‘Justice System’ Category

 

Joe Registrato and Julianne Holt on Public Defender FEES

 

Some history: Joe Registrato use to be Holt’s chief asst. (see link below)  Registrato was rehired in 2015.

Holt’s chief assistant resigns

Stay tuned for discussion……

In Some Case, Public Defender Fees/Costs INCLUDED and RESULTING IN DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS

 

 
 
 

Inquiry and Email Discussion with Public Defender Bob Dillinger On Possible Conflict with Public Defender Offices and Clients with DWLS cases where suspension is based in part on non-payment of PD Fees & Responses/Non-Responses by Hillsborough Clerk’s Office Pat Frank, State Attorney Andrew Warren and Public Defender Holt

In regards to ……“DWLS” (Driving While License is Suspended)

Florida You Judge email sent on 1/17/2018 to Public Defender Bob Dillinger:

Bob,

My understanding is that you are the current president of the Florida PD Association.  Therefore, I’d like to direct this question to you.  I was contacted by someone yesterday who advised that the clerk’s office in Hillsborough sends out collection letters which in some cases includes monies owed to the PD (application/attorney service fees).  This individual put out an online FB video yesterday discussing this issue and therefore I contacted the clerk to get verification as I was not aware that PD fees were included in the collection letters that can lead to a license suspension.  The letter advises that if the monies are not paid then the clerk may notify the DMV which will result in a driver’s license suspension.  The clerk has verified that in fact some of the collection letters includes PD fees and that a portion, if monies are received, are disbursed to the PD.

Question to you:  In these cases, if an individual, who fails to satisfy outstanding costs/fees, which include PD fees, subsequently has their license suspended and is thereafter charged with a criminal driving while license is suspended charge, is there a conflict precluding the Public Defender’s office from representation on the DWLS?

I’ve spoken to a handful of private attorneys who opine that it appears that there is a conflict and have even inquired about the same scenario in a violation of probation case when the affidavit of violation includes PD costs/fees.

I will be publishing this question on Florida You Judge and just wanted to hear any possible reaction from you first.  I will publish any response you may have in addition to this email communication publication.

Thanks in advance and have a great day! Haydee Oropesa

Reply from Bob Dillinger 1/17/2018:

Bob Dillinger

 

“The legislature has made certain fees and costs mandatory in all cases. These fees and costs involve the courts, the state attorneys and public defenders. The PD’s have no input in the collection process nor in initiating violations. PD’s situation is no different than the court or state attorney. We have consistently opposed putting fees and costs on poor people and are supporting Sen. Brandes’ bill fixing many of these inequities.”

 

Reply from Florida You Judge (Haydee Oropesa) to Bob Dillinger 1/17/2018:

Bob,

How have you opposed the fees? Specific examples.  Can your office waive the fees?  Have you in any of your cases?  What has your office ever proposed to the legislature to not make the PD fee from resulting in a license suspension?  Is it a conflict to represent someone on a DWLS when the suspension is based in part on monies owed to the PD office?  Would you be interested in doing an online segment on the issue?

Reply from Bob Dillinger 1/18/2018:

The PD association has fought the suspension of DLs for non driving offenses for years with the help of Senators Brandes and Rouson. There is an admin order that directs the clerk on what’s mandatory and discretionary. The legislature determined that.

Reply from Florida You Judge (Haydee Oropesa) to Bob Dillinger 1/18/2018:

the news articles addressing Brandes’ bill states that he has tried to get this bill passed for only three years (any efforts from you or any other PD before that time period?)…please send me written communications from you to any lawmakers including Brandes and Rouson and any bills Rouson presented in the past with this legislative objective pushed by you or any of your PD comrades.  Thanks.

and please answer my other questions (see above in red the questions I need answers from Bob on)….

Bob,

I am not talking about non-driving offenses….I am talking about whether you have advocated (or PD association) to not allow DL suspension for non-payment of PD fees….that is the question….whether you have fought against that.

Reply from Bob Dillinger 1/18/2018:

We have lobbied and advocated unsuccessfully for years that no DL shuuld be suspended for failure to pay fees or costs without a hearing to determine ability to pay. (repeating same thing essentially without answering some of my questions in red above???)

Reply from Florida You Judge (Haydee Oropesa) to Bob Dillinger 1/18/2018:

read 938.29(3) could the PD costs by [sic] waived or deferred?  Could your office motion for that to happen?

doesn’t the law already have a mechanism for that? Ability to pay?
“A defendant-recipient or parent, liable to pay attorney’s fees or costs and who is not in willful default in the payment thereof, may, at any time, petition the court which entered the order for deferral of the payment of attorney’s fees or costs or of any unpaid portion thereof.” FS 938.29(3)  

Has your office ever on behalf of a client asserted this provision ?

by the way Bob, 938.29 
“Legal assistance; lien for payment of attorney’s fees or costs” is under discretionary costs not mandatory
What administrative order are you referencing to the clerk?

BOB DILLINGER HAS NOT RESPONDED TO THIS LAST REPLY TO HIM (once and if Dillinger answers, Florida You Judge will immediately update this blog post)

QUESTION TO HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE

Florida You Judge (Haydee Oropesa) email sent on 1/18/2018 @ 10:43a.m. to  the office of Hillsborough County Clerk Pat Frank:

Doug,

I think this really may be the last question on this issue.  Under FS 938.29 (3) does the clerk have the ability to not collect the PD portion or make [sic] have it waived by the PD ?  Can the PD’s office ask the clerk not to transmit their fee to the DMV in order to avoid a DL suspension?  Can the court’s [sic] order that [sic] that portion of the fees not be subject to a D6?  Thanks

REPLY FROM CLERK’S OFFICE ON THIS INQUIRY:

Haydee –

I broke down your three questions below with my responses – I apologize for delay but I’ve been in meetings most of today:

Under FS 938.29 (3) does the clerk have the ability to not collect the PD portion or make have it waived by the PD ? 

The PD wouldn’t have the authority to waive a court ordered assessment.  The statute you reference lays out what the clerk shall do.
(3) The clerk of the circuit court within the county wherein the defendant-recipient was tried or received the services of a public defender, special assistant public defender, office of criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, or appointed private legal counsel, or received due process services after being found indigent for costs, shall enforce, satisfy, compromise, settle, subordinate, release, or otherwise dispose of any debt or lien imposed under this section. A defendant-recipient or parent, liable to pay attorney’s fees or costs and who is not in willful default in the payment thereof, may, at any time, petition the court which entered the order for deferral of the payment of attorney’s fees or costs or of any unpaid portion thereof.

Can the PD’s office ask the clerk not to transmit their fee to the DMV in order to avoid a DL suspension?
It’s a court ordered assessment and the PD would have to motion the court.

Can the court’s order that that portion of the fees not be subject to a D6?
Our office would comply with any lawful court order.

 

PUBLIC FORUM ON DRIVING WHILE LICENSE IS SUSPENDED CASES (with focus on Habitual Traffic Offenders)

WHEN: JANUARY 26, 2018

WHERE: WEST TAMPA BRANCH LIBRARY

2312 WEST UNION STREET, Tampa, Florida

TIME: 7pm-9pm

NOTE: Hillsborough County State Attorney ANDREW WARREN has been responsive to Florida You Judge in regards to DWLS issue inquiries and open to discussion for solutions.

Andrew Warren

The Hillsborough County Public Defender’s Office (HOLT) has not been responsive to this issue.

 
 
 

Video: Status of the Wrongful Conviction Integrity Unit in Hillsborough County?

 

Andrew Warren’s Conviction Integrity Unit (“CIU”) proposal, READ HERE
If you or someone you know has been wrongfully convicted and you’d (person wrongfully convicted would have to request review) like for the case to be reviewed by this specialized unit, Florida You Judge would like to hear about it.  Contact info@floridayoujudge.com or call 800-774-9883

Wrongful Conviction Integrity Unit

 

 
 
 

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