Sunday, March 26, 2006



Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal has passed away. He died during the night while at Mt. Sinai hospital on Miami Beach. He was operated earlier this week for cancer. He has previously battled a brain tumor, skin cancer and I believe lung cancer. Henry came out of the operation OK but complained of some pain on Friday. The doctors were going to go back in but couldn't since he had low blood pressure (Could've been high, he suffered from one of these two) Since the doctors were unable to stabilize his blood pressure, they were unable to go back in. He then suffered cardiac arrest. and was placed back in ICU. This was all yesterday. Last night, He seemed to have stabilized when he died. Peter Heller just called me so I am passing it on to you. Peter was very close to Henry. They coached Little League together and Peter was with his son Danny throughout the day. Danny is 14 yrs old. He is also survived by two older sons Alex and Henrique or Enrique from an earlier marriage.
Pray for them.


Rumpole says moderation has been turned off so people can immediately post their thoughts and memories of this fine man.


Ari Mendelson said...

I send my heartfelt condolences to the family of the Judge. May they be comforted for his loss.

The legal community of Miami will greatly miss Judge Leyte Vidal.

Anonymous said...

I loved the guy. One of the coolest people I knew. I will miss you very much old buddy.

Anonymous said...

If you knew him then all you can do right now is cry.

Anonymous said...

The man lived his life to the fullest.
By far and away the best guy on the bench.
A real guys guy.
Loved his three boys more then his own life.

Anonymous said...

As they say, only the good die young. Yet, the old, bitter, lazy Judges live on. Life is not fair.

Anonymous said...

This is awful news indeed. Judge Leyte-Vidal was one of the finest judges around. He was not a "rubber stamp" judge on generic motions. I will truly miss him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

brian tannebaum said...

One of the best judges and people I've ever known.

Anonymous said...

Life is a magnificent book with a poorly written last chapter. What a cool cat Henry was. Loved his sons, the ladies, the drink and life! RIP brother.

JudgeLarryS said...

We are stunned, saddened and in disbelief about this horrific news this morning. We will miss our friend, his warmth, his smile and his incredible sense of humor. this community has lost another special person.
Caryn and Larry Schwartz

Pepe Herrera said...

My sincerest condolences to the family of Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Henry’s passing is a great loss for our entire community, not only the legal community. His humanity was ever present, and spoke volumes of his character. All who appeared before him got true justice - a fair playing field, underscored by his patience and tempered by his benevolence. This community has indeed lost a good man, a true Jurist, and I have lost a friend. - Pepe Herrera

Scott Bernstein and David Young said...

We have lost not only a colleague but a friend. Henry embodied the yiddish term 'mench'. Our thoughts, prayers and love go out to his family. Rest in Peace dear Henry.

RaymondBurr said...

we have lost a fair and honorable judge. he was a man of kindness and concern on an off the bench.

hopefully the guv will make a smart call here.

Rick Hermida said...

Great no-nonsense guy. Gave my client a probation bond against all odds. Listened carefully to argument...from both sides.

Anonymous said...

Leyte-Vidal was a great guy and a great trial judge. Fair to both sides. Level headed. Listened to argument with no negative facial

One quick story, back in the old
PD days, as was custom, we picked
five or six of our best cases and
filed demands in Leyte-Vidal's
division. The judge who did not
have a problem going to trial anyway, proceeded to deny our subsequent motions for continuances on our other non-demand cases.

We ended up trying four cases in two weeks on the non-demands cases,
and even though we won all four of
them, that stopped our routine
practice of filing demands on him.

In the game of criminal law, he was a truly great player, and he
wasn't even a criminal defense attorney.

During those two weeks of trial, we
all had a blast off the record and
I truly came to like this honorable

Rest in Peace.

The Snitch

Anonymous said...

That is terrible news. Does anybody know how he was?

Anonymous said...

I meant to say does anybody know how old he was?

Anonymous said...

rump, you suck

CAPTAIN said...


Judge Leyte-Vidal received his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami in 1977 and earned his JD at UM in 1980.

He was in private practice until August of 1999 when Gov. Bush appointed him to the County Court.

Interestingly, he was Gov. Bush's first Dade County Court appointment as Governor. Gov. Bush had taken office in January of 1999, and in April of 1999, he made his first Circuit Court appointment, (the People's Court Judge Marilyn Milian) which opened up a County Court seat ... which Judge Leyte-Vidal was appointed to.

In November of 2001, Gov. Bush elevated Judge Leyte-Vidal to a new Circuit Court Seat. He had been in the Criminal Division up until January when he was reassigned to the General Jurisdiction Division of the Circuit Court.

On a personal note, he was a wonderful man, kind, personable and warm and he was an excellent judge, fair as the day is long. He will truly be missed.

Anonymous said...

when i left government service in 1978, i tried my first civil case in front of judge sam silver. henry was judge silver's baliff.that was when we first met. i have followed henry's career as a lawyer, and later he followed in judge silver's footsteps and became a fine judge. i was in front of henry recently and noticed that he kept his baliff badge on his desk. i thought that was pretty neat. i am shocked at his untimely death in that he looked to be in great health at the motion calendar. he even arranged to claim judge silver's old courtroom and chambers on the 11th floor. we have lost a fine judge and gentleman. my thoughts go out to his family and friends.

Judge Maxine Cohen Lando said...

I will miss our dear colleague, Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal. His untimely passing affects us all. He was a gentleman, sweet natured, a wonderful soul who always had a good word for whomever he encountered. He was comfortable in any courtroom, well versed and well prepared. He was one of the Circuit's finest judges, and his loss is a shock. My prayers are with his family.

Jason Grey said...

When I first left the PD's office I rented space from Henry on coral way.He was then, and always a true Gentleman. A Great judge. A friend. One tough guy.Took on cancer without blinking, and was back to work in no time. Much Too soon to lose you.
vaya con Dios.

Anonymous said...

I did not know Henry until I had to appear before him when he started as a County Court Judge.

He was instantly my friend and a very quickly became a very respected and liked judge.

That is very sad news.

I hope his family reads this Blog so they can know how much everyone who worked with him will miss Henry.

Mike Catalano

susannah nesmith said...

I'm sorry to use the blog this way, but I'm working on Judge Leyte-Vidal's obituary and I'd like to make it as representative of his life as possible. Does anyone have a way to contact Peter Heller? Can you ask him to call me at 305-772-4380. His service has declined to relay a message. Also, I'm trying to reach Judge Izzy Reyes and any other judges or attorneys who were close to Judge Leyte-Vidal.
Again, I'm sorry go about it this way, but I'm still pretty new on the beat and I don't want my still-slim rolodex to mean his obituary is less than his family would want.

Susannah Nesmith
Miami Herald

brian tannebaum said...

I just wanted to add something about a recent 2 week trial in October I had in front of Judge Leyte-Vidal.

He was a true vision of the perfect trial judge - he called balls and strikes, and when dicussions were had about "finishing early" one day, or "starting late" another day, his attitude to both sides was "whatever you guys want."

At sentencing, he said something I will never forget. As in every case, we asked for much less prison time than the state.

As both sides were debating the term of years the defendant was going to get, Judge Leyte-Vidal said: "Look, I think a year in jail is a long time."

It was nice to hear that in a felony courtroom.

Bobby Reiff said...

Henry was a tremendous guy and a wonderful judge. He was always pleasant and kind and he had that rare quality as a judge to be able to leave all of the participants in the proceedings before him smiling. He'll be missed (and he leaves some big shoes to fill).

Anonymous said...

Though I am new to the judicial system in Miami-Dade County, Judge Leyte Vidal is the author of the best experience I have had in the system. About ten months ago, Judge Leyte-Vidal handled weekend bond hearing. I had a client at that hearing where a Nebbia requirement was added to his bond. During the hearing we were able to produce for the ASA in court the documents to justify the providence of the bondsman's fees. Judge Leyte-Vidal entertained our proffer and the Nebbia was deemed satisfied. Judge Leyte-Vidal announced in court to corrections that the Nebbia was satisfied and that the defendant should be allowed to be released. We thought all was done. Not so. Corrections had failed to note on the defendant's jail card that the Nebbia had been resolved and was holding the defendant no bond. I paged Judge Leyte-Vidal and he responded. He graciously offered me the opportunity to drive to his homee and he would sign the Order corrections was demanding for the jail card to be fixed. I went to his house, met his children and he signed the Order and the problem was solved. I will never ever forget this act by Judge Leyte-Vidal. I hope his family is aware of the truely special place this small act of kindness has in my heart forever.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know he had been a baliff. What a great story!

Anonymous said...

Please don't let me die this year. I dont want Brian Tannebaum pretending like he knows in the Herald.

Anonymous said...

ditto, words cannot discribe henry!

Anonymous said...

he was the greatest guy ever.

Anonymous said...

Brian Tannebaum, can't you just go away for a little while? You weren't real friends with Leyte-Vidal. Why did you feel the need to quote to the Herald (or here in the blog)? Why not refer them to someone you did know the guy? Or, just don't offer a comment out of respect for the fact that you didn't really know him? Self-promotion never stops in your world. Disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

Henry Leyte-Vidal may serve as a roll model for all.Little else need be said.
Judge Leyte-Vidal was appointed to the County Court bench in 1999.A few short years later he was appointd to the Circuit Court by the Office of the Govenor where he has served with distinction.He was a strong judge and had full control of his courtroom.By all accounts he had a firm grasp of the law and proceedure;yet had understanding and compassion when needed for all those appearing in court.
Henry Leyte-Vidal was a husband and father and by all accounts was terrific at both.His children and wife will sorely miss him,and although life must end it is hoped the family in time will continue with the love they felt for Henry thru their most cherished memories of this fine man.
Linda and Shelly

Anonymous said...

shelly your a pud.

Anonymous said...

Two losses from the bench in the last few months: Manny Crespo and Henry Leyte-Vidal. Two very different personalities on the bench, but both were very good men and a pleasure to practice in front of. They will both be missed.

Anonymous said...

A sad state of affairs when people like Shelly and Tannenbaum post tributes to a wonderful man and get needled by a classless jerk who can't even let them mourn without comment.

Anonymous, the pud is you.

Anonymous said...

Though this is not a right time to do this, and I ask Judge Leyte-Vidal for his forgiveness as he rests, Brian T, stop your self-promotion. You are not the only criminal defense attorney in Miami, nor are you a spokesman for anyone of us as individuals or as a group, for that fact, neither am I, but please stop. You are really a bore.

Anonymous said...

Henry just wants his kids to be o.k

Anonymous said...

"Though this is not a right time to do this....." You're right. It's not. So stfu and stop the BT hating.

Anonymous said...

seriously dude- did BT do something we all dont know about? seems like he's pretty involved in defense bar stuff. DId he come to someone's house on a sunday?