Our spies say yes.
As another secret source once muttered many years ago “follow the money” or in our case, the lack thereof.
It should be no secret that Governor Crist’s little experiment with the Sixth Amendment right to counsel has developed several powerful enemies in several places. Beyond the lawyers and lawyer-lobbyists, can you think of another group of people who are more than a bit ticked off?
The answer is the Mayors and County Executives of local governments who are being forced to foot some of the bill for the ROC office. Politics makes strange bedfellows, and that could not be more clearer than in Dade County where an unlikely confluence of defense lawyers and Dade County executives have banded together.
What Crist has joined together, let no man tear asunder? Not when it comes to the Regional Counsel Office.
What Rumpole has learned is that Dade County is now of the opinion that SB 1088- the bill that creates the Regional Counsel Office- is unconstitutional. Because Dade County believes that SB 1088 is unconstitutional, the County now is of the belief that Dade County is under no obligation to fund their portion of SB-1088.
What does that mean?
It means that while Mr. Joe George and his top leftenants were making the rounds in the Justice Building Thursday introducing themselves to Judges and pledging to work hard in representing defendants, powerful political forces were at work undermining Mr. George’s office’s very existence.
Dade County funds its projects with a Budget Memo. Rumpole has obtained that Memo, and there is currently no funding for the ROC included. There is also consideration for adding language in the Memo indicating Dade’s official position: that the county is under no obligation to fund ROC.
Translation: Mr. George and his Rockettes have no money for office space, so they better start getting used to working out of their homes. It’s ironic. Because of Mr. George’s existence, several criminal defense attorneys have opted to work out of their home to save costs while the court appointment mess shakes out. Now, Mr. George and his staff have no money for office space either.
Unfortunately, that may not be 100% correct, because we have received conflicting information that the State legislators, anticipating these maneuvers, have authorized additional funds to cover the first year of expenses. Yet we have also learned that as late as Thursday Mr. Crist cut another 2 million from the ROC offices.
Like most politics, its all pretty confusing to a poor country lawyer.
Be that as it may, it cannot be very comforting to Mr. George and his Rockettes to know that their very existence depends upon the additional funding of the legislature to make up for the hostile reception from local governments that everyone was anticipating they would receive.
Howdy- now leave.
You can bet this battle is not over. The Republicans will not rest until they have wrung every possible protection out of the 6th Amendment until it hangs there, like the cheap suit in the back of the closet that no one wants to wear.
So Mr. George, as we have opined before, most of your colleagues resent your very (professional) existence. But it’s not personal Sonny. It’s strictly business.
And you remember what happened to Sonny Corleone don't you?
They killed him on causeway.
See You In Court.