Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Like a bad virus, it had its beginnings with a small insidious event. A Circuit Court Judge of little acclaim (at the time) one Joe Farina, managing a medium sized calendar in our fair building, circa 1989, decided to institute a weekly sounding for his upcoming calendar.

Like a virus, it has spread, feeding off the host (us lawyers).
It has turned into the bane of our existence.
An endless exercise in standing in lines, getting little done, and having client’s getting warrants for no reason.

We are speaking of soundings.


This is a no-brainer. This ship has sunk. Soundings in Circuit Court work as well as the Dolphin Offensive line.

We can see no real advantage to the felony sounding system. Prosecutor’s witnesses on the Monday trial date are already on stand-by, and with very little discretion, no deals are offered at sounding that cannot be had at trial. Truth be told, the best deals come right before trial, if they are coming at all.

In exchange for this exercise in futility, what do we get in return? 1) The prosecutors spend valuable time and energy in the middle of the week getting ready for an enormous calendar. 2) The Judge has to take time away from their regular calendar, and from hearing evidentiary motions, and trying cases.
3) Defense attorneys stand in long lines for nothing.

And to top it all off, a certain percentage of clients who have not really absconded miss the blasted court hearing and get an AC. Then the defense attorney has to call the client. Then they have to write a motion saying the client missed the sounding inadvertently. Then they have to call the JA (available to answer the phone only on odd number days, and then only between 1:18 and 1:22 pm) and set the motion (“Is Friday March 13, 2007 at 4:30 pm convenient for you counsel?”) And then the case gets back on the merry-go-round only to have it happen all over again.


Things are not so bad down here.
There is an identifiable reason for having the soundings: to avoid paying over-time for police officers to show up in court for cases that will plead out.

The County Court Judges have wisely allowed clients to sign a waiver and not require their appearance in court, drastically cutting down on the needless warrants and cycle of filing motions to set aside the warrant. However their Circuit brethren (motto: “If we have to be here, you have to be here.”) have not seen the wisdom of their misdemeanor savvy colleagues.

It also seems that a significant number of pro se cases are settled at soundings, and many cases that are not ready are continued, making Mondays in County Court pleasant, if now a bit downright lonely.

However, to achieve this, we still have the endless lines on Wednesdays. It can’t be pleasant for an unrepresented defendant to appear in court for a 9:00 am sounding calendar, and sit through a seemingly endless line of attorneys calling their 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, and 11:00 am cases.
There must be a better way.

Any ideas?

See You in court, standing in line.


Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does everyone else hear the crickets?

Anonymous said...

dude, as defense attorneys our jobs are pretty much easy as fuck, soundings are just another few hours to kick it in line with our buds and be glad we arent punchin a clock and laying asphapt.

I am a DORK Glenn Garvin said...

This grizzly adams OLD dork who spent most of his life covering Nicaragua, now lands a job at the Herald as "Glenn Garvin" TELEVISION CRITIC .

Has no backgroud except sitting on his dorky ass watching TV and dorking comment that he may be father of baby from Friends TV show.

click here


So get this I send a e-mail by accident to this idiot and he sends e-mail say Herald lawyers will shut me down if he gets another e-mail from me.

I respond saying "hey dick head" e-mail was not meant for you. Gosh I hope the Herald legal team has better things to do. What a complete ass. Who is hired this dick head?

Anonymous said...

Rump...You asked for comments, so here it goes: The main point is to see who is ready for trial. It is supposed to provide a trial list so everyone knows what is ready and going to trial. I agree with you about the laborious part of standing in line. Some of the robed ones are better at moving the line than others. But it's suppose to accomplish the following: set a priority of cases for a trial list; allow someone to ask for a legitimate continuance without having the case already prepped, having the continuance granted and getting that information in advance of the actual trial date; allow someone to say that their third cousin on their wife's side of the family is visiting for the first time in three weeks so they can't try the case which is on its 10th continuance, and having the judge deny it and respond that the case is going to trial in ten days. I'm getting older, but my recollection is that when soundings first started, they were about four days before the trial date (including the weekend). Now most courts have them 10 to 12 days out. At least that gives time for that one last piece of discovery to be produced or excluded, or those two depos to be taken. It should (with decent judges) allow them to say to the state: "No more continuances". Place that victim who hasn't shown up in one year for depo on mandatory trial subpoena and if they aren't in court, start waiving bye to the case. Those are my humble thoughts at this hour. Of course the caffine is just kicking in, so I might have to re-think it. I still agree with you about the long line, though. See you in line.....

brian tannebaum said...

The rule of criminal procedure covering waivers of appearance does not only apply to misdemeanors, it also applies to felonies. It applies to all "pre-trial conferences." This is why on some sounding notices it says "THIS IS NOT A PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE." (distinction without a difference)

The judiciary tried to have this rule changed before the supreme court a few years ago. It failed. In reality, judges want defendants in court because it helps to close cases.

There is actually case law that says a defendant is only required to appear for trial, not just to hear his/her name called.(i.e., the 9:05 bench warrants).

Imagine the REGJB without hoards of defendants who show up only to crowd the galleries.

Larry Flynt said...

i like the hoard of defendants in the galleries as long as they bring their slutty girlfriends with them.

Spiderman said...

Even the civil courts have calendar call for trials. It's not solely a criminal matter.

It makes sense if the judge sets down hardfast rules and sticks by them.

Soundings, ok. 5-6 days in advance, written motions, no continuances on trial day, and no announcing of "i should be ready"...pending depos...etc. Ready means ready means ready..... Neither side should be scrambling to get trial ready, flying in witnesses, putting on their good suits/skirts, just to have some atty (def or pros) come in and complain the the witness didnt show up for depo last friday....tough shit!

Pick a jury douchebag.

Rumpole said...

Brian T said, in part:
The judiciary tried to have this rule changed before the supreme court a few years ago. It failed. In reality, judges want defendants in court because it helps to close cases.

Rumpole says: i respectfully dissent. It does not close cases. The prosecutors cannot offer decent pleas, and it is an exercise in futility.

Crickets said...


Rumpole says, please go here: (click on my new name)

Anonymous said...

Back in the day before DUI soundings and before DUI trials only set on Mondays, I'm talking about DUI trial calendars Monday through Thursday, there were huge crowds everyday at the courthouse. The Pickle Barrel made a lot of money. When they went to DUI trial calendars (still no soundings) on Mon and Wed only, the pickle Barrel went out of business. This new system is a way for the AOC and Judge Farina to help Au Bon Pain make money by bringing in the masses of people.

Anonymous said...

DUI soundings are great. It gives a chance for the DUI boys to lie about being ready for trial to see if the cops show on Monday...and then take a continuance because they forgot thier pencil (this would be sufficient in front of Krieger-Martin).

Circuit soundings are crucial because without them, there is no way for a c or b prosecutor to be prepared for trial, unless the judge were to let them set the trial order.

the trialmaster.. said...

the trialmaster has no opinon on the county court procedures since he or or she does not do "county ct"cases, unless there is a celebrity involved and a large [mainly unearned] fee well into the 5 figures.

Anonymous said...

"Trialmaster", you are a dick (and probably some hack who could try his way out of a paper bag)!

Anonymous said...

Soundings make sense in Circuit and County Court but:

In Circuit Court, the judges try to get around the waiver rule by sending notices that say waives do not apply. (Remember laws do not apply to judges or Congressmen from Palm Beach)

In County Court, the prosecutors do not act in good faith at soundings. When hopelessly not ready we "roll it for trial." That should be a Bar violation... to set a matter for trial when you know you are not ready.

Be careful kids, the County Court prosecutors are trying to enhance all pleas at time of trial.

Georgie Jessel said...

Soundings schmoundings....where can I get a good corned beef sandwich?

Anonymous said...

soundings are great for that young lawyer to sit in for the big hot shot lawyer and simply feel important.

Anonymous said...

3rd DCA decision of the week:

In this opinion of the week copy link and read.


The great minds of green, suarez & cortinas slamed the circuit court appeals division of : Judges Emas, Ward and Reyes.

Judge Green writing for the 3rd DCA odopted Judge Emas desenting view of the case.

Judge Ward and Judge Reyes you have been reversed.


Anonymous said...

Bobby Reiff and Scott Fingerhut are the combined Rumpole. Guaranteed from someone who has been in their office suites nosing around as it were. Sorry guys, you're outted. Lets see if you have enough courage to let this stay up.

Anonymous said...

Jon Blecher and Andy Cotsin are the same people?

Anonymous said...

belcher advertises his services to the ho's on independentgirls.com...a typical "bottom feeder"..he certainly is not the "trialmaster"

jebster said...

"If the next governor...is going to have to respond to every blog and every tired little anonymous person who has some bitter part in their soul who wants to express it on the Internet, it’s not going to work," Bush said.

Anonymous said...

As a circuit judge, I am interested in your opinions. As a lawyer, I liked to know whether I was going to trial. The purpose is to know if the case is ready or not. That way the lawyers don't have to prepare unnecessarily and the judge can plan his week. However, lately I have lawyers announcing they are ready only to change their minds when called.

Anonymous said...

In the 2006, Dade County Bar Association Judicial Poll Results Judge Rothenberg received the worst say "NO" to retention results. Over (31%) of the lawyers of Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties voted that Judge Rothenberg should not be re-elected this November 7, 2006, and that she is NOT qualified for the position of a Judge of the Third District Court of Appeal.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who was not already sure that Judge Kevin Emas is far and away overly qualified for the job he is doing and who deserves more than anyone else to be on the 3rd DCA, let alone a higher court, should read the opinion, in its entirety, mentioned earlier in this blog.

It can be found at:


Gov. Bush had an earlier chance to appoint Judge Emas to the 3rd DCA and never even gave it serious consideration. Remember, it took Emas something like 8-10 times before he was promoted from County to Circuit Court.

Instead, Bush appoints his Republican political hacks who are far less qualified to sit on the 3rd DCA.

I hope Charlie Crist (or Jim Davis) does a better job.

Anonymous said...

dont worry rothenbergs out soon so there will be another chance for emas.

since the rumor is that crist is gay rothenberg hacks wont get his vote

Jason Grey said...

Soundings suck. Plea bargains suck. In a perfect world all cases would go to trial
Trial is the only time we get to use our skills. The high theater of Trial is the reason I do this.
If I ask for a continuance it is because my guy is looking at crazy time, or I have not been paid. Both are valid reasons.
In a county where there are 40,000 felony arrests per year and only 25 + courtrooms, plea bargains are unavoidable.
Delay is unavoidable
When you die your in- box will be full
Have fun, try cases, and drink heavily
Civil lawyers have the money. We have the stories

Anonymous said...

how about a no plea month and shut down the state.

Anonymous said...

hey 10:22, Judge Ward a Juan D'Arce canidate in 2004 and Judge Reyes was a Bush pick but did not make it.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

ok someone help me understand this

click link below


Its an opionion from the ethics board with one member noted at the bottom as Judge Leslie Rothenberg. In 2004 she violated this very ethical issue about answering same sex marriage issue for those hate groups and was slammed by the media on this subject as being unethical.

Now in 2006 she is a member of the JEAC ethics board answering inquiries from Judges or candidiates and writing opinions on the subject and weather Candidiates can answer hate questions regards this subject.

Gee I wonder what her opionion was.

Hey Judge Rothenberg there is such a thing as disqualify yourself when the issue you are asked about just happens to be a ethical issue you violated in a 2004 unsuccessful bid to be State Attorney of Miami Dade.

Participating Members:
Judge Robert T. Benton, II, Judge Terry Michael Jones, Judge Lisa Davidson, Judge Michael Raiden, Judge Jose Rodriguez, Judge McFerrin Smith, III, Judge Leslie B. Rothenberg, Judge Emerson R. Thompson, Jr., Judge Richard R. Townsend, Judge Dorothy L. Vaccaro, Patricia Lowry, Esquire, and Marjorie Gadarian Graham, Esquire

My what tangled webs we weave!

Anonymous said...



MIAMI FL 33132


P. O. BOX 111009
MIAMI FL 33111-1009

Document Number
N03000005625 FEI Number
200110678 Date Filed
FL Status
INACTIVE Effective Date
Last Event
09/16/2005 Event Effective Date


Registered Agent
Name & Address
MIAMI FL 33132


Officer/Director Detail Name & Address Title

MIAMI FL 33132 C



Annual Reports Report Year Filed Date
2004 04/29/2004


Anonymous said...

Consecos brothers and the 3rd DCA just do not agree:


Anonymous said...

I actualy think that the speculation that Reiff/Fingerhut are Rumpole is fascinating. I never thought of these two, but now that I think about it, it feels right. They are old enough to know all about the judges of the 80's, they both write extremely well, they're computer saavy, and both have the wit found in Rumpole's writings. I finally think we're on to something!

the trialmaster said...

my friends, the sounding or calendar calls go back to the so called "master calendar" in the 70s. they were conducted by the late gene williams.

Anonymous said...

sounds like blecher has a pretty good gig going if he gets to have hookers come to his office and pay HIM.

you're probably just pissed that you didnt think of advertising there first.

Anonymous said...

The usefulness of Soundings really comes down to the Judge. If Judges demand that prosecutors actually have realistic pleas ready at soundings, then they can be useful.
If not, then they are a waste of
time. Better idea would be to just
do a two week trial period, with the first monday acting like a sounding. That way all those cases
which need to be continued will be continued and all those cases that sound ready have two weeks to be tried.

The idea would be to have a two week trial period for the A cases,
then a two week trial period for the B cases and then a two week
trial period for the C cases.

This would probably also help the
State by allowing them to have four
weeks in between trial dates.

Please will some Judge stand up and
change this absurd system we have in place in felonies.

Anonymous said...

Judge Robert Scola did not have any soundings at all when he was in Criminal. And, during his Monday morning trial calendar he didn't take a break to discuss pleas or go through the entire calendar again in chambers. Everything got dealt with right there, that Monday morning, at sidebar if absolutely necessary. He did expect, however, that the ASA's would be speaking informally the Thursday or Friday before to opposing counsel to get a sense of what actually was going to trial. We were done with calendars by 11:00 at the latest. We were in trial every week. It was great. I found, and continue to find, the sounding calendar to be a complete waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Whoever thinks Kevin Emas is a good judge has never crossed him.

He goes crazy whenever anyone challenges his authority.

Sorry, he is a very smart guy who abuses his authority when even slightly pushed.

Anonymous said...

I like a judge who takes no crap from Judge Ward and Judge Reyes and has the guts to desent and get his desent published word for word as the opinion of the 3rd DCA for its reason to reverse.

Spiderman said...

That's "dissent" not "desent!" "DESENT" isn't even a real word...and you wrote it TWICE, so it wasn't a typo...I'm not that smart, but I feel pretty smart right now, relatively speaking to the rocket surgeon who made the last post. And yes, ass, i wrote "rocket surgeon" on purpose, that's the joke. The 3rd DCA made Emas look like an Oliver Wendell Pimp. Go ahead Kev!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

rieff could not be rumpole. the guy has the sense of humor of a mullah. recall someone made fun of him in the early stages of the blog and whined like six year old

Anonymous said...

Scola was a great criminal judge not because of a lack of soundings but becuase he was a good defense attorney and had the balls to ignore the whining and deny continuances. soundings are useless if judges let every defense attorney announce ready and then say they arent ready monday am. SCola would not stand for such foolishness.

Anonymous said...

Someone posted this link:


As 3rd DCA opinion of the week.

I think the opinion reeks of irony for Floridian insurance companies. As a former insurance company employee, I remember when we lobbied for that law change back in 1998.

Insurers got it and now, it has come back to bite insurers in the behind, when they make a mistake over it and have to pay twice. Becauase that is the ultimate issue. When an adjuster makeas an error and pays the wrong bill, they are not getting the wrongfully paid money back more than likely, and then they have to pay the right people, effectively paying twice. Its hilarious.

Ward and Emas were likely thinking about the windfall of claims that might generate over something like this, but that logic can't hold and hence they got reversed. Bottom line being a lot of PI attorneys right now are likely raiding their current and old files to find out if insurers paid untimely claims to see if they can collect a few PIP suit fees on mistakes of inattentive adjusters along those lines.

Anonymous said...

You gotta be real stupid to think that just because a judge gets reversed he or she was "wrong." It only means that the other judges dissagree.

The only time judges get "slammed" or insulted is when they do something that is dishonest.

Having a higher court simply say they dissagree is not an insult to a judge and for lawyers to write to the Blog and say it is shows that the lawyer is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

If it is remanded it is to send a case back to a lower court for further consideration and a reverse is a judgement or a decision by a contrary decision to reverse a decision or judgement. Menaing they disagree with the lower courts decision. Why, may be the judge errored on applying the law, misinterpretated the law. But you know it is when something is done wrong at the lower court. Otherwise, if the lower court decision was correct the higher court will not reverse a decision.

Anonymous said...

Having a higher court simply say they dissagree is not an insult to a judge and for lawyers to write to the Blog and say it is shows that the lawyer is an idiot.

......and I must add, that I agree with your statment as well. People are human and not always have the same judgement or apply a rule as another person may view it. No it does not mean the Judge is an idiot at all because a higher judge reverses a case. Actually, it is as you said the higher court viewed it in a different way then the lower court---Besides the point, if it is revered, remanded and what not, the higher court still states their reason why they determined the answer.

Anonymous said...

pca ummm