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

Thursday, March 15, 2018

PROGRESSION

Here's an interesting NY Times OP Ed piece on the need for progressive fines. 
A single $151.00 speeding fine sent an African-American into a seven year odyssey of fines, collections, loss of license, arrest warrants and homelessness. Should she be fined the same as Mark Zuckerberg for a speeding offense? 

The Times piece misses the point. The issue should not be the enactment of progressive fines because rarely will the issue be the appropriateness of a fine to a billionaire and a homeless woman. The issue should be the tax misdemeanors and traffic tickets extract on lower income Americans. A brief sojourn into county court a few weeks ago yielded an (unscientific) view that most litigants are those who can least afford to be there, and who can least afford the devastating impact of a misdemeanor conviction. 

Progressive fines are a slippery slope. But the criminalization of quality of life issues (traffic crimes, panhandling, marijuana possession) should be the discussion we are having. Decriminalizing a majority of the misdemeanor crimes in Florida would allow the cases to be handled in a cost efficient manner by magistrates without the expense of prosecutors and public defenders. Do we really need everyone charged with disorderly conduct or possession of marijuana to lawyer-up? 
We could then reduce many felonies that are given short shrift, to misdemeanors. Wouldn't it be more costs effective to  have car theft, burglary of conveyances, third degree grand theft,  possession of cocaine, and resisting with violence cases off the dockets of circuit court judges?

HAPPINESS

The 2018 World Happiness report lists Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Canada (with its fake trade deficit), New Zealand, Sweden and Australia (home to Miami's most famous fugitive Joe Gerstein) as the happiest countries- one through nine. The US of A limped in at number 18, down from 14 in 2017. 

Burundi, the Central African Republic, and Cleveland were the unhappiest countries in the world. 😞
(emoji courtesy of Millennial Me).

REJB Happenings
There were more trials today in the REGJB. Many pleas of guilty. Lots of cases filed, a few no actioned and some nolle prosses. 
Everyone who isn't a lawyer went though a rigorous security screening to enter the building, but in a fascinating story, Judges were able to park in the garage in the building and avoid security! 
The clerks offices reported many requests to view files. 
We know this is absolutely fascinating stuff for many of you, so we will hold  your interest and leave the rest of the action for tomorrow's blog post, which may, just may, include an exposition on the attorney's parking lot!!!!! YES!

From sad and unhappy occupied America, Fight The Power!



18 comments:

Anonymous said...

County should sell parking decals for Tuesday - Friday for us way down the list.

Anonymous said...

Finland! You forgot Finland, the happiest country of them all. Time to pack my skates and give it a try.

Anonymous said...

Oh, we should just give in to people dwls (with no insurance), running red lights (with no insurance), speeding, smoking marijuana around my family when we are in public, fighting in the gas station, and a hundred other things?

F that. If the person can't conform their behavior, then they should be fined until they do.

Where I believe the system can be tweaked, is to allow people to work off the fines at some reasonable rate...for example 20 bucks per hour of community service. A weekend of work would pay off most fines and encourage people to be good (not a hole) citizens.

Anonymous said...

@7:15am

"Oh, we should just give in to people dwls (with no insurance), running red lights (with no insurance), speeding, smoking marijuana around my family when we are in public, fighting in the gas station, and a hundred other things?" NO said anything about "letting them off." But, yes, we should let off the people "smoking marijuana around my family when we are in public." That doesn't hurt you in any meaningful way.

"Where I believe the system can be tweaked, is to allow people to work off the fines at some reasonable rate...for example 20 bucks per hour of community service. A weekend of work would pay off most fines and encourage people to be good (not a hole) citizens." This is a reasonable idea.

Anonymous said...

Judge Ellen Venzer is probably the BEST Judge at the Justice Bldg. She is intelligent beyond belief. She was a great trial lawyer before she was appointed to the bench. I’m shocked she hasn’t gone on to be appointed as a Federal Judge? Isn’t she real close with Manuel Kadre, the head of the JNC?

Robert Kuntz said...

At the risk of putting you off with praise you'll likely find as nettlesome as criticism: Good stuff, Rump.

The issues raised in the Times OpEd, and your insightful commentary, compel a recitation of the famous Anatole France observation:

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.”

Anonymous said...

Yes. Judge Venzer is the best Judge in the bldg. She is brilliant. She is kind to all. She is funny. Her integrity is beyond reproach. She even trained Judge Bob Scola and Martin Zilber on how to be a great Judge. Thank you s Judge Venzer for your years of dedicated service and the finest Orders written in that courthouse.

Anonymous said...

Lurvey and Weisman seen dining with former Mayor Phillip Levine at The Ren (an eating establishment). A couple judgeships in the works from the soon to be Governor?

Anonymous said...

Burglary of conveyance is not a third degree offense. It actually has a min/ man I think of 2 years.

Anonymous said...

You mean Manny Kadre? Powerful. Manny loves Judge Venzer. If he is a friend, he will make things happen politically. He only helps his friends. I admire his loyalty.

Anonymous said...

Lets order a psych eval for 9:29 am

Anonymous said...

You are a terd

Anonymous said...

Rumpole - don’t you think that Pam Bondi will be named the next U.S. Attorney General???

Anonymous said...

Where has Sir Kenny been? Haven’t seen him at the Zegna store at Bal Harbour or at Prime Italian in ages? I miss him.

Anonymous said...

Some of this stuff is a judicial version of the old mafia "juicing racket". You fine some poor bastard and then kick his ass for years as he tries to pay but never quite catches up because of the license suspensions and ensuing DWLS arrests and their associated court costs. Miami-Dade has a shameful, if not corrupt, arrangement with some scummy collection agencies where the agencies don't collect shit but are awarded a 30% surcharge on poor peoples debt when the debtor pays in order reinstate his or her drivers license. Common sense says these collection agencies are sharing their windfall with some of our elective leaders and or the pezzonovante of the clerks office. Of course, only poor people end up in this program. Maybe Mr. Kuntz can use some of the time he spends silencing those alarmed by the political situation, while wishing to learn more about who is fucking who at the JB, and take a legal billy club to the tyrants who are sucking the blood of the poor and the taxpayers. Maybe there is an opportunity for class action attorneys fees. There is no way this collection agency thing can withstand a little looking in to.

Anonymous said...

Venzer??? Are you kidding me. She is good. Respectful of all. BUT, you think she is a better author of ORDERS over Judge Fine, Zilber and Hanzman? Come on.

Anonymous said...

An interesting article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/18/nyregion/testilying-police-perjury-new-york.html?emc=edit_th_180319&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=615330620319

I first heard of the term “testilying” when I was interning with the NYPD legal department. The lawyers there, all former patrolmen, spoke of the concept with pride.

Anonymous said...

Zilber goes to trial. He goes to trial no problem unlike many others.
When he leaves one day u won’t have Zilber to kick a round anymore and u will miss him.