THE CUPBOARD IS BARE
This disappointing email from Rick Freedman arrived announcing that the State (again) has no money to pay attorneys who have already submitted bills:
I have been informed by the Justice Administrative Commission (JAC) that you may experience delays in the payment of your outstanding bills for the next three months. As you are aware, the new 90 day billing rules took effect at the end of August. As a result of that rule, the JAC was swamped with over 4,000 bills arriving at their offices in one day, (in an attempt to beat the new deadline). They believe that it will take them up to three months to catch up on their payments. Once they are caught up, they should be able to return to their regular payment schedule of paying your bills within two weeks.
On a separate note, for the first time since taking over the CAC system in 2004, the JAC has discovered a small group of attorneys that have been billing more than 24 hours in a day. None of the attorneys involved are on the Criminal Registry in Miami-Dade County. (Unfortunately, those involved include a few attorneys from the Civil Dependency Registry in our County.) Please make every effort to keep clear, concise and accurate records if you plan on filing any long form bills. The Screening Committee will not hesitate to take action against any attorney on the Criminal Registry who is found to have submitted any fraudulently billings.
THE COURTHOUSE IS EMPTY
North of the Border Circuit Court Judge Ana Gardiner recently commented that the North of the Border courthouse was overflowing with work, to the extent that even closets weren’t available.
Enter Famed Broward Blogger Bill Geilin who took it upon himself to conduct a thoroughly un-scientific but revealing study by walking the Broward courthouse at different times of the day. The result, was the not so surprising conclusion that during the afternoons more than half the courtrooms were locked and empty.
Here is the New Times Article on Mr. Gelin’s courthouse walks: EMPTY HALLS
CHAMBERS SHOULD BE EMPTY...
Of gifts. As the holiday season approaches, we can all expect to see Judge Farina’s letter advising that gifts should not be given to Judges or their staff, nor should they be accepted. Judges are also advised against attending holiday parties thrown by attorneys who have open cases in their division. (insert your own joke here).
THE COURTHOUSE IS CLOSED. PLEASE CALL AGAIN IN THE MORNING (IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN EXECUTED FIRST)
And out of Dallas, Texas (motto: we like to kill) comes this Op Ed piece about the shocking execution of a Texas inmate, where the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals would not stay open past 5PM to receive the last minute request for a stay of execution:
We Close At 5 Y'all
What's 20 minutes to you? Two miles on the expressway during rush hour? Time to slurp a latte on the way back to the office? About the time it takes to scan the newspaper you're reading now? To Michael Richard, 20 minutes was probably the difference between life and death.
The Texas death-row inmate's lawyers petitioned for a stay of execution after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review the constitutionality of lethal injection. ..
Mr. Richard's lawyers were working on his petition when their computer crashed. They phoned the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, informed its personnel of the computer problems and asked them to stay open long enough to accept the paperwork.
Forget it, replied the court. Time thus ran out for Mr. Richard, who died on the gurney. A court official later said, "I advised the parties that called that we closed at 5."
Just like that.
That is unconscionable.
You might not lose sleep over the fact that the court wouldn't stay open for 20 minutes to help a convicted rapist-murderer's attempt to evade the needle a bit longer. You should think again.
When the state takes the life of a condemned criminal, it must do so with a sense of sobriety commensurate with its grave responsibility. Hastening the death of a man, even a bad one, because office personnel couldn't be bothered to bend bureaucratic procedure was a breathtakingly petty act and evinced a relish for death that makes the blood of decent people run cold.
Rumpole says: Our understanding is that our very own clerk’s office considered dispatching a team to Texas to study their efficiency, until it was realized that the Texas clerks were actually working to 5PM. When the laughter died down, the idea was voted down.
Have A Good Columbus Day Weekend.
No Court Monday. Football Picks Sunday.
See Ya Tuesday.