It's a story about a government acting irresponsibly and its representatives acting stubbornly and in violation of the law.
The federal government shutdown?
We speak of the Limited Registry, and FACDL Super lawyers Michelle Estlund, Jude "The Hammer" Faccidomo, Carmen Vizcaino and Roy Wasson, have put a stake in its head as it slithered through the mud like some parasitic slug feasting on the carcass of Gideon v. Wainwright 372 U.S. 335 (1963), and the Due Process Clause.
Recall that the State of Florida decided that in the scheme of due process and criminal justice, the role of the defense attorney was nearly valueless. To that end the State enacted a payment scheme wherein attorneys (having sold their seemingly worthless "Vichy -stained-souls") signed a contract to "defend" clients at rates so ridiculously low that the top fee of $2,000.00 was reserved for murder cases. To be eligible for this "windfall", the attorney had to sign a contract agreeing to "never ever ever ever" seek compensation above the cap.
Of course no lawyer can defend a client at such rates. All a lawyer can do is meet the client, shake their hand, convey a plea offer and then stand next to them and nod solemnly as they take part in the farce of a plea colloquy in which they pretend that if the client had so decided, they would have investigated the case, taken depositions, subpoenaed witnesses, and gone to trial. In reality these lawyers were and are nothing more than overpaid stock boys, hauling the bodies of their clients on to a criminal courthouse conveyor belt that runs to the state prison.
Confronted with the law, see, Makemson v. Martin County, 491 So.2d 1109 (Fla. 1986) the State lawyers waived the white flag and entered into the below stipulation, effectively killing the limited registry.
For those lawyers to whom taking a stand for a principle at personal cost is an anathema to their very being (you know who I am talking about- the type of lawyer who wouldn't have defended Rosa Parks; the type of yellow coward who would be the first to turn in their neighbors when the storm troopers knocked on their door) and who have in fact joined Vichy France/The State of Florida and signed up for the Limited Registry-it is these lawyers who will unfortunately benefit the most from the work of the unpaid FACDL lawyers of whom these limited registry collaborators are unworthy to sharpen their pencils, much less be members of the same Bar.
Such is the nature of the law in general, and criminal defense in particular, when the very best work, done by the very best lawyers, benefits the very worst among us.
See You In Court.
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