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Let the system work

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Let the system work


Mello's temper with regard to court officials and his ability to continue on the case.


Critiques Mello's temperment in the proceedings and in the case thus far. Commends Mello in the work he has done but disagrees with him in his outburst and calls for him to step away from the case and work with the existing legal system (the public defender's office) rather than against it.




HIST 298, University of Mary Washington




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300 dpi



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Let the system work

[start of the first column]
The Florida Supreme Court was right to give Joseph Spaziano more time to prove he is not a murderer. So many questions have been raised about Spaziano's guilt the is would be unconscionable to execute him as long as there are reasonable doubts

All he needs now is a good lawyer.

Whether intentional or not, lawyer Michael Mello's refusal to appear at a crucial hearing in the case left eh Supreme Court no choice but to delay the execution, which had been scheduled for Sept. 21.

Mello was right to ask for more time to prepare for Friday's hearing, but he was wrong to boycott the proceeding if he didn't get his way. Mello's decision was a disservice to his client that showed contempt for the very court that could save him.

The court, showing far more restraint than Mello, decided that Mello had effectively removed himself from the case. Spaziano has to find another lawyer, rely on state lawyers he has rebuffed in the past or go it alone, the court decided. Mello says he is on the case and plans to appeal, but his actions suggest that the court was right to conclude that he had removed himself.

This is not the first time Mello's emotions have overwhelmed his judgement. Last month he wrote a stinging memo, riddled with expletives, that accused Gov. Lawton
[end of the first column]

[start of the second column]
Chiles' office of lying, referred to U.S. Supreme Court justices in a vulgar manner and derided federal appeals court judges.

Mello has been clashing with the state office of Capital Collateral Representative which defends death row inmates. "Better that Joe have no lawyer at all -- and that the world clearly sees that he had no lawyer -- than that Joe have the illusion of a lawyer, a hack (public defender) office like CCR that plays by the rules laid down by the people whose job it is to kill their clients," Mello wrote in his now-infamous memo.

Spaziano might be dead if not for Mello's tireless work on his behalf, all of which he has done for free. For that he deserves a great deal of credit. But instead of fighting the CCR, he ought to work with them and get Spaziano to do the same. After all, he has admitted in motions that he had neither the money nor the expertise to handle the kind if evidentiary hearing the court has ordered.

The public deserves to know the truth about Spaziano, who has been on death row for 20 years. Spaziano deserves a fair hearing. It is time Mello stopped playing games and give the system for which he has shown so much contempt a chance to work. It's time for Mello to stand aside.

[end of article]

Original Format

Newspaper Article

Contributor of the Digital Item

Bridenbaugh, H. Sumner

Student Editor of the Digital Item

Williams, Megan




“Let the system work,” HIST298, accessed January 16, 2021, http://hist298.umwhistory.org/items/show/232.