(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).
Update: Rick Freedman knows all- see his letter. The bill passed.
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.
See You In Court.
We put a little post up on DOM's blog. Some federal nonsense. Check it out.