Monday, January 23, 2006


Portia writes:

Oh God, all of this attention to my one little post is getting me so hot. I love the fact you guys are eyeing all the PD's trying to decide who I am. Rump...I will email you a picture. Your choice: legs that reach to the floor, or "they're real and they're spectacular." You can have one, not both, dirty boy.

Rumpole, wiping the sweat from our brow, responds:

Careful readers of the Rumpole Of The Bailey books know Portia as “the Portia of our Chambers” who Rumpole wrote about. She was the barrister wife of one of the other barristers in chambers. Portia later became a Judge in the series. We like a witty female who reads and writes.

Ace Herald scribe Oh Susannah Nesmith wants to know:

Don't MOST people's legs reach the floor? At least some of the time?

Anonymous has high hopes for Ms. Nesmith:

Hopefully the new Herald reporter will be better than that idiot, Trenton Daniel.

New Poll Fodder?

Anonymous has a few good points:

Anonymous is correct regarding the benefits of anonymity, and Portia's offer seems pretty fair, too. So, Rumpole, post two new polls: one about whether readers prefer anonymity over signing one's name, and another about whether readers prefer to see a picture of Portia's "legs that reach the floor" or "the real and spectacular" things, or both.

Rumpole agrees: .The Polls are back!!!! The old data has been saved, and there is a new poll on what picture Portia should send. Those of you who saw conspiracy theories in the absence of the Polls should relax. It was our computer incompetence and not anything else that made us take the polls down. Submit your ideas for a poll now. We will not post a poll on whether people should remain anonymous since being anonymous is part of the popularity of this blog. We just think you should be brave enough to post your name if you are attacking an attorney on a private issue or for a general allegation, like he doesn't comb his hair, etc.

The Benefits Of Anonymity:
Anonymous writes:

regarding Rumpy's line about being more likely to be believed if you leave your name - What about you Rumpy? Does that mean that we are not to believe anything you say?This whole thing about leaving your name or not is getting old too. Just because Grey, Reiff and Mr. T always write in as themselves does not mean they are any better than the rest of us anonymous persons.In fact, I find their insistence on using their names amounts to being a brown nose. I know Mr. T will say that he as a fellow blogger cannot be anonymous, [Rumpole notes, this is not true. When you leave a post, even if you are a fellow blogger, this blog gives you the chance to leave it anonymously.] and he may have a point. [R: He doesn’t.] But my point is that apart from the cheap shots which I do not condone either, there is nothing wrong with being anonymous, and I think for the sake of real justice it is better to be anonymous.

For example, have Grey, Reiff or Mr. T ever said anything controversial on here like these -”Why is it that the ex-defense attorneys - Ward & Jimenez - always make miserable judges?”

Or how about this one - Will someone please tell the judges that these new rules on motions for continuance are a complete and utter nonsense. I cannot understand why they insist on these motions being filed andheard before the sounding. Then what exactly is the purpose of having a sounding. I can understand in the courts with no soundings to have this policy, but in the courts with a sounding in place, please get rid of these stupid new rules. Also why are all these new judges setting status dates in addition to the sounding dates. Again isn't a sounding the same damn thing as a status conference as well. No wonder why the lines at the Justice building have been getting longer and longer with all these needless, pointless court dates. Anyway, the point is anonymity is a great thing for the blog so that real issues can be addressed.

Rumpole replies: Good post. Some evidence you suffer from ADD as you are all over the place, but you raise good topics.

On being Anonymous: You are correct we remain anonymous despite asking others not to, but we have self imposed guidelines. We do not just take cheap shots in posts at attorneys, as has been the case in the past with Reiff (Bad hockey player) and Tannebaum. Criticism of a public figure ( a judge or attorney on a case) can be posted anonymously. Personal cheap shots, or specific complaints about a particular case should be posted with a name.

Our guidelines are sort of like Justice Brennan’s definition of pornography “we know it when we see it.”

Here is an example- we will pick on Brian Tannebaum for a hypothetical:
Assume that Tannebaum in his position as president of the Miami Chapter of the FACDL made a statement like, “ the SAO should close the PTI program.” In that scenario, it would be acceptable to post an anonymous comment like “he’s a chucklehead” or some other of the type of highbrow intellectual comments we receive. It would OK to criticize Tannebaum for his public statement on a policy issue. But to just leave a gratuitous comment that he doesn’t try or win cases, without any evidence to support that, makes this blog just a forum for taking cheap shots, and we discourage that. Now if some person signed their name to a comment about any lawyer not trying or winning cases, then instead of it being an anonymous cheap shot, it would be a comment supported by at least a person’s name who by not remaining anonymous is saying: “here’s what I believe, try and disprove it if you can.”

We are not the media. But the attorneys and Judges in the REGJB have reputations that many of them have worked very hard to build, and we take that seriously.

On the sounding/ continuance issue, we agree with you 100%. Many judges now do not accept a defense motion for continuance at sounding. Yet the prosecution can move for a continuance at sounding. And those same Judges have JA’s that make it next to impossible to get a case on the calendar.

Robed readers: who in the name of bureaucratic incompetence came up with this bright idea that soundings are not for continuances? Former FEMA director Mike Brown? Former Broward County Elections supervisor Miriam Oliphant? Jack Abramoff? (You get the idea.)

What in the world are we going to a sounding for? Just to say Hi, “see you at trial next week? “

We know some of you were in private practice. Remember those days? Fighting for fees, chasing clients who bounce checks, swatting bondsmen and their hacks away from the new cases, and reading discovery, drafting motions, taking depos. Now we have to schedule additional hearings for a lousy continuance? And make a seperate trip to the courthouse just to pass Ms. Nesmith standing in line so we can chat at a sounding that now is senseless? Thanks so much. Your consideration is heartwarming.

See You in court, standing in a sounding line for no f'ing reason.


Anonymous said...

Rumpole before you post any new polls you should'nt you comment on the others that recently were taken down?

Anonymous said...

Rumpole: your moronic readers are going on to my law firm's web site, and filling out forms as you, asking me to check your driver's license. Tell them to stop it. Or at least be more imaginative than that.

Phil Reizenstein.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to know the identity of the ignoramous who wrote that Kathy Williams is too busy kissing up to the federal judiciary, to be state PD. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In the face of far greater pressure than Bennett ever felt at the state level to compromise zealous representation for politics, she has maintained for a relative greater length of time the highest standards of indigent defense: trials, zealous advocacy, and trials. There is a reason few state PDs are hired by the federal PD: 1) if you are scared to try cases you can't hide at the federal level (we won't name the failed state PD experiement who was asked politely to go back to her state PD job 2) you have to shave, bathe and know how to write (sorry Andy Stanton) and 3) you have to try cases. Kathy kisses no judical ass. quite to the contrary. (although that Shelby Highsmith is something else...)

the anonymous writer of that comment seems to be tasting sour grapes...

Anonymous said...

Amen to the last poster. The best trial lawyers in Miami are at the Federal PD's office or were trained there: Bergendahl, Srebnick, Markus, Mendez, Cahn, Barzee (when she tried cases), Rashkind, Caruso, and Kathy Williams herself. The list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

I've got to back up about 7 blogs to whoever wrote that comment about Judges Ward and Jimenez. They're easy to anger but anyone whose been on the receiving end of their tirades, if they're honest with themselves, should know that they probably had it coming. Most of the time, anyway. You all know the types who get ramrodded every time they come in the courthouse. Looking like a bad version of last night, blue jeans, maybe a tie with some sludge stains or worse all over their outfit, shuffling papers and stinking up the place. They're the same ones complaining about the prosecutors and pd's who work in the building every day. The problem isn't ever with where you've trained, and neither therein lies the answer; its whether you take pride in what you do and whether you're always wishing you were someplace else. If you're the latter, then other attorneys will always be smarter, other judges less neurotic.

Having said that, there is one judge whose eyes always seem ready to pop out of his/her face, which turns wildly red with furious anger for no apparent reason, whilst he/she consumes copious amounts of bottled water. For this problem, I have no advice.

Anonymous said...

The best trial lawyer's were trained at the Federal Public defender's office? Perhaps you have not heard of Jose Quinion, Roy Black,Jack Denaro, Ed Odonnell, Richard Sharpstien,Ed Carhart, Mark Siedin, H.T. Smith, Ed Shohat, James Hogan, Mel Black, etc. Were any of these people trained at the Fed P.D.?

Anonymous said...

Federal Public Defenders try cases? I thought they flip all their clients?

Anonymous said...

most lawyers mentioned in the last comment are in fact very good. some even practice in federal court. most actually worked at the state PD.

anyway, by naming lawyers over say 40 or 45 years old, the comment underscores what everyone knows: Bennett's office is soft. No one tries cases anymore like they used to. Last glory days of the office was probably mid-90's. Now it is populated by limousine liberals who talk a mean game and have lost sight of the great equalizer: the jury trial. The dignity afforded indigent clients in a system designed to take away their dignity, by announcing ready for trial and standing shoulder to shoulder proudly with your client, is something lost in the state PD's office. The dade PD's office more closely resembles the Broward PD's office now. Shame.

On the other hand, Kathy's office tries more cases IN THIS DISTRICT than in any other FEDERAL CIRCUIT anywhere in the country. And um, the odds are exponentially worse in federal court than in state court for an acquittal.

Anonymous said...

You have given up your ID but I will not call you out.
The problem with Dade PD is the administration-not the lawyers who labor there. I could list many talented and prolific atty's who have left the State PD's in the last 5 years. Four of them are doing very well today at the Fed PD. But they do not try as many cases as they did when they were practicing in State Court.
P.S. Your not serious with your list of the Best Of in Miami are you? I hope that was just a self promotion cover. Respeq

Anonymous said...

if you look the word up in the dictionary it's not even there.

Anonymous said...

Weighing in on the comments about the trial attitude at the PD's office. I'm a fairly new PD, in felonies for less than 6 mos. I can tell you that in the misdemeanor/juvenile level PD offices there is a lot of trial activity and a lot of pressure from the leadership of those offices to try cases. The trial numbers are high, and we're winning a ton of cases. And I think the office has done a very good job recently of bringing people into the office who want to try cases and who bring passion to the job. In felonies, I'm sure the trial stats are lower than in the mid 90s. Some of that might have to do with a "lazy" attitude, but I don't really see it. My guess is that a lot of it has to do with changes in sentencing that have occurred since the mid-90s. With mandatory guidelines and pretty much everyone habitualized, it becomes a lot tougher to try cases as opposed to negotiating around the min mans. I haven't been around long, like I said, but I don't think those guidelines and habitualizations were in place at the time the poster says were the glory days of the pd office.

Anonymous said...

After 6 years, PD's should be forced to leave. Term limits for Pd's. And don't give me this nonsense about older PD's helping out or showing the kids the ropes. Almosd uniformly, the older PD's want nothing to do with trials, or work at all.

Anonymous said...

Why not just privatize the whole thing. Most Sapd's do a better job, anyway. (Or just give Sy Gaer $40 per case.)