Howard May Ask The Feds To “Help Me”


Public Defender Howard “Help Me Howard” Finkelstein is contemplating asking the feds to investigate his counterpart State Attorney Mike Satz.

Finkelstein wants the FBI to find out whether Satz’s prosecutors obstructed justice by deliberately failing to disclose that dozens of prosecution witnesses were under investigation by a law enforcement agency.

The witnesses are police officers.

Finkelstein says that the key question is:  What did State Attorney Mike Satz know and when did he know it?

He may ask the feds to find out the answer.

“I haven’t decided yet, Finkelstein said.  

A federal investigation would be impartial because they are unconnected to either Satz’s or Howard’s office.

This is no esoteric debate over criminal justice.  This is no technicality.

At stake is the fate of hundreds of trials already held or pending. If the prosecution witnesses are tainted, the trials and cases are tainted, too.   

There are court decisions that designed to guarantee the fairness of witnesses.  Under the rulings, prosecutors must divulge to the defense that its witnesses are under investigation by a law enforcement agency.  The disclosure is made through what is known as a Brady Notice.

Finkelstein said in the past month his office has discovered prosecutors failed to issue Brady Notices on dozens of police officer witnesses who are or were under investigation.   

While pondering whether to call for a federal investigation, Finkelstein has a task force pouring through case files some current and some closed.  His defense attorneys want to find out if the State Attorney’s Office failure to disclose were material to the outcome or the filing of the cases.

12 Responses to “Howard May Ask The Feds To “Help Me””

  1. gonzo says:

    Finally, the ROCK has come to Broward! to layeth the smackdown on Mr. Satz for not doing anything regarding anything for year upon year, decade upon decade. Thank you, ROCK (disguised as Howard Finkelstien)!

  2. Lady Law says:

    Obstruction of justice is a stretch. However, if any ASA deliberately failed to issue a Brady, they should be severely disciplined or fired by Satz. The voters will take care of Sazt if he did wrong.

  3. Marsha says:

    I might be a little concerned regarding these Brady notices and maybe someone can clarify it for me. Are these officers under criminal investigation or are these just your average IA investigations. If the latter whats to stop an attorney or defendant from maliciously filing complaints on officers everyday? Once publicly known, I can see little from stopping the criminal element from deluging the system with unsubstantiated complaints which already occurs to some degree. Every officer could easily have open complaints as they take months to clear and most departments investigate all complaints. If Satz was not notifying on the minor non criminal complaints I cans see little issue. If the officers were under criminal investigation then I can certainly see the need to notify under Brady.

  4. minister of justice says:

    Rules Regulating The Florida Bar RULE 4-3.8 SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PROSECUTOR. The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:(a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;(b) not seek to obtain from an unrepresented accused a waiver of important pre-trial rights such as a right to a preliminary hearing;(c) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense, and, in connection with sentencing, disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all unprivileged mitigating information known to the prosecutor, except when the prosecutor is relieved of this responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal.

  5. Alu has my vote says:

    I hope the FBI investigates the corrupt Broward State Attorney and I hope Sheila Alu runs against him. It seems like she is the only honest person working there. Change is coming I pray to God, change must come.

  6. Just Perhaps says:

    Howard Finkelstein is an incredibly colorful character. Not just a TV personality, he is a gifted lawyer who was elected Public Defender. He is a very vocal advocate for decriminalization of drug laws.

    Just perhaps his goal is to become State Attorney so that he can choose not to prosecute certain cases himself.

    Mike Satz has been State Attorney in Broward for decades. He enjoys a very strong reputation in his field. While some suggest that he has done enough in the area of public corruption, he has been very successful in getting verdicts on those cases he has brought.

    Nor is that suggestion one that as a prosecutor Mike Satz alone faces. Most residents of any US community would likely say that their district attorneys are not doing enough to combat public corruption. That sense runs together with the general cynicism and negative perception, much of that understandable, that many attribe to government officials in general.

    Public corruption cases are difficult cases to bring without very clear and convincing evidence. Facts regarding those cases are often sensationalized in the press, fueling public impressions that may or may not have sufficient legal or evidentiary merit. Prosecutors must always ask: Do I have enough evidence to bring a guilty verdict and if the answer is no, they have a duty to look more before bringing that case. That’s an important part of our legal system, otherwise we’d be bringing bogus criminal cases all the time. No prosecutors office ethically operates that way, at least they shouldn’t.

    If the FBI or FDLE thought that Mr. Satz was intentionally sidestepping viable public corruption cases, they probably would have acted on that information by now. Yet that has never occurred.

    One has to wonder what Mr. Satz, as a prosecutor, would have to gain by not bringing cases that he could successfully prosecute, knowing as he does how hungry the public is for such cases. The argument that he intentionally fails to bring such cases runs against his own political self- interest.

    While it’s true that Mr. Finkelstein supports the legalization of dope, to be certain, he is no dope himself. He is a very intelligent and talented attorney with a piercing ability to be in the know in Broward. It will be very interesting to see how this turns out.

    My hunch is if anything happens here, the real news will be in analyzing the motives behind the actions brought and, to a much lesser degree, the facts themselves. Broward is undergoing a house cleaning. A new power structure will emerge. Everybody in town thirsty for polical power has agenda to sell right now.

    This smacks of full contact, red meat politics.

  7. @ Just Perhaps says:

    Thank you for a wall of text, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    There is nothing in Buddy’s original article regarding Howard that relates to a single thing you bring up. Nothing about public corruption, nothing about drug decriminalization, etc.

    Howard rightly wants to have a neutral third party investigate whether and why the State Attorney’s Office would have withheld evidence of dozens of police officers were under investigation for crimes.

    The fact that the officer who arrested a client is in fact being investigated for crimes or significant wrongful conduct is information that every criminal defendant has a right to know.

    Earlier this year, there was a significant issue regarding BSO Deputy Charles Grady, who used to be on the DUI Task Force here in Broward, who had been investigated FOR YEARS regarding complaints by female drivers that he pulled them over and threatened them with arrest if they did not perform sexual favors for him.

    Did the SAO release this information regarding the investigations into this Deputy in a timely manner? It doesn’t appear so.

    How many people pulled over by this officer for no legitimate reason wound up pleading guilty or being found guilty at trial improperly, since the credibility of this officer should have been brought into question at trial?

    How many jurors would have thought twice about believing a cop who had numerous complaints (including claims that he pulled over a woman and forced her at gunpoint to give him oral sex)?

    The issue here is whether Mike Satz’s office, intentionally or negligently, withheld relevant information that is required to be provided to defendants under the United States and Florida constitutions to ensure due process and a fair trial.

    Whether Satz looks the other way on public corruption cases is a whole different issue (although certainly important), but it has nothing to do with what Howard wants looked into.

    End of response wall of text.

  8. Just Perhaps II says:

    One wall of text deserves another, I guess. Even if your response lacks my charm (what ARE you so angry about anyway?). I dismiss the tone of your response to focus on the substance, where I admit that you raise some alternative and fair points of view.

    No question. Could be that you’re absolutely right. Could be I’m right. Could be we’re both right, or neither. Who’s to say?

    At the end of the day, what we think, however entertaining, is unimportant. It’s what the players in the arena actually do that matters. As the Great TR used to say, it is they who deserve the credit.

    But how they do it and why; there good friend is the real story. The “why” part has always fascinated me, especially when dealing with politicians. Not just politicians, but especially them quite frankly.

    Motivation — why people do things. It just fascinates me.

    I mean, where else can you find so clear an xray into the soul of anyone than by understanding why they do the things they do. In the end, that’s what defines them. It’s what distinguishes one from another. What we do in life and why is what life is all about.

    So simple yet so telling, this business of understanding the why of behavior.

    Anyway, that was basically the point I was exploring, in case it elluded you. Sorry if my facts offended you, not that any were inaccurate. Why people do things.

    But let me ask you a question. So, you really think all this is about protecting the legal rights of the improperly tried defendants of this world? There’s nothing else driving this decision?


  9. Howard Is King says:

    Howard Finkelstein has done more to insure that defendants have the rights afforded them that are guaranteed in the Constitution than any other person in Broward. He is a hero. Using his fame from TV, he fought the entrentched old judges who worked about 15 hours a week while handing down unconstitutional sentences. Now he is taking on Satz, whose office has railroaded indigents into jail in the hundreds. Go get them, Howard. We need you defending us.

  10. Pat says:

    Let me make this short and sweet:

    1. Howard Finkestein is a legend in his own mind and needs attention
    2. Ditto Sheila Alu
    3. The Feds won’t touch this with a ten foot pole. There is nothing there regarding “Brady” violations.
    4. If there were “Brady” violations the appropriate thing to do is take it to the appeals court on what is known as a 3.850
    5. I’m surprised your writing about this Buddy, and didn’t see it as the political ploy it is by Finkelstein and Alu.
    Next story.

  11. Open Letter From Satz’s Felony Chief: Finkelstein Is Wrong : says:

    […] on the Internet. Marcus wrote this note as a comment to an article quoting Finkelstein that I posted last week.  I thought Marcus’ views deserved more […]

  12. lois debuono says:

    get rid of satz