YOU MAKE THE CALL! (ZOOM PUBLIC REPRIMAND EDITION)

UPDATE @ 5:30 PM:

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Should judges who have committed ethical violations be permitted to appear via Zoom for their public reprimands?

Should the Supreme Court allow them to hang their heads in shame from the comfort of a location of their choosing, given the ongoing public health emergency?

Or should public reprimands in the age of Covid-19 go forward or be reset to a safer date, so errant judges can appear like all other Judicial Canon violators live and in-person before the full body of Florida’s highest court?

Scott Cupp and Richard Howard, set for reprimands in Tallahassee on September 1st and 2nd, respectively, have both filed motions asking to take their medicine via Zoom.

(click the names above to read the motions)

Will the Supreme Court dispense with years of tradition, and the added punishment component of a public reprimand actually occurring in public on humbling, unfriendly terrain, by allowing an electronic appearance? Or should the motions be denied, given the sheer number of everyday ordinary people/litigants/jurors and staff compelled to come to court daily during the pandemic for things like misdemeanor jury trials with out of custody defendants?

YOU MAKE THE CALL!

JQC DOCKETS & DOCUMENTS

BUSTED!

My, that’s a big one …

Attorney Joe Titone took a trip from the courthouse scanner to jail today, after being accused of forgetting to take a gun out of his bag before hitting courthouse property. Titone is, of course, Adam Sandler‘s father-in-law, but any stay in jail, even the remarkably short one (by Broward standards) of a few hours suffered by Titone, is no laughing matter.

Read all about Titone’s colorful history over at BrowardBeat.com, and, we’re sure, later this evening in the mainstream media …

COMING SOON – FlipFlop! 9-0 for Tuter (or “77 more to go” … ); New Websites coming: 17thcircuit.com, Browardjudge.com, Browardjudges.com, 4thdca.com.

*UPDATE* – SS: Adam Sandler’s father-in-law arrested with gun in bag at Broward courthouse

ROUND TWO!

Buddy Nevins stated “there will be no Broward courtroom named for Chief Judge Jack Tuter in the near future” … but is he wrong?

Despite four County Commissioners having already voiced strong reservations about tweaking Broward County Administrative Code to name the new Ceremonial Courtroom for the very much alive Jack Tuter, the item is once again on the August 24th County Commission Meeting Agenda:

Does the item now have the votes to go forward? Are the previous nays now yays? Has the JEAC weighed in?

Wait and See …

Mark Bogen & Jack Tuter

BROWARD #1

The 17th Circuit’s COVID-19 Advisory webpage is being utilized more frequently, following the issuance of Administrative Order 2021-38-Temp. Here are the four most recent entries:

Does anyone see a pattern?

Will the judges, particularly Andy Siegel in Circuit Criminal Court, and most of the County Criminal judges, continue to push jury trials, as Broward County takes the tragic lead of being the hardest hit county in the hardest hit state?

Wait and see …

SS – Florida hospitalizations soar for another day, led by Broward County; 24,753 new daily cases break record:

Broward ranks first in the country for new hospital admissions over the last seven days through Aug. 10, with 1,800 confirmed COVID patients, a new U.S. Health Data report shows. The county with the next highest number of new admissions is Harris County, Texas, with 1,713 new admissions, followed by Miami-Dade County with 1,434 admissions.”

Gold Watch Time! – Long time ASA and Satz confidante John Countryman is retiring yet again. His resignation letter is below. If the signature looks familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it on loads and loads of aggressively charged Informations since Harold Pryor took office. In any event, we’ll wish John congratulations! on his second retirement from the SAO, and look forward to Pryor’s continuing criminal justice reforms in the Case Filing Unit and elsewhere …

SF Gate – Carlos Santana’s Tiburon home is for sale

AN OPEN LETTER TO JACK TUTER

UPDATEAdministrative Order 2021-38-Temp:

2021-38-Temp – COVID-19 EXPOSURE AND NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES (8/6/21)
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As you must be aware, the courthouse community was informed today that a bailiff died. It is believed he may have passed from Covid-19, although it cannot be said with any certainty.

As you must be aware, there are many others who work at the courthouse who have been exposed, and many are out sick or in quarantine. People who are vaccinated are getting sick too, and many of them have unvaccinated children.

There have been many known exposures, and courtrooms have been cleared and sanitized. Still, the 17th Circuit Covid-19 Advisory webpage is wildly incomplete, reflecting only a single courtroom exposure on July 22nd, and no closures to date. Members of the public and lawyers not connected to any of the stakeholders’ offices are being kept completely in the dark.

Keeping the courts running safely is a major responsibility. Can you work to ensure that when any member of the judiciary or court administration is informed of a possible exposure in a courtroom, or elsewhere in the courthouse complex, including offices of the Clerk, BSO, the SAO, and the PDO, that it is immediately posted to the 17th Circuit’s website, Facebook page, and the aforementioned Covid-19 Advisory webpage?

It’s a matter of life and death.

JAABLOG

ZOOM! (COVID-19 UPDATE)

SAO EMAIL SENT AT 4:35 PM:

The Chief Judge has advised the majority of county court cases will be heard remotely until mid-September when COVID-19 numbers will be reassessed. Arraignments will remain in person. Inmates who are quarantined will appear on Zoom.

The Chief Judge also asked all stakeholders to follow Judge Siegel’s suggestion of setting all felony cases that occurred on or before Dec. 31, 2019 for in-person hearings to set trial dates. Owls will be installed in all circuit courtrooms to assist with Zoom hearings. All cases dated from Jan 1, 2020, forward will be heard on Zoom unless there is an arraignment, evidentiary hearing that requires witnesses, or a trial.

Judges will be directed to limit the number of cases set in the courtroom during in-person proceedings. While Judge Siegel thinks 50 cases per day can be divided up to safely socially distance, that number may change. Inmates who are quarantined will appear on Zoom.

The Chief Judge has also asked our office to continue to work on negotiating cases or releasing defendants on monitors who are not a danger to the community but have tested positive for COVID-19.

It is our office policy that everyone is expected to be here and to practice social distancing. Everyone is required to wear their masks and avoid congregating in common office areas. No in-person meetings; please utilize zoom and telephones.

We need everyone to be a team player and be considerate of your co-workers’ livelihoods and health. Please be considerate of how you conduct yourselves outside of the office— with limiting everyone’s exposure to the virus in mind.

Please be responsible and report if you have had contact with someone who is positive.

Follow the below guidelines if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19:

If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) OR with someone who was in close contact with someone who has COVID-19:

• People who are fully vaccinated should work from home and get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms. Remain in work-from-home status until you get a negative test result OR 14 days following exposure. If you have symptoms, after contact with someone who had COVID-19, remain home.

• People who are unvaccinated and have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 OR with someone who was in close contact, should get tested and stay home for 14 days after your last exposure to that person. You may return to work after day 7 after receiving a negative test (the test must occur on day 5 or later) if you have no symptoms.

• Please continue to follow current CDC guidelines for return to work https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

BACDL EMAIL SENT AT 5:37 PM:

Subject: (BACDL) Circuit Criminal In-Person Next Week

I spoke with Judge Siegel today regarding in-person versus zoom hearings. Right now nothing in circuit criminal is being automatically moved to zoom. Everyone needs to appear where they were already noticed to appear (presumably in-person).

Monday we expect to get more news. But for Monday and until further notice, appear wherever you’ve been noticed to appear. This is only for Circuit Criminal. I will update everybody when I get more news.

R. William Barner III, Esq.

BACDL EMAIL SENT AT 6:02 PM:

Good evening, BACDL. I spoke with Judge Gottlieb today regarding moving forward with in-person versus zoom hearings. All calendar calls, pleas, and any other non-substantive hearings can be conducted on the respective judge’s zoom room. However, this still falls within each judge’s discretion. So do call your judge’s chambers the morning of.  Jury trials, non-jury trials, motions to suppress, and final VOPs will still be moving forward and will still be done in-person. —

R. William Barner III, Esq.