Jack Tuter’s war on the jail cap continues unabated -the hotly anticipated Administrative Order implementing the Alternative Sanctions Program for probation violations was issued yesterday for felony offenders and misdemeanor offenders Click on the links to study the specifics.

Adam Goldberg, chief of the Public Defender’s Early Representation Unit, told us in January that the statutorily authorized program is already in place in numerous judicial circuits throughout Florida, and should have the effect of clearing a large amount of non-violent probationers away from jail stays when a technical is presented to a judge.  The judges retain discretion on each case, so warrants could still be forthcoming, as with the request for reprimand letters in lieu of warrants process, which has been in place for some time.  With Tuter leading the way, however, it’s hoped judges won’t interfere with alternative sanctions, and allow the Department of Corrections to handle technical violations in house.

Wait and see …

Constitutional Revision Commission Chris Smith spoke to us this morning regarding an update on the CRC and judicial issues.

The push to get the retirement age up to 75, and doubling the qualifying minimum years of legal experience before becoming a judge from five to ten years, may still make the ballot.

However, merit retention for all county and circuit judges, after having to face one contested election, seems dead.

Smith says he supports merit retention for seasoned judges because he’s unhappy with the current system for electing judges.  He doesn’t think they should have to hustle all over the county without being able to say much of anything after surviving their first election, but mostly wanted to start a discussion about changing the way judges are elected.  After facing strong resistance from the other commissioners, Smith said the next step may be to try and alter the restrictive speech rules governing judicial elections, so candidates for the bench can at least have substantive discussions on the campaign trail …