Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hamilton Bank trial to start

Former Hamilton Bank chief executive Eduardo Masferrer's criminal trial starts Monday in front of Judge Moore. He is defended by Howard and Scott Srebnick. The case was transferred from Judge King (pursuant to a secret policy manual) when he recused himself from all criminal cases, which I discussed here.

UPDATE 11/14 -- Speaking of secrecy, the Daily Business Review's cover story today is "Secrecy Slapdown." It discusses in great detail the secret docket problems of this District and the recent Ochoa decision telling the court not to engage in secrecy any longer. I'm trying to get a working link to the article (here it is)... In the meantime, here's the intro:
Last month, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals chastised judges of the Southern District of Florida for completely hiding cases from public view by placing the cases on a secret court docket. “We … exercise our supervisory authority to remind the district court that it cannot employ the secret docketing procedures that we explicitly found unconstitutional,” the panel said in its unusual reprimand. Defense attorneys, civil liberties groups and the news media celebrated the panel’s words, which came in the course of upholding a drug lord’s conviction and sentence of more than 30 years in prison. Now, one of the South Florida federal judges who agreed to hide a case admits that she made a mistake and vows never to do it again. “Judges are not gods,” U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz, a seven-year veteran of the federal bench, said in an interview. “Like any human being, we make mistakes. When your mistake is pointed out, you reconsider your action and you promptly make a correction.”

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