Adam Kaufman was acquitted of murdering his wife Tuesday evening after a fantastic job of lawyering by Bill Matthewman and Al Milian. David Ovalle's updated Herald article with juror interviews is here.
Florida loses a top criminal defense attorney when Matthewman dons the robes (and thus gains a blog target- sorry Bill, but you know how we feel about Judges...) and becomes a Federal Magistrate.
It occurred to us moments after the verdict that this case could have ended quite differently.
Imagine that a single mother of three collapses in her Liberty City apartment and dies in her bathroom. In the living room is her boyfriend, out on probation for domestic violence, who is high when the police arrive. A crack pipe is found on him when the police arrest him.
The public defender conflicts because they represented the deceased in the past and RC3 conflicts because they represented the victim in the defendant's domestic violence probation case in a different matter. Up steps the limited registry attorney who takes the second degree murder case for a hard cap of $2,000.00.
Does our defendant's case end the way Adam Kaufman's case ended?
Granted, it takes a lot to look into the eyes of a person in the situation we described and not try to recommend a plea. But assume for a moment that the lawyer is diligent and before trying to plea the case engages an ex parte medical examiner who finds the scar in the heart and opines that the woman died of a heart ailment and not strangulation. Now what? Kaufman's wife died in November 2007 and (we are guessing here) he was arrested in 2009 and his case took three years to prepare and six weeks (we think) to try. Who among us can afford to devote (now we're estimating) 500 plus hours of work for $2,000.00? (Those of you who can please email us immediately reference a small loan).
The odds are that our defendant takes a plea to second degree murder, having lost faith in a lawyer who clearly has neither the stomach nor the personal resources to devote to the fight necessary to prove his innocence (and make no mistake, Mr. Kaufman had to prove his innocence in this case, which his lawyers admirably recognized and tactically achieved. )
Our client's innocence is proven only at great personal expense and sacrifice of the limited registry attorney. Such a sacrifice should not be expected of a professional who's devoted years of training and practice to recognize the flaws in a case like Kaufman's and has the ability to exploit such flaws.
The legislature is clearly willing to sacrifice Adam Kaufman's life in the name of balancing the budget. Cops don't make mistakes or lie, do they? Where there's smoke, there's fire, correct? Isn't anyone acquitted really guilty but for the cheap tricks of some slick defense attorney? Taxpayers shouldn't pay for criminals to get off, should they?
Medical examiners don't make mistakes do they? Homicide detectives don't screw up investigations by sleeping with crime scene techs, and married crime scene techs don't screw up crime scenes and get protection from their paramours, do they?
Ask Adam Kaufman, or Bill Matthewman or Al Milian.
See you in court.
FYI- another zombie is arrested. The epidemic is spreading despite what the CDC says.
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