Could Susan Haynie Return to the Office of Mayor?

Is there a future where this is a possibility???

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Susan Haynie: Returning to the Office of Mayor?

Is there a chance she’s coming back, a possibility she’ll be Mayor again???

You bet there is!!!….Not only a possibility but one with a ‘fair’ degree of probability!!!

Criminal Justice is so much more complex than the television images of a Perry Mason drama or the sound bite complexities of a Law and Order episode….

In a criminal matter, the accused enjoys the presumption of innocence until the State proves guilt ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. The ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard is applied when the accused chooses to participate in a trial on the facts of the case and the law applicable to those facts. Court records for Ms. Haynie’s trial has assigned Case # 50-2018-CF-0038755-AXXX-MB.

The case is now positioned to move forward in two ways:

  1. Trial by Jury by one’s peers to a verdict of guilty or not guilty; or,
  2. Trial without a jury of one’s peers with the presiding judge acting as the trier of fact and the arbitrator of applicable law.

So far, there is no indication which of these two methods Ms. Haynie will elect as her strategy of choice. However, since her arrest date of April 24, 2018, there are some indications as to what may be a strategy to achieve the ‘no felony conviction’ outcome needed either at trial or by plea.

This possible scenario has Defendant Haynie preserving her right to a ‘speedy trial’. ‘Speedy Trial’ guarantees the accused, Ms. Haynie, to a trial within 175 days of the arrest unless she specifically waives this right. Without such a waiver, Defendant Haynie’s trial must begin within the time frame or risk discharge.

As noted above, the arrest date was April 24th. To date, Court records do not show any waiver of Speedy Trial. However, there are three items of significance contained in the case file;

  1. A Notice of Appearance by Criminal Defense Attorney Leonard Feuer;
  2. A Notice of Arraignment, the first in-court appearance for Ms. Haynie, scheduled for May 24th at 8:30 A.M. in Palm Beach County Courtroom 11F with Judge Glenn Kelley presiding.
  3. A Notice of Discovery filed by Attorney Feuer on April 26th which ‘requests’ the State of Florida disclose to the defense all the evidence the prosecuting attorney may be presenting at trial. Such ‘request’ is to be fulfilled within 15 days of receipt; in this case by May 11th, 2018

As stated, there is no ‘waiver of speedy trial’ which suggests that the prosecuting attorney, right now, is under the obligation to be ready for trial on or before mid-October 2018; 175 days from the arrest unless a demand for trial is made by the defense.

Not waiving speedy trial provides the defense with a distinct advantage in a criminal case and is a tactic employed to rush the State’s trial preparation or, in the alternative, negotiate a plea with the State acceptable to the defense and to the Judge.

In most cases, defendants waive speedy trial to prolong the process to find other viable outcomes. In this case, it is to Ms. Haynie’s advantage to not waive speedy trial if her objective is to go to trial and win by acquittal. Until and unless Ms. Haynie waives speedy trial, she maintains advantage over the prosecuting attorney; generally an attorney with several other serious felony trials active at any given time.

So what should we, the public, be looking for?

At her May 24th hearing, Ms. Haynie will be required to enter a plea; to wit: guilty or not guilty. Most likely, she will plead ‘not guilty’ and since the demand for discovery has already been received by the State, the defense will be fully aware of the current evidence and the witness list expected to be presented at trial.

From then on, without the waiver, both the state and defense will proceed in the discovery process; including but not limited to taking depositions, preforming accounting reviews, preparing expert witnesses, filing pre–trial motions, as well as other available tactical maneuvers. All this activity having to be completed before the time line expires.

This is the ‘chess game’ that may be played out by the defense with their opening gambit to push for the jury trial but with a fall back posture of offering to plead guilty to a deal that drops all felony charges for a plea of guilty to one or more of the charged misdemeanors. Such a negotiated plea may perhaps be justified because the State might not be fully prepared to try the case and rather than risk losing at trial, take a sure plea bargain preserving the conviction ratios that State Attorneys are often heard too cite. 

To justify such a plea deal, the State could conclude that proving the felony charges ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ is in doubt.

Here is where the layperson’s skepticism of the system may be justified. For instance, according to the arrest affidavit (see attached), Ms. Haynie, amongst other items, is charged with one count of perjury, lying to an investigating officer while under oath; a charge that seems open and shut to the lay person. However, often times, trials are not about truth, but rather about truths allowed into the proceeding through the prism of Florida’s Rules of Evidence and the attorneys’ pre-trial motions argued to the judge with the objective of limiting or excluding information from being heard by the trier of fact.

My opinion is that such a ‘no felony conviction’ outcome is not only possible but may actually have a fair degree of probability given the high profile nature of the political players involved; the aggressive defense tactic of not waiving speedy trial; and, the close relationships amongst the individuals involved in this case.

BocaWatch will follow this criminal proceeding closely and bring to your attention the manipulations and maneuvers employed by both sides in this criminal matter.

Note the timeline…

The special election for Mayor is scheduled for August 28th. Deputy Mayor Singer will have filed his notice of intent to run for the Mayor seat. He will also have filed the ‘resign to run’ statement required by Florida law for City Council Seat A; a seat Mr. Singer won in the March 2017 election. With these filings, the City Charter will require a special election to fill the Council vacancy.

So imagine….

After declaring himself “Mayor”, not merely the Acting Mayor; after an unnecessary ‘swearing in’ ceremony on May 7th instead of simply ascending to the seat by virtue of the Mayor’s suspension; after running a vigorous campaign and assuming victory; after taking the office with the expectation of filling the seat for the remainder of the Haynie’s current term (March 2020); Scott Singer may have once again outsmarted himself…

Here’s how….

Mayor Haynie may be found not guilty in a trial or she may plead to one or more misdemeanors without any felony conviction. Given either of those scenarios, Mayor Haynie’s suspension will be lifted; she would return to office and Acting Mayor Scott Singer would be required to step down.

But….step down to what???

The Council A seat’s vacancy will have been filled, preventing Mr. Singer from returning to the Council; he would actually step down to becoming a resident without a public office; an eventuality that is more than possible but actually with a fair degree of probability; an interesting outcome considering that Scott Singer has never actually demonstrated himself to be a risk taker, a gambler with his political ambitions and future.

Interesting!!!

Stay tuned; stay informed….

Please always remember,

Your vote is your voice; let your voice be heard at the ballot box in August….

Al Zucaro
Publisher

REFERENCE: the Susan Haynie Arrest Affidavit.

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Alfred Zucaro has resided in Palm Beach County since 1982 and has been a resident of Boca Raton since 2008. A graduate of Fordham University, he holds a Magna Cum Laude degree in Economics. Mr. Zucaro attended Nova University receiving a Juris Doctorate Law Degree in 1986. He is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, practicing in the area of Immigration Law for the majority of his career. Currently he is manager/member of Palm Beach Investment and Finance LLC, a USCIS approved regional center identifying foreign investment leading to permanent resident status. Mr. Zucaro served as a City Commissioner in West Palm Beach from 1995 to 2002 and as the President of the City Commission in 2000/2001. He has also been a member of and/or served on the Economic Council, the Business Development Board, the Film and Television Commission, the Tourist Development Council, the Workforce Alliance and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Of particular interest is his founding of the World Trade Center Palm Beach, an organization that focuses on international economic development. Married to Yvonne Boice, they are avid world travelers having visited 6 continents and dozens of countries since their 2008 nuptials.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Making the constitutional right to a speedy trial seem seedy by describing it as an “aggressive defense tactic” in a “chess game” is unfair. And, by the way, the rules of evidence are in place to help secure the truth, not hide it.

  2. Al, you wrote, “Mayor Haynie may be found not guilty in a trial or she may plead to one or more misdemeanors without any felony conviction. Given either of those scenarios, Mayor Haynie’s suspension will be lifted…” But Florida Statutes 112.51(5) states, “If the municipal official is convicted of any of the charges contained in the indictment or information by reason of which he or she was suspended under the provisions of this section, the Governor shall remove such municipal official from office.” Doesn’t “any of the charges” include the misdemeanors? I’m no attorney, but that’s how it looks to me on face value. Can you please clarify?

    • Hi…the suspension from the governor refers only to the felonies…I do not believe the misdemeanors are included…I also believe that only convictions to felony level charges will result in removal. AZ

      • I believe Joanne is correct in stating that if, Ms. Haynie, a republican, is found guilty of items listed in the suspension order by Governor Scott, a fellow republican, whether misdemeanor or felony, she is removed. Mr. Zucaro is correct in stating that only felonies were listed in Ms. suspension order, unlike former Hallandale Mayor Joy Cooper, a democrat, whose suspension order given in January, 2018 lists both her felony and misdemeanor charges. It helps to have friends in high places.

      • The statute does not say, “any of the charges contained in the suspension order.” It says, “any of the charges contained in the indictment or information by reason of which he or she was suspended.” If you look at the information that was attached to the suspension order, the misdemeanors are listed. And of course, the misdemeanors were also contained in the indictment.

  3. Al, thank you for the article. Where else to could we get such good coverage.

    Perhaps the reporting of this story could be a big boost for the credibility of Boca Watch, particularly if politically biased commentary is absent from the unfolding story line.

    Is the Mayor a criminal felon or a victim of politically trumped up charges? I don’t know, but I do get the feeling that there is a lot of heavy politics on all sides of the story intending to benefit from the outcome. On the one hand, we’ve all seen over zealous politically charged prosecutors loosing cases like this and on the other hand we’ve also seen guilty self-enriching political leaders going to jail for their crimes. Eventually American justice will decide the losing and wining outcomes. Unfortunately, none of the outcomes results in Boca’s image being the winner.

    In any event, I hope Boca Watch’s coverage can stay on the side of unbiased American justice.

    • Mike,

      Everyone has a bias, especially folks who deny they’ve got one. BocaWatch isn’t unbiased. We’re biased towards resident quality of life in Boca, as opposed being biased, like other “news sources” to just a few people profiting at the expense of that quality of life. And admittedly it’s harder to see the objective truth, every side of the issue when your bias is strong. We’re not going to pretend we don’t have a bias.

      Check us though. Are we being biased to the degree we’re not credible? Are we suffering from the same thing that’s making today’s audiences tune news sources out? How do we keep that from happening to us?

      The truth is, I admit, that we can’t really do that ourselves, implicitly. We need feedback: honest, no-punches-pulled criticism of what we’re doing here. We need comments from people like you who care about the information you’re receiving, to help us not fall under our own biases to the degree we aren’t credible to you any more. Our opinions matter so much less than yours, really, the audience.

      If you keep your opinions coming, on how we’re doing and how we’re going about this thing called BocaWatch, then I promise you we’ll post them here. We’ll collaborate. We’re listening. Thank you.

  4. Mr. Singer if he resigns to run for Mayor and LOSES to Al Zucaro or me, or others–will also be gone and relegated to the dustbin of “panderer” history. That is typically what happens to people who go to great efforts to provide for political machinations designed solely to benefit themselves. Mr. Singer suggested and enacted (with the help of Mayor Haynie) and Ordinance designed to benefit himself in the form of an “off year” special election centered around the presumption related to the County Commission race. Why do this? It is because under the old rules NO ONE (ON COUNCIL) WOULD EVER APPOINT HIM AS MAYOR IF HAYNIE RESIGNED TO RUN. Alas, the scheme failed with the Mayors problems causing his “temporary” appointment by Gov. Scott and forcing him to run in a special election HE CREATED. LOL had he simply done nothing he could have served out the remainder of the Mayors term based on that appointment. What goes around comes around.

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