UPDATE: THE DQ MOTION FILED
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
THE REAL SCOOP .............. (we barely made it up to the courthouse just in time to pull the court file and review the proceedings).
First, the Judge involved in the case was not Al Milian. It was Judge Stephen Millan. The case is State v. Navarro, F13-30148. The charge is Manslaughter and the case was tried during the week of 10/17 before Judge Millan. For the defense: Dan Lurvey.
Last Thursday, after the jury had already been sworn, the sworn jurors were gathered outside the courtroom on the 4th floor of the REGJB. The bailiff, Victor, presented the jurors with envelopes that were going to be used to contain the jurors trial notepads. Victor instructed the jurors to write their names and juror numbers on the outside of the envelopes. One of the jurors asked about these details and who might become aware of the notes, to which Victor replied: "Don't worry. The bad guy won't see it". This was all witnessed by defense attorney Eddie Pereira, who was walking by the courtroom at that exact moment of the statement.
Judge Millan conducted an evidentiary hearing on the matter. Pereira testified to what he had heard. Victor testified that he said: "No good guys, no bad guys, no other person will see the notes. Only the judge, if requested". During the hearing, Lurvey also questioned Victor on a statement he had made about Lurvey in the jurors presence. The statement regarded Lurvey's legal skills. Victor said: "if you are in trouble, this is the guy to hire .... his dad was a member of the Miami-Dade bomb squad".
One other troubling note. When Lurvey first brought these issues to the attention of the Judge, Lurvey asked the Judge not to share the allegations with his bailiff, because Lurvey knew there would need to be an evidentiary hearing. During the evidentiary hearing, Victor admitted that, during the recess, he met privately with the Judge and Millan apprised Victor of the allegations of impropriety. After the conclusion of the evidentiary hearing, the Judge did not, sua sponte, declare a mistrial, instead he forced Lurvey to request a mistrial of the case. The Court did grant Lurvey's motion.
Then the real fun began. Lurvey then moved for disqualification of the Judge. Apparently, Judge Millan, rather than calling "balls and strikes" during the hearing, instead took a much more adversarial role, in support of his bailiff and challenging the credibility of both Mr. Lurvey and Mr. Pereira. Additionally, Lurvey pointed out in his Motion to Disqualify that, the court "departed from its role of neutrality when it spoke in private to its bailiff, prior to the commencement of the evidentiary hearing, regarding the accusations being brought by defendant against the trial court's bailiff providing an unfair advantage to the bailiff scheduled to testify as to misconduct before defendant's jury".
After much wrangling, Judge Millan today did grant the Motion to Recuse and the case has been reassigned to Judge Trawick.
If any of our readers can fill in any more of the blanks, please email us or post in the comments section.
***We have Lurvey's eight page Motion To Disqualify and will email it to Rumpole so he can add it to this post; (we haven't figured out how to do that yet).
CAPTAIN OUT .......