Monday, November 14, 2011
Although Mark Twain wrote "regret for wasted time is more wasted time" we fall squarely behind Carl Sandberg who wrote "Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." Not bad for a second baseman for the Chicago Cubs.
Very secretly we have been conducting an experiment. With the help of twenty attorneys, we have tracked the wait time to see a client at the various pre-trial holding facilities. Our attorneys faithfully emailed us their experiences, and we have now correlated the data. *
The Best facility to go and see your client is.....DCJ! With an average wait time of 16 minutes from entering the facility to when the actual interview begins. Comments about DCJ tended to be that the hardest part of the visit was clearing the screening process. The only major obstacle that our attorneys ran into at DCJ was the limited interview rooms on each floor- usually one. If someone was already seeing a client ahead of you on the same floor as your client, then the wait time significantly increased, usually more than tripling.
Second place was....Metro West. Putting aside travel time, the average wait time to see a client a Metro West was 34 minutes. The problems at Metro West are well known. The interview rooms fill up; the staff can take over an hour to bring your client. But when things go well at Metro West the visit tends to run smoothly. But horror stories included waiting 94 minutes for the client to be brought and waiting 67 minutes only to be told the client was ill and couldn't come down. When the interview rooms were full the average wait time tripled to 110 minutes, with most attorneys feeling that after having made the drive, they were trapped into having to wait to see their clients.
Third place was the Stockade with an average wait time of 41 minutes. Most attorneys expressed surprise that when they timed it the wait was as long as it was. The experiences attorneys had varied, with one public defender swearing that he/she averaged 16 minutes in wait time over 11 visits over three months. On the other end of the spectrum, one hapless attorney said he was turned away four times over the course of one week, including twice in one day when he was told the facility was on lock down.
Last place was TGK. One memorable comment about TGK was that "it is the Eeyore of jails". The average wait time was 53 minutes, with the main problem being that about half the time the attorneys were allowed access to travel to the area where their clients were held and the other half of the time the attorneys were forced to wait for an escort. Without an escort, TGK vaults into second place with a wait time of 21 minutes. But the wait time skyrocketed when the attorney was told to wait for an escort, with times averaging well over an hour.
What can be done?
The Feds have a system that allows an attorney to email ahead and request a client be brought down to the interview room. Even the Broward County Jail will bring your client down if you call ahead and tell them you are on your way.
But this is Miami, where reason and common sense have no place in matters such as these.
See you in court.
*Over a period of the last six months, over 20 attorneys took part in collecting data for us. Some attorneys emailed us dozens of reports faithfully detailing all of their jail visits, while other attorneys participated once or twice and then opted out. All times do not include travel time. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of what was reported to us and the highest and lowest reported wait times for every facility was discarded in formulating the averages we arrived at.