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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

CLINTON PITTS HAS PASSED AWAY

Defense attorney Clinton Pitts has passed away.
This is breaking news. 
The initial thoughts that come to mind when thinking about Clinton are "gentleman" and a fantastic lawyer who genuinely, truly cared about his clients. 
The second that comes to mind with thinking about Clinton was that he was a man who cared about his looks. He dressed for success. This isn't a flippant comment or observation. Certain members of our profession have style, and Clinton was one of them. And as a superb trial lawyer, Clinton knew- as we all do- that jurors form impressions from the moment they walk into a courtroom and look at the participants. And Clinton gave the impression of a successful lawyer. But of course, an impression isn't enough. You have to walk the walk and Clinton could do that. He routinely handled the most difficult and serious death penalty cases, and he did his job supremely well.  

Please post your comments and memories about one of the best attorneys in our profession, and one of the best men you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. 

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2018 - EARLY VOTING BEGINS: PART TWO - COUNTY COURT

COMING TOMORROW (WEDNESDAY)! 
FROM DOWN-UNDER, RUMPOLE RECOMMENDS....

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2018 ..... COUNTY COURT .....

Yesterday, our post introduced our readers to the seven candidates vying for three Circuit Court seats. Today, we introduce you to the ten candidates running for five open County Court seats.

Here is the ballot the voters of Miami-Dade will see for the five contested County Court judicial elections:

COUNTY COURT

GROUP 2: (Judge Mary Jo Francis retiring):

Rosy Aponte - she has been an attorney for ten years, all in private practice running her own law firm. Prior to her career as a lawyer she was an elementary school teacher. For the past decade she has handled Civil Rights and Discrimination cases against employers for race, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation and religion. She also defends homeowners facing foreclosure. In 2016, she lost a Circuit Court race to eventual winner Oscar Rodriguez Fonts. Total campaign contributions (including loans): $88,000.

Kristy Nunez - she has been an ASA with the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office since 2005. Since 2016 she has served as Chief of the Human Trafficking Unit. Prior to 2016, she served as a Felony Division Chief for four years where she focused on investigating and prosecuting homicide cases and training junior prosecutors. She has also specialized in prosecuting violent career criminals during her time in the Career Criminal and Robbery Unit, and spent almost four years in the Sexual Battery and Child Abuse Unit. Total campaign contributions (including loans): $60,000.

 
GROUP 32: (Judge Caryn Canner Schwartz retiring):

Lizzet Martinez - she ran in 2016 and lost to Judge Ed Newman. Ms. Martinez has been an attorney for 20 years and she handles family law and bankruptcy matters. She has also served as a Guardian ad Litem. Total campaign contributions (including loans): $112,000.

Chris Pracitto - he spent his first three years with the Miami-Dade PD's Office as an APD. For the past twenty years he has been in private practice. He handles family law and criminal defense matters with an emphasis on domestic violence cases. Total campaign contributions (including loans): $128,000.

 
GROUP 33: (Judge Teretha Thomas Lundy retiring):

Olanike Adebayo - she has been an attorney for 21 years. She spent the first eight years of her career as an ASA with the Miami-Dade SAO where she rose to the position of Chief of Litigation of the Juvenile Division. She spent the next five years working as a Police Legal Advisor for the Legal Bureau of the Miami-Dade Police Dept. She returned to the SAO in Miami and spent the next four years working in their Community Outreach Division. In 2014, she switched sides and now works for the defense as a member of the Office of Criminal Conflict & Civil Regional Counsel, in their Dependency Division. Total campaign contributions (including loans): $104,000.

Eleane Sosa-Bruzon - she has been practicing law for more than 12 years. First, as an APD with the Broward PD’s office. She handled misdemeanor, juvenile and felony cases, and ultimately worked her way up to the major crimes division. After six years, she moved into private practice and joined the 40 lawyer firm Landau & Associates, where she is now a partner. There she first handled legal matters in the areas of Banking, Commercial Litigation, and Real Estate. She currently represents plaintiffs in PIP cases. Total campaign contributions (including loans): $57,000.


GROUP 40: (Judge Don Cohn retiring):

Michael Barket - he has been an attorney for 19 years. He is in private practice and focuses on Family and Matrimonial Law, Child Custody, Paternity, Alimony, Child Support, Adoptions, Probate Law, Administration of Estates and Real Estate. Total campaign contributions (including loans): $72,000.

Elena Ortega-Tauler - she ran for judge in 2016 and lost a Circuit Court race to Judge George Sarduy. Ms. Tauler has a long history of appearing in stories on this Blog. Recently, the Daily Business Review highlighted our story posted in 2008 to introduce the readers to Ms. Tauler and her past legal woes. You can read that 2008 post by going here:   Ms. Tauler is in private practice handling immigration and foreclosure defense cases. She has been an attorney for 29 years (which includes the time she spent suspended from practice). Total campaign contributions (including loans): $21,000.

 
GROUP 43: (Judge Joseph Davis, Jr retiring):
 
Milena Abreu - Ms. Abreau ran for County Court judge in 2016 and lost to Judge Fred Seraphin by the razor thin margin of 677 votes (out of 211,000 cast). She began her legal career in 1999 at the Miami-Dade PD’s office as an APD. She spent ten years at that office before going into private practice. She currently works with the Office of Criminal Conflict & Civil Regional Counsel in their Death Penalty Unit. She has also been a Traffic Court Hearing Officer for eight years. Total campaign contributions (including loans): $108,000.
 
Mike Mirabal - he has been an attorney for 13 years. He ran his own law firm before going to work for one of Europe’s most respected international law firms, joining InterJURIS, an international law firm based in Madrid, Spain. While practicing in Madrid, he returned to law school for a second time to obtain dual degrees, Spanish Law E.U. and an L.L.M. in International Law. Upon completing his education in Spain, he returned to open InterJURIS's Miami headquarters. He now runs his own boutique international law firm. Total campaign contributions (including loans): $79,000.

So, readers, two questions: 1} Who will you be voting for; and 2} Who do you think will win?

CAPTAIN OUT .......
Captain4Justice@gmail.com


Monday, August 13, 2018

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2018 - EARLY VOTING BEGINS: PART ONE - CIRCUIT COURT


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2018 ..... EIGHT CONTESTS .....

Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, August 28th to elect eight new judges in Miami-Dade County, three Circuit and five County Court seats. But, instead of waiting until election day to vote, you have two other options. First, you can do what THE CAPTAIN does - order an absentee ballot and vote from the comfort of your kitchen table; bonus - postage is free. Or, beginning today, you can hit one of 19 early voting locations and you should benefit from the shorter lines.

Here is the ballot the voters of Miami-Dade will see for the eight contested judicial elections:

CIRCUIT COURT 

GROUP 8

This contest pits the only incumbent who drew opposition in the 2018 election against an attorney from the largest insurance defense firm in the State of Florida, Cole, Scott & Kissane.

Elisabeth Espinosa - she worked as an Assistant State Attorney in Tampa for six years before joining CSK in 2014. She handles the defense of insurance claims. Her firm appears before Judge David Miller regularly. When Espinosa filed against him, CSK filed Motions to Recuse Miller in all of their cases where he was the judge. Miller denied the Motions and CSK appealed those denials to the 3rd DCA. The 3rd affirmed Miller. Espinosa has raised $105,000 from some 320 contributors; she also kicked in $25,000 of her own money.

David Miller - INCUMBENT - he first won election in 2000 defeating Arthur Spiegel and David Peckins (in a runoff). In 2012, his last election, he soundly defeated Mauricio Padilla with 62% of the vote. Miller is known throughout the courthouse circles to be a tough no nonsense judge. In criminal court he gained a reputation for tough sentencing. In civil court, he in known as one of the hardest working judges on the bench, showing up to work at 6 AM. Miller has raised $289,000 from 659 contributors and loaned his campaign an extra $51,000.


GROUP 14 (OPEN SEAT - Judge Cindy Lederman retiring)

The only three person contest, this seat could end up in a runoff if no candidate garners 50% plus one vote. The runoff would take place during the November general election.

Vivianne del Rio - she is an ASA and has been with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office (SAO) for her entire 26 year career. Since 2012, she has headed the Post Conviction Unit and she reviews claims of actual innocence. Del Rio has raised $110,000 from 261 contributors and loaned her campaign $53,000.

Renee Gordon - she is an Assistant Public Defender (APD) and has spent her entire 22 year career at the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s office, part of that time as a contract attorney for the office. She has devoted much of her career to bettering the juvenile justice system including by managing the Miami Halfway House and as a participant in the Dept of Juvenile Justice’s Quality Assurance Program. Ms. Gordon ran for an open Circuit Court seat in 2016 in a four person race eventually won by Mark Blumstein. She missed out on the run-off by a mere 1,737 votes. She has raised $103,000 from 471 donors and she has kicked in $47,000 of her own money.

Louis Martinez - he began his law career in Chicago spending six years with the Cook County SAO. He spent his next five years working in Miami for the Office of the Attorney General, most of that time with the Medicaid Fraud Unit. Since 2007 he has been in private practice concentrating in the areas of administrative and criminal law. He is also Of Counsel to Diaz Reus & Targ. Also, since 2008, Martinez has been a member of the Miami Dade Expressway Authority including acting as its Chairman from 2015-2017. He has raised $56,000 from 117 contributors and loaned his campaign $30,000.


GROUP 25 (OPEN SEAT - Judge Dennis Murphy retiring)

Yery Marrero - she spent the first ten years of her career as an APD with the Miami-Dade PD. In 2000, she went into private practice forming Marrero Bozorgi where she has continued in the field of criminal defense law for the past 18 years. She has also served as a Traffic Court Magistrate. She has raised $89,000 from 292 donors and added $105,000 of her own money.

Joe Perkins - he has been an attorney for more than nine years and works for the law firm Garbett, Allen & Roza. His practice is in the area of complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on representing small and large businesses, banks and financial institutions, and governmental entities, including the FDIC. He has represented individuals who are victims of fraud, the State of Florida, Department of Financial Services seeking to recover from insurance company executives accused of fraud, and financial institutions seeking to recover loss caused by bank fraud, among other experience. He has raised $82,000 from 153 contributors and kicked in $5,000 of his own money.

So, readers, two questions: 1} Who will you be voting for; and 2} Who do you think will win?

COMING TUESDAY, COUNTY COURT .......

CAPTAIN OUT .......
Captain4Justice@gmail.com



Saturday, August 11, 2018

ODE TO OTIS


I go into the Miami courthouse
excited to do my thing.
Yet when I step onto the escalator
it’s not what I’d be expecting.

I see those yellow pieces of plastic
Jeez, I now know what to expect.
Those stairs are supposed to be moving
but the machinery is always wrecked.


Now an escalator is hardly unique
nor is it modern high tech.
Because they’re located all over the place
yet in this courthouse, such pieces of drek.

They’re as common as a can be
located all over the place,
But when it’s attached to “Gerstein”
it just screws up my morning pace

I see the guys in the olive jumpsuits
and question why they’re here during the week
Since you’d think in an important civic building
nights and weekends would be a much better seek.

I’ve noticed that pungent smell of lubricant
ever since the days of Camacho Adrienne.
Isn’t it natural to feverishly scream out,
“When will it ever end?”

Since I only know the law
and I don’t mean to be off tick,
It’s just it’s taken too many years
To get those damn machines fixed.

So if you’re last name is Redding or Rush,
I totally love what you do.
But if you dust down and oil up those metal steps
After so much time maybe it should be adieu to you?

The escalators are not my only qualm
Other things affect my biz
I don’t appreciate those yellow-taped off restrooms
When I gotta really a take a wiz






  


R&R

If, upon reading the title, you thought to yourself "aha, a post on the report and recommendations of magistrates" then you are who we are addressing and you need to read this.

From time to time, long time and careful readers of the blog know that even Rumpole takes a break from his relentless pursuit of justice. And as the August doldrums settles upon us, like a warm suit jacket on a hot summer day- unwelcome, unwarranted and unnecessary anywhere but the court rooms of the REGJB for gentlemen lawyers, you may notice that the frequency of the award winning posts you have come to love has diminished. 

Fear not dear reader. We have guest Blogger Scott Saul to cover music, movies, and general culture. The Captain in on the prowl for judicial election snafus, and Millennial Me is hopping in and out of Ubers, her trusty cell phone in her hands, as she remains connected to the internet at all times- a particular scourge of her generation. 

All is well. Hot. Muggy. But well. As is Rumpole, in parts unknown, but lets just say we left dear England a few weeks ago for a land and sea voyage to our former penal colony...mate. 


From the free world to those who are still in occupied territories....courage!

Thursday, August 09, 2018

HERE COMES THE JUDGE .......FIVE NEW JUDGES .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

SO, YOU WANT TO BE A JUDGE .....

BREAKING - WE UPDATED THE POST BELOW BY PLACING AN *** NEXT TO THE NAMES BEING SENT TO GOVERNOR SCOTT.  18 OF THE 26 ATTORNEYS THAT WERE INTERVIEWED HAVE BEEN FORWARDED TO THE GOVERNOR; (6 NAMES PER OPEN SEAT).

It may be hot and muggy outside, and if you’re lucky enough to be Horace Rumpole, you may be able to afford a vacation "down under", but the rest of us are busy back in the Magic City working the corridors of the GJB. And, the 11th Circuit JNC is also busy, really, really busy.

As you may recall, Governor Scott came a-calling for three Circuit Court Judges recently and he tapped Judges Dawn Denaro, Andrea Wolfson, and Renatha Francis, all of the County Court. That means the JNC needs three new County Court Judges and they aim to narrow the list on Thursday, August 9, 2018 when they will interview 26 candidates (out of the 31 that applied). Those being interviewed include:

9:00 Abreu, Milena (currently a candidate for judge)***
9:15 Bandin, Christine  ***
9:30 Barket, Michael (currently a candidate for judge)
9:45 Brown, Karl St. Hope  ***
10:00 Cabarga, Carmen R. 
10:15 Chamorro, Miguel J. 
10:30 Cuervo, Raul A.  ***
10:45 D’Arce, Madelin 
11:15 Delancy, Michelle  ***
11:30 Giordano Hansen, Marcia  ***
11:45 Gitchev Guerrero, Brenda  ***
12:00 Harris, Ayana  ***
12:15 Harris Nelson, Julie 
1:00 Heller Peter S. ***
1:15 Hillery, Kimberly C.
1:30 Janowitz, Scott ***
1:45 Jean, Lody ***
2:00 Kolokoff, Jeffrey M. ***
2:15 Meltz, Jonathan
2:45 Mena, Griska ***
3:00 Perez-Medina, Luis ***
3:15 Pracitto, Christopher (currently a candidate for judge) ***
3:30 Reboso, Manolo ***
3:45 Silver, Stephanie ***
4:00 Torrents Greenwood, Blanca ***
4:15 White, Gavin N. L

Fear not fellow barristers, for if you missed out on applying for one of these three openings, Judge Wendell Graham has announced his retirement after proudly serving for the past 24 years on the County Court bench. 
 
Wendell Graham began his career serving our community when he joined Janet Reno’s office in 1983. After spending five years there, he spent the next six years as a solo practitioner while also serving as a Traffic Magistrate and a Hearing Officer for the Dade County Public School system. In 1994, Governor Lawton Chiles tapped him to become a County Court Judge. Graham last won re-election in 2016 when he defeated Antonio Jimenez garnering 57% of the vote.

We want to take a moment to thank you Judge Graham for your service to the citizens of our community and to our great State of Florida. I’ve personally known Wendell for more than 30 years and he has always been so kind who all that ever came into contact with him. You never saw Judge Graham raise his voice to anyone appearing in his Court before him. He displayed the type of judicial demeanor we would hope for in all of our judges. I spoke recently to Judge Graham and he has indicated to me that his last day on the bench is scheduled for August 31st. He has decided to return to private practice. He tells me that "he is extremely excited about this opportunity".

Please take a moment and join me as we wish him well in his next chapter of serving our community.

APPLICATION DEADLINE AUGUST 10th .....

Those that would like to file an application with the JNC to replace Judge Graham have until tomorrow to get that done.

But wait, there’s one more open seat on the bench. As many of our readers will also recall, Judge Stephen Millan recently resigned his seat on the Circuit Court bench. The deadline to file an application to replace Judge Millan is also August 10th.

EARLY VOTING BEGINS ON MONDAY, AUGUST 13, 2018

Look for our post on Monday as we review the ballot for the eight contested Circuit and County Court races.

Also on Monday, Governor Scott versus The Florida Supreme Court - The Battle for the Fourth Circuit Bench

CAPTAIN OUT .......
Captain4Justice@gmail.com 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

PLEASE HELP PD DAYANA NOGAREDA

This is an email that went out. Please, please please....give. 

Folks,



As many of you know, a young APD, Dayana Nogareda has been diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma (an extremely aggressive brain cancer that is rarely found in someone as young as Dayana). She is one of the strongest people many of us know and I have not doubt that she is going to fight like hell. However, in order to get her the best treatment possible she is going to need financial support. If you can donate, please click on the link below. Also, please feel free to share the link on your social media or amongst other listservs.



Lastly, August 17th  and 18th there will be a performance put on by the Main Street Players theater in Miami Lakes. The piece being performed is written and directed by Robert Coppel and stars several of our defense attorney friends. The admission is free but we are asking for a suggested donation of $10. All proceeds will go to help pay for Dayana’s medical bills. (flyer attached)



Thanks for your support.

Email Ms. Delvalle at ddelvalle at pdmiami.com  for the flyer. 
DDelValle@pdmiami.com

Some people fight the power. And then the real world intrudes and we realize some people are fighting for their life.  Go fight Dayana! Fight...fight...fight..We are all in your corner. 
HR. 

Saturday, August 04, 2018

MOVIES THAT MAY GENUINELY TOUCH THE MIND OF THE CRIMINAL LAWYER




by Scott Saul


It's the summer. Relax and have some fun. I like examining the intersection of our profession with easily relatable pop culture.

The law and lawyers, as they are portrayed in the movies; blah, blah, blah; yada, yada, yada; been there/done that way too many times.  Creating a list that has legal stuff is soooo pedestrian (and boring).  Let’s be realistic, a computer can deftly round up that data based upon catch phrases.

How about movies that hit your bullseye? How about movies that create strong empathy?  Story-lines that infiltrate actual moments of your existence!   You’re watching them saying “Hey, that’s me! That’s my life!”

There’s been a number of legal flicks that may have the capacity to hit the South Florida lawyer practicing within the criminal justice system, right between the eyes. I am assuming that most of you are familiar with these films so many of my comments are presumptuous. Please keep in mind that I do not hold myself as being an expert at film, so this list is not offered as being exhaustive. While I’m no authority, I am a lover and purveyor of the arts so these lists flow as a form of passion and tribute. Contributions, elaborations, clarifications, criticisms and further insight are always welcome.  


1.  Paths of Glory- This Stanley Kubrick masterpiece is a war film (or rather an anti-war film). It’s the World War I tale of a fictional France and their participation in a no-win, catastrophic military maneuver that horribly falters. Of course, it failed since it could never succeed to begin with. In order to motivate the rest of the French army, a group of callous and apathetic generals decide to symbolically court martial and execute battle survivors from their previous suicide mission.

Kirk Douglas portrays the passionate “Colonel Dax” the survivors’ commanding officer and, before being in the military, an accomplished criminal defense attorney. Upon hearing of the ridiculous, sacrificial plan by the military brass, he tries to impose a concept of due process for his underlings only to learn, as the process unfolds, that it doesn’t matter what he says since the entire trial is a farce; it’s the epitome of a “kangaroo court”.

Colonel Dax:  

Gentleman of the court, there are times when I’m ashamed to be a member of the human race and this is one such occasion. It’s impossible for me to summarize the case for the defense since the court never allowed me a reasonable opportunity to present that case.

Sound familiar? Have you experienced such an exercise in futility? Would an apt, subsequent blog post be actual South Florida judges that deserve Col. Dax’s soliloquy?



2.To Kill a Mockingbird- This 1962 classic tells the very serious story about prejudice, false allegations and sorrow through the eyes of a young, naïve child. It also has Southern gentleman lawyer, “Atticus Finch” as the main protagonist. After Atticus loses a racially charged, trumped-up rape case, his client’s family and contemporaries give a standing ovation as Atticus dejectedly exits the rural, one room, court house.

The personal relevance of this film is twofold; 

1)               Atticus personifies, with his class, righteousness, tenacity and professionalism, what every trial lawyer should be and 

2)             With trying a case having the impact of being so
      emotionally and physically draining, it would nice to   
      get some recognition…even if you’re on the losing
      end.  Nobody, in criminal law, wins all the time. Is it a
      pipe dream to be applauded even in defeat?
  
    
3.  My Cousin Vinny – On its surface, this movie looks like a silly, inconsequential piece of comedy fluff. However, to the experienced lawyer there’s gold in them thar’ hills

With wonderful bits of cross-examination, addressing issues of discovery, courtroom etiquette (I know, the irony of ME commenting on the subject) and being home-towned, fish-out-of-water Brooklyn lawyer “Vincent Gambini” may be more relatable than some would like to admit to.

Of course, a highlight in the film (at least to the practicing attorney) is the defense's brief, yet marauding, opening statement,

            ” Everything that guy just said [referring to the prosecutor] is  
               bullshit! Thank you”. 


How many times, especially in federal court, would that be a fitting opening?

My Cousin Vinny may be somewhat cartoonish but it’s a lot more accurate than many other films (that take themselves way more seriously). With it in a continuous run on satellite television, unflappable and unimpeachable hair stylist Marisa Tomei, an automotive expert via familial osmosis, should stop most juris doctorate channel surfers right in their tracks.  


4. The Verdict – Paul Newman plays sole practioner "Frank Galvin", an over-the-hill, burnt out, personal injury attorney lawyer hard on his luck and waiting for the phone to ring.

Before being a lawyer, when I first viewed it, The Verdict seemed to be about second chances, redemption and not taking short cuts. Many years later, seeing it through an experienced attorney’s eyes, especially the beginning of the film, it plays like a gut-wrenching, starving-lawyer horror movie. With harsh themes of loyalty, a lawyer being out-resourced, and judicial bias, this film exemplifies the underdog lawyer taking on the establishment.

Practicing in Federal court anybody?



5.  The Paper Chase- The trials and tribulations of first year, Harvard law students is the theme of this uneven 70’s flick where a first-year law student romances his  professor's bionic daughter (if you grew up in the 70’s, you know what I mean). The love story pretty much stinks but the lecture hall and legal study scenes hit pretty close to home. 
     
    What is accurately depicted is the lack of glamour and cutthroat world an aspiring lawyer is voluntarily, but most likely unwittingly, stepping into.  

    How many of us could call previous law professors out on the carpet since they were so obviously (and pathetically) emulating John Houseman's iconic "Professor Kingsfield"?



6.   And Justice for All – Al Pacino plays criminal defense attorney “Arthur Kirkland.” The character is righteous but overaggressive. While other movies may portray a courthouse as being a noble, hall of justice, this film gives you the warts and all. This movie picks up on the day to day madness that only insiders would be all too familiar with.  Many of the characters are flawed, dishonest, deranged, devious or apathetic.

Could this movie be the inspiration behind the haunted house located at 201 SE 6th Street?



7.   Legally Blonde – I first watched this movie and hated it;   
      my bad, it’s because I didn’t get it.  Conversely, my
      beautiful and fashionable wife (a lawyer) loved
      it. In hindsight... my manliness blinded me, what a   
      Neanderthal I was.

  From the female perspective, Reese Witherspoon’s “Elle   
  Woods” epitomizes so many female lawyers’ experiences    
  of not getting the proper respect in a male-dominated  
  profession. Double standards, stereotypes, misogyny and
  antiquated arrogance are all examined in this
  comedy.  The tribulations of being a female lawyer are not   
  only examined, but the highly attractive, fashionable
  criminal defense lawyer (I think she was like a CLI)  overcomes the chauvinism, wins her case and is triumphant against the male establishment.   

What if a man had to dress and emulate a woman in order to flourish? Impossible to imagine huh?  Yea, now maybe from the “XY chromosome perspective” you can understand why Legally Blonde is extremely relevant.   



8.  12 Angry Men- What actually goes on in that jury room? Do you really want to know? Actually, you really should know.

Sure, we’ve sidled close trying to overhear deliberations within that off-limits arena yet, how a verdict takes shape is a complete mystery to most of us.  Once in a blue moon, a contemporary (or significant other of a contemporary) has actually been selected to a jury which should provide a treasure trove of insight to the smart, inquiring trial lawyer. However, to the vast majority of us, what goes on in that jury room may be an uncharted frontier that we have not even a clue as to what transpires. 

12 Angry Men is a movie that is entirely about the jury deliberation process and the roller coaster ride that the path to a verdict may take place.

Most importantly, the movie alludes to the cunning trial lawyer, how voir dire is, by far, the most important aspect of the trial. The cavalier cliché of “I’ll take the first six in the box” is absurd since personalities may completely shape the outcome of a trial.

In 12 Angry Men, what starts out as an obvious, no-brainer verdict dramatically morphs into an outcome 180 degrees from where it started. Backgrounds, employment, experiences, social and family statuses…yep, you better pay very careful attention to such variables since they may certainly shape where that verdict is going.

12 Angry Men also demonstrates how one hold-out juror can change the consciousness of the jury as well as the trajectory of the rest of the panel. Be careful, very careful of a strong personality on a panel for you may be playing with fire.



9.  Primal Fear- Richard Gere plays debonair, smarmy defense attorney Martin Vail, an arrogant lawyer who thinks he can beat any case…and usually does (real fictional huh? Wink, wink).  He then gets involved in a murder case where he is the one being manipulated. 

I can’t think of a movie that captures the ugliness of criminal law more accurately than this one. No matter what side of advocacy, prosecution or defense, there comes a time when a lawyer can become a pawn for the nefarious underpinnings for the side that you’re representing. Primal Fear captures the unnerving notion that you’ve been played.

Perhaps this movie is the antithesis of the nobility portrayed in Too Kill a Mockingbird?



10. The Rainmaker - All right, you’ve graduated law school  
      and now you are a member of the bar. So what?

  Matt Damon plays “Rudy Naylor” a green lawyer looking   
  to make his mark…and make a living. Danny DeVito plays  
  an illicit investigator/business generator/muckraker
  helping to hustle cases in exchange for a piece of the pie.
  This is what they neither teach you in law school nor
  working in the public sector…how to get business. 

  The Rainmaker epitomizes not really knowing what
  you’re doing and learning as you proceed. As a new  
  Assistant State Attorney or Assistant Public Defender,
  despite having an office full of mentors, you are thrown
  into a chaotic "sink or swim" scenario. Nobody will admit
  it until an exit from the office, but stuff falls through the
  cracks all of the time. In the defense bar, where the vast
  majority of the lawyers are sole practitioners, the odyssey
  of Rudy Naylor is neither a work of pure fiction nor a
  shoulder-shrugging aberration.




Have I missed some good and fitting movies? Of course I have. This is hardly any type of research project, this is me pulling from films that have settled into my cranial repertoire. Know of a movie (not a legal-themed movie but a legal-themed movie relateable to what goes on in our locale) that I've missed? Please add to this list. 



Wednesday, August 01, 2018

JOHN HOGAN HAS PASSED AWAY

He was Janet Reno’s chief assistant when she was the state attorney and he accompanied her to DC when she became the AG. John was roundly comsidered to be one of the finest trial attorneys in an office loaded with talent. While he is probably best remembered for his successful prosecution in the Officer William Lozano prosecution (he won the case against Roy Black only to have it overturned on appeal and Lozano was acquitted in a re-Trial in Orlando) we think that there are many other cases  that John handled just as well. We are sure many people have will post them. In our dealings with John we found him to not only be a worthy adversary but a very nice gentleman. 
His contributions to Miami during the turbulent time of the State Attorney’s Office cannot be overestimated.