Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wilma, Meirs, and Easter

So Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination today. I couldn't think of a better time for President Bush to appoint a Floridian for the post. I mean, with Wilma and everything, I think it's the least we can expect! Come on, W, it's time for the first Justice from Florida!

I hope my fellow South Floridians are doing okay. Most of us are still without power, hot water, gas, etc. They say we may get these things by Easter...

The DBR reports the following on courts:

Hurricane Wilma shut down state and federal courts in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Most said they would remain closed through Friday. Officials at most of the courts said they would reopen for business on Monday though that is tentative. The lone exception is the 3rd District Court of Appeal, which covers Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, which will be open Thursday. Hearings Wednesday were canceled at state and federal courts and filings deadlines were expected to be extended. The Florida Supreme Court was expected to issue deadline-extension orders for state courts sometime Thursday. Wilma damaged several Miami-Dade County courthouses, forcing their closure for several days while authorities assess the damage. But the damage was not nearly as severe as that to the main Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. Most trials and court proceedings at the main Broward courthouse will be postponed until Nov. 7 as workers make massive repairs to the facility in downtown Fort Lauderdale. About 175 windows were shattered and blown inside the building, water pipes burst, and wind and rain inundated judges’ chambers, court administration offices and the jury room. In the north wing of the building, an inch of water covered the floor. Nevertheless, magistrates are holding first-appearance criminal proceedings at the Broward County Jail In Palm Beach, all Circuit Court business has been suspended through Friday, except for first appearances, shelter hearings, and domestic violence-related matters, according to the court’s Web site. Those proceedings are taking place at the Criminal Justice Complex in West Palm Beach. A court epresentative was not available for comment Wednesday about any damage at court buildings. The four federal courthouses in downtown Miami appeared to have suffered no exterior damage, but did have some interior damage. The court’s Internet site reported that federal courthouses would be closed until further notice. A recorded message at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court said the bankruptcy offices in Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach are also closed until further notice. The recording said bankruptcy hearings and creditors’ meetings would be rescheduled. Criminal court judges in Miami-Dade were handling first appearances at the county jail in downtown Miami Tuesday afternoon, and were working on emergency domestic violence intervention requests. Miami-Dade Circuit Court spokeswoman Jill Beach said it was too early to tell when the courts might reopen, although officials were hoping it would be next Monday. “We’re doing everything we can to get safely prepared for reopening for the public and the employees,” Beach said. “There’s no assurances what’s going to happen right now.” The 11th U.S. Circuit ourt of Appeals in Miami canceled oral arguments in Miami for the week. An 11th Circuit court clerk in Atlanta said attorneys should call their case manager to
arrange for deadline extensions, but extensions would be granted on a case-by-case basis. Officials at the 4th DCA in West Palm Beach, which includes Broward and Palm Beach counties, could not be reached Wednesday. The court’s Web site said it would be closed Wednesday and Thursday. No further information has been posted about when the court might reopen. No details of any damage were immediately available. Carl Jones can be reached at or at (305) 347-6648.

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