BREAKING NEWS ...................
3RD DCA ISSUES THEIR OPINION ON PUBLIC DEFENDER CONFLICT CASE
While I have no doubt that Rumpole will provide you with a more comprehensive review of the very important decisions reached by that august body in Southwest Dade, one opinion today needs to be immediately reported .....
The State of Florida and Office of Criminal Conflict
and Civil Regional Counsel, Third District Court of Appeal Region
Public Defender, Eleventh Judicial Circuit,
The 3rd has reversed the decision of the Honorable Judge Stanford Blake. The panel of Judges, SHEPHERD, CORTIÑAS, and SALTER, JJ. issued a 20 page opinion. They collectively asserted their genuine heartfelt feelings for the Public Defender's Office and their individual assistants for the inadequate level of funding that is provided to them by the legislature. But, they said, this case is not one that belongs in the Courts, instead, the P.D.'s beef is with Tallahassee and that is where they should take it.
They pointed out that any concerns for clients receiving inadequate representation must be decided on a case by case basis, and not by permitting the collective withdrawal by the PD from nearly 12,000 cases. They also pointed out that the legislature amended the laws regarding withdrawal from a case in 2007 and that excessive caseloads in simply not a grounds that would permit withdrawal from a case.
So, Mr. Public Defender Martinez (formerly BHB), in a nutshell, the 3rd is telling you to take a hike, up the Turnpike, then to I-75, make a left turn at I-10 and stop in the town where 120 House members and 40 Senators and 1 Governor decide, in dollars and cents, what constitutes competent representation under the 6th amendment.
...... turning to other 3rd DCA opinions issued today, one can sum up the day as follows: JUDGE BARBARA ARECES -2 : STATE OF FLORIDA - 0
While Judge Areces occasionally gets knocked on this Blog for her lack of experience in the field of criminal law, today, the 3rd DCA spanked the State of Florida and affirmed Areces on two separate cases.
In State v. Trujillo, (http://www.3dca.flcourts.org/Opinions/3D07-1814.pdf), the State tried a "backdoor approach" to something they could not fit through Judge Areces' front courtroom doors. The panel recognized it and said no. The actual issue surrounded the defendant’s motion to compel the identity of the confidential informant. The interesting part of the read, worth quoting in full here, comes from CJ David Gersten:
"Although not germane to this appeal, I harken back to my first reversal as a circuit judge. The reversal involved a similar situation, where I ordered disclosure of a confidential informant. Assistant State Attorney Tom Robertson, the State’s division chief, petitioned for certiorari. This Honorable Court reversed me, holding that the disclosure of the identity and whereabouts of the confidential informant was not necessary to the defense. See State v. Perez, 438 So. 2d 436, 439 (Fla. 3d DCA 1983). This footnote is proof of a trial judge’s elephantine memory. Though many trial judges claim they do not mind reversal, I believe that the sting of reversal never disappears. "
In State v. Suarez, (http://www.3dca.flcourts.org/Opinions/3D07-3342.pdf), the State again lost to Judge Areces. In this case, the Judge granted a Motion to Dismiss based on expired statute of limitations. The defendant was charged by Information with grand theft and burglary. Thereafter, the State issued a warrant for the defendant’s arrest while he was incarcerated in a federal prison located in Florida. The Statute of Limitations ran before he was served with the warrant. The State argued that he was "absent from the state for the purposes of the statute". The defense argued that he was in fact "physically present and not absent from the State of Florida". The Court affirmed the dismissal.
CAPTAIN OUT .........................