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. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Thursday, January 20, 2011

TWO POLICE OFFICERS SLAIN IN THE LINE OF DUTY

Miami Dade Police Officers Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth were killed in the line of duty Thursday.

The Herald report is here and a summary of all officers killed in the line of duty is here.

Officer Oscar Plasencia shot and killed the suspect Johnny Simms. Simms was on probation and the officers were serving an arrest warrant for a new murder case.

Officer Haworth was a single mother raising her 13 year old son.

Officer Castillo leaves a wife and three sons.

Two brave heroes were taken from us today. They were doing their job making this community a safer place to live. They are irreplaceable.


Breaking News:
Two Miami-Dade officers have been shot and one of them is confirmed dead. Warrant officers were attempting to serve a warrant on a homicide suspect at NW 69th Street & NW 6th Court. The suspect is dead. Our prayers go out to the families of both officers. Further Update: The second officer has died in surgery.



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU; ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY.

50 Years Ago today.

I'm sure Rumpole will have more to say about this as soon as he has time to post.

CAPTAIN OUT ......

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Two heros

Anonymous said...

Parking spots don't seem like such a big deal now, do they?

Anonymous said...

You gotta read the Broward Blog about the JQC case with Judge Dale Cohen. It ended yesterday.

Local DUI guy Mike Catalano may have hit a home run on this one. It looks as if he caught a defense lawyer doing some really crappy stuff.

Why is it that when a Broward judge is in trouble he or she needs a Miama lawyer to save him/her? (Yes, I said Miama... that is why Judge Dale Ross calls us... that jerk he is).

Rumpole said...

OMG is this horrible news...don't know what to say. Nothing fixes a tragedy like this.

Anonymous said...

We may be critical of cops but, this shows you why they really have a tough job.

How many of us would want to serve warrants knowing this could happen.

I am truly sorry to hear this news.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the names of the two officers?

Anonymous said...

Because smart Broward judges are friends with smart Miami lawyers, duh...

Anonymous said...

Dealt w/ Castillo on many cases. Always a nice , never any BS, a good cop. More Importantly , He was a GOOD GUY.Such a shame. Our prayers for his family and the other Officer's family.
D. Sisselman

abe laeser said...

We must all be sad on days like today -- and not forget tomorrow why we hire police officers.

We pay them to run to the sound of the gunfire, in spite of their best natural instincts.

We ask them to do this knowing that on every day they may never go home to see their children, spouses, family, or friends.

We hope they are not hurt, but then we may say - perhaps under our breaths - better them than me. How big a pension is that worth?

Yes, sometimes the old rubric does apply: they are the thin blue line between us and the evil, sociopathic, mentally ill, or criminal.

We must all be sad on days like today.

Anonymous said...

Defendant scum was a ROC Court defendant who got a probation plea last June 2010 under Judge Jimenez and was represented by Jonathan Schwartz... this is the kind of news that promote minimum mandatory guidelines!

Anonymous said...

My deepest condolences to the families of the murdered officers. May god bless you with comfort and healing at this time.

Thank You- all law enforcement officers for the difficult and dangerous job you do to keep us safe. - JZK

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Schwartz and Judge Jimenez must feel horrible that a repeat offender walked away from any jail time just months ago. I know that this was my worst nightmare when I was at the Justice building. These two police officers were 2 of the best and my heart hurts for the families and their young children. We should all donate what we can for the living expenses and college costs asap. .... And we should say our prayers for their souls in heaven.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy. Jonathan Schwatz.

Anonymous said...

Who was the super asa who pled this guy in roc court to that?

Anonymous said...

Didn't those cops park in our spaces? I bet they did it for free.

Sure puts the whining in perspective, doesn't it?

For all of the bitching and moaning about the minority who abuse their power or otherwise engage in otherwise inappropriate behavior, we all expect the cops to save our butts when we're staring down the barrel of a gun.....we should never forget that.

As a whole, they deserve better than they've gotten on this blog and in court.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Before we start indicting Judge Jimenez's actions, remember it is unlikely that such a plea was taken without representations by the State regarding the weakness of their case. We don't know what was said or what witnesses may have recanted or disappeared leaving the state without a case.

Sometimes taking probation knowing there will some violation to then enforce is a the only tactic available.

Do all of you really want to have judges questioning plea bargains and rejecting them like some federal judges do?

Judge Jimenez will go through his own replay and recriminations deserved or not. He needs your support not your condemnation. He is a good judge and hopefully he will not allow this episode to diminish his ability to do the right thing without second guessing himself.

Anonymous said...

I know the ASA on the case must feel badly about that plea. I was considering taking the case, spoke to the ASA, and I know state was well aware of his history, going back to Juvi.

I do not know how strong the latest case was against the defendant, but for State to offer, or not fight tooth and nail, (and for Jimenez to accept) the resolutuion, there were likely some problems.

It is normal for people to look to place blame. But this is not the fault of the ASA, or the Judge. (I am still looking for a way to blame Sara Palin and the Tea Party. I am sure she is involved.)

Blame belongs on the shooter, and anyone who may have aided him (mom invited police in, for her son to open fire?!?) Dont lay this on the feet of the ASA or Judge. If we start doing that, then the Defense Bar is equally to blame.

No one knows our clients better than us. How many times have we said "this is a good kid, give him a break," only to be retained again a year later?

Everyone inviolved must feel bad enough without back seat drivers adding their two cents.

PAB

Rumpole said...

There is NO VALUE in second guessing Jimenez or the ASA or even the defense attorney. No one can predict the future. No one said that if this guy got probation he would kill two cops in the future. We all make professional decisions based on incomplete information. To use this tragedy as a basis for all other decisions would be to compound the tragedy and create other tragedies- like perhaps sending people to prison who do not deserve to go on the "better safe than sorry" principal. You cannot incarcerate half of society to make the other half safe.

Anonymous said...

It is just wrong to blame Judge Jimenez in any way. The fact that there was probation is his signature, but the substance of the plea had to have reflected the strength of the case. I have had my problems with Judge Jimenez, but anyone who suggests that he is weak on crime, a pushover, or neglient in carrying out his duties as a judge does not know what they are talking about. In addition, this blog is written by and for lawyers who should know better than to make these kinds of charges against a judge who cannot defend himself.

Kissimmee Kid said...

"this is the kind of news that promote minimum mandatory guidelines!" If you are a rockhead.

This is really the kind of news that makes the world think the United States is the home of a people too stupid to control firearm.

Good job NRA.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole is absolutely right. Blaming Judge Jimenez, Swartz or the ASA is ridiculous. If we start assuming on every plea bargain that we need stiffer sentences because this defendant could go out and kill a cop in the future, then we better start building more prisons quicker than Kendall built homes.

Anonymous said...

anyone who would cast blame at the state the judge or defense counsel is a bafoon.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to monday morning quarterback maybe the guy became a bitter murderer because he was railroaded into a probation plea on a bullshit case.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty sad to lay blame for this on the Judge, ASA or Defense attorney. There is only one person at fault, and luckily he is dead.

I can't believe that there are attorneys that practice criminal law (on either side) that want to lay blame on anyone doing there jobs in this case. Disgracefull

Anonymous said...

Are there any photographs of Officer Haworth? No news service has provide that so far.

Anonymous said...

All parties involved in the plea the shooter accepted earlier this year are not to blame in the least.

Schwartz did a good job for his client by getting a great plea for a ROC court armed robbery.

And based on the plea it's apparent that the case was falling apart, probably due to witnesses refusing to cooperate.

Our sentiments cannot echo those of the community as a whole because we are in a unique position in understanding how the justice system really works.

You hear public outcry of "why was he out of jail?" Well, he was out of jail because he was out of jail. Lay people fail to realize what actually takes to prosecute someone. And while this public is so out for blood, this is the same public that probably would have found him not guilty had he gone to trial on that armed robbery.

It's like with Jared Loughner in Tucson. He was pulled over for a traffic violation shortly before the shootings. There was outrage over why his car wasn't searched by the cop.

The point is, we cannot punish or violate constitutional rights for crimes that have not yet been committed. If we want to live in an Orwellian police state, then maybe we can prevent some of these random acts of violence. I think it's the unfortunate and tragic trade off for living in a free society.

Regardless, the public would be insensed had anyone with a criminal record committed a horrific act. What if the guy who got pretrial diversion for his first misdemeanor DV case went home after court and killed his wife? What if the guy who took CTS for a coke possession charge committed a brutal murder just hours after getting released?

Blame lies with the shooter and his parents. It was clear that he had serious anti-social leanings at a young age and nothing was done. It's not the government's job to raise a child. It's the job of the parents.

Condolences to the families of the officers.

Anonymous said...

Pull the transcripts, post them on this site and let's see what really went on

Anonymous said...

What type of body armor were these cops wearing to serve a murder warrant on a guy with those priors? Let the investigation of procedures at MDPD begin.

Anonymous said...

The word in the Hood is that Simms had told folks that he would never go back to jail and would go out in a blaze of fire. Apparently, that is what he did. You can place it on evil, but it sounds like he was a bit crazy as well.

It is a shame that the community and the police force was not at all outraged at the deaths of EIGHT young men at the hands of the Miami Police, a number shot in the back. Of course, they were poor and Black and tehir deaths will be invetsigatd by the whitewashing eyes of Internal Affairs and tehir fellow detectives.

All of this violence makes no sense, but the streets are hard,and we should make an effort to tone down the hostilities.

These two police oficers were very unlikely bad guys in the eyes of the young and poor and now they are gone. We need to stop all of this.

Anonymous said...

Blame the state the judge and the defense attorney for
Giving this dirt bag a chance.
Hope they can sleep!!!!!!!


Pls learn from this and pls do your absolute best for this senseless murder does not happen again on your watch

Anonymous said...

6:09 Check thsi morning's Herald. The coverup has alrteady begun. Usually, a SWAT team goes after this type of warrant service. There has to be a better procedure than walking into a house with a suspected killer who killed someone for insulting his sister, and standing there with your guns in your holstrs so you can get shot to death. The police chief calls it an ambush. Perhaps they should add ambush-avoidance techniques to their curriculum.

Anonymous said...

Simmms, THE KILLER is to Blame. No one else. He was armed. He fired. He killed. Its that simple.
DS

Anonymous said...

The initial ASA on this Case was Julia Bonner! ASAs work in committee with hardly anyone of them having the authority to wipe themselves without having someone else & KFR approving it first so don't just blame the judge & the defense on why Simms got a sweet plea!

Anonymous said...

3:27:00 p.m. said:

"The point is, we cannot punish or violate constitutional rights for crimes that have not yet been committed."

That's exactly what the Castro brothers do in Cuba with their "social dangerousness pre-criminal" law which allows the government to imprison a person for up to 4 years for crimes that the person has not yet committed but that the government feels he is likely to commit in the future.

Obviously, we don't want such Orwellian and Kafkaesque law in the Unites States.

Anonymous said...

Casting blame on the NRA and asking for more gun control is demagoguery.

The defendant was already subject to gun control because he was not supposed to possess a firearm as a convicted felon. As a matter of fact, the second count on the warrant being served by the officers he killed was for that crime.

All that gun control will accomplish, as history has amply proven, is to leave the law-abiding citizenry defenseless from murderers and criminals who, like Simms, will still have firearms despite any legal prohibitions.

rick freedman said...

Rumpole:

There have been several inquiries on where to give to assist the children of the slain officers. Here is one way, through the Dade County PBA, you can donate to their
"Love Fund" by making your check payable to:

The Dade County PBA Love Fund, with `Officers Castillo and Haworth' in the memo section.

The mailing address is 10680 NW 25 Street, Miami, Fl 33172.

The Dade County PBA Love Fund is a federally recognized charitable organization established in 1984 to aid law enforcement officers and their families in their time of need, including assisting the families of officers killed in the line of duty.

RF

Anonymous said...

I think the ASA who closed it messed this up. Clearly he was on probation for a violent crime and violated. No PVH falls apart that bad. This guy was probably subject to the AMA and should have been locked up for years. Although I dobut most ROC court ASAs even know what the AMA is.

Anonymous said...

Blame is not the right word, but the State does need to review the file and determine if the plea was appropriate based on the strength of the case. If the case had proof issues, there is really nothing you can do. Judge Jimenez is not to blame, and Schwartz (however loathsome of a person) did his job as a defense lawyer.

However, if the case is deemed worthy of more than a month in jail, there needs to accountability. Being a prosecutor is a privilege, if you don't like the pay, hours, or responsibility, leave. The Career Criminal assignment carries a heavy burden and peoples lives are literally on the line. It is critical that we as a society figure out how to retain competent people in the positions like the Career Criminal Unit to mitigate against the dangers Defendants like Sims present.

Anonymous said...

Media and State are going to soft on this Simms guys' family. BS that they didn't know he was wanted. Police looked for him for 2weeks right after the murder in Overtown and only got the arrest warrant when they couldn't find him. I think they should be held accountable and charged with accessory after the fact or whatever else.

Not trying to place blame here but I will make an observation from my perspective. This case again illustrates why KFR's office with her emphasis on filing all the BS
grand theft, rwv, coke purchase, ecstasy trafficking stuff which leads to easy convictions and makes her numbers look good is not good for the community. We need a State Attorney that will emphasize going after the violent criminals in our community instead of going after the non-violent offenders to make her books look good.

If you've been doing this 12 years like me all of us have walked a real dangerous violent guy simply because of ASA negligence and ineptitude. It happens every day in the REGJB. This may not have been the case with Simms but ask any defense attorney who handles the violent cases and you'll here story after story.

These family members should be prosecuted. You're telling me the sister whose honor he was protecting when he killed the guy in Overtown didn't know he was wanted and didn't help him. And the mother, I feel bad as a parent, but its non-sense that she didn't know.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't anyone casting blame on the Department of Corrections (and never Rehabilitation)?

I am a convicted felon. I do not fear going to jail anymore. I have done time and the threat of jail is no longer a deterent you all people think it is. While I am in jail you better teach me some skills so that I can respect myself, have a vested interest in the society I live in, or you better lock your doors and don't talk shit to my sister, cause I will kill your ass if I feel like it.

Anonymous said...

Why are police officers "heroes" once they are killed, but lying, rights violating criminals with badges while still alive?

Just a commentary, I have no answer for our own hypocrisy.

Rumpole said...

There is no hypocrisy - Officers, like soldiers, are human beings. There are, among police officers, good ones, bad ones, honest officers, liars, gentle, brutal, fair, thieves. You name it. But we know this- unlike an accountant or lawyer, they get up every day and do a dangerous job. And when they die in the course of doing their job, they are heroes. Whether or not they lied in court last week, they died a heroic death. One would hope and expect that most of them have the good qualities, and few of them have the bad qualities. And that is our experience with them.

But make no mistake- the two that died trying to apprehend a person with a warrant for murder- those officers were heroes who put their lives on the line to make us safe.

Anonymous said...

Gun control would have prevented the Tucson AZ killings because he bought his gun legally with no gun control laws to prevent a nut job (whom the store clerk did want to sell the gun too but was forced) from buying a gun.

Gun control would not have stopped the killing of these two hero's here in Miami.

What would have saved these two officers is min mandatory jail time for violent crimes like his past events.

Given these events maybe Broward is correct is saying "Let the jury decide" at least I would say I agree to this in all violent felony crimes in which the facts are just not clear on guilt or innocence. Start arresting witnesses and bring them before the court to testify, start holding witnesses in contempt of court and prosecute those who clearly fabricate testimony with perjury. If this is what it takes to lock up cop killers so be it.

It's time to stop spending resources on prosecuting pain pill users and dedicating more resources at going after these violent criminals and those witnesses who just can't get there story right.

Get that rear in gear!

Anonymous said...

Heroes because they lost their lives - purple hearts for sure. But, how could this have been handled as bady as it was. They do have an obligation to try and stay alive, and it sures looks like they were not doing so. There was one guy on the other side. There was a small house in the city. They knew he was there. They were announced. Apparenlty, they did not have their guns drawn, which is unusual as cops usually draw weapons when Blacks are involved even in a traffic stop.
Something is not right. This is a tragedy to lose two officers. But, perhaps a little more thought should go into procedures or existing procedures, if adequate, should be observed.

Anonymous said...

ITS SUCH A SAD DAY, 2 MORE OFFICERS SHOT. I CAN'T LIE I DON'T LIKE POLICE VERY MUCH HOWEVER I RESPECT THEM AND I WOULD NEVER WISH THEM DEAD. I DON'T GRIPE OR COMPLAIN THAT THEY MAKE TOO MUCH MONEY, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE MORE STUDENT LOANS THAN THEY DO BECAUSE I RECOGNIZE THAT THEY PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE JUST BY WEARING THAT UNIFORM. I TAKE EACH ONE ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS AND DESPITE THE NEGATIVE ENCOUNTERS I HAVE HAD WITH SOME I RESPECT THE RISK THEY TAKE. ITS A SAD DAY WHEN ANYONE IS MURDERED MUCH MORE WHEN ITS A PERSON WHO IS SERVING THE PUBLIC AND TRYING TO PROTECT US. MY HEARTS BREAKS FOR THOSE LEFT BEHIND.