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. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Monday, February 27, 2006

BEST JOB ON EARTH????

Our Favorite duplicitously named reader, Gayle Gayle, sends this missive about judges, elections, and Dade County: Due to the length of the post, we employee a favorite technique and respond inside brackets [ ] in the post.

Hi Rumpy- did you catch the latest Florida Bar News-Dade County Judges crying in their beer about people challenging them for their judgeships [you can be sure that any judge crying in their beer didn’t pick up the tab at the bar]

-allegations that they are being targeted based on ethnicity and/or race or the ability to raise money-the arrogance-who are they to say they are the only ones qualified to be a judge [umm… they are the judge, so they're the ones to say it. Everything they say is tinged with the wisdom of Solomon] -who gave them the life estate just because in some time past they either had the political connections to be appointed or were of the right ethnicity to win an election – [if a judge wants a lifetime appointment, move to Broward, where even Judge Aleman gets re-elected.]

how dare they be offended when someone else thinks that they too might be qualified to be a judge and therefore challenges them in an election[Listen Gayle Gayle- we like you, but lets face it. These people running for Judge aren’t necessarily qualified. They just are elect-able. And in truth, isn’t that always the reason someone runs for election? Sheesh, but If our name was Jane Schwartz-Hernandez, we’d probably run for Judge as well.]

yes the demographics of Dade County has changed-and yes an individual with a Hispanic surname has an advantage at the polls-but many of these sitting judges didn’t mind taking advantage of the demographics when they were in their favor years ago-[100% on the money with this zinger]

Judge Lando points out that if she puts in enough money in her account then she can deter someone from running against her-so by that logic money buys you a judgeship-[as Gomer Pyle used to say “surprise surprise surprise!!!]

well maybe ethnicity is the equalizer to money-why shouldn’t someone who doesn’t have the political connections or the money have a equal chance, at what former Judge Sorrondo characterizes as "the best job on earth"- being a judge-the problem could be solved with term limits for judges-two terms-twelve years-that’s enough time for someone to be on the bench-let other qualified people have a chance who as i have said before may not have the political connections to be appointed or the money to essentially buy a judgeship-the present judiciary would like to keep it a closed club -times are a changing rumpy -ta ta

Rumpole responds: It is human nature to try and close the door once you get in. Look, if we ponied up the 200 grand to run for Judge and won, we would be the first to support changing the system to merit retention.


As to Judge Sorrondo, we like him, we respect him, but we firmly believe the person who chooses the Playboy centerfolds each month has the best job on earth. Owning a Las Vegas casino ain’t that bad either.

This topic is always on people’s minds, but how much more can be said?


The fact is that its tough to make an honest buck as an attorney.

[Obligatory list of complaints to follow:]

Chasing clients for cash, swatting bondsmen away from hustling your clients to dirty attorneys is a constant headache; getting yelled at by JA’s (not judges but their assistants) when you try and schedule a hearing is demeaning. Waiting for 2 hours to see your client in the clean and comfy confines of the dade county jail (only to be told that “he’s escaped again” ) is not fun. Throw in support staff that needs constant monitoring, running a business, taxes, accountants, and who has time to read case law and try cases? Don’t forget the bar requires an immediate response to every disgruntled client’s bar complaint. (true story- one client filed a bar complaint, after a NOT GUILTY verdict because we didn’t return a phone call about getting his property back the following week quickly enough) and after 10 or 15 years of this hilarity and fun, sitting on the bench for several grand a month starts to seem attractive.

PLUS once you’re on the bench an amazing transformation occurs.

Amnesia.

History is re-written.

All of the sudden, you, as Judge, used to be the lawyer who tried more cases than Sy Gaer. You had clients beating your doors down. Every case had motions promptly filed, and you were ready for trial on the first trial date-every time. In the rare case that wasn’t tried (and won) within 30 days of being hired (when your large fee was paid in full) your motion for continuance was promptly filed, with copies served on every prosecutor and defense attorney within the 305 and 786 area codes. Plus, every motion had a full five page memorandum on the law in Florida, and cites to cases in the several nearby states, including wise commentary on how the supreme court would decide every case on its pending docket.

Yes, as we see it, the very best thing about becoming a Judge is what is does to your former career as an attorney. Becoming a Judge made you (as an attorney) the smartest, most prepared, hardest working, financially successful, trial lawyer who ever was.

Our concluding advice to our robed readers, is, that maybe Rudy Sorrondo was right. Being a judge is the best job on earth, or at least the best job in Miami’s legal community.


So Dear Robed Readers, buckle up, raise that moolah, and hire those political consultants, because every Tom, Dick, and Marisol is gunning for your job.

But if you do lose, just remember how great an attorney you were. Just recall all those lectures you gave from the bench about how easy it is to schedule motions for continuance on the Thursday before the Tuesday before the Monday following the sounding date. And just remember what it was like to have a Judge start trial at 4PM, and conduct voire dire till 10PM, and have you back in court the next day at 9:30.

See You In Court, doing what we love most.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

like rick margolious. according to him, he was one of the best atty's of the 20th century before he became a judge.

Anonymous said...

Rumpy, I don't think the 786 area code was in existence when anyone up for re-election was in private practice.

Fucking weakbirds said...

Margolious was one of the best judges of the 20th century.

Anonymous said...

you missed my point pissturd. he thought he was a great trial atty and told you so from the bench at every opportunity.
best judge of the century? sheeeet. if you wanted a plea he was but what if you liked to try cases? you are a pleabird so of course for you, he was a great judge.

Anonymous said...

I am not a "Pleabird" (unless I got paid up front, naturally), but I did hear Naft-tay was in your shit and the market couldn't bear the price, shit waxer!

Anonymous said...

"By obliging men to turn their attention to other affairs than their own, it rubs off that private selfishness which is the rust of society."

- de Tocqueville on jury service

Anonymous said...

shit waxer? thats great, corn hole

Anonymous said...

DARRIN MCGILLIS, Appellant(s)/Petitioner(s), vs. DANIEL NESS, ET AL., Appellee(s)/Respondent(s).

CASE NO.: 3D05-2339

COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, THIRD DISTRICT

923 So. 2d 1178; 2006 Fla. App. LEXIS 5161

January 24, 2006, Decided

NOTICE: [*1] DECISION WITHOUT PUBLISHED OPINION

PRIOR HISTORY: LOWER TRIBUNAL NO. 05-6983, 05-7087, 05-296 AP.

JUDGES: FLETCHER, SHEPHERD and ROTHENBERG, JJ., concur.

OPINION: Following review of the petition for writ of certiorari and the response and reply thereto, it is ordered that said petition is hereby denied.

Upon consideration of the motion for sanctions filed by respondent Benjamin Ness, it is ordered that said motion is granted and remanded to the trial court to fix amount.

Upon consideration, petitioner's request for sanctions against counsel is hereby denied.

FLETCHER, SHEPHERD and ROTHENBERG, JJ., concur.
And

DARRIN MCGILLIS, Appellant(s)/Petitioner(s), vs. BENJAMIN NESS, Appellee(s)/Respondent(s).


CASE NO.: 3D05-1230

COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, THIRD DISTRICT

910 So. 2d 274; 2005 Fla. App. LEXIS 15963


August 30, 2005, Decided

NOTICE: [*1] DECISION WITHOUT PUBLISHED OPINION

PRIOR HISTORY: LOWER TRIBUNAL NO. 05-14334. McGillis v. Ness, 903 So. 2d 198, 2005 Fla. App. LEXIS 10168 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist., 2005)


JUDGES: LEVY, C.J., and FLETCHER and CORTINAS, JJ., concur.

OPINION: Upon consideration of the emergency petition for writ of mandamus, it is ordered that said petition is hereby dismissed as moot. LEVY, C.J., and FLETCHER and CORTINAS, JJ., concur.

and
DARRIN MCGILLIS, Appellant(s)/Petitioner(s), vs. BENJAMIN NESS, Appellee(s)/Respondent(s).


CASE NO.: 3D05-1230

COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, THIRD DISTRICT

903 So. 2d 198; 2005 Fla. App. LEXIS 10168


June 15, 2005, Decided

NOTICE: [*1] DECISION WITHOUT PUBLISHED OPINION

SUBSEQUENT HISTORY: Writ dismissed by McGillis v. Ness, 2005 Fla. App. LEXIS 15963 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist., Aug. 30, 2005)


PRIOR HISTORY: LOWER TRIBUNAL NO. 05-14334.

OPINION: This Court's order dated June 14, 2005 is hereby vacated.

Anonymous said...

Florida Supreme Court Case Docket

Case Number: SC06-505 - Active
DARRIN MCGILLIS vs. DANIEL NESS, ET AL.
06/22/2006 06:46

Date Docketed Description Date Due Filed By Notes
03/15/2006 PETITION-MANDAMUS PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis FILED AS PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS AND/OR PETITION TO INVOKE ALL WRITS JURISDICTION AND TREATED AS A PETITION - MANDAMUS (O&7)
03/15/2006 APPENDIX PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis (O&7)
03/15/2006 MOTION-STAY (PROCEEDINGS BELOW) PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis GRANTED 03/31/2006
03/16/2006 LETTER PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis NOTIFYING COURT THAT THE FILING FEE WAS OMITTED FROM THE PETITION
03/23/2006 Filing Fee $300 2006 - 1003761 Amount: $300
03/23/2006 Fee Paid in Full
03/23/2006 DISP-ORIG PROC DISM NO JURIS (STALLWORTH) (VACATED-SEE ORDER DATED 03/27/06)
03/23/2006 LETTER PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis DATED 03/23/06 (COPY WITHOUT ATTACHMENTS) (NO CERT. OF SERVICE) (03/27/06, ORIGINAL FILED W/ATTACHMENTS)
03/27/2006 ORDER-CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE COMPLIANCE 04/06/2006 All pleadings filed in this Court must contain a Certificate of Service stating the names and addresses of those served and, if served on an attorney, the name of the party that attorney represents. See Fla. R. App. P. 9.420. Petitioner's letter dated March 23, 2006, was filed without a proper certificate of service. Petitioner is directed on or before April 6, 2006, to serve respondents with a copy of the letter and provide this Court with a proper Certificate of Service.
03/27/2006 ORDER-VACATE On the Court's own motion, the above case has been reinstated and this Court's order dated March 23, 2006, is hereby vacated. The Petition for Writ of Mandamus and/or Petition to Invoke All Writs Jurisdiction, Appendix, and Emergency Motion to Stay Order Granting §57.105 Sanctions have been submitted to the Court for consideration and determination.
03/28/2006 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE PS Darrin Mcgillis - FOR LETTER FILED 03/23/06 W/ATTACHMENTS
03/31/2006 ORDER-RESPONSE/REPLY REQUESTED Petitioner has filed a "Petition for Writ of Mandamus and/or Petition to Invoke All Writs Jurisdiction." Respondent is hereby requested to serve a response to the above-referenced petition on or before April 17, 2006. The petitioner may serve a reply on or before April 27, 2006. Petitioner's motion to stay is hereby granted.
04/13/2006 RESPONSE RS Daniel Ness BY: RS Daniel Loren Leyton 61824 TO ORDER DATED 03/31/2006, W/ATTACHMENTS (FILED AS "RESPONSE TO PETITIONER'S EMERGENCY MOTION TO STAY ORDER GRANTING § 57.105 SANCTIONS")
04/17/2006 MOTION-EXT OF TIME (RESPONSE) RS Daniel Ness BY: RS Daniel Loren Leyton 61824 FILED AS "RESPONDENT'S MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO SERVE RESPONSE TO PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS AND/OR PETITION TO INVOKE ALL WRITS JURISDICTION"
04/18/2006 REQUEST-ORAL ARGUMENT PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis O&1
04/18/2006 MOTION-STRIKE PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis FILED AS "MOTION TO STRIKE, RESPONSE TO MOTION TO STAY AS UNTIMELY FILED"; O&1
04/18/2006 RESPONSE PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis FILED AS "OBJECTION TO REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF TIME"; O&1
05/01/2006 RESPONSE RS Benjamin Ness BY: RS Daniel Loren Leyton 61824 (O&5) FILED AS "RESPONDENTS' RESPONSE TO PETITIONER, DARRIN MCGILLIS', PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS AND/OR PETITION TO INVOKE ALL WRITS JURISDICTION"
05/01/2006 APPENDIX RS Benjamin Ness BY: RS Daniel Loren Leyton 61824 (O&5) TO RESPONSE TO PETITIONER, DARRIN MCGILLIS', PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS AND/OR PETITION TO INVOKE ALL WRITS JURISDICTION
05/09/2006 ORDER-EXT OF TIME GR (RESPONSE) Respondent's Motion for Extension of Time to Serve Response to Petition for Writ of Mandamus and/or Petition to Invoke All Writs Jurisdiction is granted and respondent's response was filed with this Court on May 1, 2006.
05/11/2006 REPLY TO RESPONSE PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis TO ORDER DATED 03/31/2006 (O&7 & E-MAIL) (05/18/06: DCA CERTIFIED COPY FILED)
05/11/2006 APPENDIX PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis SUPPLEMENTAL (O&7) (05/18/06: DCA CERTIFIED COPY FILED)
05/16/2006 NOTICE-SUPPLEMENTAL AUTHORITY PS Darrin Mcgillis BY: PS Darrin Mcgillis (O&7)

Anonymous said...

MIAMI HERALD
Monday, June 12, 2006

BY SUSANNAH A. NESMITH
snesmith@MiamiHerald.com

COUNTY COURT -

'SUPER GLUE' CASE NOW TIED TO POLITICS

It all started with Super Glue in Darrin McGillis' lock.

Then came a small-claims suit, a countersuit, appellate briefs, Supreme Court arguments, motions upon motions upon motions, including some that McGillis acknowledges were deemed frivolous by the courts. By the time it was all over, and it actually isn't, really, the glue and the lock didn't matter anymore. The fight was about the technicalities of the law and what's fair and what's legal and what argument McGillis could think up to fight with.

Now the one-time concert promoter has taken his fight to the political arena, setting up a website to try to unseat the judge who first heard the Super Glue case.

Operationrestorejustice.com is causing a bit of a buzz in courthouse circles for its out-of-nowhere quality. The website reprints a Miami Herald article about the race between candidate Robin Faber and Judge Ivan Hernandez, and endorses Faber. Faber says he knows nothing about McGillis. Hernandez couldn't be reached.

The funny thing? McGillis, 39, of Miami says he won his suits. The man who he claimed put Super Glue in his door lock paid for it. And the domestic-violence suit that man filed against McGillis was dropped.

McGillis just thinks Hernandez should have awarded him money to cover the costs of the suits.

In the meantime, McGillis is vowing to update the website twice a day with news about the judicial races.

© 2006 MiamiHerald.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.miami.com

Anonymous said...

DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW

Justice System
Courthouse extortion claimed

March 1, 2006
By Julie Kay

Julie Kay can be reached at jkay@alm.com or at (954) 468-2622.

The Miami-Dade state attorney’s office has launched a criminal investigation into whether the judicial assistant to a Miami-Dade County Court judge extorted judges to get them to hire him as a campaign consultant.

According to sources close to the investigation, Richard Scruggs, special assistant for public corruption at the office, is looking into that charge as well as charges that Juan D’Arce, judicial assistant to Judge Ivan Hernandez, did private consulting work while on his judicial assistant job.

“Justice is not for sale in Miami-Dade County and our investigation into these allegations are intended to clearly prove that,” said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “The actions we are revealing appear to strike deeply at the heart of the justice system, and as prosecutors we can’t tolerate that.”

Griffith confirmed the investigation is under way but declined to discuss specifics.
Sources said prosecutors seized D’Arce’s computer as part of the investigation, which D’Arce denies.

Scruggs, who handled the Miami International Airport corruption case and investigations into former Miami City Commissioner Art Teele, did not return calls for comment.

Bob Levy, campaign consultant to a handful of judges up for re-election, said several of his judicial clients were called by D’Arce.

“He said if they didn’t hire him, he would run someone against them,” Levy said. “People feel in fear. This is extortion and intimidation.”

D’Arce, 34, acknowledged in an interview that he has worked for judicial candidates in past years, including Diane Ward, Judy Rubenstein, Peter Adrien, Gabriel Martin and Ivan Fernandez, and has set up a corporation to do political consulting, called Pericles. “It’s from Greek mythology — he invented the voting system,” D’Arce said.

But D’Arce insists that he has never contacted a judge, asked for money or done work while at the courthouse.

“This is a smear campaign,” he said. “Yeah, I dislike some judges and would like to see them out. But I have every right to do this on my own time. I get approached by people all the time.”

One candidate who recently hired D’Arce is Juan F. Gonzalez, who is running against County Court Judge Steven Leifman. Gonzalez said D’Arce “works with me, he’s helping me.”
Gonzalez is a former county traffic court officer who was fired by Judge Leifman two years ago because of what Leifman said were complaints about Gonzalez’s conduct in traffic court. Gonzalez said D’Arce is helping his campaign “on a volunteer basis, for now. But he only does work for me during off hours.”

Judge Leifman — who heads the county court’s traffic division and has won acclaim for founding and running Miami-Dade’s mental health court — said in an interview that it doesn’t matter whether D’Arce worked for Gonzalez on or off the government clock. Either way, he said, it’s unethical and “horribly offensive” for a judicial assistant to work as a campaign consultant.

“I don’t think any J.A. should be involved in political activity,” Leifman said. “The judiciary prides itself on being free of bias and impropriety. I think this would send the wrong message to the public, and I don’t think any judge would want to be associated with this.”

D’Arce said Monday that he “just found out” about the investigation. “In a way I’m honored by this,” he said. “I guess I must be a feared individual if so many people are talking about me. I’m a little immigrant boy from Nicaragua who should be a nobody.”

He said he only does political work on his own time, and only sometimes asks for pay. He said he is being targeted because many in the legal community believe he writes the anonymous blog, justicebuilding.blogspot, which he insists he does not.

D’Arce’s lawyer, Henry Ferro of Ocala, said the allegations were the work of “bailiffs and judicial assistants who do nothing but gossip eight hours a day. They have a lot of time on their hands.”

Ferro speculated that someone in Judge Leifman’s campaign used influence with the state attorney’s office to get an investigation started. He said it is racial and ethnic politics “interfering with the courthouse.”

Linda Pearson, general counsel for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, declined to say whether it is unethical or a violation of court policy for J.A.s to moonlight as judicial campaign consultants.

“If you work for the court system, you can do whatever you want once you leave the office and turn your computer off,” she said. “But you can’t use your position in the courts to further your own personal agenda.”

For his part, Judge Ivan Hernandez, for whom D’Arce works, said he has no problem with D’Arce working for political candidates on his own time “as long as he doesn’t use my office. And he hasn’t.”

“I don’t think it’s against the law,” Hernandez said. “He has a constitutional right … to freedom of speech.”

Gonzalez filed to run against Leifman two weeks ago. The qualifying period for the election is May 8-12, the primary is Sept. 5, and the general election is Nov. 7.

Gonzalez approached D’Arce to help on his campaign before filing to run. He said he chose to take on Leifman, his former boss, because “not everyone is satisfied with the job he is doing.”

Leifman received the highest rating of any county court judge in the 2005 Dade County Bar Association poll of lawyers. More than 53 percent of those responding rated Leifman as “exceptionally qualified.”

Other observers said Gonzalez is running to retaliate against the man who fired him.

Gonzalez denied he is running against Leifman to seek vengeance. “This is not about that,” he said. “If I was running against a woman, you’d ask me why I’m running against a woman. If I was running against a Haitian, you’d ask me why I’m running against a Haitian. He is an honorable individual who is doing a good job, and I consider him a friend.”

Leifman said he fired Gonzalez after 11 years as a hearing officer because he displayed “inappropriate demeanor and incompetence.” According to Leifman, Gonzalez “was getting up on the bench and yelling at people about the Holy Trinity. He would yell at lawyers. We have a file of 12 to 15 complaints.”

Gonzalez said he was never told why his commission as a hearing officer “was not renewed” and said he does not remember whether he mentioned the Holy Trinity. “I had one-and-a-half million to 3 million cases in 11 years,” he said.

One lawyer, who practices in traffic court, said Gonzalez generally was a fair traffic court hearing officer but was known for having “attitude in the afternoon.” The lawyer said that if Gonzalez “didn’t have his colada [Cuban coffee], you didn’t want to appear before him.”

But there may be another factor in Gonzalez’s decision to target Leifman. Many Miami-Dade judicial hopefuls see non-Hispanic male judges such as Leifman as increasingly vulnerable in elections in the heavily Hispanic county. In recent elections, several white and black male judges were defeated by Hispanic candidates.

Brian Tannebaum, a Miami attorney and president of the Miami chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, called the situation involving D’Arce and Gonzalez “ethnic politics at its worst.”

“I believe these guys targeted Leifman because he’s beatable, not because he’s not qualified,” Tannebaum said. “It’s a despicable situation.”

Julie Kay can be reached at jkay@alm.com or at (954) 468-2622.

Correction
The name of Linda Kearson, general counsel for the 11th Judicial Circuit, was misspelled The Review regrets the error.

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