File Number: 150589
|Printable PDF Format
|File Number: 150589
|File Type: Ordinance
|Status: In Committee
|Control: Board of County Commissioners
|Final Action: 4/21/2015
|Sunset Provision: No
|Board of County Commissioners
|Note: See Agenda Item No. 7A Amended, Legislative File No. 151584, for the amended version.
|Metropolitan Services Committee
|Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation
|Commissioner Levine Cava requested to be listed as a co-sponsor to Agenda Item 1G1. She noted this legislation was critical as it would save money as well as lives. She thanked Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) Director J.D. Patterson for being present to hear the data and responding accordingly. Commissioner Levine Cava said she agreed that some of the misdemeanors should be de-criminalized; noted best practices around the country mirrored this legislation; and pointed out that 90 percent of a police officer’s time was spent on these minor offenses nationwide. Commissioner Levine Cava said that this policy would de-criminalize what was formally considered criminal behavior and reduce mass incarcerations. She suggested that the savings thus realized be re-invested into prevention programs, expressed her appreciation to Commissioner Heyman for sponsoring this item, and urged her colleagues to support it. Commissioner Heyman pointed out that civil citations programs were not new in the juvenile justice system, saved millions of dollars and the lives of thousands of juveniles. She explained that civil citations started being used for adults in 2010 after the County Commission approved this program for eight offenses. Commissioner Heyman noted the foregoing proposed ordinance would add seven offenses to those already approved. She stressed that the civil citations would not legalize the offenses, and the individuals receiving such citations would have a choice of either paying a fine or doing community service. She stated that a police officer would still have the discretion to either apprehend the offender or issue a civil citation. Commissioner Heyman noted from November to April, 2015, 24,187 people were booked because of such minor offenses; that it cost $156 per day to put someone in jail; and cost $43 million to process these people every year; therefore, this program would save the County millions of dollars. Assistant County Attorney Shannon Summerset-Williams read the title of the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Chairwoman Jordan opened the public hearing on the foregoing proposed ordinance, and the following persons appeared before the Committee: Mr. Carlos Martinez, 1320 N.W. 14th Street, Miami, Miami-Dade Public Defender, expressed support for the issuance of civil citations for adults. He spoke about outdated practices that were costly, made the County less safe, and ruined livelihoods. Mr. Martinez said this initiative was a first step in addressing the perceived and real injustices committed against low to moderate income residents who faced these charges without an attorney and had to serve jail time because they were financially unable to bond out. Mr. Martinez pointed out that civil citations were currently issued to University of Miami (UM) students found to be in possession of marijuana. He urged the Board to support the bills in Tallahassee protecting the confidentiality of juvenile records, clearing the records of tens of thousands of people in the County who were never convicted, and allowing people to pay off their court debts through community service. Mr. B.J. Chiszar, 2060 N.E. 194th Terrace, former Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party, expressed his support for Agenda Item 1G1. He noted this item promoted efficiency; said that the criminalization of the public must stop; and noted the arrest of individuals had not curbed the availability of cannabis. Mr. Eric Stevens, 3433 Garden Avenue, Miami Beach, expressed support for Agenda Item 1G1. He spoke about his work with the medical marijuana campaign in the State and how this item would protect patients. He pointed out that many other communities had similar policies; and that this initiative would save the County money by preventing needless arrests. Ms. Elvy Musikka, 4001 Potter Street, #23, Eugene, Oregon, noted she lived in Florida the majority of her life. She thanked Commissioner Heyman for bringing forth this item, and pointed out that 25 million people in the country used marijuana, either for medicinal purposes, or recreationally. Ms. Karen Goldstein, 3341 S.W. 35th Street, West Park, noted Ms. Musikka received medical marijuana from the federal government. She said, in spite of the voters’ support for medical marijuana in the 2014 election, arrests for possession of marijuana in the County increased by 116 percent between 2001 and 2010 and the hardships created by these arrests were immeasurable. Ms. Goldstein suggested that Miami-Dade focus on more important areas of concern; expressed her support for a civil citation program such as the one being proposed; and commented on the money that would be saved by allowing the police and the courts to spend their time and already strained resources on dealing with real criminals. Mr. Andrew Lease, 4501 Lake Road, noted he had practiced law for 39 years and studied the marijuana law extensively. He said that marijuana possession was made illegal in 1937 in order to arrest Hispanics and Blacks; and stated that over the last 40 years 20-30 million people had been arrested because of this law. He quoted Martin Luther King Jr. who said that all good men must obey just laws, but if a law was unjust good men must speak out against it. Mr. J.L. Demps Jr., 11025 S.W. 223rd Street, Goulds, expressed his support for the foregoing proposed ordinance. He thanked Mr. Jim DeFede for his investigative documentary, and Representative McGee and Senator Bullard for participating in a community meeting on this issue the previous week. He emphasized the negative impact an arrest record had on the lives of many young people. Ms. Victoria Mallette, 111 N.W. 1st Street, Executive Director of the Homeless Trust, expressed her support for the foregoing proposed ordinance because it would prevent the homeless from being arrested for minor offenses. She requested that a warning be given prior to a civil citation, as it would be difficult for the homeless to pay the fines. Mr. Juan Cuba, 253 N.E. 2nd Street, #2804, thanked Commissioner Heyman for her leadership on this item. He expressed his support for this item noting even though it would not address the harassment and racial profiling that communities of color had to endure, it would lessen the long-term impact of having an arrest record. Ms. Jacquelyn Rose, 2000 S. Bayshore Drive, #34, said she agreed with the suggestion of giving an offender a warning first; and if the individual did not have the means to pay a fine, he/she should be given the opportunity to do community service. Referring to the video shown earlier in the meeting, she expressed dismay over the way police officers treated a blind individual. She said she believed that police officers should be kinder to the members of the communities they served and should be willing to engage in a dialogue to improve community-police relations. Mr. Demetrius Walton, 20623 N.W. 13th Avenue, Miami Gardens, expressed his support for the foregoing proposed ordinance and noted he hoped that it would provide the opportunity to engage in an in-depth dialogue on the causes of police mistreatment of minorities over minor offenses. Mr. Walton referred to socio-economic disparities as being a major cause of this problem and stated that these arrests for minor offenses were not as prevalent in the more affluent communities. As an example, he noted a previous speaker’s comment that civil citations were already being issued to UM students found to be in possession of marijuana. Chairwoman Jordan closed the public hearing after no other person appeared wishing to speak. In response to Chairwoman Jordan’s request for clarification onUM’s civil citation program, Mr. Martinez noted this information appeared as a bullet point in a letter from the State Attorney to Representative McGee. He said the program had been offered to the other universities, but they had not yet seized this opportunity. He clarified that the UM civil citation program was established by the State Attorney; while the foregoing proposed ordinance would establish such a program for the MDPD. Responding to Chairwoman Jordan’s questions as to whether it was legal for the Prosecutor’s Office to provide preferential treatment to a certain class of residents and if other similar programs existed, Mr. Martinez indicated that the Prosecutor had the discretion to set up diversion and civil citation programs and said that he did not know whether other similar programs existed. Mr. J.D. Patterson, Director, MDPD, stated that reports such as the one done by Mr. DeFede were inaccurate as they were not a reflection on the entire department. He said he believed that police officers carried out their work to the best of their abilities, without regard to race. He pointed out that in the South Dade area, there were 143 shootings last year, six homicides had occurred this year alone, and one person was shot at every day. Director Patterson noted he had no objection to the civil citations program and agreed with the speaker who said it was necessary to engage in an in-depth dialogue on the root causes of the police response. Responding to Chairwoman Jordan’s question regarding the Crime Suppression Team, Director Patterson noted that particular unit no longer operated as it had in the past, because team members were now required to wear uniforms; however, there were still 11 Crime Suppression Teams operating in the County to remove criminals from the streets. He said it was not possible to back away from assertive, intelligent, strategic policing, as this would result in chaos. Regarding the incident with the blind man shown on the video, he indicated that an investigation was being conducted and those officers responsible for that act would be disciplined. Commissioner Diaz asked for a moment of personal privilege, and introduced four visitors from Prague, Czech Republic, who were on an official mission to discuss the establishment of a direct flight between Miami and Prague. Chairwoman Jordan welcomed the visitors and thanked them for taking the time to travel to Miami. She said that hopefully a mutually beneficial relationship would be established between the two cities. Mr. Petr Dolinek, First Deputy Mayor, Prague, thanked the Committee members for their warm reception, and noted the cooperation between Prague and Miami could be very productive. He said that he looked forward to cooperating with Miami on a number of projects. Commissioner Souto noted the existence of a Vaclav Havel Park near the West Dade Regional Library; and a Vaclav Havel Foundation at the Florida International University. He invited the visitors to visit these sites. Commissioner Souto noted the Czech people were great supporters of the Cuban people in their fight for democracy. Commissioner Zapata welcomed the visitors. He said that it was an honor and a pleasure to host them and thanked them for visiting this community. Commissioner Zapata said he was in support of Agenda Item 1G1, and suggested the inclusion of a reporting mechanism, as a tool to measure its impact. He requested that Director Patterson expound on the training that would be provided to police officers to ensure that they implemented this program correctly and inquired whether officers would still have the discretion to either make arrests or issue citations. Director Patterson stressed that discretion was always important to enable police officers to respond to a specific set of circumstances. He said during the training, police officers would be made aware that they would have the ability to issue civil citations for the seven misdemeanors covered in this item, as they had been doing for the other offenses previously approved. Director Patterson noted a database would have to be created to register these citations. In response to Commissioner Zapata’s question regarding how an officer would react if a group of young people were found smoking marijuana in a park, Director Patterson said the officer would have the option of asking them to leave, and that the civil citation program would provide officers with another tool to respond to these types of situations. Commissioner Zapata expressed his support for the foregoing proposed ordinance; however, he reiterated the importance of including a reporting mechanism to ensure that it was implemented properly. He emphasized the training that would be provided, as it would help improve the quality of policing. Commissioner Edmonson noted she was very supportive of the foregoing proposed ordinance and requested to be added as a co-sponsor. She asked whether it would be possible to require that a warning be given prior to issuing a civil citation. Assistant County Attorney Christopher Angell noted an officer already had the authority, in his/her discretion, not to arrest an offender; therefore, the officer could issue a verbal warning. However, he advised, if the Board members wanted to set a policy to require that a warning be given prior to issuance of a civil citation, it would have to be done in a separate item with an implementing order. Commissioner Edmonson said the reason she was bringing this up was because she was concerned about giving too much discretion to the officers. Director Patterson pointed out that the police department did not receive the same types of calls from all areas. He noted police officers currently had the discretion to arrest or not to arrest; and they needed that discretion. Responding to Commissioner Edmonson’s question regarding who would have access to the database on civil citations, Director Patterson indicated that the data would be public record and could be placed on the police department’s website. Commissioner Heyman pointed out that data was currently collected on the existing civil citations issued. She said that if the item was adopted, she would work with all of the stakeholders on the creation of a database for the offenses included in the foregoing proposed ordinance. Commissioner Diaz said he concurred with Director Patterson’s comment that it was vital for police officers to have discretion. He stated that it was very clear that the item was not decriminalizing possession of marijuana, which he considered an important factor. On the other hand, he referred to young men whose dreams of going into the military were shattered due to an arrest for illegal possession of marijuana. He urged Director Patterson to work closely with the Public Defender to find a solution to these conflicting interests. Commissioner Souto noted Miami-Dade had a wonderful police system; expressed his support of Director Patterson; and said the County had one of the best public defenders. Chairwoman Jordan noted people committing minor offenses should not have criminal records and Mr. Defede’s documentary found that South Dade had 254 arrests in one year for petty offenses that resulted in two convictions and 80 withheld adjudications. She deplored the fact that those 80 people with withheld adjudications now had criminal records, yet they had no legal representation at their hearing. Chairwoman Jordan said she was very supportive of ensuring that the police officers had what they needed to do their work; but they had to be carefully trained and should not be given carte blanche to do whatever they chose. She suggested that Director Patterson review the police department’s Standard Operating Procedures to ensure that police officers did not arrest people guilty of minor offenses simply to improve their numbers. She pointed out that the County government’s progressive discipline process gave a warning first before resorting to more serious disciplinary action. She commended Mr. Jim DeFede for highlighting this issue and Commissioner Heyman for her leadership on this item. Chairwoman Jordan requested to be listed as a co-sponsor to the foregoing proposed ordinance. Commissioner Diaz pointed out that part of the discretion of the police officer was to be allowed to give a warning, but if a crime was committed an arrest would have to be made. Director Patterson noted police officers came across various types of cases every day, and were constantly exercising their discretion. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Committee members proceeded to vote on the foregoing proposed ordinance, as presented.
|Board of County Commissioners
|Municipalities notified of public hearing
|Metropolitan Services Committee
|Board of County Commissioners
|Tentatively scheduled for a public hearing
|Metropolitan Services Committee
|Board of County Commissioners
|Adopted on first reading
|County Attorney Cuevas read the title of the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Commissioner Jordan requested that Agenda Item 4B be bifurcated. Commissioner Sosa requested that Agenda Item 4C bifurcated. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Board proceeded to vote on the foregoing proposed ordinances, as presented. The foregoing proposed ordinance was adopted on first reading and set for public hearing before the Metropolitan Services Committee on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, at 2:00 p.m.
|Metropolitan Services Committee
|Board of County Commissioners
|Requires Municipal Notification
|Metropolitan Services Committee
|Christopher A. Angell
ORDINANCE RELATED TO CIVIL PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN MISDEMEANOR VIOLATIONS; AMENDING SECTIONS 21-81, 8CC-5.1 AND 8CC-10 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING FOR CIVIL PENALTIES FOR THE COMMISSION OF CERTAIN MISDEMEANORS; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County (the �Board�) is given broad authority to enact ordinances under Miami-Dade County�s home rule powers and prescribe penalties for violation of such ordinances; and
WHEREAS, section 21-81 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, (the �Code�) is applicable in all the unincorporated and incorporated areas of Miami-Dade County; and
WHEREAS, section 21-81 of the Code prohibits the commission of all acts defined as misdemeanors under Florida Statutes and declares commission of such acts to also be Code violations; and
WHEREAS, upon conviction in court of a Code violation for commission of an act defined as a misdemeanor, misdemeanants shall be punished by a fine or imprisonment in County jail or both, but in no case shall the fine and/or or imprisonment imposed be greater than the maximum fine or penalty for the same offense under the Florida Statutes; and
WHEREAS, currently, a law enforcement officer only has discretion to arrest or not arrest a person for commission of a misdemeanor and/or Code violation; and
WHEREAS, this ordinance provides an additional means under Chapter 8CC of the Code to enforce violations of the Code based on the commission of certain misdemeanors; and
WHEREAS, the Board has an interest in enacting monetary civil penalties for certain violations of section 21-81, as such civil penalties will act as an additional deterrent to such violations and would provide law enforcement with additional options when encountering a misdemeanant who has committed an enumerated offense; and
WHEREAS, for the specific statutes enumerated in this ordinance a law enforcement officer will have the discretion to issue a civil citation and/or arrest or not arrest a person for commission of a misdemeanor and/or Code violation; and
WHEREAS, this ordinance will also allow a violator who has been served with a civil violation notice imposing a monetary penalty for commission of an enumerated misdemeanor to enter the Miami-Dade County Diversion Program, pursuant to Miami-Dade County Implementing Order 2-12 which would allow violators without economic means to satisfy a civil penalty to satisfy the penalty by non-monetary means,
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Section 21-81 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 21-81. Misdemeanor; adoption of State law; penalties.
* * *
(c) All acts defined as misdemeanors in said State statutes are hereby prohibited and declared to be violations of this article and any person or corporation shall, upon conviction in the court of appropriate jurisdiction for violation thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) or by imprisonment in the County Jail for not more than sixty (60) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, but in no case shall the fine or imprisonment imposed under this article be greater than the maximum fine or penalty for the same offense under the State statute.
>>(d) The following misdemeanor violations, as such may be amended from time, are eligible to receive a civil violation notice pursuant to chapter 8CC of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, at the discretion of a law enforcement officer, provided that such violations are not charged in conjunction with any charge that is a felony, driving under the influence (DUI), incident involving domestic violence, or violent crime, as those terms are defined under State law:
(1) Florida Litter Law, as set forth in Fla. Stat. section 403.413(6)(b), as such may be amended from time to time;
(2) Illegal Use of Dairy Cases, Egg Baskets, Poultry Boxes, or Bakery Containers, as set forth in Fla. Stat. section 506.509, as such may be amended from time to time;
(3) Trespass on Property Other Than Structure or Conveyance, as set forth in Fla. Stat. section 810.09, as such may be amended from time to time;
(4) Retail Theft by Removal of a Shopping Cart, as defined in Fla. Stat. section 812.015(1)(d), as such may be amended from time to time;
(5) Loitering or Prowling, as set forth in Fla. Stat. section 856.021, as such may be amended from time to time;
(6) Possession of Cannabis in an amount of 20 grams or less, as set forth in Fla. Stat. section 893.13(6)(b), as such may be amended from time to time; and
(7) Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, as set forth in Fla. Stat. sections 893.146 and 893.147(1)(b), as such may be amended from time to time.
An individual issued a civil violation notice for any of the violations listed in this subsection shall be subject to fine in accordance with chapter 8CC of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, and shall be eligible for the Miami-Dade County Diversion Program, pursuant to section 8CC-5.1 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Implementing Order 2-12, or its successor Implementing Order of the Board of County Commissioners.<<
Section 2. Section 8CC-5.1 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 8CC-5.1. Miami-Dade County Diversion Program.
Notwithstanding the provisions of >>section<< 8CC-5, a violator who has been served with a civil violation notice may enter the Miami-Dade County Diversion Program, pursuant to Implementing Order of the Board of County Commissioners, provided the civil violation notice is issued for the violation of an ordinance listed in the table below, which may be amended from time to time.
The "descriptions of violations" below are for informational purposes only and are not meant to limit or define the nature of the violations or the subject matter of the listed Code sections, except to the extent that different types of violations of the same Code section may carry different civil penalties. To determine the exact nature of any activity proscribed or required by this Code, the relevant Code section must be examined.
Code Section Description of Violation
7-3 Swimming or fishing from prohibited road bridges
8A-172 Conducting business without a local business tax receipt
8A-276(b) Failure to display commercial vehicle markings
21-28 Producing loud or excessive noise
21-31.2(b)(1), (2) Alcohol possession or consumption near a store
21-31.4(B) Obstructing traffic or aggressively begging
>>21-81(d)<< >>Any one of the specific misdemeanors enumerated in section 21-81(d)<<
26-1 Parks violations
Section 3. Section 8CC-10 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 8CC-10. Schedule of civil penalties.
The following table shows the sections of this Code, as they may be amended from time to time, which may be enforced pursuant to the provisions of this chapter; and the dollar amount of civil penalty for the violation of these sections as they may be amended.
The "descriptions of violations" below are for informational purposes only and are not meant to limit or define the nature of the violations or the subject matter of the listed Code sections, except to the extent that different types of violations of the same Code section may carry different civil penalties. For each Code section listed in the schedule of civil penalties, the entirety of that section may be enforced by the mechanism provided in this Chapter 8CC, regardless of whether all activities proscribed or required within that particular section are described in the "Description of Violation" column. To determine the exact nature of any activity proscribed or required by this Code, the relevant Code section must be examined.
Code Section Description of Violation Civil Penalty
* * *
21-48 Sale and installation of satellite dish antennas to residential customers 500.00
>>21-81(d)<< >>Any one of the specific misdemeanors enumerated in section 21-81 (d)<< >>100.00<<
21-112 Failure to properly fill an abandon well 100.00
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Section 4. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 5. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any sunset provision, shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word "ordinance" may be changed to "section," "article," or other appropriate word.
Section 6. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.
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