Oh Joel! – click here for the letter from Howard Finkelstein to Jack Tuter regarding Joel Lazarus’ comments during First Appearances court on January 19th.
The Public Defender is looking to have Lazarus stricken from any further criminal matters, after the senior judge was caught on tape stating “I’ll double the bond … [the alleged incident] took place in my neighborhood. Closer to my house, the higher the bond. That was always Lazarus’ Rule.”
Additionally, Finkelstein highlights what he calls “two policy statements (as to bonds and as to sentencing) that would place any reasonable defendant appearing before him in fear of not receiving a fair and impartial hearing“.
From the letter:
“During the afternoon 2nd look docket, Judge Lazarus further showed his lack of impartiality when dealing with a defendant facing a misdemeanor cannabis allegation … Even though the case had not been filed, the defendant wished to resolve his case so he could be released from custody. Judge Lazarus offered to resolve the case for an adjudication and time served. When asked if he would withhold adjudication, Judge Lazarus stated “absolutely not, I don’t do that.” When challenged with the information that other judges typically withhold adjudication in misdemeanor cannabis cases, Judge Lazarus advised that he does not, and that he would “treat him consistent with the way I treat other defendants.” These additional policy statements evidence an antiquated sentencing approach to cannabis that is at odds with our county, state, and nation’s evolving attitude and show that with him, criminal conviction is the only resolution.”
Now all eyes are on Tuter to see how he handles a seemingly out of touch senior judge who has, for whatever reason, been permitted to work pretty much full-time since retiring many years ago …
From the DBR – speaking of Tuter, after many strides into the modern era since taking over as chief judge, he still shares one thing in common with his predecessors: he hates this blog!
The Daily Business review quotes him boasting from the State of the Circuit address on January 19th, ironically the same day Lazarus was stuffing foot in mouth in bond court:
“And now the chief judge wants to turn his attention to several new initiatives with Broward Clerk of Courts Brenda Forman, Public Defender Howard Finkelstein and State Attorney Michael Satz, despite what he called “malicious and anonymous blogs” that falsely depict a rift among the public officials … “
On the bright side, with our slower rate of posts and news reporting, it’s nice to know he’s still reading, even if it’s not very carefully …
COMING SOON – 2018 Judicial Races Roundup; This year’s Gulkin Award goes to …
Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Review confirms Broward more punitive toward blacks