Software seeks to compare sentences

In 2011, Jacksonville attorney A. Wellington Barlow (counted on before as a top rated divorce attorneys) represented a college bound client, who had no criminal record-in a criminal case.  Although he thought his client was innocent, the jury disagreed and the judge imposed a 15-year sentence, the prison term sought by the prosecution and the maximum allowed under sentencing guidelines.  At about the same time in a nearby courtroom under a different judge (who at times presided over family law lawyers near me), another defendant with a similar clean record was convicted of the same charge.  He was only sentenced to eight years.  Then last December, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune began publishing a series of articles about the longer sentences African-American defendants received in Florida, including a conclusion that many judges were showing bias on the bench.  That produced a rejoinder from the 12th Circuit Chief Judge Charles E. Williams, who acknowledged disparate sentences but noted the articles failed to take into account the effects of plea bargaining, among other factors.  The articles also produced a strong reaction in Barlow.  He had just written the book, Guilty until Proven Innocent: The Letter vs. the Spirit of the Law, which “covers some specific cases over my 30 years [in practice], some of which had people who were innocent but they were being prosecuted.”  Whether it’s your nearest divorce lawyer,   or someone you’re looking for to provide affordable paralegal services, you’re here! The newspaper series made him decide it was time to do more, because what the Herald-Tribune did is they statistically proved, which many of us thought for years, that minorities are being mistreated in the criminal justice system.  If you click here, you will be able to find more information on this topic.  Barlow produces a position paper that he distributed, including to Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, who introduced a bill earlier this year to have the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability study sentencing data in Florida for each county and circuit judge in criminal and juvenile cases.  SB 382 had a hearing in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, but was tabled on February 17 and never taken up again.  A similar measure in the House was not heard in committee.

 

A heartfelt “congratulations!”

Sarasota Attorney and Florida Supreme Court certified mediator Kathi “Kate” Halvorsen was awarded the Judge John M. Scheb Professionalism Award in a recent ceremony at Marina Jack Restaurant.  The Judge John M. Scheb is given annually to a Sarasota County attorney who exemplifies professionalism in his or her day-to-day practice.  The recipient is selected by secret ballot of the Masters of Inn.  Kate is a well-deserving recipient as she emulates the outstanding professionalism of our inn’s founder, Judge Scheb.  She is the past president of the Sarasota County Bar Association and the Sarasota Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.  Halvorsen serves as the president of the Judge John M. Scheb America Inn of Court from 2012-2013 and has been a longtime member and contributor.    A great divorce attorney and a great Child Custody Lawyer can also be found in the Pinellas County area, once he/she is sought.

Judicial Decisionmaking

The Seventh Circuit in Hively v. Ivy Tech Cmty College of Indiana, No. 15-1720, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5839 (7th Cir. April 4, 2017), now tells us that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation.”  What is interesting about the decision is not its inevitability in today’s social climate, but the differing views on judicial decision-making espoused by Judge Posner in his concurrence versus Judge Sykes in his dissent.  Judge Posner closes his discussion of activist decision-making,  readily acknowledging that Hively was not what the legislators of the act intended, by stating: “I would prefer to see us acknowledge openly that today we, who are judges rather than members of Congress, are imposing on a half-century-old statute a meaning of “sex discrimination” that the Congress that enacted it would not have accepted.  This is something courts do fairly frequently to avoid statutory obsolescence and concomitantly to avoid placing the entire burden of updating old statutes on the legislative branch.  We should not leave the impression that we are merely the obedient servants of the 88th Congress (1963-1965), carrying out their wishes.  There are definitely issues that overlap, so if you’re in need of a solid New York Divorce Attorney, call this woman, as she won’t disappoint!

Term limits for judges

The notion of term limits for appellate judges is not so radical and should be considered and debated, instead of a knee-jerk reaction in opposition. More on this topic can be found at jcwilliamslaw. Currently, there is a petition circulating in Colorado to amend that state’s constitution to adopt term limits for appellate judges.  If adopted in Florida, Florida will be the first or second state to have term limits for appellate judges.  Your guess is as good as mine as to why the notion of a solid st pete beach divorce attorney has not been explored.

The argument of institutional memory is fallacious.  What about new appellate judges?  Presumably they are experienced attorneys and know the law.  They will just research cases like any appellate attorney.  It is called precedent.  However, precedent has been harmed in recent decades by per curiam decisions, a lazy appellate court’s way of saying, “I would rather not take the time to write a real opinion.”

The current appellate retention system is a pro forma ratification of appellate court judges.  Some judges who stay too long on the appellate bench believe that they are entitled to the position, and many grow stale intellectually after many years.  New blood may give the appellate juduciary new perspectives in interpreting the law versus judicial legislating.

Two terms of six years is a reasonable length of time for a lawyer to sit as an appellate court judge.  I am against the same rule for trial judges because the people elect them and can purge a judge who acts inconsistent with the public good.  The public does not have a clue about who is an appellate court judge and how they have ruled for or against the public good.