Miguel Exposito's Lawsuit Tossed, Leaving Chief's Job In Michelle Spence-Jones' Hands
This morning Miami-Dade Judge Barbara Areces threw out suspended Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito's lawsuit against the city, putting his fate back into the hands of the commission.
In case you've forgotten that we live in a very strange city, Areces decision essentially means that Michelle Spence-Jones -- who, until about two weeks ago was an accused criminal staring down felony charges -- now gets to decide the fate of Miami's top cop.
The entire basis of Exposito's lawsuit was that two other city commissioners -- Francis Suarez and Willie Gort -- should be barred from voting on whether to sack him because they've already said on the record that they plan to do so.
After giving Exposito 40 minutes to air out that argument this morning, Areces very reasonably pointed out that elected officials are allowed to express opinions before they vote.
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The city commission has already called an emergency meeting for 9 a.m. tomorrow to decide Exposito's fate.
Unless someone has a last minute change-of-heart, City Manager Johnny Martinez almost certainly has two votes to fire the mayor -- Suarez and Gort -- along with one probable vote to keep him, from Marc Sarnoff. Frank Carollo is a wild card, but given his history of opposing Mayor Tomas Regalado, he'll likely also vote to keep Exposito in power.
That leaves Spence-Jones. Tomorrow's vote will be her first significant action since prosecutors dropped a felony corruption case against her on Aug. 24 and Gov. Rick Scott signed an order putting her back in office after two years of legal limbo.
It's hard to imagine Spence-Jones siding with the chief, considering the anger across her district over Exposito's force's string of deadly police shootings this past year.
But who knows what MSJ is feeling now that she's not only back in office, but holding the almighty swing vote in a power struggle that's been captivating the city for the past 12 months?
Welcome back, commissioner! Say hi to all of Regalado and Exposito's cronies for us while they beat down your office door today trying to curry favor.
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