Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"We're in the process of reevaluating this case."

Did we hear right?  That's exactly what the new assistant state attorney on the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case told Judge Barzee last week at John Romney's last plea hearing, after all, you can't expect the new ASA just to pick up where the previous assistant state attorney Bill Kostrzewski left off can you?  Keep in mind, whatever plea deal was made before the new ASA took over was between the old ASA and Mr. Romneys attorney, we have to wonder, is the new ASA bound to that plea agreement?  What if the new ASA was to discover some inconsistencies in the previous statements that Mr. Romney gave the state?  So it's 30 more days before we find out what kind of punishment the state hands down to Mr. Romney, the fourth delay in his plea agreement but at least we can stomach this last delay, that "reevaluating" part makes it bearable.

During the hearing, the new assistant state attorney explains to the court that there's a new division within the State Attorneys Office set up specifically to prosecute mortgage fraud cases, this is fantastic news.  I don't know the details of this new department, but I can only hope that its made up of seasoned prosecutors who have some sense of how a mortgage fraud case goes down.  The question that begs to be asked though is why was ASA Kostrzewski left off of this new mortgage fraud unit within the SAO?  After all, according to the New Times article a few months back, ASA Kostrzewski was characterized as...
 "a veteran state prosecutor...Bill Kostrzewski, a Miami-Dade assistant state attorney who has specialized in economic crimes for more than ten years."
So what happened here?  No spot on the new department for ASA Kostrzewski?  If he's specialized in economic crimes for nearly ten years, wouldn't he be ideally suited for this task force?  We're going to have to take a closer look at this matter over the next few days.

There was one comment that the judge made during the hearing that caught our attention, at the very end of the hearing after the date was set for the next plea hearing, she addressed Mr. Romney and said:
"Mr. Romney, keep in touch with your lawyer between now and then..."
Hmmm, you have to wonder, was that a boiler plate instruction to a defendant (we previously discussed that term here) or was the judge referring to the statement that ASA Kostrzewski made during the last hearing where he mentioned that...
Mr. Romney's attorney had been having trouble getting in touch with Mr. Romney, he's been out of contact with this client for some time therefore making working out the plea agreement impossible.

I guess we'll never know, just to be safe though, keep in touch with your attorney Mr. Romney.


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