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June 1 - 7, 2010

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Conchita Espinosa Conservatory to present Festival of the Arts BY ISABEL CHAO

Conchita Espinosa Conservatory of the Arts will present its 2010 Festival of the Arts on Saturday, June 5, 7 p.m., at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium. This performance, which takes place every two years with more than 500 students participating, has become a very dear tradition since its founder, Cuban educator Conchita Espinosa, presented the first festival in Havana in 1934 as a way to showcase in a single performance the many talents of her conservatory’s young artists. Part One of Festival 2010 focuses on a trip through the cultural highlights of New York City. The “visit” comes to life through theater, dance and music. Part Two is a celebration of Broadway musicals. Since the early 1960s, “Festival” has been a labor of love in which faculty and staff of both, the Conservatory and the Conchita Espinosa Academy (CEA) participate.

Each festival is a unique performance with its own theme, and from start to finish, the hard work, and dedication of the conservatory’s outstanding faculty of renowned artists is evident in every number. Conchita Espinosa was very proud of her festival. Today, this very important part of her legacy is lovingly made anew by her daughter and CEA director Maribel Zubieta Diaz who was honored recently with the New World School of the Arts’ Lifetime Achievement Award for exemplary dedication to the arts in South Florida. Tickets are available until June 3 at the school. Contact Audrey Gonzalez, 305227-1149, ext. 17. The day of the performance any available tickets may be purchased at the theater box office. Tickets are $58, $48, $38 and $23. The performance will be Saturday, June 5, 7 p.m., at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St.

What About the Guilty Ones? By Michelle Estlund, Criminall Defensee Attorneyy Recently, I wrote that representing chronic law violators carried a different type of gratification than does representing truly innocent clients or first-time offenders. Today’s column is focused on the guilty clients, and why representing them is important. The best explanation is probably by way of example. Imagine two young men walking down a street in their neighborhood, and are suddenly approached by a police officer in a marked police vehicle. Without legal justification, the officer exits the vehicle and has the men place their hands against the hood of the vehicle while he does a quick check for weapons or drugs. No weapons or drugs are found, the officer drives away, and the young men are sent on their way, offended and upset at the illegal intrusion. These men can report the incident to internal affairs, which may or may not investigate the matter and may or may not discipline the officer. In this scenario, there is little to discourage a rogue officer from improper behavior, and the two young men now know that they are unsafe from illegal searches and seizures from their government.

Now change the scenario by one fact: one of the young men does have a bag of marijuana in his pocket and is arrested for the fifth time. The young man’s attorney recognizes that the baggie was found as the result of an illegal search and files a motion in court to have that evidence suppressed. The motion is successful, the state attorney and the judge advise the officer that he acted illegally, and because of such illegality, the marijuana will be excluded from evidence. The case must be dropped. The officer has wasted his time and there is now a public record of the officer’s illegal activity. The officer now has a strong disincentive to conduct illegal searches in the future. The difference between the two scenarios is that the young man in the second scenario was guilty. Only when the police illegally search or arrest a guilty person is our criminal system tested in court. Only then can we find out the level of protection we have from illegal government action. So many of us, especially in South Florida, come from countries where people have no such protection. I never want to live without the protection afforded to us in the United States, and representing the guilty is one way of keeping that protection alive and well. Michelle Estlund is a criminal defense attorney practicing in Florida since 1995. She can be reached at 305-448-0077. For more information go to <www.estlundlaw.com>.

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