Chief judge, public defender respond to Miami police chief’s ‘it’s time to open’ complaint

Bizar Male

MIAMI – Chief Art Acevedo developed a reputation in Houston for not being afraid to speak his mind. He has only been with the Miami Police Department for about a month, and he has already rattled Miami-Dade County judges.

Last week, Acevedo was at the scene of a fatal shooting in Allapattah. His hands-on leadership style was on display, as he quickly talked to reporters at the crime scene, and he got on one knee in an attempt to comfort a grieving woman.

Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo gets on one knee in an attempt to comfort a shooting victim’s relative April 28, 2021 in Allapattah. (Courtesy of Office Freddie Cruz)

As detectives investigated a murder on Thursday, Acevedo said there had been three murders in three weeks and that was unacceptable. He attributed crime nationwide to the coronavirus pandemic having imposed a setback to jury trials around the country.

“It’s time for the courts to open up and do their jobs,” Acevedo said, adding that “judges need to get back to work … it’s time for the criminal justice system to open and operate at full capacity. It is time.”

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Chief Art Acevedo talks to reporters on Thursday in Miami’s Allapattah area. (Frank Debesa/Local 10 News)

Some judges and defense attorneys who have been working through the pandemic in Miami-Dade took offense to Acevedo’s public comments.

Miami-Dade Circuit Court Chief Judge Bertila Soto said the courts have been functioning at full capacity through Zoom since April 2020. Soto released a statement saying the courts have held more than 450,000 hearings and in-person jury trials are also taking place.

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