Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Client Education Series An Actual Telephonic Court Appearance With Client and Judge Names Redacted


Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

What you are witnessing now is actual court. Good morning, this is Stephen Cobb, how are you today? I think any day I wake up, it is a great day and I hope you are having a great Friday. Thank you, I appreciate it. A brief pause, waiting for the judge. Apparently, it is busy today – calendar status. Thank you very much, I appreciate it, Ma’am. Good morning, Judge. How are you today? Well, we have State of Florida vs. (Beep), and that is set for another upcoming docket day. However, earlier this week, I filed a motion to suppress the defendant’s statement. Therefore, I would respectfully request that we set it for a motion hearing date. Have you not received it? Yes, Sir. Oh, I didn’t know that. Yes, Sir. Well, that sounds interesting but we will cover that another time. What court dates — yes, Sir. All right. And does the court want — do you want me to file a motion to set for the hearing directly or do you want a motion to continue with a notice of hearing? All right. Wow! Yes, Sir. Yes, Sir, June 21st at 1:30.

I believe we have State of Florida vs. (Beep), I believe Miss Jones is handling that with Miss Basso, so I do not know if she is present for that case or not or what the status is because I have not talked to Miss Jones since yesterday and we did not cover that. Okay, then the PTI went through, all right. That is all I have, Judge. Thank you, Sir. Yes, Sir. That is it. Thank you for your time. Good day.

Okay. What you have just seen could actually happen in your case. That is what is known as the Calendar Status Management Conference. Some judges call it Pre-Trial Conference. Now, there are a couple of different ways to do this type of legal proceeding. One is, you go to the courthouse, you sit around for hours, literally hours and this could happen to you as a client, depending on the judge and type of a case, if your attendance is required. We try to keep you out of court because otherwise, you will waste time just to hear me or co-counsel speak for 5, 10, 15 seconds and as you could see on this video, what was the majority of my time? Waiting. Now, bear in mind I called in at the time I am supposed to call in yet there was still a lot of waiting. This is why when you have a court notice, it says, “Be there at 8:30, be there at 9, be there at 1:30”, whatever. You have to be there and sit for literally hours. There are other attorneys who are sitting at the courthouse right now who did not have the presence of mind to do this telephonically and as a result, guess what is happening. They and possibly their clients are setting the time on fire. There is such a legal fee on fire.

Now, imagine that you would have to ask your boss repeatedly, “Boss, I need to get off work today because I have to go to criminal court for a hearing”. And then, a few weeks later, “Boss, I need to get off for a criminal hearing”. Obviously, that does not go over very well. And so, we try to do things to streamline the process for you and I have to tell you those little white things that were sticking in my ear, that is how I do telephonic court. So, a lot of proceedings, including depositions, including testimony in court, can be done telephonically. Now, there are some specific rules about that but here is what I want you as a potential client or a family member to take away from all of this. This is one of the techniques we use to keep you out of court when things are going to happen, such as the setting of another court date than this date for June so that you are not sitting around for hours time and time and time again.

One of the reasons we ask you to fill out a waiver of the speedy trial is not to take away your speedy trial right at all but because a lot of times, we can get a continuance. And what that continuance means is that instead of going to court and having you sit for hours, we need some additional discovery, need to set something up, whatever. What happens is we save your time, possibly even your job. I was in court one time in Milton, Florida, which is part of our practice area, and sure enough the judge asked a question as the defendant was standing near the defendant’s podium, the lawyer was standing in the well at the defense lawyer podium, and over at the prosecution podium is where the prosecutor stands because Milton is a little bit different than most other courts in the circuit. What happened was the judge goes, “Counsel, why is this case being sought to be continued for the ninth time? There have been eight continuances.” And he said, “Well, your Honor, last time we continued this case for the collection of deposition testimony for a witness that had somewhat disappeared but we thought was in the area. Well, we depose that witness and they gave us additional witnesses so now we need to depose them”. The judge said, “Ah, I see. Okay. State?” And that was a question, the question meaning, “State Attorney, do you have an objection?” And the assistant state attorney, the divisional, said, “No objection, your Honor. Defense counsel is correct. We do need to take that witness’ testimony, it is critical”. The judge said, “Motion granted”.

So, the defendant who is over here at this podium was instructed to pick up his court notice from the bailiff who is already standing there handing it to them, and I am thinking to myself, “This poor guy has been drugged to the courthouse nine times. Perhaps not all of those would have been continuances that would have been granted by written pleadings but most of them would have been”. What does that mean? Well, for you, if we have discovery matters, whether your case is a complicated felony, a more difficult than usual misdemeanor, whatever, we want to be able to continue your case without dragging you to the courthouse and setting the time on fire. So, you have just seen one of the ways we handle court and we have just eliminated a lot of driving time by virtue of the fact that I can be standing here in front of the camera, sorry about blinking out names but that is kind of the appropriate thing to do and I am sure you understand why. But you have just literally seen how court really happens if it is done correctly. And best of all, you have never seen this on TV. You have never seen it in a movie; this is real life.

Most of what you know about the criminal law or think you know is wrong. And what you have actually seen is how it really happens in real life and how we may actually use proceedings like this to save you time and money.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

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Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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