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Justice Under the Law

Haynie Trial Update. Grab the Popcorn.

by Les Wilson

Former Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie was arrested eighteen months ago.  At a recent September 10 court hearing Ms. Haynie’s attorney, Bruce Zimet, requested and received a trial date of March 23, 2020. As such, it means it will be almost two years since her arrest that Ms. Haynie will have her day in court. 

Not Exactly a Speedy Trial

The Sixth amendment guarantees a criminal defendant the right to a speedy trial by an “impartial jury.” And while it may be in the best interests for a defendant facing multiple serious charges to waive the right to a speedy trial, it creates curious observations and questions as to why that date was chosen. Grab some popcorn.

Boca Raton’s next municipal election is March 17, 2020.  If found innocent of the charges, current Governor Ron DeSantis would be obligated to reinstate Ms. Haynie as Mayor for the remainder of her term which ends March 31, 2020.  That hardly seems worth the effort. Maybe it’s something else. Chomp. Chomp.

The State lists the names of “all persons known to the prosecutor to have information which may be relevant to the offense”

Some Possibilities

The plea entered by the former Boca Raton Mayor was “Not Guilty On All Charges”. She remains free on a posted bond. Perhaps the simplest explanation is the most probable explanation. That is, there’s a genuine need for delay to mount a defense and process new evidence submitted by the prosecutor this past July. Or, perhaps the requested delay is based on expecting she will be found guilty and she values her freedom now for as much as she can get. If she had requested an earlier trial date and found not guilty, she no doubt would have concluded the remaining five month mayoral term and perhaps be done politically. Chomp. Chomp.

One thing you might want to analyze is the crime she is charged with was a statutory crime the language of which was changed after she was charged. In other words, the Florida legislature amended the definition of the crime. I will keep this short, but they have been arguing to a higher court that the amended statute should apply to this trial even though it was amended after she was charged. The new statute , to my analysis, provides some “legal cover” for her that the old statute did not. That, to me, is the real reason for these delays.

Steve Utrecht

Back to Reality

The State’s Discovery Exhibit lists the names of “all persons known to the prosecutor to have information which may be relevant to the offense”. It will be interesting to see how their roles play out in the trial. 

Having served well over a decade in public office Ms. Haynie is a seasoned politician.  Win or lose in court, the trial delay gives her freedom for now. Pass the bowl please.

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