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Monday, February 27, 2017

THE SAO: TWO VIEWS

We received two comments with two different views on the SAO under State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle.

Here they are for your consideration:

 Anonymous said... It is such a tired line the worship of Reno and the hatred of KFR. Reno was a great person and we have not had an AG Since with her integrity. That said, Reno was the State Attorney when crime was totally out of control in this city. There were double the number of murders and robberies that there are today. German Tourists were being killed regularly by armed robbers. Kathy has been SA during one of the greatest drops in crime and has done many innovative things such as setting up states first human trafficking unit, insurance fraud unit. She disbanded the narcotics unit and increased the staffing of the career criminal unit. All the while Rick Scott destroying her ability to retain staff by giving no raises for 8 years and cutting all employees pay by 3 percent. Not saying she or that office are perfect but all you whiners go defend a case up in Broward and try to reason with one of the robots employed by that office and you will realize it could be much much worse.
 Friday, February 24, 2017 7:20:00 PM 

 And

Anonymous said... Most of the ASAs forced to attend this ego-driven event sat seething for two hours, as speaker after speaker reminded us of the wonderfulness of all that is her. It was regarded as an unnecessary imposition, not a pleasure. When the rabbi finally gave the ending benediction, the ex-judge celebrity who served as MC decided it was appropriate at that point to add another 10 minutes of her remarks. The capper was that absolutely NO thought was given to what was ostensibly the purpose of the gathering, i.e., for the ASA's to be sworn in and have their oath signed by one of the several judges present. Rather than prearrange and announce that the judges array themselves in an organized manner so everyone could line up and do this quickly and easily, a mad crush ensued as ASAs scrambled to get out of there so they could then get into the fun of downtown rush hour traffic. A good time was had by none. The comparisons made to Ms. Reno only reminded us that she would've never staged such an event.
 Saturday, February 25, 2017 6:05:00 AM

We report. You decide.

From Occupied America...Fight the Power!

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

That pageant was ridiculous and a total waste of time and money.

Anonymous said...

One swearing in by Janet was done in the large courtroom on 4 and officiated by Judge Herb Klein who I remember saying with a big smile on his face "I like you Janet". We were then all sworn in and went back to work. It was nice, short, sweet, and not ego driven.

I also remember a swearing in at an auditorium on Key Biscayne- I think- it was so long ago- and it was devoted to Janet handing out pins recognizing how long assistants and their non-lawyer assistants had worked in the office. It started at five years, and a few had 25. There was no celebrity MC, and 95% of the ceremony was done in celebration of the staff at the SAO and not Janet.

We will not see her likes this way ever again.

Anonymous said...

KFR is a better SA than Mike Satz. Cases are easier to resolve in Miami-Dade than in Broward. ASAs in Miami-Dade are better trained, have more autonomy, and are far more skilled in the courtroom than their Broward counterparts.

Crime in Miami has fallen during KFR's tenure. Whether there is empirical date that directly attributes her policies and initiatives to the drop in crime? Not sure. But she's got the top spot, so she - fairly enough - is entitled to some share of the credit.

KFR is a charming woman who has mastered the art of politics. A lawyer? Trial wiz? Great legal mind? She is not. She is personable, good-looking (enough), and electable in Miami (se habla espanol). In that respect, she is good at her job.

What she is not good at is staying in touch with her office, trimming the fat to cut unnecessary salaries from her payroll, thereby freeing up more money to pay her ASAs more so that they will actually stay and your courtrooms will be staffed by the most experienced attorneys, not 26 year olds.

She is heavily insulated at that office and her presence is more lore than fact. I used to work there and I met her twice, and one of those two times was during my third interview.

I think it wouldn't hurt for her to take a walk down the halls of the 3rd and 2nd floors, popping her head into the offices of ASAs frantically trying to prep 120 cases for sounding. Maybe stop by a courtroom to watch a trial. A chief assistant once popped in when I was in some C-level trial and told me I did a great job. I may have been making $40,000 a year but that compliment was worth ten times that. Nearly ten years later, it still makes me smile.

Morale in an office where you have mostly young lawyers in their first jobs, struggling to pay the bills while dealing with the demands of a pretty demanding job (discovery requests, judges with little patience, hard-ass DCs, annoying defense attorneys, FUCKING VICTIMS!!!!!!!!) need a little encouragement now and then. This isn't a generational thing. I'm not pandering to the millenial snowflake stereotype. This is a human need. Validation. To know that you're doing all right. To know that your labor is not in vain. A direct-deposited

You can be a defense attorney making $200,000+ and a nice compliment or warm email from a satisfied client is worth all the money in the world.

Just sayin' - KFR could stand to be in touch with her office a bit more.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic, but one would think there should be cumulative collective wisdom by now as to how a circuit court judge in Miami calls his or her calendar. The goals, of course, ought to be efficiency and justice. The competing demands of corrections, the private bar, the public, and courtroom personnel ought to be weighed.

There SEEMS to be general consensus that the judge ought to call the AC and Arraignment calendars off the bat, so as to allow corrections to move people and keep things flowing. Given that arraignments are usually very short, this is only a slight imposition on the private bar and public in attendance.

Then, almost every judge entertains private counsel. If so many do it, there must be reasons for this, right? Why do the hold-out judges NOT do this?! What does anyone benefit from NOT calling the privates first? Is the calendar over more quickly? Are PDs and ASAs happier? I cannot fathom why a judge would let a long line of privates just stand there.

As for pleas, most judges have the colloquy fairly well memorized, instruct their PDs to prepare the PD clients for a colloquy before the bench is taken, and assume the privates have already prepped their clients for a colloquy. So most judges take a plea right then and there, without much fuss. Some, however, insist on pushing back pleas -- some even to the very last page of the calendar. Is this more efficient? Are these judges actually finishing earlier -- or to the contrary?

I can see the wisdom in not conducting a hearing mid-calendar, or taking testimony, but the plea should be do-able in about 4 minutes.

Anyway, I wish Judge Soto would visit various divisions and speak to judges about calendar management.

Anonymous said...

As the author of the "negative" post, I want to add that I agree with the "positive" post. They are not mutually exclusive.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


to 12:54 PM:

Since you are commenting anonymously, would you care to name the judges that are not taking the private bar out of turn after the completion of their arraignment calendar?

Cap Out .....
Captain4Justice@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I WANT TO SEE TERM LIMITS FOR THE PD AND STATE ATTORNEY JUST LIKE THE LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR. PLEASE POINT OUT THE ERROR OF MY THINKING AND NAIVETE EXALTED ONES.

Scott Saul said...

What nonsense!

I was just in the neighborhood, commiserating with an ex ASA that I've been close with since the both of us started in that office in 1987, and we decided to crash the party. I thought the event was poignant, it made me proud to be an ex-ASA and member of such a fraternity and it was nice to hear about progressions in the office. The speakers were entertaining (who wouldn't want to hear from Alan Dershowitz? ) and provided a bio of KFR that I was unaware of. I don't have a "dog in this fight" so I feel the negativism is totally unwarranted.

My buddy and I thought it was a very worthwhile event to attend. Phooey on the haters!

Anonymous said...

Y'all judges should have PD clients sounding half the morning, privates the other half. Or maybe in custody half morning, out the next. It would give PD's a chance to speak to clients, privates a chance to hit all the courtrooms they need, etc. I'm sure corrections would like to knock out as many in custody guys asap so they can make the first bus.

Miami is s great place to be an Asa or APD but calendar management does need to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

as the author of the positive post I agree with 1213. Kathy and management could do a better job of handing out accolades for a job well done or even just enduring some of the rigors of that job. To do that job right as a "C" or "B" ASA requires a tremendous amount of effort and patience. When a boss cannot hand out money because of cretins in Tallahassee, alternative methods must be used to praise the employees and make them feel that someone cares about their hard work.

Anonymous said...

Calendar management is easy 1. Take the bench at 8:50, take any private counsel out of turn if the state is there and not still trying to get to the 4th, 6th, or 7th floor with a broken escalator and 23 people that don't know how an elevator works. 2. A/C calendar, 3. take a few private counsel out of turn 4. Arraignments 5. When the 4th arraignment needs an interpreter take a couple private counsel out of turn 6. More arraignments 7. Private counsel, out of division prosecutors, the executive assignment ASA from Broward who is nauseated by all the "no actions" announced by 9:07. Easy.

Anonymous said...

Not the original poster, but I can tell you Judge Ward's practice is to not call privates out of turn. Incredibly annoying.

Anonymous said...

Don't know why privates should get preference. Is there a local rule?

Anonymous said...

I was there, and this was an immense waste of time. I had work to do. Calls to return. Emails to read and respond to. A motion to research. Instead, I was at this event.

Moral is down. When even the mediocre attorneys are leaving for jobs, you know you've overstayed your welcome. Almost everyone at the office is clueless - which is horrible because I have few people I can ask questions to. Kathy was upset about the trial dodger comment, but almost everyone is either a dodger or goes on cases that they shouldn't.

Anonymous said...

Rump, no posting about today's Lunch & Learn on Implicit Bias in Sentencing? Great lineup and a very important topic. Don Horn, Carlos Martinez, and an assistant dean/law professor were on the panel. Judge Ruiz came back to moderate. All were excellent.

Anonymous said...

JUDGE MARTIN ZILBER is number one in my book. He runs a calendar like no other. Polite, follows the rules and is the consummate Judge.

He set the bar with his well reasoned and academic lengthy Orders on complex issues while in Juvenile Dependency. Read his orders. Judicial restraint and written like a law review article.

I wish other Judges in the Criminal division could sit with him while he conducts his courtroom.

Anonymous said...

2:17----privates (and non-division ASAs) should be taken out of turn because they have to be in multiple courtrooms at the same time. If one judge refuses to recognize this or take them out of turn, it creates problems for all of the other judges/divisions. Further, the privates need to return to their offices to get stuff done (I get that the same argument applies to victims, witnesses, etc., but the privates have to be in court daily, while they don't).

BTDT

Anonymous said...

http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/cms/FSAC/Documents/Excel/Property-by-County/PROPERTY-Miami-Dade.aspx


Check out the above crime stats in miami

Anonymous said...

OP here. My original point with regard to calendar management is that I am not a judge, have never been a judge, and do not presume to know what is best. It would seem best to me to take privates out of turn and take pleas as they occur, ad hoc. However, there is a thirty or forty year history of judges handling large caseloads in this very building, so I would assume there has been a consensus developed over these years by these smart men and women.

Has nothing been learned? Why is it still completely different and unpredictable depending on which judge you have?

"Oh this judge notices you to be here at 9AM but takes the bench at 9:30, he wants you to be prepared and anyway, you should just know that."

"Oh this judge will not take pleas until after 11AM, but she wants your client to be there at 9. You however can come at 11. You should just know that."

"This judge will not take you out of turn, and does not give a shit that his five colleagues will therefore have to wait for you."

Etc.

Can't Judge Soto use reason and the wisdom of former judges and a little bit of data gathering to schedule divisions and calendars in way that is efficient? Have we learned nothing?

Anonymous said...

What are the odds that 7:52 was actually written by Martin Zilber?

Anonymous said...

The office's response to 17 (and counting) ASAs tendering their resignation since Jan 1, 2017:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oBx7Jg4m-o

Anonymous ASA said...

100%.
I must agree that Zilber is evenhanded... he is equally rude and petulant towards both the defense bar and the State.