Former Broward ASA Scott Janowitz is now a county court judge in Miami.

A text from Scott on Tuesday night:

I am excited and humbled at this opportunity to serve. I am appreciative of all the ASAs, PDs, Judges, Clerks, lawyers, and everyone else who has been there along the journey (for both making me a better lawyer and supporting my candidacy over the years). I particularly thank Mike Satz, who gave me my first legal job. I thank Judges Cowart, Gates, S.Ross, and Towbin-Singer for their examples. To the Jaablog readers – please feel free to visit me whenever I get assigned.


From the Beginning (2006): Maister, Janowitz & JAABLOG …


*UPDATE* – Sample Docket entry:

By Ken Hassett:

Earlier today I attended a Zoom Bench & Bar meeting that included Broward Chief Judge Jack Tuter. Please be advised that I only type with two fingers so take the following with a grain of salt, including some of my own conclusions. Here are some of the highlights of what was discussed regarding criminal cases:

  • Possible Zoom Jury Trials in the future
  • Civil trials will take a back seat to the in custody criminal cases
  • Broward Juvenile Detention center is closed (Kids moved to Dade?)
  • Bond Hearings are on Zoom every day I believe this is the link
    Meeting ID: 620 446 048
  • The release Motion/Hearings (discussed in prior emails) are still taking place
  • No regular court hearings until after 5/29/2020
  • If you file a NOH to notice someone of a Zoom hearing, do not use the courthouse address on the notice, place the Zoom information on the notice so people do not appear at the courthouse.
  • Questions about the 17th Judicial circuit or about scheduling a hearing? http://www.17th.flcourts.org/court-faqs/ or Click here for Online Scheduling system help. For any technical problems you can e-mail the type of the problem to calendar@17th.flcourts.org, Include attorneys Florida Bar Member Number in all correspondence.
  • Judge Tuter advised that we should not be back in the courthouse until it is safe. He did not seem to be in favor of future in person court hearings where everyone has to wear a mask. My take on his statements is that we will be on this Zoom thing for quite a while. At one point he discussed jurors. What would we do, issue 300 masks per day to jurors?
    He did not seem to be in favor of that idea at all. (My opinion)
  • He spoke about a private attorney misdemeanor plea docket that will probably be up and running in a few weeks via Zoom.
  • There are no rules yet for Zoom depos – Stay tuned
  • All but essential employees have been sent home from the clerk’s office. Remember, their budget is determined by their revenue from collecting fines & costs. Obviously, they are collecting next to nothing at this point.
  • DV Injunctions are still taking place. Petitioners still go to the courthouse to obtain TRO (I’m pretty sure they can do this online ahead of time https://www.browardclerk.org/Divisions/DomesticViolence#GeneralInformation). Judge’s Kaplan & Moon are making every attempt to hold the 15 day hearings via Zoom.
  • Don’t send Judges snail mail. They are not going to receive it.
  • Each Judge should now have a Zoom link here: http://www.17th.flcourts.org/online-schedule/
  • It is unknown at this point whether the Landlord/Tenant issue will be continued beyond 5/29/2020
  • The new Federal Courthouse in Broward has 4 potential sites. I’m pretty sure they narrowed it down to two. One next to the main Broward jail and one across the street from the Broward Bar. 2021 possible groundbreak.

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.



Commutations! – as many already know, BCJ sentences set to expire in the near future are being terminated or commuted to community based sanctions. Lists have already been approved and are on dockets for release. If you’ve got a client in there with a sentence set to expire in the next few months and they haven’t been docketed already, check with your ASA …

Greg Tony respondsclick this link for responses to claims of “no confidence” currently being debated amongst some BSO employees for an upcoming vote …

Movement Michael Davis to Drug Court for Michele Towbin-Singer, who takes over Raag Singhal’s old civil division. There are rumors another criminal division judge is looking to get out, but until that’s confirmed, conventional wisdom has Davis in Drug Court …

Palm Beach races – 15th Circuit judges are also being challenged in 2020, the so-called year of the no campaigning campaigns. Two circuit judges have opponents, pictured below. We’re told a county judge will also be facing a challenger soon, but no names just yet, as we’re sworn to secrecy for the time being …