Judges Meet, Expect Florida Court Crisis to Soon Hit Broward

Outgoing Chief Judge Victor Tobin called a closed-door meeting of all 90 Broward judges this afternoon to discuss a budget shortfall that is threatening to shut down courthouses across the state. 

During the meeting, the idea was raised to "call the bluff" of Rick Scott and the Florida House and shut down the courthouse altogether in protest of the Legislature's actions, according to one of the judges in attendance. Tobin and his soon-to-be replacement, Circuit Judge Peter Weinstein, didn't like that idea. 

Instead, they spoke of instituting unpaid work furloughs coming for judicial assistants and other courthouse personnel. Although they questioned whether judges, who are constitutional officers of the state, could legally be furloughed, the consensus was that should the furloughs come for other courthouse employees, judges will voluntarily be subjected to them as well. 

A $54 million budget shortfall for the state's justice system has reportedly been caused by a reduction in foreclosure filing fees, a large chunk of the Florida court system's total $473 million budget. It's hard to say what's more sad -- that the court system is in a budget crisis that the Legislature won't fund or that our justice system was expected to get a huge amount of its overall funding from the foreclosure crisis that has devastated so many families. 

Courthouse employees could be furloughed as much as a week every month -- and while judges can afford that, other employees -- like judicial assistants who make salaries in the $35,000 range -- would be severely impacted. 

A judge present at Tobin's meeting agreed to talk freely about the situation so long as his or her identity wasn't published. This judge basically said that the fault lies not with any revenue shortfalls but with a "scary" Gov. Rick Scott and the anti-judiciary Florida House Speaker, Dean Cannon. 

"Why shouldn't the Legislature be held in contempt for not fully funding the judiciary?" the judge asked rhetorically. "The issue was raised about a protest to shut down the courthouse, everything, the jail, civil suits, domestic violence injunctions, first appearances. Call their bluff, but Tobin was
not keen to that."

The judge pointed at Scott and Florida House Speaker Cannon as two politicians who want to punish the court system for their own political and personal reasons. It's true hat Cannon is outspokenly hostile to the judiciary -- and especially disdainful of the Florida Supreme Court -- after the high court struck three Republican initiatives from the ballot because they were misleading or otherwise deficient.

The Broward judge also pointed the finger at Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady, a former Republican congressman, whom the judge claims is forsaking the Florida court system because he is ideologically aligned with the arch-conservative leadership in Tallahassee. "We don't have a chief justice right now with balls," said the judge. "We happen to have a chief justice who is of the same ilk as Rick Scott and the Legislature." 

Canady should threaten to shut down courthouses across Florida to call the bluff of the likes of Cannon and Scott, said the judge. 

"The Legislature and the governor are fucking with us," said the judge. "They are saying we are in the hole for x millions of dollars. It's like, 'Who the fuck are you kidding?' This has nothing to do with the budget. Dean Cannon is antijudiciary because he had three amendments that were shot down. And Rick Scott? Rick Scott could give a fucking rat's ass about the judiciary. We're a co-equal branch of government, but we're getting treated worse than a stepchild. Rick Scott doesn't give a shit. The guy is scary because he doesn't care. If you go up to him and say we need to do this or 100 people will die, he'll say, 'Oh, too bad; I'll send flowers.' 

"He spent $73 million of his own money to get elected, and he can tell everybody to fuck off. It's going to be a four-year governorship, and he's probably becoming the most-hated man in Florida other than Ted Bundy. It's probably going to be a four-year governorship, but that means we're stuck with him for four years." 

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90 comments
Unbelievable
Unbelievable

The indiscriminate foul-mouthed blathering of an idiot judge notwithstanding...Governor Scott went about working with The Chief Justice in a methodical way to agree on something that makes sense, and involves the legislature. Seems he was being reasonable while the judge, who probably needed to leave his office by noon to make his 1pm tee time, was just spouting off like a fool.

Scott OKs last-minute bailout for courtsby Dara Kam | April 6th, 2011 Gov. Rick Scott signed off on a loan to state courts to fill a budget shortfall that would have resulted in two-week furloughs.

Scott waited until the last minute to approve the bailout. Palm Beach County’s chief judge Peter Blanc said Scott needed to approve the loan by Friday to prevent the furloughs. The budget deficit was caused by a drop in the number of foreclosure filings, fees from which make up the bulk of the court’s spending.

Scott and Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady reached an agreement this morning, according to a press release issued by the court’s spokesman Craig Waters, to keep the courts running through the end of May.

The courts needed $72.3 million in emergency funds to keep operating through the June 30 end of the budget year. Scott had previously agreed to shift $14 million from court-related funds to pay for day-to-day operating expenses, but that is only enough to keep the courts functioning only through April 30.

Details of the amount and conditions of the loan were not immediately available, but the courts will cover the remaining shortfall through a “supplemental appropriation” not included in Canady’s original request of Scott, according to the release.

JGD1816
JGD1816

I'M FROM THE TEA PARTY AND I'M HERE TO HELP!

KennyPowersSays
KennyPowersSays

Well maybe the Florida judiciary system can revisit Rick Scott's fraudulent activities. That would be one deserved counterpunch. There is no recall in Florida, but criminal charges do, in fact, exist.

PS I like Ted Bundy better than Rick Scott.

Guest
Guest

After digesting the story and the comments, it came to me...nothing will happen,period,then end. For something to occur a decision would need to be made...by whom???? 90 judges sitting together in a room????? I bet some actually wore their robes to the meeting!!!! I am sure the meeting started with a joke, that included "Pull my Finger"!!!!! No, the meeting was held at 2 pm and I am certain the tenor was very abusive as no one wanted to work that late!!! Understand, judges are actually stupid lawyers, the joke goes, what do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 60? Your Honor!!! Very good attorneys could not take the pay cut, nor could they accept a mundane life. Crappy attorneys, ahhhhhhh they want power and security. Power as they never had any in life, they were normally the brunt of jokes growing up, the goofy kids you got to eat worms by telling them they were candy. Now they are striving for power and they get that by being a judge, people got to listen to them! It is called " Black Robe Fever" and it is a special club, with handshakes and nods and winks and the fact that if you get in trouble....well other special kids, or judges get to JUDGE you! You'll be fine. But don't worry about the budget shortfall....there will be some stammering, some finger pointing and maybe a nasty letter written...but nothing will happen, no one would step up and above all, no one wants to put in that much effort. Hey, maybe they can use the money for the NEW courthouse to overcome the shortfall??????

Guest
Guest

They sound like what they are, a bunch of spoiled kids! As an FYI, all the anti-governor rhetoric seems to come from South Fla, particularly Broward, and overwhelmingly Democratic County, so when I hear " he is becoming the most hated man since Bundy", I don't put faith or credence in it. Now, why the shortfall of money?????? Judges working only half days? A few days a week??? Empty courtrooms but shouts of being overcrowded??? Way too many judges, must be political paybacks that have stopped? or maybe.....SENIOR JUDGES????? You know, those that retired, got their DROP money then come back to work as a senior judge and are paid $300 a day!!!! On top of their retirement (3.3% multiplier, cops and firemen only get 3%) now they can get $300 a day!!!! When other judges sneak off after lunch and courtrooms are empty and God forbid Joe or Jane Average need anything from the judiciary, it takes months!!!!!!! No,I would really like to hear the Governor tell them to go fuck themselves, tell them to quit! Go back to private practice, have them call 411-PAIN, have them chase ambulances to make a buck, see what it is like to not be entitled to a paycheck. From the article it appears the judges will do anything...but give up a dime or any of their salary but will sacrifice others. Sorry, this is an example of piss poor management, must have been to the same budget seminar as the school board and county commissioners.......

anonymous
anonymous

Anything Scott can do to thwart this disgusting bunch of Broward County judges will be much appreciated.

Christy
Christy

Why do Shenanigans always take place behind closed doors? Open door policy here at Pulp's Blog. Come right in!

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Rick Scott is a microcosm of the fascist leaning conservative movement that has captured power in several states. They believe in the privatization of everything. They view government as a tool to transfer wealth to their brethren. In 2010, they were brilliant in creating an AstroTurf movement known as the tea baggers, who have no clue that they were being used.

In order for things to get better, things will have to get alot worse. The reason I posit this is simple; the only way we are going to motivate the apathetic majority is if things get dramatically worse, to the extent that, instead of watching American Idol, they begin to educate themselves and go to the polls come election time.

The good news is things are going to get dramatically worse as the top 1% continue to consolidate their wealth. People are beginning to take to the streets in the MidWest and in other regions. Just recently, two unions who represent firefighters and police officers and who traditionally vote Republican, are changing their allegiance.

This battle is going to be won in the streets, and I think it is a positive thing that this Broward County Judge is using vulgarity. How do you think the labor movement was won in this country?

By being civil?

Anonomyte
Anonomyte

I absolutely hate Rick Scott. Congratulations to Debbie Wasserman Shultz.

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

Mitch Seizure:

Which one of your ate-up parents indoctrinated you? What Scott is doing is not remotely recognizable as governance. His days and nights are spent plotting to fill his bank account, not make life better for Floridians. No one invests $73 million of their own money to become Governor without expecting much, much greater personal rewards to follow. If you are "pleased" with that, you are either profiting personally from his misdeeds yourself or have deep-seated psychological issues that need to be addressed. Your multiple-blog-personality disorder hints at the latter.

average joe
average joe

Call the bluff. Shut down the courthouse. The Feds will step in.

B_tan
B_tan

Woa!! Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is the new DNC Chair!!!!

Mitch Seizure
Mitch Seizure

Come on, Bob. Tell us who the foul-mouthed judge is. I hereby hold him in contempt of the people. We don't need any judges in Broward County, because we don't have a justice system...just a legal system. They're almost all from the same party, the same ideology and the same ethnicity. Hell, most of them are judges because they're too lazy or too incompetent to make a living from a law practice. They're poster children for the state's insanely generous retirement plan. hey are arrogant, over-paid, borderline incompetent, pampered by the press, the bar and the political parties.

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

I don't know all of the judges' schedules but it was pretty common knowledge that Creepy Larry used his courtroom as about an hour and a half interruption of his day.

If this is any indication of how the judiciary acts then furlough their asses and keep the staff on full pay.

It's time the Chief Judge reign in the judges or pass legislation that requires judges to spend at least 30 hours per week "in session."

Take a look around the courthouse at about 3 o'clock any day of the week and try to find a judge. Not many around.

Tony
Tony

Who cares if the court house shuts down. it's not life or death. The problem is clear we think if government is not there to wipe our ass then it's a crisis.

Mitch Seizure
Mitch Seizure

The Broward County Courthouse is full of human detritus...and I'm not talking about the criminals. Go ahead and shut it down. Either that or move it the fuck out to some God-forsaken west Broward hellhole like North Lauderdale or Lauderhill. We don't want you, your courthouse, jail, or any fucking Broward government offices in Fort Lauderdale. We're sick of you. Get your corruption out of our city. Maybe when you leave the lawyers will move out of our neighborhoods. too.

And good for Rick Scott. "Elections have consequences" and "we won." Remember who said that? Deal with it, RATs.

Arar21
Arar21

To all these people that are saying thus is a good thing. Wait until the crime rate goes up because there are no judges to hear speedy trials and some young inexperienced prosecutor prosecuting the child molester or murderer. Then they will realize how important these things are- but it will be too late.

Modie
Modie

What judicial assistant makes 35K, if you know?

Parkland man
Parkland man

Hey let's get to work shut the courthouse down I will pay for the plywood and nails we can create a few jobs it's like Disney world for lawyers let's close it down I'm in.

Pastafarian
Pastafarian

Ok, excuse my ignorance, but I thought the the governor's term was six years, not four. Am I mistaken?

Ted Bundy or Rick Scott
Ted Bundy or Rick Scott

@ Unbelievable

That foul-mouthed judge knew exactly what he was talking about. Rick Scott didn't realize how much heat he was going to get for this and Scott caved in. Tell Guv Scott not to worry Ted Bundy is still more hated than Scott, but that could change very easily with any action by the Guv. PS Stock tip - Buy Solantic stock.

Mitch Seizure
Mitch Seizure

The RATs can't get over the fact that they lost...especially since a decent turnout in Broward would have given the election to Stink. Thing is...they can't blame Republicans for that!

LocalDude
LocalDude

Because the Police are much better impartial judges!

Guest
Guest

Absolutely Correct Virgil!!!

Mitch Seizure
Mitch Seizure

Hey, thanks for the armchair diagnosis, asshole, but I already have a good proctologist: Dr. Wasserman-Schultz.

BrowardAttorney
BrowardAttorney

That about sums it up. Except you forgot to mentions the nepotism.

anonymous
anonymous

Wasn't Seidlin criminally charged, and wouldn't that mean he would lose his pension. Jenne did.

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

Creepy Larry's story was common knowledge because it was unusual. We often get a miscreant in a position of "power," (Rick Scott, George W., Dick Cheney, et.al.). It happens, but it's not the norm.

anonymous
anonymous

Didn't Creepy Larry also use the old woman's credit card to pay for the judicial conferences, then made Tallahassee reimburse him? If you have achieved a national level of disgrace as a judge why don't you automatically lose your pension?

Christy
Christy

Nice Serve DF3, Game point.

LocalDude
LocalDude

unless its YOU in jail, waiting to tell the judge its not my fault... the cop planted the dope.

Fled Florida
Fled Florida

"Elections have consequences," and you'd like those consequences to be the deterioration of a democratic government in the state? The courts are CRUCIAL to our form of government, both state and federal. I don't understand Teabaggers one bit.

First you people say you want to "restore the country," or at least your interpretation of it. Then you want to dismantle a crucial element of it? The Teabaggers are the poster children for cognitive dissonance.

Parkland man
Parkland man

Your 100 percent correct get them the f out of here all of them lawyers first

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

Your candidate won. Unless you own Solantic, you lost like the rest of us.

Parkland man
Parkland man

Well then tell these sb lawyers to stop wasting judges time with there bs lawsuits it's all stealing that's why so Any are going to jail

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

You are a hateful person. You really need help, you need to chill out and relax.

Unknown
Unknown

You're mistaken. It's four years.

anonymous
anonymous

Rumor has it that someone is writing a book documenting explosive details that have been uncovered on over 20 Broward County judges. Anybody else hear about this?

RealityCheck
RealityCheck

hello,

JUDGES ARE ELECTED! you vote for them, they win. you don't they loose.

what part of that is confusing?

Mitch Seizure
Mitch Seizure

Glad you're gone. Don't lecture me about the courts being "crucial" when we have battallions of moron judges who couldn't cut it in private practice and think it's their job to social engineer and legislate from the bench. I have zero respect for them. I truly am in contempt of them.

LocalDude
LocalDude

Then what?

No courts, just police and jails?

Sounds like something the Kings and Dictators in the middle east would support.

Mitch Seizure
Mitch Seizure

You can play the victim if you like. I'm quite pleased with the job Scott is doing, which I know is 100% better than Alex Stink would have done.

Arar21
Arar21

That will not help when a sex offender who got away is now free to molest again.

Arar21
Arar21

I'm talking about the trials of criminals not civil suits.

Mitch Seizure
Mitch Seizure

The candidates are so weak that no matter which ones are elected they're going to be LOSERS.

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

I really like your name...I'm Italian, I should be a pastafarrian

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