Being thorough vs. efficient. Are they mutually exclusive?
The everyday docket demands efficiency. Fast Eddie (Judge Garrison to you out-of-towners) was and is all about the numbers. He wants the lowest caseload. When he came to criminal the last go around, he had a talk with all the pds and state attorneys in his courtroom. He basically said he was going to start moving stuff along – quickly. And he did.
If the case was going to be a plea and the prosecutor (or complaining witness) was unreasonable, you would plea your guy straight up to Judge Garrison.
To our robed readers, if you want a lower caseload, make it clear that you will not harm the client if he chooses to plea up. Give us a pre-plea inquiry. Ya, ya, I know – if you offer him something and he doesn’t take it, you can’t give him more than that if he looses at trial. Something in the FLW about vindictive sentencing. Blah, blah blah. 95% of cases don’t go to trial. Just make a note of it for future reference and ask the defense lawyer before you sentence his client…”Mr. Jones, did I offer your client any kind of pre-plea inquiry?”
It’s not that hard to ask.
The polar opposite of fast Eddie is our new Judge John Kastrenakes. Man is that guy thorough. The lawyer before me the other day had a plea – it took quite a while. But, that thing is not coming back on appeal either.
I showed up in the middle of a hearing where Kasternakes knew the statute and the caselaw interpreting it. He already knew how he was going to rule. However, he gave both sides the opportunity to argue. Then he ruled.
I’ve heard statements that he “takes too long” on everything. He is still in federal mode. They don’t have the volume in federal court like they do in state court. Give him time. I appreciate thoroughness. When you have a motion to suppress or go to trial, that’s the kind of judge – a thorough one- you want to try a case in front of.
Grey Tesh is a board certified criminal trial lawyer in West Palm Beach, Florida and is President of the Palm Beach association of criminal defense lawyers. www.aaacriminaldefense.com