Judge Tunis wrapped up a two defendant-two jury first degree murder case last week. Two defendants, at least four lawyers, two twelve member juries. By any account, these cases are difficult and require a firm guiding hand. Judge Tunis has previously been the recipient of criticism on these pages. Therefore, we feel it is only appropriate to give a Rumpolian “well done” for her job in managing the trial.
Broward defense attorney Chris Roberts has been very loud recently, with his double barrel allegations about Judicial corruption North of the Border. First Roberts was giving the scoop to Channel 7’s Carmel Cafiero about an unpaid loan of $2,500.00 to Judge Zack. When the dust had barely settled from that mess, there was Roberts talking about Judge Seidlin putting the arm on him for a thousand dollar purse for his missus. From A(nna) Nicole Smith’s Judge to Z(ack) Roberts accusations made an already trying time for the Broward Judiciary seem like Watergate Broward style.
Now comes the Sun Sentinel Article that reveals that, surprise surprise, Mr. Roberts goes to Tallahassee. It seems that after 23 years as a defense attorney in Broward (talk about doing hard time) Mr. Roberts has decided that his presence at 201 SE 6th Street is no longer desired.
It has been hard to sit by and not speculate about what hidden agenda Mr. Roberts has by all of the sudden coming forward to announced that he is “shocked! Shocked!” to learn that there is corruption in the Broward County Court house. Roberts could have asked Zack for the loan back. Roberts could have immediately said no to Seidlin and reminded him of the several rules of ethics that would prohibit him from giving expensive gifts to a sitting Judge who was appointing him to cases. It is not that we do not wish to see Seidlin and Zack investigated, and punished if necessary, it is just that Mr. Roberts bears some responsibility for the corruption he has been benefiting from for these last 23 years.
Word also reaches us that after zillions of lawyers and Judges, Judge Lenny Glick is wrapping up voire dire for a man charged with first degree murder who has sat more than seven years waiting for trial.
Nobody is served when a case takes this long to bring to trial. We remember a time when the Florida Supreme Court monitored the age of cases on a Circuit Judge’s calendar. If that is still not going on, perhaps it is time for our chief administrative Judges (when their not busy ignoring our emails and canning Judge Klein) to institute some system of monitoring the age of cases and requiring the parties to report on just what is taking so long. A first degree murder trial takes time to prepare. A year is not unreasonable and neither is two years if the attorney has another big case brewing. But seven years creates an impression of a justice system out of control and it panders to the worst stereotypes the media has about the efficiency of our system.
It's a long hot summer, and but for the fireworks up North, it would be a boring one too.
See You In Court.