A longtime and careful reader of the blog was kind enough to alert us to this article from Manatee County about 11 suspected gang members who were arrested after a five month investigation. One problem: the Court is having trouble rounding up eleven lawyers stupid enough to take the case for the new flat fee of $2,000.00.
Go here to read about WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT legal style.
Here is the Herald article
reporting on the conclusion of the investigation of Broward lawyer Hilliard Moldof who was accused in 2003 of tampering with a witness in a murder prosecution by paying the witness $100.00 . The article reports that the Dade SAO, who was appointed to investigate the case reached a “settlement” with Mr. Moldof wherein Moldof agreed to a statement of facts in which he acknowledged that his actions could be the basis for charging him with a felony. The case was then referred to the Bar and the Dade SAO took no further action, deeming their settlement a type of deferred prosecution.
Rundle's office has said Moldof wasn't charged because his offense was nonviolent, and he had a clean criminal history. Prosecutors told Bar officials they gave Moldof ``a break.''
The hitch is that the Dade SAO apparently believed Moldof would get a six month suspension, and instead the Bar has ordered an admonishment. The Dade SAO is not happy.
The Dade SAO has come under their fair share of criticism on these pages but not today.
Like it or not, what the Dade SAO did was exercise prosecutorial discretion. They decided not to proceed with a prosecution that they technically could have proceeded with because they believed that it was the right thing to do. It did not work out as they planned in this circumstance, but that should not dissuade them from proceeding in this manner in the future. We need more of this type of thinking, and less of the type of concrete thought process that we see too often in our courts these days.
UPDATE: After the post ran this morning, we received this email, which we print in full with full permission of the author:
I agree with 90 percent of your post, and I think you'll agree with my 10 percent after you read this.
Miami SAO had originally written, in a July 2005, document, that it was going to deferred prosecution, but reserved the right to turn around and prosecute if the Florida Bar didn't come through with at least a six-month suspension. The final agreement included no such provision; it was taken out. (Which side do you think proposed that?)
Rundle gave up her "hammer" in the case -- that Moldof get at least six months -- and once she gave that crack to Moldof's lawyers, they did a very good job of running with it. Give them credit.
It is my opinion that Rundle erred by doing that. Agree or disagree?
Also, FYI, on of Oct. 15, 2004, Michael Von Zamft wrote a letter to Michael Dutko, Moldof's attorney, saying the case was going to the Broward Grand Jury. Sometime afterward, when Moldof hired Arturo Alvarez to represent him, Miami SAO came out with the deferred prosecution agreement.
Feel free to post any or all of this
Nick Sortal. Brother of victim
ROBERTS: THE FAINTING CJ
We are happy to learn that the CJ is feeling better. Doctors are a bit puzzled as to what is causing this. We modestly propose our own diagnosis: The Fainting Judge syndrome.
Here is the article on the famous
Fainting goats have bulgy eyes which are very unusual and which distinguish them from other breeds. They also have very long ears that stand out to the side of their head. They are a very calm animal and make excellent pets.They are a herding animal, and should therefore be kept with at least two or three of their own kind.
The Fainting Judges of DC:
“Fainting Judges also have bulgy eyes which distinguish them from other Judges. They are usually very calm and make excellent advocates of the conservative legal agenda. They are excellent at herding other Judges into a 5-4 majority and therefore are usually found with at least 4 others of their own kind.
Goats of a feather can usually be found together.
See You in court, avoiding judges with bulging eyes.