The case went to the 3rd DCA who said in formal staid legalese: "Get back to work swine", but the PDs weren't done. Jay needed to be saved. So Quiet Charlie spoke and marshaled the troops and went to the Supremes in Tallahassee.
"Help" said Charlie, he a man of few words. "Jay can't take it anymore." (According to the opinion it took 26 volumes of court records to say what we just said in one sentence. No wonder the planet is in trouble.)
Today the Florida Supreme Court ruled here.
"Jay sounds like a good guy" said the court. Indeed Kolsky caught some Tallahassee love in footnotes 10 and 11 of the opinion, which are just too good not to re-print here:
10. At the time, Kolsky was the sole third-degree felony attorney covering his courtroom and had to absorb the caseload of his co-worker who left the office for other employment.
11. At the time, Kolsky had thirty-six years’ experience and was considered one of the best and most experienced lawyers in the office.
As for the rest of the opinion, we'll summarize it here:
The PDs might be able to withdraw en masse or refuse appointment (look out Regional Counsel) if Jay is still as busy as he was when the PDs courageously said they would no longer ride in the back of the bus.
A statute prohibiting the PDs and Regional Counsel from refusing appointment or withdrawing because of excessive case load is neither unconstitutional nor means what it says:
The court ruled:
Thus, we find the statute to be facially constitutional and answer the certified question in the negative. However, the statute should not be applied to preclude a public defender from filing a motion to withdraw based on excessive caseload or
underfunding that would result in ineffective representation of indigent defendants nor to preclude a trial court from granting a motion to withdraw under those circumstances.
And yet the statute reads:
section 27.5303(1)(d) provides that “[i]n no case shall the court approve a withdrawal by the public defender . . . based solely on the inadequacy of funding or excess workload.
So much for the ol' "plain language of the statute" rule of statutory construction.
And finally, and in our opinion, the worst part of the opinion with the potential for far reaching consequences, the nose of the State Attorneys Office stays firmly under the tent of a motion to withdraw. Or to put it another way, the State has standing to object to your motion to withdraw. Mark our words, this has the potential, to quote Chief Justice William Howard Taft, "to be a real pain in the ass."
And so life is circular and all things often end where they begin. The case is remanded to our wonderful little circuit. Jay Kolsky will wheel a few thousand files into a courtroom and stare at them forlornly and say that he just can't take it anymore. And now the Judge has the ability to say: "I hear you Jay...Appoint Regional Counsel."
Next up after what has been fondly called "PD11"?
RC3 v. State.
See you in court.