A Miami Beach man secretly recorded tapes between himself an his Miami criminal lawyer. Sean Casey, of Miami Beach, who pled guilty to DUI manslaughter tried to use a secret recording between himself and his ex-Miami criminal defense attorney to gain a new trial, but was unsuccessful. Casey attempted to prove to a Miami circuit court judge that the plea was tainted and that his plea should be set aside.
Circuit Judge John Thornton denied Casey's motion for post-conviction relief in state court. The judge ordered the secretly recorded tape of a conversation between Casey and his lawyer taken in the lawyer's office sealed as it was obtained illegally. Milton Hirsch represented Casey when he entered the plea. Casey pled guilty three years ago to DUI manslaughter for operating his BMW while drunk and striking and killing Mary Montgomery in 2001. Casey entered a plea in state court to 12 years in prison.
Casey had previously filed two appeals to the Third District Court of Appeals. He claimed the plea deal was tainted because his Miami criminal defense lawyer and his therapist convinced him to flee Miami and avoid a trial in the case. Casey claimed that his lawyer who was unaware that he was being recorded, told him, "I wish I could wave my magic wand and make Sean disappear magically and cause him to reappear on the planet Vulcan...or something like that and be out of harm's way." In the State of Florida, it is a 3rd degree felony to tape someone without their consent. After listening to the tapes last month, Judge Thornton found no direct or indirect evidence of any criminal actions by his Miami criminal attorney.
Casey spent two years in Chile before being caught and extradited to Miami in 2006. The extradition process took several months before his was returned to Miami to face the DUI manslaughter charge. Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office told reporters, "Today, Judge Thornton saw the secret taping issue as a crude ploy and the clear violation of law that it has always been. From the very minute a drunk Casey ran down an innocent pedestrian, he has never taken responsibility for his actions.
Miami Beach Man Loses Bid for Retrial in DUI Manslaugher Case, The Miami Herald, August 19, 2009.