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Criminal Law Section to host criminal justice symposium

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first_img May 15, 2003 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Criminal Law Section to host criminal justice symposium Criminal Law Section to host criminal justice symposium Associate EditorHow involved should judges be in plea bargains?Is it fair for the same judge who approves a plea offer, and even nudges the defendant to go for it, to turn around and sentence the defendant to a much harsher sentence because he chose to go to trial instead?Are plea negotiations essential to a smoothly running court system? Or should pleas be abolished because they put pressure on innocent people to “plead out” just to get their criminal case over with?Those hotly debated questions will be the subject of the First Annual Gerald T. Bennett Criminal Justice Symposium sponsored by the Criminal Law Section. Held in conjunction with the Selig Goldin luncheon, the symposium titled “Plea Bargaining: Practical Necessity or Structural Flaw?” will take place at noon on Friday, June 27, at the Bar’s Annual Meeting in Orlando.Continuing legal education credits are pending, and the cost is $37. (Look for the registration form in the May issue of the Bar Journal. )Debating the pros and cons of pleas will be Milton Heumann, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at the State University of New Jersey at Rutgers, and Albert Alschuler, professor of law and criminology at the University of Chicago Law School.Heumann takes the position that plea bargaining is not a function of case pressure and has been part of the courts for the past century, existing in both high- and low-volume courts. Other pressures — political and social — lead to the expectation and necessity of plea bargaining, he argues.On the other end of the spectrum, Alschuler argues that “plea-bargaining, a system of split-the-difference, is well-designed to produce conviction of the innocent. The practice makes an offender’s sentence depend not on what he or she did but on a tactical decision irrelevant to any proper objective of criminal proceedings. Bargaining deprecates the value of human liberty and the purposes of criminal punishment by treating these things as commodities to be traded for economic savings.”It’s an especially timely topic for Florida, in light of an April 10 Florida Supreme Court opinion, written by Justice Barbara Pariente for the majority, that settles conflicting cases on the “presumption of judicial vindictiveness” when a defendant who rejects a plea and gets sentenced to a harsher sentence after trial (combined cases SC01-2083 of Omar Wilson vs. State of Florida, and SC01-2333 State of Florida vs. Dexter Byrd ). Another recent case addressing a judge’s ethical role in plea bargaining is the June 22, 2000, opinion in State of Florida vs. John Warner, case no. SC94842.“The topic of plea bargaining presents several complex issues — from constitutional law questions to public confidence in the integrity of the justice system,” said Criminal Law Section Chair-elect Melanie Hines.“We won’t be able to cover them all, but we believe this discussion to be particularly timely for practitioners of criminal law in Florida. Based on recent Supreme Court rulings, all the participants – judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers — are examining the principles and methodologies used in this process. The audience will be invited to participate with questions and comments. We look forward to a lively debate.”A lively debate unfolds in the pages of the high court’s opinion addressing how involved judges should be in plea bargaining while maintaining neutrality.In Byrd, the judge told the defense lawyer: “I think 30 years is a steal. He certainly won’t get that law if he goes to trial. His record is horrendous.”The defendant, Byrd, chose to take his chances at a trial, the jury convicted him, and that same judge sentenced him to 75 years in prison.On appeal, Byrd argued that “when the defendant rejects the court’s offer and is subsequently convicted, if the court exceeds its former offer, a presumption of vindictiveness arises and such presumption was not overcome in this case.”A majority of the Fifth District’s three-judge panel agreed and said the remedy was to enforce the rejected plea offer.The Florida Supreme Court agreed in part and disagreed in part.“Once Byrd rejected the plea offer, he had no constitutional right to the offered sentence,” the justices agreed. “.. . In cases where an unrebutted presumption of judicial vindictiveness arises, we conclude that the appropriate remedy is resentencing before a different judge.”But the justices disagreed there is a presumption of vindictiveness whenever the trial judge participates in plea negotiations and gives the defendant a harsher sentence after a trial or hearing.In the second combined case, Omar Wilson said he wanted to enter an open plea and admit to violating community control. When the defendant and his fiancé wanted to address the court, the judge said: “Court withdraws the offer” and set the case for a final hearing. When Wilson did not want to accept the court’s offer of 128 months, the judge said: “And my advice to you was the court’s offer was the bottom of the guidelines and in my opinion, you should have taken it.”At the end of the hearing, the judge found that Wilson violated community control and sentenced him to a mid-range guidelines sentence of 150 months in prison.On appeal, the Fourth District held the case should be remanded for resentencing, but rejected the argument that his “original sentence was vindictive and, therefore, he should, on remand, be resentenced by a different trial judge.”The Supreme Court concluded that in Wilson’s case, “It is not simply the increased sentence that gives rise to the unrebutted presumption of vindictiveness. Rather, it is the judge’s comment that Wilson should have accepted the offer, coupled with the increased sentence imposed shortly thereafter, and the absence of any explanation for the increase that gives rise to the unrebutted presumption of vindictiveness.”The high court quashed the Fourth District’s decision in Wilson to the extent that it holds that no unrebutted presumption of vindictiveness arose. As in Byrd, the appropriate remedy in Wilson is resentencing before a different judge, the justices wrote.In a specially concurring opinion, Justice Peggy Quince said, “It is my firm belief that trial judges should not participate in the plea bargaining process.. . . These cases are prime examples of what happens when the trial judge, the neutral arbiter, enters into the plea bargaining process.”Justice Charles Wells, concurring in part and dissenting in part, wrote: “I believe that the majority’s decision will severely undermine the reasoning of the Warner decision and will result in trial judges wisely not making any pre-plea statements. This will be to the detriment of defendants.”Justice Fred Lewis, also concurring in part and dissenting in part, wrote: “Judges are to act as information centers only. The limited Warner holding was intended to allow a judicial officer to provide information to a defendant and answers to his or her questions. Clearly, the judge may not initiate the bargaining process or make statements that could in any way be construed as actual negotiation. The judge must, at all times, remain a neutral arbiter of justice.”At the June symposium, Miami lawyer H. Scott Fingerhut will discuss the Florida perspective on plea bargaining from a practical standpoint, including a discussion of the Florida Supreme Court’s recent decisions on the role of a trial judge in the process. Fingerhut has served as a prosecutor and a defense attorney and is a visiting instructor of criminal justice at Florida International University and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law in the litigation skills program.last_img read more

Essequibo cart off fifth consecutive Inter-county Masters crown

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first_imgBy Frederick HalleyTORONTO, Canada — Essequibo’s dominance in the Ontario Masters Softball Cricket Clubs (OMSCC) Inter-county softball tournament continued over the last weekend at theMVP Robert Lall receives his award from a representative of the Khan family.Ashtonbee ground, Scarborough here with the players from the Cinderella County carting off an unprecedented fifth consecutive title in a lopsided final.Contesting the final against East Coast Bannas after earlier disposing of West Demerara in their semi-final encounter, Essequibo inflicted an eight-wicket drubbing on their opponents in the Khan Memorial-sponsored tournament, played in honour of the late Samad, Cecelia and Simon Khan, father, mother and brother of Mark and Nazir Khan who are associated with GT Bannas and EC Bannas in the OMSCC and Ontario Softball Cricket League (OSCL).Chasing an inadequate 93 for victory, after restricting East Coast Bannas to 92 for eight in their allotted 20 overs, Essequibo rushed to 98 for two in a mere 8.5 overs much to the jubilation of their players and supporters.Opener Ahmad Bradshaw slammed an unbeaten 44 which included four massive sixes and two fours while Robert Lall, who batted at number four, finished on 24 not out – an innings that was laced with four sixes. The two wickets went to Mark Sawh and skipper Mark Khan.Apart from Navin Nauth who was left stranded on 29, which included three sixes, and opener Ian Baldeo 22 with two sixes and a four, no other East Coast Bannas batsmen reached double figures as Lall marked a fine all-round effort with three for 17 from two overs.In the semi-final game, Essequibo took first strike and rattled up a challenging 132 for eight in their allotted 20 overs, with Ricky Bradshaw leading the way with an attractive unbeaten 37, which contained two sixes and a similar number of fours. Captain Azeez Baksh supported with 34 (three sixes and a four). Sheldon Burnett took two for 16 from three overs.When West Demerara batted, opener Mike Singh held the innings together with a fine 35, hitting four sixes in the process. He, however, failed to get adequate support from the middle and lower orders, as they were limited to 109 all out in 20 overs, going down by 23 runs. There were two wickets each for Abdool Azeez, Rudy Bhopaul, Ricky Bradshaw and Robert Lall.Robert Lall was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament for his dynamic all-round performance while he also copped the prize for the bowler claiming the most wickets. Abdool Azeez took home the trophy for the player scoring the most runs while the Spirit of Award went to Abdool Azeez.Medals were also presented to all the players and officials from the winning and first runner-up teams.Unlike previous years, Berbice failed to field a team in this year’s tournament. At the presentation ceremony which followed, OMSCC president Azeem Khan expressed sincere thanks to the Khan family for sponsoring the tournament. He also showered praise on Trophy Stall (Guyana) for its input.Vice-president Paul Jaman also congratulated the participating teams and the Khans for their fine gesture, pointing out that the occasion was beyond cricket and more about the family’s contribution to the sport.Mark Khan said that it was a pleasure to be involved in the sponsorship of the tournament and promised that he is aiming for it to be even bigger next year.The Essequibo players also expressed their appreciation for Jenny Tajpaul of Re/max Community Realty Inc. Brokerage for her generous sponsorship of their uniforms.last_img read more

OVERTIME

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first_imgby Bill Neal:10 Right out the gate so he doesn’t miss it, the man that used to “shake and bake” the best that the Connie Hawkins League had to offer…including the likes of Norm Nixon, Warnie Macklin and Bobby Franklin, just to name a few…yes boys and girls, we’re talking about none other than the “Hazelwood Heat” Frank Foster. Frank, I am proud to say, you’re right where you should have been a long time ago! You’re now “In the Locker Room!” And let me tell the rest of Pittsburgh what you and I already know. The only difference between you and Bobby Byrd is that Byrd had Junkhead and “The Echoes”…the only difference between you and Hosea Champine is that Hosea had Petey Harris and “The Gangsters” and the only difference between you and Norm Nixon is that Norm had Kirk Bruce and “The Force” (Ok, I might have gone too far that time. There’s a big difference between you and Norm Nixon!!! Anyway, back to my point, you not only had game, and plenty of it, you could play that gui-tar! Now somebody run tell that.:09 I know, I know, I know…you’re still not believing what I told you to believe two months ago. The Spurs will win the West and Indiana will upset The Heat to win the East. Yet you still can’t understand why I have a sports column and you don’t!:08 Sing with me here. It’s like candy, I can feel it when you walk…even when you talk, it takes over me. What I want to know is…can you feel it too just like I do? This stuff is starting now…it’s the same feeling I always seem to get around you. There’s no mistaking I am clearly taken by you. Girl, you’re giving me a heart attack…it’s the kind I like…it’s like candy!! (C-A-M-E-O …you know it). Feels good, huh?:07 Your Pittsburgh Pirates are eight games over 500 and playing some serious baseball. I mean serious. Clutch hitting, walk off home runs, shut down closers, less base running mistakes, great fielding and the pitching and hitting is for real. Yes, I do believe the curse is over!:06 If you run into him, make sure you congratulate Master Jacquet Bazemore for being inducted into the National Martial Arts Hall of Fame. Bazemore is a 9th Degree Black Belt Master and is held in the highest regard worldwide.:05 CORRECTION—Yeah, believe it or not, I actually made a mistake. The Golden State back court combination that Coach Mark Jackson placed on an historic pedestal was Stephan Curry and Clay Thompson, not “Jarrad Jack,” as I indicated. Man, that’s my second mistake this year and I only get three or Broadus will bounce me out of here. Of course we know there won’t be a third…don’t we…don’t we!?!?)last_img read more

Tobacco Free County Facilities Begin January 1

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first_imgSubmitted by Thurston CountyThe new rules banning smoking, e-cigarettes and the use of other tobacco products at county buildings go into effect on January 1, 2014. County staffers have been hard at work since the county Board of Health approved the new policies back in May, and many county employees and visitors to county buildings have been reminded of the change in recent weeks as blue and white signs with the new policy information are appearing near doors and walkways on county properties.The new sign featuring the words “cleaner air” on a blue sky background is also featured on the county’s website. The goal of the new tobacco-free policy is to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke for employees and for guests visiting county properties. Commissioners also hope the new policy will encourage employees who do use tobacco to quit the habit.“We know there’s no such thing as a safe amount of secondhand smoke, and this new policy is a tried and tested way of reducing secondhand smoke exposure and making our facilities and campuses safer and healthier for our employees and for the public,” said Thurston County Commissioner and Board of Health Chair Karen Valenzuela.Thurston County is one of several South Sound organizations to go tobacco free. Other government agencies and large employers have adopted similar policies in recent years:Mason County – 2006Capital Medical Center – 2010Providence St. Peter Hospital – 2010Washington State Department of Health – 2010South Puget Sound Community College – 2011All county properties and worksites, including wholly-leased properties, will be subject to the new tobacco-free policy. Thurston County parks will not be subject to the new tobacco-free rules.For more information on the county’s new tobacco-free policy, click here.   Click on the blue and white graphic with the words “Coming January 1st—cleaner air.” Facebook0Tweet0Pin0last_img read more

Ice clipped by Valley West Hawks during Showcase weekend

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first_imgThree players of the Kootenay Ice were selected to play in the contest — defenceman Austin Tambellini of Nelson, forward Coy Prevost of Kimberley and goalie Carson Schamerhorn of Trail.On the ice the third-place Hawks scored four times in the opening period en route to an 8-1 trashing of Kootenay.Eight different players shared in the scoring for Valley West, which took advantange of four special teams goals.Coy Prevost scored the only Ice marker.Sunday, was a carbon copy of the opening frame in game one as the Hawks scored four times to take control of the game.Kootenay, 3-20-5, travel to Vancouver Island for a pair of games against the South Island Royals.The next home date for Kootenay is February 1 when the Cariboo Cougars play two games in Nelson.Game one goes Saturday, February 1 at 12:30 p.m. at the NDCC Arena. Sunday, February 2, puck drop is 10:15 a.m. in the Civic Arena. Valley West Hawks kept pace with the leaders by out scoring the Kootenay Ice 14-1 during a two-game B.C. Hockey Major Midget League series this past weekend in Langley.The games were part of the BC Hockey Showcase weekend where all teams get together for a weekend of hockey. The idea is the tournament format allows hockey scouts to see the future stars.Some past players in the allstar game include Griffen Reinhart of the Edmonton Oil Kings, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers, Brett Connolley of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Evander Kane of the Winnipeg JetsThe weekend opened Friday with the Allstar Game won 8-6 by Team Blue.last_img read more

Bombers sweep past teams at Mt Sentinel hoops playday

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first_imgThe L.V. Rogers Bombers put together two solid games en route to a sweep of the opposition at the Mount Sentinel High School Boy’s Basketball Playday Saturday at the South Slocan gymnasium.The Bombers knocked off host Wildcats 61-41 before disposing of Prince Charles Comets of Creston 77-48 in the second game of the Playday.”It took a while for us to pick up our man to man defense but eventually we got organized and pulled away with the lead,” said Bomber coach Jeremy Phelan after the opening contest of the day.”Our bench players were able to get some quality minutes which they hadn’t been seeing as much of in many of the recent tight games against tougher competition.”The Bombers held a19-8 advantage after the first quarter of play before pulling away in the second half for the 20-point victory.Scoring was spread evenly up and down the roster with Ethan Perkins leading the way with 17 points and Bjorn Morris adding 10.Tobin Eberle had eight, Sida Wang nine, Hanno Southam seven, Dylan Bennett three and Isaiah Kingdon and Leo Zhou each with two. Johnny Johnson, Aslan Mackay, and Spencer Legebokoff led the wildcats with 12, nine and seven points, respectively. Against the Comets, LVR was reduced to seven players after Ethan Perkins and Dylan Bennett left to attend soccer practice.However, Prince Charles was missing its starting point guard.PCSS employed a scrappy zone defense and full court trapping press, which caused many turnovers and a close score after of 16-8 for LVR after the first quarter, and 28-25 at the half.However, LVR finally started to break the press and exploit the weaknesses in the zone and established a 16-point lead going into the final frame with the score at 56-40.With a short bench PCSS grew tired and LVR managed to pull away with the victory of 77-48.   “We were bigger than them inside and were successful in converting high percentage shots from close range which was indicative in Tobin and Bjorn’s lines of 13 and 18 points, respectively,” Phelan explained.Phelan said Kingdon and Want were strong at the guard position scoring 16 points each.Leo Zhou chipped in 10 points and Hanno Southam with two points. The Bombers are off to Fernie to compete in the Falcons tournament Friday and Saturday.Phelan expects to see an improved Mt Baker of Cranbrook and a full-staffed Comets team.The Bombers open against Selkirk Storm of Kimberley.The tourney is the final preparation for the upcoming This is our last Kootenay High School Boy’s AAA zone playdown against J. Lloyd Crowe Hawks of Trail February 19 at the Hangar.The winner represents the zone at the AAA Provincials in Langley, March 12-15.last_img read more