WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Saturday, May 28, 2016

ED CARHART HAS PASSED AWAY

This one hurts. We have a lot to say about Mr. Carhart. We will let those who knew him best speak for us by reprinting their comments on FACDL, Suffice to say that there are a few generations of lawyers who never knew that Ed was the best; the best prepared, the best cross examiner, the best criminal defense attorney that there was in our profession. Period. A legend in the SAO. A legend in Miami. A real gentleman. A lawyer's lawyer. We lost the best this weekend folks, and we will start the comments with his close friend, Jim Woodard: 



We have lost one of the finest lawyers of our time.  Ed Carhart, former Chief Assistant to Richard Gerstein and long-time member of the criminal defense bar, diedFriday.  His knowledge of the law was unsurpassed and his skill with juries legendary.  More importantly, his ability to deal with adversity reminded all that knew him that regardless of how bad things may seem at the moment, he had it much worse.  He continued to practice with a smile when he could not stand, turn a page by himself or speak much above a whisper.  Through it all, his intellect was undiminished.  Those who knew Ed will miss him terribly.  Those that didn't, will never know what they missed.  No services are planned at this time.
James Woodard

From: "Shohat, Edward" 
My heart is broken at this news Jim. Not only was Ed among the best lawyers I ever knew but one of the best people too. I know how close you were to him for what seems like forever now and that there are many like you, both friends and family,  who will feel the loss of Ed with particular pain. To all of you who also happen to be our brothers and sisters at the Bar, Maria and I send our heartfelt condolences.




jackblumenfeld 





Rumpole, sadly we lost one of the greats last night with the passing of Ed Carhart. I think the word great is overused and, thus, reduced in these times. In referring to Ed, it's an understatement.  Those of us who knew him and worked with him in Gerstein's SAO can mitigate the loss (if possible) with the knowledge that we are better people for having known him. To those young-and not so young- lawyers who never saw him practice, you missed the greatest. May he rest in peace.


Rae Shearn 





Edward was always 10 steps ahead of everyone else. He was my friend, personal confidant, and my legal mentor. One of our last legal rock stars, Edward was a newspaper man with a broad over view based upon core fact details. A good man. A great friend. An extraordinary gifted attorney


From: C. Michael Cornely 

I worked with Ed when I was a young prosecutor, knew him as a member of the bar and I thought he was one of the Best Trial lawyers in Miami. He was a humble and gracious man who never not let his handicap hold him back. I am much better to have known him. God bless his soul.

Samuel Rabin 





Ed was a brilliant lawyer who was among the most thoroughly prepared when he entered any courtroom.  He was generous with his time when approached for help by all, but he truly enjoyed mentoring young lawyers.  He always remained upbeat even when dealing with great adversity in his personal life.  There is a special place in heaven for him.  Rest in Peace Ed.


Frank Quintero 




Dido Sam. I had the honor and privilege of working one of my first cases with Ed as one of several co-counsel. He always had time to mentor me and always had words of encouragement when as a young lawyer i was learning and making mistakes and trying to learn the profession. His leadership and professionalism as well as his legal intellect and integrity will be sorely missed. A true lawyer's lawyer.
RIP old friend.


Jose Quiñon 




Ed was a brilliant lawyer. Blessed with uncommon intelligence, he efficiently and consistently destroyed the government's case. His cross-examinations were a thing of beauty.

And to boot, Ed was a wonderful, tender, and honorable individual. May he rest in peace.

Friday, May 27, 2016

MEMORIAL WEEKEND 2016

It's a three day weekend, and change is on our mind. 

There used to be no security checks at the courthouse. You could walk right in. 
But that changed. 

There used to be separate bathrooms and water fountains at the courthouses for "Coloreds and Jews", but that that changed. 

People used to smoke in the courtrooms, but that changed. 

There used to be no women or Hispanic or Asian or African-American or Haitian Judges, but that changed. 

The Champion Golfer and amazing person Gary Player has ten commandments  for life. "Change is the price of survival" is number one.  Check out his website here.  Every one of the commandments is a life lesson. 

All of these things, and many more have changed since the REGJB opened its doors circa 1962. 

There is climate change, and the first African-American president. The Soviet Union rose and fell. So did the Fourth Amendment. 
We may have our first woman president. Or our first lunatic as president (but not our first megalomaniac.) 

There's been flight, and space-flight, and landings on the Moon and Mars, and the re-paving of some streets in Hialeah. 

In the REGJB there's been Cozzoli's, The Pickle Barrel, Au Bon Pain, and now El Chapo Cafe.

And we even have Wi-Fi at our courthouse! Which means you sit staring at your device as the power bar flickers between zero and one, and nothing loads. We used to stare at Newspapers and Magazines while sipping bad black coffee and waiting for our next case. Now we stare at websites unloaded and dream of streaming Netflix while sipping bad black coffee while waiting for our next case. 

Change is everywhere. 

Except when it comes to summer and the outmoded, ridiculous, ancient, antiquated, superannuated, if not antediluvian   requirement that gentlemen lawyers wear a coat and a tie to court during the summer.  
That hasn't changed. 

Are you listening Judges Soto and Sayfie? Female lawyers used to rightfully complain that male judges had no regard or consideration for them

The more things change....

Enjoy your long weekend. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING

A Las Vegas Judge ordered an assistant Public Defender handcuffed and placed in the box. The story is here. 

Zohra Bakhtary, a deputy public defender for three years, has spent at least one day a week for the past year inside Hafen’s courtroom on the sixth floor of the Regional Justice Center.
On Monday, she was arguing to keep a man who had violated probation on petit larceny charges out of jail when the judge told her to “be quiet.”
Bakhtary tried to interject.
“Zohra,” the judge said.
She spoke up again: “You’re making —”
“Do you want to be found in contempt?”
“Judge, you’re asking —”
The judge once more asked her to be quiet. “Now. Not another word.”
Bakhtary then said, “Judge, you’re,” before being cut off.
Hafen turned to his marshal. “Travis, right now. I’m tired of it. Right now.”
And Bakhtary was cuffed. She sat in the jury box, alongside inmates wearing jail clothing, while the judge finished hearing the case at hand.
Bakhtary’s client, a man who was arrested on theft charges about five months after he was ordered to pay a fine and perform community service in a similar case, was ordered to spend the next six months in jail.
“And then, Travis, go ahead and un-cuff Zohra,” Hafen said. “I think she’s learned a lesson.”
The judge later said in a phone interview that he’s had difficulty with Bakhtary for the past six months.

Somewhere, Alex Michaels is saying "you gotta be f'ing kidding me." 
Long weekend coming up. And we need it. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

PD EXODUS

RORY STEIN UPDATE BELOW 

The relentless march of time and loss of legal talent continued this past week as PDs young and old, new and grizzled, gathered somewhere downtown to bid adieu to Stephen Kramer, Jay Kolsky and Bob Aaron. Along with the pending retirement of Edith Georgi, well more than a hundred years of  legal and life experience is walking out the door. 

Mr. Kramer was the consummate professional, handling some of the offices biggest cases while supervising and mentoring the next generation of lawyers. 

Mr. Kolsky goes back even farther than Mr. Kramer- a prosecutor in the 1970's, then a PD, then in private practice, and then a final stint at the PDs office, Mr. Kolsky practiced before judges and with lawyers whose names are a whispered, fading  memory in the halls of our courthouse. Losing a lawyer of Mr. Kolsky's experience is like a boat losing it's anchor. 

And Mr. Aaron, a craggy, Chicago lawyer, who trained a whole generation of young lawyers the fine art of when to speak, when to remain quiet, when to fight, and when discretion was the better part of valor. 

AND WE RECEIVED THIS COMMENT

Rump,
You have once again omitted any mention of Rory Stein in a post which purports to recognize and highlight the accomplishments public defenders/defense attorneys. For reference, see your post on the FACDL awards dinner. Mr. Stein, along with others who you have left out, is departing from the PDs office as well.

When will you finally give up your petty animosity towards a man who is beloved and respected by those who work with him? 



Rumpole responds:

No animosity. The good-bye party was presented to us as a party for Kramer, Kolsky and Aaron. As we were not invited (and were dining at Per Se in NYC at the time, or near the time in preparation for our attendance at Hamilton, The Musical,  which shouldn't be missed) we had to rely on emails and reports sent to us. 
Anytime anyone wants to write a piece about Mr Stein or any other PD who is retiring, please email it to us and we will post it without edits. 

In a way these retirements represent the end of an era. These lawyers represented the true second generation of  Miami public defenders. Lawyers who joined the office after it was formed and shaped by legendary lawyers like Roy Black and Jack Denaro, these lawyers stayed the course and defended indigent clients across an astounding five decades, starting in the 1970's. 

Their absence will not go unnoticed. Clients and young lawyers will not have their talent- honed on the crucible of hundreds of trials, and their experience to rely upon. 
 But the fight must continue. And it will. 

See You In Court. 

PS- don't flood us with comments attacking our history of the PDs office. Yes, we know Mr. Black and Mr. Denaro and others at that time were not the first lawyers in the office. But they were among the first significant recruits that changed that office into an effective legal team. 




Friday, May 20, 2016

JUDGE GIL FREEMAN RETIRES

Judge Gil Freeman had a retirement party this week. There was food, fun, frivolity, friendship and a good time had by all. 

Judge Freeman made a brief appearance in the REGJB as a "newish" judge and then repaired to Civil and Family  and other areas where she spent her career adjudicating summary judgment motions on debentured bond defaults and splitting the precious family lamp, table, couch and cat. 

She enjoyed a very fine reputation, and although we really didn't know her and appear before her, we wish her well in retirement. 

Au Revoir Judge Freeman. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

SILENCE IS ....NON INCULPATORY

In what seems like a no-brainer, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that a defendant's pre-miranda, pre-arrest silence CANNOT be used as evidence of guilt because it would violate the right against self-incrimination. 


State v. Horrowitz here. 

In what is also no surprise, the case came out of Broward where the prosecution repeatedly, in closing argument, emphasized the defendant's pre-arrest silence in the death of her husband. 

WE ONLY EAT AT THE MOST EXCLUSIVE PLACES 

As can be seen...








Sunday, May 15, 2016

JUDGE ROBERT NEWMAN HAS PASSED AWAY


JUDGE ROBERT NEWMAN HAS PASSED AWAY .....

Sorry we missed this obit last week. I appeared before Judge Newman often and he was always polite, professional, courteous to all the lawyers and parties, and fair in his rulings. He had a soft voice but always a command of the courtroom. Here is the obit from the Miami Herald:

ROBERT H. NEWMAN | Visit Guest Book

NEWMAN, ROBERT H. JD., Dade County Circuit Court Judge passed away on May 7, 2016. Born In Brooklyn, New York but moved to Miami Beach in his teens, and dearly loved his new found community. He graduated from the University of Miami, became a State Attorney and then went into private practice for many years. He served the Judiciary in many divisions ending his stellar career as Chief Judge in Probate. He was a Hearing Officer for the city of Miami Beach and Aventura. He also did Mediations in the legal profession. He loved his community and served it well. He was the National Secretary of the Leukemia Society. He taught Paralegals at Miami Dade Community College, he served as President of the Health Systems Agency, he was one of the first presidents of Temple Beth Am in Miami, active with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and Temple Judea in Coral Gables. He wil be sorely missed. He is survived by his wife Gail of nearly 33 years. He cherished time spent with his children, Lorie Newman, Mark Newman (Una), & step-children Scot Jaffe, Jodi Jaffe (Andy Glenn). He also enjoyed his many grandchildren Danielle Katzeff (Lawrence), Carly Newman (Chip Waters), Craig Newman (Emma), Michelle Cascone (Pete), Rachel Haney (Jon), Jessica Goldberg (Evan), Marcus Levine, Chase Jaffe and Sarah Glenn. He was blessed with 5 great-granchildren, Hutton Waters, Jacob and James Cascone, Julia Haney and Neima Katzeff. Funeral Services will be held Wednesday May, 11, 2016 11 AM. Beth Israel Memorial Chapel. 11115 Jog Road Boynton Beach, Fl 33437.

Cap Out ....


We were notified of his passing and were corresponding with a few people to write something. We didn't know Judge Newman and to the best of our recollection, we never appeared before him, so we were waiting for someone to write in. 

ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL

Sunday NY Times: 

Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women In Private:

Donald Trump and women: The words evoke a familiar cascade of casual insults, hurled from the safe distance of a Twitter account, a radio show or a campaign podium. This is the public treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president: degrading, impersonal, performed. “That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees,” he told a female contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Rosie O’Donnell, he said, had a “fat, ugly face.” A lawyer who needed to pump milk for a newborn? “Disgusting,” he said.