Appeal Court Hands Judge Hurley Victory Over Public Defender






County Judge Jay Hurley – 1.

Public Defender’s Office -0.



Judge Jay Hurley


Last month there were loud cries from Public Defender Howard Finkelstein and his office complaining that County Judge Jay Hurley had slapped a $1,000 bond on a homeless man accused of possessing Flakka, a dangerous outlawed drug.

The PDs office believed that Fenton Ross should be released without bond. But Hurley, seeing the defendant had two previous drug arrests in a little more than a year and had home making it questionable he would show up for court, imposed a bond.

Hurley and Assistant Public Defender Dale Miller clashed over the bond.

Finkelstein told the Sun-Sentinel that Hurley “consistently” shows “such a disregard for the constitutional rights of homeless people.”

The PDs office appealed.

I wrote then and I believe now that Hurley was right to set a bond in this case. When a defendant has no home, it would be difficult to notify him of further appearances in his case.  A bail bond firm would guarantee he would show up because their money is on the line.

This week the Fourth District Count of Appeals upheld Hurley and threw out the Public Defender Office’s appeal that Fenton be immediately released.

Here is the court’s docket with my underlining on the relative section:

Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal Docket
Case Docket

Case Number: 4D15-4705

Criminal Habeas Corpus Petition from Broward County


12/15/2015 Petition Habeas Corpus Public Defender-Broward PD01, Petitioner
12/15/2015 Request for Emergency Treatment Public Defender-Broward PD01, Petitioner
12/15/2015 Appendix to Petition Public Defender-Broward PD01, Petitioner
12/15/2015 Habeas Corpus / Acknowledgment letter
12/16/2015 ORD-Writs Show Cause with Reply ORDERED that respondent shall file a response within five (5) days and show cause why the petition should not be granted. Petitioner may file a reply within three (3) days of service of the response.
12/18/2015 RESPONSE TO ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE Heidi Lynn Bettendorf 0001805, Respondent
12/21/2015 REPLY TO RESPONSE Diane Cuddihy 0434760, Petitioner
12/29/2015 Order Denying Petition for Writ – Habeas ORDERED that the December 15, 2015 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is denied without prejudice for petitioner to move the trial court for pretrial release or reduction of bond. Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.131(d). CIKLIN, C.J., STEVENSON and DAMOORGIAN, JJ., concur.
12/29/2015 Denied – Order by Judge


27 Responses to “Appeal Court Hands Judge Hurley Victory Over Public Defender”

  1. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The Court of Appeals n Judge Hurley are concerned with the law n people while Public Defender Finkelstein n his Assistant seem to be ignoring anything but a tunnel vision excluding anything but “pushing” not constitutional rights but their own interests as they see it. Judge Hurley has tried to be rationale but PD’s office isn’t always as in this incident

  2. Former Public Defender says:

    Hurley – Great Judge
    Finkelstein – major asshole and media hound

  3. Howard the Moron says:

    Howard you are a pandering little prick. GFY. The 4DCA finally got something right. It must have been an accident.

  4. MS says:

    Howard blows a lot of smoke and loves his press conferences but he’s rarely correct on issues of criminal law. He also hasn’t tried a case in about thirty years and is totally out of touch with the real world.

    The PD’s office doesn’t understand their role and the role of the judge. Often the results they get are woeful but Howard views it as a victory so long as the PD fought with the judge. In real life, the client and the result are more important than the fight. Howard and his supervisors are too stubborn, dumb and out of touch to understand this simple concept. As a result, we all lose and we are constantly duped by the Sun-Sentinel who thinks he’s actually good at what he does. Maybe they’re right since he does nothing.

    Judge Hurley followed the law. The PD once again wasted taxpayer dollars.

  5. Riddle Me This says:

    When a defendant has no home, it would be difficult to notify him of further appearances in his case. A bail bond firm would guarantee he would show up because their money is on the line.

    Reality is if you have no home than how the hell can you afford bond? What is the solution? Our Criminal System is archaic, racially motivated, and not serving society.

    Too bad no one in this town has the balls to make common sense change.

  6. Floridan says:

    I think society is best served when the Public Defender’s Office sole responsibility is to advocate for the defendants it is representing.

    I am less concerned over the PD’s actions in this case than I am with the State Attorney’s Office overcharging defendants to encourage a plea bargain.

  7. Former PD says:

    Shocking. Howard wrong on a legal issue. He’s not a practicing lawyer. His legal strategy is going to the media and screaming to anyone who will listen.

    No one wants homeless guys high off Flacka running around. Howard believes the homeless and mentally Ill should have legal immunity with absolutely no basis in law. This is the crap Howard spends money on instead of retaining good attorneys. Howard is not a leader, he’s a disaster.

  8. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    The real story here is the issue w/ a “the Bond’. basically if you have money or family members do , you skate. So if you have no money as w/ this defendant you rot in jail until your court date. The taxpayers would save so much money for basic non violent crimes etc to let them out on their own recnognize etc. So if they don’t show up the Da’s off. ha s the upper hand. You don’t show up then you are locked up until your date. To say well you have money can pay the bond you walk. No money, you stay loked up. The courts where never suppose to work this way. Look at “fat Albert himself Bill Cosby just yesterday the pig walked out of court w/ a million dollar bond, but if the pervert had no money he would rot in jail. See what I mean. So commit a crime no matter how severe, have money and you will make bond. Have no money and you sit in jail. Meanwhile while you get your three hots and a cot , we society picks up the tab. Its cheaper to let them out, then to house them. System works for the rich, if your poor welcome to the big house. Speaking of Cosby go Gloria allred take all his money, to the wife, your husband is a pig and misery awaits you(another Mrs Sandusky-sure balded headed African queen, stick up for your husband, so your first in line at the Met. These gals that he victimized will prevail…..)

  9. Snott VV Rothstein says:


    Get involved in the current election to defeat Michael Satz, forty years of malfeasance.

  10. Saturday Morning Cartoon says:

    So would Jay Hurley be the Roadrunner and Dale Miller be Wiley Coyote?

  11. Jeff says:

    Howard F. may have been wrong on the law, Judge Hurley was wrong on the resources available to his court and the appeals court lacked the jurisdiction that Hurley ought top have addressed. there is a drug court and a mental health court in Broward County. we have a county policy of reducing the burden on our jails by making an effort to address the problems of addiction and homelessness through alternatives to incarceration. Judge Hurley could have remanded the defendant to BARC or any other appropriate or medical treatment program. Our county jail system ought to have secure treatment capabilities that work with the community based system.

    Possession of Flakka is a crime, but more importantly it is a threat to lives in our community. We won’t be able to punish and incarcerate our way out of this. Arguing who was right under the law, when the law does not address the community safety and best interests is just foolishness. Both, judge and PD were wrong.

  12. Judy says:

    Defendant: Judge, I want you to appoint me another lawyer.
    Judge: And why is that?
    Defendant: Because the Public Defender isn’t interested in my case.
    Judge (to Public Defender): Do you have any comments on the
    defendant’s motion?
    Public Defender: I’m sorry, Your Honor. I wasn’t listening.

  13. MS says:

    True enough about drug court but that still does not address the bond issue, and with two prior drug arrests, this defendant may not be eligible. As far as mental health court goes, there’s a procedure for evaluations and transfer there, but Howard “opts out” because, of course, he knows what’s best for everybody.

    What people fail to realize is that this defendant gave the police an address but his PD argued he was homeless with NO investigation. The Judge’s job is simple; determine whether probable cause (PC)exists and if so, set a reasonable bond. Two priors and Possession of Flakka: $1000 is certainly reasonable. Did the PD ask for the jail substance abuse program (SAP)? NO. Why? Because Howard’s office knows what’s best for everyone of course.

  14. Untreated Mental Illness or Flakka says:

    Flakka is a side issue. Walk down 6th Street by the Courthouse. At least a dozen homeless individuals many psychotic are wandering up and down the Courthouse Street. The blocks surrounding you will find more homeless searching for shelter and sleeping on stoops.

  15. carolina says:

    Judge Hurley, I wish for you a very Happy & Healthy New Year. May you continue your good works.
    I think you are very honest, caring & sincere & provide a great service to Broward County.

  16. Las Olas Lawyer says:

    Mr. Finkelstein has an unenviable job defending the most offensive members of society. He makes his job hard by attacking every member of the judiciary, interfering in judicial appointments and grandstanding in the media on every subject. I know from conversations that he has alienated every judge in the courthouse with his antics and his delving into areas that are not his business.
    Mr. Finkelstein would help himself greatly by learning to say, “No comment” every once in awhile.

  17. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    A growing number of homeless persons and famuilies are still living on the streets of Broward County and too many of them are being tossed into jails for lack of appropriate places to send them. Threre’s no victory in that.


  18. Robertson Howard says:

    Finklestein is Einhorn; Einhorn is Finklestein

  19. Sam says:

    To Angelo:

    Your comment has nothing to do with what happened here. This person was jailed because his third arrest was for Possession of PVP (Flakka) and his PD argued he was homeless and should be released for that reason alone. There was no investigation other than the PD’s announcement that his client was homeless despite a Broward address he provided at arrest.

    Judge Hurley set a nominal $1000 bond which would require $100 to a bondsman. Certainly this defendant had the funds to purchase the Flakka he possessed….

  20. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    That Broward County has not enough homeless, mentally ill or substance abuse facilities is a GIVEN, but WHO IS TO PAY? The County can give 86 Million, making a total of 342 Million for an ICE HOCKEY TEAM in a TROPICAL STATE and I saw the list of people testifying IN FAVOUR including UNBELIEVABLY THE PAID HEAD OF A HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL TAX PAYER SUPPORTED PROJECT I LOATHE AS A POLITICAL VANITY PROJECT with sleazy ethics, SO WHAT DECENT PEOPLE ADVOCATE FOR HOMELESS, MENTALLY ILL, SUBSTANCE ABUSERS? I understood Mr. Ron Book, a lobbyist, has worked on homeless housing AND MY OWN FT LAUDERDALE CITY COMMISSIONER DEAN TRANTALIS SAT AROUND WHILE HE WAS BOOED BY TRANTALIS SUPPORTERS AT A PUBLIC MEETING – people who have 30 year old photographs on their websites, never had a private sector job, and more like than not work on the tax payer dime accomplishing nothing!

    I saw on Board after Board AS A NEW YORK CITY APPOINTED AND ELECTED OFFICIAL reviewing funding for homeless projects and except for the “controversial” DOE FUND there were NO TALENTED PEOPLE IN THIS FIELD!
    This is a DEMOCRACY! If the people wanted HIGHER TAXES ON REAL ESTATE in Ft Lauderdale and LESS HOMELESS they would support candidates for office that said this. THE LAST TIME I LOOKED THE FT LAUDERDALE CITY COMMISSION WAS PRAISING THEIR “LOWEST REAL ESTATE TAXES IN THE COUNTY OF CITIES” NOT THE NUMBER OF HOMELESS HOUSING UNITS THEY PROVIDE (They provide a lot – thanks to the leadership of Mayor John Preston Seiler). BUT THE PEOPLE, NOT THE COMMISSION, NOT THE ADMINISTRATION, DON’T CARE! The vast majority of voters CARE ABOUT TAX RATES (which Angelo Castillo doesn’t care about with his Federal Pension, City salary and Pension, and County job and Pension!).
    Commission Casillo’s FAUX TEARS sound like highly moral teaching, but hide the opportunism of POLITICAL PATRONAGE TYPES LIKE HIM!

  21. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Buddy had an earlier post on this subject. If you read the response I wrote to that post, my comment above will make more sense to you.

    Arching miles above any legal tiff between lawyers is the issue of how to responsibly confront the growing thousands of homeless people and families in Broward County. The criminal justice system, including the courts, need places to send homeless people who’s involvement with the law is incidental to an more pressing, unaddressed and underlying cause of their homelessness.

    Jails are NOT places where that help can be obtained. Homeless persons should not be sent to jails unless their offense is a very serious or violent one.

    We do not at present have a continuum of care in place offering enough capacity and options to deal with presenting homeless demand in Broward. That’s just a simple fact. And that deficit is causing great strain in the criminal justice system, on tourism, on business activity, on community stability, it is a chief cause of human pain and suffering on our streets — that in large part would not exist if the human services side of the effort was better funded, organized, managed and handled.

    In my estimation both the judge and the defender had legitimate points to make. They are both caught in a Catch 22 not of their making. The court reviewing the matter has made its decision on the question. However, the fact remains that homeless people in Broward are no better off than they were before the case began.

    That’s not a victory. That’s tragic.


  22. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Whose, sorry

  23. TimeKeeper says:


    Shouldn’t you be working and not blogging on company time its after 8:00 am, BTW are you using a Broward County or Pembroke Pines electronic device to disseminate your opinions?


    Don’t assume everyone is supposed to work starting at 8 a.m. You most likely have no idea concerning Mr. Castillo’s work schedule. Do you know whether he is on vacation or what hours he works? How do you know he doesn’t work at midnight from home?

  24. Sam says:

    I’m not sure why the PD and others are using this case as an example of what to do about homelessness. Angelo suggests that jail is not a place for the homeless. That’s secondary. What’s primary is that THIS defendant who says he is homeless, has a third arrest for Possession of PVP. Perhaps jail IS a place for him, homeless or not. If not, he can do any of the following: (1) secure a spot at Broward Outreach and ask for pre-trial release, (2) ask for SAP to address his drug issues, (3) not spend his money on PVP. There are numerous ways to properly defend this man. This PD chose none of them.

  25. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    I get what you’re saying but homeless people using drugs is hardly news.

    Street people have existed throughout history and in just about every society. Many of them have been and are mentall ill and the tendency to self medicate in a variety of ways is well known, predictable and understood behavior. They need professional help not found in jails.

    The help they need is beyond the reach of many because the demand for the help vastly exceeds the supply. As a result, we have more street homeless today in Broward, probably than ever before.

    The fact that this individual was using drugs is incidental to his primary problem which is his homelessness. The man needs help he cannot get in a jail. And to put him in jail will cost society more than helping him in a program. So, forget about his troubles for a second, assuming that’s even possible. We the citizens are acting against our own financial interest to do it this way.

    Whatever your suggestions, which I do not dispute, whatever victories are claimed here, the homeless are no better off. They are increasingly worse off.

    The homeless problem in Broward continues to grow out of proportion, and there is no victory to be had in that.



  26. TimeKeeper says:


    Don’t assume everyone is supposed to work starting at 8 a.m. You most likely have no idea concerning Mr. Castillo’s work schedule. Do you know whether he is on vacation or what hours he works? How do you know he doesn’t work at midnight from home?

    Real Jobs?

    Which one of these are a full time appointment?

    Pembroke Pines Commissioner Salary $23,386.

    Executive Director of Finance Angelo Castillo – $140,000.

    Last but not least if he is working from home at mid-night maybe he should spend less time surfing and blogging during the workday.

  27. Real Deal says:

    @Timekeeper. Please go inside and watch cartoons. The adults are speaking.