NO BOND FOR YOU!

Say goodbye to First Appearances as you know it.  The new bond schedule is out, eliminating many common convenience bonds on non-drug crimes.

This has been brewing since well before the chief judge election, with everyone waiting for Peter Weinstein to make a decision.  BSO, the SAO, and the Public Defender’s Office supported eliminating convenience bonds, and now it appears court administration has mostly agreed with the major stakeholders’ positions.

How will it work?  Many offenders will now have to see a magistrate judge before being given a bond.  It’s unclear at this time whether the extra burden will fall on Jay Hurley, or whether a third daily magistrate session will be added, with another presiding judge to relieve the pressure.  Expect much higher bonds for those with prior records, more pretrial for those without serious backgrounds, and many more bond revocations, since those with an already pending case won’t be able to bond out quickly before facing the music at First Appearances  …

(New Bond Schedule Here – Effective May 18, 2015)

19 thoughts on “NO BOND FOR YOU!”

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    Stalwart Broward Judge Refusing to be Strong-armed

    Posted on April 24, 2015 by Chris Leggatt
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    No one seems to dispute that the felony case backlog in Broward has been steadily reduced since Judge Contini was assigned to the division. This is primarily due to his aggressive work ethic where cases are heard rather than delayed, orders and rulings are made promptly, and both prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to fulfill their responsibilities to their respective clients. However this formula does not appear to sit well with some who prefer the so-called “good ol’ days” of the Broward Judiciary.

    Putting into practice the axiom that justice delayed is justice denied, Judge Contini has regularly engaged theCandidate Contini State and Defense Attorneys in his court to find ways to move cases in a way that protects both the public and the defendants. Significant in these discussions is the court’s insistence that both parties explicitly review and make a part of the court record their respective positions on sentencing criteria for each and every defendant preserving both the State’s and the defense’s complete record for potential appeal.

    While at mandatory Judicial College where the subject of sentencing was being discussed, and as a continuation to ongoing side-bar discussions, Judge Contini sent an email to an Assistant Public Defender presenting a possible template for “perfecting motions for downward departure sentencing, if appropriate” that was provided by a fellow Judge.

    Though the email discussed no specific cases on the circuit’s docket, it did offer a possible model for the Court to hear sentencing recommendations and make decisions on the merits of each case. Florida Statute 921.0026(2) offers the Court, State and defense attorneys reasons for departure from the guidelines. Judge Contini asserted to both sides in open court and during several side bars that according to case law and statutory language the list of reasons offered to go below the guidelines is not necessarily limited to the list found in Florida Statute 921.0026(2). Contini has asked the lawyers that come before him to use their legal minds to provide the Court with more imaginative reasons to break up the traffic jam that has choked his division.

    “He discerns the difference between violent and non violent offenders.” According to lawyer Ramona Tolley who recently appeared before Judge Contini. She continued, “He prefers to make use of the various programs available in Broward County when a case merits a more compassionate or appropriate sentence.” Records reviewed by Daily Broward staff indicate that Contini has granted the State’s objections to guideline downward departures on approximately 50% of the motions heard so far. The results of our reviews contradict any suggestion of a lack of impartiality by Judge Contini.

    BrowardSA-MichaelSatzIn a surprising decision, the Broward County’s State Attorney’s office, because they were not copied on the email, has moved to disqualify Judge Contini from all criminal cases, requesting that he recuse himself from all criminal cases in his division. Contini refused to be strong-armed into agreeing to these disqualification requests. In the opinion of one legal expert, “The State Attorney’s office is being a little disingenuous; how would Judge Contini know which state attorney to send it to when no case was referenced? I suppose he could post it and send it to every state attorney in Broward but that seems a little ridiculous. It’s silly!”A separate issue being discussed in the Court house by various defense attorneys is why other judges who appeared to show partiality to the State (where the 4th DCA ruled that this partiality existed) have avoided motions for disqualification or writs of prohibition, which the Attorney General has demanded in Contini’s matter.

    Since he took the bench in January, 2015, the record of case dispositions shows a remarkable even handedness in Judge Contini’s sentencing. Furthermore in many cases, Judge Contini has granted the State and defense attorney’s request for alternative sentencing generally giving nonviolent defendants a chance for rehabilitation.

    Public Defender Howard Finkelstein stated “We’ve had some real problems with the Broward judiciary, this is not even a ripple in the ocean of problems that we’ve had, yet this is the first time we hear from the State Attorney’s Office. This is much ado about nothing! A tempest in a teapot!”

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    Can someone please start a new courthouse blog? JAABlog has been very boring and lacking in relevance for quite awhile now.

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      LOL. Typical courthouse laziness. “Can someone please start a new courthouse blog?” YOU are obviously a reader, why not do it yourself? Bill has handled the blog for almost ten years now. But no. You will just bitch about everything, do nothing, and blame everyone else. If you’re married, good luck with your divorce. It’s coming sooner than you think.

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      Broward doesn’t need another blog but a blig would be nice. Miami and WPB have bligs, why doesn’t Broward?

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        Court Admin would have to agree if there was to be a blig like they have in other counties and last time it was discussed it wasn’t agreed upon.

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            Honestly, uploading all the Clerk’s and the Jail’s sensitive information to the bligosphere at this point in time, when the E-Filing system still hasn’t been perfected, is too risky, maybe even reckless. If other Circuits are confident enough to embrace a new technology in its infancy that’s their right. I find it reckless given the nature of the information and the potential catastrophic consequences of a breach or other failure and applaud the decision to keep the 17th as is until bligging is proven 100 percent safe.

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              After what happened in Cook County last summer I’m surprised anyone would suggest going blig. I was in Chicago a few months ago and it’s still a mess.

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              BS It’s all mostly PUBLIC INFO, I can go to the courthouse and look it up. I guess you would like a video of everyone asking for the info.
              Like fT. Lauderdale POLICE who when you go to them and want a police report (with a report number), gives you the third degree about WHY YOU WANT IT? Then tells you even VICTIMS need to pay for it contrary to law.

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    You mean a judge won’t allow mickey shitz and crew to impose illegal unstatutory sentences anymore in his court and refuse to correct them, too, because ratz lies and says the statutes and all the case law confirming it is “simply wrong,” like carney and gardiner did because whatever they say goes in the 4th regardless of case law forbidding it they even wrote themselves to help the little shitz out?

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    The problem is that Bill is now part of the establishment. He socializes with several judges, he is quoted in newspapers, and he appears on television. It is difficult to espouse not trusting anyone over 30 when you are over 30 yourself. The former hippie even got a haircut. Wow. What’s next Bill… a coat and tie in court and no Big Gulp?

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      To anonymous a/k/a “Woodstock” :
      .
      If I author an opinion or comment, particularly one which is, or which may be seen as, critical of an opinion or comment authored by another party, I sign my name directly below that comment or opinion.
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      You, conversely and unsurprisingly, hide behind a ridiculous moniker while you criticize Bill Gelin, a real gentleman, who has a sack – and has proven that he does – time and again. A big one at that.
      .
      Diamond Dave Dohner II

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    Your standard Broward SAO standard operating procedure!! It’s borderline hilarious when those seeking to find fault with Contini are seeking statistics that support their implausible arguments! Y Total unadulterated Bullshit………..if they want to resort to statistics, lets see how many motions to suppress, for example, were EVER granted by, ummm, lets see……..lets start with Barbara McCarthy. I would be shocked to find any stats that support the proposition that this robed PROSECUTOR has EVER granted a dispositive defense motion, to suppress or otherwise!!! Contini has already established himself as a TRULY fair and impartial jurist who really gives a shit and is well aware of our fading Constitution! But the McCarthy’s of the bench continue on and nobody says a word! Hey, Fred Berman, lets talk about the days when you and your county prosecutors had that despicable arrangement where if you looked at them during a jury trial, that was their PROMPT to object! That kind of judicial conduct is repulsive and contrary to all that is meant from the bench! That shit needs to be exposed and excised like a cancerous tumor from our system…..God bless the John Contini’s and what they stand for!

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