[Based on new blogger guidelines, Rumpole is now reviewing all contributing blogger posts. This post was NOT edited. Nothing was removed. However, in two spots, where The Professor was clearly stating his own personal opinion, we noted that. We have enough problems with out being criticized for blog posts not our own. ]
What is it about these judges that they cannot remember the most basic lesson they are to have learned in Judge 101? Specifically, how and when is a judge is entitled to find anyone in contempt of court? How about showing a basic understanding of the Rules of Criminal Procedure. What is the difference between direct and indirect criminal contempt of court? When is a defendant required to obtain the court's permission to waive his presence?
Apparently these lessons were lost on Judge Christina Miranda. At least according to the 3rd DCA,which last Wednesday, granted a second Writ of Habeas Corpus for Jean-Elie Charlemagne.
Initially Charlemagne was charged with the heinous crimes of fleeing and eluding an officer and resisting arrest without violence. It is important to note that his counsel filed a written waiver of his right to be present at any and all pretrial conferences pursuant to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure.
At a later hearing Judge Miranda held Charlemagne in indirect criminal contempt for failure to comply with court orders for a competency evaluation, and sentenced him to ten days in jail. (Remember for a person to be held in indirect criminal contempt, a written order to show cause must be served, the defendant arraigned and a trial held, which can be before a jury.)
Because Judge Miranda did not follow mandatory procedures for holding a person in indirect criminal contempt, the 3rd granted Charlemagne’s Emergency Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, vacated the contempt order entered by the trial court, and directed that Charlemagne be immediately released, and he was.
One would think that would end the saga of Charlemagne's difficulties with Judge Miranda. But, as Paul Harvey used to say: "Now the rest of the story."
A hearing was then calendared before Judge Miranda for “REPORT RE: MANDATE" in regard to the emergency writ. Charlemagne was not present at the start of the hearing, but his counsel was. Judge Miranda inquired whether Charlemagne had been noticed for the hearing. The clerk informed the trial court that Charlemagne had not received notice of the hearing. Based solely upon the fact that the bondsman had been noticed, and despite the fact that Charlemagne had waived his appearance at hearings for which his presence was not mandated by rule, Judge Miranda issued an alias capias warrant.
However, Charlemagne appeared 30 minutes later. (Judge Miranda was still on the bench.) She immediately ordered Charlemagne "to have a seat in the box", and despite numerous attempts to obtain his release that day, and several times thereafter, Judge Miranda denied the motions "to let him back out." (Her words)
Thus to the 3rd DCA Mr. Charlemagne went again seeking another Emergency Writ of Habeas Corpus. The 3rd not being amused at Judge Miranda's temper tantrum at being redressed by the them, found her conduct to be contrary to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. They found no legal basis for the alias capias warrant, granted the writ and again ordered Charlemagne's immediate release. The opinion is found here.
[The following is the personal opinion of contributing blogger The Professor] Behind it all is the clear (but unvoiced) recognition by the panel that Judge Miranda did not like being told she was wrong by judges clearly smarter and more dedicated to the rule of law than she. Her conduct must have been seen by the 3rd as being nothing less than a childish attempt to get her way. It was petty, disingenuous and purposely manipulative.
This was so clear to the panel that they closed with the following statement: "No rehearing will be entertained by the Court, and the mandate shall issue immediately." That is appellate talk for "you are so wrong that we don't want to be bothered by you and this case again."
[The following is again the personal opinion of contributing blogger The Professor] Judge Miranda, grow up. Be the adult in the room. Don't be petulant. You were wrong. You knew you were wrong then, but you were going to show everyone how smart you are. Now, not only do we all know you are not, but you have damaged the control of your courtroom and the respect of those who appear before you in the future. Oh yes, and you owe Mr Charlemagne an apology for your conduct.
One more suggestion, I would not push the 3rd's button on this defendant again. Unless or until he is convicted and sentenced (and I would be careful there, too), just accept that he will be carrying a get of jail free card.