Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Ferrer’s follies generated these comments:

Amen to that last post. That former jumped-up security guard, cop wanna be was a tool.

Rumpole notes that former Judge Ferrer was not a cop wanna be but a cop has-been.

A trial lawyer writes:

I tried a murder case before Ferrer when I was a APD. No question he is a law and order type but he let us try our case and the man knows the law.

A reader chuckles:

LOL. Ferrer was only nasty to folks who deserved it. If you made a stupid argument, didn't bother to do your research, misrepresented your case and wasted everyone's time (which many of our colleagues do), he gave you what you deserved.

And finally:

Ferrer was a good judge, its just that he has that same "I'm smarter than any lawyer in front of me" attitude that Emas has. Call it arrogance or simply call it having a black robe.

Jason Grey has his fans:

That Jason Grey shit was right on point. Tight work homey!

As usual, Jason pulled no punches....Keep on slugging.

On the face of the judiciary, readers wrote in:

“If you can’t beat em, join em” writes:

the judiciary should resemble the population. white non hispanics are the minority in this county and our course is slowly running with regard to election races. how do you think the minorities felt down here for decades being judged by white men who could not speak their language? it's alright by me.

Rumpole replies: Ay Que Rico.

“Tawanya Goldstein-Lopez” writes:

If the judiciary resembled the populace, the average judge would have an IQ of 100 and a high-school education. But then that's not what you meant? You meant...the judiciary should bear superficial resemblence to the populace? Of course, I've always had a hard time picking out Cubans from a line-up. Better be safe and just vote by surname. It's easier than reflecting on background, and you can do it at the polling place.

Rumpole replies: Oy-vey, homey.

Yehudah Estevez-Dupuis writes:

Agreed. Resemblence beats competency hands down

A reader notes:

Today's County Court judge might be tomorrow's Circuit Court judge. Even if that weren't the case, hasn't this blog spent an enormous amount of time (and space) talking about DUI cases/litigation and the judges that handle those cases...and the lawyers that litigate those cases? Aren't individuals' liberty and rights and the litigation of those cases important ?

Rumpole replies: We go where our readers take us. We posted comments on the death penalty, and sentencing and were rewarded with yawns and one of our favorite erudite readers who always posts “zzzzzz…..”. We keep trying to steer the conversation towards serious problems and the readers steer us back to County Court, Tannebaum/Reiff, and Portia’s assets.
Coming soon: we post Professor Dershowtiz’s “RULES OF THE JUSTICE GAME” and eagerly await comments.

Anonymous writes:

the governor's recent judicial appointments show that it is not that important who sits on the bench, as long as they fit an ethnic profile or have done a great thing for the republican party. This goes for the elected ones also. The days of an experienced, successful lawyer ascending to the bench after a great career ended with the election of Stan Blake.Now it's just mediocre lawyers with attractive last names looking for a pay raise.

Anonymous joins in:

Judges know attorneys don't have the judge's interests at heart. At each turn, the prosecution and defense are trying to convince the judge to rule thusly. And at each turn the judge knows someone, perhaps in good-faith, is trying to pull a fast-one. That's simply how our system of justice works. But it has consequences in that judges have, essentially, an adverse relationship with those practicing in front of them. The prosecution and the defense view each other as adversaries. The judge looks at both and wonders which one will screw him over for the sake of his/her client.Is it any surprise that a judge's attitude toward those who practice in front of him would have an edge to it?

Rumpole replies: Prosecutors have a higher duty than winning, Justice. And Justice is obtainable if everyone knows that a defense attorney will fight as hard as ethically possible for their client. That does not mean pulling the wool down over a Judge’s eyes at every opportunity. Any prosecutor caught trying to pull a fast one should be disbarred and then jailed. It strikes at the very heart of our system.

Jason Grey writes:

I don't care If a judge is Black, white, brown, blue, green, or polka dottedand I don't think the public cares either. Ask a Jewish defendant if she feels she will catch a break just because her judge is named Goldstein. Or ask a black defendant if It helps that the police officer who arrested him and the judge who will try him are black. The answers shouldn't surprise you. Judges don't judge by race they judge by the law, and the Life experiences they bring with them. What we need are Judges who are , well,Judgey. They need to have been around long enough to know bullshit when they see it, and have that air of wisdom and confidence that only comes after many years of seasoning. How do you think it seems to the 55 year old parents of a 25 year old defendant when A person barely 30 years old sits in judgment and doesn't seem too sure about what they are doing. Its all about the perception of Justice. Judges need the stuff to make hard unpopular decisions. I'm not saying young lawyers can't make great judges,they can, and do ,but they have to be special. The problem is that voters don't know anything about the candidates, they are throwing darts. and the appointment process is all politics.

Rumpole querries: "Judgey"??? But you seem to have put your finger on it. What ever their race or sex, the issue is experience and ability. We know of several judges who won election and NEVER TRIED A CASE. That is a travesty.

A reader writes with a well taken criticism:

I agree that many of the recent appointees were appointed for political reasons. But disagree that Judge B. Miller fits into this category. She is more than qualified. We need more like her. It's a shame that when a deserving person obtains a prestigious position, some people will claim it's because he or she was Black/Hispanic/Jewish/Female, etc. That is totally unfair to the people who deserve what they get and just happen to be minorities. You want to slam the recent appointees----fine. Some deserve it. But don't paint everyone with the same brush. PS----Dragging religion into this by suggesting that "white Jewish males" (as opposed to "white non-Jewish males") have a problem with recent appointments is inappropriate and ridiculous. You really think all white Jewish males (and only white Jewish males) are concerned about what's happening? Besides, the comment is an insult to the many Jews who have repeatedly supported other minorities

Rumpole replies: It was with trepidation that we used the term “Jewish males”. However, in light of the fact that two Jewish male Judges currently have opposition from two Hispanic females, we felt it was appropriate under the circumstances. But your comments are wise and well put. We note however, that what we wanted our comments to convey was not our opposition to the current face of the judiciary, just the comments that people are making about what is happening.

We voiced a weak approval for the way things are heading. We applaud a diverse Judiciary, we just do not like the qualifications of many people- of all races- who are becoming judges.

In the final analysis, Jason Grey had it right when he commented on the age/experience gap as the real issue.

A wise reader writes:

Pluralism on the bench is a goal of our populist era state constitution that has been subverted by the politics of the Bar. Almost the whole bench are people who paid their dues and became too accustomed to the realities of the dropsie case. The exception is Judge Newman who the old timers despise because he did not pay his dues and does not flatter them. But on the other hand if the communities of Miami had their true druthers I’m afraid judges with Newman’s Bill Cosby type attitude toward ‘those other people who can’t raise their kids’ would rule. Does it take an enlightened despot like Kreiger-Martin to protect the accused?

Rumpole morns: Pluralism- we hate it when a reader uses the word we should have used. It shakes our confidence, strikes at our ego, and wounds our self esteem. Nice Post.

See You In Court Not Watching Howard Rosen in trial. Inside Joke.


Anonymous said...

One other benefit of anonymity...........agreeing with people you would never agree with. I wonder if you would be so complimentary about my comments if you knew who I was! LOL

Anonymous said...

The chief benefit to pluralism of experience on the bench would be in the determination of credibility. The trial judge’s determination of credibility is basically unreviewable; that determination is their main job. But judges who understand the importance of docket control know that law enforcement personnel credibility is the glue that holds the process together. In the communities of Miami there is widespread skepticism in the integrity of law enforcement. This creates the rift between judges and juries in the building. If judicial elections created pluralism on the bench that rift would not exist.

Credibility in domestic cases is another example. Judges abdicate on wading into these families’ inner lives and play it safe by believing the women. This is not to say that domestic violence does not exist. But its well known that a very high number of complaining witnesses willing to go forward with a prosecution have an alternate agenda. Like the rap group Yong Gunz said, “no no, don’t make me the bad one/ then negotiate when the man with the badge comes.” These are perhaps the most difficult credibility determinations to make. And I feel like there is a judge-jury rift there too.

Thanks for the encouragement Rump- it helps to salve my disappointment over never making law review!

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Anonymous said...

jason, right on about young judges who are as afraid to make decisions as they are of their own shadow. they stammer and hesitate on every decision because they're not comfortable in their position, just looking for a bigger paycheck. I'VE NEVER TRIED A CRIMINAL CASE, BUT I'LL DENY YOUR MOTION WITHOUT EVEN UNDERSTANDING IT. right???

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