THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
REALLY NORTH OF THE BORDER ......
VOTE FOR ME - MY OPPONENT REPRESENTS MURDERERS, RAPISTS, CHILD MOLESTERS AND OTHER CRIMINALS
Vote for Dana Santino for County Court Judge said the campaign flyer. Her opponent, Greg Lerman, is a criminal defense attorney who has spent his career "representing murderers, rapists, child molesters and other criminals".
Sound somewhat familiar? It happened in Miami-Dade County in 1996, and that campaign tactic worked here too. Yes, Dana Santino defeated her opponent Greg Lerman by just under 15,000 votes in Palm Beach County on November 8th by a count of 248,765 - 233,949.
Criminal defense attorney and FACDL member Joseph Bell wrote a post on the FACDL Blog concerning the Santino v. Lerman campaign entitled: "Fundamental rights are at stake in Palm Beach County judicial race" that can be found here.
The Santino campaign’s response to the criticism went something like this: "Mr. Lerman is not a public defender and chooses to represent individuals who may have committed heinous crimes." In addition, Santino’s campaign also used social media to attack her opponent, using a Facebook page to criticize Lerman because he "chose to represent [a] serial killer."
Palm Beach County’s Judicial Campaign Practices Commission, a judicial ethics advisory panel, weighed in on Santino’s campaign stating that: "Santino’s statement is inflammatory and ignores that such legal work is based on bedrock constitutional rights". "It implies that representing such persons is dishonorable and antithetical to the public good, when, in fact, the representation of persons accused of crimes — even heinous crimes — is an essential component of our criminal-justice system". The Commission went on to state that "the email is rife with the innuendo that Mr. Lerman would favor even the worst of the worst from the bench (whereas, by implication, Ms. Santino would not),". "The Facebook post suggests the same."
Santino’s campaign consultant, Richard Giorgio, was more blunt, responding to the Commission’s findings by stating that: "Mr. Lerman is desperate. His supporter filed this last minute complaint in an attempt to generate some press for his failing campaign." County Court Judge-Elect Santino also weighed in, stating: "I appreciate the opinion of the commission; however, as the commission itself discloses in their letter, it is just that – their opinion,"; (the commission has no power to force Santino to do anything or to punish her. It’s opinions are purely advisory). The Palm Beach Post covered the story here.
So, the next time you have the pleasure of appearing in County Court before the soon to be Honorable Judge Santino, be forewarned of the value she places in your role as an advocate for the defendant in your case.
BONUS: Who can name the winner and loser of the 1996 Miami-Dade County judicial race where this same practice of calling out your opponent for representing "criminals" took place?
NORTH OF THE BORDER .......
The State Attorney’s Office, AKA The Office of Michael Satz, has no home. As a result of sick prosecutors and staff refusing to remain at the Broward County Courthouse 6th floor offices, the Chief Judge is looking to move the employees to either the County Law Library or across the street into offices at the 110 Tower. No less than 134 SAO employees have signed up to move due to illnesses they have experienced. The Sun Sentinel covers the story here.
CAPTAIN OUT .......