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

Thursday, November 16, 2006

INTERVIEW WITH A BLOGGER

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG

We made it! One year and still blogging. We start a two day introspective about the blog. Why blog, and maybe even a bit of who blog (but not much), with a lot of memories about posts and comments from this past year.

We start today by posting our full email interview with reporter Nick Boggart, who generated the blog some publicity ( as well as a bunch of headaches we cannot discuss) the other day. Enjoy.


Nick Bogart, channel six reporter sent us an email the other day with questions for his story. Here is the full text of his questions and our answers: (Mr. Bogart's questions are in italics).


Dear Mr. Bogart: I am somewhat flattered that NBC has seen fit to do a story about my humble little blog.

Without denigrating your journalistic abilities, I am sure if you looked hard enough in the Justice Building you could find a judge who has done something or said something more newsworthy than my blog.


Lord knows that when they climb up on that bench they just can't help themselves.
It must be the altitude.

I am also not surprised that you found lawyers willing to comment. Attorneys flock to news cameras like Judges to a free buffet. (Have I given you enough witty comments for your story?)

To answer your questions:

1) Why did you decide that MJB needed a blog? Why did you decide you were the right person to author/edit it?

Everyone's favourite Federal Blogger, David O Marcus was running the south Florida federal blog and one day as I was pondering a stack of bills and no phone calls from clients, it just seemed like a fun thing to do. I am a frustrated writer stuck in attorneys' clothes, and this is a creative outlet for me. The fact that people seem to enjoy it is a plus.


2) You talked to me earlier that you get about 500 hits a day. How does that compare to the first few editions? How did you let people know this blog existed?

I still get about 500 hits a day. Over 125,000 hits since the blog began. I tried to publicize it two ways:


1) I picked a fight with Brian Tannebaum, who at the time was President of the Miami Chapter of the FACDL. As such, he was sending several dozen annoying emails a day to us lawyers, and I thought it would be nice if he would publicize the blog.

2) I also sent a couple of Judges an email with a link. Knowing that most of them have plenty of times on their hands, I was sure they would log on. Knowing that gossiping is by far and way the number one activity in the REGJB, I was sure the site would be used.


3) You've said you felt the interplay between Roy Black and Abe Laeser on the Alvarez case ranks high on your "Best Of" list. Give me some other moments that stand out for you (outside of your peerless pigskin prognostications)

(Yes- I am apparently an amazing picker of football games. Who knew? As one wiseass wrote, I should be able to pick juries as well as I pick games. )

Clearly the lawyers and Judges who wrote wonderful and kind words about Judge Manny Crespo when he passed away was one of the moments I am most proud of . The same holds true for the passing of Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal. The blog provided a place for the community of lawyers and Judges to share fond memories of the lives these men had lived, and the people they had touched as Judges, lawyers, and friends.

4) How often have you had to step in and expunge personal/slanderous postings? Is there anyone in particular who's had to suffer more than his/her share of slings and arrows of this kind?

Well I believe that I have suffered as Rumpole the most slings and arrows because since I have the power to remove a comment I go out of my way to leave up the comments about me that are derogatory.

I usually remove a comment once a day or so.


Here is the problem: most people like to be able to read the blog and then leave a spontaneous comment. I cannot monitor the blog all day. So if someone leaves an inappropriate comment, then it stays up a while. Also some lawyers have commented to me that if someone makes a comment about them, and they Google their name, the comment in the blog is usually near the top of the list.

Since we as attorneys sell among other things our reputation, this is a serious matter that I try and stay on top of.


5) How do you regard the speculation as to your identity? Would your ability to do the blog be crippled by exposure? Are you one person, or a group?


I feel bad for the people who have been called Rumpole and are not. It must annoy the beejesus out of them. Let me answer the identity question this way:

There are one or two posts I have made that I have regretted, and since removed. The posts were critical of a Judge when I did not have first hand knowledge of the incident. As attorneys we have an ethical obligation not to be critical of a Judge in public. How that balances against our first amendment rights I do not know, since I am a simple criminal hack.


I have tried to be fair in any public commentary of Judges. In fact my post today (the other day) about a new policy by Judge Tunis is I think, a fair recounting of the issue from both sides. I think she is a great judge, but is wrong about the issue of no continuances at sounding.

Could I write the post I wrote today If my identity was known?


Well if it was about Judge Tunis, the answer is yes, as she is a great Judge and would not hold my comments against my clients. Some other Judges may not be so judicial.

Judges in Broward would probably hold a public tar and feathering if they knew who I was.

In the end, I do have to earn a living. I am a pretty fair lawyer and I would be crushed if clients stopped coming to me because of negative publicity about the blog.

I take the fact that I am anonymous very seriously.


I realize that with the amount of readers I have I could publicly humiliate a judge or prosecutor who got me angry in court. That would be an abuse of the power that, in a sense, my readers have entrusted to me.

I try and write and act responsibly. I have left posts that were very mean about me using my real name (by readers who did not know I am Rumpole, if you understand what I mean) just so that if my identity was revealed I could show the level of fairness I have worked to achieve.

Being around cops and criminals all these years has taught me one thing: the number of people who know a secret is directly proportional to the chance the secret will get out. [we removed the all capitals statement that no one knows our identity]So I think my secret is safe.

I am introspective by nature so this has run on longer than I intended.


In the end two things would make me reveal my identity: 1) if I was appointed a Judge (and the likelihood of that happening is about the same as the chance I have of winning the lottery )

2) If someone gave me a job as a writer. But it would have to be a great job, and I am not sure I am even a good writer.

Good Luck with the story.


POST SCRIPT: I initially liked the story on TV. Then I received a very disturbing email from someone I promised not to name. It got me thinking that it is very unfair for people to accuse anyone of running this blog. The implication being that the person accused would be held responsible for my ideas, my opinions, and this blog. So I am asking everyone (including a certain chatty Administrative Judge who goes on TV) to please stop doing that.

Also, I realize that some very disturbing comments have been posted in the past. I do my best to remove them. If you find one and send me an email, I will remove it. But please do not hold me responsible for what others write. I wish the blog could remain as funny as it has been lately, and as interesting as when Roy Black and Abe Laeser were reminiscing about their famous cases.

I try and balance the principles of free speech against my desire to make sure no one is hurt by this blog. In the final analysis, I would stop this in a second if someone was hurt. My great fear is that I cannot "un-ring the bell" as we lawyers like to say during trial. So while nothing lasts forever, I will keep doing this as long as it is fun, as long as people enjoy it, and as long as we can keep the discussion within certain bounds of civility. Abraham Lincoln had a policy of not sending a letter written in anger until the following day. Upon his death, his private papers contained dozens of letters written but never mailed. Perhaps that is a lesson to all of us.

I cannot even begin to tell you about the Judge in another state that wants to start a trial Monday, work to Wednesday, and then begin again Monday. Suffice to say, I will be busy traveling and arguing and trying to avoid contempt charges. The Captain is a guest blogger and I am certain between the two of us ( and I do not know who the Captain is) we can keep you entertained.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

MEMO TO JEB BUSH:

Until the funds are released, I will do no more investigation or trial prep work on any Court Appointed cases. (I will keep client contact out of the goodness of my heart). I will request continuances on all cases until the funds are released. If denied, I will not violate a court order to go to trial, but I have a feeling an unprepped trial may come back on a rule 3. That will create a massive budgetary disaster.

In sum, get our invoices out of the bed of your pick up, cancel the barn burner with Karl, and pay us.

In the meantime, love the blog. thanks! keep up the good work and tough balancing act.

Anonymous said...

Rump,
You are an egotistical nut job. The only difference between this blog and operationrestorejustice is that he does his in the light of day. Don't try to cast yourself under the banner of free speech and all that is good...only if you out yourself can you do that. You're no better than the schoolhouse pansy who is too afraid to say what he thinks aloud so he talks about people behind their backs. Have some balls or shut the fuck up.

Anonymous said...

Ouch!

Anonymous said...

double Ouch!!

Anonymous said...

9:54am

Hey dumb ass the real difference is that Rumpole has a bar license and has to make a living in the very career that his license to practice law gives him the right.

Today it is a grey area in the law if Rumpole as a lawyer has the right to free speech. Until this area of law becames black and white rumpole is well within reason to remain anonymous.

As for that ORJ guy he has no license to practice law and no fear of the Florida bar or others because his career is not focused in the area of representing the interest of others in a Court of law.

I side with Rumpole on this one.

Anonymous said...

"Have some balls or shut the fuck up."

Rumpole the balls (ball) is now in your court for proper response.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the call yesterday Josh. Give my regards to muttley.

Anonymous said...

i would pay big bucks for a picture of rumpoles face after he reads that nasty post

Rumpole said...

No sour face. If you read the post today about my email interview with Nick Bogart, I told him that I as Rumpole have fared the worst on the blog because of comments like that. He or she is entitled to their opinion and to have it heard.

PS: EGOTISTICAL? You have no idea. I am the best damn trial lawyer you will ever see. When you walk into that courtroom and pray to god you will walk out, let me tell you. I am..... you know the rest.

Stan Blake said...

Dear Mr. Rumpole,
The fact that I suggested a name to Nick Bogert as the possible author of this blog is hardly what I would call "accusatory". Is being called the blogster like being called a serial killer? If I ruffled your feathers by "guessing" the wrong person, I'm sorry. Since no one actually knows your identity, I can hardly imagine a colleague holding your remarks against anyone who I may have guessed. The person I did say I have suspected is "intellegent and clever"--very accusatory language. I find most of your blog entertaining and informative. But aren't you getting a little testy? Love, "your chatty admin judge"

Anonymous said...

Stan, No more coffee - it makes you grouchy!

Anonymous said...

i love rump, the blog, and stan. dont we all agree its a few minutes a day to catch a laugh or two with all the crap we deal with. live and be happy...

rump, i hope you remain anonymous and i have great respect for your blog. its funny and informative. (except for the lame anonymous posts just being mean, which us learned barristers gloss over).

also, just keep one blog.

Rumpole said...

Is Judge Blake upset that we have "accused" him of being a bit too chatty? Gee, it must be awful to be accused of something you're not.

Personally, we do not care who anyone says runs the blog. But apparently other people do, and are bothering the top suspects, who send me long emails complaining that I am ruining their reputation, and begging me to stop all of this by revealing my identity.

Judge Blake's channel six escapades didn't bother us a bit.

But in a serious note, it's not fair to hold this blog against anybody, and while it may be all in fun to accuse Ed O'Donnell or Phil Reizenstein, (Certainly O'Donnell was laughing) not everyone thinks the blog is funny, and if one of them ( a judge, a lawyer, or a client) holds it against Reizenstein or O'Donnell, then we bear some of the blame. (Can you follow all that?)

So this public guessing game is having unintended consequences that are approaching the point of being serious to the extent I will stop blogging if someone is getting hurt.

Anyway, maybe Judge Blake is just upset at our "free buffet" crack.
All in fun old chap. All in fun.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole
If you are not Phil- and Phil is not you-then prove it.

Anonymous said...

Guess today was the one day out of the two weeks Blake read the blog. What a coincidence!

Rumpole said...

Now just how can I prove a negative without revealing my identity? I do not confirm or deny who I am or where I am at any given moment. I said I have a trial out of state next week. I take literary license to allow me to be out of state now, tomorrow, Monday or Tuesday. That gives me enough cover. Too many detectives out there on the case.

Stan Blake said...

Hi Rumpole,
You know I take it all in fun--nothing personal. The point that I was making is that since you have been so good at hiding your identity (and I understand that if you weren't anonymous, it would be tough for you to be candid with some of your comments about the system, your colleagues, or the judges ), I didn't think my "guessing" who you are would be hurtful or that I am correct. To Phil Riezenstein, if I upset you with my "guess", I do apologize. And Rumpole, if I ever take myself too seriously, I know you will point it out. Laughter is so important to keep our sanity at times when the world around us seems insane (heck I should put that in a fortune cookie). Stan Blake

Leave Phil Alone said...

What about all those posts saying they saw Blecher blogging at starbucks, or overheard Luvey and Lyons laughing, or said they saw absolute proof in Fingerhut's office?

Anonymous said...

stan blake would like to correct his "every 2 weeks" statement to "every 2 hours."

Anonymous said...

Rumpole just get some balls or shut the fuck up.

I just love that quote.

Anonymous said...

it may be every two minutes please stand by

Anonymous said...

lol

Anonymous said...

Oh PLEASE we all know that Phil is Rumpole.... It's a given.. Who else has so much time on his hands?

As for Blake.. he's too smart, too wise and too handsome to spend all of his time blogging..

Have NO idea what his marital status is but he could have ANY woman he wanted.. why blog?

Anonymous said...

What the hell does that mean? Sex=no blogging?

Anonymous said...

not this chick......

Fake Muttley said...

Muttleys rule.
Brunson out.

Anonymous said...

Stan Blake and Harry Reems-

You never see them together......

Anonymous said...

I think it's Ted Mastos.

Phil R said...

I guess I can no longer remain silent about this. I did take Rumpole’s advice and not send any letters written in anger.

I was called by Nick Bogart. My first words were: Which one of my clients has done something? When he told me about the blog, I laughed, said no, and we hung up.

I was shocked, shocked to see my picture on Channel six. I thought it made me look like a criminal or that I had been arrested or that I was in trouble for something. Certainly Judge Blake had nothing to do with that. My opinion is that if Nick Bogart knew he was going to do that, he should have told me, and I would have arranged to be interviewed. I consider it a cheap shot, but as many people tell me, maybe I am too sensitive.

As to Judge Blake, would I have preferred my name not be mentioned? Yes. Do I understand he meant no harm by doing it? Yes. Have clients called my office to see if I was in trouble? Yes. Did I like walking around the courthouse the next day feeling people were pointing or talking about me? No.

As Rumpole points out, in this day of Google, stuff on the blog pops up when a client Google’s an attorneys name. So I am uncomfortable with the attention. I have won publicity cases and lost publicity cases. That comes with the territory. This stuff does not.

That’s about it.

As to 2:18, what makes you think I have nothing to do?

Anonymous said...

Phil's sad

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm pretty happy. This has been a long busy week, and it's now ending.

Anonymous said...

ACTUALLY, I've done my homework and a complete investigation....I know for a fact that CARMEN the cleaning lady is really RUMPole

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow is new judges orientation downtown. GINA JOSIE AND MIGDA are providing the comic relief.

Rumpole said...

Damn...you got me. argghhhhhh.

Anonymous said...

If you were a PD, your week would have ended Wednesday at 12:00 when you went out to lunch for cocktails!

Anonymous said...

I really miss the whole Migna thing. It was fun while it lasted. We should all get together and sign the Migna song for fun.

I can't wait
Migna in 2008
She'll be great
Her Judgship is fate.
And even Shelly will stop the hate!

Rumpole said...

4:31 you mean if I was a Judge, my week would have ended with cocktails on Wednesday.

Yes I read letters to the editor said...

Oh yeah. Rumpole: Check out Abe Laesar's letter to the editor in the bar news. It is newsworthy. Abe, do you think you would have won every case with close-close? Quit being greedy and let the poor defense lawyers out here get a chance to use the final moments for a bit of theatrics!

Rumpole said...

My opinion sort of mirrors former Judge Sorrondo's ( and I know I am in the minority on this) I value the use of defense evidence 100 times more than the last word. Despite being told otherwise, jurrors want the defense to prove their innocence. I think too many defense attorneys refrain from admitting evidence in an attempt to preserve close close. Of course I like having the option, but I am not bothered by being sandwiched. It's when the Florida Legislature considers abolishing closing argument for the defense that I begin to worry.

From One Prick To Another said...

Dear, Phil. R.

If you were not such a prick and would have not hung up on Nick and agreed to talk with him perhaps you would not have looked like the asshole prick you are!!

Ps. next time get some manners and you might get some respect from the media.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Manners:

If you read what I wrote, I said, after I laughed, "we hung up". Meaning our conversation was over. Ask Mr. Bogart if I hung up on him. I did not.
My how courageous you are to curse at me behind the cloak of anonymity. What a brave soul. And your command of the English language! I bet you were an English major while studying for the Priesthood. Am I right?

Anonymous said...

Philyphil

I think you would agree that being a prime suspect in the Rumpole investigation is a compliment not an insult.

Come play cards.

Anonymous said...

Its becoming a royal pain in the ass.

Anonymous said...

to 2:18:

As for Blake.. he's too smart, too wise and too handsome to spend all of his time blogging..
Have NO idea what his marital status is but he could have ANY woman he wanted.. why blog?

Are You Nuts! He's Handsome - what have you been drinking? I hear Terry (his JA) has to keep the women out of his chamber; they line up just to see what he is wearing each day.

send that guy to rehab

Spiderman said...

A) Nick Bogert's a douchebag.

B) Brunson and Muttley? Hilarious...nice blast from the past! Only a few select know those...and two of them don't live in FL anymore....hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

blake is rumpole, he's just throwing off the scent...

Anonymous said...

U guys are all correct, BLAKE does have a RUMPHOLE.

Anonymous said...

Blake cant be Rumpole because he would never have reposted the attack on County Court Judge Lawrence King

Anonymous said...

Hey Captain, where are ALL these new Judges???????

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, how many times have you written on this blog as your true self?

How many times have you responded to your true self pretending to have a conversation with someone else?

Anonymous said...

see nbc 6 news story here:

http://www.nbc6.net/news/10311384/detail.html?subid=10101481

Anonymous said...

Rump you are right on the money on the close close issue. A lawyer must be truly egotistical (not that there is a shortage of egotistical lawyers) to think that having the last word is more important than admitting important evidence.

Anonymous said...

blake and harry reems never seen together? pretty funny. Rump i bet most of your readers dont even know who harry reems is as he is truly old school.

PD Margot Moss and Terah Patrick you never see them together either......

Anonymous said...

rump and 10:09
you guys are morons.
of course you admitt :important" evidence rather thrn save rubutal argument. but when you have no evidence, which is most of the time, it is a huge advantange to speak last.

Anonymous said...

Where is Suzanna from The Herald on the one year anniversary story?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, she would have probably done a better job than Bogart did.

Anonymous said...

I happen to know Judge Blake's wife quite well. She is quite a looker herself and has no problem with other women appreciating his finer points!!! I understand his wife is totally understanding........