Many years ago we were retained to represent a troubled man; he was a professional in his late twenties and had some issues with his recovery. He had some personal issues which made him vulnerable to manipulation, and in fact he fell into a trap laid by some BSO deputy-thugs, and their snitches. He tried to get out of what he saw unfolding as a drug deal- but it was too late. He drove away, the police made a very bad stop. He refused a request to search his car and was badly beaten.
The case was replete with issues, from entrapment to a bad stop, to an illegal search, to police brutality. There was really no excuse for the broken nose, black eyes, and missing teeth in the booking photo.
But the case was in Broward. It was assigned to a judge who had been a former prosecutor and a former attorney for the police. She was sarcastic, sneering, uninterested in reading the motion we filed, and tossed- like a dirty napkin- the booking photo we entered into evidence- using two fingers and holding the edge of it and flipping it to her clerk like it offended her that we would argue such nonsense. She insisted on holding the hearing on the motion to suppress as the first thing she did on a busy Monday morning calendar, with a courtroom full of police officers and prosecutors. And she made it a very loud point to tell the bailiff to have a jury outside by 9:30.
In other words- a Miami Lawyer getting the full Broward Monty.
Our client sat at the table muttering over and over again "I can't believe this is happening....I can't believe what I am seeing." We had no words to soothe him. He was right. We couldn't believe it was happening, but for the fact we were in Broward, where it happens every day.
A judge came in to speak with our judge during cross examination. Our judge waived us on- "Don't stop. I am listening."
We sat down at counsel table. She glared at us. "You are listening Judge, just not to my questions" I said. "ohhs and ahhhs" were issued from the gallery and gaggle of police officers who were enjoying the show, watching a judge abuse us and our client.
"Thank you" our client whispered to us "for at least fighting for me."
Of course the motion was denied. And of course the prosecution increased the plea offer to prison for a man who had a job, had a health issue, and would lose everything, including his irreplaceable health insurance.
But that's why the good lord made juries, and the jury saved us.
But yesterday the jury didn't save Judge Cynthia Imperato. She was found guilty by a West Palm Beach jury for a second DUI outside of ten years. When prosecutors all over the state routinely threaten jail to anyone with the temerity to seek a jury trial on a first DUI, Judge Imperato was sentenced to twenty days house arrest.
But she went to trial and was convicted.
How does it feel when the Justice System works?
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