Monday, December 07, 2015


Judges - some are good, some are bad, some are smart and still others are just fools. Let's take a look at Circuit Judge Holder, a fool if there ever was one. For most criminal judges in Florida finding justice for criminal defendants is quick and easy, it's all about calculating the guideline ranges and like a machine spitting out the highest prison sentence possible. Smart judges know you can never give too much prison time to a defendant as it never pays in the end to show too much compassion or to look too deep into the facts and circumstances of a case. Real justice practiced by smart judges in Florida is all about being re-elected preferably without any opposition. The best way to do that is not to take any undo risks with those damned defendants who'd enjoy nothing more than spoiling their breakfast newspaper time with some new sordid crime followed in section B.
Donkey Wonder Fortune Teller Calculating Machine
 Used By Florida Judges to Calculate Prison Terms

Who knew that in the west coast of Florida there could be a judge who is not a mere guidelines and scoresheets calculating machine? Apparently this fool, Judge Holder, believes that justice means weighing all the facts surrounding an incident not only from the prosecution, the police, the witnesses and the victims, but all of the circumstances of a crime including even the possible motivations and incomprehensible suffering of the very defendant who committed the crime. 

In a recent case before Judge Holder in the special court for war veterans he ruled on the fate of a veteran shown to have post-traumatic stress disorder. The young veteran, a student at the University of South Florida, was charged with discharging a firearm, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and criminal mischief. In his case, as in many so-called violent crimes, no one was actually hurt with his psychological issues combined with alcohol clearly shown to be a contributing factor.

In fact the only life seemingly ruined because of the incident was that of the young veteran who faced not only the grim prospect of years in prison after being branded a violent criminal for the rest of his life, but also of living a life with fewer job and educational opportunities as he'd been expelled from USF.

Because of the proven PTS the Judge Holder gave no jail time despite Florida sentencing guidelines dictating prison. Instead he gave two years of house arrest with a reasonable provision of his sentence being that the veteran receive regular help and therapy for his PTSD. 

But merely making sure that he'd given the young veteran a fair sentence wasn't enough for this judge. He took the time to write members of the board of the University of South Florida and to speak to them in urging the university to allow the young veteran to get his degree. Of course they ignored the judge, after all he's a fool. Just because he cares about justice, compassion and second chances why should he assume anyone else does? This is Florida, after all.

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