Saturday, July 28, 2012


There's something vaguely disconcerting about this. Fox guarding the henhouse type of scenario. But that being said,  the other day brought  this news from the Statewide president of the FACDL ("pay your dues!!")

I am happy to announce that this morning the Florida Bar Rules Committee unanimously voted against changing the rule to prohibit non refundable fees! This would not have happened without the incredible dedication and hard work of our ad hoc committee.  We made personal contacts with every member of the committee armed with talking points. 

This is a shining example of how FACDL makes a difference. 

Special thanks to David Rothman, Scott Fingerhut and Jim Miller for assisting in this cause. 
Derek Byrd, Esquire
Personally, we just give the money back before the arraignment unless we have done a lot of pre-filing work. Rarely happens. Perhaps twice in the last five years.  

If you missed the wonderful ceremony the other day, here is the recap of Judge Ariana Fajardo being sworn in. Congrats!

Coming Monday: The Best You've Ever Seen. 
Only on your favourite, award winning* legal blog. 
Enjoy your summer weekend. 

*Honorable mention in the 2010 Croatian -US legal blog contest.


Anonymous said...

Good for the rules committee!

Anonymous said...

Cute picture.

Anonymous said...


I was awakened from a very restful sleep early this morning by the wife of a former client who called to inform me her husband had been arrested and was being held at the Pre-Trial Detention Center. Since the family had the cash bond amount available and did not want to wait until the bond hearing later that morning, I agreed to meet them at the jail to assist them in posting the cash bond. As I'm strolling up N.W. 13th Avenue (sans suit and tie) I am approached by a "bondsman" who inquired if I was there to try and get someone out of jail and if so, he could assist me. I politely turned him down without informing him I was a lawyer and proceeded towards the jail. In front of the State Attorney's office there were several more "bondsman" or "runners" or "cappers," I don't quite know the term of art to use. Another one approached me, on jail side of the sidewalk and inquired the same. I also politely turned him down. Long story short, I met the family and assisted them with the paperwork and posted the bond. As I stood outside the jail speaking to the family, I observed no less than eight (8), count 'em EIGHT "bondsman" running rampant, approaching every lost soul walking on N.W. 13th Avenue, hustling for bonds. There was even one outfit that was sitting in the back of an SUV, with the hatch open looking almost as if they were tailgating. Question: Is this legal? Is this "Soliciting?" How is this happening right in front of the State Attorney's Office? The only times I have ever been to the Justice Building on Saturday is to attend a bond hearing, and have never ventured back there so I was unaware this was happening. Frankly I am shocked. Is this what the criminal justice system has been reduced to, a street of hustlers trying to drum up business from the distraught families that are trying to get their loved ones out of jail? How does Corrections let this go on? How does the State Attorney and Law Enforcement let this go on? Maybe I'm naive, you see I don't do business with bondsmen. I made a decision many years ago not to get involved in that underworld of payoffs and kickbacks. And I've done very well for myself. I can only wonder what attorney or attorneys are the beneficiaries of the referrals generated by these individuals on N.W. 13th Street. Maybe they make a lot more money than me, but I'm the one who always enjoys "restful" sleep.

Anonymous said...

David S. Markus limited register email on the FACDL listserve today is the most self interested propaganda I have read in a long time. I don't support the limited registry. I think it is bullshit. But David is making it seem like somehow it is impossible to give quality representation to a client for a flat fee of $2500. It is not. Public Defenders do it everyday. When I was an "A" APD, I had around 50 cases which involved the most serious cases. I made $48K a year and try 6-10 cases a year.

With that said, I don't like the limited registry. I would not sign up for it. But I have never taken court appointed work. But to make the argument that a person cannot get quality representation is false. The lawyer will not make much. By my calculations, the lawyer would make somewhere around $100K a year if they took the same number of cases I received when I was an APD.

Anonymous said...

An ' A ' Asst. P.D. EVEN with benifits included, Does Not make an average $1500 a case for handling cases where clients face life.
An "A" APD making $80K a year w/ $28K in benifits, handling ONLY 75 cases a year , which is an Incredibly Small Yearly Casaload, does not receive a total package of $112,000 a year.
That rate of $1500 still leaves $1000 for overhead under the Limited Registry fees of $2500.

Anonymous said...

Why are we just now screaming about competent representation for $2,500 bucks?

We all know how many private attorneys who take 1st degree felonies, PBLs, and life felonies for $2,500 or less.

Everyday attorneys take serious felonies for $1,000, $1,500. They do nothing, take no depos, ignore the client, and continue until they can no longer do so, then plea it out.

We all know this because we get phone calls from these clients. The "my lawyer ain't doin' nothin'" call. Then we ask who's the lawyer and how much did they charge you. Then we know.

People are mad because this limited registry is taking money out of the pockets of the people who use the general registry to make money. To get fees above and beyond the JAC rates. So stop this we are the world shit because we're all in this for ourselves. This is a business. If money weren't at stake, nobody would say a word.

Regarding the 5 attorneys who signed up. I like Robert White. He is a fine attorney. He has worked for years for nothing defending poor clients and defending them well. So now he'll do the same thing for a little bit of money. He is relatively new to private practice so I think this is a fine way for him to generate some revenue. If anyone can do a great job for this rate, it's Robert.

The other 4 I've never even heard of.

Anonymous said...

Wtf does that mean?

Anonymous said...

Us Olympic woman's volleyball team has a smoking hot 6'2" black chick named Destny Hooker omg! Jason Grey

Anonymous said...

White was a good public defender , hope he does well . Guy got balls, and class . Elegant , smart. Jason Grey

Anonymous said...

Is it necessary to call the Shumie on a Saturday?

DS said...

Jason is right on Robert White, a Real Class Guy.

Anonymous said...

The Bondsman are always there by the DCJ tent on 13th. Go by during the week and see them by the hot dog ladies or sitting in their cars w/ flex cuffs on the rear veiw mirrors.

Anonymous said...

That's funny, I get calls all the time from defendants and families who say their lawyers "don't do nothing."

It isn't the cheap lawyers I get these calls about. I have taken cases from some people who many would consider very good lawyers. They charge considerably more than I do.

More often than not, the lawyers were actually doing what that were supposed to do. The complaints are coming from defendants that could have Clarence Darrow, Roy Black, and David Copperfield doing majic for them, but because they are incredibly guilty, no one can help them.

It is the same story I hear from clients who don't like their PD.

It has nothing to do with money. Some clients want and expect miracles, and no attorney can deliver.

The problem is that many of you think that because you charge a small fortune to take cases, you do a better job, or because someone else is able to do it for a bargain price, it is because they don't work the case.

Those generalizations are just not true in each case.

A case that you can take for $10 grand, someone else can take for $3 grand. Not every attorney needs a Brickell or Coral Gables address. Not everyone leases a $90,000 car, employs three or four people, and live in a $5 million dollar house.

More power to those who do.

I don't think it is fair to condemn attorneys who give good representation for a fair price. I have never taken a court appointed case. But some people with low overhead can probably afford to do it. There is nothing wrong with running a lean practice.

Anonymous said...

Robert , if u need anything call me . JG

Anonymous said...

David., tell them about the case we tried a miillion years ago against Jim Rockefeller in judge McGinnis wherin our client stabbed his neibour with a ginsu knife

Anonymous said...

The David S Markus email is shameful.

Anonymous said...

David, tell them about the ginsu case In front of Mcguinis

Anonymous said...

2:02, that's been going on for years. At some point, they even had a trailer back there to serve as office and lounge room.

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for. Has anyone asked themselves which cases will get to the 3rd level of representation (P.D., Regional Counsel, then Limited Registry)? I doubt those cases will be quick pleas or simple cases. Usually these are the difficult cases or the difficult clients, or both. Chances are the lawyers who agree to sign up for the registry will look down the road and regret they agreed to sign up for the registry due to the low pay, difficult cases, and the hit to their reputations.

Anonymous said...

To me nothin hottr than men gymnasts.

Now we cover all bases.

Anonymous said...

The analogy to being a PD is bogus on so many levels. First as a PD you have investigators, secretaries, interns, and social workers whom you do not have to figure out how to get paid. Second as a PD you are only assigned to one courtroom. Its a million times easier handling 70 cases when they are all before the same fucking judge. Try handling 70 cases when they are spread all over the courthouse. As a PD before one Judge you only have to be ready for one or two trials each trial setting. Third as a PD you have a set salary and set work hours so you can set every depo that you want without it effecting your ability to bring in other business and supplement your income. Fourth as a PD you get to know the prosecutors in your courtroom a lot better than PCAC or private attorneys and with this extra communication you have a better sense of which cases are possible trials and which are most likely pleas. And when you have this understanding it allows you to focus on the tougher cases.

I've been a PD and PCAC. And now I'm a regional counsel and private attorney. In my opinion the PD analogy does not fly.

Christian Dunham

Anonymous said...

Has FACDL ever taken such a vehement stand against bondsman referrals? Does that not cheapen our profession?

A handful of court appointed guys who make money billing the state for fees in excess of JAC rates are pissed.

I get pissed everytime I lose a prospective client to a bondsman.

This limited registry thing is nonsense. Nobody gives a shit about indigent defendants. You care because a limited registry hurts you financially. That's all.

This neo-McCarthyism is not the way to handle this. How dare you tell an attorney what constitutes an acceptable fee? If an attorney believes that they can adequately represent s serious felony case for $2500, so be it.

Plenty of private attorneys charge whatever they charge and do nothing.

But this fire and brimstone "defenders of liberty unite!" junk is phony.

FACDL - when you lead the charge against bondsman referrals I will come to bat for any cause you'd like.

Anonymous said...

I think some people are afraid that they will ahe a hard time explaining their exorbitant fees when others can do it for much less.

If you want to blame someone for this mess, blame the greedy law schools. As they churn out more and more lawyers things get worse and worse. The Florida Bar is happy because they collect more dues.

Simple supply and demand. The market is flooded with lawyers, so why pay more?

Anonymous said...

Rumpole may not say anything bad about Milt Hirsch, but neither does the Miami Herald - ever notice that? He must have them in his back pocket.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean "ÿou don't front costs"? What about copy costs to copy discovery your client wants, his family wants, etc. JAC neither fronts NOR reimburses those costs. What about paying the SAO for DVD's, CD's, copies of discovery, etc. YOU FRONT THESE COSTS and THEY CAN BE SIGNIFICANT. Or maybe you just haven't handled any serious cases.