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?
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).
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!
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