Is The "Wheel" Of Broward Justice Coming Off? | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Is The "Wheel" Of Broward Justice Coming Off?

When Broward Chief Judge Dale Ross told reporters last week that JAABlog is out to "undermine" the judiciary, he gave the blog he hates a wonderful plug. It has led to a torrent of news reports, first by Jordana Mishory in the Daily Business Review on Friday and followed by the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel yesterday.

Ross was upset that there had been name-calling on the blog, which was set up by attorney William Gelin to expose corruption at the Broward County Courthouse. Some of it has even been done, gasp!, anonymously. Ross complained to Mishory:

“I like folks who are serious people, who come up to me face-to-face and say, ‘Hey Dale, I have a problem I’d like to talk to you about.’"

Here's what he told the Herald's Jennifer Lebovich:

''There's nothing constructive offered. I think the blog, if it was positive in nature . . . would be helpful to the judiciary. I'm not sure the method and manner advances anyone's cause.''

I'll put my name to this bit of negativity: Ross is obviously afraid that he's about to get blown

out of the water. So, rather than deal with his own problems, he's lashing out at a blog that is doing what a great free press ought to do -- uncovering the abuses in the justice system, no matter how seamy they might be. And in Ross's little empire, there's enough abuses to keep ten blogs busy.

People don't oppose the Ross machine because they don't want to be destroyed. But listen to Administrative Criminal Court Judge Ana I. Gardiner, who was recently promoted by Ross after JAABlog reported her predecessor Charles Green's remark that a case was "NHI" (No Humans Involved):

"If you feel your comment is a legitimate concern, then why not put your name to it? If your goal is to promote a positive change, then why not put your name on it?"

Those words, uttered to Tonya Alanez, sound more like a threat than a comment. Gardiner, who is the subject of plenty of rumors of judicial improprieties herself, is basically saying, "Put your name on it and then watch me and my powerful friends destroy you."

Now you want to hear some good negative courthouse buzz? People are talking about an investigation into the "Wheel," which is the system by which private attorneys are appointed by judges to represent criminal defendants who can't afford to pay. It's a major money machine, this Wheel. What I'm hearing is that the system is being abused and that some judges -- I wouldn't name names even if I had them -- have been corruptly favoring certain lawyers, handing them extra business. I've heard the investigation is about to break.

Gosh, hope it doesn't the undermine the judiciary.