Saturday, October 23, 2010

WRAP UP

GOOD SATURDAY MORNING. Lets wrap up the current *contretemps about silent chucky:

There was a time not too long ago when the Dade Public Defenders Office was a wonderful place to work. The lawyers provided superior legal representation and loved their job. No more. Now an atmosphere of fear permeates the building emanating like a bad odor from a stuffed toilet drifting down from the 5th floor.

Why?
Politics and budgets have replaced the best interest of the client.
How so?

Item: It has been made very clear that entering a plea of no contest or guilty for a client at arraignment is against office policy. Indeed some believe that doing so on a regular basis could result in their dismissal. If a client insists on accepting a good plea and getting out of jail there are a series of forms that must be filed and the court must be told it is an un- counseled plea.
Rumpole says: When lawyers are forced to argue against their clients and work against their client's best interests it sucks the life out of their love for their job.

STATS: Like the Wizard of Oz, the silent one sits on the fifth floor behind a curtain and pours over the statistics of his lawyers.
What statistics are they measured against? Wins at trial? Motions granted? Below guideline sentences? Waivers of minimum mandatory sentences? In a word, are they measured against the success they achieve for their clients? NO.

No so much as they are measured against their work load.

How many depos have they taken that week is a very important statistic. Perhaps the most important. Can they dash off to jail to see a client? Not at the expense of taking depos. Jail visits must be arranged way in advance. Being in trial or conferring with a client is all well and good, but not at the expense of taking depos. And their depo load is monitored by supervisors on a weekly basis. Much like the sales of a car salesman, they must make their quota, or else.

Why? Because the Great Wizard must go to Tallahassee and beg for his alms, and to do that he needs statistics that show his minions are working.

What do the politicians want to see? Grist for the mill. They don't care (and perhaps don't even want) to see the PDs win at trial or get great results. What they want to see is the most work done for the money they spent. They want their state lawyers to process a mass of humanity and do it in a manner that shows that their money is being well spent.

And that means depos. Not wins. Not wonderful results that truly change a client's life.

When you impose your will to create stats on public service lawyers who got their law degrees to help people, you suck the pride right out of their work. You turn them from a lawyer racing to court to try a case with a big smile on his or her face to a shuffling stoop shouldered bureaucrat counting the days to 25 years.

What a shame.

Sorry to damper your weekend. Sunday is the first home day game for the Fins this year. Get your suicide pool picks in.

See You Monday.

* Our allegations in this post were taken from weeks of speaking with all sorts of lawyers and email communications with many more. We left out a lot of the even more petty stuff like PDs are no longer allowed to cover for private lawyers at a depo who may have to miss the depo because they are in trial, etc. What a bunch of bs.







23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm a PD, and your explanation as to "Why" is dead on.

Rumpole said...

Thank you. We try.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that spots will finally open up at the PD's office for a young attorney like me who has been dying to get in?

Anonymous said...

I understand the criticisms I've read and heard about Carlos.

I respect Carlos a great deal, but would like to see some changes over there. Many of the criticisms need to be addressed.

Carlos has a good heart (I've known him a long time), but needs to do a much better job listening to those further down the heirarchal chain and addressing moral.

That said, I would point out, that he is not getting sufficient credit for fighting for increased resources (which would benefit not only the office, but the clients as well). While we may not like some of his methods, at least some of there are necessary. He needs to document the challenges. The APDs who are fighting against them and the ones slacking off (which hurts there clients far more than anything the administration is doing) are causing FAR more damage than Carlos ever could. The bottom line is that there's plenty of blame to go around for what's happening over there (much of which lies on the attorneys who haven't come close to paying there dues and think they no everything).

Sometimes you have to make tremendous sacrifices to achieve the ends you want. The office would be a better place if the infighting ended and everyone focused on serving cleints effectively and obtaining appropriately resources. It won't happen, of course, and that's a damn shame.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

it all started with sleepy b.

so we staged a coup. i always said that history would absolve us. it appears that day has finally come. get up stand up..

Anonymous said...

All TRUE we are so sorry to say

Disgruntled Too said...

Wa Wa Wa. Morale is low for all State government attorneys. Hell, they don't even pay our bar dues plus cutting benefits and an attempt by the great Florida legislature to cut our salary (thank you Charlie for vetoing that one). The pd's office is no different than any other state government job. Stop whining or go private.

Anonymous said...

let me tell you something rumpole - i would not want to be a judge anymore. with the games and delay played by the p.d. prolonging cases which could be settled quickly and in a benign way for the defendant ... and the 44,000 foreclosure cases - which may now need to be a trial to prove that the bank has ALL OF THE DOCUMENTS - it is no longer a fun job. it becomes very "ministerial" and repetitive with very little intellectual challenge. it seems that there has been increased "fighting" between the bench and bar - and much less patience from the bench - and much frustration from lawyers. sad commentary on the justice system...

Fake Jack Lambert said...

HIDE YOUR QUARTERBACKS AND RUNNING BACKS....JAMES HARRISON AND THE STEELER DEFENSE ARE COMING TOWN.

And they are in a bad mood. Especially Debo.

Anonymous said...

Chad Henne! Chad Henne!
At least his name's not Benny!!!

Melvin, PHD. said...

Rump- there is a popular song the kids are all signing and I shall endeavor to, from a relativistic viewpoint epistemologically examine the song.

Miami has the Dolphins- this is true.
The greatest football team- this is an opinion
They take the ball from goal to goal- just how do they do this?
Like no one's ever seen- ah..the answer- but again- what methods are employed?

They're in the air they're on the ground- now we know the methodology for taking the ball from goal to goal.

They're always in control- ditto

And when you say Miami
You're talking superbowl.- This is a summary of the above.

Conclusion: The song engenders the hopes and ideals of fans more than realistically analyzing a 3-2 team.

Pick Em Paulie said...

Hoping this gets moved to the football thread on Sunday.

PEP is still over .500, but we need to get some $$ in our pockets. We're keeping Three Fingers Vinnie away, but can only afford half an hour of Rump's time. Looking for that 3-0 week.
We're doing well with underdogs that win straight up, but still gotta step it up. Loved our Fins last week, but not so much this week. Good luck Rump and all those still alive in the Suicide Pool.

Each bet for $500.00 flat.

Philadelphia +3
Pittsburgh -3
San Diego -3

2010 record
7-6-0 53.85% +200

Anonymous said...

Morale is bad cause the lawyers feel like we are treated like shit . Its not bad because no raises nor coast of living ( sure we do feel sad about it ), we understand there is no money. But if there is no money, Morale could and should be kept high by support and other intangables like respect and gratitude from Carlos and the fifth floor. Instead we get the message we can not be trusted and are not respected.

Anonymous said...

"Morale" has been labeled "bad" in the SAO since I arrived almost 25 years ago.

And thus will it ever be.

Anonymous said...

who will run against pablo martinez?

Anonymous said...

8:53 is correct. Morale is bad because we are not treated like professionals. Also, morale is horrible among the support staff too. (This, to me is SUPER telling, because support staff in that office has always been fiercely loyal.)

Everybody knows the economy tanked and nobody's getting raises, so it's not about that, but if Carlos had worked with us, instead of suspiciously against us, he would have gotten his numbers, and not trampled on morale. There's a way to do things, and he just went about it all wrong.

It will be interesting to see who shows up at the PD Office Dinner this week, I don't know of anyone who is going who is not on the 5th floor.

Anonymous said...

Rump,

I have disagreed with much of what you have said about Carlos in the past. However, I must agree that your analysis is dead on accurate as to what currently ails the PDs office. There are no stats to evaluate getting great pleas for clients who would otherwise spend decades behind bars. No stats to evaluate getting the state to offer CTS or a nolle pros based upon a motion to suppress. There are no stats to evaluate having a good working relationship with your prosecutor, which invariably benefits your clients. The practice of law is bigger and more complex than the amount of depositions you set or the amount of jail visits you do. Our office, the PDs office, needs to realize that the "litigation" is dead and our morale is dying by the offices' continued focus on this misguided motion.

Anonymous said...

The problem comes when everything is measured in statistics, which in this case, are statistics that have neither validity or reliability to measure the quality of work of the PD's.

Anonymous said...

A lot of us still provide superior legal representation.

Assistant Public Defender

Anonymous said...

Best move of my career--leaving the PD's office after more than five years--Try it you might like it!

Anonymous said...

Stats could be kept, data could be collected, and lawyers could still take pride in their work and find satisfaction in representing the indigent. But that would take leadership and skilled management.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the little people who are enslaved doing all the work. Tracking attorneys calls to clients, filing all the motions in the form bank and setting a million depos a day to rack up the stats. Yet have not received a penny raise in over 6 years. monitored like common crminals. If there is hell on earth it is in the PD's office and I work there - Support staff.

Anonymous said...

The problem at the p.d.'s office begins with the fact that silent charlie was never a functional trial lawyer, he was Bennett's briefcase bearer and designated sycophant who read too many cheap managerial how-to books without ever actually understanding what it is to be a pit lawyer on the front lines. In short, he is a bureaucrat who understands numbers on a computer screen, but lacks any awareness of the reality underlying those numbers. This is the reason why the majority of trial lawyers in the office do not respect him and have grown to dislike him. Like most incompetent leaders who become aware of their nakedness, they puff themselves up by becoming more and more authoritarian in the hopes that they will intimidate others who know the "secret" from exposing them.