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Monday, May 21, 2012

ANOTHER ATTACK ON COURT APPOINTMENTS

UPDATE: Couple of blog additions. Vote in our new poll directly  to the left of this post. Also- want to get email updates when your favourite blog has a new post? Enter your email address at the bottom left of the blog. Note: we share our email addresses with selective Inupiat-Yupik merchants who may send you solicitations from time to time. 


(For those of you following the Kaufman murder trial, a/k/a Magistrate Matthewman's last trial, ME Dr. Hyma is scheduled for cross examination Tuesday.) 
If the Florida Legislature is in session, then an attack on the fees of criminal  court appointed attorneys cannot be far behind.  The support for having tax payers fund legal fees for criminal defendants is as popular in Tallahassee as say an Obama fundraiser at a Mormon Church, or a proposal to have the Tea Party endorse raising taxes.  The point is that no politician wants to defend using taxpayer money for paying lawyers to defend the accused. (Coming soon- Lawmakers express outrage over the presumption of innocence. "Cops don't make mistakes, so why presume all these crooks innocent" said Billy Bob Joe Schmo,  R- Some where in North Florida). 
There is now some such bill floating around in Tallahassee* to do away with paying lawyers more than the statutory cap on fees no matter how many hours they put in, or no matter how complex the case is. 
Update: Rick Freedman knows all- see his letter. The bill passed. 
Court Apptpdf







The way it works now (and we do not take court appointments so we have very little experience with this) is that there is some ridiculous cap on fees like fifty bucks for any felony in which someone is not killed. But when a lawyer puts in more hours than the cap provides for on a complex case, the lawyer can file a motion which some entity called JAC then opposes by phone, and in which the Judge usually grants. But no more. Now the new law will  tar and feather any lawyer seeking to exceed the cap. 


Enter the FACDL.  Jude "The Hammer" Faccidomo has scheduled a meeting at the REGJB this Thursday at 4pm in courtroom 4-7. 


There's actually an important point at stake here. The sixth amendment right to counsel. In a day and age when almost every felony prosecution is followed by an alphabet of enhancements and minimum mandatories that turns even a third degree felony into a mandatory ten year sentence,  the same body of lawmakers that passes those inane minimum mandatories has the obligation to make sure that the accused receives proper representation. 


It's ironic that the lawmakers in Tallahassee have no problem passing laws that allow sentencing judges to exceed the statutory maximum prison sentence, but  want to prohibit the lawyers representing those poor souls from exceeding the statutory cap for fees in those protracted and complex court proceedings. 
Ridiculous. 
See You In Court. 


We put a little post up on DOM's blog. Some federal nonsense. Check it out. 

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Last time they said that when Regional Counsel was set up, the ticket lawyers would scoop up the contracts and do very little for the clients. Did that materialize?

Anonymous said...

Rumpole says: "Coming soon- Lawmakers express outrage over the presumption of innocence."

That's already here in red light camera tickets where the profit pressures of municipalities, camera vendors and their lobbyists caused the Florida Legislature to do away with the presumption of innocence and the state's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt creating. Instead, the Legislature created a "rebuttable" presumption of guilt that forces defendants to prove not only their own innocence but also the guilt of someone else in order to be able to get the case dismissed.

Soon, that "rebuttable presumption of guilt" will be extended to every other offense.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers should just stop taking court appointments. No one is getting rich from it anyway. Let the system come to a screeching halt. Nothing positive will come, until defendants are walking out, because an attorney could not be found to represent them, and a speedy demand is filed by the defendant.

When there is always an attorney there willing to take the case for fifty bucks less than the next guy, the state will keep lowering the fees.

Anonymous said...

How much in attorney's fees do you think the legislature authorized for lawyers to defend the blatantly unconstitutional laws (anti-abortion, mandatory drug testing, prayer in schools, etc.) that it routinely creates? How much did the State pay its lawyers in the Terry Schiavo fiasco? The big Tallahassee firms charge the State $300 to $400 an hour for their legal work and get paid (with our tax money) but the legislature wants to cap Court Appointment fees at ridiculous rates. This State is truly a joke.

Anonymous said...

its not a bill floating around. It law my friends. Its happening. Done. Passed. You get 2k to represent a 1 degree murder case. I think its 1k on a second. Now that's just what Gideon had in mind. A rubber stamp plea system.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole,

my wife and I often discuss whether it is worth to continue to live and practice law in Florida. It seems that year after year, the legislature either through funding issues or new laws, makes it more and more difficult to do our line of work. I don't know if it is better somewhere else, but God knows I am getting tired of this place.

Anonymous said...

As Papa Wallenda said "life is on the wire. Everything else is just waiting."

Anonymous said...

I don't know if those numbers are correct, but lets assume they are.

That means to make a salary equivalent to a first year PD, not including the benefits, or the cost of an office or anything else, you would have to take on 22 first degree murder cases a year. That's almost two per month.

Seems reasonable, huh?

Anonymous said...

I'd say take your wife and run before an angry black man steals her and gives her 3 1/2 inches of chocolate

Anonymous said...

Re-reading the late Judge Arthur Winton's law review commentary praising Justice Byron White's dissent in Buckley v. Valeo. Pretty persuasive stuff.

Fake American Minority said...

To quote the greatestest legal scholar Curtis James Jackson III:
I don't know what you heard about me but a bitch can't get a dollar outta me. No Cadillac, no perms, you can't see. That I'm a motherfucking P. I. M. P.

THE TRIALMASTER said...

I recall fondly the good ole days when a court appointment was at the discretion of the trial judge. after the case was concluded, one would obtain a few affidavits on reasonable attorneys fees and the judge would rubber stamp it. I received 25k in the 80s on my first court appointment from Wilkie. That was great money back in those days. We may have killed the goose who laid the golden eggs, but we got alot of those eggs out of the goose before the goose was gored.

old guy said...

Read the bill. You can get up to $15k for a capital case - but if the State waives death, then your limit is $3k.

For the day-to-day practice, you have to agree to a MAX of $2,500 for any case that is not punishable by Life. How many depos do you take on that case, if you think it will go to trial?

Saves money the first time -- but loads up on 3.850 cases where the lawyer will freely admit that they did less than they wanted to due to financial + personal issues.

See you at the grievance hearings!

Anonymous said...

9:44 PM, every time you read that timeless commentary, you learn something new and useful for your practice.

Anonymous said...

Are you buying the LinkedIn puts again?

Anonymous said...

Am Min is now completely off his meds. I expect that he will disappear for a few days, while he is Baker Acted and stabilized.

Mike Stanton said...

How about talking about the next Albert Puholz. Giancarlo Stanton just hit his second grand slam in the past nine days. And he broke the scoreboard in the process. Marlins on a roll.

Anonymous said...

I guess the way around it is to make sure that nobody signs up for the limited registry? If every attorney signs up for the general one, then there won't be anyone available to appoint from the limited one?
Of course I know there will always be those 5 who say if 145 are on the general list and there's only 5 of us on the limited one, we'll get all of the business. So some are gonna screw up all the others.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers should treat appointments as a pro bono assignment.

Bubba Bob said...

"Pro bono assignment"??!!??

Lincoln freed the slaves; you could look it up.

Anonymous said...

9:45 - I urge you to bust your ass for a client facing life in prison and see how "pro bono" feels. While I agree that lawyers should take pro bono cases wherever and whenever they can, lawyers are professionals who deserve to be compensated for their time.

Anonymous said...

I really like ASA Baldwin personally but one piece of legal advice - as a State Attorney you should never ever analogize your case to one where the defendant was ultimately acquitted. Thank goodness that was only being argued before the Judge and not the Jury.

Anonymous said...

FACLD IS WORTHLESS. WHERE WAS FACDL'S HIGH PRICED LOBBYISTS WHILE THIS BILL WAS BEING PASSED?

Where was ace lobbyist Brian Tannebaum, or Rick Freedman, or Jay White, or Kenny Weisman, or any of the current FACDL officers?

They dropped the ball. I resign. With reduced court appt fees I can't afford the dues.

Anonymous said...

I don't see in the 6th amendment
where taxpayers have to foot the bill for the accused to have counsel.

Rumpole said...

Try reading Gideon v. Wainwright you Tea Party putz.

From Wiki:
Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), is a landmark case in United States Supreme Court history. In the case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who are unable to afford their own attorneys

Anonymous said...

7:32-- If A.M is off his meds, dude needs a refill asap.

FIRE THE FACDL!!! said...

The Facdl was asleep at a bar in Tallahassee loading up on steak and whiskey while the Florida Legislature gave them the old sliparoo.

Announcing the formation of the
Criminal Defense Bar Of Florida!
CD-Bof.
our Goals- effective representation of the interests of criminal defense attorneys in the State of Florida.

Our dues- half of what you are paying.

Our structure- real elections for board members and officers. Not the current "fat cat" annointment of presidents who are first treasurers, secretaries, VPs, etc. What a bunch of crock the FACDL election system is.

What we will do- roll back the onerous legislation currently passed which eviserates court appointment fees.

How we will do it- through effective and PROFESSIONAL lobbying, coordinated with target lawsuits filed by PROFESSIONAL ATTORNEYS WHO WIN CASES AND DON'T JUST COLLECT FEES.

Stay tuned for further details.

TAKIN IT TO THE STREETS said...

WHAT DO WE WANT?
TO FIRE THE FACDL!!!

WHEN DO WE WANT IT?
NOW!
WHEN?
NOW!
WHEN....

N O W !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Where does it say in the constitution taxpayers should foot the bill for prosecutors salaries or judges salaries?

Lawyers should prosecute only on a pro bono basis. Prosecute crimes they really believe in. It is a privilege to serve the community this way.

Lawyers who want to be Judges could pick and choose which cases they preside over. That way the judges who sit on the bench will be truly qualified, not these hacks who "can't make it in private practice." a purely volunteer bench.

I think this idea has legs and could really catch on.

Fake Kenny W said...

Little lunchtime tip for the hardworking state employees of the REGJB- hit the BK on 17th near the courthouse after 1pm- ask for Christine at the drive through window and slip her a buck and she will load you up with all the french fires you can handle. An extra buck will get you a burger and a shake.

Chummley said...

Hey fake Kenny W- where can I get some excellent Poondu kolambu in Miami? And I mean the real deal.

Anonymous said...

Forget the french fries. That super hottie at the Suntrust on the corner by the BK? The teller? Throw her a fufchick and she will meet you in your car over lunch for a sweet quickie. She's got a cutie-pie pad on south beach and the menu for the weekends in more complete and worth every dime.

Anonymous said...

Lol

Barkley just called the Heat a whiney bunch.

Anonymous said...

Wow, how the mighty have fallen. Guy used to toss fifties at the bus boys at the China Grille just to keep the ice fresh in his tequila. Now he's throwing bucks at cracked out BK drive thru girls. Guess the court appointment payment reduction hit him hard.

Anonymous said...

I think you mean "just for keeping the ice cubes cold."

Anonymous said...

nope. The ice fresh is what I meant.

Anonymous said...

What's a fufchick ?

Anonymous said...

Hey Rump. The Heat don't stink and they didn't choke. Still playing without Bosh but finding ways to win. Go Heat.

Anonymous said...

Funny how one game makes such a difference in peoples' minds.

The Heat lose and some start preparing for the apocolypse. The more "rational" observers simply declare the Heat to be losers, overrated, whiners, etc., etc., with no chance of winning.

The Heat win and many of the same folks are ready to hand them the trophy. Hell, they're ready to throw in the Lombardi trophy and Stanley Cup as well. It's like the Heat will never lose again.

Watching (and reading) peoples' reactions is almost (not quite) as amusing as watching the games.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Hey Rump, take a look at this blog article about the Rodriguez/Thomas judicial race, everyone should know who is who, www.politicalcortadito.com

Anonymous said...

I think we should give the new FACDL leadership a chance.

DS said...

I miss Angry Gurl
DS

Anonymous said...

Rump is a jerk who finds pleasure in the struggles of others!

Rumpole said...

How so? Having devoted most of my professional life to helping people who are in trouble, I don't think there's much evidence that I enjoy watching others suffering.

Fry-day said...

BK DOLLAR SCAM CONFIRMED. Flipped a buck to the ho at the drive thru and she says "you want some fries?" and I say "load me up" and she does- a whole take out bag full. Gave her another dollar and told her to holler at me later.

Anonymous ASA said...

American Minority,when you put on your big boy pants let me know. I'll mop the floor with your racist self in trial.

Anonymous said...

Johnny R should be ashamed of himself for running agaginst Thomas. And surrounding himself with the people he has.

Mr. Knowitall said...

I can only imagine what a fiver gets you at BK.

Regarding some of the other posts, the Heat fans are just like the fans of all other Miami teams, they flow with the prevailing winds.

Rump on the other hand has an irrational hatred of the Heat. His reason, they are spoiled brats.

I cant agree there- they are just like all professional athletes, most are prima donnas. But a guy like Haslem, a local guy, UF player, and long time Heat player is enough to make me like the Heat all by himself. Just a plain talented, hard working guy, who I never heard grumble or whine.

And he aint afraid to get down and dirty.

How much more charity work does Wade have to do for Miami before Rump will stop calling him spoiled??

Other topics -

The last thing we need is another FACDL type organization.

American Minority is an idiot, but I would be bored if he stopped commenting. No one else has been this interesting in a long while. Angry Gurl has been slacking. Maybe they are one and the same??

Not to brown nose, (not a racist term) but other criticism of Rumpole is undeserved. He runs a fair blog, admits to the few mistakes he has made, tries to leave the forum open for all kinds of discussion, and offers up a plethora of off law topic areas to keep it interesting.

As always, if you don't like, don't read.

Kenny W - part of his allure is that he can do his thing anywhere. Put him in the worst places, he can still find a decent meal. Its easy for people to drop foo foo names of South Beach and Design district hot spots. Kenny can find a gem in the Opa Locka triangle. And when he walks in the room, the people know him. Thats class!

Lastly, how good does Bronwyn look on TV?? You know TruTV is going to snap her up for her own show. I say she is on the bench here for about 3 months after this trial ends, then it is off to NYC or wherever their studios are.

She is going to make Nancy Grace look like the moron that she is.

Anonymous said...

Rump,

The weather had me down, so I started thinking about this criminal justice system that we devote our lives to and, well, let’s just say that I started looking out the window again to try to cheer up..

As I read about the hearings before Judge Cooke on the Greenberg/TD Bank fiasco, I could not help but think (after overcoming the automatic gag reflex I have to anything civil) how government prosecutors -- both state and federal -- routinely and more egregiously hide evidence – either through gross indifference or outright deceit -- without anywhere near the kind of scrutiny or consequences that has befallen these civil lawyers. Prosecutors and law enforcement get to play by different rules than everyone else. Judge Gold tried to hold prosecutors accountable for misconduct in the Shaygan case and he gets reversed by the 11th. The State legislature wants to pay appointed counsel less than minimum wage. And the list goes on . . .

I’m really down today about the unfortunate realities of our criminal justice system and how unfair it is. Got anything to cheer me up?

Rumpole said...

I know the comment about a lawyer who passed away was well intentioned. But I don't feel comfortable with the comment which discussed something of a personal nature. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

You would be better off health wise eating the bag and tossing the fries

"American Minority" said...

Anonymous ASA , Ive already mopped the floor with you before. I usually get your bogus charges tossed on the undisputed facts. We shall meet I shall mop you. I am a formidable opponent, we shall do battle. I from a long generation of US ancestors who do not bow,Sir.
To the idiot who posted 50 cent, prefer smooth Jazz, like Jeff Lorber, Boney James. So try again, I'm not your usual negro, I'm quite complicated. That is why you can't quite size me up, perhaps you have had very little contact with American Minority who where not defendants, and does not communicate in Ebonics. Typical white guy, carry on.

"American Minority" said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rtXUDx6ZDgk This is more my style...

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is AM thinks he doesn't communicate in Ebonics