UH OH …

The Sun Sentinel’s Rafael Olmeda has broken a big story regarding an alleged incident at judicial college concerning Barbara Duffy.  There’s been a lot of innuendo around the courthouse and in the comments section of Jaablog up until now concerning this particularly infamous judicial happy hour, and now Rafael has the goods here.

The disqualification motion filed by Howard Finkelstein’s office is found here.

Developing …

FIX THIS NOW, PETER!

blogg Ask Azim Ramelize …

The sleek new courthouse is partially open for business, but the festivities are muted due to the embarrassing, seemingly patchwork ramp that connects the North Wing to the new addition.  The long hallway has already caught the attention of the Sun Sentinel and ADA attorney Matthew Dietz, who is on record stating the ramp’s angle is steeper than Federal standards allow.  As one courthouse regular puts it, even if the slope is legal, it’s definitely not accident or lawsuit proof.

Today we shot a couple videos with APD Azim Ramelize to show just how fast the ride down is, and how straining the climb back up will be for folks in wheelchairs.  Video Number One is here, and Video Number Two, wherein Azim discusses some of the other problems in the existing courthouses facing disabled folks, is found here.

Let’s hope Peter Weinstein, who has made the new courthouse his number one priority, addresses all of the issues immediately, and doesn’t leave them for the new chief judge to solve … *

* The CJ election is February 1st.  Early voting is currently underway.  Jack Tuter, Fred Horowitz, and Carlos Rodriguez are the candidates.  The new boss takes over in July …

12 FOR 2

The following twelve names were sent to Rick Scott in consideration to replace Tom Lynch and Arthur Birken on the circuit court:

Daniel Casey, Tom Coleman, Fabienne Fahnestock, John Fry, Yael Gamm, Stefanie Moon, Michele Ricca, Abbe Rifkin, Andrew Salvage, Claudette Vanni, Mariya Weekes, Michelle Zeiger …

unnamed

Peter Weinstein Tuesday morning, swearing in Betsy Benson, Debbie Carpenter-Toye, Barbara Duffy, Kathleen McCarthy, Mike Lynch, Kim Mollica, Florence Taylor Barner, and Andrea Gundersen …

(click photo to enlarge)

WELCOME BACK, RACIAL DISPARITY …

921.002The Criminal Punishment Code.—The Criminal Punishment Code (CPC) shall apply to all felony offenses, except capital felonies, committed on or after October 1, 1998.
(1) … The Criminal Punishment Code embodies the principles that:
(a) Sentencing is neutral with respect to race, gender, and social and economic status(emphasis added)

However, before the 1998 CPC was enacted, there were older guidelines in use, originally put in place in part to combat racial disparity in sentencing, which capped the amount of time a judge could dole out to an offender.  In fact, a Department of Corrections report entitled Sentencing Guidelines 1995-96 Annual Report, Part II: Impact, Section 2.  Sentencing Neutrality, states as follows:

FACT: This study found that an offender’s race has NO meaningful effect on the sentencing decisions made by Florida courts under the 1994 and 1995 sentencing guidelines structure.

And now comes the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s exhaustive study entitled Florida’s broken sentencing system, finding racial disparity alive and well throughout the state.  After examining “tens of millions of documents” relating to criminal cases from 2004-2015, all cases falling after the enactment of the 1998 CPC which eliminated caps and allows judges to impose any sentence within the statutory maximum, the Herald-Tribune found racial bias in sentencing is back with a vengeance.

The good folks in Sarasota didn’t suggest the 1998 changes to the guidelines as a possible factor in the inexcusable reemergence of racial disparity in sentencing, but some of our sources did.  Additionally, sources caution against the filing of disqualification motions against the worst judicial offenders based upon the Herald-Tribune’s Judges Database, at least until a better understanding of the methodology employed by the paper can be realized, and a more thorough consideration is given concerning the role all parties may play in the current state of sentencing in Florida, namely the SAO, PDO, Defense Bar, Law Enforcement, DOC, JNC, JQC, DCA, SCT, Judicial College, and Legislature.  Until that time, however, lawyers should be informing their clients of the study, particularly in courtrooms starring judges with higher scores on the racial bias database scorecard …

Everyday People …

New Courthouse Move-In Schedule

Coming SoonGoodbye, Hugh’s Catering …

NYT on the cost of diversion programs

Rumple: Brennan out after fiasco in the Keys

31 FOR 2

Below is the list of applicants for the two Circuit Court vacancies as a result of the resignations of Broward County Circuit Judges Thomas M. Lynch, IV and Arthur M. Birken.

1.      David Bierman

2.      Randi Glick Boven

3.      Daniel A. Casey

4.      Thomas James Coleman 

5.      Haccord J. Curry, Jr. 

6.      Andrew C. Demos

7.      Fabienne E. Fahnestock

8.      Phoebee Rebecca Francois

9.      John D. Fry

10.   Yael Gamm

11.   Pamela M. Gordon

12.   Michael Heise

13.   Doreen Inkeles

14.   Nicole Hunt Jackson

15.   Scott A. Levine

16.   Samuel D. Lopez

17.   Stefanie C. Moon

18.   Robert G. Nichols

19.   Bradford Alan Peterson

20.   Michele McCaul Ricca

21.   Abbe S. Rifkin

22.   Andrew L. Salvage

23.   Rhoda Sokoloff

24.   Max G. Soren

25.   Scott R. Strauss

26.   Russell Miller Thompson 

27.   Madeleine Torres

28.   Claudette Renee Vanni 

29.   Mariya Weekes

30.   Gerard S. Williams

31.   Michelle Zeiger