*UPDATE* – SS: A Broward judge makes the only sensible call | Editorial (4/25)
“ … It’s obvious that for the sake of his daughter’s career, the judge cannot antagonize the governor. That’s an obvious appearance of impropriety, but the judge denied a motion by Velez’s lawyers to disqualify himself …
The judge’s recusal order was public Monday. He signed it Friday, the day the Sun Sentinel posted a column by Opinion Editor Steve Bousquet, urging him to recuse himself.“
By Steve Bousquet, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
” … The case of Rod Velez v. Ron DeSantis was assigned to Circuit Judge Michael Robinson, who has been on the bench for 13 years …
With Velez’s suit against him pending, DeSantis must soon decide whether to appoint the judge’s daughter, Allana Robinson Woods, to a vacant circuit judgeship …
Judge Robinson never disclosed to the parties that his daughter’s legal career is solely in the hands of the defendant — DeSantis …
This is an important case, and it should be decided by someone other than Judge Michael Robinson. For the reputation of the Broward bench, step aside, Judge.“
*UPDATE APRIL 20th*: DeSantis signs law eliminating need for unanimous jury decisions
“Once a defendant in a capital case is found guilty by a unanimous jury, one juror should not be able to veto a capital sentence,” DeSantis said in a news release. “I’m proud to sign legislation that will prevent families from having to endure what the Parkland families have and ensure proper justice will be served in the state of Florida.”
The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board called today for Jack Tuter to move Liz Scherer to the civil division, in an editorial entitled A Broward judge’s hug raises real bias questions.
From the editorial:
“Broward Chief Judge Jack Tuter has a decision to make. Scherer was a prosecutor in the Broward state attorney’s office before becoming a judge 11 years ago. She should have forsaken any sympathies long ago. Tutor (sic) should reassign her, at least for now, to civil trials that don’t involve Broward state attorneys and public defenders.”
Previously, the Fourth DCA denied blanket efforts to have Scherer disqualified from criminal cases. The issue in Tundidor, of course, involves a specific hugged ASA from the Parkland case who also factors prominently in the Tundidor matter. But does the Sun Sentinel’s position, coupled with the DCA’s recent actions, change anything?
Should Tuter, now that Broward’s most read newspaper has weighed in, move Scherer? Should the actions of the DCA in Tundidor be cabined strictly to that single case, or should the chief judge now be concerned regarding all criminal cases? Or should Tuter continue to ignore the previously voiced concerns of various defense bars, the Public Defender, and now those of the Sentinel, and leave her in criminal?
YOU MAKE THE CALL!
COMING SOON – Long Live Norm!; Old Friends:
” … during an off-the-record conversation at a status hearing in Tundidor’s case, Scherer asked Klinger how he was doing. Tundidor alleged that Scherer and Klinger were “commiserating over their shared disappointment at the outcome” of the Cruz case, the Supreme Court opinion said.“
COMING SOON – Who got hugged?
COMING SOON – Is Jack Tuter out of touch with the community he serves?
Broward courts open today, despite school closures …
Runaway juries are one thing, but it’s about time to come up with a name for out of custody defendants who decide to disappear while the jury is deliberating.
It’s certainly not uncommon, but rarely does it happen twice in the span of a couple of weeks on circuit felony matters.
One individual today is still on an extended bathroom break, after a carefully worded jury question sent shivers down the spines of the defense.
In late March, another individual similarly asked to use the facilities while the jury was out, and missed hearing the foreperson seal his fate.
What changes, if any, will recent events have on BSO’s handling of out of custody, innocent until proven guilty defendants who exercise their right to go to trial, and also their right to go to the bathroom?
Wait and see, or … wait and watch?