Thursday, May 28, 2015

Here's a video of Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine doing his best to avoid answering a simple 'yes' or 'no' question




NBC6 reporter Tony Pipitone has been trying to get to the bottom of a story I first reported on this blog back in March.

Back then, word started circulating in Miami Beach law enforcement circles that Mayor Philip Levine - aka Mayor Dickhead - had accosted the driver of a Coca Cola delivery truck double-parked on Washington Avenue, climbed into the truck's cab and taken the keys because he wanted the driver to wait for a police officer to arrive and give him a citation.

Tonight, Pipitone aired the results of his investigation.

Watch the video below as Pipitone tries repeatedly to get the Mayor to admit that he took the keys from the truck.




Now watch the video below as a slimy, weasel-like politician named Rick Scott avoids answering a question four times. Not much difference between him and Levine, is there? (Same beady eyes, too.)

We're stuck with Rick Scott. But hopefully Miami Beach voters will come to their senses and vote the self-serving piece of crap Philip Levine out of office in the not too distant future.






Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Life as a PD (Public Defender)

Here's another in a series of Facebook posts from former CNN producer-turned Broward County Public Defender Kim Segal.

Today she explains what happens to defendants who suffer from mental illness and who get caught up in the justice system.

Kim Segal
LIFE AS A PD: He won’t be able to tell you that I am his lawyer but he will likely be able to tell you that I am the person who gives him peanut-butter crackers every time he visits my office. This sweet quiet 22 year-old has a mental illness. Sam Marks doesn’t have a phone or a permanent address but some how he makes it to his numerous court appearances and office appointments.

Sam has been in and out of court for over a year. His big crime: Trespass. On the evening of February 24, 2014 Sam was arrested for being found in the rear of a vacant property. Ever since that night Sam has been caught up in the criminal justice system.

Dealing with mentally ill and intellectually disabled clients can be heart-wrenching thanks to the lack of support in the criminal justice system. It is so much harder on my clients since they are indigent and many lack insurance, support systems and a place to call home. The goal for the Public Defender’s Office is to get these people out of jail as soon as possible. The reason is obvious - jail is no place for a person with a mental disorder.

The problem is that many Judges don’t want to release these clients when they don’t have a place to live. Without an income or insurance it is not easy to find housing for these people who unfortunately are stuck in a system that doesn't have the resources needed to deal with them. Even if we find a bed at one of the wonderful non-profits in the area there is no guarantee that our client will remain at that place. There are cases where the Court orders a person with mental illness to stay at a specific location, but the person wanders off. Sadly, back in jail is where they eventually turn up, arrested for violating conditions of their release or missing a court date. Too often a mentally ill person will spend weeks or months in jail over a petty offense such as trespass, working through this convoluted obstacle course the system forces them into, whereas a competent person would have ended their case after a few days of time served.

There is a Mental Health Division in County Court. It is a therapeutic setting with therapists and access to special resources. The difference with the misdemeanor Mental Health Court is that the Judge has the discretion on which cases can stay in her division. A few weeks ago I tried to send another young man’s case to Mental Health Court but the Judge sent him back to regular court. I was told it was because of the charge, two counts of battery. I really don’t get it. It’s only a misdemeanor. The boy needed the help and access to the services that Mental Health Court is equipped to handle. Instead, the Judge decided not to keep the case and he was transferred back to my courtroom for us to try and figure out what to do— a courtroom that lacks specialized knowledge of mental health services. All the while depriving this young man of the opportunity to empower himself through encouraging access to these services. The reality here is that we are talking about minor crimes that are being committed by people suffering from mental illness so I am always dumbfounded when Mental Health Court kicks a case back for any reason other than that the person does not need the specialized mental health services.

The system makes dealing with incompetent cases so frustrating. Attorneys and Judges cannot let an incompetent defendant enter a plea if they are unable to understand the consequences of the proceedings or to participate in their defense. Which makes sense. Once there is a mental health concern doctors are ordered and competency hearings are held. The problem is that when a person is declared incompetent to proceed it does not stop the legal process. Instead it starts a lengthy one. In County Court, the place for misdemeanor crimes, hundreds of clients resolve their cases and move on with their lives while those declared incompetent remain in the system. I can't understand why the State doesn't drop most of these ridiculous charges and instead they spend the time in Court arguing against bail or asking that restrictions be put on mentally ill people before they can be released.

A person charged with a misdemeanor has to be found incompetent to proceed for a year, from the day a Court declares them incompetent, not from the date of the alleged crime, before their case is dismissed. Doctors re-evaluate the client at the year-end mark to make sure the person’s competency status hasn’t changed.

It’s Sam’s year-end mark and that is why he has been in my office more often this month. We have to meet with doctors who ask him questions such as: Do you know what a defense attorney does? Have you ever been in a fight and injured your head? What is 2 + 1?

I know Sam can’t answer those questions and perhaps that is why I was relieved when he shows up to his appointment this week. As usual he was an hour late, alone, and famished. At Sam’s request the first thing we did was to go into my office to my stash of peanut-butter crackers. Next we met with the first of two doctors. If Sam makes it to my office for his second doctor’s appointment and the doctors find Sam incompetent his Trespass case should be dismissed. A year and four months of hiring experts, holding hearings and bringing Sam back and forth to Court all this for being found in the rear of a vacant property.

Even if his case is dismissed there is one caveat, the State can bring back the charges if Sam’s competency is ever restored in the future.




Sunday, May 24, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sorry, Miami Beach is closed this weekend. Please go elsewhere


Click to enlarge.



Sometimes you have to wonder if Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is secretly planning to close down Miami Beach by 11 p.m. and have all residents in bed by midnight.

The other day he managed to get Miami Beach commissioners to vote unanimously to drive a stake through the heart of Miami Beach's tourist economy to cut off outdoor alcohol sales on Ocean Drive at 2 a.m.

And now here's an email (embedded below) that Levine sent out today regarding the city's Memorial Day Weekend preps.

In the email, Levine says "for more information on the city's detailed Memorial Day Weekend plans, please visit www.respectthescene.com"

Well, I wanted more info, so I headed on over to respectthescene.com.

Here's what I saw:




But when I texted 61721, this is what I got back:




But here at Random Pixels, we don't give up so easily.

So I decided to try a few of the "important numbers" listed at respectthescene.com.




Hmmm, let's try the Miami Beach Tourism Hotline, 305-673-7400.

I did, and this is what I got:




OK, dead end there.

Let's try the number for Miami Beach Information, 305-604-2489.

Ring, ring: "Thank you for calling the City of Miami Beach...for questions regarding noise complaints, water leaks, building permits, garbage pick-ups....blah, blah, blah."

Yeah, that's the kind of info someone here for Memorial Day Weekend needs.

Way to go, Phil!

By the way, Mayor Levine does suggest you kick off the holiday weekend by stopping by the Visitors Meet and Greet Center on the MacArthur Causeway - eastbound across from Jungle Island - Friday night starting at 7 p.m.

For your convenience, the center will be staffed by some of Miami Beach's finest who will be more than happy to help you finalize your holiday weekend plans. Have three or four drinks before you arrive.

But be sure you leave your styrofoam containers at home.



Philip Levine
             MAYOR 
                   OFFICE OF THE MIAMI BEACH MAYOR


Dear Friends and Neighbors,
  
As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend, I assure you the City of Miami Beach is working diligently and taking all the necessary precautions to make sure that our visitors and residents have a safe and enjoyable holiday.   

The City of Miami Beach Police, Fire, and Emergency Management Departments have planned and staffed according to the needs of our residents and visitors.        

Here are a few things to keep in mind from Friday, May 22nd through Monday, May 25th, 2015: 
  • Traffic Plan and vehicular road Closure to Ocean Drive will begin at 7 am on Friday, May 22nd and Ocean Drive will remain closed through Tuesday, May 26th at 7 am
  • You will notice a visible law enforcement presence during the weekend
  • A traffic loop has been created to curb "cruising"
  • Changed traffic patterns on Collins and Washington Avenues. Expect traffic delays
  • Friday night DUI checkpoint on eastbound MacArthur Causeway. Police will be using License Plate Readers on the causeways to help with stolen cars and other law violations
  • The Venetian Causeway will only be open to residents. You may be asked to show ID's. 
For more information on the city's detailed Memorial Day Weekend plans, please visitwww.respectthescene.com 
  
Lastly, I personally want to thank all our service men and women and their families who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. I wish everyone a fun and memorable Memorial Day Weekend.

Sincerely,

Philip Levine
Mayor of Miami Beach   




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

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