The Knucklehead of the Day award Part One
Today's winner is Broward County Circuit Judge Charles Greene. He gets the award for the following.
A court stenographer has been jailed until she can finish typing a transcript needed for an appeal in a child-rape case.Jailing a stenographer is just another sign of the sick court system that prevails in Broward County. Tick off a judge, you get their rights taken away without a trial. Tell me how this is justice? Child molestors get more rights than this. Rape a child, you get your day in court, don't finish transcribing a document you get thrown in jail. Tell me if that's justice.
Circuit Judge Charles Greene said he will release stenographer Ann Margaret Smith, 44, as soon as she completes the transcript.
Greene jailed Smith on Friday for contempt of court, saying she had failed for months to deliver the transcript. He said he issued orders for Smith's equipment and notes to be sent to the Broward County Jail, and for the Broward Sheriff's Office to provide a place for her to work.
Jail records showed she was still being held late Saturday.
Greene said an appeals court had come to him asking for a transcript from the trial of Damion Winston Foster. Last April, Foster was sentenced to three consecutive life terms for snatching a Pompano Beach toddler from his bed, wrapping the boy's head with duct tape, and raping him.
The appeals court had asked Smith to provide the transcript previously, but had not received it. The defendant's appeal could not move ahead without the transcript, Greene said.
''You have a person in custody,'' Greene said in an interview Friday evening. ``No one can do a thing because you don't have a transcript.''
At a Feb. 9 contempt hearing, Greene ordered Smith to finish the transcript by Feb. 28 and not to work at any more trials in Broward until then.
She didn't make the deadline, Greene said, so he scheduled another hearing for Friday. That's when he found her in civil contempt and put her in jail.
''Believe me, this isn't something I relish doing,'' he said.
Greene is the administrative judge for the criminal division of Broward Circuit Court, and part of his job is to handle complaints from the Fourth District Court of Appeal about missing transcripts.
He said he gets many such complaints, but only a small percentage, perhaps three or four a month, go to a contempt hearing. Most such hearings result in the stenographer providing the missing transcript, he said.
But not always: Smith is the second stenographer Greene has jailed for not turning over a transcript. In November 2003, the judge jailed Diana Cavitt until she completed a long-delayed transcript.
Lawyers and court observers said then that it wasn't the first time a court stenographer has faced contempt charges, but such situations are rare, resulting only when judges exhaust all other options.
No it isn't and for being an out of control madman dispensing warped justice, Broward County Circuit Judge Charles Greene is today's first Knucklehead of the Day.
Linked to- Basil, Bright & Early, Cao, Faultline, Jo, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pursuing Holiness, Right Voices, Third World County,