THURSDAY NOTES

 Mike Satz: Anachronism

Things are busy as ever in Broward's Central Courthouse.

Where to start?

Word came late this afternoon that Edward Howard was found not guilty before Judge Bidwill.  Of course, an acquittal in a violent felony comes as no surprise in the land that time forgot, where King Satz proudly wears the statewide Biggest Loser crown.  He saws wood while crime rises in our depopulating county (while decreasing in Miami and Palm Beach), counting lily white sheep while powerful drug pushers make Broward the #1 distributor of hard drugs to the nation

The funny thing about this one is that it was a death penalty case, with the State also failing to convict on lessers.  The charge was Premeditated Murder in the Course of Sexual Battery by Manual Strangulation, a catch-all charge that strangely bore no fruit.  Why?  Bad DNA, which could have just as easily been interpreted to implicate Howard's brother, who testified for the State (making it highly unlikely that he can now be successfully tried for the same murder).

We're told that prosecutor Shari Tate never made an offer to Mr. Howard.  Just death, even after a mistrial deliberately caused by the aforementioned witness. 

Here's what Tate told the Sentinel, after the verdict: "The victim's family is devastated, and I don't have a comment on the verdict."

Here's what Kevin Kulik told JAABLOG: "I don't know why they wouldn't make an offer in a case like this where the evidence is so poor.  When the DNA went bad the State should have come to us with a deal.  I feel for the family of the girl that gets nothing because the prosecution refused to consider the weaknesses of the case."  (Kulik was to handle the Penalty Phase, Heidi Berkowitz was on hand as the Mitigation Specialist, and Jim Lewis masterfully handled the Guilt Phase.  Both Lewis and Kulik picked the jury).

Speaking of the death penalty, there was a plethora of TV news media covering the Emergency Hearing before Judge Weinstein in the John Marek case.  The Sentinel's Tonya Alanez sums it all up, if you didn't happen to watch Jim DeFede, Ari Odzer, or Michael Putney's reports. 

The most interesting thing for us was watching Tonya watch Marek.  Why?  She's been selected by her paper to become one of the few non-law enforcement people who will ever witness a legal execution, in the event Marek is killed on May 13th.  Of course, she's expected to show up wearing her objective reporter hat, but we figure it must be kind of a strange feeling for her nonetheless. 

As far as the hearing itself, we weren't there for much of it today, although we did catch trial attorney Hilliard Moldof testify in the morning.  He followed witness Conley, who flew down from Maine at the defense's request, despite serious health issues. 

There was much ado yesterday over Mr. Conley's appearance, since the State, upon learning of his existence, called in Maine law enforcement to speak to the ex-con.  One thing led to another, with Mr. Conley missing the flight the defense had arranged, and the State attempting to provide him via VideoLink (remember, he's a defense witness!).  Mr. McClain was furious, accusing the State of basically tampering with his witness, until it was confirmed that Conley had indeed arrived, late in the afternoon.  In any event, Conley testified that Marek's co-defendant had confessed to him in prison that he was the strangler, with Moldof testifying that had he known of Conley's information, it would have been important for the jury to consider when deciding Marek's fate.

The allegations by McClain regarding interference with a witness who could possibly save Marek's life are telling, don't you think?  If true, it's pretty significant that the State would go to so much trouble to either interfere or discredit him, all in the interest of saving a twenty-six year old conviction and death sentence.  What's the big deal?  Why not let him say his piece?  Isn't justice the ultimate goal, or is there something being hidden from us?  Amidst the swirling rumors regarding Satz conceding the Loureiro case to possibly protect Judge Gardiner and Howard Scheinberg, it really makes us think about the integrity of the leadership at the State Attorney's Office.  They're the good guys, right?

Capping off a wild media day, disgraced Deputy Charles Grady was sentenced before Judge Robinson (click here for the Order of Recusal signed by Judge Diaz).  Of course, he was convicted on two misdemeanor batteries, sentenced to two years of probation (no jail!).  He has to be evaluated by Dr. Brannon for his breastly behavior, follow all his recommendations, and he already gave up his Florida police certification. 

The kicker was that the State agreed, as part of the deal, to drop all ongoing investigations, and not prosecute Grady on behalf of any other victims.  Huh?  Free crimes in Broward?  The law is the law, indeed. 

Oh yeah, no felonies as well?  He was armed, acting in an official capacity, in authority over at least two women (one on the side of the road, one in a holding cell.  See the Herald).  He pulls down their shirts, touches them, and drools over their breasts?  As victim Shifflett put it while crying, ''I think he got off maybe a little easy."  Gee, you think?  And don't forget, because he avoided felony charges, Grady can possibly win police certification again.  Well done!

The only glimmer of hope is that Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein is plenty mad.  He has vowed to get to the bottom of this once and for all.  The State Attorney was served with this exhaustive public records request after the hearing, so hopefully the public will eventually get the goods (the court file still does not contain a police report, and the parties attempted to stipulate to a factual basis for the plea, until Judge Robinson reminded both sides that the law required that something be put on record).  Leave it to the good folks at the Public Defender's Office to try to force the decision makers at the State into compliance with even the lowest standards of transparency, if that ship hasn't already sailed into oblivion. 

As for Grady, he looked beaten and old, well beyond his thirty-nine years.  He wore his pants way up high, was bent over, and seems to have lost a lot of hair since the last time we saw him.  Strangely, he resembled the last thoroughly disgraced slimy BSO man, Satz and Gardiner's good pal Ken Jenne.  

                                WHAT A COUNTY!

WEDNESDAY NOTES

Judge Seidman and Head of County Court for the SAO Lee Cohen got into it on Monday over one Larry Detombeur.  He's currently charged in circuit court with Trafficking in Morphine (can anyone say min/man?), and
Loitering/Prowling before Seidman (2nd degree MM).  He's got close to one hundred days in on the Seidman case, nearly forty more than the statutory max.  He won't plea, and Cohen won't drop it.  Hence the argument.  Seidman ended up releasing him on the MM, pending a trial date on a case where six honest citizens, a judge, a prosecutor, defense attorney, and court staff will waste at least an entire day on a charge that carries no penalty at this point in time (if they can even prove it).  Ladies & Gentlemen, your tax dollars at work.  Let's hope "Pound of Flesh" Lee dumps this nonsense ASAP (if he hasn't done so already).

May 26th is shaping up to be a very important day.  Not only will Judge Lucy Chernow Brown have to deal with the Gardiner/Scheinberg/Loureiro mess (even if Satz concedes, doesn't Judge Brown have an obligation to find out why?), but our very own Judge Lazarus will also decide the fate of a whole bunch of DUI/Intoxilyzer/Inspector Pat Nanz cases.  Mindy Solomon, Carlos Canet, and others will argue the Motion.  Check with JA Joanne if you have a case that should be included.

Lastly, the
JQC responds to Aleman's whining about having to pay costs:

"The parsing of costs suggested by the Respondent goes well beyond that which is contemplated by the law."

 

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  • 5/8/2009 1:02 AM Anonymous wrote:
    great job now there are potentially two murderers walking around
  • 5/8/2009 7:49 AM bill wrote:
    Does anyone have the May SAO newsletter?
  • 5/8/2009 8:02 AM in re: Seidman wrote:
    Seidman did the right thing.
  • 5/8/2009 8:09 AM Anonymous wrote:
    Stuff a sock in it, would ya, Aleman? Enough is enough already. There will be plenty of time for you to whine after it's over.
  • 5/8/2009 10:42 AM Anonymous wrote:
    Is Aleman really that dumb?
  • 5/8/2009 10:58 AM The WHOLE story isn't important, only the ons JAAB wants to tell: wrote:
    "Of course, an acquittal in a violent felony comes as no surprise in the land that time forgot....."

    A murderer was convcited of Murder 1 before Judge Holmes this week, but that fact doesn't fit neatly into the JAAB Smear machine.
  • 5/8/2009 11:16 AM Anonymous wrote:
    They're giving away jelly donuts and coffee at Starbucks.
  • 5/8/2009 11:18 AM NY wrote:
    When you think about it, this really is the land that time forgot.
  • 5/8/2009 11:21 AM Anonymous wrote:
    What's the crap about Seidman? He did the right thing. To do anything else would have been stupid. He's good at being a judge. No waisted time and you get a fair trial. I don't have any problems with him at all. I'm going to vote for the guy.
  • 5/8/2009 12:11 PM MM wrote:
    IT'S CLEAR AND SIMPLE... VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS... EGRECIOUS POLICE CONDUCT, SOMETHING THAT GOES ON IN BROWARD ON A LEVEL THAT IS ALARMING, AND IT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED, PERHAPS, A SEMINAR FOR ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT ON WHAT IT MEANS TO "PROTECT AND SERVE" JUST AN IDEA... WHAT GOES ON IS SO ABSURD, ABUSIVE, AND IT REPRESENTS EVERYTHING THAT THIS COUNTY IS KNOWN FOR - INJUSTICE.
  • 5/8/2009 12:13 PM Anonymous wrote:
    Smear? Are you saying the State doesn't have the highest felony acquittal rate in the State? Are you saying violent crime isn't rising here while it drops in more progressive PB and Miami? Are you saying Satz is doing a good job, as opposed to simply clinging to power so he'll have something to do all day (and people to do it with)?
  • 5/8/2009 12:14 PM MM wrote:
    When will "change" mean something more than the spare change in your pocket... when will broward law enforcement learn how to treat citizens that pay their salaries??? But some people will never stop fighting them... its a fight worth fighting forever.
  • 5/8/2009 12:17 PM MM wrote:
    Here is a prime example of an ignorant person, who clearly doesn't see outside the lines of the lies on probable cause affidavits... wake up and smell the stale coffee... Satz can't do it... its unfortunate, for the guys sitting in jail who are charged with crimes that LEO just make up... the lies that are handed to Satz is only one side of the coin...
  • 5/8/2009 3:03 PM Anonymous wrote:
    the problem is case filing. every nickel and dime case filed.
    each one treated like world war iii in court by jr asas trying to prove their mettle.
    resources wasted, bad training, stretched too thin. the result is when the real bad guys go free.
  • 5/10/2009 7:41 AM Berkowitz for Judge? wrote:
    Heidi Berkowitz, Mitigation Specialist? I just want to make sure I get this right before I vote for her for judge.
  • 5/10/2009 6:16 PM TRANSPARENCY AND FAIR PLAY wrote:
    I hope The Public Defender makes it his business to get to the bottom of this Grady matter. This lack of transparency on behalf of the State makes it difficult to understand the reasoning behind it except to show the lack of professionalism and the preponderance of favoritism that pervades the Broward Court System.
  • 5/11/2009 11:55 AM Anonymous wrote:
    In regards to the Marek case. The defense attorney Mr. McClain SHOULD be furious about the State tampering with his witness!

    Let's put this in perspective. If defense attorneys had done this with a State witness they would be in jail.



    The fact that Michael Putney of WPLG Local 10 didn't see this as newsworthy shows what a disgusting journalist he is. Putney would probably argue that he isn't in control of the editing at the news station, blah, blah, blah, but I have personally witnessed him lying straight up on TV in regards to another story.

    Freedom_Maverick
  • 5/11/2009 10:59 PM Miami's Rumpole wrote:
    http://justicebuilding.blogspot.com/

    NOT GUILTY IN BROWARD CAPITAL MURDER CASE

    North of the Border, which leads the state in acquittals at trial, just took a torpedo beneath the waterline last Thursday as as defendant accused of the murder, sexual battery, and strangulation of a young woman was acquitted of all charges.

    Yes you read that correct. A capital death penalty murder case. And the defendant was acquitted. Of everything. Not guilty.

    Only North of the Border.

    ASA Shari Tate was the trial prosecutor of this ship as it went down.

    Defense attorneys were Jim Lewis (guilt phase) and Kevin Kulik (penalty phase).

    Perhaps it's time for Mr. Satz to take a look into the budget and find money to hire someone who knows what the hell he's doing in investigating and prosecuting death cases. Can you think of anyone we know who might be available for such a job for the next few years? Hint: his name is often misspelled as "Laser".
  • 5/11/2009 11:01 PM Anonymous wrote:
    Rumpole, Mr. Laeser is unqualified for employment at the Broward SAO for the following reasons:

    1. He has a true commitment to justice--he does not seek to max out everybody.

    2. He has cojones and is not afraid to stand up to the boss.

    3. His ethics and integrity are impeccable.

    4. He knows how to try a case (and then some).

    5. He is not afraid to do the right thing, even when it is unpopular.
  • 5/12/2009 7:29 AM out classed wrote:
    Obviously this has been a real blow to the State with allot of explanations expected and given for the loss of this case. Very Strange. It was obviously a case of simply be outclassed when it came to the presentation of the defense side of the case. I'm sure this went down as being a little more than embarrassing to Ms. Tate. It was a shock to all of us.
  • 5/12/2009 11:45 AM Anonymous wrote:
    And he knows how to grab his crotch with female attorneys are around.
  • 5/25/2009 5:19 PM Anonymous wrote:
    Defense attorneys Jim Lewis (guilt phase) and Kevin Kulik (penalty phase) are rotten pigs that deserve the same treatment the slimeball they defended is getting now.

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