IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE 17TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, IN AND FOR BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA
IN RE: WRIT OF PROHIBITION FROM FOURTH DCA ON FG CASES. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2015, 10:47, A.M.
THE COURT: Here comes Mr. Silvershein. Do you wish to be the recipient of the wonderful news?
MR. GELIN: The judge was telling everybody that he believes that these agreed pleas or people (that) are discretionary and I think could be set before Judge Bidwill because the order now states it’s Judge Contini, specifically, not FG.
THE COURT: Take a look at those orders, Mr. Silvershein, we got a number of them in his hand. Even though the orders speak to individually-named defendants, I think we are still waiting for one or two more orders.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: There were eight orders that were signed.
THE COURT: I think the ones that you are holding there that were signed speak to be individually-named defendants, but there’s language in the orders that speak to another circuit court judge having the ability to resolve some of the agreed pleas.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: No, it doesn’t. It talks about orders. It doesn’t talk about files. It talks about orders.
THE COURT: So, get together all of you because the Fourth DCA is going out of their way in all of these orders to say that the stay does not speak to the circuit court generally. Only to me as the acting judge, only Contini is precluded from acting on any of the cases in the stay. They further define stay to say it doesn’t speak to the circuit generally, meaning Judge Bidwill can take any of these agreed-upon pleas and that’s the position of the Fourth.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: I unfortunately disagree with the Court.
THE COURT: It’s okay.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: I have the whole Stamper — we just need the main case, which is the 4D15-370. Actually, this was Regional Counsel’s motion to clarify is my understanding.
THE COURT: If you look at the language, it says the stay speaks to just the acting judge meaning myself.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: What it says is they are not modifying their June 10th order, which means that those cases are stayed. It’s only granted to the extent that judges other than you can consider from entering orders in the cases. Now, I’m looking at the whole Stamper case. I understand that you have individual cases.
THE COURT: I’m looking — if you could — thank you, Mr. Silvershein.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: I’ve given a copy to Ms. Singer. I didn’t mean to interrupt your proceedings.
THE COURT: I agree, Mr. Silvershein. I’m looking at what you are looking at. This is what it says, “We decline to modify our prior order but clarify that the stay imposed on the cases “pending sentencing” applies only to the judge at issue, that’s myself, from acting. “The stay does not deprive the circuit court of jurisdiction or prevent other circuit court judges, i.e. Judge Bidwill from entering orders in cases at issue. Having said that — and take up to the Fourth, again, if you like — “Any case in FG division, any case that was previously listed on any AG list, any stay list, now can be resolved by Judge Bidwill or any other circuit judge, notwithstanding anybody’s argument to the contrary.” I’ve talked to Judge Bidwill and he is willing to take those because according to the Fourth, “It is very, very clear, only the acting judge, Contini, is precluded from resolving those cases or acting as a quote “acting judge” from acting, but they go out of their way to say “the stay does not deprive the circuit court of jurisdiction or prevent other circuit court judges from entering orders in the cases at issue.” So, especially all the 50, 60 or 70 agreed-upon pleas that we have right now, that we keep resetting every week or two, where everybody is in agreement that it’s discretionary, that they are not even scoring Florida State Prison, that there’s no downward departure motion filed.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: The problem is judge —
THE COURT: They were never pending sentencing. They were pending acquittal.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: No, Judge, I disagree.
THE COURT: I’m going to speak and hold you in contempt if you interrupt me again, Mr. Silvershein.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: You are commenting on what you can’t comment on.
THE COURT: I’m going to let you speak. I’m going to let you speak when I’m done. All these cases that were disingenuously listed by the attorney general, not by your office, by the attorney general’s office, listing cases where the people have always maintained their not guilty plea. They were presumed innocent. They are pending acquittal as much as they are pending sentencing. And for the AG to have taken and hijacked all those cases where people have plead not guilty, where they never changed their plea from not guilty to guilty, they were never pending sentencing. They were disingenuously included on a master list of hundreds of cases.That’s what the AG did in misleading and perpetrating and a fraud on the Fourth DCA.Now all those cases that were erroneously put on their list — actually, deliberately, put on the AG’s list and then sent to the Fourth DCA and misrepresenting to the Fourth DCA that those cases were pending sentencing. They were not pending sentencing. Now, the Fourth DCA last week said “pending sentencing.” They put quotes around it. They actually defined what pending sentencing meant. They ordered the state to come up with a real list of those cases that are really pending sentencing. Those cases for which a downward departure motion has been filed. The AG listed only 28. Those are the cases pending sentencing. Now, even as to those, what are they saying today? The Fourth DCA is saying today as to either list, “Any other circuit court judge except for Contini can resolve those,” and if you have a dispute with what I’m saying, take it up to the Fourth, seek a further clarification if you like. But how many times are they supposed to clarify for you that “pending sentencing” means somebody has been convicted by a jury or they decided to plead guilty, we ordered the PSI, their sentencing date is set out a few weeks, they score prison, a downward departure motion has been filed. A downward departure motion has been filed.That is a person, quote, “pending sentencing.” That’s the list of 28. Even on those, Mr. Silvershein, even on those, Judge Bidwill can take those pleas. Any other circuit court judge can take those pleas according to this order that you just handed me. Now, if you dispute what I’m saying, go to the Fourth and seek further clarification. I don’t know why we would need further clarification when they just clarified it for all of us now. Go ahead, Mr. Silvershein. I told you I would let you speak.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: I respectfully disagree with you as to your interpretation, number one. Number two, I think it’s improper for you to comment on these cases. You are essentially ruling on these cases.
THE COURT: I’m not.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: You are ruling on these cases and giving your opinion when the Fourth says you are not to be handling these cases.
THE COURT: I’m not giving my opinion at all. If I give my opinion on the petition of writ of prohibition, you are right. I’m not giving my opinion on a petition of writ of prohibition at all. I’m telling you about the list itself, the list of cases that, not your office, to the credit of your office, your office did not put together that list?
MR. SILVERSHEIN: We did.
THE COURT: Okay. Are you telling me that you, Joel Silvershein, participated —
MR. SILVERSHEIN: Our office assisted in creating that list.
THE COURT: Your office is co-complicit with Heide Betancourt of the AG’s office in putting together a list of —
MR. SILVERSHEIN: Are you accusing us of acting disingenuously?
THE COURT: I am not accusing you of disingenuously misleading the Fourth DCA. Are you telling me that your office put together —
MR. SILVERSHEIN: You have used the word disingenuously.
THE COURT: Are you telling me that your office put together a list of hundreds of cases where people have maintained their not guilty plea, they are presumed innocent and you hijacked those cases and those —
MR. SILVERSHEIN: I think it’s improper —
THE COURT: — hijack those cases numbers, and hijack those cases numbers, and travel over their bones, and you are actually putting people who were presumed innocent, you are putting their cases on a list of cases pending sentencing? Is that what you did?
MR. SILVERSHEIN: Judge, I think it’s improper.
THE COURT: Did you do that, Mr. Silvershein? Did you put together that list of people pending sentencing?
MR. SILVERSHEIN: Our office —
THE COURT: — people who have maintained their not guilty plea — did you put those cases, Mr. Silvershein? “Yes” or “no.” Did you put them on a list of cases pending sentencing? Answer the question.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: We created a list based on the order of the Fourth DCA and the attorney general.
THE COURT: You disingenuously mislead —
MR. SILVERSHEIN: We didn’t disingenuously do anything. We didn’t disingenuously do anything do one particular thing.
THE COURT: Mr. Silvershein, you, Mr. Silvershein, you are telling me that you are admitting that you participated with the AG in coming up with a list of people that are presumed innocent, presumed innocent, have maintained their not guilty pleas, have never changed their plea from not guilty, you put them on a list of cases pending sentencing? Did you do that? Answer the question.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: Judge, it’s improper.
THE COURT: Leave the courtroom. If you are not going to answer the question, leave the courtroom.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: Fine, Judge.
THE COURT: Leave the courtroom. Leave the courtroom. I’m going to give you one last chance. Answer the question. Did you put those cases, did you, personally assist Heide Betancourt, the AG, in putting presumed innocent not guilty defendants who maintained their not guilty pleas, did you put their names on that list of cases pending sentencing? “Yes” or “no.”
MR. SILVERSHEIN: Look, Judge, I’m sorry.
THE COURT: Are you afraid to answer the question?
MR. SILVERSHEIN: No, I’m not.
THE COURT: Answer the question. Did you do that?
MR. SILVERSHEIN: Why do you keep pushing me on these issues —
THE COURT: Escort this gentleman out of the courtroom please.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: Judge, I’ll walk.
THE COURT: If you are not going to obey this Court’s order, I’m ordering you to answer the question.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: Judge, you can’t order me to answer the question. The answer is “yes.” I assisted.
THE COURT: Thank you for being honest. Thank you. Thank you. You are excused.
MR. SILVERSHEIN: However, am I allowed to address the Court?
THE COURT: You are excused. You are excused, Mr. Silvershein.
(MR. SILVERSHEIN): I ask that this transcript be ordered.
THE COURT: I have no idea what that mumbling was all about.
* * * * * * * * *
Buddy Nevins’ BrowardBeat.com and JAABLOG aren’t the only courthouse reads. There’s also Kim Segal’s Life as a Public Defenderblog. It’s new, but with CBS and Kim’s 39,000 followers in reserve, sure to be a hit …
Coming Soon : **CERTIFIED QUESTION** – Who bears responsibility for the unnecessarily prolonged & expensive FG Stay? PAs, PD, CCRC, & BACDL? The SAO & AG? The Chief Judge? The DCA? Or the Media(s)? You Make the Call …
Listen, kid! I’ve been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA! I’m out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes …