From Today's DBR: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. ...
Sources said prosecutors seized D’Arce’s computer as part of the investigation, which D’Arce denies. ...
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.” ... 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. ...
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.”
Rumpole replies: We watched with detached bemusement as this story hit the blog and message boards. But for this two bit political wannabe to try and say that anybody would think D’Arce has the ability to write this blog….which if nothing else is written by an attorney with at least a modicum of intelligence and wit…well that really frosts our ass a little bit.
We may not be much more than a Justice Building Hack, but we like to think this blog has, at least at times, exhibited some nice writing, some funny lines, and some thoughtful comments on important issues like civil rights, the death penalty (which admittedly have bored readers to tears ) and Rory Stein’s snack habits. For this self important JA to allege that anyone would think he would have the inclination, imagination, and mental acuity to write some of the pieces we have written, well, we hope he gets what’s coming to him.
D’Arce appears to be living in somewhat of a fantasy world, believing he is a mover, shaker, intimidator of Judges, and sought after political consultant. Only someone living in a fantasy world would believe for one moment that the stuff we print here is important enough to merit an investigation. (Although we have kept a wary eye out for former Judge Milian because of our comments that her husband sought to become a judge just to be able to order her around.) But outside of her, we are under no illusions that our humble little blog serves any greater purpose than to allow some members of the Miami criminal legal community to discuss the issues in our little world [ and to allow free political advertisement for Judge Shelly Schwartz. But we love Shelly, so we post his stuff even though we know what he’s up to. ]
In summary, we cherish our anonymity, but if someone is going to try and take credit for our blog, we’d rather it be Roy Black or Stephen Hawkings, not some dimwitted dofus.See You In Court.