COMPARE AND CONTRAST

Here is the emergency docket for tomorrow, May 14th.

Once again, there are 21 in-custody defendants who will be present at a court hearing tomorrow, systemwide, out of more than 2600 inmates currently in the Broward County Jail awaiting hearings.

Remarkably, on Friday, there is no docket at all.

Here’s what else there isn’t since the pandemic started:

VFO Bond Hearings; Arthur Hearings, and Open Pleas.*

We spoke to one attorney today who has been trying to get an Arthur Hearing armed with an affidavit from an alleged victim who wants the defendant out, which according to the lawyer also shows the case is overcharged and should have been bondable all along. The attorney can’t get a hearing date, and is now considering a Writ to the court of appeals.

Are the current procedures in place frustrating? Yes. Dangerous and grossly wasteful of time and taxpayer money? Of course. But whatever we’re experiencing on the outside is nothing in comparison to the suffering, both emotional and physical, going on in the jails and with inmates’ loved ones.

In neighboring Miami-Dade County, as one might expect, we’re told there are at least three courtrooms going daily in the morning and afternoon. First appearances twice daily, misdemeanor dockets, and felony emergency dockets, including Arthur Hearings, VFO/Danger Hearings, Pleas, arraignments, and other emergencies. Witnesses, including probation officers, appear remotely just like the attorneys, and there’s even a break-out room for lawyers to have real-time, confidential electronic communications with clients mid-hearing, if the need arises. Judges have the option of waiting to resume a hearing while lawyers and clients privately confer, or to handle other matters before recalling the case. Rumor has it another ZOOM courtroom is going operational in Miami soon as well.

Broward County, after garnering good reviews at the outset for a quick response during the early days of the pandemic, is once again living up to its reputation as badly managed and irresponsible. And it’s a shame, as we know of comments by many Broward judges who are itching to move cases, and are willing to try alternatives to broaden the systems currently in place. Whether the problems are truly technological or budgetary remains to be seen, but given Supreme Court directives and the Constitutional implications, should be thoroughly investigated after the pandemic is over. But whatever the case may be, the fact that Jack Tuter, chief judge of Broward County, is now in charge of a circuit where even the lone fully electronic courtroom is now sometimes sitting idle a full 19 days before the June 1st proposed reopening, is absolutely inexcusable. Broward deserves a leader that can guide the stakeholders to places neighboring jurisdictions have been at for weeks or months, and if Tuter lacks the focus or creativity to get it done, should immediately step down for another judge willing to take the helm.

*There’s a joke in the 17th Circuit, where because of an anachronistic and risk-averse State Attorney, open pleas are the lifeblood of a gridlocked system.

It goes like this:

Q. How do you confuse a Broward judge?

A. Tell her you have a negotiated plea

Also from Miami-Dade:

52 thoughts on “COMPARE AND CONTRAST”

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      He needs help. He’s great. But needs the others to step up to the plate also. Imagine that. Us civil & criminal defense guys know what it means to do the job. Get it done.

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    The Judges don’t run the show here like in other places. They’re concerned about ruffling feathers at BSO or Forman or Fink when they should lay down the law. Broward is always politics first.

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      Considering the Sheriff and Clerk are rather controversial and facing elections, what’s the concern?

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        I agree. The sheriff was appointed by a republican that will never be tolerated in this county that would vote for a mailbox if a D was next to it on the ballot. And the clerk? She’s a train wreck and won’t get re-elected. Grabbing a person off the street as clerk would have been a better choice. She’s unpopular and unprofessional. So why be so concerned.

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      Judges need to step up to the plate. Some of the ones ones appointed by governor Scott (not elected) are putting in the effort whatsoever. As are some who are in government for too long. Once you appoint based on political affiliation and connections peoples lives are destroyed.

      These recent appointees are on the chopping block. Ones who don’t go above and beyond. Which is why we have elections. Sometimes you need to shake things up.

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      The judges do run the show. If they aren’t longtime political hacks looking to keep their jobs at all costs. Or recent appointees using courthouse hours to demand donations from the guys who are looking out for their clients. .

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      I think there are some great judges. But the ones who are too much about endorsements and their job should just quit. Other circuits don’t have this pay to play problem.

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    Membership vote

    lynch 60
    Green 53
    Weekes 0

    Need 2/3 to get outright endorsement so no one got it.

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      Who really cares about these endorsements? They are run by political hacks. PDO is independent. I just don’t see how politics & endorsements from nonsense political groups matter. I’m not saying he’s the guy for the job or not. But I don’t hold endorsements on high esteem. Howard likes him & Howard should know who can run the place.

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    THOSE WHO STAND ON TIPTOES DO NOT STAND FIRMLY
    THOSE WHO RUSH AHEAD DONT GET VERY FAR
    THOSE THAT TRY TO OUTSHINE OTHERS DIM THEIR OWN LIGHT

    GET OFF YOUR ASS TOOTY AND START RUNNING THIS JUDICIAL CIRCUIT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL WORTHY OF MERIT

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      I’m not helping either. I wish Florida didn’t have elections. I’m used to government dole. Not 20 hour days when necessary. Too many years in magistrate, PDO, and SAO can make you soft. Now isn’t the time.

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        That’s Phoebe Francois right? Just appointed by Rick Scott. But she’s got too many years of government dole to do anything. Her challenger Segal worked crazy hours in private practice: big firm defense, civil plaintiff, and private sector. He’s a guy who will put in the hours. He worked at the PDO at the start of his career but moved on. He’s a tough, hardworking UF grad. A courthouse “outsider” who doesn’t care about stepping on toes. But most of us that know him from various jobs definitely respect his work ethic. And his ethics in general. He’s the most down to earth guy I know & we need that now. He has compassion for his clients above and beyond. And I haven’t seen him in a year at least. I was glad (for the little guy in jail especially) when I saw him on the ballot. He will speak up to the other judges who aren’t carrying their weight. Tutor or whomever.

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          Jacob Segal? Yes I’ve worked with him. He’s definitely going to not stand for this. He’s going to help the little guy. He’d probably sleep in his office to make sure this thing was solved. Doubt he’d get along well with any judges who think they are above everyone. Humble guy. A Very independent thinker. Funny, great guy. I don’t know anyone who dislikes him.

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      This is silly talk because they’ve been allowed to do next to nothing for a couple of months already. That makes Chief popular. They like him.

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      Anyone who can work extremely long hours and go above and beyond. And don’t call in sick on Monday. Whoops that’s the private sector guys. Hire a few to clean up the courthouse. No one is going to run against him. He’s too connected.

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      Nope. I’ll just call every lawyer in town and strong arm em for money. I can’t work 18 hour days as I’m out of shape. I’ve got a big smile. People like me for that.

      However, I’m not as I seem. I sold my personal honor out & joined the Federalist society and worked the system. And I was therefore appointed by the Governor, Rick Scott. I speak out against corruptness because my predecessor was tossed for that. And it’s a nice virtue signaling catch phrase. Im not sure Saint Thomas was even accredited when I started attending. Merit? No. But she’s great at playing the victim. She’s not the only one. And probably doesn’t know any better. Jeez. Thank the lord we elect judges in Florida. And certain judges time must be up. And toughened guys from the private sector put in.

      Guys who eat what they kill and actually work all night and weekends if necessary. Plaintiff bar, Defense Bar, Criminal Bar all have guys that aren’t so used to this 9-4 deal that they work through the night in a regular basis. For their clients.

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        I’m sorry, that comment was not meant for gottlieb at all. That was meant to be placed above. My apologies.

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      The comment I put above was meant to be a reply here. Gottlieb is a good guy. Never seen inside of a courtroom before election but he’s doing a much better job than above.

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        Gottlieb is a whiney little momma’s boy who has been pandering and sucking up to the Bench Brothers for years. Included in his mama’s boy playbook is working both sides of the fence for whatever nickels and dimes and influence he thinks he can squeeze. He’s been caught and burned working it several times after which you could find him hiding in a dark closet until he thinks it’ll blow over and he can crawl back out. He thinks everybody has as short a memory as he does.
        His attention span ain’t very long either.

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        “Contact Tracing” will lead to this, Pat. #MC/20/060606 in conjunction with H.R.6666, will create the Leningrad Star Wars Troopers, or en Espanol “Chivatos”.

        Good luck to everyone, welcome to the NWO

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    Think they are trying to hide something.
    It took WORK to delete about forty videos.

    Not a mistake or the last 2 days would be gone too.
    Sorry we missed about 2 weeks, but here are the rest including the emergency hearings since April 23, 2020.

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      Yes. The entire judiciary needs to be working 18 hour days to prevent it. (Whether they covered anything up is speculation which may detract from the real issues.) and killing this seemingly administrative problem. It can be fixed.

      They are prioritizing this situation. They aren’t evicting anyone right now either. So they are on the right track. That’s just not enough.

      But you are correct in your concern over the judiciary. They are using less than 100 percent effort right now. I want cots in the courthouse and people working days without sleep. Sounds tough? Try going to jail staring at the wall waiting for something to happen. That’s a lot tougher.

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    The PD office is partly to blame for all of this. They decided not to request hearings on VFO or Arthur cases.

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      IM TOO BUSY SELLING FACEMASKS FOR A DOLLAR A VOTE TO BE WORKING
      I WAS NEVER A MUCH FOR WORK ANYWAY

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    I don’t think you can put all the blame on any one person. Look at the talented elected clerk’s office who should be a part of it as well. With their huge budget. Look at Jack’s entire Circuit as they can help as well. Judge Tuter is a lawyer and a judge. Not an IT guy. But he’s ultimately responsible to get this fixed. The only thing I blame him for (and I think he’s a good, honest guy) is not seeking help. And I blame the network of support as well. From County Court judges you Circuit Court. Many things in life show up unexpectedly and you need to hire experts. Here you got an unprecedented (some say hyped some do not… and it’s getting political of all things) virus. By the name of COVID 19.

    We are one of 39 states that elect judges. If y’all can’t fix this then go home (wait…you already did that.)

    Tuter needs to hire an outside team of IT experts. He needs to make it a public issue as this blog is doing. Empathy is needed. And the good news is that people are getting released daily without need for bond. That is a good thing for inmates. The bond guys are going broke and hate it. But the humane thing is to get the funding from the governor and get the judges to work and wire the place correctly. If he is not doing it out of embarrassment or political reasons; Or straight up hubris from black coat syndrome then that’s a shame.

    Please Jack, if you read this: hire the best IT people who can do find to do this properly. Instead of leave people to suffer without a hearing in jail.

    Further, here’s a thought: If you had ever been in jail you might have the empathy to put this as an even higher priority. You would understand the misery theses fellow humans go through locked in a cage & not knowing when they are getting out. The uncertainty along with the knowledge of the pandemic is a tough thing to do behind bars. And u see the thumb of the various jails and BSO. It’s not BSO’s fault to be clear. I’ve heard that bandied about: they just enforce the laws.

    Many lawyers who then become judges visit the jail. But remain aloof from the inmates. If they were to not remain unattached it would be impossible to think logically. It’s a catch 22. You need empathy to be human but to think logically that empathy has to be tampered down with a type of logic and sense of humor to get things done today.

    “But win or lose: lawyers and judges will booze.” Meaning they walk out regardless of these inmates they separate themselves from.

    Don’t be detached from your empathy for the downtrodden. Or the constitution. Now is the time to pull together. As a species. This virus morphed from animal viruses. Per the scientists. We are humans. Another species. And just because a guy is behind bars doesn’t take away his humanity. Do your jobs. Don’t relax because the courts are closed. It’s up to every judge in the circuit to give Judge Tuter a hand. And up to the public to look closely at not only the judges but the talent running the Clerk’s office. Ms Brenda Forman. Does she have any empathy driving her to out in 18 hour days now as she should? Do the judges?

    On the other side, as I mentioned: Tuter is now actually overseeing an unprecedented relief effort for inmates. Many if not all minor crimes are getting released without bond.

    Judge Tuter is overseeing this effort (which hast gone far enough obviously). Regardless of the political influence of the criminal bar & bail bondsmen who lose money when that happens.

    However I agree with the sentiment of this great blog to bring attention to it. I’m proud of the blog. Some big names in Broward, like Howard, have seen themselves behind bars. To err is human. Get funding for top IT guys Judge Tuter. Do it now. Work on the dockets and process and get it implemented. No one is as important as guys whose liberty is at stake. This is about natural rights. Going back to our founding as a country, the Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta on which that was based. Natural law behind it all.

    Where the judiciary does not favorite one man over another. Rich or poor. And the accused are innocent until proven guilty.

    Many judges in the circuit… and high paid employees of clerks office…. should read this twice. Because if you find yourself locked up today you’d lose your high and mighty self-delusion you got working for the government; And getting a steady paycheck… that leads to man’s inhumanity to man. I joke around a lot but I hate to see people mistreated because they are poor.

    The Florida adult criminal justice system is, by design, penal and meant for retribution. However, people are innocent t until proven guilty. So don’t penalize a guy because he’s behind bars. One reason Howard Finklestein with the Public Defenders office is empathetic is because long ago he found himself behind bars. He’s not all powerful. But he’s empathetic. In a nutshell, and I’m not saying this is about Judge Tuter, but any judges sitting there with the black gown dispensing justice should remind themselves why they are there in the first place. They are, as this Blog insinuates, supposed to be above the fray. And ethical. Beyond ethical. And even though the Supreme Court of Florida suspended the right to a speedy trial, he should do his best to get the guys in jail prioritized. Any judge in it for a paycheck right now should go private. The minute you lose that sense of honor and impartiality y’all should leave the bench.

    We are one of 39 states that elect our judges. Keep it that way!

    Run the courthouse properly and get a committee of judges and top IT guys (beyond Zoom) to fix it. Like Alan Schreiber did. He used technology to expedite the process for everyone. Clients in jail could talk to their lawyers via a great link to the jails. And Tuter may want to seek Schreiber’s advice. And Howard’s advice. Now. Not tomorrow. Come on judges make it work. Call Schreiber as no one today seems to know how to get things done or die trying. Doctors are working & sleeping at the hospitals. But the judges, also responsible for upholding the public trust and natural rights are dropping the ball. Not 100 percent. But in this situation 90 percent effort is unacceptable.

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    EVERYBODY KNOWS I GIVE GOOD BIG TOP
    BROWARD JUDGES NEED A GOOD LONG REST
    VACATIONS ARE GOOD FOR MORALE

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      They keep electing him. It’s not Tuter’s fault. The mess is because of Judges choosing him year after year.

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    Covid-19 — What a great coercive tool for plea deals.– plead and get released to avoid contamination and infection. Satz has to like this one.

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