Friday, March 27, 2009


Update: considering the comments, nobody cares about the new juvenile court. 

The Herald reports the approval by the Miami City Commission to build a  "new...bright, modern, safe...welcoming...and green" Juvenile Justice Courthouse downtown.  The title of the post links to the article. 

Rumpole notes: About time, but can the colour be something other than green??

The current juvenile courthouse, which we've been to about three times in twenty plus years, is a disgrace. 

Here's the real question: can the state beat the Feds and build a new courthouse in less time than it took the feds to build that new monstrosity which is still barely functioning? The bar is pretty low on this one. 

Here's a recap of the collateral estoppel argument before the SCOTUS in  Yeager  v. US. Basically, there was a mixed verdict with acquittals on some counts and a hung jury on other counts, and the government wants to re-try the defendants and punish them for not pleading guilty earlier in violation of the recently enacted "Cheney laws." 

Sorry for the lite post, but I'm a bit busy, but unlike certain federal bloggers, I can multi-task. 

See you in court. 


Anonymous said...

According to the article: "The juvenile detention center, next to the existing kids' courthouse, will remain where it is. The new courthouse will have holding cells for juveniles on trial...."

So, let me get this straight. The PD's, ASA's, judges, corrections, clerks, etc. will all get the benefit of this gorgeous, luxurious new courthouse, while the "respondents" will still be housed in the same shit-hole as before; but now, they'll get tried (a two-hour process) in luxury?

So, for the kids, nothing changes other than where their trial is held? Good plan. Great use of taxpayers' money.

Anonymous said...

2:23:00 here....

"Update: considering the comments, nobody cares about the new juvenile court."

Rumpole, I think you're misperceiving my comment (or perhaps remarking on the LACK of other comments). My point is that it appears from the description in the article that the respondents will never see this new facilty, except for when they are in trial (which is a tenth of a percent of the time they spend in the system). For the rest of the time 99.9% of their time in custody), they will be in the same broken-down facility as before.

Meanwhile, the people who WILL get to enjoy the new environment are the judges, attorneys, etc. The children, however, will only get to visit this new facility briefly before being herded off once again back to the old, horrific conditions.

As someone who was deeply troubled by the conditions I saw at the juvenile court, I think the new courthouse does nothing to change the effect on children. It merely allows lawyers and judges to enjoy the opulent new surroundings, while the respondents are sent back to mow the lawns and clean the toilets of the old, filthy facility.

Or, maybe I'm reading the article wrong.

Anonymous said...

I took a juvenile case once upon a time. Guess what? It sucked so bad I'll never do it again. They could build a courthouse out of gold and I'd never take another juve case.

Other than that I'm really looking forward to it.

the trialmaster said...

The trialmaster only went to jv ct one time on a first degree murder case many moons ago; You will not see the trialmaster in juvie.

Anonymous said...

Little time here too Rump.. but enough to comment on something I deal with frequently. Spending our taxpayer money is all about prioritizing.. the baseball stadium went through against my wishes.. it will rarely be full and we will spend more money on it than was promised.. (why did they ever tear down the Orange Bowl?) Some people will get rich on the service contracts granted while the rest of us will remain poor.. OK - maybe middle class. Nevertheless, the juvenile courthouse does seem a bit more important than the baseball stadium. Personally, at the top of my list would be public transportation (not buses but a real rail system) and education.. but the justice system does require funding too.. especially when ASAs & PDs are making the same as public school teachers ($40K) and commissioners, politicians, etc. are making $100K+.. The best thing about the plan is to "put all 17 agencies dealing with troubled children under one roof." We all want what's best for the kids.. better education is the best way to reduce the need for a juvenile justice system. But for that 1% of juveniles that actually end up in secure detention for 21 days for shooting, carjacking, committing strong armed robbery, I think the old detention center will work just fine unless there is a problem with safety or sanity. That's my two cents..

Anonymous said...

It's sad that Juvenile Court gets so little funding, so little support. The reality is that if we neglect that side of the system we almost guarantee a steady stream of clients in the adult system. Some conspiracy-theorists may argue that is the real motive behind the (intentional) neglect of juvenile courts in America. Some states have chosen to do something about it. The New York Times recently had an article about Missouri's approach that has resulted in a significant drop in recidivism rates and ultimately the social and financial costs associated with neglecting the juvenile system. This courthouse is certainly not a "cure" for what is wrong, but it is a very needed and long overdue addition to our Court facilties. True, the children that are processed and prosecuted there may not enjoy its architecture or amenities, but for the families and witnesses that can get there conveniently because of its close access to Metrorail, the caseworkers who won't have to travel to multiple locations to access information about their case, and to the judges whose jobs demand accurate and accessible information, it is a godsend. The old facility is a nightmare, I know because I practiced there for thirteen years before my election to the bench, and it did nothing to foster respect for the institutions of justice. If this new facility, long overdue, does nothing but that then perhaps it is worth it after all. I, for one, think its about time.

Robin Faber

Anonymous said...

2:23:00 PM

Not just criminal's seek justice in the Juvi court but many other children, the thousands of weekly abused children, foster parents, GAL volunteers, Social Workers, Psyco Docs' and so many children with foster parents will see this new gem of a place.

I agree with Rumpole that Juvi court is the most disgusting BLDG in Florida. Holding the hearings at the camilus house would be 100% improvement.

As for the Detention center if violent offenders are being housed there is perfect conditions AS IS! I do not want it to be the Hilton. A weekend there might just make a kid change his ways.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, how can I create a Blog that allows loading documents for viewing? I have some BREAKING news.

Anonymous said...

What's the Missouri approach?

One good and costless way to solve a lot of problems in juvenile is to replace Leon Botkin and his direct file-happy crew with prosecutors that actually care more about rehabilitating children than sending then to adult court to make KFR look tough in front of the voters.

Furthermore, we need to replace those young legislators with no life experience or common sense (thank to term limits) who are passing dumb laws that feel good politically in Tallahassee without realizing or caring how those laws affect the criminal justice system and the clients and workers in it.

Anonymous said...

Will the new juvie courthouse have free parking? Or will we have to scamper for parking in the over-priced city or private parking garages like when we go to civil or family court?

Anonymous said...

hey 11:35, u don't get free parking at the justice center, so why would u get it downdown???????

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if Juvenile Judges were empowered to actually do something with the delinquents who don't respond to treatment KFR wouldn't direct file as many cases as she does.

The Juvenile system is creating as many problems as it's solving. When the system treats serious crimes as a joke it teaches delinquents that there are no consequences for their actions. A scary lesson if ever there was one.


shumie-on-the-pulse said...

Shumie reports--


Anonymous said...

From Abe Laser


I was sworn in as an Assistant State Attorney on May 2nd, 1973. It was the day after I had become a member of the Florida Bar. No other job ever seriously tempted me to leave. What I am can be found in the immortal words of Paul Simon, when he sang of the One Trick Pony: "He's just a one trick pony (that's all he is),
But he turns that trick with pride."

Prosecution has been by vocation, my avocation, and my true love for nearly 36 years. I leave this, my home, with the greatest of regret - even sorrow. As Thomas Carlyle once wrote, as if he were writing only for me: "Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness." My friends, my colleagues, my compatriots in battles too numerous to mention -- all these will forever have a place in my heart.

Many have asked me about a most memorable moment. There have been many extremely similar moments that I have taken most to heart. I have had one single request - one that mercifully I have never had to carry out; yet it meant the world to me, because it spoke truth in its loudest possible voice. Fellow prosecutors, officers, defense attorneys, and even judges had made one request. The gist of it was: "If my family member should ever be murdered, could you personally prosecute the case?" This is perhaps the only legacy that will stay in my mind forever. It means too much for me to ever forget.

G-d bless you all with wisdom and courage in this special calling, as prosecutors.


Lester Langer said...

It is too bad that many of your commentors do not take the juvenile system seriously. If they did and perhaps spent more time representing our young people instead of waiting until they graduate into the adult system , they would appreciate what the juvenile justice system attempts to do. For over 30 years the juvenile justice systems has been housed off of NW 27th Avenue, in a coverted aviation building never designed as a courthouse. To 4:52 only a small percentage of kids ever spend time in the detention center. Over 90% of the kids spend their time in the courthouse foer their hearings. You also forgot that the juvenile systems deals with abused , abandoned and neglected children as well. So we deal with the entire spectrum of family issues in our courthouse including may crossover kids( both dependent and delinquent) and unified family court cases too. Our court handles by-pass cases for young teens and emergency medical treatments for young children. We are a full service court with 9 judges and 2 magistrates.

The new courthouse is a signal beeing sent to our community including the lawyers that we value all our children. That they will have a place where we do their business that they can be proud of and feel a sense of well being. A place that is clean, new, modern and speaks to their issues. A building all the citizens of dade County can take pride in that sends the message we really do care about all our kids even the ones at risk.

The new bulding will be in the downtown core. This also sends a message that our children are no longer religated to the margins of our court systems. We are no longer outliers. Now lawyer, clients and families will be able to access the Children's Courthouse via metro rail and metro mover. You will be able to be more efficent since the family courthouse is a 1/2 a block away.

We in the juvenile justice system beleive this bulding is not olny long over due but will be the beginning of a new era of understanding the needs of our children.

Sorry this is long but your cooments and observations dictated a response. I invite all of you to share in this fabulous accomplishment for our community and ask you to support its completion and it success.

Thank you.

Lester Langer, Associate Administrative Judge, Juvenile Division.

Lester Langer said...

Sorry for all the typos. No spell checker I am afraid.

Lester Langer

Anonymous said...

Judge Langer,

2:23/ 4:52 here. Thank you for your considered response. I do take the juvenile justice system seriously, and that's why I posted my comment. If, as you state, even a small percentage of kids spend time in the detention center, it's too much. It's a deplorable facility whose conditions have no business existing in America.

I sincerely hope that, as your comments state, the new building will provide a better forum for its constituency and that the conditions children had to suffer in the old facility are a thing of the past.

All Eyes On Shumie said...

Spotted the great man himself and the colombian on his laps-
Free lap dances til six. Pass it on.