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

Monday, February 27, 2006

Martin Lee Anderson - A Criminal With Bad Parents

I've never written about a comment that someone wrote in response to one of my posts. Most of them are thoughtful disagreements that raise the merits of the opposite point of view.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I expect many to disagree with my views on fairness and justice. We are surrounded by "Law and Order" types, and not just the 37 shows a week on TV by the same title. Most believe the problem with crime, is that we are not making enough people criminals, and putting them in prison for the rest of their lives.

I believe in the First Amendment, and it's broad protection of even thoughts like the following comment on my post about Martin Lee Anderson:

Unfortunately this boy was guilty of much more than just stealing his grandmother's car. I know that when Leon County Boot Camp was still in existence the juveniles it housed were averaging 12-13 crimes before intake. Factor in percentage of times they committed crimes before they were actually caught and you're racking up quite the record. As for the State of Florida taking care of her son, do you not attribute any of this to poor parenting skills and the inability of the mother to place her son in an environment conducive to success? I am truly sorry that this boy is dead, and I don't think he "got what he deserved", but you can't say that they murdered him. The juvenile had an illness and the coroner ruled it a natural death. If anything, there was poor screening prior to intake. The only physical contact made to the juvenile were legitimate leg sweeps and arm bars. They were also consistently bringing water to the juvenile. This boy went through nothing different than any other juvenile in the system, he just happened to have a disease. Poor upbringing and the ineffectiveness of a functional family could be considered factors in the juvenile's death more than the fault of the officers.

I cant tell you who wrote this, because of course, they were too much of a coward to post their real name.

Any comments?

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Miami Lawyer Goes To Arkansas

I just returned from Little Rock where my client took a plea in the largest computer theft indictment in U.S history. The victim was Acxiom. The main defendant received 8 years in prison. The story is here.

Here's some answers to your initial questions:

1. Miami lawyer in a Arkansas federal courtroom? How'd the judge treat you?

Like a lawyer.

2. How many times did you hear "we don't do things like that here?"


3. What are Arkansas federal prosecutors like?


4. Courtroom staff make your life miserable?

Best I've ever dealt with.

5. FBI Agents, Marshals, probation officers, courthouse security?

Couldn't be more respectful.

It was the first time in a long time I walked into a courtroom and felt that all parties involved had total and complete respect for the function of a criminal defense lawyer.

And I appreciated the experience.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please go to www.tannebaumweiss.com

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Martin Lee Anderson, A Boy, Killed In Boot Camp

To the "tough on crime" tunnel vision morons, Martin Lee Anderson was a boy who committed a crime and "oh well," died in boot camp.

To those with working brain cells, two hours after arriving at boot camp, Martin Lee Anderson was murdered by law enforcement officers charged with the duty of rehabilitating him for, yeah, "stealing" his grandmother's car.

"Sorry Grandma," Martin's probably crying from heaven.

Here's the video, judge for yourself. If you usually need glasses, don't worry, you won't need them here.

And here's the press release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

To Martin's mother, I am so sorry you could not rely on the State of Florida to take care of your son, and I hope you get every bit of justice available to a human being, both in civil AND criminal court. You have great lawyers in Parks and Crump.

And I want to say that I NEVER want to hear again from a prosecutor, police officer, government official, or any other "they're criminals and they get what they deserve" type person who blindly goes through life either in denial, or ignorance - that this type of brutal, disgusting, criminal behavior doesn't exist everyday in our local jails, state prisons, and juvenile boot camps.

Wake up!

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Judge's Legacy: Jailing A Lawyer

I often wonder if judges think about their legacy.

Sometimes I walk in a courtroom and it becomes clear to me that there are judges who could care less about their legacy. We in Miami criminal court recently lost Judge Manny Crespo. People were downright emotional. His legacy? One of the nicest guys on the planet. Oh yeah, he was tough on defendants, but just a sweet, sweet man. No one remembers how many cases he cleared from his docket, or how many motions he granted or denied, just that he was a wonderful man.

That's his legacy.

Ft. Lauderdale Judge Cheryl Aleman will also have her legacy, having already earned the following press during her tenure:

"Aleman earned the lowest marks among the candidates in a recent Broward County Bar Association poll. Almost half of the attorneys responding deemed her "not qualified."

And then there's this:

"Florida Judge Refuses Early Release For Inmate Dying of Aids"

Judge Aleman recently won a new 6-year term in 2004, or as they like to say in political circles, "is on the fat side of 6."

Judge Aleman made a decision this week that will surely be a part of her legacy, and be discussed for years to come; she jailed a criminal defense lawyer for not appearing for trial for the second time in a month on the same case.

The newest headline for Judge Aleman:

"Controversial Broward Circuit Judge Cheryl Aleman had Adam Katz handcuffed and jailed without bond after finding him in contempt of court when he failed to show up, for the second time in a month, for the trial of a client accused of felony driving with a revoked license."

The sentence? A night in jail? A weekend? No, 60 days.

In Aleman's defense, this lawyer has done this before, and been ordered to undergo an evaluation for substance abuse by another judge.

But c'mon! This lawyer may have a substance abuse problem and this is what is done? How about probation, fines, community service, a meeting in chambers with a threat to send him to the Bar in 72 hours if he doesn't get help?

How about some damn compassion and fairness?

That would be a wonderful legacy.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Alleged Terrorists & Drug Kingpins in Miami Federal Court - So What?

Miami Federal District Court Judges Federico Moreno and Marcia Cooke, take a bow. ( I currently have no cases before either Judge.)

You have made it clear that justice in your courtroom begins with the word "equal."

These judges are insisting that the defendants before them, alleged Cali Cartel Founder Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela, and alleged dirty bomber Jose Padilla, be treated like every other defendant.

Judge Moreno is angry that Rodriguez-Orejuela's attorney is having trouble meeting with him in the Miami Federal Detention Center.

Judge Cooke does not want Mr. Padilla shackled, because no other defendant is treated so in her courtroom.

It's nice to see Judges get passionate about fairness. Many speak of it, but these two have gone a step further, and insisted on it in cases of international interest where many could care less how these defendants are treated.