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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

TWENTY-TWO AND TWO

Twenty-two and two. Those were the sentences handed down in the REGJB this week on two disparate  DUI manslaughter cases.

The veintidos  sentence was meted out by Judge De La O on this horrifying DUI crash that took the lives of two people: The link to the video is here. 

And then before Judge Ward, a 22 year old college student was sentenced to two years in prison, followed by house-arrest and probation for killing a cyclist on Key Biscayne. The judge accepted a negotiated plea between the state and defense in which the next of kin had approved the deal and the waiver of the four year minimum mandatory.

What to make of these cases?

We often decry the existence of  minimum mandatory sentences and the desire of uniformity in sentencing. No two cases are alike. No two defendants are alike. And yet we rail against min man sentences and the sentencing guidelines with the full understanding that two similarly situated defendants might well receive vastly different sentences based on the luck of the draw- the judge assigned to the case.

At the end of the day, we'd rather take our chances with a judge then have all the power of a minimum mandatory vested in a prosecutor a year out of law school.

Apropos of nothing... nothing looks worse than that stupid Moby-Dick movie.

See You In Court.



22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it - all through the justice building today- that a new ASA solved Fermat's last theorem

Anonymous said...

what's dat?

Fake Fermat said...

x^n+y^n=z^n, where n >3 has no solutions with x,y,z.

Anonymous said...

I thought is was
2 2 2
A + B = C

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the difference was the defence lawyers?

Anonymous said...

I'm disgusted by this plea. Why does one case get 22 years and another 2 years? The only difference I see from the outside looking in is that one defendant is rich and has a high powered lawyer. The other is not. I truly hope that this is another Donte Stallworth. Although I understand that in that case the victim was partially at fault. The average DUI manslaughrer defendant gets 10 years in prison. But not this young entitled kid.

Fake Fermat said...

The tougher one is the Rodriguez-Chomat theorem, actually. Unsolvable and unintelligible.

Anonymous said...

Those are two solid and experienced jurists. I would believe as a prosecutor or a defense attorney that I would get a considered sentence devoid of politics and emotion. You can't ask for much more than that.
We would do well with a lot more judges like those two.

Anonymous said...

Different Judges have different types of cases they don't like. I witnessed Judge Pineiro reject a negotiated plea on a dui manslaughter with the next of kin in court begging for the Judge to not sentence the defendant to prison. The defendant dated their daughter and drove because he was the most sober of the two and unfortunately crashed the car and she died. They loved the kid, saw a huge change in his life for the better after the accident (even though he was a good kid before the accident), and we're literally begging the judge not to sentence him to prison. He did send the kid to prison for a long time. The Judge had also handled many many other tough dui manslaughter/accident cases including the one where an FHP trooper was rear ended and her car caught fire with her trapped inside, so he had seen a fair share of horrible dui accident cases. Not many people in the courtroom agreed with the sentence, BUT we all trusted Judge Pineiro to do what he thought was right, and I'll be darned if he wasn't one of the very few Judges that I've ever known that would do just that. We need more like him. RIP and know that we miss you.

Anonymous said...

anyone know who the two defense lawyers were?

Anonymous said...

The two year defendant had David Oscar Markus and Margot Moss. The other guy didn't. Enough said

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with Ward. It was a written plea agreement negotiated by the defense team for 2 years.

Anonymous said...

The guy in de la O went to trial. That is why he was launched.

The average plea for a DUI manslaughter in Miami, with no priors, is about 4 years. Remember, there is a 4 year min mand and any judge can depart on any client with no priors but, not below 4 years.

Rumpole said...

Let me defend defend Judge De La O. He didn't launch the guy. He sentenced him within the guidelines. I believe it was 2 years above the minimum. Do I think that's too much? Yes. 12-15 sounds right if he had no priors. But on a case like this with two dead people and a horrific crash how does a judge go below the guidelines? He can't. I don't fund fault with the judge here. The system? Sure.

Kissimmee Kid said...

Question: Don't the particular facts of a case explain the difference better than the choice of judge? If you have "Mellow Mike" and "Launch'em Larry," and Mike gets the "horrific" case, won't he give a stiff sentence? Couldn't the same judge give a stiff sentence in a 'horrific' case, and a light sentence in a sad accident? Why not look at the full facts of each individual case?

Anonymous said...

You all should visit the respective courtrooms and observe before jumping to wild conclusions.

The first defendant refused to make any plea offers, went to trial, took the stand and provided an implausible defense despite being captured on video. Additionally the defendant had a history of running red lights and speeding which is what he did the night he killed two people and endangered many more after partying at a wedding. The defendant never showed remorse and was represented by veteran attorney, Ed O'Donnell Sr.

The second defendant was much younger, remorseful and took responsibility from day one. The plea was driven by the NOK who lost her husband and believed in redemption.

The sentences have nothing to do with race and everything with taking responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Funny to see people who know nothing about the defendants, the specific facts of the cases, mitigating/aggravating circumstances, the strength of the state's case, etc. bitching about the disparity. You all know better than that, or should.

Judges Ward and de la O are VERY well regarded. They both practiced criminal defense and bend over backwards to be fair. The criticism by those who know nothing more than what crimes were charged is nothing short of ignorant.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Markus has a history of getting these sweet deals for DUI manslaughter cases. Remember the UM student?

Anonymous said...

I have handled about 20 DUI manslaughters. Here is what I know:
If you go to trial, you get the absolute max. Almost no exceptions. It doesn't matter who's wearing the robe. They launch you.
If you plead out, you get a far better deal from the Miami SAO.
Judges can go down to 4 year minimum mandatory and cannot be reversed. Sup Ct says so.
I have plead out weak cases to straight probation. One was house arrest. In those cases they had serious problems proving the case.
I have plead out many to 2-5 years.
I had one I plead out to 30 years because 3 died and he had a prior DUI conviction.
I plead one to the bottom of the guidelines because the client had a prior and it was hopeless. Cops actually saw the accident and client had ZERO remorse. Blood was .23. That was 12 years.
Every case is different.
In a few, I talked the prosecutor into not filing a felony DUI in exchange for a DUI misd conviction when there was almost no causation.
I plead one out recently before Brennan to 5 years. It was a state offer. It was good causation case for the defense but, not worth risking 15 years after a trial.

Every case is different and the guidelines kill you with 10 years jail for each dead person.

The real big problem is that once a jury sees a dead person, they want to convict.

The worse part of these cases is how usually two different families leave court with a loss.
They are all sad cases.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 11:22 for the only sane comment

Anonymous said...

Typical Miami-Dade lawyers. A blog post and twenty comments and not one mention that the defendant who got 22 years FSP is Black. Both defendants had a .115 blood by the way. The guy who got two years left the scene too. If it were Broward you would be crying racist judges but in Miami-Dade it's all good. You guys belong in a Batman movie you are so two-faced. What a crock.

Anonymous said...

11:22:00 AM, 11:58:00 AM and 3:52:00 PM. Ok you had me at hello. I understand now.