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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

MAIL BAG

Ferrer’s follies generated these comments:

Amen to that last post. That former jumped-up security guard, cop wanna be was a tool.

Rumpole notes that former Judge Ferrer was not a cop wanna be but a cop has-been.

A trial lawyer writes:

I tried a murder case before Ferrer when I was a APD. No question he is a law and order type but he let us try our case and the man knows the law.

A reader chuckles:

LOL. Ferrer was only nasty to folks who deserved it. If you made a stupid argument, didn't bother to do your research, misrepresented your case and wasted everyone's time (which many of our colleagues do), he gave you what you deserved.

And finally:


Ferrer was a good judge, its just that he has that same "I'm smarter than any lawyer in front of me" attitude that Emas has. Call it arrogance or simply call it having a black robe.


Jason Grey has his fans:

Fan1
That Jason Grey shit was right on point. Tight work homey!

Fan2
As usual, Jason pulled no punches....Keep on slugging.


On the face of the judiciary, readers wrote in:


“If you can’t beat em, join em” writes:

the judiciary should resemble the population. white non hispanics are the minority in this county and our course is slowly running with regard to election races. how do you think the minorities felt down here for decades being judged by white men who could not speak their language? it's alright by me.

Rumpole replies: Ay Que Rico.


“Tawanya Goldstein-Lopez” writes:

If the judiciary resembled the populace, the average judge would have an IQ of 100 and a high-school education. But then that's not what you meant? You meant...the judiciary should bear superficial resemblence to the populace? Of course, I've always had a hard time picking out Cubans from a line-up. Better be safe and just vote by surname. It's easier than reflecting on background, and you can do it at the polling place.

Rumpole replies: Oy-vey, homey.

Yehudah Estevez-Dupuis writes:

Agreed. Resemblence beats competency hands down


A reader notes:


Today's County Court judge might be tomorrow's Circuit Court judge. Even if that weren't the case, hasn't this blog spent an enormous amount of time (and space) talking about DUI cases/litigation and the judges that handle those cases...and the lawyers that litigate those cases? Aren't individuals' liberty and rights and the litigation of those cases important ?

Rumpole replies: We go where our readers take us. We posted comments on the death penalty, and sentencing and were rewarded with yawns and one of our favorite erudite readers who always posts “zzzzzz…..”. We keep trying to steer the conversation towards serious problems and the readers steer us back to County Court, Tannebaum/Reiff, and Portia’s assets.
Coming soon: we post Professor Dershowtiz’s “RULES OF THE JUSTICE GAME” and eagerly await comments.

Anonymous writes:

the governor's recent judicial appointments show that it is not that important who sits on the bench, as long as they fit an ethnic profile or have done a great thing for the republican party. This goes for the elected ones also. The days of an experienced, successful lawyer ascending to the bench after a great career ended with the election of Stan Blake.Now it's just mediocre lawyers with attractive last names looking for a pay raise.

Anonymous joins in:

Judges know attorneys don't have the judge's interests at heart. At each turn, the prosecution and defense are trying to convince the judge to rule thusly. And at each turn the judge knows someone, perhaps in good-faith, is trying to pull a fast-one. That's simply how our system of justice works. But it has consequences in that judges have, essentially, an adverse relationship with those practicing in front of them. The prosecution and the defense view each other as adversaries. The judge looks at both and wonders which one will screw him over for the sake of his/her client.Is it any surprise that a judge's attitude toward those who practice in front of him would have an edge to it?

Rumpole replies: Prosecutors have a higher duty than winning, Justice. And Justice is obtainable if everyone knows that a defense attorney will fight as hard as ethically possible for their client. That does not mean pulling the wool down over a Judge’s eyes at every opportunity. Any prosecutor caught trying to pull a fast one should be disbarred and then jailed. It strikes at the very heart of our system.


Jason Grey writes:

I don't care If a judge is Black, white, brown, blue, green, or polka dottedand I don't think the public cares either. Ask a Jewish defendant if she feels she will catch a break just because her judge is named Goldstein. Or ask a black defendant if It helps that the police officer who arrested him and the judge who will try him are black. The answers shouldn't surprise you. Judges don't judge by race they judge by the law, and the Life experiences they bring with them. What we need are Judges who are , well,Judgey. They need to have been around long enough to know bullshit when they see it, and have that air of wisdom and confidence that only comes after many years of seasoning. How do you think it seems to the 55 year old parents of a 25 year old defendant when A person barely 30 years old sits in judgment and doesn't seem too sure about what they are doing. Its all about the perception of Justice. Judges need the stuff to make hard unpopular decisions. I'm not saying young lawyers can't make great judges,they can, and do ,but they have to be special. The problem is that voters don't know anything about the candidates, they are throwing darts. and the appointment process is all politics.

Rumpole querries: "Judgey"??? But you seem to have put your finger on it. What ever their race or sex, the issue is experience and ability. We know of several judges who won election and NEVER TRIED A CASE. That is a travesty.

A reader writes with a well taken criticism:

I agree that many of the recent appointees were appointed for political reasons. But disagree that Judge B. Miller fits into this category. She is more than qualified. We need more like her. It's a shame that when a deserving person obtains a prestigious position, some people will claim it's because he or she was Black/Hispanic/Jewish/Female, etc. That is totally unfair to the people who deserve what they get and just happen to be minorities. You want to slam the recent appointees----fine. Some deserve it. But don't paint everyone with the same brush. PS----Dragging religion into this by suggesting that "white Jewish males" (as opposed to "white non-Jewish males") have a problem with recent appointments is inappropriate and ridiculous. You really think all white Jewish males (and only white Jewish males) are concerned about what's happening? Besides, the comment is an insult to the many Jews who have repeatedly supported other minorities

Rumpole replies: It was with trepidation that we used the term “Jewish males”. However, in light of the fact that two Jewish male Judges currently have opposition from two Hispanic females, we felt it was appropriate under the circumstances. But your comments are wise and well put. We note however, that what we wanted our comments to convey was not our opposition to the current face of the judiciary, just the comments that people are making about what is happening.

We voiced a weak approval for the way things are heading. We applaud a diverse Judiciary, we just do not like the qualifications of many people- of all races- who are becoming judges.

In the final analysis, Jason Grey had it right when he commented on the age/experience gap as the real issue.


A wise reader writes:

Pluralism on the bench is a goal of our populist era state constitution that has been subverted by the politics of the Bar. Almost the whole bench are people who paid their dues and became too accustomed to the realities of the dropsie case. The exception is Judge Newman who the old timers despise because he did not pay his dues and does not flatter them. But on the other hand if the communities of Miami had their true druthers I’m afraid judges with Newman’s Bill Cosby type attitude toward ‘those other people who can’t raise their kids’ would rule. Does it take an enlightened despot like Kreiger-Martin to protect the accused?


Rumpole morns: Pluralism- we hate it when a reader uses the word we should have used. It shakes our confidence, strikes at our ego, and wounds our self esteem. Nice Post.

See You In Court Not Watching Howard Rosen in trial. Inside Joke.

SPECIAL POST- WHY WE BLOG

Anonymous hits a home run:

Rump:It seems that you have achieved your blog's goals: to provide a place for MJB attorneys to discuss their grievances and perhaps, even have them addressed. Special applause to the Judges Schwartz: they have accepted criticism and pledged to do better (and they’re already pretty good in my book). What more could us lowly lawyers ask for?

Anonymous (so you don’t think I’m sucking up to anyone, even you)


Rumpole replies: You got it. We humbly note that before the blog, people would just get angry, pass a few dirty comments in the cafeteria and that was it. Most of the time the Judge was not even aware people were upset and continued doing whatever they were doing that was annoying people. This blog is not about anonymous attacks. At its best, it is a place to raise and discuss issues, and let Judges, Lawyers, and PD’s whose name we can rhyme, know when we think they are doing a good job, and when we think they are dropping the ball.
Thanks for the post, it made our day.

BENNETT BRUMMER CONFLICT STUNNER?

In all the huff on other matters, we overlooked that our local PD conflicted from the Shenandoah Rapist case.

One thought is that it was just too difficult for the PD’s to try and meet with their client, being that he kept escaping and all. Who among the defense bar has not felt that all too familiar frustration of going to the jail to see your client only to be told “he’s escaped again. Try back tomorrow.” ? It’s a real day killer.

We also note Mr BB is a serious loser to Kathy Williams in best local PD. Maybe the New Times can include that in their Best Of Miami series.

A reader opines on BB and conflicts:

Rumpole it is obvious that Bennett H. Brummer hates unpopular high profile cases . Ceasar Chavez-delay then conflict.The Orlando five case. Keep the juvinile then conflict. Rapalo- delay then conflict a week before jury selection. On Rapalo, why not just try the rapes first- then conflict off of the escape if no other way out? Was the State gonna call that witness in the rape case? No. What's the real conflict?

Another reader left a quick comment:

Every media case is a conflict for B.H.B. Thats how he earned the nickname stealth brummer.


Rumpole sums up: One thing about Mr. Brummer…its very easy to write rhyming headlines when ever he makes news.

On a serious note, his office has had the reputation of conflicting out on a lot of cases. Who among us has not seen the PD’s conflict on a serious and nasty case when one state witness out of dozens was once represented by them on a wh/cts plea at jail bond hearings? Maybe its time for the Judges to examine the PD conflict requests a little more carefully. On the other hand, we pay for our daily repasts at Pommeroy’s wine bar with the PD conflict cheques we get, so why are we even complaining about this? Keep conflicting BB.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

THE HONORABLE JUDGE SHELDON SCHWARTZ

Frank Perdue said “it takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” and many people have said it takes a big man to apologize.

Judge Sheldon Schwartz writes about a bad experience last week:


I apologize for my demeanor this past Thursday at the Miami Beach court. It was an aberration. Those who appear before me regularly know I start dockets punctually and my dockets run smoothly. I am always in court early and handle many things prior to the arrival of the public and counsel. That goes for mitigation dockets which at counsels request I volunteered and continue to handle. They are usually at REG every Thursday (but last Thursday of month when I go to Miami Beach).they are scheduled for 8:15 but I arrive at 7:30 and review and render my decision on the computer. Attorneys then review their cases and if they wish them to be reviewed again i do so. This way attorneys do not have to wait. Check with any attorney who handle these matters and you will see this is the truth. But this past Wednesday my staff was advised we had no 8:15 mitigation docket and they called me to so advise. I arrived at court 8:10 to find no fewer than 3 attorneys waiting with notices for 8:15.i handled their matters (one was for 10:30)and continued on with the mitigation docket with attorneys coming and their cases being called.


We then started a criminal traffic trial docket with attorneys and officers being called first, providing they were present when that docket started. Cases were resolved by trial, Plea or dismissal. The same held true on the misdemeanor docket.

I believe that the unrepresented defendant should have equal justice in the courts as a represented defendant. I believe the defendants and witnesses and the public have a right to be informed of the law and understand perhaps why a certain action was taken. Perhaps by explaining in lay terms we will have less crime in our community. Perhaps we should try to make the moment in court an educational and or learning experience. Maybe people should know they may loose their drivers license for certain violations of the law etc. By informing perhaps we will find ourselves having less crime in the community.

Perhaps you would have preferred for expediency. I issue a warrant when the court lacked jurisdiction on a unrepresented defendant who had been placed on probation by another judge in May, with me covering in August and advising the state they had no warrant issued and must have one prior to probation term expiring; or perhaps I should have permitted the state to use a police officer having nothing to do with the case to introduce evidence in a trial because his witnesses had not appeared .

Well, that is not me so if it took a few additional moments I could not help it.

Yesterday was a day I do not wish to remember and one I will not forget. If you were on time and I did not call you out of turn I apologize. I further apologize for my demeanor because of the total frustration I was feeling.

Shelly Schwartz


Rumpole responds: Dear readers, here is our favorite quote from our favorite Bard, which we too often find ourselves resorting to at sentencing. However, it fits here as well.

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd.

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heavenUpon the place beneath.
It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

Portia, The Merchant of Venice.

Here are some reader’s comments about Judge Sheldon Schwartz’s post:


"shelly schwartz says SO SO SO SO SO SO SORRYWill the other robed ones follow?........"


"At least Judge shelly Schwartz had the courage to say sorry. That is more than others in the legal profession who make errors do ."

"For those who review this blog,it is suggested we all look at ourselves.yes,judge schwartz was curt with me on more than one occasion. why? i sent a client by himself to court to request a continuance the day of trial; and a second time when i filed a motion but did not seek a ruling from the court but presumed it would be granted.i will not do such things again although i had managed to do it before.he wishes and wants the best for all people and thats why he takes the time to explain many things.the public seems to understand his word as do police officer and i have seen this thru my own jaundiced eyes as a fellow attorney. "


"Kind of sad that this blog allows people to anonymously attack nice guys like Shelly Schwartz. I only had a couple of problems with him. Each time, I went and spoke to him. He was more than fair and accommodating. Perhaps if some of you guys who had problems with people actually spoke to them outside of court, you'd see that things could be worked out pretty easily. Just a thought. "

Rumpole replies: You are wrong. Judge Schwartz was criticized (not attacked) for having a difficult calendar. That is what this blog is for. Attorneys had a place to discuss their anger and frustration. Judge Schwartz heard their anger and responded. Everyone is better off for it. Attacking Judge Schwartz would have been some untoward comment on his tie. That we will not allow.


"Sheldon Schwartz is a bit loud and sometimes talks too much in court, but he's otherwise a much better judge than some of the nice and polite judges that we have in the building "


"Linking back to the poll about judges punishing defendants who elect to go to trial, we can say in defense of Shelly Schwartz that he is a judge who doesn't put up with that concept. He has resisted the current trend in traffic and misdemeanor courts to punish those defendants who elect trial at soundings and pretrial conferences, and he's quite vocal about it. "

"About the 'other robed ones', who do you think should follow with apologies? Has anything else like this happened anywhere else lately? "

"We should thank Judge Sheldon Schwartz:he does not just appoint the office of the Public Defender and tells all to get an attorney. "

"Be on time! Have common courtesy!Be professional!If you follow these simple rules, the Judge Schwartz is with you. Yes,he talks a lot, but that is because he truly cares about all whose who come before the Court. Perhaps that area he can work on. But others should also care ,be they attorneys or judges. "

"Thursday on the Beach was not a good experience.But it was not because of the judge;but the prosecutors who had no idea what they were doing.Those who were present saw "baby"prosecutors who had no knowledge of what they were doing.One did not even know what jurisdiction is.I sat thru some of this,until my case was called,and yes it was called out ofturn by the judge.
p.h. "

"If Shelly's robes were black, his ties conservative, and his comments short, no one would complain about him. "

"Judge Schwartz(Sheldon)not my favorite judge but gives unrepresented defendants most justice of any judge;victoms learn the system and restitution is made,not merely promised as is often the case.I was present Thursday.It was not a good day. But we all have bad days.We were laughing when the A.S.A .tried to use an officer from Miami Beach who had nothing to do with the case to introduce evidence in a trial where a defendant went pro se!Is a judge to laugh or cry for having such prosecutors before him or any other judge?I for one believe the judge did correctly in explaining to the prosecutor the way he did. Most of us would have made some comments which would have placed us in contempt!Judge schwartz cool down. Continue to be fair to all even if it take an extra ten minutes for such to be done. "


Rumpole sums up: bottom line is that sentiment is running in favor of Judge Sheldon Schwartz. Everyone has a bad day at work from time to time.
Judges who have bad days usually have them in front of crowded courtrooms.
We applaud Judge Sheldon Schwartz for his courage to engage in this dialogue.
He always had our vote, but we think even a lot more of him today.

See You In Court.



FERRER FIRESTORM, MULTICULTURALISM & THE MILLERS.

We made a quip about former Judge Ferrer and a few readers responded:

A Ferrer fan writes:

Say what you want about Ferrer, but he was one of the best judges we'll ever have and a hell of a nice guy.

And No Fan Of Ferrer responds as only Rumpole Readers can:


Oh my God! Ferrer was one of the most pompous, arrogant, and nastiest judges in the building. Whoever said he was the best and nicest must be one of the prosecutors that was sleeping with him!

Rumpole notes: Ferrer’s fair-weather friends fete a famous former fact finder.

Try saying that three times fast.

New Judge Bronwyn Miller got caught up in the fray on our humble blog:

A reader rises for the defense:

How did B. Miller get dragged into this? The fact is that she is one of the best young lawyers in the county. She handled (and won) more difficult hearings and trials than any other young lawyer at the Miami SAO (I'd rather have her hearing my case than the vast majority of lawyers who have been practicing 25+ years. She certainly has better experience than many of the other appointees with more years in). She's extremely bright, got great judgment and is reasonable. Hopefully, after a few years of seasoning as a county judge, she can move to circuit and beyond. We need more top young lawyers to pursue this course.PS----with her abilities and incredible work ethic, she easily could leave public service and make a hell of a lot more than she does now. Would that be preferable?

Rumpole responds : Someone made a crack about Judge Miller and we assumed it was David Miller. Then another reader said maybe the Miller crack was about Bronwyn Miller, a newer Governor Bush appointee to the County Court Bench.


Here is the issue with her appointment, which has little to do with her:

There is a brewing resentment among attorneys, mostly older, mostly white, mostly male, about the political clout of younger female attorneys. The older attorneys feel they have put in the time and work and would like to be considered for a judicial appointment. Or those that are Judges decry the fact that they are getting opposition and losing elections despite having done nothing wrong except to being born white and male.

Oh, the unfairness of fickle fate!

As Bob Dylan sung, "The times, they are a changing" . In the not too distant past, the polticial clout club had mostly white males as members, with a few women or an African American thrown in so everyone could look in the mirror and congratulate themselves on how open minded and liberal they were.

Now the pendulum has swung, and the people getting over looked are angry.
It’s the same affirmative action debate wrapped in different clothes.


Rumpole pontificates that the answer is that discrimination of any sort is wrong and leads to problems. People should be promoted on the basis of ability and ability alone. It would also be nice if we won the lottery and on the way to collect our millions, stopped to help Pam Anderson change a flat tire, fell madly in love and lived in Hawaii the rest of our lives.

Neither episode is very likely to occur.

You cannot visit the sins of the fathers upon the sons. That is wrong.
Yet attempts must be made to correct prior injustices.

So now it is harder for older white males to become judges, and easier for other people to become judges.
So be it.

As one of our favorite former Judge's was overheard saying (yes we have sources everywhere) and we paraphrase her rant: "no one was crying very hard when Rudy Sorrondo could not get an appointment and lost an election." Read "no one" as the White Jewish Male contingent.

Now Hispanics, females, and especially female Hispanics have the door wide open to them. More African American attorneys are also winning elections or getting appointments. And the Bench in Dade County doesn't seem to be collapsing. Cases are still getting tried. The courthouse has not crumbled because every Judge in County Court is not an older Male named Klein, Shapiro, Nesbitt, Winton, Oppenborn, Rothenberg (we miss old Arthur hiding in probate) Perry, and the like.

This debate should not taint the reputation of a young and talented attorney/Judge like the Honorable Bronywn Miller. And older white males will just have to work a little harder, now that the door to advancement is, if not wide open, is at least open wider than it was before.

Multiculturalism- ain’t it great?

See You In Court.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

PORTIA, PD'S , CHUNKY LAWYERS AND BOTH JUDGES SCHWARTZ

The Portia of Our Chambers purrs:

Rumpooole: I have my own poll! You do flatter me. But no one has answered my ad. And I get awfuly lonely in my apartment at night, reading FLW's naked and wondering who will tutor me. I need some big strong defense attorney to cross examine me and spank me when I answer the wrong way. I'm sort of sad no one wants to see my long legs. Oh well. it would be nice if you guys could raise your eyes just a bit when talking to me. I do have a face you know.
Portia.


Portia’s suitor replies:

Ok, Portia, I'll raise my eyes and answer your ad. Leave your messages at
portia_pd@yahoo.com


Rumpole notes: We thought we were the only ones who read the FLW au natural. Portia my darling, you know its your legal mind that we lust for.


STATE VS FEDERAL PDS

Don King writes:

To settle this state PD versus federal PD argument, let's have Jason organize a boxing match in the Mahi parking lot between both teams and take bets. The winning team then donates the prize money to their favorite judges' campaigns. What do you think?

And another reader likes this match-up:

you would rue the day the top comes off bill barzee and all the rage bottled under that cheerful red mop comes spilling out. barzee v. stein? barzee in 3.

A “friend of Bill” writes:
Stop writing about barzee. He doesn't care about this.

And another reader writes:
Barzee and Stein on the cover of mad magazine


A blog first: a reader admits they were wrong!!

OK OK I admit I was just was wrong about Ms. Williams (see recent poll numbers) but I'm sure proud of all rage it caused.



Judge Larry Schwartz on the blog drew some comments.

An angry voter yells:

Does anyone else think it's pathetic that Larry Schwartz keeps trying to defend himself on this stupid blog? He must have something better to do with his time. Come on Larry, go read some case law or something. Prepare yourself for what's coming.

But a wise passer by responds:

Does anyone else think it's pathetic that Larry Schwartz keeps trying to defend himself on this stupid blog? No. But it is amusing someone would insult the very blog they were using as their anonymous soap box.


Rumpole worries: Lets not get into the habit of calling this the "stupid blog."

A judge Larry Schwartz fan writes:

Judge Lawrence is not at all trying to defend himself. He states that he believes in a fair trial and that soundings are the appropriate time to seek continuances. No one ever accused him of not giving a fair trial, or being procedurally unfair. If he was defending himself, he'd address why it is he is so rude to each and every person who appears before him, both lawyers and defendants.

Rumpole replies: We came out in support of Judge Larry Schwartz and several readers left comments that could kindly be called “bracing” at best. It was nice to see Judge Schwartz participate and respond. He wasn’t so much as defending himself as adding to the discussion. Plus, you think its case law Judges are reading on the computers when they are on the bench?


ON THE HEFTY DUI PRIVATE LAWYER POSTS:

A chunky DUI lawyer “weighs” in:

don't call me fat.
/s/ fat jim.

And another reader writes:

fat Ed is a surprisingly crafty individual who can be seen walking the halls of the REG building from time to time. Sometimes, he appears relatively young and spry, other times, he dons a disguise, gains 60 pounds and begins to use words that he does not appear to fully understand. Warning, to his credit, in disguise, he is an extremely impressive and accomplished defense attorney capable of causing riots in a single bound. He also possesses the uncanny ability to appear in both disguise and in person in the same location at the same time! This character trait is known to be endearing to jurors, women and young children. Any prosecutor attempting to confront this individual should use extreme caution, especially when he is in disguise.



SHELDON SCHWARTZ MELT DOWN

WE HAD SEVERAL EMAILS AND COMMENTS ABOUT TODAY’S (THURSDAY January 26, 2006) MIAMI BEACH CALENDAR HANDLED BY SHELDON SCHWARTZ.

An angry reader writes:

Some musings re: Sheldon Schwartz

I had the distinct displeasure of wasting the entire morning before this blowhard who was covering for Judge Pozo this morning on the beach. My heart goes out to anybody and everybody (and there were many) who had to suffer through his calendar, listening to his nuggets of wisdom which fell to the earth like elephant turds at the circus. For better or worse, the Haitian Gestapo made sure there were no weapons in the courtroom. If I had only known ahead of time, I would have brought a jug of Kool Aid and some Dixie cups. I'm convinced the only reason that the cops sitting in the jury box didn't suck on their semiautomatics was because they were too busy sleeping off the midnight shift.
No, really, IT WAS THAT BAD.
Somebody please tell me who is running against this schmuck so I can sign over my IRA.


Rumpole replies: several lawyers were buzzing angrily today about the Miami Beach calendar. We have said before that we support Shelly Schwartz, but we will post the truth. And the truth is that Judge Schwartz does not always accommodate attorneys by taking them out of turn, and he runs calendars that can sometimes go on and on and on like former Judge Ferrer touting his modesty or the line Herald scribe Nesmith waits in every morning. Time is money Judge Schwartz. You know that. You were in private practice long enough to know the pressures we are all under. Take some attorneys out of turn. Put a smile on their face. Its such a small gesture, and yet it can mean so much.


KUDOS TO RICHARD SHARPSTEIN AND DOUG HARTMAN. You guys turned a losing case into a winner. We worry about those guys back on the street arresting our clients, but you guys did your job superbly, and that's what counts. We saw a bit of the trial and heard the comments. It was over by opening.

SEE YOU IN COURT. NOT MIAMI BEACH BRANCH COURT. WE CAN'T STAND THE LINES.



ALL OUR PROBLEMS ANALYZED


(Rumpole interjects, as is our want, [ here] in the corpus of the post.)

Jason Grey writes:

If I may, I will try to dissect the different species found in and about thebuilding.

State Pds: huge case loads , clients that snap their fingers atyou like you are a waiter, starvation wages (except the brass of course),clients who are either nasty, mean, pathetic, crazy, drunk/stoned(in court)or all of the above, none of whom respect you ,or even believe you are alawyer. Little training ,god help you if you try to get appeals to answer alegal question (they will look at you like a bug), [Rumpole notes: completely different on the State side, where their legal division is always available to come to court and help out. Too bad for the PDs. ]
You have to stand aside while us privates take the podium most of which babble stupidly for a continuance while most of the rest seek to withdraw to avoid trial. You should be in trial EVERY trial week. More then once if possible. Best job I ever had!

Fed pds : small case loads; high pay, offset by no meaningful discovery,horrible and unforgivably complex sentencing guidelines, an opponent who has endless resources and will fly a witness from Guam to rebut some minor point, uber conservative judges who never can be challenged in anelection (read demigod), jury pools that seem to be drawn from a 700 clubtaping and an appellate court that wont overturn a pancake if it's burning. [Rumpole nods, nice analogy].

Asa: Gigantic case load, share cropper wages, [ Rumpole notes that it is a shame the SAO cannot manage their budget like the PD’s office can.] witness who either want death for a bicycle theft, or won't show up to prosecute a multipleshooting, all of whom call your boss to complain about you.
Cops who's story you don't believe, won't show up, hate you, or think you are an inexperienced idiot. supervisors who say no any time you ask them anything. Dealing with Pds who think all of their clients are innocent, and privates who whine about probation for a client who is charged with a 1st pbl has a dozen priors and comes to court with a t- shirt that says "fuck the man" in neon letters.

Lets not forget juries who won't believe anything a cop says and anoffice that provides next to no training or support(except of course your classmates), trying to make a difference and not to forget you have thepower to affect or even destroy peoples lives.

Private attorneys: wanted to be a (fill in the blank) [Rumpole fills the blank….porn stars, CEO’s who sleep with porn stars….Perry Mason with porn stars in the office….] , but wound up here, chasing clients for money, having to ask for a 6th continuance because you haven't been paid (the point of the whole exercise), or because no one especially cops ever show for deposition. Judges who put you on hour standby as if you have nothing else to do… ever . Asa’s who won't listen, or call you back, Federal judges who don't care what you are doing or where you are and threaten to send the Us marshals to come get you. Clients who won't listen to advise, and all of whom When choice "A" is the plea offer, and choice"B" is a trial want choice "c" which doesn't exist, then hire a new lawyer when you cant get them what they want. clients who refuse to go to trial even ifthey are innocent if the offer is non-jail. And judges who scare them out oftrial by telling some 40 year old woman she is looking at 5 years on a 1stoffense shoplifting. People hating you because you are a lawyer and lastlyhaving to explain for the millionth time how you can defend those people,even to civil lawyers.

Dealing with asa’ s who can’t , won’t , or who aren't allowed to make a decision. standing in line at the podium like we are in Morison's cafeteria X 6 courtrooms. Bounced checks, visiting clients in jail that is always on lockdown , shift change or the 2 hours before and after shift change nobody employed at any jail will do anything. Judges who have never been in a criminal court, or for that matter a jury trial , asking for case law on everything most of which is devoid of case law because no one at any level has ever questioned such an obvious point before.

We do get to drive nice cars though.
Sorry to be so long winded remember we are all in this together more onJudges later
Jason Grey ,

Rumpole says: Does it get any better than that?

IN DEFENSE OF JUDGE JIMENEZ
Anonymous rises for the defense:


All the griping about Jimenez is ridiculous. He gives defendants a good trial on evidentiary rulings. Yes he is tough on sentencing but does that really make him a bad judge? In the minds of defense attorneys maybe. If you really think that, does it mean that all asa's should dislike certain Judges who will remain nameless who sentence less than harshly. If an asa expressed that opinion, you and Jason, and Bobby and Brian would be all over the writer.What defense attorneys really dislike about Jimenez is that he makes them go to trial which is what most defense attorneys, If their clients are out on bond, would to delay for as long as possible so twenty incompetent asa's get a chance to butcher the file and witness will disappear. Many ASA's gripe about not for any strategic reason like delay but they really just don’t want to try cases and are just at the SAO to polish their resume and leave after three yearsI know its rough that a judge doesn’t let you get your 10th continuance because you have a dui trial, have a five minute arraignment in federal court, or your dog ate your motion to suppress. Grow up all you whining infants, I know its really shocking when a Judge expects you to be prepared and actually wants to try cases.Enough gotta go watch The Shield

Rumpole says: thanks for writing Judge Jiminez (how many times can we use that line until people get so sick of it they stop reading?) Really, it was a nice defense of Judge Jiminez. For what’s its worth, he has always been nice to us.

See You In The Court Parking Lot driving our nice (but leased) car.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

BLOG GETS CHILLY AS PD'S SLING MUD


As we read these posts and prepared them for publication, we noted the decidedly icy tone the posts are taking. Is it post holiday blues? Disgruntled Bronco or Panther fans? CVS running low on Prozac or Paxil? Calm down and act a bit more civilized please.

Remember, no matter how bad it is, we are attorneys, and that means we don’t have to wait in the hour long lines with “Oh Susannah Nesmith “ our favorite Herald scribe.


Judge Larry Schwartz writes about the sounding/continuance fiasco:

I don't know where the sounding/continuance issue developed. I have never seen and administrative order or policy statement. As far as I'm concerned, that policy does not exist when I take over my new division next Monday, the 30th. Many things have been said about me here, but I think all will agree I always try to give BOTH sides a fair trial. Being ready is part of fairness. ANd by the way, the election in a two person race is September. That's when I"ll take your advice and WIN WIN WIN. Thanks for your vote of confidence.Judge LAS


A rare ASA logs on to the PD dispute:

Having been an ASA in County, I can tell you that the best representation that DUI defendants recieve is from the PDs. Even the PDs that are a year out do a better job in court than fat ed, fat best, or any of the other fools in there. Those guys beg for continuances if they are faced with a trial...oh, the cops are here...well judge...uh...uh, I am not ready, I have to be in federal court...yeah, that's it. It is only when they have a sure winner that the case goes. The pds take what comes and do one hell of a job trying the cases. I'd like to see fat ed or fat jim try a case where the state has evidence.

Rumpole huffs: Fat? Fat? We resemble that remark.

Anonymous writes:

Few ex-State PD's are hired by the Feds? Well tell that to Judge William Thomas, Bill Barzee, Jan Smith and Hector Dopico. Where areyou getting this stuff ignoramus?

Rumpole wonders: When did “ignoramus” become the favored epithet?


Anonymous rambles:

Idea for a poll: Fed PD LOVERS LIST oR x state PD'S LIST OF BEST ATTY'S. let the people decide.

Rumpole requests: Can someone please translate this into English for us so we can respond? Thanks.

Anonymous writes:

you name the cream of the crop. (you forgot migna!) all four, out of 400, during their collective time peiod, hired away. another 25 turned away. that's "few." thanks for making my point. state hack.

And a Kathy Williams Fan writes:

i've been reading with interest. no one mentioned that clearly Kathy values what good state PDs bring to the table. her predecessor wouldn't touch PD's, at least those from Dade. Kathy changed that with her hire of Will Thomas.

A sharp barb

did someone just comment that being an asa is "polish for the resume." !!! I guess it is if you finished at the bottom of your class at st. thomas...

Rumpole says: Ouch.

PD’s are getting nasty:

this state hack has never lost a murder trial (tried 3) and has lost5 trials out of 25 in the past 3 years - go back to the Feds andbeg for your cooperation agreements (snitch lawyer that you are).

Rumpole wonders: We are amazed. We would have bet a pretty penny the PD’s and ASA’s would be snipping at each other. Instead, the Federal and State PD’s are going at it like two lawyers fighting over the last muffin at Au Bon Pain.

PD Term limits?

After 6 years, PD's should be forced to leave. Term limits for Pd's. And don't give me this nonsense about older PD's helping out or showing the kids the ropes. Almost uniformly, the older PD's want nothing to do with trials, or work at all.

Rumpole posits: Every six years a judge should be required to spend 6 months litigating in the PD’s office and then 6 months litigating in the SAO. And we mean like a C or B, in the pits. That would humble them in a hurry.


No Fan Of Brian T

I believe in free expression and an open blog, but can't we make an exception for Brian Tannenbaum. The guy is just so annoying.

Rumpole replies: Post your name coward. You annoy us, not Mr. T.

No Fan of Joel Denaro:

Is Joel d Joel Denaro. Now I see why BB gets so much heat. Should I name your little friends, Joel? In due course, you'll all pay the price.

Rumpole wonders: Why threaten Joel D? Plus, his daddy can whoop your daddy (at least in court) any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

Now we’re talking:

Why not just privatize the whole thing. Most Sapd's do a better job, anyway. (Or just give Sy Gaer $40 per case.)

Rumpole notes: Sy is a runaway winner in the poll.

Not a Fan of Judge Miller:

Can Judge Miller even write?

Rumpole knows this much: He can write “6 months DCJ for contempt” on your jail card, that’s for sure.


Anonymous, not a regular reader wonders:

Rump, what were the final results of the brummer hate or love poll. Did someopne ask you to take it down before we got the final results? The numbers were certainly going against brummer.

Rumpole grumbles: For the last time, you people need to stop seeing conspiracies behind every shadow, How many times do we have to say that we are computer idiots and we screwed up the blog until David with a K Markus rescued us? We have re-posted the Bennett poll.


Our Favorite Mystery Judge, he of the late night lengthy ramblings, weighs in:

I have examined my premise and it is sound. It is yours which is in error. Why should the "fast track" be deemed unjust? You, certainly, would never complain about being on the fast track to Pommeroy's Wine Bar. In fact, you would break down and whimper like a whipped dog if put on the slow track to said establishment. The destination is what matters and getting there quickly gives you less opportunity to screw up the case.

Moreover, a case can certainly be made that those defendants on the slow track may actually be the ones to get short shifted. This is well illustrated by Ambrose Bierce's definition of "Litigation" as contained in his Devil's Dictionary, to wit: a process by which one goes in as a pig and comes out a sausage. Not a pretty sight--the less time undergoing this process the better for the litigant.

Still Affectionately yours,

Judge Just-Slightly-Irked No-Bull-Ingham

Rumpole notes: 1) Who ever you are, we love your comments. 2) We still worry about your alcohol consumption.

3) On a serious note:

when a case is disposed of quickly, like a CTS plea, it is often done to clear a judge’s calendar regardless of whether the person is innocent or not. In all candor your honor, how would you feel if several dozen defendants in “dropsy” cases turned down CTS pleas and asked for a trial? The system could not handle it.

We cite Judge Irving Younger, (and give credit to the cite to our favorite federal blogger, Mr. David O Markus with a K)

“Were this the first time a policeman had testified that a defendant dropped a packet of drugs to the ground, the matter would be unremarkable. The extraordinary thing is that each year in our criminal courts policeman give such testimony hundreds perhaps thousands of cases- and that in a nutshell, is the problem of “dropsy” testimony…{W}hen one stands back from the particular case and looks at a series of cases, it becomes apparent that policeman are committing perjury in at least some of them, and perhaps nearly all of them.”

We ask you Judge No- Bull-Ingham, how many pleas to WH CTS have you taken in dropsy cases to clear your calendar and are you willing to stop that right now? People now get deported for taking those pleas.

See You In Court.

And stay tuned for “Jason Grey solves all our problems.” A massive post that deserves its own space. Plus, "In defense of Judge Jimenez" Coming soon.

We saw an “I read Rumpole” sticker , albeit a home made one, and we almost gave up our identity by bursting our laughing.

PSS. To that nice young PD in Judge Newman’s courtroom: yes you did make the blog, through no fault of your own, and no we do not believe for one second you are Portia. While you can accept the compliment of a reader who thinks you are “muy caliente” please accept our compliment that we think you are a pretty darn good and dedicated attorney. Keep up the good work.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A JUDGE WRITES TO US.

Judge Larry Schwartz writes:

Been reading the Justice Building Blog for weeks with much interest. I want to correct one thing that's been said about me. NOT JUST an economic crime prosecutor. Please don't forget my years in the Sacramento, Ca. D.A.'s office handling all cases except death penalty murders (because California didn't have the death penalty in those days.) Plus about 2 years prosecuting consumer fraud cases in the civil courts, due to the huge recoveries in civil penalties. I do know my way around a courtroom, both as a lawyer and a judge. Have a great day and thanks for the open forum.

Judge L.A.S.

Rumpole responds: If you have been reading this blog, you know we support you whole heartedly. You have been a topic of discussion. By your last comment we take it that you have found the “open forum” helpful. We think it is. When you get beyond the “stupid Judge so and so is mean” comments, the blog provides a real way for attorneys to communicate issues and make honest comments about judges. The sounding/continuance issue is a great point. We think this new policy is ridiculous. However, calling it ridiculous in open court would be improper. And many attorneys do not know judges well enough to barge into their chambers and tell them what they think. But if attorneys can make intelligent comments here, and judges can read them and filter out the chatter about semi-naked PD’s emailing us pictures, then this will be worth the time and energy we devote to it. We think many Judges would find the honest and thoughful comment and feedback invaluable.

Keep reading, Keep writing, and WIN WIN WIN in November.

PS. You Judges keep writing like this and we are going to get a bad reputation.

Anonymous wonders:

Who is Ellis Berger? Who ever you are- lighten up!

And another reader comments:

Bennett's blessings? So Ray would not have left otherwise? If you really know anything about Ray T., you'd know he thinks BHB is a worthless figurehead. Ellis Berger is a small-time zero who hasn't won a jury trial in probably a decade.

Ellis Berger responds:

To set the record straight, I am a former South Florida newspaper reporter with more than 20 experience covering education, politics, municipal and county government, state and federal courts, consumer affairs, and general assignments. I spent nearly 20 yeas with the old Miami News and three years with the Sun-Sentinel, most recently in their Miami bureau from February 2000 to November 2001. Not only am I not, as anonymous says, "a small-time zero who hasn't won a jury trial in probably a decade," I am not and never have been an attorney. I do happen to be a close personal friend of both Ray and John, and currently work part time in the Public Defender's Office on community outreach projects and communications. These and my previous remarks to this blog are entirely my own. They were not made at Bennett's direction nor with his knowledge. I have not discussed them with him, and did not ask his permission. I'm puzzled by the animosity my earlier comment received. It was intended only to set the record straight as I know it to be from the many conversations I've had with Ray and John.

Rumpole wonders: But..."are you now or have you ever been a communist?"

And readers by the dozen roar back :

"Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Yes, Rumpole loves to re-live those wonderful moments in history, like the Army Hearings with Senator McCarthy.

We are still amazed at the controvesry this blog causes in the PD world, while nary

a peep from those secretive and silent ASA’s. Who would a thunk it? Maybe they're too busy preparing for soundings to waste time reading our little blog.

On the Lengthy Post by an anonymous Judge, a reader was moved to write:

What a post! Sounds like the work of a literati judge like Scott Silverman... Or perhaps Larry Schwartz, who's known to write poetry? It could even be Pedro Echarte after one walk too many with his cigar and cell phone!

And another reader writes:

Wow! All that time writing a missive -- if only they spent as much time reading our motions (either side) or researching the case law!! Now, that would be something

Rumpole theorizes, we know of one Judge who loves the Rumpole of the Bailey series. We think he wrote the post, as the author clearly has read the series. How about it Judge Rob…… was it you?

An angry Phil Reizenstein yells:

Rumpole: your moronic readers are going on to my law firm's web site, and filling out forms as you, asking me to check your driver's license. Tell them to stop it. Or at least be more imaginative than that.
Phil Reizenstein.

Rumpole writes: You just told them yourself. PS. We drive on the wrong side of the road anyway, so don’t worry about our license. We think that it actually was pretty imaginative, (and funny) not that we want to encourage that type of behavior.

Appealing?

A reader wants a poll:

Once in awhile, minor things need to be appealed to the Circuit Court (misdemeanors, license revocations, etc.) I'd be interested in knowing what your readers thought about the Circuit Court Judges when they get to play appellate court.

Tannebaum worries:

Rump - i think you should take down my response to the post you deleted about my state court victories - without the post, it seems a bit self aggrandizing. I know you were trying to do the right thing

Rumpole replies: some idiot criticized you and we posted your reply. No one would ever accuse any criminal defense attorney of being self aggrandizing. Seriously, just leave your career and reputation in our steady hands, and just watch what happens. (You can drive a cab, right?).

See You In Court.

POLLS, PORTIA, ANONYMITY, AND SENSELESS SOUNDINGS.

Portia writes:

Oh God, all of this attention to my one little post is getting me so hot. I love the fact you guys are eyeing all the PD's trying to decide who I am. Rump...I will email you a picture. Your choice: legs that reach to the floor, or "they're real and they're spectacular." You can have one, not both, dirty boy.

Rumpole, wiping the sweat from our brow, responds:

Careful readers of the Rumpole Of The Bailey books know Portia as “the Portia of our Chambers” who Rumpole wrote about. She was the barrister wife of one of the other barristers in chambers. Portia later became a Judge in the series. We like a witty female who reads and writes.

Ace Herald scribe Oh Susannah Nesmith wants to know:

Don't MOST people's legs reach the floor? At least some of the time?

Anonymous has high hopes for Ms. Nesmith:

Hopefully the new Herald reporter will be better than that idiot, Trenton Daniel.


New Poll Fodder?

Anonymous has a few good points:

Anonymous is correct regarding the benefits of anonymity, and Portia's offer seems pretty fair, too. So, Rumpole, post two new polls: one about whether readers prefer anonymity over signing one's name, and another about whether readers prefer to see a picture of Portia's "legs that reach the floor" or "the real and spectacular" things, or both.

Rumpole agrees: .The Polls are back!!!! The old data has been saved, and there is a new poll on what picture Portia should send. Those of you who saw conspiracy theories in the absence of the Polls should relax. It was our computer incompetence and not anything else that made us take the polls down. Submit your ideas for a poll now. We will not post a poll on whether people should remain anonymous since being anonymous is part of the popularity of this blog. We just think you should be brave enough to post your name if you are attacking an attorney on a private issue or for a general allegation, like he doesn't comb his hair, etc.

The Benefits Of Anonymity:
Anonymous writes:

regarding Rumpy's line about being more likely to be believed if you leave your name - What about you Rumpy? Does that mean that we are not to believe anything you say?This whole thing about leaving your name or not is getting old too. Just because Grey, Reiff and Mr. T always write in as themselves does not mean they are any better than the rest of us anonymous persons.In fact, I find their insistence on using their names amounts to being a brown nose. I know Mr. T will say that he as a fellow blogger cannot be anonymous, [Rumpole notes, this is not true. When you leave a post, even if you are a fellow blogger, this blog gives you the chance to leave it anonymously.] and he may have a point. [R: He doesn’t.] But my point is that apart from the cheap shots which I do not condone either, there is nothing wrong with being anonymous, and I think for the sake of real justice it is better to be anonymous.

For example, have Grey, Reiff or Mr. T ever said anything controversial on here like these -”Why is it that the ex-defense attorneys - Ward & Jimenez - always make miserable judges?”


Or how about this one - Will someone please tell the judges that these new rules on motions for continuance are a complete and utter nonsense. I cannot understand why they insist on these motions being filed andheard before the sounding. Then what exactly is the purpose of having a sounding. I can understand in the courts with no soundings to have this policy, but in the courts with a sounding in place, please get rid of these stupid new rules. Also why are all these new judges setting status dates in addition to the sounding dates. Again isn't a sounding the same damn thing as a status conference as well. No wonder why the lines at the Justice building have been getting longer and longer with all these needless, pointless court dates. Anyway, the point is anonymity is a great thing for the blog so that real issues can be addressed.

Rumpole replies: Good post. Some evidence you suffer from ADD as you are all over the place, but you raise good topics.

On being Anonymous: You are correct we remain anonymous despite asking others not to, but we have self imposed guidelines. We do not just take cheap shots in posts at attorneys, as has been the case in the past with Reiff (Bad hockey player) and Tannebaum. Criticism of a public figure ( a judge or attorney on a case) can be posted anonymously. Personal cheap shots, or specific complaints about a particular case should be posted with a name.

Our guidelines are sort of like Justice Brennan’s definition of pornography “we know it when we see it.”

Here is an example- we will pick on Brian Tannebaum for a hypothetical:
Assume that Tannebaum in his position as president of the Miami Chapter of the FACDL made a statement like, “ the SAO should close the PTI program.” In that scenario, it would be acceptable to post an anonymous comment like “he’s a chucklehead” or some other of the type of highbrow intellectual comments we receive. It would OK to criticize Tannebaum for his public statement on a policy issue. But to just leave a gratuitous comment that he doesn’t try or win cases, without any evidence to support that, makes this blog just a forum for taking cheap shots, and we discourage that. Now if some person signed their name to a comment about any lawyer not trying or winning cases, then instead of it being an anonymous cheap shot, it would be a comment supported by at least a person’s name who by not remaining anonymous is saying: “here’s what I believe, try and disprove it if you can.”

We are not the media. But the attorneys and Judges in the REGJB have reputations that many of them have worked very hard to build, and we take that seriously.

On the sounding/ continuance issue, we agree with you 100%. Many judges now do not accept a defense motion for continuance at sounding. Yet the prosecution can move for a continuance at sounding. And those same Judges have JA’s that make it next to impossible to get a case on the calendar.

Robed readers: who in the name of bureaucratic incompetence came up with this bright idea that soundings are not for continuances? Former FEMA director Mike Brown? Former Broward County Elections supervisor Miriam Oliphant? Jack Abramoff? (You get the idea.)

What in the world are we going to a sounding for? Just to say Hi, “see you at trial next week? “

We know some of you were in private practice. Remember those days? Fighting for fees, chasing clients who bounce checks, swatting bondsmen and their hacks away from the new cases, and reading discovery, drafting motions, taking depos. Now we have to schedule additional hearings for a lousy continuance? And make a seperate trip to the courthouse just to pass Ms. Nesmith standing in line so we can chat at a sounding that now is senseless? Thanks so much. Your consideration is heartwarming.

See You in court, standing in a sounding line for no f'ing reason.



TWO PIECES OF SAD NEWS

Rumpole has been emailed:

Abraham Safdie has passed away.


Anonymous wrote:

Abraham's mix is not Arab/Latino as the post states. He is Jewish. His family were Jews living in Allepo, Syria. They were kicked out of Syria and were put on a boat with many other Syrian Jews to Mexico City. the boat broke down and they had to switch boats Mid-Atlantic. The new boat docked in Cuba and his family settled there. He was born soon after, and around the time Castro came to power, Abraham and his family moved to New York. He ran a business in New York and moved to Miami after he retired. He has been working in our courts for 12 years.

Anonymous writes:
Thanks for the clarification on Abraham's ethnic mix. Great storya nd a great guy.

Anonymous writes:

RIP Abraham

Mike Catalano writes:

Mr. Safdie was ALWAYS pleasant and kind.To have two of the Justice Building's finest leave us soon close in time is very sad. I will miss him and Manny Crespo.

Mike Catalano



Rumpole has been emailed:

The son of Penny Brill, (Chief of The States Attorney's Legal Division), Steven Brill, passed away on Saturday afternoon.

This is truly horrible news. Our thoughts and prayers go to Penny Brill and her family.

MEDIA PLAYAH

Yes folks, we are “playahs” in the media. The following is an email from CBS reporter Brian Andrews. Note he could not get the participants involved in the Judge who called the PD to yell at her at home, to go on the record. We can’t either. We are just itching to print this story. We have a great nickname for the Judge and everything. Judge x “ATT- reach out and touch someone” WXYZ. But until this PD confirms this Judge called her at home and berated her for winning an appeal, we cannot go with it.
You know who you are Judge.
You are up for reelection this year.
Shame on you. Or write and give us your side of the story. (No you cannot call us at home).

Brian Andrews, anxious not to be scooped, writes:

O Mr. Rumpole...

We did try to run down the "Judge berates PD" story but couldn't get any of the key players to talk on camera. Had we gotten anywhere with it, I would have been sure to give credit where it's due: your blog. Anyway, I just saw the note from Susannah Nesmith and thought I'd ask you for the same courtesy. While beats don't exist anymore in TV Newsrooms, my reporting specializes in courts, law enforcement, and major events coverage.
While I've figured out how to navigate the 9th floor felony file room, locate search warrant returns, and grab hot a-forms, I would welcome help from any of your readers on hot tips for news stories. Whether its an exclusive interview with a client, a copy of a hot filing, or exposing a cover-up, I'd love to know about it. Call me, email me, or grab me in the long line at the front door of the MJB. Just like Suzannah's blackberry, mine is always on too. My email is
bcandrews@cbs.com and my cell is (305) 525-0770. While I'm rarely at the office, my direct line is (305) 639-4602.
Thanks... and keep up the informative (and entertaining) blogging!

Rumpole responds: The 9th Floor felony file room is simple: just follow these helpful tips:


1) Bring a novel like War and Peace.
2) Stand in a long line.
3) Fill out the request form.
4) Wait at the front of the window for a clerk. It’s like staring into the Grand Canyon. The vast emptiness, the total lack of a human being for miles and miles.
Eventually, a clerk will stagger to the window with several dozen files for attorneys who made requests in the late 1970’s. Most of those attorneys are retired or in Federal Prison.
5) Hand the clerk your file request form. The clerk will sit at the computer and type for several minutes. The clerk will then disappear.
5) Finish War and Peace and open The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
6) The clerk will return and tell you the file is “out”
7) Rinse and repeat.


PD RUMORS. We print these rumors with trepidation. Far be it from us to upset the PD apple cart.

Anonymous writes:

I heard a rumor that H.T. Smith was gonna run in 08. He would whip that place back into shape

And anonymous writes:

Kathy Williams should run and take it over.

Anonymous responds:
Kathy Williams is too busy kissing up to the Federal Judiciary. RUMPOLE IN 08!

And funny guy/gal snipes at us:

Rumpole if you run for PD you might have to break out "sleepy time".

See you in court, not running for PD.







Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Judge Writes

[note- due to the length of this post, we have added our comments in the corpus of the text [blah blah ].

Rumpole,

Having only recently been made aware of the existence of your puerile publication, I have been spared the torture of all your previous infantile, scatologicaly tainted fulminations. However, while ignorance was bliss, I now find myself morbidly drawn to peruse your vomitous outpouring much as rubber-necking motorists are fascinated by the site of a deadly crash.
[ Rumpole adds: "or lawyers standing in line in Judge Mills Francis courtroom. Y
ou love us, you hate us, but you can’t put us down, can you?"]

My unfortunate masochistic compulsion subjected me to a slanderous condemnation of me and my brethren. Perpetrated by, the perhaps, appropriately named, Miss Trial.

It has been said that “He who steals from me my purse steals trash. T’is something—nothing. T’was mine—T’is his and has been slave to thousands. But he, who filches from me my good name, robs me of that which enriches him not and makes me poor indeed.” [Rumpole adds," we recently wrote that…quoting the bard we so love. Find your own quotes, Scalia."].

Thus, in an effort to climb out of the poorhouse, I take keyboard on lap, and file my refutation of Miss Trial’s libel.

I first posit that one’s perception of reality is skewed by one’s pre-view of reality through lenses crafted by the observer’s experience while illuminated by the prism of the viewer’s personality. In short, what you “see” is what you get…and what you get is what you are (ain’t sophistry great!). [Rumpole adds, at this point one can clearly see the effects of alcohol consumption by the author.]

In casting us and condemning us as callous, conscienceless and calculating computers concerned and caring only for case ciphers and curtailing court calendars, Miss Trial fails to credit us with basic human decency; fails to “see” in us the natural desire to do our jobs to the best of our abilities. ["Abilities" now there's the rub.]As such, given the aforementioned premise, what poor Miss Trial “sees” in us must, sadly, be what she “sees” in herself--through her glass darkly. [
Rumpole adds " there is now a serious shortage of “C”’s due to over usage."]

Does she care nothing for her client’s fate? Does she not try to do her level best to insure her clients are treated mercifully? I do not say justly for if we were all to receive justice, we would all be in deep doo-doo (Latin for excrement).

Miss Trial’s miss-missive proves the wisdom of the aphorism which counsels that “you should not sling mud, for in doing so you may miss the mark, but your hands always end up dirty.”



Judges do care for “numbers”, but only to the extent that reducing the numbers promotes justice (tempered by mercy). After all, justice delayed can be justice denied. Trite but true. If you disagree, ask your client’s opinion next time you visit him at TGK; that is, if he is not a participant in correction’s newly implemented self-release program. [
Rumpole get serious: examine your premise, your honor. To give some defendants justice, others get the fast track? Something doesn't square about that. ]

I and my colleagues do care about our charges’ fates. I and my colleagues try to do our level best [Rumpole notes: “level best” a much used phrase by Janet Reno] to see that justice is fairly and mercifully meted out to all who come before us. It is only human to want to do the right thing. We like to be able to look in our mirrors and be pleased by our reflections—albeit, with rapidly graying and thinning hair (our hirsute sacrifice upon the altar of justice).

[Rumpole retorts: Sorry Judge, but we were present when one of your late colleagues, Judge Snyder told a new judge: "In 99% of the cases you can do what ever you want. In 1% of the cases, you have to follow the law. We do not accept the premise that all of your colleagues are motivated to do a good job. We have seen too many petty bureaucrats run from their shadow rather than do the right thing.]


Lower numbers mean that cases resolved at arraignments or early on do not transform attorneys into headless flightless poultry; dissipating their time and energies on endless and needless preparation for cases that will inevitably settle for the same result--many attorney work hours and depositions later. Attorneys will be better employed fruitfully preparing for cases that need to go to trial. Cases that need to be tried will actually have time to be tried. Just think of it—trial courts trying cases. What a concept! It boggles the mind.

Lower numbers, Miss Miss the Mark but Dirty Handed Trial, foster hope that your incarcerated client’s case may get tried before she dies of old age.

Yours affectionately,

Judge Not-so-Mad No-Bull-Ingham

[
Rumpole notes that readers of the Rumpole of The Bailey remember he constantly fought with the Mad Judge Bullingham. We appreciate this Judge’s literary reference .Now try reading some case law instead of fiction.]

PS. Rumpole, I thought you croaked. It seems your chronicler shares Miss Trial’s looking glass and is as careless with the truth as he is with the hearts of women who come within his lecherous ambit. Nevertheless, I must say it is refreshing not to be subjected to your eternal carping about your client’s presumption of innocence; about the “golden thread” that runs through our system of justice; about the dastardliness of the prosecution. The Old Bailey is now the serene bastion of justice it should be having been rid of your oratorical bombast upon your exile to the colonies.

PPS. It seems you chase away all attorneys who are truly respectful of the judiciary—prime example: we have a new barrister lately arrived from across “the pond” now practicing at the Bailey—fine chap named Sy Gaer
.

Rumpole responds: Our favorite bard wrote "Why what's a matter, that you have such a February face, so full of frost and storm and cloudiness?"

Much Ado About Nothing.

Dear reader, the effects of excessive alcohol comsumption, Chateau Thames or Chateau Miami River have takeir toll. Late at night, when no one is around, the darkness of the room interrupted by the glow of a small screen, and the silence of the night puntuated by the tap tap tap of an inebriated and bitter magistrate, thinking what might have been, while cursing the darkness, as he attacks a lonely but proud blogger named Rumpole.

"Puerile publication?"

As our favorite poet was moved to write:
"I am a true labourer;
I earn that I eat,
get that I wear,
owe no man hate,
envy no man's happiness,
glad of other men's good, content with my harm."

As You Like It.