No post in recent memory engendered the high level of discussion than our post last weekend detailing the experience of our hapless private attorney friend who needed five full days and five putative attempts before he was allowed to see his client at the Dade County Jail.
(<---------check out the new poll)
In response to some high level inquires, the attorney in question has emailed me that he was never offered the option of seeing his client through glass in a booth. That appears to be the new policy of the Dade County Jail (Motto: "proudly keeping attorneys from their clients since well before you were born.")
In all seriousness, there is another side to this issue that needs to be examined: the new policy at the DCJ was created in response to the absolutely intolerable circumstances of attorneys visiting clients without being asked to in an attempt to "steal" clients away from legitimate attorneys of record.
While we applaud the concern, there are serious shortcomings with the new policy. The most glaring problem is that clients often legitimately wish to change attorneys or seek a second opinion and are unable to do so under the new policy.
Perhaps a better solution is for the jail to keep a record of which attorneys visit clients. This record can be made available to the attorneys of record, who can then report attorneys who solicit clients or who otherwise see clients without being requested to do so.
However, if the jail and the court system wants to turn their attention to these types of problems then perhaps the SAO can once and for all GET OFF THEIR BUTTS AND INVESTIGATE BONDSMEN WHO REFER CASES TO ATTORNEYS. This is not that hard to do. We have made several complaints over the years. Bondsmen were literally kidnapping clients by bonding them out, taking them to their office, having them call their families for money for the bond, and then forcing them to hire particular attorneys under the threat of surrendering them back to jail if they didn't. A start would be to look at several attorneys who we all know and despise. We are 100% certain that any decent detective would see that certain attorneys in particular have 95% of their clients who were bonded out by a particular bonding agency. It then would be a quick step to interview some former clients who would all tell the same remarkable story that their bondsman threatened to surrender them back to the jail if they didn't hire one particular attorney.
Anyway, Attorney Rick Freedman is on some FACDL committee that deals with the jail. They do two things at the FACDL exceedingly well: They form committees and they hound you for dues.
Rick wants everyone to let him know what they think the policy at the DCJ should be:
(choose 1, 2, or 3, then when you see Rick in the building just shout a number at him. Alternatively you can call Rick at home and just shout a number at him when he answers; then hang up. Or you can officially vote in our poll at the side of the blog post. Your choice. But sometimes shouting can be fun. )