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

Friday, April 01, 2011

COURTHOUSE USER FEES!!!

The following is an email forwarded to us. The implications are ominous.

FROM: The Chief Judge, 11th Judicial Circuit
TO: All Judges, AOC
RE: Proposed Court House User Fees:
Date: April 1, 2011.

By now all of you are aware of the inclusion in the current budget of so called "courthouse user fees" to supplement the current judicial and court administrative budgets, which due to the slowing of foreclosure filings, have a collective shortfall of over 800 million dollars.

The Legislature will be mandating the implementation of these fees and any circuit that fails to do so "shall lose all funding for discretionary budget items."

I have met with several chief judges across the state and we will probably be implementing a toll fee, similar to those in use on highways across the state and country.

Simply put, every person who enters a state courthouse in Florida will be required to deposit a fee in coins that will constitute the user fee. Courthouse employees who enter a separate entrance will of course be exempt from the fee.

As the Legislature has left it to the discretion to the individual circuits to implement a user fee sufficient to cover that circuit's shortfall, I have determined that the initial user fee will be $1.50. (One dollar and fifty cents.)

Change receivers will be installed at all security screening entrances to all courthouses to receive the user fee.

The Florid Department of Transportation will work to assist all circuits in installing a "fast pass" similar to the electronic passes used on Florida's toll roads.

Attorneys - who can be expected to complain long and loud, will be offered the opportunity to purchase monthly passes for a fee of probably $25.00. This will allow them to enter any courthouse as many times as they wish for the payment of a monthly flat fee.

In the coming months we will work to establish protocols for the implementation of this fee- for instance what will be done with vendors, homeless individuals, children, witnesses, and other individuals who refuse or otherwise cannot pay? Your help in advocating the advantages of this fee- namely the restoration of important local projects that would otherwise be cut under the current budget- will be greatly appreciated.

The Legislature will probably require each circuit to have a collection process in place by July 1, 2011. Therefore, you can expect work to begin immediately on implementing the collection of user fees.

As the Governor and his staff have repeatedly said, why should courthouses be different from parking lots, movie theaters, amusement parks, or sporting events? While there may be philosophical arguments on both sides, I remain personally excited by the ability to collect revenue that will be used for the direct benefit of our courthouses and personnel.

Rumpole says: Lets the arguments begin- just try and refrain from cursing.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exactly who is this unidentified "Chief Judge" and why did he pick April 1 for this Press Release?

Mikal said...

The Gov can also raise revenue if he requires all courthouse visitors to pay $1.00 to use the bathroom. Each person entering will be required to deposit coins or a dollar bill in a machine, and similar to parking garages, there will be one door for the entrance, another for the exit.

To prevent someone from entering the exit (no sexual jokes please), cameras will be installed opposite the doors to catch all violators.

Of course, bathroom passes can be bought for $15.00 per month, less if you are a frequent bathroom user.

The owner of each pass cannot loan it to another person as all pass holders must verify that they are the owner of the card by submitting to iris and fingerprint scans prior to entering the bathroom.


In the interest of fairness, one bathroom per courthouse will be free to use. The location of the bathroom will be posted on the wall next to the list of judges. If the bathroom is closed for maintenance, another one will not be available for use.

The bathroom will be unisex.

Anonymous said...

April Fools

My Two Sons said...

who bought this? april fools!

Anonymous said...

This is a well thought out April Fool joke. I do enjoy the sarcasm and political punditry worthy of Carl Hiasson.

Anonymous said...

I propsose an additional fee if one has to use toliet paper after doing their business.

Anonymous said...

Someone really thought this was legit with Access to Courts being an issue?

Anonymous said...

Toilet paper sold by the inch.

Anonymous said...

Is this serious?

Anonymous said...

This flat fee idea is much better then the initial proposal, which was a usage fee for each individual State asset:

a nickel to use the front or rear entrance to the courthouse;

one penny per stair used;

free scanning at the entrance, (state already makes a fortune in abandoned change left at the scanning devices);

three cents per floor for escalator usage;

seven cents for elevators (a quarter fine for taking the elevator anywhere between the 1st and 6th floors);

sitting on benches outside the courtroom is a dime;

The PD has also instituted a similar usage fee. All consultations with an attorney in Court incurr a paid in advance fifteen cent charge. Pleas are free at arraignment - anytime thereafter a dime per filed count.

This is in lieu of the PD Lein, which to date haas actually been collected in only three cases.

Judges rulings will be fifty cents for those which go in favor of private attorneys, and because the Public Defender has never received a ruling in its favor, no pricing has been set. Rulings for the State will continue at the current rate, presently unknown.

Handcuffs and pepper spray as usual - provided free of charge.

Of course, as with the newly implemented mandatory toll system on our highways, use of the "Sun Pass" results in a 10% discount. (Device to be worn on forehead.)

PAB

Anonymous said...

very funny 4/1/11
DS
but it may be true next year
LOL

CAPTAIN said...

The Captain Reports:

Congratulations to Fleur Lobree appointed today by Governor Rick Scott as a County Court Judge. This wad the Beth Bloom open seat. Other finalists were Bill Altfield, Tanya Brinkley, and Steve Lieberman.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

Fleur is going to be a great judge. She's smart, has significant life experience, a great temperment and knows the law.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

In addition to the user fee, attorneys Ben Dover, Mike Hunt and Iggy Fachina were appointed judicial seat

Anonymous said...

funny!

Anonymous said...

It's not a bribe, it's a user fee.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS TO FLEUR Lobree (403)!!!

Anonymous said...

Fleur will make an awesome judge! Congrats!