Thursday, November 16, 2006


Sometime in early November of 2005, having weathered two long hurricane induced power outages, we were sitting in our office, dodging bill collectors, and being the generally glum hack we are known to be. Then a story crossed our desk about a young federal prosecutor who was running a blog about federal courts and judges anonymously. Then we got a link to our favourite federal blogger, David O Markus with a K.

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.
Here is our welcome post from November 16, 2005:

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.
But we survived.
When Judges made a mistake in court, some of them came to the blog to apologize. When readers complained about the illogical rule of certain Judges of not allowing continuances at soundings, Judges heard the complaints and changed the policy. When we criticized a Judge for taking part in the drafting of proposed legislation, we were put in our place with a vigorous defense by the Judge.

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.
We have received emails from lawyers all other the country who say that while they do not know the players, they are fascinated reading about our little world. We went from no comments on our first post, to averaging a 100 comments a post for some months.

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.

The highest of highs, when years worth of work yielded a great win, and crushing defeats, some of which we will never forget. Say what you want about our profession, but we touch people’s lives very directly. We participate in the drama of lives lost, and lives rescued.

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.


Anonymous said...


abe laeser said...

Happiest of Anniversaries, Horace.

"Fiat justicia ruant coeli"

lunatic said...


"endured about three months of attacks from a lunatic who jammed the comments section with the list of all the lawyers in Florida."

I take offense to this!!

Anonymous said...

see NBC 6 News story and video on Rumpole here with pictures etc:


Rumpole said...

Welcome back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rumpole said...

Didn't Kevin Cosner say that in JFK?
"Let Justice Be Done tho the heavens may fall."

Anonymous said...

Oliver Stone did not script the original Latin phrase - just copied it for his fiction.

After all, the Costner character was actually out of New Orleans for the closing argument, afraid of the backlash.

Anonymous said...

would ya please put back the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure with very little clients cannot afford the book.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blog Birthday, Now stop grandstanding and get on with the gossip!

Anonymous said...

don't forget: Friday is High Day

Anonymous said...

nick bogart? what a douche bag. its not a real blog until that esteemed jackass Rosh Lowe steps in....

Anonymous said...

and he's HOT!!

Anonymous said...


What could be funnier than watching losers from the mid-west charging a wal-mart for a playstation only to get knocked out by a light pole. i'll stick to the atari 2600

Anonymous said...

the trialmaster wishes the blog the best.

rick freedman said...


If you practice law in South Florida and you handle criminal defense work, we want to invite you to become a member of FACDL-MIAMI.

I will be mailing the dues statements today to 425 members for the year 2007. Dues are $75 for private attorneys, $25 for public defenders; free for new public defenders (one year or less).

If anyone would like to receive an invitation to join FACDL-MIAMI, please feel free to email me at the address listed below.

Rick Freedman
Treasurer, FACDL-Miami

rick freedman said...

Court Appointed Counsel Update:

In reference to the money, or lack of it, many people on both a local and statewide level are working very hard to get the money released ASAP.

On a more critical issue:

As many of you know, this new statewide system took birth on July 1, 2004 as a result of the 1998 constitutional amendment that voters passed transferring funding from a local level to a state level.

With that, the legislature spent two years writing legislation that was passed in 2003 and 2004 to help run the new system. While the CAC system is run by the JAC in Tallahassee, we were very successful in keeping local input to a maximum with the creation of the local ISC (Indigent Service Committee), the FRC (Fee Review Committee) and the Screening Committee. Each of the 20 circuits still have these groups in place to help keep most of the decision-making local.

Now, only 27 months into this new system, there is a move afoot to change it again. The present system would be replaced by one run 100% out of Tallahassee. An "Executive Director" would be hired (sort of like a Chief Public Defender) who would then hire Regional Directors and Local Directors. They would rent office space and hire staff throughout the state. All decisions would begin and end with the Executive Director. What's good for the attorney in Palatka or Pahokee would be good for the attorney in Miami. All staff would be paid employees of the State. They would replace all of the above committees that are VOLUNTEER committees. We would have NO local input.

Needless to say, we are fighting like hell against these changes. We are lobbying members of the Commission that is responsible for this new proposal. We are lobbying judges throughout the State that we feel can help our position. We are lobbying State Senators and State Representatives. We will be lobbying both the Lt. Gov. and the Governor.

Someone asked what FACDL-Miami does. This is just one of the things we do. We do many, many other things that benefit the members of the criminal defense bar.

We invite your comments and suggestions and hope to have you as a member of our organization for 2007.

Rick Freedman

Anonymous said...

Has it been a year?

How about a new blog for prosecutors and pds only so that they can yell at each other.

Anonymous said...

Are you the captain?

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...

Come on Rump, answer those questions?

Anonymous said...

In the year you have existd do you now agree you are powerless except as a skulker and nameless buffoon. You and your friend “The Captain” and the small number of mentally masturbating contributors to this blog are all petty people who attack in the dark of
anonymity and obtain almost orgasmic satisfaction in destroying the defenseless. You have permitted the wholesale slaughter of people's dignity and reputations with false and malicious accusations. As an attorney you know that if made to answer for many of your musings you would be working for others for the rest of your life to pay the judgments. You are irresponsible and self-absorbed as shown by use of the royal (ass-hole) we.