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, September 22, 2018

DEF NOT GUILTY, LAWYER GOES TO JAIL

No, this is not a story about REGJB legend Alex Michaels, although the same thing did happen to him on a murder case many years ago. 

This is the story of an Attorney in Georgia who obtained a Not Guilty for his client on a murder case. However, while the jury was out, the lawyer went to the bank and got "stuck in traffic" which delayed the reading of the verdict for an hour. The Judge held the lawyer in contempt and gave him the option of a thousand dollar fine or forty-eight hours in jail. The lawyer chose the pokey. Well done we say! Call the Judge on his threat. Become a martyr. Sit in a southern jail and write letters about freedom and civil disobedience like MLK. 

We note that when the judge told the officers to take the lawyer into custody he emphasized the word "EASY". Why? Don't court officers treat all inmates with respect and care? 
It's not like in the song "That's the Night that the Lights Went Out In Georgia", after the guilty verdict the Judge slapped the sheriff on the back and said "supper's on the table at home and I gotta get to it" but it was disturbing none the less.

N.B. Maybe a lawyer's day in Georgia is worth five hundred bucks. But in Miami, we're losing money at $500 a day. 

And this: does that defense attorney look way too young to you? And does his argument at sentencing seem a bit...well, weak or even bad?  His defense of himself was even worse. But give the young man credit- a not guilty in a murder case is a hard thing to achieve. Yes his client was found guilty of drug charges, but jurors are notorious compromisers and it's no surprise they wanted a conviction on something after walking him on murder. 

Here's the video. Sorry for the commercials up front, but if you need a pickup truck in Georgia, and who doesn't, there are plenty of sales going on right now. 




And finally this- isn't the song "That's the Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" one of the best songs from the 1970's?
Take a listen, and like our brother attorney in Georgia, fight the power! 

"Well don't trust your soul to no back-woods southern lawyer..." classic line. 






H/T To Attorney Mark Eiglarsh who posted this on the FACDL Listserv (Motto"clogging up your email inboxes with self-congratulatory missives since before 2000") yesterday. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

NOT TO BE MISANTHROPIC BUT....

Before we forget, we love tonight's game. Jets. Brownies.  Our two fav teams in 2018 battling it out in Cleveland. And although we love the Jets, we think the Browns have a great D-their cornerbacks shut down the Saints and Steeler Wrs-  and they finally get that W. Take the boys who play at the mistake by the lake -3, and the under 41. 

Here is what bothers us: 

1) When a phone accidentally rings in court and the judge or a lawyer is talking,  the bailiff will always shout out "please turn off all cell phones" as if anyone thought that they could talk on their phone. It's not as if, after the phone accidentally rings and the bailiff shouts, the person goes "WOW! I didn't know you couldn't have your phone ring in court. Thanks for straightening  that out for me."
No. It's a mistake. Give the person a moment to quiet their device before shouting and interrupting the proceedings even more. 

2) We don't like the fact that in every airport you now have to take a train to the plane. (check out the old commercial at the end of the post).  Props to those airports that have the screening after you get off the train rather than in the lobby where the crowds are enormous. And BTW, if you don't have TSA pre-check, you don't know what you're missing. It's like flying first class through security. 

3) One of Rumpole's rules for life is Never ever ever buy the extended warranty. Maybe, just maybe for a car. But that's it! The money you save will more than pay for the item you replace. This doesn't apply to Apple Car and broken iPhone screens. Buy all the insurance you can for that. They know us by name at the Apple Store considering how many screens we've gotten replaced. 
The following is an actual (sort of) chat for service: (we don't like talking to people so we use the chat function)

Rumpole: Our Dell Computer we bought six months ago isn't charging.
Dell: We're very sorry for that. We will work to fix that for you today. What is your thirty-seven digit IPID number on the back of your computer?
R: The one written in 007 type micro-printing?
D: Yes. 
R: I need to go find someone under the age of 20 to read it. Hang on. (provides number that receptionist-after using a magnifying glass-provides)
D: Where did you buy this computer?
R: Our IT specialist ordered it from Dell. He actually gave it to us in a parking lot at night and we handed him cash, but it's not as nefarious as it sounds.
D: And when did he buy it? 
R: (after calling IT person) November 28, 2017.
D: And what credit card did he use
R: (after calling IT person, provides cc number)
D: Does he have the product specialist warranty order number? Please note, this is not a number contained on the warranty, sales receipt, or any documentation. It would be something told to him verbally. We cannot process the warranty request without it.
R: All I know is when I bought it he said it came with free on site repair for two years.
D: Yes, that's technically true, if your site is in the sub-Saharan continent or in New Delhi, and if you have your warranty specialist number. Otherwise you can mail us the computer and within four quick months we will repair it and send it back. 
R: But this is my only work computer. And I blog on it. 
D: Are you by chance going to visit New Delhi shortly?
R: That silence you are about to hear is me hanging up on you. 

Speaking of bailiffs, we received this email last week about a bailiff

"Rumople, I was in the hallway and watched as XXX, Judge YYYYY's bailiff was dealing with a juror who wanted out of a case. The woman approached him and I happened to be standing by waiting for an elevator. The first thing that occurred was that she pumped him for information about the case. He was extremely professional in his answer, replying several times he could not give her any information. She then started talking about all the reasons why she would not be a good juror and could he let her leave? He continually and politely and professionally deferred to the Judge and kept telling her to just answer all the questions honestly and at the end to make sure she tells the judge and the lawyers how she feels. He was a real pro and it was gratifying to see him not allow a juror to drag him into a case and to just continually tell her to make sure she asked all the questions she had in court and to tell the Judge and lawyers about her feelings."

We'd like to give the bailiff public thanks, but then we got to wondering how the case ended, and if the juror disclosed in court what she was saying to the bailiff and if not, whether the bailiff said anything to the judge? And we decided not to risk a very experienced and highly regarded bailiff getting into trouble, so we edited out his name and the Judge's name. 

In no particular order we also don't like diet soda, Mitch McConnell, Mike Pence, Justin Bieber, hotel coffee that isn't Starbucks, Uber drivers who talk too much, or not at all. There's a sweet spot for Uber Driver/passenger chat and most don't hit it. 
Dell Computers, see above. Dell service techs. Id. Free Airport Wifi, the non-existent REGJB wifi, celery in egg salad, people who take selfies and block the sidewalk, Instagram( we don't understand it- can't you post pictures on Facebook? What's the diff?). 
And non-fat yogurt with artificial sweeteners. Give us the real deal, with some healthy fats and real sugar. 
That's it for now.


Monday, September 17, 2018

DE LA OVERTURNED!

Breaking: Broward veteran ASA Stacy Honowitz has been arrested for shoplifting forty-two dollars and change in beauty supplies. Channel 10 has the story on the web  here. She has been suspended. As the case below shows, she is absolutely presumed innocent. We have seen more than one professional caught in a shoplifting snafu that wasn't what it first appeared. And the late-great Richard Sharpstein once defended a newly married man who was arrested for shoplifting when he attempted to return some wedding gifts to a bridal registry. Richard-being his brilliant self- had this spectacular line in closing argument on a case he won: "He was a stranger in a strange land." 

We're not sure how a person who was identified by an eyewitness who was "60%" certain, loses a trial and an appeal, but that's what happened to Tony Brown. 

Enter enterprising journalism students, and lawyers from the under-appreciated Regional Counsel's office. Add one great judge who is not afraid to do the right thing, and what you have is the below order. 
Congrats to Regional Counsel Lawyers Philip Reizenstein and Kristen Kawass who get the win. 


Sunday, September 16, 2018

NFL WEEK TWO

SURVIVOR POOL
Last week was the equivalent of Hurricane Florence. as the Saints went down to the Bucs, giving a week one loss to Blog stalwarts De la Fins, DOM, Fake Freddy Moldovan, Cary Clennon, Nichols Basco, Peter Sauter, VP Pence, and Alan Kaiser, to name a few. Survivor stalwart Kenneth Weisman, missing his pal Colby, had a scare, but hung on as the Packers and Aaron Rodgers staged a second half comeback against Da Bears. However late comer "Fake Jay White picking for Colby" (yes that's the full name of the team) kept the flag flying with a pick of the Pack. 


Ifitikhar Memon tied, picking the Steelers, who kissed their sister against the Browns. After some research in the matter, we believe a tie is not a loss, and Memon, survives another week.
See, Bushel’s Case (1670) 124 E.R.1006; Bushel's case and 
Entick v Carrington [1765] 19 Howell's State Trials 1030. 
Entick_v_Carrington.

We're traveling for a case today, so we won't get the actual picks up until our NetJets land after 4pm.  (landed a bit early)
UPDATE: Real fake former judge, Lurvey, and Lucy Lew all go down in week two of the Survivor Pool.




PICKS
Count us as officially on the J...E...T...S  Jets Jets Jets super-bowl bandwagon. We're takin gang-green minus two and a half, at home, against our Fins, who do not have us convinced they're any good. The Fins are on a 0-5 streak on the road from last year.  😠

We also like Da Bears, at home, minus 3.5 against the Seahawks on the road for the second week. 

We're also hopping on the Browns bandwagon. They have a real, solid D. They DB's shut down the vaunted Steeler passing game. Take the Brownies +9.5 against the A'ints. (WIN 😇 )

Mantra for 2018. Repeat after us: "Always bet against the Cowboys. Always."  To use technical terms: They stink. They're no good. They cannot compete. The Giants aren't much better, but we'll take the Boys from the Big Apple who always play the cowpokes tough. We're betting against the Cowboys until they show us otherwise. Also take the game under 43.5

The Raiders also stink. Take the Broncos at home -6.5 against the future denizens of Sin City. 

(BTW- take Muller -4 over Trump. Guaranteed.) 

FANTASY FOOTBALL
Your humble blogger was vindicated by his week one win- where incidentally we had the highest score in the league. We passed on Steeler FF sensation A Brown at the number four pick and grabbed Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley, and we were proven right as we beat Mr. Blecher, who picked Brown next at five. Barkley outscored Brown, as we did Blecher.  

Which brings us to Rumpole's rule of FF: when choosing between players of equal talent, always chose the younger player. NOTE: This rule does not apply to your choice of criminal legal counsel. Indeed it is exactly the opposite. 

Other winners last week were Judge De La Fins, Mr. Grieco and his aptly named "Comeback" team, because America loves second chances, Millennial Me, our first #metoo female contestant, and Court Keeley.  

Thursday, September 13, 2018

YOU CAN'T WIN A PLEA

David O Markus, everyone's favourite federal blogger speaks Friday at lunchtime at the PDS office on the secret sauce he employs in trials that results in Not Guilty verdicts.  
You should attend. 
DOM is like that old E.F Hutton commercial: "When E.F Hutton talks, people listen.







BUT YOU CAN BE NICE
Here's the consent agreement for former Broward Judge John Contini to be disbarred for five years. What is notable about the agreement is that one of the reasons why Contini was disbarred is because during his three years as a circuit court judge, he admits that he "could have been more sympathetic toward some litigants, lawyers, and court personnel." 

WELL...if that's the standard in Broweird, how does any judge there keep their robes? 






COURTHOUSE CODE BROWN NOW!

BREAKING….
Code Brown at REGJB...Thursday morning. Armed officers with assault rifles sealing off courthouse. 

This is a breaking story. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

DODGING A BULLET

It is hard to feel thankful that we are not getting gob-smacked by a major hurricane. Our good fortune is our neighboring state's misfortune. 

In the spirit of prior hurricanes, misses and hits, we revise our much desired Rumpole's Hurricane list and Q & A. 

Q: What do the categories mean?
A: The category numbers refer to the "Saffir-Simpson Scale" (literally "the Saffir- Simpson Scale"). The scale relates the square of the amount of liquor in metric ounces needed to forget the impending disaster.  Since there is an exponential difference between the damage a cat2 and cat3 storm causes, you need four metric ounces of liquor to forget the impending damage of a cat2 storm, but nine ounces to forget a cat3 storm. 

SURVIVAL LIST
* denotes a new addition to the list. 
Four Bottles Tito Vodka.
*Four jars olives.
Three Apples. 
Two Oranges.
Bunch of Bananas. 
*Four Bottles Hayden-Basil Bourbon.
Two Bottles Bullet Bourbon.
One case Coca-Cola.
One box power bars.
Two flashlights.
One Radio.
One case C batteries.
One case water, 16Oz bottles. One case per person per two days of anticipated delay before rescue. If you listen to the local channel 7 type TV station, then add 30 cases water per person per day. 
*One Book: Crime and Punishment.
*One bottle sleeping pills, or one book "The collected humorous speeches of William Howard Taft." 

Q: Should I use a generator?
A: Only run the generator during the storm. After the storm, surreptitiously run a power cord from your neighbor's generator. 

Q: How dangerous is a hurricane?
A: According to most meteorologists who work for Channel 7 or who have worked for the station  over the past decade in Miami, most hurricanes threaten 90-95% of all life within a five hundred mile radius of a storm. Your chances of surviving a storm rise -according to Channel 7- in direct proportion to the amount of plywood you buy from Home Depot multiplied by the number of hours you wait in line. So for example if you buy ten sheets of plywood after waiting two hours, your chances of survival rise twenty percent. 

Q: Will courts be closed? 
A: In Miami and the rest of Florida -yes. In Broward County-NO. And in the words of one prior chief judge "warrants for missing court during hurricanes will be the priority in being enforced once the storm passes."

So there you have it. Everything you always wanted to know about a hurricane. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

9/11

Today we remember those who lost their lives in an unprovoked and cowardly attack. We remember the innocent people who went to work, and we remember the brave firefighters and police officers who started a long walk up  the tower to put out a fire and rescue people and paid with their life when the tower fell, 

Today we remember. 

But, as Americans, we are also mindful of this:
"People who trade their freedom for security deserve neither."
Benjamin Franklin. 

If there is a uniqueness to being American it is this: that we treasure freedom and liberty above all else. That when we invade a continent, as we have done twice in the last century (Europe) we do so only to defeat tyranny, and once done, we leave, asking only to retain those small pieces of ground that are the final resting place for our hallowed fallen. 

We do not seek vengeance. For we are mindful that vengeance is reserved for the almighty. We seek justice. We seek peace. We seek only to see individuals allowed to live their lives in freedom from evil. We treasure the right to pursue happiness. We fight for the right to worship, or not to worship. We choose our leaders by popular vote. We cherish a free and open press and the marketplace where we are free to exchange ideas. 

This is what being American is all about. This is why our NYC firefighters ran into a burning building when everyone else was running out. Those men are what being an American is all about. 

Peace.