Why can’t we bring justice to the people?


Grant Miller, Publisher

Nobody can deny that the Dade County Courthouse in downtown Miami is in bad shape. The old 1928 building is literally falling apart, has toxic air, asbestos, mold and termites, and the basement where records are stored is flooding. Something needs to be done.

The problem is, Miami-Dade voters said “no” in a big way to a $393 million bond measure to build a new courthouse, a plan touted by Miami-Dade Circuit Chief Judge Bertila Soto and Building Blocks for Justice, a political action committee formed by the legal community whose members work there.

Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado, daughter of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, opposed the plan, saying the county shouldn’t rush into the process and that other locations and funding sources should be considered.

The Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, representing 200,000 black Democrats in Miami-Dade County, and Opa-locka Commissioner Dottie Johnson joined in opposing the plan. Regalado wants Miami-Dade to consider partnerships with municipalities to build courthouse facilities farther west than in Miami and bring the courts closer to the people.

Regalado’s plan seems to make a lot of sense. Back when the old courthouse was built there were not many people living in the west side of the county. Now the Kendall and West Kendall areas, as well as others to the south, are densely populated and the traffic is terrible. Parking downtown is bad, too. Public transportation is no faster, sometimes slower and more complicated. The courthouse is used for civil and traffic cases, while criminal cases are handled in the Richard Gerstein Justice Building at 1351 NW 12 St.

Homestead currently is building a brand new city hall. Why couldn’t there be space in that plan for a small room that could function as a courtroom so an impoverished person who wants to defend a ticket wouldn’t need to take five bus transfers to get to the courthouse to exercise his or her rights?  Other cities could allocate space for that as well.

Why can’t we take Baker Act proceedings initial hearings and save millions — as the Grand Jury pointed out — by holding the initial hearing via teletechnology as we currently do DUI hearings?

Why can’t we bring justice to the people rather than making the people go to a central location for justice?

At least, let’s look at this in a comprehensive manner as Raquel Regalado suggests and examine how to approach this from a countywide perspective, not just an old courthouse mindset that belongs to the past.

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2 Comments on "Why can’t we bring justice to the people?"

  1. Lic. Pierre Millet | January 23, 2015 at 11:58 am | Reply

    Obviously the Miami Dade Courthouse in the downtown Miami, need to be rebuilding immediately. I know this situation
    today, an consider that it's important for the Justice administration there.

  2. My question is "Why do we need the courthouse at all?" After all, the judges and the police are only protecting the corporations that give bribes, oops, I mean donations, from the corporations to the judges and commissioners. They pick and choose which laws they want to enforce and which laws they don't want to enforce.

    At SW 8th Street and SW 1st Avenue they are building the Miami River project and they are working around the clock pounding and running heavy equipment at 3 and 4 in the morning when there are laws on the books that stop; that from happening. The City Commissioners were notified and keep giving me the run round by saying that it has been reported to Code Enforcement. That was almost two weeks ago and they are still working all night long.

    The very same problem was on record when they were building Midtown in 2006 and 2007. These are only two examples of what laws they choose to enforce to enforce. There are other like citizens taking pictures of the police and then the police would take their cameras or even pick a fight with them and lock them up. Taking pictures of the police is totally legal in the first place.

    The courthouses are only protecting the corporations and the police.

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