Archive for the ‘Officers of the Court’ Category

Painter arrested for not having a sign?

October 12, 2009

Maybe that’s why they were arresting him because it is kind of ignorant to be a painter without a sign. So, what have I been preaching? The judges are finally speaking out. 52,560 victimless “crime” arrests, aka, “quality of life” misdemeanors over the last four years in Miami are dismissed by the court. Here is the story:

Miami house painter Alexis Marichal was driving his work truck when police pulled him over, placed him under arrest and sent him to jail for a night.
His crime: not having a business sign on the side of the vehicle.
In court later, the judge dismissed the charge after Marichal proved he had purchased the sign and was a legitimate painter.

“I told [the police officer] that I’m not a delinquent, that I’m a hard-working man,” said Marichal, 34. “I told him, `How many people and kids are being raped and how many women are beaten, and I’m being arrested?’ ”

Some high-ranking judges and county commissioners are asking the same thing.

With criminal-justice resources being squeezed more every day, the county is studying whether to decriminalize 18 minor infractions like the one that netted Marichal. They include selling flowers by the side of the road, drinking beer near a liquor store and being in a park after hours — all seemingly minor misdeeds, yet all on the books as crimes punishable by jail time.

Judges say the county ordinances clog court dockets and jail cells with little benefit, but police argue they are important for preventing more serious crime. A report is due to the County Commission this month.

“We’re being forced to operate almost like a factory,” Miami-Dade Chief County Judge Samuel Slom told a County Commission committee. “We are handling cases that have no business being in a criminal courthouse.”

Since 2005, police in Miami-Dade County have charged 52,560 people with such “quality of life” misdemeanors. All were processed through the county’s overtaxed court system — where the vast majority saw their charges dismissed.

Records from 2005 to early August 2009 show that more than 40,000 cases of commercial vehicle sign violations, drinking within 100 feet of a liquor store and roadside vending were filed. Yet about 93 percent of the charges were dismissed by a judge or dropped by prosecutors, and only about 7 percent resulted in convictions or withholds of adjudication. Amazing.

Swamped under

September 10, 2009

Dr. Susan MacManus was commissioned to do a poll in our county. The poll asked various questions about what residents and voters felt about various topics. Obviously, the number one overriding issue was the economy and jobs. But was interesting to me is that crime was 3rd from the bottom at 3% and nearly 50% of respondents said that they absolutely did not favor a temporary tax increase for a new jail even though the current facility is at capacity.

During a recession as severe as this one, you might expect that violent crime would go through the roof. More people without money means more robbing, stealing, and gun play because people are frustrated over their situations. However, this isn’t happening. Overall crime in Charlotte County was down 27.4 percent. Its unemployment rate is 12.1 percent.

What is happening, however, is that our jail is filled with non-violent, victimless crime “offenders” who either can not extricate themselves from the “system” or have just said the heck with it at least I can get medical care and food here at the jail. We have turned our local jail into a debtor’s prison. Something the House of Burgesses did away with in 1619.

The system is not going to get any more money to build more jail space, so they have to deal with it.  This is what should be done.

What the State Attorney should do immediately is inform law enforcement that he will not prosecute <20 grams of marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia arrests. These are both minor misdemeanors and this would certainly lighten the load on the court and the jail.

Shoplifting prosecutions under $100 should be suspended and a seminar should be done with store managers to educate them how to deal with this issue internally.

Also something has to be done with the innumerable arrests for no or suspended DL’s. I haven’t got an answer for this yet, but the fine, suspend, arrest, fine, arrest for contempt, fine and no collections on these “crimes” is idiotic.

Vigilante judge admits to committing victimless crime

August 14, 2009

LA PLATA, Md. (AP) — A Charles County judge who acknowledged deflating a tire of a car parked in a restricted area near the courthouse has resigned as chief administrator of the Circuit Court.

Circuit Court Judge Robert Nalley is not resigning from the bench.

In a letter submitted Thursday to Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert Bell, Nalley made no reference to this week’s controversy over the tire deflation.

Nalley told 9NEWS NOW that he let out the air because leaving notes for illegal parkers is not effective.

La Plata Police Chief Cassin Gittings says an investigation into the tire deflation was continuing.

The owner of the car says a sheriff’s deputy told her Monday that Nalley was deflating her tire and she moved her car.

This judge needs to read up a little on 21st Century inventions like the Tow Truck.  If I was in charge of a sentence for this judge, I would make him put a porta-potty in his front yard for two months, so the homeless have some place to urinate.