Rumor has it the fates of the double dippers handling the Parkland case and attendant issues are in limbo. Apparently, one of the still working pensioners, Tim Donnelly, has been told he won’t be coming back in January, ostensibly due to budgetary concerns.
Concerning Mike Satz, Jeff Marcus, and Carolyn McCann, the remaining expensive and retired prosecutors looking to essentially stay employed ad infinitum given the pandemic and breadth of the Cruz case, many are hoping budget cuts and morale concerns within the ranks of talented, full time and decidedly unrecognized SAO employees will cause Harold Pryor to rethink his position on keeping the rest of the old guard in place, and at the center of an intense media spotlight for possibly years to come.
Our position hasn’t changed since Bob’s piece, while Pryor seemingly flip-flopped during the campaign as to whether or not Satz and company would be staying on if he won. Now, factoring in a looming budget crisis, let’s hope Harold ultimately makes a clean financial and symbolic break from the past, and spreads the savings, large or small, amongst his loyal, skilled, and underpaid ASA’s, who most definitely deserve to be appreciated and rewarded for their years of dedicated service …
Pro Bono Warrior Dan Tibbitt has secured a stay in Clarington v. State, following the Third DCA’s denial of the Writ of Prohibition which would have allowed Miami judges to proceed with PVH’s, known as FVOP’s in Broward, as early as this Monday on Zoom.
From an email from Dan:
… (t)hey denied stay initially and gave state 10 days to respond to certification, which would have pushed past the PVH date, I then filed a Notice to Invoke FLSC jurisdiction, then once the FLSC docketed the case and entered an order staying proceedings there (but not in circuit court), I filed a renewed motion to stay in 3rd DCA, which they granted just before 5 pm (Friday), stopping the PVH which was supposed to start Monday morning and allowing us the time we need to hopefully get case to merits review in FLSC …
The State has until December 18th to file its response. Until then, no probation violation hearings on Zoom in Miami or Broward, where at least one judge has told us the Third DCA’s rulings thus far are “instructional” …
Bill Barner, president of BACDL, sent the following email earlier this morning to the BACDL list serve:
Good morning. Yesterday I spoke with our incoming state attorney, Mr. Pryor. He is interested in beginning in-person hearings on a limited basis. He wants to know if our attorneys would want to begin non-jury evidentiary hearings such as stand-your-ground, VOPs, and Motion to Suppress. The idea would be to space out hearings so that there are limited people in any one courtroom at a time and to wear masks and practice social distancing.
We would need the chief judge and the clerk to agree. But Mr. Pryor wants to measure our interest in the meantime.
Please respond to me as soon as possible with your thoughts.
This would mark the first notice since March when a litigation stakeholder, incoming or otherwise, despite only two Zoom links for in-custody hearings more than nine months into the pandemic, has publicly expressed willingness to reopen the courthouse …
The Fourth DCA, in last week’s State v. Lucas Stevenson, has determined THC oil products are now misdemeanors, assuming the oil or THC product weighs less than twenty grams. Bad news for Mike Satz, as one of his most egregious and anachronistic felony overcharges are now out the window.
Read the opinion. It’s not that simple, but we believe it’s properly encapsulated above.
Earlier today, the Broward SAO sent the following email regarding Stevenson, and breakdowns of existing cases:
“In a nutshell, the DCA agreed with the dismissal of a felony THC case based on the fact that it cannot be determined whether the THC was derived from organic material or is synthetic. This is different from the issue we recently discussed where all cannabis and THC has to have at least a .3% concentration of THC in order to be illegal. The issue here is the inability to exclude THC from the expanded definition of cannabis. If we cannot prove that the THC is synthetically derived, then it must be charged as cannabis and is not a felony unless we have 20 grams or more. As a result, all THC cases, if they substance has the required .3% THC level, will be downgraded to a misdemeanor unless there are 20 grams or more involved. The opinion will become final as the AG has advised they have no further arguments to make on the issue and will not be seeking further review. I wanted you all to be aware of this situation. Please identify any THC cases you may have and, unless it involves 20 grams or more, discuss the case with your supervisor. If the case involves other felony counts then we’ll most likely just reduce the one count to a misdemeanor. If the only felony is the THC count then we will need to refiled the case altogether … “
Congratulations to Carlos Canet on a momentous opinion. When we spoke to him earlier, he immediately pointed out his work was based on an earlier PCA in State v. Rosalez won by Russell Cormican and Sid Fleischman, now law after the Stevenson opinion.
On Behalf Of Daniel Tibbitt Sent: Wednesday, December 2, 2020 1:19 PM To: email@example.com Subject: FACDL-Miami 3rd DCA denial of writ on Zoom PVH’s
Today the Third District issued their decision in our writ seeking to stop probation violation hearings from going forward over Zoom. Judges Emas and Hendon ruled against us and found that whatever constitutional issues were present in forcing a defendant to go to a PVH over video and separate from his attorney were outweighed by the special circumstances of the pandemic. Judge Gordo concurred in the denial on the ground that she didn’t find a writ was the appropriate remedy, although she suggested that she did not agree with the constitutional conclusion. Those of us who were involved in the writ will be discussing possible next steps for further litigation on this issue later this week, but for now this decision from the Third DCA will be seen by the Eleventh Circuit judiciary as a green light to hold PVH’s over Zoom, so our members should be aware of that. I will update you if there is further relevant developments on this, and for now if you have a case where a judge is scheduling a PVH over Zoom please let me know so that, as the point person for this effort for FACDL-Miami, I can continue to keep track. The Third DCA decision is attached. If you have questions feel free to reach out.