JSERI Blog Archives

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gideon Alert: NACDL report exposes Florida’s “no counsel” courts

“Supreme Court Justices rarely consider appeals of misdemeanor convictions.  Nearly a half-million misdemeanor cases are filed in Florida’s county courts every year, and the vast majority of those cases are resolved by a plea of guilty, often in a matter of minutes.  Advice of rights by the courts and the assistance of lawyers for the defendants, whether they can afford them or not, are exceptions, not the rule.  It is as if our criminal and traffic courts operate as 'constitution-free zones,' outside the law.” -- Gerald Kogan, former Florida Chief Justice

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3:16 PM
Friday, January 14, 2011

Gideon Alert: Ignoring the 6th Amendment in Broward County, Florida Municipal Courts

It is an all too common occurrence for misdemeanor courts in the United States to pressure people charged with misdemeanors into waiving their right to counsel without adequately informing them of the consequences of doing so.  Courts defend such practices as an attempt to expedite the processing of cases and save money, but the Sixth Amendment does not allow this type of shortcut.  And, the consequences for unrepresented people can be severe, such as loss of public housing, deportation, inability to serve in the armed forces, ineligibility for student loans, and significant financial penalties.

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9:00 AM
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gideon Alert: Striking a balance in protecting defendant-lawyer communications in jails

A recent story reported by The Ledger out of Polk County (Bartow), Florida tells of a conflict between the Sheriff’s Department and the Public Defender Office.  The Sherif

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5:25 AM
Friday, April 23, 2010

Gideon Alert: former Florida Chief Justice speaks out against privatization of services

In today’s Miami Herald, former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Kogan has penned an op-ed opposing a proposal - currently before the state legislature - to privatize a portion of the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s caseload at a rate of $700 pe

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10:17 PM