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Very slowly... a circumspect email here, a private text there, a hushed phone call with a figure in a black robe huddled in a corner, hand over mouth, eyes darting back and forth, there are discussions about how to reopen the courts. Shhsh...it's a secret, so don't talk about it too loudly.
When do court calendars get back to normal with State, PDs, RC3s, and private counsel all jockeying for position to call the next case whilst remaining six feet apart?
Will we have X's on the floor of the courtrooms, six feet apart, for lawyers and litigants to stand like they do in the checkout line at Costco, Winn Dixie and Starbucks (you can sometimes find Rumpole early in the morning at the SB in the Bond At Brickell for an early morning tall Americano, one pump caramel).
Will a sidebar now require everyone to leave the courtroom while the participants talk about things that cannot be on the record, like "Can you believe her shoes with that purse?"
What about jurors? How many in the box? How many will show up for service after being out of work for months?
And then there's this: "You honor may I approach the witness?"
Witness: "Not unless she's wearing a mask!"
And of course identification cases will be a bit more difficult:
Prosecutor: Can you identify the mask the defendant was wearing?
Witness: "Sure, it was a Snoopy mask, the one where he is on his dog house with goggles on fighting the Red Barron."
Prosecutor: "And were the gloves blue or white?"
Depo rooms, tiny to begin with, are now out of the question. On the other hand, the Marlins and the Dolphins have stadiums that will not be used much for the next year. State v. Sanchez depos on the 20, State v. Gomez on the 30, and going for the TD, the oral argument in Wilson v. State will be at the goal-line. Meanwhile, in civil court Seaver v. Rose notice of depos will be for second base, Marlins Stadium, first question after the national anthem at 1:05 pm. "Get your hot dogs, cold beer! Case law on summary judgements here."
Prediction: As soon as everyone gets familiar with Zoom, courts will reopen.
Imagine a rolly-polly Brown bear, hibernating for the winter, emerging from his cave, eyes blinking at the unfamiliar bright spring sunshine, a bit confused about where to go and what to do. That could be your favorite judge, sequestered in their lair for six weeks, nose pressed up against the window, no world walking by to watch. But they will yawn, stretch, and get into their car, roll into the courthouse late, ask their bailiff to grab them a coffee while they wander on to the bench, and start denying motions to suppress before reading them. Then all will be right with the world. At least our corner of it.
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.