It seemed like a fun idea. Lord knows we were full of [ideas] back then, and no way to get anyone to listen to us. It’s tough being the smartest guy in the room and nobody listens to you (especially when your ego is a bit too large for your own good.) So we started a blog.
Welcome to the Justice Building Blog.
My Name is Horace Rumpole.
We seek comments, rumors, and stories on any and all Miami Justice Building habituates, Judges, Prosecutors, Attorneys, and defendants. While we (the royal we) will not be libelous, and we will not pick on those not able to defend themselves [ insert your favorite judge here] , we love a good story about a Judge or lawyer putting his or her foot in their mouth. A juicy rumor that is not too harmful will also be posted.
We had a general idea of where we wanted to go: pompous judges with no experience and less legal skills who all of the sudden thought they were the next coming of Brandeis or Holmes just because they managed to squeak out a win in the election; sleazy lawyers who steal cases with bondsmen; stubborn prosecutors who lost all common sense when given a bit of power; lazy PD’s just skating by; and perhaps the biggest source of our ire: Broward Judges who mistreat lawyers from Dade.
We skewered our fair share of targets this year, but along the way we took a small part in remarkable outpourings of grief and love for departed Judges Crespo and Leyte-Vidal. We watched as public defenders came out of the woodwork to lay bare the feuds, petty and otherwise, that run through their office. We complained and commented on the candidates, qualified and unqualified, who challenged sitting judges, some who deserved it, many who did not. We mediated the debates on the comments section, endured about three months of attacks from a lunatic who jammed the comments section with the list of all the lawyers in Florida. The comments were moderated, and people were not happy.
We wrote long boring articles on the death penalty, the problems of eyewitness identification, Brandeis’s brilliant and prescient opinion in Olmstead, and funny missives on Broward Judges who arrest illegal immigrants.
We’ve been praised, lambasted, attacked, profiled in the media, questioned, challenged, flirted with, cursed at, threatened, scorned, and loved.
About a month after the blog started we were at a party (for the free food and liquor, not the companionship) and heard three different groups of people speculating about our identity. It was a strange feeling. It was even stranger to hear lawyers in Au Bon Pan using terminology that we coined on the blog.
And while this blog has brought us a great deal of enjoyment this past year, there is one thing we regret. Honesty and integrity mean something to us. We view our role as an officer of the court as more than just a phrase. And we value the friends we have made over the years. Thus it came as some surprise to us just how uncomfortable we felt denying we were Rumpole to well meaning friends and colleagues who would sidle up to us and whisper in our ear that our secret was safe with them. To all those people who may one day be offended or hurt by our disingenuous denials, we simply say sorry.
To do this right meant the freedom to call attention to a Judge out of control, or a policy that was wrong. However with this power to criticize freely and safely, came the responsibility to keep our thoughts honest, and to remove hurtful and false or inappropriate comments on the blog. To the candidate whose sexual preferences were mocked, we apologize. We missed a few of those and are sorry for the pain it caused you to read them.
The recent participation of lawyers like Roy Black and Abe Laeser and their amazing discussion of the case they tried (The Case That Made Miami Burn) and the Blog’s part in publishing Judge Pinerio’s wonderful memories of Sy Gaer, and our role in publicizing his birthday party, show just how special this Blog can be.
We walked into the Justice Building on ------- (you didn’t think we would give away that clue, did you?) And what seemed like a grand adventure for a few years turned into half a life time of work.
We remember friends who have passed on, relationships that didn’t work out, Police Officers we knew who were murdered (Scotty Rakow), and more than a few colleagues, friends, and Judges who ended up on the wrong side of the jury box.
It has been quite a ride.
Here’s hoping the second year brings more of these great moments.
Thanks for reading.
See You In Court.
We’re the ones smiling about our blog.