NORTH OF THE BORDER
A rising young Broward assistant public defender lost his job last week after he was accused of smashing a colleague in the head with a beer bottle during a quarrel over a woman. Edward "Eddie" Lopez, hit Faisal Afzal during a party at Tarpon Bend for a Broward prosecutor moving into private practice.
Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said he was stunned to learn of the incident. Lopez had been with the office since April 2005. He had recently been promoted to major crimes attorney. Finkelstein said he does not interfere in his employees' private lives, but Lopez's behavior had crossed the line. "As an employer, I have an obligation to guarantee that all of my employees can work in a safe and secure environment," Finkelstein said. "It would have been unreasonable for me, in light of what happened, to ask Faisal to feel that he was safe and secure...I have no room for violence either in the work place or in my personal life."
And REALLY NORTH OF THE BORDER
For those of you that enjoyed the Bennett Brummer vs. Gabriel Martin election and soap opera that followed, this fiasco in Jacksonville really takes the cake. It appears that longtime State Attorney Harry Shorstein is about to draw opposition from an ASA in his own office. Here is what happened last week:
Days after marking a quarter-century of service in the State Attorney's Office prosecuting criminals, Assistant State Attorney Angela Corey got a memorable anniversary gift from boss Harry Shorstein on Tuesday. He fired her. Corey said she worked her last day Wednesday, after the state attorney met with her the day before and gave her an ultimatum.
Shorstein told her she could write a few letters of apology and keep her job until year's end, or not write the letters and face an immediate firing, Corey said. The 52-year-old lawyer has been blunt about her intentions to challenge Shorstein for his job in the 2008 election, but said she couldn't speculate if that figured into his decision to fire her.
Shorstein's statement said there were "long-term issues" related to Corey's supervisory performance and "irreconcilable differences" between Corey and himself on issues concerning how the State Attorney's Office should be run.
In her years as a prosecutor, Corey said she brought 54 homicide cases to trial, a number of them high-profile. About a year ago, however, Shorstein transferred her from her job as director of the gun crime unit to director of the county court where she was tasked with training new lawyers to prosecute misdemeanor cases. Now she is out of a job.
AND LOCALLY, there will be many new faces donning judicial robes come January 1, 2007. Here is some of what is happening:
Victoria Brennan can be found at County Civil, 4th floor; Cristina Miranda has joined us at the REGJB, 5th floor, and Douglas Chumbley is over at Juvy.
Juvenile will lose at least two jurists as Beatrice ‘Betty’ Butchko and Ellen Sue Venzer will be packing their FLW’s and heading over to REGJB. We will be saying sianara to Gill Freeman as she has been tapped by our Chief Judge Farina to head the new “Commercial Division” handling complex business disputes.
In Civil, two former criminal judges have been handling the duties of back-up judges. They are responsible for taking any jury trial that lasts more than one week. Judge Kevin Emas continues to get rave reviews as one of those two judges; Victoria Platzer is the other.
We say goodbye to Ivan Hernandez, Shirylon McWhorter, Martin Shapiro, Bonnie Rippingille, and Michael Samuels and we say hello to Robin Faber, Patricia Marino, Victoria del Pino, Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer, Don Cohn, Valerie Manno Schurr, Antonio Marin and Marisa Mendez.
AND FINALLY, to all my loyal readers, here’s wishing you a big fat turkey dinner on Thursday …. Happy Thanksgiving …..
CAPTAIN OUT …………………