WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Friday, October 17, 2014

A CALL TO ARMS

We normally don't do two blog posts in a day.

But this email from FACDL chieftains was forwarded to us, and we took the initiative of posting it.*

On Tuesday, October 21, the Board of County Commissioners will hear and decide on the attached resolution prepared by Commissioner/former Senator Javier Souto.  This resolution aims to impose an additional $75 of court costs on state clients who take a plea for or are convicted at trial of a felony, misdemeanor, or criminal traffic offense.
 
This simply cannot pass.
 
And, of course, we're not talking about $75.  We're talking about an amount added to the hundreds of dollars already imposed on the largely indigent population that are drawn into the court system.
 
We (and our clients) know that racial and social inequality is embedded in our criminal justice system.  We know that minorities are much more likely to be drawn into the despair of the justice system than whites.  African-American males are six times more likely to be sentenced to prison than white males; Latino males, 2 ½ times more likely. We know that although 95% of cases end in pleas, it's not possible that 95% of defendants are guilty.  We know that many clients would often rather take a plea to CTS than stay in jail. 
 
Knowing all these things, and knowing that imposition of expensive and overwhelming court costs for indigent clients does nothing more than perpetuate the inequality by continually thrusting them back into the system, suspending their drivers' licenses, and re-incarcerating many -- we cannot remain silent.
 
The County Commissioners are holding a meeting next Tuesday, October 21 at 9:00 a.m.  If you know one of them, please call, email, or write them to speak against this resolution.  A list of the commissioners is attached.  Or please join me at the meeting.
 
Thank you.
 
 
*Apparently there was a real barn-burner of an FACDL meeting a few weeks ago when this blog and this blogger, we have heard, were personally disparaged (as much as an anonymous blogger can be personally attacked) for posting FACDL list-serv emails which are as secure and sensitive as all NSA emails currently on Wikipedia.
"Loyalty-oaths" were called for. All FACDL members would have to solemnly swear under penalty of perjury that they were loyal Americans, were not now, nor ever have been members of ISIS, have not traveled within the past two months to West Africa, currently do not have a high fever, do not read this blog, are not Rumpole, and in fact despise Rumpole and everything Rumpole stands for, and would not, under penalties yet to be determined, ever forward Rumpole an FACDL list-serv email.
 
There has not, as of yet, been a final determination on this loyalty oath. But we admit to being scared, shaken, chagrined...but not enough to stop posting emails that FACDL members gleefully send us.
 
Have a good weekend.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

The system has always found a way to take from those who have the least. Hopefully this resolution will not pass, but the reality of it is that everyone wants to claim to be "tough on crime" by one-upping the last person and adding more on top of "those people." If I read the resolution correct they already charge $180 (from separate resolutions) for Court facilities and most of it is not from civil cases. Why do they not draw from civil cases for civil court funding?

On a side note, there is also a resolution during this same meeting on police shootings and deaths while in police custody or after arrest. A link is attached below for everyone's perusal. Hopefully this will get some support.
http://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/matter.asp?matter=142035&file=true&yearFolder=Y2014

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, why don't you say that the email was written by Margot Moss?

Scott Saul said...

Using the poor to finance government and infrastructure defies logic. Imposing over $500 for a civil infraction (avfine and court costs can easily surpass that) make it so punitve that acts in the same manner as a criminal punishment . Then, the balances are passed onto a suspect collection process where it really takes an overly oppressive life of its own

This is all done because "defendants" are so suspetible to impose upon. Nobody will ever lend an ear to a complaining attorney, only from a judge.

I'd like to see a judge have the guts to say ,

" $700 in costs for a misdemeanor ?! Where they don't always get representation?! That needs to change, I cannot impose such an unfair and oppressive sentence ."

Who'll have the guts?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you can be such a pompous ass.

Margot Moss' Email should not be ignored. We are the only voice our clients have in this fight. We take the good fight to the courts every single day. This is just another time for us to step in between the government and our client and protect them from passing this ridiculous fee.

Contact a commish if you know one. Show up at the meeting if you can.

Rumpole said...

I strongly disagree. I am ALWAYS a pompous ass.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 12:31. You will always be a pompous ass.

Anonymous said...

Let's see if all you "I fight the good fight everyday" people will show up on Tuesday to oppose this ridiculous resolution.

Anonymous said...

You totally miss the point. As an ardent libertarian, these ever increasing fines/fees, etc are to be expected and are a natural result of government feeding off of its citizens. Name me a tax/user fee/fine that has not increased exponentially over time on the grounds that government is starved of revenue? Case in point. When the Verrazzono Bridge went up, commuters were told that there would be a temporary fifty cent fee to cross the bridge until the bond was paid off. That was when Mick Jagger had no wrinkles and Winston Churchill was alive. That temporary fee is close to $8.

Rumpole said...

1:48 open your eyes jackass. 12:31 is me.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole - aren't you on the FACDL Board? I thought I saw you there this week.

Rumpole said...

Really? They would have me? And I would go? Surely you jest.

Anonymous said...

White privilege. Had it been black boys trespassing in an occupied house, Coral Gables Police would have hauled their bodies down to the jail and charged them. I'm white and a minority in Miami, but I don't particularly like what's going on. On the other hand, the resolution would have been the same, but they would have spent the weekend in jail until their parents bail them out. Wake up, America.

Anonymous said...

It's not possible that 95% are guilty? Please.

Anonymous said...

Rump everyone knows who you are . Time to 'fess up.

Anonymous said...

. . .and how could we distinguish you from all of those other pompous asses?

Nabokov said...

For the look of lust always is gloomy; lust is never quite sure -- even when the velvety victim is locked up in one's dungeon.

Anonymous said...

how about just making those who hire private lawyers pay the fines but NOT making the indigent clients pay the fine?

it would be nice if we didnt live in a banana republic where people felt that they dont need to pay taxes for decent public services.

Claude Erskine-Browne said...

What's it really matter, PD clients never pay their Court Costs anyway.
That's a set up to violate probation on Indigents'

Anonymous said...

How about making filing fees in civil court $100 higher to pay for the civil courthouse?