WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM. Winner of the prestigious Cushing Left Anterior Descending Artery Award.
Monday, June 15, 2015
RED LIGHT ... GREEN LIGHT ... ON RED LIGHT CAMERAS
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
RED LIGHT ... OR ... GREEN LIGHT ..... ON RED LIGHT CAMERAS .......
Today, in Courtroom 2-11, beginning at 10:30 AM, Associate Administrative Judge Steve Leifman will begin a two day hearing, (currently scheduled to continue on Tuesday, June 16th at 10:00 AM), on the issue of Whether Red Light Camera tickets can be prosecuted in Miami-Dade County.
In the case of City of Hollywood v. Arem, (4D12-1312, Oct. 15, 2014), the Fourth District Court of Appeal addressed a similar issue. That Court was asked: "Does F.S. 316.0083(1)(a) authorize a municipality to delegate and have a private vendor actually issue Florida Uniform Traffic Citations, when notices of violation, (also issued by the vendor), are not complied with, where the only involvement of the traffic infraction enforcement officer in the entire process is to push a button saying "Accept" after having reviewed the image of an alleged violation electronically transmitted by the vendor?". The Appeals Court was also asked: "And if the answer is in the negative ....., is dismissal the appropriate remedy?".
The Court answered the first Question: NO and they answered the other question: YES. The municipality did not have the authority to delegate the red light camera program to a private vendor, and therefore, all of those Red Light Tickets should be Dismissed.
While the 4th DCA made that decision exactly eight (8) months ago, Miami-Dade's Traffic Magistrates, (who serve under the direction of Judge Leifman), have been continuing cases in each of their courts, whenever a Defendant or their Counsel, has brought up the Arem case and asked the Hearing Officer to Dismiss the ticket. Each time, the Hearing Officer has announced: 'Judge Leifman has scheduled a Hearing on the Arem issues and once that decision is made, they we will set the tickets for a new Hearing date'.
Judge Leifman's decision, however he decides, will likely be appealed by the loser to the 3rd DCA. Several cities in Miami-Dade County have continued to use red-light cameras and pocketed million of dollars in fines as the result of this program. As just one example, the City of West Miami, which is only three-quarters of a square mile in size, has collected more than $1.7 million in red-light camera money over the past five years alone.
SO, YOU WANT TO BE A CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE .....
On June 30th, Florida's "first openly gay elected official", Judge Victoria Sigler, will retire from the bench. The DBR covers the story here. Judge Sigler became a County Court Judge in 1995 and was elevated to the Circuit Court by Governor Bush in 2000. For the past twenty years, she has been serving on the bench in Miami-Dade County. Judge Sigler began her legal career at the Miami-Dade County Public Defender's Office. According to Judge Sigler, "she has a house in Colorado, where she plans to volunteer as a park ranger in her retirement. She also will attend "adult band camp" to play trombone and tuba, and she's set to travel to Brazil, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand by the end of the year."
Good luck Judge Sigler and thank you for your service to Miami-Dade County.
The JNC has received a total of 20 applications; 16 from attorneys and four more from County Court Judges, to replace Judge Sigler:
Joseph J. Mansfield
Elijah A. Levitt
Alexander Spicola Bokor
Karl S.H. Brown
Griska Mena Rodriguez
Luis Perez Medina
Julie Harris Terry
Jason Emilios Dimitris
Charles Kenneth Johnson
Carol Jodie Breece
Ayana N. Harris
Paula J. Phillips
Lauren F. Louis
John W. Wylie
Wendell Mitchell Graham
Norman Christopher Powell
Flora M. Jackson
ELECTION CENTRAL: WHO'S RUNNING FOR JUDGE IN 2016 ..... UPDATED
In Group 9, recently appointed Judge Jason Bloch has opposition from attorney Marcia Del Rey.
In Group 39, David Young has filed to run in this open seat. He currently has no opposition.
In Group 52, Carol "Jodie" Breece, Raul Perez-Ceballos, Elena Tauler* and Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts have filed to run in this open seat.
*We have made a decision not to print the name that attorney Tauler used to file with the Division of Elections, (hint - it's Hispanic), until she at least has the sense to provide the same name to The Florida Bar, the organization that gives her a license to practice law. She is also still using the name Elena Tauler in her other legal-business ventures. It is time for the voters of Miami-Dade County to not have the wool pulled over their eyes and to be told the truth about her candidacy as it relates to her name.
In Group 7, incumbent Judge Edward Newman has drawn opposition from attorney Lizzet Martinez. Ms. Martinez has already raised nearly $37,000 in just two months since her filing; (only $5,000 of which was her own money).
Judge Newman immediately kicked in $100,000 of his own money to fund his campaign. This would be Judge Newman's fifth run for office having previously won elections in 1994, 1998, 2004, and 2010. If Judge Newman decides not to retire, this would be his final run for Judge as he would be 65 years old in 2016. It will be interesting to see if the former offensive guard for the Miami Dolphins, who played for the team as a rookie when they won the Super Bowl in 1974, will be "forced" into retirement from the bench.
Ms. Martinez has been a member of The Florida Bar since 1997. She concentrates her practice in the areas of family and bankruptcy law.
CAPTAIN OUT .......