Off and running – Gene Pettis and Howard Finkelstein are pulling together as a team. As previously reported, the President of the Florida Bar requested something in writing from Broward’s Public Defender concerning the wildly disproportionate rates of minority occupancy in the State’s jails and prisons due to non-violent crimes, and boy did he get it. Finkelstein’s letter, found here,** went out on March 4th, as first reported by Buddy Nevins.
Pettis, who was traveling last week, caught up with us today. He’s already spoken to Miami’s David Rothman, Chair-elect of the Bar’s Criminal Law Section, who Gene says immediately agreed “there’s a problem“. Finkelstein’s letter will shortly be in all the Section members’ hands, with the goal of raising the issues together with informed suggestions to the Board of Governors.
Here’s what else Gene had to say:
We’re looking for a solution, or at a minimum, improvement in the system. It’s obviously an issue, there’s no question, not a lot of debate. Look at the demographics, the types of infractions getting people into jail. Attorney General Holder’s position is enlightening, and I am looking forward to those that are experts in that arena to give us some guidance on the problems at hand. This is what needs to be done.
So there you have it. As Gene says, this isn’t rocket science. The Drug War is a dismal failure even to casual observers, while a tremendous human price is still being exacted on a daily basis in our most vulnerable communities. Certainly most prosecutors and judges are sick of it too, but until an official body like the legislature or the Bar supports them, they will unfortunately almost always enforce the status quo. And that’s why this is such a big deal. A blue ribbon panel of prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges making up the Bar’s Criminal Law Section is being asked by their president to take notice of the sick elephant in the room, with the chance to make a real difference on a statewide basis, and perhaps nationally as well. Quite simply, it’s unprecedented, and with Republicans finally joining the call for reform, the future is brighter than it’s ever been.
Definitely a wait, see, and pray the mainstream media takes notice …
** The Public Defender also sent Chief Frank Adderley on the Broward Clerk’s website, nearly two months later …
Whose job is it anyway? – calculating time served has traditionally been the Clerk’s job. They are the keepers of the record, after all, and have been doing a great job of it for as long as anyone can remember. Still, in David Haimes’ division, it’s up to the lawyers to figure out. Accordingly, after a recent trip to 7900, we naturally got to wondering, just whose job is it anyway? Howard Forman promised yesterday to give us an answer soon, so stay tuned …
Breaking Big – click here for Slate’s interview with Pittsburgh attorney Daniel Muessig, the man behind the Thanks Dan! video. Did I mention I’m Jewish?
Coming Soon – Joel Lazarus to weekend First Appearances?; More RRA attorneys going down, and soon?
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“Rant-sites”, JAABLOG, and you …
Gainesville Sun: Man urinated on strangers near UF campus
Tampa Tribune: Something Happened To Me Yesterday …
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