Date: May 19, 2024 at 10:12:38 AM EDT
Subject: FACDL-Miami Update Following the Meeting with the State Attorney
Dear Members,

I wanted to update you about my meeting with the State Attorney. The decisions made by the State Attorney following our meeting will affect all of us and our clients, so I will continue to be transparent as we push for change.

 Zena Duncan (our President-Elect) and I attended on behalf of FACDL-Miami. The State Attorney attended, along with Howard Rosen (her Executive Assistant) and Jose Arrojo. Jose Arrojo is returning to the State Attorney’s Office after a six-year stint as the Executive Director of Ethics and Public Trust for the County.

 Zena and I presented the State Attorney, Mr. Rosen, and Mr. Arrojo with a binder of 15 specific examples of clear prosecutorial misconduct addressed in recent or pending motions by our members. We also provided specific examples of recurring issues in County Court. And we stressed that most, if not all, of these issues were brought to the attention of supervisors at the SAO – but rarely did prosecutors face consequences for their actions. We also kept returning to our main point that the problem is bigger than these individual examples, and that it is the duty of the State Attorney’s Office to investigate and resolve the issues.

 We eventually discussed our proposed solution of a Prosecution Integrity Unit, which contains a Conviction Integrity Unit (re-examining convictions where there may be issues of misconduct) and a Case Integrity Unit (to advise prosecutors on ethical issues in open cases and to field concerns from the defense bar about open cases). We were insistent that this Unit needed to be run by someone who does not have current or past employment with the State Attorney’s Office.

 The State Attorney did not make any decisions at the meeting. She asked for 45 days to investigate the issues and proposals that we’d brought to her attention before meeting again to discuss. We agreed to that timeline – but I asked that if decisions were made before the 45 days, I’d like to be informed, and the State Attorney agreed.

 In addition to our meeting in 45 days, we’ve agreed to re-invigorate the FACDL-Miami/SAO Liaison Committee. In recent years, the Committee has existed on our end, but we’ve gotten no response on their end. The State Attorney agreed that she would appoint experienced prosecutors and supervisors at her office that would meet with us periodically to address current issues identified by the defense bar.

 Please continue to bring issues of misconduct to my attention and I will continue to highlight to the State Attorney the need for change. Once the State Attorney has made decisions on what actions she will take, the Board will consider any additional steps the organization needs to take to address misconduct.

 Lauren Field Krasnoff

President, FACDL-Miami