The criminal defense attorneys of South Florida are well aware that certain judges, none of whom will be named here, do not tolerate tardiness. Once a lawyer has been practicing long enough, he or she will just know which Judges are sticklers for promptness. I remember when I was a prosecutor in Broward, one Judge actually had her bailiff handcuff a fellow prosecutor to a chair in the courtroom after he was only a few minutes late! A case decided by the 4th DCA just before New Year’s Eve reminded me of those good ole days I spent in the Broward County courthouse . . .
In the case of Kimothy Marquez Massie v. Bradshaw, 4D11-4714, Massie made the unfortunate mistake of being a mere 22 minutes late to court. The Judge would have none of it, and immediately took Massie into custody. Three days later, the court held a bond hearing, and determined that no conditions of bond would assure that Massie would not commit future crimes, or that he would appear for future court dates. On appeal, the 4th DCA reversed, finding that the trial court erred for two reasons. First, the trial court considered a criminal charge in Dade County, even though it occurred prior to the criminal incident in Massie’s case. Second, and most importantly, the 4th DCA noted that Massie had not ever previously failed to appear or been tardy for a court appearance in his case.
While I am glad that Massie prevailed in his appeal, the morale of this story is clear: don’t be late for court!