*Assuming Hawkins files, or is allowed to file if still under suspension …
The Sun Sentinel has the story here of an inmate who has died at an area hospital. He was suffering from Covid-19, and represented by the PDO, which has gone to unprecedented lengths to get as many folks as possible out of the jail system during the pandemic.
As previously reported, BSO does not have ventilators in the jails, and a further outbreak could overwhelm area hospitals, in addition to putting inmates, staff, and LEO’s needlessly in jeopardy.
The time is now for the stakeholders to agree to start commuting BCJ sentences for non-violent offenders, and to agree to release others awaiting hearings. It shouldn’t have to take a lawsuit or other legal action this late in the game.
The once a day, non-public Emergency Docket is not enough, with many finding it next to impossible to get a case on the docket for a bond hearing or a negotiated plea. The only remaining docket for this week has a mere twenty-seven cases, while inmates are stacked in tiny cells on lockdown for twenty-three hours a day awaiting hearings.
Jack Tuter, Mike Satz and Greg Tony may be doing the best they can, but much more is needed. The adversarial process that is mostly being relied upon at this time, where pleas are sometimes being squeezed, needs to be shelved and replaced by common sense agreements to get non-violent offenders out of jail immediately.
PEOPLE ARE DYING
The second ASA with concerns over Covid-19 exposure has come back negative.
Tensions are running high in the judicial set, at least amongst the ones up for election this year.
As in 2008 and 2010, when a record number of incumbents were challenged, judges are well aware that the deepening economic crisis, together with the current paradigm shift relating to the quick, emergency based ramp up in technological improvements to the traditionally hidebound court system, means already stressed attorneys may be looking for a solidly reliable paycheck and an amazing pension, not to mention health care benefits.
Additionally, as reflected in the comments section, some people feel advantages enjoyed by incumbents on the campaign trail will be severely limited due to virus related issues, with vote by mail becoming a defining factor, since face to face campaigning may become impossible, with money raising abilities hampered by the stagnant economy and the inability to hold fundraisers.
Lastly, there is real anger out there regarding the judicial appointment process, as many feel the system is impossibly politicized to the point highly qualified “D” lawyers won’t even bother to apply, emboldening others to exercise their constitutional rights and run for office.
Putting it simply, the “perfect storm” of 2010 may be upon us again, with unprecedented and unique pandemic factors further fanning the turmoil.
If you’re interested in locking in a salary of $160,688 for circuit and $151,822 for county, plus a potential pension for life of at least $30,000 annually after a single term, you might want to breathe life into judicial democracy in Broward County and consider a run in 2020.
Candidate pre-qualifying has been opened up early this year, starting April 6th due to the pandemic, so now’s the time to gather up your documents.
From the Division of Elections, also applying to the county SOE:
Keep clicking here to for circuit, and here for county, to see who is running. Many will try to strategically wait until the last minute, but since there likely won’t be Tallahassee or SOE walk-ins, it will be easier to gauge this year than in the past. And remember, if the page is slow to load, keep trying. It’s only because nervous judicial fingers are also busily clicking to see if they’ve got a race or a walk in 2020 …