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

Friday, December 15, 2006

OF POOLS, PDS, SOUNDINGS, AND SUCH.

An assistant public defender who is a frequent reader and often sends us emails on his thoughts took us to task earlier this week for not recognizing a Miami Herald Editorial praising, he said, his boss, ol’ double B: Bennett Brummer. We apologized for missing the missive, and promised to respond.

The editorial in question appeared on Friday December 8, 2006.

Herald (just click on the link and then type in "Brummer" in the search box to get to the editorial.)

The editorial praised two decisions of the Third District: the first requiring DCF to remove 30 mentally ill defendants from DCJ; and the second requiring judges to hold a detention hearing within 24 hours of the arrest of a juvenile.

To the extent the Dade PD’s office litigated those cases, we say WELL DONE. But we have always praised the work of the assistant PD’s. We have not always been so kind to the head PD.

The third part of the editorial praised Governor Bush’s decision to release 15.7 million dollars to pay conflict lawyers.

None of the topics in the editorial praised Mr. Brummer. His personal work in any of those decisions, if he did any, was not mentioned. Sorry Mr. S, but we don’t see anything here requiring excessive praise of Mr. B. He hires good lawyers who do good work. We wouldn’t expect anything less.

OUT OF THE POOL

We were sauntering down the second floor the other day when we espied Judge Schlessinger’s pre-trial order. To summarize, Judge Schlessinger has hopped out of the sounding date pool, and returned to those thrilling days of yesteryear when cases set for trial did not appear in court until the trial date. The Judge has left it to the sound discretion of lawyers to decide if they are ready, and to file a motion to continue if they are not.

If we recall, it was Judge Farina, as a lowly circuit court Judge (not as Chief Kahuna) who introduced the sounding calendar when he was sitting in criminal court. The virus spread until every Judge in every division had a version of soundings. Now Judge Schlessinger goes old school, and has tubed the sounding calendar.

Clearly this may well be a case of:

“be careful what you ask for, because you may get it.”

One can reasonably expect that continuances on the day of trial will be handed out as frequently as a Judge picking up the bar tab. Certainly the pressure is on the prosecution to prepare more cases for trial on Monday.

However, the real problem as we see it, is the potential for some twenty odd Judges (no offense intended with that particular phrase) having twenty different rules about soundings, trials, and continuances. Inevitably, some poor confused defense attorney will file a “Tunis Motion” for a “Schlessinger case", and drop the ball.

We have bandied around the idea of some sort of “master calendar” many times before . Perhaps its time to think about implementing such a system?

From the standpoint of a Judge ( a view we rarely care to advance) a sounding calendar must eat up some very valuable court time that could otherwise be spent trying cases, or making dinner reservations.

What if some retired Judge like Judge Salmon had daily sounding calendars for ten or so divisions?

Lets say Monday afternoons it was for an upcoming Judge Scola trial week; Tuesday mornings it was for Judge Shuminer; Tuesday Afternoons for Judge Perez. You get the idea. The calendar would be staffed by prosecutor and a PD. If an attorney wanted to move for a continuance, or file a motion, or bring a matter to the court’s attention, they would show up at that time. The files would be in court, and the Judge could resolve the issue. Otherwise it’s “see you at trial.”

The “master calendar” solves the problem of soundings eating up court time for the judge, and yet gives the prosecution a heads up as to what cases are really headed for trial. Why, the Judge at sounding could even plea cases out if the defense attorney brought their client to court. What a novel idea!

Lets try and address the naysayers now. 1) Lack of courtrooms: Oh please. We see a dozen empty courtrooms every afternoon. 2) Lack of staff. Use the electronic recording system for these hearings, and we are sure a few clerks can use a little overtime now and then.

So we say “everybody out of the pool!.”


Deep-six the sounding calendars and think outside the box and lets come up with a new way of doing things.
Just how hard can it be to get some twenty odd judges to agree to something?

Ahh….on second thought maybe we’ll solve the Palestinian/Israeli problems first.

It should be easier.

See you in court. And on some days, see you at soundings. Just not before Judge Schlessinger.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your idea of a master calendar is excellent. Therein exists its problem...

Not Gene Williams said...

I guess you were not around the last time there was a Master Calendar, in the mid-to-late 70's. Ask any veteran what a disaster that was -- half the building's lawyers, defendants, and families, stuffed into (and overflowing out of) a single courtroom for a calendar that lasted FOREVER. Seven out of every eight cases sounded were eventually continued, after being on the Master Calendar for 3-4 days. And that was when caseloads were a fraction of what they are now. Eventually, the Third District put the system out of its misery, finding it was unauthorized under the rules. (I think that the 3rd DCA ruling was a product of BB's fine staff of file appellate lawyers.) Rumps -- You would certainly have plenty of time to blog (and to grow cobwebs) waiting to have your case called.

Anonymous said...

Gene Williams -- the administrative judge who stared at the ceiling tiles of Courtroom 4-2, while seeking divine intervention to help him decide (a) "continued", or (b) "carry the case until tomorrow", or (c) "go to Judge Schwartz's courtroom and if he's not busy, he'll hear your trial", or (d) come back here, wait awhile, and we'll put your case back on for tomorrow's master calendar." I really miss those days. Of course, the courtrooms were all empty in the afternoon back then, too.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole:
If you don't think that BHB led the effort in filing the suit, in overseeing the content of the suit, and that this would have occurred without BHB's complete involement, you have no idea how the PDO works.

Anonymous said...

Mr. S
Why would you sign your name to a post kissing up to your boss? It's not gonna do you any good. Not even good ole Brummer would put a guy like you in charge. You're a harliquin.

Anonymous said...

The only thing us hacks care about is getting paid when we bill the JAC.

Anonymous said...

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz?zzzzzzzzzzzzz?zzzzzzzzzzz?

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Bennett Brummer should not be praised for the Herald article.

It seems more and more that Bennett
has gone into semi-retirement and
left the day to day controls to his
apparent heir Carlos Martinez.

Good work with the media Carlos.

Now what I want to know is when will it be official that you are
running for PD. Or should I say when will Bennett finally hand over control for real? My guess
is that he won't. I hope you aren't
waiting for his blessing because you will be waiting forever. This
man thinks the position is his and that he is entitled to stay in office as long as he is breathing (i.e. The Law Offices of Bennett H. Brummer).

So I hope you have some cojones!

Carlos you need to leave the office
and run against Brummer if you really want to be PD, 'cause he ain't gonna just give it to you.

Anonymous said...

well merry friggin' christmas to you and a happy channukah too

Rumpole said...

1) Mr. S did sign his full name. I used his initial, because this blog is a bit like the wild west, and as soon as I post a name the "oh, he's a jerk" comments start.

2) Who says I was not around for the master calendar? My master calendar is very different, because it is a few retired Judges spending on session on one Judge's upcoming trial calendar, and a lawyer's appearance is voluntary. if you're ready, don't go. In fact, it will add to the economy as a new set of coverage lawyers emerges for that calendar.

By the way, I am not saying I was around then, I'm not saying I wasn't. The issue of that fatheful day when I first walked through the doors of the Justice Building is a closely guarded secret as it remains one big piece of a puzzle that can easily be solved with that information.

Rumpole said...

Two questions: 1) What happened with Judge Pinero's jury?
2) how was the food at the Shuminer/Pinero Italian Christmas fete?

Pistol Pete said...

Wouldn't it be funny if Rumpy was one of the lawyers trying the case before Pinero? What better place to hide then in the open.

Anonymous said...

7:49:06 and 12:33:49 are embittered as*holes with nothing better to do than to write crap about BHB. BHB may have warts, but all public figures do. Fact is he has kept that office humming, improving the level of representation for people who usually don't get the services the rest of society gets and spitting out good lawyers over and over again for 25+ years. He didn't have to go after DCF for not placing the mentally ill, he didn't have to go after DJJ for shackling kids, he doesn't have to 'rock the boat' at all and probably does so at his own peril but he does so anyway because its the right thing to do. When's the last time KFR stood up for something besides a publicity event?

Anonymous said...

Rumpole
It is a mistake to think the co-ordinated attack on DCF regarding committed defendants just happened. BHB & the administration planned this out; more thru the FPDA, they contacted PD offices through-out the state to also litigate the issue. The same with the shackling of kids. On issues like these, the pit attorney doesn't just come up w/ an idea while juggling a caseload of 100 clients, the whole team gets on board; appeals, Senior Attys, & the entire 5th floor are set to go when the issue raises its head in court for the first time. Bennett deserves the praise.
If I may also address Country & Jo-el , I sign my name because I'm not afraid of what I say.
David Sisselman

CAPTAIN said...

Hey Rumpole:

You missed a great Italian feast at the REGJB. Now, I just need a cannoli.

CAPTAIN OUT ....

Rumpole said...

Mr. Sisselman- I think your views are pretty accurate. This contretempos arose when you said I ignored the editorial praising BB. The editorial didn't really do that. But I do not doubt your point that he and the top people at your office were behind the lawsuits. Good work.

Rumpole said...

Ah Captain- If you want to keep your identity a secret you should never admit to being anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I take full credit for breaking the news on this blog that Zen Master Jonathan Schwartz was the lawyer behind the Allen Iverson trade. And now we learn yesterday AI maybe coming to Miami. Who told ya? Who?
Me.

Anonymous said...

I think that Nicole Ricthe is such a dirty little girl. She's so sexy now that she has a mug shot for DUI.

Anonymous said...

Its beginning to look a lot like
the 11th Circuit
For everyone's favorite Judge.

His interviews went fine
The Bushes think he's a find

So it's beginning to look a lot like Atlanta
For our favorite Judge from South Miami

Anonymous said...

There is not a person around who will have anything negative to say about dave sisselman. he is a great guy.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm looney, but the video of that guy fleeing from a gas station looks an awful like a new PD in county court.

Anonymous said...

what video?

Rumpole said...

my posting at 2:47 should read "contretemps". Thats what I get for drinking too much at lunch.

Anonymous said...

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Rumpole said...

Could you please document that allegation, otherwise I need to remove it. It's quite serious and I could not find it when I did a google search of the attorneys name.

Anonymous said...

Sisselman IS a great guy. He is not a kiss up. He'll tell you when there are problems. He's just being even-handed. GOOD FOR HIM! I wish more people were.

Anonymous said...

rump, some advice, take down the comment UNLESS AND UNTIL you have documented proof - probably a better way to play it

Anonymous said...

Why don't people grow up and just not post bad things about anyone? Prosecutor or defense lawyer or judge? Why don't we spend our time talking about the law and important things instead of trashing people?

Anonymous said...

sis is a good guy but, "you shouldnt throw stones in glass houses".

Anonymous said...

Leave him alone!!

A seasoned trial attorney, Michael Pasano focuses his practice primarily on complex criminal and civil litigation in both federal and state court. His areas of concentration include the defense of a wide array of white collar matters, including fraud and money-laundering; forfeitures; tax issues; FDA, FTC and SEC cases; antitrust and environmental issues; and others. His clients include a wide array of professionals in the corporate arena, including attorneys, doctors, accountants, corporate executives, and other professionals. He also handles appeals.

Before joining the firm, Mr. Pasano worked for seven years in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, DC, and the Southern District of Florida, where he was a member of the major crimes, public corruption, and fraud units, and where he served as Chief of the Broward and West Palm Beach satellite offices. In March 1993, he became chief of the Miami Fraud Section, and in October of that year was named chief of the U.S. Attorney's Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach offices.

He has been named one of South Florida's Top Lawyers by the South Florida Legal Guide since its inception, and is listed in Florida Trend's "Legal Elite" and The South Florida Business Journal's "Best of the Bar." Mr. Pasano is the author and co-author of many publications regarding lawyer ethics and sentencing guidelines, including "The Ethics of Government Stings," American Bar Association Annual Meeting, 2003; and "Pushing the Guidelines Envelope," ABA White Collar Crime Institute 2003. He is a frequent contributor to the ABA Criminal Justice Magazine and lectures regularly on the range of criminal litigation issues.

Anonymous said...

Rump - how about you remove every post from 4:56 on. and maybe in future set this so you have to approve every post BEFORE it goes up, rather than removing it after the damage is done?

Anonymous said...

Rumpole,

I have never said take anything down, but unless there is proof, you need to take the Pasano thing down. I have never even met the guy; am jealous of his success; and know people that do not like him, but leaving that up there is Bull.

s/ OnlyIcanbeadick.com

Rumpole said...

ITS DOWN. ITS DOWN.

Rumpole said...

That post does not name names. It could be anyone. However, I am so far removed from the world of new PDs that I can evision a scenario where most people would know who the person the post refers to. My main concern is not what is on this blog, with my 500 readers. My concern is the google links that make the posts show up when a person's name is googled.

Rumpole said...

Anonymous said...
Rump - how about you remove every post from 4:56 on. and maybe in future set this so you have to approve every post BEFORE it goes up, rather than removing it after the damage is done?

Welcome to the blog. Thats called moderation and people hate it when I do that. I prefer at this time to monitor the blog and ask people to use some good common sense. Of course if things get bad, I can always shut it down like before.

Anonymous said...

Rump far easier than a master calendar is to have Farina, instead of wasting his time commenting on the false docket non-story that the Herald is in love with, make it a rule that if a judge finishes calendar they have to be available to try another judges cases. That way few cases would get court continued and many more would plead if they knew there really was a judge ready to try the case no matter how many cases the judge had on a speedy demand etc.