A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Wilma Stops The Wheels Of Justice - Upsetting Some

It's not that I've had nothing to say in the last week - it's that Hurricane Wilma knocked me out of my home, and off the internet.

Now I'm back on (not home yet), and have a lot to say.

State and Federal Courts are closed in South Florida. Most saw this as an easy decision - watching the lack of power, lack of gas, food, water, public transportation, and almost everything else that makes life normal and bearable.

I'll tell you what made the decision difficult.

Not the thousands of civil suits, divorce cases, personal injury, medical malpractice, and small claims matters that may be delayed a week or so.

It was the dreaded thought that for a meaningless few days, suspected criminals would not be brought to court. Heavens forbid.

Heavens forbid.

The decision was not as much about letting lawyers clean up their own mess, it was about angry jurors and staff showing up to court (probably walking due to the lack of gas) wondering what was so damn important that they had to step out of line waiting for ice and water.

In the end, the courts did the right thing - not using the "OUR lights are on, so court's in session," but "YOUR lights are off, so take care of your family." Didn't happen immediately though, leaving lawyers, court staff, and EVEN JUDGES to wonder whether they could take their family out of town for some air conditioning and hot food.

I say r-e-l-a-x. One stupid week or even two won't make a difference. Being human does not make the court system less powerful. In fact, I'm willing to sign a document acknowledging the all-mighty power of the courts in exchange for a few more days to get my family settled.

The Florida Supreme Court will suspend or "toll" the Speedy Trial provisions of Florida Law, so countless criminal defendants cannot say they did not receive justice swiftly due to Hurricane Wilma.

And..................Life will go on.

Trust me, I'm a lawyer.

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