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!

SO LONG, DALE …

 The Original Blog Star …

Dale Ross has announced his retirement via judicial email:

12:25 PM

I have just sent my retirement letter to the Governor.

These past thirty-five (35) years have been a heck of a ride.

I want to thank all of the maintenance personnel, security folks, jury room, clerks, Court Administration personnel, etc., etc., who are the “unknown soldiers” who are never recognized, but make this building run.

Special thank you to all the JAs. You are an incredible group of people and are the back bone of the court.

I hope the years I served as Chief Judge made your lives better. I’ll miss most of my colleagues and all of you.

Thanks for the memories.

Dale Ross

BLUNDER!

Annual State of the Broward Circuit Luncheon by Chief Judge Peter Weinstein at The Tower Club.

Peter Weinstein, Chief Judge

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Robert Lee, Traffic Chairperson

After 23 years, Brenda Di Ioia is out of a job.  Her contract to remain for another year as chief traffic magistrate has not been renewed, and it stinks of politics.  Buddy Nevins has the full story here. ****SEE UPDATE BELOW****

Di Ioia, of course, is running against a sitting judge, Nina Di Pietro.  Ian Richards is also in the race.  Tips started coming in late last week that Di Ioia was done, and that payback for running against an incumbent was at issue.  Judges Lee and Weinstein haven’t returned calls placed late this afternoon regarding the reasons for the decision.  One thing’s for sure though, given rumored behind the scenes involvement of Kathy Pugh and Alexandra Rieman, it would seem the chief  judge was involved in the ultimate decision.

Politics isn’t softball.  This kind of thing could be expected in the broader political realm.  But given the context of a judicial race, where a higher level of decorum is demanded, a perceived blow like this has no place, particularly when the powers that be seem to turn a blind eye to some incumbents relentlessly campaigning in the community during peak morning work hours.  Let’s hope Lee and Weinstein call back to clarify the issues.

As for Brenda, it’s only a problem if she loses, and her critics may have inadvertently made it a lot easier to ensure a Di Ioia victory.  Americans love fair play, and a carefully tailored speech detailing her firing after years of dedicated service, for daring to run against a young Republican political darling, well, you get the picture.

Throw in a tear or two, Brenda, and it might be Di Ioia v. Richards in November …

****UPDATE**** Like a lot of Buddy’s stories initially highly critical of a judge or a courthouse matter, his story crying foul over the Di Ioia firing has now undergone an extensive rewrite. After speaking to an unnamed source who “is in the 17th Judicial Circuit administration“, BrowardBeat now contends there was good reason not to retain Di Ioia as a traffic magistrate. To us the timing is still of great concern, so, as previously stated, let’s hope Lee or Weinstein call back Wednesday with their official perspective. In the meantime, anyone desiring a copy of Buddy’s story as originally published should feel free to drop us a line …

BSO Crime Lab Halts Some DNA Analysis After New Times Story

(Thanks to all Anonymous Tipsters)