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Broward County Jail Pre-sentencing, Florida

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Pre-sentencing

Interview with James, Charles, Doug, Nick, Erik, Edwin, Will, Rickey, Lee, David, Ann and Scott

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
James: It was so long. In January of 2006 I requested a VOP hearing, and I was postponed for 5 months by the Judge. It took 6 months for my lawyer to get a depo from the victim.
Charles: Two months, no charges declared, should of been released after 44 days without charges.
Doug: I was locked up for violation of probation with new drug charge, poss with intent oxycodone. I had a prescription for the medication and it was in the bottle tha the pharmacy gave me. The police dumped the meds out of the bottle and charged me for poss with intent after my girlfriend gave me $40 that she owed me in a bar parking lot. No pills were give to the girl as they were in my glove compartment the whole time. The police saw her give me money so they made up a story that I was selling them and they disposed of the bottle. The police also would not let me get my cell phone out of my car or anything else. All my friends phone numbers were programed in the phone. Everything was stolen out of my car after it was towed witch is normal including my cell phone. I was unable to contact witnesses or provide proof to the court of my innocence. The police lied on the report. My probation officer lied in court also saying that I probably obtained the medication illegaly even though she had been given a copy of the prescription. She told me I could have the meds as long as I had a prescription for it 2 months earlier. I have worked as an x-ray tech for 20 years and in court my probation officer stated that I was a danger to patients and was probably stealing narcotics from the hospitals where I worked. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have no access to drugs in the hospital and I valued my job. I made alot of money with my job and did not need to sell drugs to pay my bills. I was making $23 to $28 an hour. My probation officer also called one of my jobs and told them that I was using and selling cocaine and got me fired. I was astonished at how corrupt the justice system is in Florida. At my job we deal with people that have to tell the truth in order to get proper treatment. I was completly honest with my probation officer. She took everything I said out of context and told outright lies to the court. I was sent to prison for 16 months for my prescription medicine prescribed to me by my doctor. I need a hip replacement right now and live in terrible pain. I have 2 herniated disc in my back and need surgery for that as well. I will never come back to Florida as long as I live. When I was in jail alot of police and sheriffs from Broward county were also in jail on corruption charges. Cops are nothing more than crooks with badges and guns.
Nick: I was charged with DUI. I asked for anti depressant medication. Because of this I was put in a mental health cell and was sent to North Broward. Where I was in a unit that had no doors and many people who had severe mental disorders. The inmates would scream through the night and keep me awake.
Erik: well the pre sentencing was rough, you get moved around every 4 hours to random locations throughout the jail then on the second day your there you get taken to one of the other jail facilities and the whole time you never get more than 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep, its really barbaric.
Edwin: In my situation it was very nerve racking. The charges I was being held on required me posting a bond. So I sat in jail until my next two court dates. It was at that time it was discussed if I pled guily too the charges . That the judge would considere time served. consconsider
Will: Basically we just sat in the cell like in a glass and metal fish bowl while people argued and fought over newspapers and TV shows. Three was a lot of racial tension and whites were the underdog. Their food and commissary was stolen regularly and they were seldom given newspapers and all TV shows were black.
Rickey: took very uncomfortable
Lee: Several court dates and long waites beffore sentencing. Since the system was and still is so over crowded, without the services of a privat attorney every process seems to take a whole lot longer than it really should. Inmates wait over a year for court some times, or they're posponed a lot.
David: Booking process thkes about eight hours, at that time you are put in a two tier holding tank on the second floor with about one hundred other people. You are given a blanket and mattres and must find a place on the floor becacse all of the bunks are full. There are free phones so people can reach bondsmen etc. From this cell you will attend your majistrate/bond hearing and afterwards be moved to either floor 4,5,6,7,8,9,or 10 depending on the nature of your charge. People with more serious charges tend to be placed on higher floors.
Ann: its where they gather up all the information on your case and your prior convictions and decide a proper sentence for you,decide all and or mitigating factors,see if you are able to stand trial,file all preliminary motions,motion of discovery so that you can find out the exact charges against you
Scott: My license got suspended for unpaid tickets and never had money to get my license fixed so i just kept driving but did not have my license so i got pulled over and was arrest for driving with out a licesnce over five times then went to court and got a lawyer

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
James: Yes.
Charles: Yea, even after I got out of broward, was extradited to palm beach, they knock on my door like where the fuck am I? MY people had to tell them Im still in jail.
Doug: no
Nick: I was driving at a high rate of speed down a residential street. My car had lost control and had turned over in front of someone's house. The police arrived and was asked to do a sobriety test. I had refused because of the trauma I had just been through. Then I was placed under arrest.
Erik: yes the police came to my house because I had not gone to see my p o for over 3 months and a violation had been issued so one night the police came to my house and knocked on my door my sister answered and they came into my back yard where I was and arrested me
Edwin: I was driving from a friends house on my way home when of got pulled over. They said I was speeding but I wasn't. They searched my car and hauled me off to jail. Once I was downtown that's When They told me what I was charged with and what my bond was...
Will: The police were by my house several times and they harassed my family and tried to get them to convince me to incriminate myself with confessions of crimes I didn't commit our have knowledge of. They accused me and threatened me like I was some mass criminal. They also assaulted me when they arrested me.
Rickey: no
Lee: No, I was arrested in the act of comiting my crime for which I was incarcreated for. Since I could not afford both money for bail and an affecting attorney I chose to sit there in jail so that I could havesufficient representation.I would have been there a lot longer had I not.
David: Was arrested on a possession of cocaine charge. It was a situation where I was caught in a reverse sting. I was sold drugs by a undercover police officer who was posing as a drug dealer. I was hand cuffed and put in the back of a panel truck until they had the truck full enough to take to the police station.
Ann: i was arrested by a traffic stop,which lead to a search of the vehicle,where prescription drugs with a valid prescription were in my possesion,it was in the time of the big pill mill problem of south florida, i was unable to provide detailed dates and times for my doctors visits,which resulted in an arrest
Scott: no there was not police that came to my house i got arrested because i was pulled over numerous of times driving on a suspened license i got warnings and warnings but still kept driving on a suspended license even when i wasnt suposs to so after i think the 5th time i got arrested

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
James: After you give up your right to a speedy trial, it is just continuation after continuation. Going to court is the BIGGEST torture of Broward County. Inmates are woken up between 3- 4am and start a LONG process of waiting. Inmates with private lawyers see the judge quick, but the have been times that I've waited until 5pm before I left the holding cell. I feel that the system tortures you so much, that when a plea is offered by the state, people just take it to stop the torture of going to court.
Charles: In broward? Public Defendant was useless, handled my own case. In palm beach due to the complications of multiple county probation I hired a lawyer who I was familiar with and was an expert on probationary issues.
Doug: It was rediculous. The corrupt police lie on reports. The prosecuters and judges believe what the cops write on there reports so the whole system is rotten to the core.
Nick: The holding cell was freezing at a ridiculously cold temperature. I was woken at 4am then put on a bus to the court house. I then was put into shackles that tied down my feet and hands to my stomach. I was allowed to ask any questions and could not speak to the judge.
Erik: The court was a real pain, you get woken up in the jail at 4am and have to wait till 6am in a tank to go to the court a bus comes at 6 and by 7 you are in the court house where you sit until 9 then go in the courtroom where the judge arrives at 10 its a very long process
Edwin: I looked forward to going to court, be cause I knew there was a chance for me to go home ... at the same time it was intimidating because you really had no idea if What was really going to happen. Sitting there watching some people's walk Out as free men and others leaving in handcuffs ...
Will: Court was very non personal; several defendants were taken in to the courtroom handcuffed together and then hand cuffed to the jury chairs. The public defenders never know about the facts of my case; they just wanted me to "cop a plea" and hurry out. I was not given a chance to really understand my charges
Rickey: ok
Lee: Court was very irratating, at least the whole process of going. I was up before sun up (5:30 am) only to sit and wait in a small cell with other inmates at least half the day, even longer most times. Just to be in court for 20 minutes at the maximum.
David: During majistrate/bond hearing they set your bond and see if you require a public defender. After about three weeks you will go to your first appearance where they try to see if you are willing to take a plea bargin. The plea bargin is offered due to a over crowded court system.
Ann: very cold,your not allowed to wear any type of sweater,due to security,very long process,very scary because you dont know what the judge is going to do to you,if he is going to let you go free,set you a bond, or set you for a later court appearance,which could take months
Scott: i had to go to court numererous of times because i was pulled over alot of times for driving on a suspened licenese i was already on bond for it so i had to do jail time or do 30-60 days of house arrest and not be able to drive

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Nick: I was driving while drunk. I was convicted of DUI.
Erik: I was originally charged with Grand Theft
Edwin: Driving while suspended and possession of a controlled substance. Were the original charges I eventually pleaded operating w/o a valid license and drug paraphilillion
Will: My charges were burglary of a residence and grand theft. I was convicted of both crimes because I pled guilty because I couldn't stand bring in the county jail any more.
Rickey: burglary
Lee: I was charged with burglary of a dwelling, possession of burglary tools, and wearing a mask to comit a felony.
David: Possession of cocaine, the charges were never reduced.
Ann: trafficking in illegal drugs over 28 grams.....convicted of witholding information from a practitioner
Scott: driving on a suspened license with knowledge,driving on a suspended license without knowledge and recomment

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