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

Monday, December 15, 2014

I CAN'T BREATHE

There massive rallies in NYC and DC over the weekend protesting the way the police treat people, and the way the justice system treats police who kill the people they are paid to serve and protect.

In our view we are half way there. When the protests also start looking at the the way the justice system treats defendants, then we will have all of skeletons out in the open. 

One thing is certain- the grand jury process is broken. 
The old saying is that the prosecution can get a ham sandwich indicted. And that is true, unless the ham sandwich has a badge. The last "no true bill" we can remember in Miami that didn't involve a police officer was a case in the mid-to late eighties involving an inner city store owner who electrified the roof of his store because of repeated burglaries. A burglar wandered into the trap and was electrocuted and died and the grand jury refused to indict. 

Grand juries were not supposed to be rubber stamps for prosecutors. But that is the system we now have. And this system is broken and has no credibility when the system is not impartial. More importantly, the system no longer has the faith of the people, and when you think about it, our entire society rests on the proposition that the people have faith in the government. 

MONDAY DECEMBER 22, 2014 IS HANDS UP MIAMI/ I CAN'T BREATHE DAY. 

We invite and ask all attorneys in the federal, civil, and criminal courts to approach the podium with a "hands up" gesture as a show of support for people who are protesting a broken court system. 

See You In Court, Hands-Up. 

In our survivor pool the contestants stand on the brink of a perfect season, with their choices of the Chiefs and the Seahawks winning yesterday.  Can they duplicate the Miami Dolphin's Perfect Season? Stay tuned. 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there one scintilla of evidence that Michael Brown walked towards the police car with his hands up?

Anonymous said...

I fully support the protests that are taking place but I do not think that lawyers should express that kind of view in a courtroom. A button, fine, but a physical gesture, I do not think so.

Anonymous said...

What a time that was! The mans name was Prentice Rasheed a black small business owner and the charge was first degree murder. Apparently the law expressly forbids deadly mantraps but the grand jury refused to charge. He went on to become a local celebrity and would be a frequent guest on the drive time radio comedy shows. Wonder what happened to him.

Anonymous said...

Another great case was when some bystander came upon a disgruntled customer killing a bunch of employees at a body shop. He waited until the guy left nonchalantly, followed him and killed the killer. Even though the killing was deliberate and cold blooded the debate over the possible charges was lively. Eventually the State attorney determined that since it was possible the first killer would commit more murders his killing was justifiable.

Mr. Hankey said...

I cant breathe from the stench on the FACDL Listserv.

There's a few (one) obvious suspect(s) that could have sent the letter to NW, no need to guess.

Regardless of how you feel about NW and her unpopular rants, she's got a right to spew it. It's like Wacky Jacky...you just wind em up and let 'em go, they are all the entertainment you need.

The REN (a venue) said...

Bring a picture of your hands up in court and The REN (a venue) will serve you a complimentary glass of Thunderbird.

Rumpole said...

4:17- I rarely deign to speak with hoi poloi, especially in the comments section. But I am curious as to why you think that?

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, it may be that 4:17 would be personally uncomfortable making a physical gesture in the courtroom. I can understand that -- a lot of us who go to court but are undemonstrative, even shy. It would be useful for people like that to have an alternative way to express solidarity on 12/22, like buttons, as 4:17 suggests, or I Can't Breathe t-shirts with the slogan showing under our suit jackets.

That said, we should all be prepared to submit to some discomfort to resist government oppression of people of color; I am far more uncomfortable with the oppression than any potential embarrassment before bench and bar. Just think how such a gesture might lift the spirits of the black and brown people chained together every morning in our courtrooms.

On the way home today I saw a cop had stopped a BMW. I would have bet $10G that the driver was black, but there was no one in the car with me. Too bad, as I passed the car I realized I would have won that bet.

What are we supposed to do when every car the police stop in our neighborhood is driven by a black man. Are we supposed to stop and observe, far enough away not to be obstructing, but close enough to hear and see?

I'd really like to know the answer to that question. I always feel like a heel when I just pass by.

Seth Sklarey said...

The grand jury system was set up so that an ordinary citizen could ask to bring charges against someone, in secret and without fear of reprisal, not filtered by the powers that be like
the police or state attorney. The grand jury is now under the control of the state attorney. The grand jury also used to be able to undertake its own investigations but haven't seen evidence of that in a long time. I remember when there were occasional complaints of "runaway grand juries."
By the way, grand juries in Dade County used to be selected from Judge's Chritmas card lists of friends and people they knew.
Chokeholds around here were discontinued after a man died when a Miami Beach cop had him in a stranglehold near a car exhaust pipe.

Just Another Intern said...

I'm on board with these sentiments as well, I just don't think Mike Brown is the symbol we want to adopt, given the audio and physical evidence described here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/12/08/the-overlooked-audiotape-of-the-michael-brown-shooting/

There are plenty of people (and dogs), of all races, wrongfully killed by police every year. Any one of those would likely make a better case for change.

Just Another Intern said...

10:34

Record the encounter without interfering.

Anonymous said...

10:47,

Thanks, good advice.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely stupid and unprofessional. Any lawyer who does it disgraces us all.

Mike Brown was a thug and is not someone who should be glorified. Had the officer not acted, he likely would have been the one dead.

Perhaps you want to do something to commemorate the life of the rabbi who was simply walking to temple in our own fair city when he was gunned down by 2 black men for no apparent reason other than they had nothing better to do.....

I'm so sick of this. All the pro athletes who wore hoodies or walked out with their hands up, all the protestors laying in the street blocking traffic - morons all of them.

The tributes to Eric Garner are more warranted and legitimate. That was a true tragedy.

Anonymous said...

How about the fact that in Missouri and Cleveland, it is clear that the cop didn't want to inconvenience himself by getting his lazy white ass out of the car 15 to 20 feet away like they are supposed to. With that distance, tragedy would have been avoided.