A telephonic status conference was held this afternoon at 4:00 PM in JQC v. Hawkins.

Here’s the update:

The JQC is standing on its Notice of Formal Charges, offering no amendments at this time.

Trial will be in the Broward County Courthouse either January 7th-8th, the week of January 20th, or February 13th-14th.

The litigants are available those days, but witnesses and JQC Commissioners need to be coordinated.  The JQC currently has a regularly scheduled meeting January 9th and 10th, possibly complicating a trial shortly after the New Year.

Witness Lists and exhibits from both sides are due December 2nd, with a twenty day window following for objections, etc.

Hawkins’ attorney David Bogenschutz anticipates “probably” asking for more than the usually allowed three character witness, while acknowledging the number of character witnesses at some point becomes “superfluous“.

The JQC website, linked above, should update shortly …


The receptionist for Joe D’Amico just told us after an in-person request to see the general counsel for the 17th Circuit that our public records request for the names and applications of all those that applied to replace Barbara Beilly as Family Court GM is “being reviewed“.

For some reason,  D’Amico is not otherwise responding to multiple calls and emails, after we specifically asked him to acknowledge receipt of the PRR on October 18th, which he did.  In fact, we also specified to send over the names first, if the applications had to be gathered and reviewed, which could be time consuming.

In any event,  we will be sure to post as soon as we learn who else was in the pool for consideration for the GM positions ultimately filled by both Rudy Morel and Allana Robinson Woods.

Stay tuned …


 Allana Robinson Woods

A 17th Circuit HR representative confirmed today the appointment of Allana Robinson Woods to replace retiring family court GM Barbara Beilly on November 1st.  Rudy Morel, longtime drug and mental health court attorney for the PDO, and an MD, is already up and running in replacement for Phil Schlissel, who was the previous GM over drug and mental health court matters.  Both positions were reportedly filled after a July cutoff for applications, and recommendations to Jack Tuter by an interviewing committee.

Unfortunately, the 17th Circuit’s reputation for nepotism isn’t going to be helped by the addition of Robinson Woods, confirmed by the same HR representative mentioned above as the daughter of former judge Mary Robinson, and former GM and current judge Michael Robinson.  A quick web search turns up little on Allana, so it’s not known at this time if she has a background in family law.  In the meantime, we’re preparing a public records request for the names of all of the applicants and the applications for both of the GM positions, and will report back shortly if concerns over nepotism should be raised in this case.

In closing, a belated congratulations to both Allana and Rudy!


The SAO and PDO non-partisan debates, sponsored by FIU College of Law and the League of Women Voters, are to be held on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.  Final arrangements are being made for the African-American Research Library to host the event.  The SAO debate will run from 6:00 to 7:30 PM, followed by a break, and then the PDO debate from 8:00 to 9:00 PM.

All twelve candidates currently registered for both races have confirmed participation for December 4th.  The panel of questioners consists of Bill Gelin from JAABLOG, Rafael Olmeda from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, and the Miami Herald’s David Ovalle, who has also agreed to serve as moderator.

Plan on attending, and please forward any questions you would like considered for submission to the candidates to any of the panelists listed above.  It’s been more than ten years since there hasn’t been an incumbent presence in the PDO race, and concerning the SAO, decades.  Both offices potentially have great impacts on the lives of Broward residents, and given the national movement towards criminal justice reform, major policy changes may be coming after the 2020 election.

Lastly, in addition to FIU Law and the League of Women Voters, a big thank you to County Commissioner Steve Geller and his Chief of Staff Josh Freeman for their assistance in making all this happen.



The following email was received from the SAO this evening in response to JAABLOG PRR’s over the last few weeks.  We will update with dates and more information as time allows:

Q: My understanding is DTU is case filing regarding searches given the new hemp laws on “odor plus” and Case Filing is using “odor” alone. Is this correct?

This is incorrect. Our prosecutors are reviewing on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Is there any office wide guidance?

Our prosecutors are reviewing on a case-by-case basis.

Q: And is there finally any policy on retroactivity on pending cannabis under three grams cases?

Consistent with the change in state law and the memo issued on Aug. 19, the Broward State Attorney’s Office will be dropping active marijuana cases involving less than three grams in cases where that is the sole charge. (For context, these types of cases have generally been referred to diversion programs or drug court in the past and cannabis cases qualify for diversion three times.) If there are additional charges, our prosecutors will review on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the policies in the Aug. 19 memo. Though the change in the law is not retroactive, we believe that fundamental fairness requires us to treat people in the same way whether the incident occurred before or after July 1. People who are benefiting from pre-trial diversion programs will be permitted to complete their treatment if they want to do so.




Every registered candidate for SAO and PD has agreed to participate in non-partisan debates.

The location, date, and time are being finalized.  The invitations were sent out last night to lock in commitments at the earliest stage, since scheduling with twelve busy candidates will take some planning.  The SAO and PDO debates will be held back to back after a short intermission to ensure the largest possible turnout from the legal community.

The panel of three questioners will consist of Bill Gelin from JAABLOG, the Sun Sentinel’s Rafael Olmeda, and the Miami Herald’s David Ovalle, who will also serve as moderator.

Please submit questions or topic areas you would like considered via email or in the comments section.  Panelists can be reached by clicking the names above.

Here are the confirmed participants, starting with SAO:

And PDO: