SUNDAY NOTES

Deadline: Monday, August 15, 2016get your applications in by the 15th if you hope to replace Matt Stevenson on the Fourth DCA.  An interesting group of Broward jurists are rumored to be applying.  Stay tuned to review their applications …

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VIDEO: BSO Deputy returns shopping cart to Publix

Mixed Messages – The Sun Sentinel endorsed Judge Ian Richards‘ reelection bid in 2014, with these words:

“Statistically, black candidates in judicial races face long odds in primary elections. Yet, in his first campaign, Richards pulled off a stunning upset. He ran a low-budget but shrewd race against a heavily favored incumbent Hispanic judge.

This time, Richards is campaigning on his record, which is a pretty good one, and the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board recommends voters re-elect him. His accomplishments as a sitting judge far outweigh any controversy over how he ran for office six years ago.

Richards, 39, is an independent thinker with a reputation for efficiently running his courtroom in the county’s South Regional Courthouse. He serves in the court’s domestic violence unit and hears both civil and criminal cases.

In his first term, Richards cut the number of active domestic violence cases from 1,100 to under 500. He ranks among the top 5 percent of county judges presiding over jury trials. And fewer than 0.1 percent of his decisions have been reversed on appeal … “

Cut to 2016, when the Sun Sentinel had this to say about Richards in his race to unseat politico Nina Di Pietro, appointed in 2015:

“Ian Richards served as a county judge for six years. He was elected in 2008, but lost his re-election bid in 2014 to Claudia Robinson. He has been working with a private law firm since his defeat.

Richards’ ascension to the bench was controversial, too. Richards is African-American and ran a campaign that kept his photograph out of sight. He didn’t even attend the Sun Sentinel endorsement interview that year. His defenders say it was a clever and defensible strategy in a county that does not elect many black judges …

But his critics say that Richards could be arrogant and ran a disorganized courtroom. He acknowledged during his endorsement interview that he “has done some soul-searching” about his judicial demeanor since his election defeat.”

Just another day in Broward …

COMING SOONGrossman v. Bryson!

Black lawyers support Mark Hulsey against allegations

WHO SAID THAT?

“(AFRICAN-AMERICANS) SHOULD GO GET BACK ON A SHIP AND GO BACK TO AFRICA”

Who Said it?

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Mark Hulsey, circuit judge, Jacksonville

OR …

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Napoleon Broward, who greets all minority defendants in the breeze-way entrance to felony court in Broward County?

OR …

BOTH?

ANSWER:

JQC v. HULSEY*

and

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(Click to enlarge, copyright 1972: The Miami Herald)

Mr. Weinstein, tear down this statue!

* JQC accusations

WEINSTEIN SPEAKS!

Peter Weinstein has issued a statement in conjunction with the Resiles matter.  It’s found here, in Joan Murray’s piece for CBS 4, Monday evening:

“While Court Administration has been asking for additional deputies for years, by statute the Sheriff’s Office has the authority to assign deputies to the courts in Broward County; the Chief Judge does not. While the Chief Judge and the Trial Court Administrator will be involved in upcoming cross-agency security meetings, ultimately, any changes to security in our courts is between the Sheriff’s Office and the Broward County Commission.”

Not surprisingly, Weinstein punted.  But since courthouse security is now going to be seriously reevaluated, it’s worth pointing out a few things courthouse regulars might tell you concerning what could be termed “judicial meddling” in BSO courthouse operations.

  1. Judicial “Pet Peeps”.  Judges carry a lot of weight as to which bailiffs are assigned to the courtrooms, and if they don’t get their way, the Sheriff himself could get a call.  What this means is bailiffs are often assigned (or booted) by judicial whim, and not by ability, placing the public at risk.
  2. Limit the number of IC’s to six max.  Judges and lawyers may not like it, but everyone can go to lunch a little later when safety is at stake.  Instead of pushing bailiffs to pack the jury box full of IC’s in order to burn through the morning docket, judges need to follow BSO recommendations when it comes to how many IC’s can be safely supervised at any one time.
  3. Cameras on everyone, not just the judges.  Believe it or not, the cameras covering the North Wing courtrooms are fixed on the judges.  We’ve never been able to figure this one out, even if it’s just another vestige from Broward’s bizarre judicial-centric past.  The cameras need to monitor the entire courtroom, because everyone’s safety is important, not just the judges’.  Additionally, trained eyes might prevent Resiles type collusion in the gallery before mayhem ensues, if the entire proceedings are monitored, not to mention having evidence preserved in the event of an incident like last Friday’s.
  4. Stop staffing judicial reception with bailiffs.  They don’t do it in Palm Beach or Miami, but Broward judges like having a full-time bailiff sitting in the North Wing reception areas guarding a locked door.  The other mentioned circuits have a phone or intercom on the wall, as does Broward, so visitors can call the JA and state their business.  If the judge or JA wants to let them in or needs some paperwork, they can do the legwork themselves, instead of keeping a bailiff there all day when the courthouse is already severely short-staffed of security personnel.
  5. Courtroom assignments.  Judges like their fiefdoms.  They certainly don’t like to move courtrooms either, which probably explains why one common sense idea wasn’t implemented years ago, namely putting every juvenile courtroom on the fourth floor, instead of throughout the North Wing and one in the old courthouse.  The general idea is to keep the highest risk offenders as far from a fire exit as possible, and to make the awful public parade of shackled kids from parking lot to courtroom safer and more manageable for BSO.

Just a few ideas for Weinstein to consider in the coming days.  Judges need to stop impacting courthouse security, and focus on their dockets.  As previously reported back in 2015, Deputy Command Staff is well on the way to implementing changes whereby each courtroom will be staffed by a combination of armed deputy/corrections officer/bailiff, but until Scott Israel and the County Commission come to a consensus, the judges need to leave security to the pros …

COINCIDENCE?

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Anonymous at 9:40 AM this morning has alerted readers to two conspicuous arrests yesterday, both charged with ESCAPE/ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE and ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT OF FIRST DEGREE FEL.

The names of the accused are Winston George Russel, Jr. and Laquay Stern.

There’s nothing in the news yet, but if the cases are related to the Resiles matter, it should come out this morning at First Appearances …

(Thanks, as always, to tipsters and commentators)

ACCUSED MURDERER ON LOOSE

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A daring escape from Raag Singhal’s courtroom occurred a few minutes ago.  A man believed to be accused murderer Dayonte Resiles jumped from the jury box where he was in jail uniform and cuffs, and fled the courtroom, shedding his clothes and cuffs in the hallway outside.  He is still believed to be at large …

(Credit Photos To: JAABLOG … click photos to enlarge)

COMING SOONMr. Weinstein, Tear Down This Statue!

Justice Advocacy Association of Broward