All posts by Jaaber

THE Q LIST

In-custody inmates are not getting their court dates, if they’re on the Q List.

The Q stands for quarantine. It’s been going on since reopening, but busy practitioners will tell you it’s reached epic proportions, with no end in sight. Sometimes up to half the in-court jail list gets scratched, with no dates offered by BSO as to when an inmate will once again be transportable.

Officials in the know put the number of inmates in Q at a lower rate, at roughly one-third of the jail population. Even with a lower estimation, with a little more than 3500 humans currently incarcerated in Broward County, the numbers are staggering. With the jail cap creeping over 81%, with lockdowns and other harsh conditions in place for safety reasons, inmates who can’t get their highly anticipated day in court, and their families, are rightfully furious. The only good news is the decreasing number of positives, down from approximately 260 last week to around 160 currently, keeping in mind that, for obvious reasons, only one positive can send the Q numbers soaring.

So what about Zoom?

Currently there’s one Zoom link for in-custody’s operational, and only for afternoon negotiated pleas that will result in release. The problem, we’re told, is the movement deputies for BSO, charged with securely transporting inmates to court, are the same men and women who made the Zoom in-custody dockets work during the closures. Since they’re now tied up with transport to the courthouse, and because it takes the same number of BSO personnel to securely take a reduced number of prisoners to court as it would to take a full load, there’s no one left to make Zoom work from the jail on a large scale. The result? No court for Q.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any easy solves here, short of the judges going back to aggressively granting releases, as was common prior to reopening. A return to full closure isn’t an option, not only because it’s a bad idea, but because we’re told the powers that be weren’t happy with Broward staying closed as long as it did in the first place. Zooming from the quarantine units themselves also isn’t an option, because of the way the jail pods are laid out. It’s a very bad situation with no cross-agency solution, unless, as previously stated, the judges come up with release plans to address the problem, instead of simply resetting the Q cases, which has unfortunately been the answer so far.

Here’s what Gordon Weekes had to say earlier this evening:

BSO has to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. They’re the largest budget item out of Broward County, and they should have the resources to run both Zoom and in-person dockets in the midst of a public health crisis. Short of BSO being able to maintain all court hearings, judges need to be prioritizing release to preserve access to courts and timely court hearings defendants are entitled to with or without a pandemic.

WAIT AND Q …

JNC DEADLINE: OCTOBER 5th

*UPDATE* SS – Former judge Tom Lynch cleared in campaign finance investigation

Miami prosecutors found no evidence that Lynch, campaign manager Michael Ahearn or campaign treasurer Megan Donahue committed a crime …

“It was a bookkeeping error that was corrected before the division of elections became aware of the mistake,” Lynch said Monday. “I’m pleased that the state attorney investigated and cleared us. There wasn’t a shred of evidence of wrongdoing.”

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JNC Announcement
Supreme Court Press Release

CONGRATULATIONS, TARLIKA!

Orange and Osceola County’s gain is Broward’s loss.

Tarlika Navarro has been appointed to maintain her circuit court judgeship north of the border, where her husband and the majority of her own family reside.

Tarlika brought a real world view to Drug Court, after years of stagnation. Let’s hope her replacement maintains the same outlook. Look for the JNC to announce a circuit court vacancy soon, although it’s up to Jack Tuter as to which judge takes over Drug Court.

Here’s what Tarlika had to say earlier this evening in response to our query:

This is a bittersweet decision for me and one I did not make lightly.  I am excited to return home to my husband and family in Central Florida.  I will sincerely miss all of my colleagues, staff and the Broward County legal community who have always supported me. 

WELL DONE!

COMING SOON Marni’s deal; Fun with the Rules of Judicial Administration …

BRENDA SAYS GOOD MORNING!

*UPDATE*SS: Jurors dismissed after Broward Clerk’s ‘Do the crime, do the time’ comment (6:59 PM)

Katy McHugh struck a panel of potential jurors today, partially based on the below affidavit. The SAO circulated the affidavit with the attached email alert earlier this afternoon.

Whether or not Brenda makes a habit of making alleged remarks like these in welcoming jurors is now the question of the day, as other trial proceedings could have been unknowingly impacted …

MIAMI CLOSED!

11th Circuit Media Advisory

COVID puts jury trials on hold in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto counties (8/26)

WPLG – Detectives clear Broward’s chief toxicologist of public corruption; prosecutors decide not to charge him over marijuana in his office

Brady! (JAABLOG 7/29)

Daily Mail (UK) – Adam Sandler’s father-in-law lawyer is arrested while smuggling a loaded gun into a Florida courthouse in his briefcase

Florida Bar drops complaint by State Attorney Jack Campbell over Mentour Lawyer YouTube videos

“Filing a bar complaint simply because a lawyer is sharing a public record was improper, and thankfully the grievance committee reached the right result.”

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