GOT VFO? Got Arthur?

Getting nowhere with your 23 hour-a-day locked-down VFO clients, even after proving some of them have documented medical conditions that could mean murder if they’re infected with Covid-19?

Does it make you sick every time you have to explain to someone’s mother that no matter how old a qualifying prior is, or that a charge is deemed “violent” by statute even when no actual violence occurred (or when the alleged violation is a “technical“), that their medically compromised child cannot get a bond hearing in Broward County until after the courts reopen?

Does it infuriate you when the SAO won’t agree to anything but a plea on a VFO qualified person, when the jail has provided documentation of mental health concerns, and when the only pre-plea visitations allowed are via video?

Additionally, are you tired of explaining to those newly arrested on the most serious charges that the Supreme Court’s direction for bond hearings during the pandemic similarly somehow does not apply to them?

Unfortunately, the above scenarios apply to many frustrated lawyers at this time. And despite all the hard work so many have accomplished to clear the jails over the last few weeks, much more has to be done.

The bottom line: Broward cannot continue to issue blanket proclamations denying hearings to vast classes of people who are innocent until proven guilty, and others bearing VFO designations pursuant to a badly written and often badly interpreted statute, all of whom are just as at risk of getting sick and dying as anyone else.

Accordingly, we reached out to Joe Kimok, in charge of BACDL. He’s on top of the problem, and added the following:

It’s imperative for our clients that courts resume holding legally required Arthur hearings and probation violation hearings – even those designated as VFO. Many of these folks would have been released even absent the virus, and the growing crisis in our jails only heightens the urgency.

In the meantime, if you’ve got your own perspective or story, please post a comment, or let Joe and Jack Tuter know ASAP. Getting the word out now is the only way this situation will improve.