A Disfavored Bench-Bar Dispute Resolution Technique

Judges hate, hate, hate it when criminal defendants do not waive their rights to a speedy trial. Causes all sorts of inconvenience and disruption on a court’s docket. So one judge in Brevard County, Florida decided to take matters into his own hands:

Presented as the exhibit next in order for why there should be cameras in every courtroom at all times. We don’t know precisely what happened in that hallway, nor am I entirely clear why there was applause. But I’m pretty clear that the judicial officer should not have needed to do this in order to control events in his courtroom.

 

Burt Likko
Burt Likko is the pseudonym of an attorney in Southern California. His interests include Constitutional law with a special interest in law relating to the concept of separation of church and state, cooking, good wine, and bad science fiction movies. Follow his sporadic Tweets at @burtlikko, and his Flipboard at Burt Likko.

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15 thoughts on “A Disfavored Bench-Bar Dispute Resolution Technique

  1. Does Florida elect their judges?

    We do in Texas, which has frankly always struck me as strange. I don’t like the thought of wondering if my attorney perhaps ran against the Judge, or maybe donated to his opponent. And of course, this being Texas, “tough on crime” is an electoral requirement to win office.

    “Tough on Crime” as a judicial electoral tactic pretty clearly races to the bottom, which explains a lot of quirks of the Texas judicial system. Like when our State Supreme Court ruled that just because a guy’s lawyer slept (literally) through most of the trial, that didn’t mean he had inadequate representation.

    Pretty sure that guy was executed a few years back, in fact.

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  2. I dislike that our system is so backed up and underfunded that waiving the RIGHT for a speedy trial has become another technique for prosecutors.

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  3. For some obscure reason, related I’m sure to the older version of android on this phone, YT links in posts don’t show up for me, although they seem to work in comments (go figure…). Could you do me the big favor of reposting that link in a comment? It sounds interesting.

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      • Default. Which worked fine on my other (newer, better) phone. I dropped my good phone from about six feet up (the door of my truck) onto concrete. Face down, flat. Does really horrible things to the screen.

        So… I’m back to using my older, smaller, and crappier phone that is limited to an old version of android. It has hardly any memory available for apps so I’m reluctant to install another browser. It’s probably the flash plugin anyway.

        Anyway, none of the videos show up for me in the MD music posts, but I will see videos posted in the comments. It must be something arcane about HOW they’re embedded is all I can figure.

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      • Anyway, none of the videos show up for me in the MD music posts, but I will see videos posted in the comments.

        We try to use the old YouTube embed code in the MD music posts, because it helps pageload times/performance. But, those videos don’t show up on my mobile devices either.

        When people post videos in comments, they often use the newer YT embed code.

        That could be the difference, not “comments vs. OP” specifically.

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    • It’s not actually a YouTube video, ; it’s a flash video hosted from a local TV station. Here’s an attempt to embed it again nevertheless:

      Very short summary: public defender indicates that he is not waiving speedy trial for his client. Judge gets snippy with him about it. PD gets a little bit snippy back. (Maybe more than a little bit snippy, that’s a matter of opinion.) Judge instructs PD to “stop pissing me off,” and then says “If you want to fight, let’s go out in the hallway.” PD follows judge into the hallway, out of camera shot. There are sounds of things being hit, initially pretty hard. Two bailiffs step into the hallway, and the hitting noises stop. There is an awkward silence, then the audience breaks out into applause and the video ends.

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      • Thanks for the effort… still no dice. But I get the idea from your description, so double thanks for that.

        Sheesh… fisticuffs in the hallway, eh? Any indication who the crowd was cheering for?

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  4. So what are the ramifications if a defendant does not waive his right to a speedy trial? Is there a deadline that must be met, and charges will be dropped if it is not met?

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    • The Prosecution generally threatens the defendant with more charges if the defendant does not waive his or her right to a speedy trial. And yes, charges/cases can be dismissed with prejudice or completely if the state cannot bring a defendant to trial in a timely manner. I think timely depends on the jurisidiction and the charges but it is somewhere around 6 months to a year many times IIRC.

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  5. I’d assume that if I was asked to “step outside to fight” I would be a fight. Sadly, the PD doesn’t appear to have been the victor. He should have clocked the judge and then said “we’re not waiving a speedy trial bitch, so don’t try that again”. Seems the PD would then have some good leverage anytime the judge got cheeky about waiving future motions. “Well judge, we can step outside again if you like…”

    Get you some justice.

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