in this economic environment in a day and age when legislators are searching everywhere to cut money. Lets face it, the last thing any legislator cares about is giving people whom they all view as criminals competent representation. Martinez files a lawsuit seeking permission to do less work, and is now shocked to find a target on his back.

Welcome to the big leagues buddy.

Perhaps that is one move you now regret. (Not speaking to us on how you budget monies for salaries is another. Saying your office is overworked when you hire less people than you are budgeted for and then spending the money on large raises for long time employees and even a consulting gig for Brummer is also not the wisest move in the world.)

Do we want to see the legislature gut the PDs office? No way.
Are we concerned about the competency of the person steering the ship over there and calling the shots? You betcha.


30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe if Rep Rivera were to accomplish this it would be a great thing. I think it would be wonderful and a good idea to those of us in the private sector.

If this happens the deadbeats in management at Silent Charlie's might actually have to work instead of eat danishes and bagels all day on the taxpayer dollar.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing but respect for the PD's Office. There are great lawyers there and there are great lawyers in the making there.

Regional counsel is not, in any way, compareable to a PD's Office.

This may the beginning of the end.

Anonymous said...

As a PD, I have to agree with Rump. This legislation is nothing more than the a response to this ridiculous "litigation". As much as I believe Carlos and the administration meant well with the motion, it blew up in their face and now 200+ employees are at risk for losing their job. Carlos, concede the litigation and lets get back to work, overworked and all. Also, who the hell is the mole in the PD's office.

DSisselman said...

Rumpole
Overall the Dade PD does as an average cost on non death felonies for under $300 each. Not a bad return on the money.
DS

Anonymous said...

I think the overwhelming majority of pit lawyers at the PD's office agree with 8:39. I know I do.

Anonymous said...

RUMP.....what you "GLEAMED??!!" Don't think that was the word you were going for....GLEANED maybe?

Anonymous said...

Pit PD's rock! 5th floor management PD's are dead weight.

How about some legislation to cap PD salaries at $100k, and no consulting gigs!

Anonymous said...

I heard that Judge Johnson might have an opponent? Captain, are the rumors true???

Anonymous said...

Take it from another pit PD: there are two groups of people in the office right now: those that openly agree that the litigation has back-fired and should be dropped, and those that agree, just not openly. And the numbers in the latter group are dwindling faster than Martinez's chance for a second term.

Anonymous said...

Here is the info on the law firm lobbying Rep. Rivera to take over the PD's third-degree felonies:

Detail by Entity Name
Florida Profit Corporation
PRIVATE DEFENDERS CLINIC P.A.
Filing Information
Document Number P08000108715
FEI/EIN Number 264132569
Date Filed 12/15/2008
State FL
Status ACTIVE

Principal Address
2100 CORAL WAY, SUITE #500
MIAMI FL 33145
Mailing Address
2100 CORAL WAY, SUITE #500
MIAMI FL 33145
Registered Agent Name & Address
DE LA HERIA, RAUL ESQ
2100 CORAL WAY, SUITE #500
MIAMI FL 33145 US
Officer/Director Detail
Name & Address
Title PD
DE LA HERIA, RAUL
2100 CORAL WAY, SUITE #500
MIAMI FL 33145
Annual Reports
Report Year Filed Date
2009 04/30/2009
2010 01/08/2010

Toy Story said...

Hindsight is 20/20.

In retrospect it doesn't seem like it was a good idea. But at the end of the day, its not like Brummer didn't try to do the same before.

The timing was just bad.

Anonymous said...

NOT ONE SINGLE PIT LAWYER I KNOW BACKS THE STUPID LAWSUIT!!! Instead energy should have been spent in lobbying the legislature, like every other state agency does. Who the hell thinks that in a year where we are cutting teachers salaries, that the public or the legislature, will instead funnel money into indigent defense? Get real, thin out the 5th floor. How much PD salary money goes to 5th floor administrators who do not represent clients?? At the end of the day, the PD's office only exists statutorily to REPRESENT CLIENTS. When was the last time Rory Stein or silent Charlie, even set foot in the REG building to see how CLIENTS were being represented?

STOP THE GRANDSTANDING!! Get back to basics and DROP THE LAWSUIT, let us practice as the well trained lawyers that we are, and stop treating us like children. Give the secretaries back their 15 minute breaks...what the hell did that solve? I could go on, and on, but I'm sure others will add where I've left off. SOMEONE challenge Carlos in 2012, the entire PD's office will back you.

Anonymous said...

Election Update: De La O has suspended campaign. Will not run against incumbent and will not run in another race for an open seat. He will submit name to JNC for Judge Kreeger's seat.

Anonymous said...

10:45 - don't be dense. Remeber Occum's Razor. Of coutrse Johnson will have an ipponent. And it will be De la O. You expect the 300k man to take his overflowing campaign account and call it quits. The guy is way too ambitious to do the right thing. He will take out the weakest opponent and there will be one less black judge. De la O doesn't have the balls to take on Milt. He will pick on the weak. Bye bye Johnson.

Anonymous said...

...continued

The Miami Dade Public Defenders office has a rich history of providing the some of the best representation for indigent defendant's in the country. Brummer, Rory, Carlos, et al. have been doing more and more to benefit our clients each and every year, even while the legislature strips them of their lifeblood (funding) each and every year. They have been breaking their backs to make sure that no one has been fired due to legislature cut backs; No one has been furlowed due to legislative cut backs; no one (except Carlos and Rory) have taken pay cuts due to legislative cut backs.

Those, like Rumpole, who clamor for answers to the question of why the office "hires less people than they are budgetted for?" don't understand the budget/payment/salar structure of the legislative laws of this state. If you don't understand it yourself too bad. Its not Carlos or Rory's or anyone elses fault that you are ignorant to the laws which govern the public offices of this state.
I will attempt to placate you though.
My understanding is that the office is given X amount of money for each attorney position, lets say $40,000. That means that the state of Florida is only required to give the PDs office $40,000 for the attorneys handling capital cases, and $40,000 for the new hire who just passed the bar.
The question then is, should Carlos pay the capital lit attorneys $40,000?
Answer: No, of course not, he's going to pay them what he can, while staying within the budget.
Question: Well, where does that "extra" money come from in order to pay the 20 year lawyer who is handling the capital lit cases.
Answer: Its taken from one of those $40,000 salary spots.
So that is why the office may be budgetted for "100 salary spots"(not accurate number) but only employs 75 lawyers (not accurate number).
You cannot expect the office to be able to retain qualified attorney at high levels if they were to be making $40,000 a year. The attorneys in this office are underpaid as it is, based on their qualifications and education, but that is just ridiculous.

I do apologize for my rant, but I hope that some of you out there who are "questioning" Carlos, Rory, etc actually took time to read it.

Anonymous said...

With regards to 10:50pm's comment, I am an employee of the PDs office, and I will say that I am not in either of the two groups you created.

The litigation regarding the increasing case load was initiated with the intentions of benefitting all the employees of the public defenders office (attorneys, support staff, etc) as well as, and maybe more importantly, the clients who we represent.

My understanding of our office's litigation is that the office only gets X amount of money to pay employees, and X amount of money for "due process cost" (representing our clients). Taking that into consideration with the fact that our budget continues to be cut by the legislature, combined with the increasing number of arrests by police departments and increasing number of cases filed by the State Attorneys Office, puts our office in a difficult position.

That position is that we only have so much money to hire attorneys, we only have so much money to spend on the representation of clients, and that money is not enough to provide the type of representation which we are ethically required to provide to our clients.

What specific tangiable result Carlos and the rest of the individuals making decisions ultimately wanted out of this litigation is beyond my knowledge. Whatever it is though, it will only help, not hurt, the employees of this office and the clients we represent.

That being said, the question is, "Has this litigation backfired?" I think that question still remains unanswered. My understanding is that our office's two part litigation is still waiting for consideration by the Fla Supreme Court and an opinion should be forthcoming from the 3rd DCA. Favorable rulings from those two would most likely answer the above question in the negative.

Perhaps this new proposal is in response to our office's litigation. But whether or not you agree with the litigation should not affect whether you think this proposal is right or wrong. The proposal to privatize 3rd degree felonies is clearly wrong.
If the proposal somehow passed, it will cost the State of Florida millions more to represent 3rd degree felony cases then it currently does.
Also, the proposal has an inherent "for profit" motive to it, which would inspire those who hand out the 3rd degree cases to do so to the lowest bidder. Great, that's just what we need, private attorneys submitting the lowest bid to represent these clients. I love all you private attorneys, but its just not cost effective for you to do GOOD work at low cost. So what that basically means is that BAD work will be done on these cases, which is bad for the clients.
And all of this will be going on while the new Private Defenders Office lines their pockets.

....to be continued

Anonymous said...

The attorney lobbying the Legislature to do the PD's third degree felony cases has been a lawyer for almost 6 years and is a member of the Bar's Workers' Compensation Section. Anybody knows him?

Raul Carlos DeLaHeria
Member in Good Standing Eligible to practice in Florida

ID Number: - 50474
Address: De La Heria & Associates
2100 Coral Way Ste 500
Miami, Florida 331452657
United States
Phone: 305.8582808
Fax: 305.8585540
E-Mail: raul@delaheria.com

County: Miami-Dade
Circuit: 11
Admitted: 05/25/1995

Sections: Workers' Compensation

10-Year Discipline History None

Anonymous said...

9:27 I think you are Rory. Did you type this from home? Surely you arent at work at 9:27...

Anonymous said...

8:46 you don't know what the hell you are talking about. You are obviously not on Miguel's mail list. Here's the email he sent last night to his supporters (note the amount of class he has, and the little class you have):

Dear friends and supporters:

I am disappointed to inform you that I am suspending my campaign for Circuit Court Judge in Group 21. As many of you already know, the replacement judge for Group 21 will no longer be selected by election, but rather by gubernatorial appointment. The explanation for this change is both simple and complicated. If you are interested in the intricate details, I set them out below. The simple explanation is that the incumbent judge in Group 21, who was scheduled to retire in January 2011, unexpectedly resigned last week.

I am grateful for the wise counsel many of you have provided me during the last five days. Based on that counsel, and my own thoughts and principles, I have made several decisions. First, all campaign contributions will be returned in full. I am going to personally absorb all campaign expenses that I have incurred.

Second, I will not run for election in any of the existing races for open seats to the Circuit Court. Those races already have qualified attorneys who have been actively campaigning (in some cases, for even longer than I have).

Third, I will not challenge any incumbent judges who are up for re-election. Although I have been encouraged to run against various incumbents, I believe lawyers should have good reasons to run against an incumbent. The mere fact I might win is not a good enough reason. Good incumbent judges deserve our support. I would be betraying my principles to challenge a sitting judge simply because of the likelihood of success on election night.

Fourth, I intend to apply to the Judicial Nominating Commission for appointment to the seat for which I was running, and hope my qualifications and proven commitment will weigh favorably in the minds of the JNC and – if nominated – the Governor.

I have been campaigning for over 14 months. During that time, I have benefited immensely from the opportunity to learn what members of our community, lawyers and non-lawyers, expect from judges who daily have the privilege and burden to make decisions that affect the lives of many, many people. Although disappointed that I will not stand for election this year, the support I have received over the past year has been humbling and energizing. I am as committed as ever to serving my community. I am also deeply grateful for all of the support you have shown me. I hope I continue to earn it, and that despite my decision not to run this election, I can count on you when I decide to run again.

I am especially grateful for the support of my family and my firm. Rosa and our children have borne the burden of my absence due to endless campaign events – as has the firm of de la O, Marko, Magolnick & Leyton. These contributions cannot be returned in full, I can only repay their support with love and appreciation.

Miguel

Anonymous said...

What about the clients? What do you think will happen if a private firm tries to make a living by taking 3rd degrees for $700 a pop? No one can pay the bills by working up a case and going to trial for a flat fee of $700 (or even 4x that amount). So what will happen? The clients get screwed b/c they don't have $$. FORGET about the cases requiring extra attention (the chronically mentally ill). Welcome to Miami. Be Advised that the Constitution ceases to apply at the county line.

David Marko said...

In response to Anonymous who wrote at 1045: "don't be dense... De la O doesn't have the balls to take on Milt. He will pick on the weak... Johnson"

Its discouraging to read anonymous attacks on a sitting judge, much less childish statements that someone is "weak." Judge Johnson deserves better than crude attacks launched from the shadows. Anyway, Miguel issued a statement yesterday that Anonymous should read. It is located at www.delaoforjudge.com.

Anonymous said...

BRAVO, 9:26 and 9:27

The Trialmaster said...

The Trialmaster does third degree felonies for $29.95, and will provide volume discounts if need be. Much cheaper than the "private" defenders and even cheaper than the PDs.

Maybe now The Trialmaster will earn enough money to afford a car rather than his old moped and upgrade his small, dumpy efficiency apartment (known as the Trialmaster Love Shack) to a 1 BR.

Fake Guffanti said...

I can do third degree felonies cheaper than the trial master. This is true because my office is a P.O. Box.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what connection Raul Carlos de la Heria has with Rep. David Rivera? There has to be something going on behind the scenes here.

Anonymous said...

i wonder what kopco will do? Go after a judge on 27th avenue? Stay tuned....

Anonymous said...

Warren Schwartz and others like him in the PDO(u included rory) have been a big problem for years. Waiting around decade after decade for a huge pension. Carlos must go!

Anonymous said...

EXPLANATION OF WHY GROUP 21 IS NO LONGER SUBJECT TO ELECTION


On February 12, 2009, I filed to run in Group 21, a seat occupied by Judge Judith Kreeger. Judge Kreeger was up for re-election on August 24, 2010, but because she was subject to mandatory retirement in January 2011, she would not be running for re-election and the Group 21 seat would be an open seat. A little over a week ago, Judge Kreeger submitted a letter to Governor Crist informing him she was resigning effective June 30, 2010. Although Judge Kreeger's effective resignation date was well after the qualifying period for the Group 21 seat (qualifying runs from April 26th to Noon on April 30th), the Florida Supreme Court has previously held that a judicial vacancy is created when a judge tenders a letter of resignation and it is accepted by the Governor (regardless of the date the resignation becomes effective). The Court has further held that if a resignation letter is tendered and accepted before the qualifying period begins, the Governor can appoint the replacement judge. If the letter is tendered and accepted after the qualifying period begins, then the election proceeds as scheduled. Here, it is indisputable that Judge Kreeger tendered her resignation (and it was accepted by the Governor) before the qualifying period began on April 26th. Thus, the Group 21 seat is not up for election until 2012.

Anonymous said...

To the dipshit who said Miguel de la O has $300-K to spend; almost all of that is loaned cash. He raised $77-K and spent $29-K for which he stated will come out of his own pocket.

Robert Kuntz, is spending money way too fast. Slow down Robert or you will not have any cash come September.

Samantha Ruiz Cohen, I am very impressed with the amount of cash raised compared to the incumbent.

Ruiz-Chen: $66-K raised and only spent $25-K of this cash.

Judge Adrien: $9-K raised and spent $4-K

I hear the words Judge Ruiz-Cohen in my head for some reason.

Now the most amazing race of all is a open seat and one candidate who has out raised everyone, yep you guessed it, Milton Hirsch.

[Judge] Hirsch $160-K raised and spent $32-K

Wish I was the advisors on the Hirsch Campaign because the fee's for there services are going to be billed at $2-K and hour. Listen people that $160-K is not loaned cash it is raised cash from the people of Miami Dade County.

Anonymous said...

i hope a cuban american who works at the pdo will file against milton and slam dunk him on election day.....Hialeah!!!