Sunday, March 26, 2006


Judges Larry and Caryn Schwartz wrote:

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

Judges David Young and Scott Bernstein wrote:

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

Judge Maxine Cohen Lando wrote:

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 wrote:

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

Brian Tannebaum wrote:

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.

The Captain wrote:

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.

A (former?) PD wrote:

Leyte-Vidal was a great guy and a great trial judge. Fair to both sides. Level headed. Listened to argument with no negative facialgestures.One quick story, back in the oldPD days, as was custom, we pickedfive or six of our best cases andfiled demands in Leyte-Vidal'sdivision. The judge who did nothave 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 ofthem, that stopped our routinepractice of filing demands on him.In the game of criminal law, he was a truly great player, and hewasn't even a criminal defense attorney.During those two weeks of trial, weall had a blast off the record andI truly came to like this honorableman.

Rest in Peace.

Pepe Herrera wrote:

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

Susan Nesmith , scribe from the Herald is seeking info on Judge Leyte-Vidal:

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. thanks

Susannah Nesmith-Miami Herald

Bobby Reiff wrote:

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).


susannah nesmith said...

Thanks to Mike Catalano and Judge Young who helped me reach the folks we needed.


Anonymous said...

Rump, why don't you post Judge Leyte-Vidal's posts on this blog?

Anonymous said...

leyte-vidal - he was the closest thing to the perfect judge. All judges should take a lesson from his reputation and how he got it - just by being nice, fair, tough- never moaned about going to trial, or was viewed as being "state" or "defense" oriented. If we had a building full of leyte-vidals, we'd have no judges with opposition - because he is what every lawyer and client and victim wants to see on the bench.

can't think of a single person who ever had anything negative to say about him.

Anonymous said...

"Moderation" sounds like some "1984"-ish term. If you want a pertinent famous quote re: moderation, why not go with Goldwater's? Today's the first time I read the blog in the last week b/c of your prior restraint rule. I hope you keep it a free-for-all, the fun part of the blog is not what Brian T., or anyone else has to say about "serious" issues, but just plain shit-talking. Go with the disclaimer at the top, and let it roll. Or, i'd bet you'll lose alot of bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Philly get your gun

Rumpole said...

In response to the post decrying moderation, you are in the minority, as most people did not stop reading the blog. We will post the stats on daily readers. If you read what was going on, all we were doing is stopping the one or two jerks who were posting totally inappropriate comments, like the lowlife, who is posting something nice about Judge Leyte_Vidal, tried to sneak in a comment about a female prosecutor. Totally inappropriate, especially since Judge Leyte-Vidal is no longer able to defend himself. As long as lowlifes like that want to read and post here, we need some control.

Brian T can post about serious issues, people can make fun of Phil R, people can pretty much do what they want. What we will not be a party to is people posting comments about a Judge or attorney's private life. Pretty simple rule.

Rumpole said...

Here are the stats as of Monday:

Total 19,706
Average Per Day 498
Average Visit Length 9:21
Last Hour 36
Today 248

Averaging 500 views a day (not people as we believe many tune in more than once) is not bad. Sorry to lose you, but we'd rather lose you than allow so jerk a free forum to libel someone.

Anonymous said...

Well said Rump

Judge Denis Pomponio said...

My name is Judge Dee Dee pomponio from Tampa. Iwas appointed to the bench on the same day as Henry. We became very close friends and because of Henry I have become good friends with many Dade Judges. I am writing this from a conference in Denver. I wanted to tell all my friends in Miami that my heart and prayers are with you and I wish I could be with you during this difficult time.
I truly loved Henry for the wonderful man he was and I know God put him in my life to teach how to live life to its fullest.

Anonymous said...

Judge Dee Dee,

Your name makes you lose credibility. If you plan to come to Miami, you should change it.


Jose Jose