Improving our Quality of Life
My passion and mission to improve our residents’ quality of life in Miami Beach continues with a focus on the basics: safer neighborhoods, and clean and quiet residential areas. It sounds simple to achieve these common goals we all share, but the challenges keep on coming from every angle. I will continue to bring forward creative legislative solutions (more on this below), and implement them with Commission approval. My independence is a strength that I will continue to utilize, including challenging the status quo when necessary, to protect the interests of our residents and to improve our quality of life.
Police Visibility: I have been and will continue to advocate for a consistent and more visible police presence proactively and fairly enforcing our laws. A strong police presence is still the biggest deterrent to crime and provides a sense of safety for residents and visitors alike.
Prosecuting Crime: Holding those accountable for committing crimes in Miami Beach is a major step to preventing crime. It is our moral duty as elected officials and the primary function of government to provide for the safety of our residents without fear of becoming a victim of a crime.
Successful Municipal Prosecutions!
From October 2020-September 2021, only 8% of the arrests made by our police for municipal misdemeanor crimes were successfully prosecuted. To correct this injustice and to hold those violating our laws accountable, I proposed over ten legislative initiatives that our Commission passed to transform the way our City prosecutes municipal crimes.
Since my initial legislation passed on October 13, 2021, we have witnessed impressive improvement as 73% of the arrests for municipal crimes have been successfully prosecuted by our municipal prosecutors! My legislative initiatives passed by our Commission include, among other things: (1) vigorously prosecuting crime, especially habitual offenders, (2) prosecuting additional misdemeanor offenses such as battery, indecent exposure, and criminal mischief (i.e., property damage under $1,000) that were previously handled by the State Attorney’s Office, (3) appealing unwarranted judicial dismissals to a higher court, (4) hiring two additional City prosecutors to add to our previous lone prosecutor, and (5) assigning a Police sergeant to attend bond hearings to advocate on the City’s behalf.
Since forming our now three-person Prosecution Team a few months ago, our successful prosecution rate has improved to 81%. Through diligent and effective legislation, we have improved our prosecution success rate from 8% to 81%! All in less than one year.
Please keep in mind that all felony arrests are prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) as required by Florida law, and many criminal misdemeanor offenses are still handled by the SAO, not the Miami Beach municipal prosecutors.
Rehabilitation Programs: An arrest followed by an immediate dismissal without prosecution carries little to no weight under the law, even when habitual offenders are arrested multiple times. Prosecution and conviction have consequences under the law, arrests alone do not. Successful prosecution and conviction can lead to one of several outcomes such as jail time, probation, a fine or a pre-trial diversion program (rehabilitation).
Our prosecution of criminal activity also offers the offender a second chance. My legislation created a pre-trial diversion option offered by the non-profit entity Court Options at no cost to Miami Beach so we can help those arrested obtain the help they need through mental health or substance abuse counseling. Eligible defendants who successfully complete the diversionary program can have their case dismissed without a conviction. As one example, an individual arrested by our Police is completing a dual mental health/substance abuse diversionary program, and after consistently passing his drug tests acknowledged to our Prosecutor that he is drug free for the first time in years!
Next steps: Our police, prosecutors, judges, and most importantly many of our residents have told me that the successful prosecutions and accountability for criminal activity is having a positive impact on the streets. I am proud of this success and thankful to our Commission and residents who have overwhelmingly supported my legislative initiatives.
But there is much more work to do. I am actively researching and drafting additional legislative initiatives that I will bring for Commission vote in the near future to further improve public safety and make our Miami Beach neighborhoods even safer.
Concerns about bail reform: The Miami-Dade Judiciary (Courts) is proposing a bail bond reform initiative. I have concerns about the latest proposal, even after the initial proposal was modified to address concerns raised by the law enforcement community, including the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office (SAO). As correctly pointed out in recent memos by the SAO, this new reform policy if implemented would allow some defendants to be quickly released from custody after arrest before seeing a Judge or posting bond such as: defendants arrested for certain assault, battery, and most municipal crimes (quality of life crimes). Defendants would be noticed to appear at a later date for arraignment. Victims have rights and the Courts’ proposal to release many of those arrested without appearing before a Judge and without any bail requirement would be a significant policy change that could have negative consequences for public safety.
Miami Beach Municipal Prosecution Team and supervisory attorneys.
Enforcing Noise Violations
In July, our Commission unanimously passed an initiative I brought to implement a noise meter and camera technology pilot program in Miami Beach. The noise disturbances across our City, including vehicles with loud modified mufflers, is often more fitting for a NASCAR or Formula One raceway than a residential neighborhood.
I am working closely with our Police Department on the implementation of the camera technology pilot program to collect data, capture evidence, and issue warnings to motorists exceeding noise limits in violation of the law, such as modified vehicle exhausts. Police can also issue traffic citations when the noise violation occurs in their presence. I have brought an item for Commission action for more vigorous police enforcement of our noise laws including issuance of traffic citations which will make our City safer and more peaceful.
Dangerous Biker Groups
As reported in the media, a Miami Beach resident and personal friend was recently attacked on the Venetian Causeway by a group of 15 bicyclists with his school age son nearby. This criminal activity of bikers who repeatedly attack people, threaten motorists and pedestrians, and cause significant property damage must be shut down!
For two years I have publicly insisted at Commission meetings and internal meetings that we proactively stop this illegal conduct. We must confiscate bikes, make arrests and prosecute violent offenders, which so far is not happening. I contacted Miami-Dade Mayor Levine Cava who quickly put me in touch with senior members of Miami-Dade County law enforcement to help collaborate with our Miami Beach Police to ensure this brazen illegal conduct is stopped once and for all.
Virtual Town Hall - Tuesday, September 13
Please join me for my monthly virtual Town Hall on September 13 at 5:30 p.m. Our City prosecutors will join me to discuss the recent success of our Municipal Prosecution Program and I will provide a preview of the following day’s Commission meeting, including a Q&A segment. I look forward to answering your questions live! To participate, join on Zoom here, see the invite below for dial-in information, or tune in on Facebook live.
I continue to fight every day to improve and preserve the safety and quality of life of our residents. It is an honor and privilege to serve as your elected Commissioner.
Steven, Shanyn, Matisyahu & Michal Meiner
If I can help in any way, or if you have any suggestions or concerns, please reach out to me.
My cell phone is 786-810-8728 and my direct City email is StevenMeiner@MiamiBeachFL.gov.
Alternatively, you can contact my aide Robert Novo lll at
786-697-7763 or by email at RobertNovo@MiamiBeachFL.gov.
We are happy to help.
Posted on 09 Sep 2022, 01:43 - Category: 2022