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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

D'ARCE A RACIST?

NEWS FLASH: SLOM CELEBRATES AS OPPOSITION WITHDRAWS!!! This occurred just while we were laboring away at the post below which remains unchanged despite the withdrawal.




D’ARCE A RACIST?
D’ARCE AN ANTI-SEMITE?
D’ARCE A BIGOT?


OR D’ARCE JUST D’DOPEY?

The Miami Herald reported in a front page local section article today that Judge Slom believes suspended judicial assistant, and political “Juanabee” D’Arce’s recruitment of a lawyer to run against him is a result of Slom speaking with D’Arce’s boss- Judge Ivan Hernandez with an H (not the circuit Judge Ivan Fernandez) about an alleged anti-semitic slur D’Arce uttered.


What was NOT mentioned in the Herald article was that the alleged anti-semitic slur was against Judge Steve Leifman. Judge Leifman also has opposition by former magistrate “Great Cesar’s Ghost” Juan Gonzalez, who just happens to have hired D’Arce to run his “Trinity” campaign.

Judge Slom has opposition from “Little Ms. Muffin” Armenteros-Chavez, who was in the unenviable position of being quoted in the Herald that she could not give out her phone number “without her husband’s permission.” So far the political expertise of D’Arce is really paying off- NOT.

Little Ms. Muffin is not off to a great start in showing her judicial decision making ability. No word on whether Armenteros-Chavez’s mother has given her permission to attend campaign events after her 9PM bed-time. And this is the woman D’Arce has recruited to run against Judge Slom- a respected prosecutor and former Chief Of County Court, and the current County Court Administrative Judge for the Criminal Division.

Just like Jose “Dine and dash” Velis, we invite Armenteros-Chavez, and Juan Gonzalez to state on our fair blog just what qualifications they have beyond their last name that makes them believe they would be a better Judge than the one they are trying to replace. So far, all three have been silent (although in defense of Armenteros-Chavez, there is no proof that her Husband has given her permission to use the internet.)

We also STRONGLY URGE Armenteros-Chavez and Juan Gonzalez to state on our fair blog whether they will continue to employ Mr. D’Arce in light of the allegations about his rather out-dated and racist views of the world.

Finally, if these two judicial candidates do not address the issue of their employment of a possible racist/anti-semite, then Rumpole makes the following call to all criminal defense attorneys of good conscience:

If disaster strikes and either (or both) of these two judicial “Juanabees” become Judges, then every defense attorney should file a motion to recuse on every single case before these two for the entire six years they serve on the bench.

In short, these two judicial candidates should be SHUNNED by their colleagues on the bench, and the lawyers who appear before them. Shine the cold hard light of truth and justice on these two and they should wilt in embarrassment. Much like the event when the entire body of the Cuban Bar Association stood up and turned their backs when Judicial candidate Jonathan Schwartz (who had filed to ran against Judge Scott Silverman) stood up to address the CBA several years ago, Rumpole calls for a similar en mass act by the entire Dade County Bar.

In light of Mr. D’Arce’s possible racist views, and in light of his threats against the judiciary, we are reminded of the quote of Sir Edmund Burke:

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

D’Arce, by targeting excellent judges with candidates that he believes can win based solely on their Hispanic sur-names has already shown that he meets the definition of a racist, whether or not he made the alleged anti-semitic remarks attributed to him.

D’Arce has also shown that he believes he can intimidate Judges.

A strong and independent judiciary requires that D’Arce’s candidates be soundly beaten at the polls this September.


Of course, our policy is that Mr. D'Arce is invited to post a response to these charges which will be posted without any edits. Judge Slom recently gave an elegant response to a small tempest in a tea pot that arose around him during the legislative session. And Judges Larry Schwartz and Sheldon Schwartz have also used the blog to address issues involving their courtrooms and campaigns.

See you in court.

PS. What’s with that picture of D’Arce in the Herald in what appears to be a federal inmate’s jump-suit? Karma?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Reversals....Old School...Political Putz

It’s time to give our “beloved” (hack hack) local Robed Readers a break:

It's Week Four of:"THE REVERSAL OF THE WEEK”©
By everyone’s favorite Captain.

Although we normally focus on a local robed Judge for this weekly feature, instead, with the judicial campaigns moving into the summer swing and with the possibility that Miami-Dade County could have as many as 18 newly elected judges come this September, (YES I did say 18), I thought that it would be nice to shift our focus to what some of the other fine jurists of our State are up to:

INQUIRY CONCERNING A JUDGE, RE: JUDGE JOHN RENKE III, 31 FLW S337, May 25, 2006; the Florida Supreme Court has decided to hand down the ultimate sanction against this Pinellas-Pasco 6th Circuit Court Judge. What is interesting about this case, is the fact that Judge Renke is being removed, not for anything he did on the bench, but for numerous campaign violations that got him elected to the bench in 2002. Also interesting is the fact that the Supreme Court rejected the Judicial Qualifications Commission's original recommended sanctions for fines and reprimands.
The Court found that Renke made flagrant misrepresentations about his qualifications in his 2002 campaign. 1] He misrepresented in a campaign brochure the fact that he was an incumbent judge, when he wasn’t; 2] He misrepresented in the same brochure that he was Chair of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, when he wasn’t; 3] He misrepresented in the same brochure that he was being endorsed by the Clearwater firefighters, when he wasn’t; 4] He misrepresented his judicial experience, when he actually had none; 5] He misrepresented endorsements from two supposed public officials, when they were actually members of the Pinellas County Republican Party; 6] He misrepresented his experience as a practicing attorney, claiming that he had eight years of experience handling complex civil trials, when in fact he had never tried a jury trial, never sat first chair in a trial, and his only trial was a small claims case; 7] He misrepresented his opponent’s experience, claiming to have more trial experience than his opponent, when in fact his opponent had much more trial experience; and 8] He also was found to have funded his campaign race with an illegal $95,800 contribution - more than 90 percent of the campaign's financing - from his father, former state Rep. John Renke II, who enlisted the Republican Party's help in the nonpartisan campaign.

The Court stated, "In essence, Judge Renke and his cohorts created a fictitious candidate, funded his candidacy in violation of Florida's election laws and successfully perpetrated a fraud on the electorate in securing the candidate's election.

INQUIRY CONCERNING A JUDGE, RE: JAMES R. ADAMS, 31 FLW S317, May 18, 2006; here the Supreme Court went much lighter on the Administrative Judge of the Lee County Court and only handed down a public reprimand.The JQC charged that during 2004 Judge Adams violated three canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct by having a romantic relationship with an attorney who appeared before him in a considerable number of cases. The allegations specified that Judge Adams granted numerous continuances requested by the attorney in five cases, and that Judge Adams dismissed the charges in four traffic cases in which the attorney represented the defendant.

The Supreme Court stated, “Judges must do all that is reasonably necessary to minimize the appearance of impropriety. They must remain cognizant of the fact that even in situations where they personally believe that their judgment would not be colored, public perception may differ.
CAPTAIN OUT ........................

Rumpole notes that former Judge Renke would fit right in here in Dade County, and could probably weasel a part time 100K job out of BB until the next election cycle.
(<---daily gratuitous cheap shot at our favorite local PD)
As to the Judicial Lothario Judge Adams, our advice would have been to deny a few of those motions for continuance and spend a few extra bucks at dinner. But remembering that Judge Adams does wear the black robes, we realize he has forgotten what it means to pick up a check, so granting the motion was probably his way of saying "your place or mine?"
Query: Which mean spirited ASA turned the two lovebirds in?


An old time reader echoes our sentiments completely:

rump i do miss the old days on the blog. we used to talk alot about rory steins ghost employee job and his danish/donut/bael eating habits. it was all in fun as i am sure mr stein took it that way.now the blog has denigrated into really nasty name calling and slander. calling one candidate gay and saying another sucked her way to judgeship is really unbecoming.this blog used to be a great place for practitioners to discuss the bench in the hope that when they were discussed maybe they would modify their behavior. you know they read this site religiously.i vote for censorship as too many of the contributors are baby lawyers in PDo and SAO who just love calling each other names.

Rumpole agrees. We really can do without the name calling. Of course we could also do without half the judiciary and 90% of the candidates running for judge, and what chance do we have of that happening?

D’Arce strikes again?

We received two anonymous emails (not posts) within the last week on this subject:

Rumpole: have you heard whether it is true or not that your friend D’Arce marched the candidate who is opposing Judge Slom into the filing room in Tallahassee to help her file her papers?

Rumpole replies: We have not heard that rumor and would like anyone who knows anything about it to post or email us. If true, we sincerely hope that the young woman running against Judge Slom gets the full benefit of the wisdom and experience of a political putz like D’Dopey. If that occurs, then come November you can count on her saying this: “would you like to super size your order sir?”


Ahh…it stinks to be back at work listening to the phones not ringing.

See You In Court.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

VISITING AN OLD FRIEND

The Miami Fishwrap reported today on the latest Episode out of our favorite Public Defender’s Office. A day without Brummer putting his foot in his mouth is like a day without a Miami bondsman stealing a case.

Today’s article brought us back to a simpler time: when there was no Captain, no Riddler, no Jason Grey, no moops logging on with stupid names, no intelligent debates with Abe Laeser. And most importantly: (almost) no readers. We just went on and on prattling away about things that bothered us, and no one cared. No mean and sexist comments. A simpler and maybe more pleasant time.

Then, we got a scoop. We caught Ol’ Bennett with his foot in the cookie jar (we love to mix metaphors.)

We have nothing to add to today’s Herald trashing of BB. But in honor of the man without whom we probably would be on the trash heap of dead blogs, we re-print one of our favorite posts.

Pay special attention to the section on HUBRIS. About the only thing we can say about BB’s current actions is that “it takes a man with a real hard head to not learn any lessons from his previous mistakes.” Keep right on swinging BB, you may just lose your job next time.

FROM NOVEMBER 25, 2005: WE PROUDLY REPRINT:

BRUMMER BUMMER
A JBB Exclusive: Dade Public Defender Settles Lawsuit for $200,000.00 + Attorneys Fees.!!

We scooped the Herald on this one:

The JBB has learned that long time Dade County Public Defender Bennett Brummer has caved in and settled a federal wrongful termination lawsuit that arose out of his contentious re-election campaign.

The Scene: The annual Martin Luther King Day Parade cira 2003.

Dramatis Personae : Assistant Dade County Public Defender Gabe Martin, who has announced his intention to oust his boss; another young assistant public defender (Lonnie Richardson) marching in support of Gabe Martin; and Bennett Brummer.

At the parade the Assistant Public Defender-Richardson- ( and soon to be Plaintiff) marching in support of Gabe Martin has a mega-phone, and is yelling anti- Bennett Brummer slogans, like "We Need A Public Defender, Not a Public Pretender. "

Brummer, gearing up for his re-election fight was present and witnessed the spectacle. Sometime thereafter, an enraged Brummer shows his dark side and orders his henchmen (in this case- we believe it was a hench woman) to fire the young PD.

A Federal lawsuit alleging wrongful termination was filed, and as it proceeded towards trial Brummer and his legal team filed a motion for summary judgment before new Federal Judge Marsha Cooke.

We haven't seen the ruling the denying the motion, but we hear it was a real barn burner, with some very critical language of Brummer and his legal team. Meanwhile, to ratchet up the pressure, in conjunction with filing the motion for summary judgment, but before Judge Cooke's ruling, Brummer and his team of legal eagles makes an offer of settlement: that the Plaintiff pay $1,000.00 and write an apology.

The Greeks have a word for this: Hubris. And if you have read any Greek tragedies, you know what follows: disaster.

Well, after they got up off the floor, the Plaintiff and his lawyer formally rejected the offer. Judge Cooke's blistering ruling followed sometime thereafter.

We don't know the rest of the specifics but we feel we are on pretty firm ground reporting the following:Brummer has parted with $200,000.00 PLUS legal fees, and didn't even get the gag order he wanted. The Plaintiff is free to talk and gloat about his victory whenever he wishes.

Brummer, who should be ashamed of himself, gets all the publicity here.

First Greek Tragedy; then Hubris, now, Irony:
In 2002 Brummer was honored by the ACLU with the Nelson Poynter award.
Named after the former crusading Editor and Publisher of the St. Petersburg Times, the Poynter award honors people who have tirelessly fought to promote and advance civil liberties and civil rights in Florida.

Here's the rub: Brummer was sued for wrongful termination and violating the FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS of his former employee, who was taking part in a peaceful march and was advocating his own political views during his own free time.

We have to believe that Poynter himself would have roasted Bennett's butt in a scathing editorial about Brummer's heavy handed anti-freedom of speech and expression tactics, if Poynter was still around. Poynter's gone, but the JBB is here to expose hypocrisywhen we see it.Brummer can't be feeling too happy these days.

On August 5, 2005, the Miami Herald (did we mention we scooped the Herald on this story??) reported that Brummer's top aid David Weed and another Public defender employee agreed to pay fines for violating Florida's Campaign Laws.Campaign dirty tactics?

Suppressing free speech? This is not the committee to re-elect the President we are talking about. This is Dade's Public Defender.We think ol' Brummer has built himself quite a little fiefdom over on 14th street. Plenty of cushy jobs and old time campaign cronies cashing big paychecks, while young PDs are forced to sign loyalty oaths and are fired if they don't vote the right way.

Bennet Brummer: ACLU Honoree or loser in a civil rights suit?Public Defender..or Public Pretender?

WANT TO KNOW IF YOU OR YOUR FAVORITE REGJB CHARACTER IS MENTIONED IN THE BLOG? JUST USE THE "SEARCH THIS BLOG" FEATURE AT THE TOP LEFT OF THE PAGE.

HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY.

See You In Court Tuesday.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

CHEAP CANDIDATE, CHEAP DATE, OR JUST CHEAP?

Memo:
From: the fickle finger of one Horace J. Rumpole, pot stirrer, instigator, rumor reporter, sometime criminal trial barrister.
To: Judicial Candidate Jose Velis.
RE: NO FREE LUNCH (OR DINNER)


Dear Ms. Veliz:
You are not our favorite candidate. You are probably not the favorite candidate of most criminal defense attorneys who believe Judge Dennis Murphy is an excellent Judge. We challenge you to report one thing he has done or not done that makes you believe he has warranted opposition.
In any event, you are not starting out on the right foot with our brethren in the criminal defense bar when you showed up at the FACDL dinner without 1) Paying for the dinner; 2) without RSVP’ing for the dinner.
Just who do you think you are that you can crash an event for some self sanctimonious promotion? At least pay for your dinner if we have to tolerate your presence campaigning when very very few of us think you are running for any other reason than your gender and name give you a chance to win.

Simply put: if you can pay the filing fee, you can pay for dinner.
Have a nice day.
No Fan Of Yours,
RUMPOLE.
PS. As a member of the bar, we feel compelled to admit that as any good attorney is taught in law school, we’re all for free meals when our clients are paying for them, but not when you are putting the arm on us.

We were waiting for the below emails before we sent this memo, and much to our delight they arrived today. We are not admitting to being at the dinner or not being there, but lets just say this whole episode did not sit well with us.

Anonymous spills the Beans on a Cheap Candidate:

Let me lighten things up a bit... I found out why Josie Valez left the FACDL party in such a huff. After being ignored by everyone she approached, she was confronted by our very own Brian Tanennbaum. He then informed her that since she did not RSVP to the party that she had to leave. Nice work Brian.

Brian T wrote in to say this:


To be accurate, Ms. Velis and her husband showed up at the sold out FACDL-Miami banquet without having bought a ticket or RSVP'd.All judicial candidates that RSVP'd, bought their tickets and some even bought ads in the journal.When I saw Ms. Velis and her husband, I approached her husband and advised that the banquet was sold out and that to remain at the cocktail party (which cost a great deal of money) they would have to buy tickets.Mr. Velis responded "this is a ticketed event?" I don't know what about the event being held at The Biltmore with three-hundred people dressed in black-tie would make anyone think otherwise, but I responded "yes."Mr. Velis responded "we just came to say 'hi'."
I understand that they then inquired of others whether they could sit at their tables, and were not seen when the dinner began.Have a nice holiday.

Rumpole ponders…Brian Tannebaum FACDL president, former PD, criminal defense attorney…BOUNCER! Worth the price of admission just for that alone. Go getem tiger. Mr. Tannebaum will be working the door at the Shore Club this

weekend, so remember to tip him if you want to get in.


The Captain weighs in on Velis free-loading:

as Jerry Maguire said:"Show Me The Money"Thank you 1:50 for updating my report on the FACDL party - reference candidate Velis. You may remember that I first reported that Josie V., (it is Velis - not Valez), showed up to the cocktail hour and left shortly thereafter, quickly and quietly. To further update the point, actually, not only did Ms. Velis not RSVP, she also did not pay for the event. All other candidates that showed up did RSVP and did pay in advance.


Rumpole invites Ms. Veliz to log on, pay a few cents in electricity cost, and defend her penurious and parsimonious ways. When you read between the lines of the reports from the Captain and Mr. T, it seems clear that candidate Velis found few if any sympathetic ears or open arms at her presence at this august gathering of legal glitterati. Perhaps this portends poorly for her at the polls? Time will tell.



House cleaning: All readers should peruse Mr. Laeser’s post in the comment’s section. His post on the cases he has not filed and the suspects he has not had arrested should be required reading for all prosecutors. We may not see eye to eye with everything he says, but we respect his point of view.

Have a Nice Holiday Weekend (except for a one particular tight fisted wannabe) and see you in court Tuesday.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

JUST US?

A reader opines:

"Murderous immorality" should be punished, no matter the expense, no matter the offender, and no matter how unpopular the process. What many a poster have ineffectually expressed, because their concerns are frequently masked by their prejudices against prosecutors in general, is that it is equally indefensible when a prosecutor lacks the internal fortitude to be guided by his heart and his brain, acting in tandem. Neither inexperience or naivete have any effect whatsoever on any lawyer's ability to conduct himself in accordance with the highest professional, and human, standards. Mr. Laeser, while arguably unimpeachable as an independent entity within the larger SAO machine, is likely unaware of the oft repeated, legitimate complaints of non-whiny defense attorneys who are frustrated by the unassailable and intractable problem of prosecutors who are unwilling to confront their superiors to suggest that a particular case must be abandoned, or that for humanity's sake, and for the sake of preserving the meaning of "perspective," even a guilty defendant doesn't always merit all available and legally defensible punishments. Sometimes the rationale for mercy is not grounded in caselaw or strategy; sometimes the rationale, if nothing more, is rooted by the weakest of roots, that common thread that makes us all human, that acknowledgment that perfection is unattainable, sin is unavoidable, and punishment can take many forms. Legitimate verbal assaults upon the process take form only when the defenders of the accused among us confront an unbending, unsympathetic, detached machine, one designed and implemented for the sole purpose of meting out punishment to the maximum available under the law. The seekers of justice on the government's side can and should do their jobs with more in mind than that.


Rumpole responds that all day we have been bothered by Mr. Laeser’s comment:

I must be cruel to be kind - my job is to seek Justice without regard to the final result, yours may be over at getting your client acquitted -- even if that is a not what objective Justice would truly mean.

Here is what is troubling us: what is the definition of justice as used by Mr. Laeser if not “the final result”? Let us delve a little into epistemology.

Is not justice an end in and of itself? The problem is when a prosecutor , and especially a prosecutor of the stature and experience of Mr. Laeser does not define justice as an end. We think he is defining justice as the process. And yet, because we are talking about real people with real lives, is not justice what happens to those people?

Justice, from a prosecutor’s standpoint may well end in incarceration or even execution. And we can agree that in many cases (overlooking the hornets nest of executions for the moment) that when that occurs, justice is done.

Would a prosecutor who saw a guilty man go free call that justice? Of course not, and we would agree with that as well.

The next question is whether it is just to incarcerate or execute every guilty person? And the answer is “No” and every prosecutor would or should agree with that.

So “Justice” must be the result and not just the process. And if Mr. Laeser does not agree with that, then we are troubled. Because when the result is not considered, that is when prosecutors start shrugging their shoulders when a person gets incarcerated for 20 years for a third degree felony, or when a person who has lived in the US for 25 years and raised a law abiding family gets deported for a 20 year old adjudication at bond hearings for possession of cocaine.

Justice must include the end result in a case, and if a prosecutor is empowered to seek justice then we believe our current complaints are entirely valid. Prosecutors today are not looking at the end result. They are shrugging their shoulders when the end result of a case is un-just. They are accepting the process as justice and not considering the results. For that matter, many judges espousing the “conservative” point of view are just as guilty. The judge who says “I do not get involved in plea negotiations” is not interested in justice, just the process. The judge who sentences every defendant convicted of a crime to the maximum amount of incarceration (and you robed readers know who you are) is not interested in justice, just the process.

Every time a prosecutor listens to a defense attorney’s explanation and agrees to waive a minimum mandatory, they are seeking justice. Every time a prosecutor listens to a defense attorneys explanation and considers it and does not waive the minimum mandatory, they are seeking justice as well. But every time a prosecutor says “no my job man” and does not consider the individual facts and circumstances of a case and refuses to waive any minimum mandatory, or any time a prosecutor seeks an adjudication on every single case after one withhold, they have abandoned the most important job they have been given: to seek justice.

This is what we really meant to write to Mr. Laeser this afternoon, but with the phone ringing with bill collectors and such, we couldn’t properly express out thoughts.

See you in court.

The Dean Is In The House!

The Dean of Dade County Prosecutors wrote into to respond to yesterdays post:

Abe Laeser said...
What self-righteous clap trap! One DNA case in Miami-Dade out of literally millions of felony and misdemeanor cases prosecuted over the years, and the prosecutors did all they could to free that one innocent man. Perhaps you should rail against the outrages in Darfur or Afghanistan.In case you had not noticed, prosecutors have too much 'business' going after the guilty and the evil to target the innocent (check the local section of the paper every day). Like all mortals, when we err we are obligated to correct our errors. If you have a case specific complaint, walk on over from the Justice Building and get a hearing with the person capable of making the final decision. This is a public office and you are entitled to your fair resolution.Yapping about the injustices of the world is unlikely to make the Monroe County case disappear. Nor will it teach people to act ethically - or even with professional courtesy. You may never have been a prosecutor, but we all go home hoping that we never make the terrible error of convicting the innocent - and we do all we can to prevent wrongfully ruining another person's life. I must be cruel to be kind - my job is to seek Justice without regard to the final result, yours may be over at getting your client acquitted -- even if that is a not what objective Justice would truly mean. Turn the mirror at yourself and your peers, just in case there is some evil which needs attention there, as well


A “Fan” responds to Mr. Laeser’s post:

Here comes the part when Rumpole kisses Abe's ass and tells him how great he is and wishes all prosecutors were like him.

Rumpole Responds To Mr. Laeser:

We applaud the use of the term “self –righteous” clap trap.
However, our post has apparently invoked a level of ire in you that caused you to see red and not read what we wrote carefully. Did we accuse prosecutors of targeting the innocent? Outside of those stumble bums in Monroe county who have actually targeted that innocent man and sought to have him incarcerated in Krome, there was no accusation that prosecutors in general go after the innocent.

What we did accuse prosecutors in this county of doing, which you have not addressed, is standing pat and allowing the same old identification techniques which are obviously flawed be used. Try reading the “Seven Sins Of Memory” ( go to Amazon and see the reviews) before you jump on the bandwagon of the validity of eyewitness identifications.

What we also wrote, which you have not addressed is to question what is going to happen to all the other wrongfully convicted people who don’t have DNA to help get them out? Does anybody give a damn about them? Are you really ready to defend the proposition that those six men are the only innocent people ever convicted in our fair state, and it just happened that those six men had DNA to set them free?

Nobody believes that you or most prosecutors celebrate the conviction of an innocent man. But we don’t see your office responding to this potential problem beyond (to borrow a phrase) re-iterating the same old “self –righteous clap trap” “that all cases are carefully investigated.” You’re 100% right when you write that a prosecutor’s obligation is justice. What we claim is missing from the performance of that obligation is the work done by your office in making sure the innocent are not prosecuted.


What exactly is your office doing beyond the normal work of the FSU attorneys? Have you demanded the police change their investigative procedures? Or is the State Attorney’s relationship with the police so damaged that there isn’t any meaningful dialogue going on? Are “confessions” being videotaped these days? What exactly have you guys done to update your procedures? Or is the same old way good enough for now?

Our penultimate point: in re-reading your last line, (seeking justice without regard to the final result) it strikes us that in once sense it come dangerously close to saying that prosecutors are just following orders. And where have we heard that before? Because if you re-read our previous post in the comments section a few days ago, is it justice to drag some convict back from prison and make him lose his slot in a prison faith based program just to get a conviction for a third degree felony where (when the prisoner is serving 6 years) and the offer is probation? Is it justice to prosecute a woman for failure to obey the lawful order of a police officer when she would not move a car she could not drive when he husband left her and her infant son in a car illegally parked? Or is it just an amazing lack of common sense?

What we see, on a disturbingly regular basis in the REGJB, is a complete and total lack of common sense that is explained by the ASA’s with the frightening comment: “we’re just following orders” .

And finally, how do you defend the stupid, insensitive, idiotic, and unjust result of incarcerating an INNOCENT MAN who has just lost the last 20 years of his life to an un-just “justice” system, in Krome? It’s a scenario straight out of Soviet Russia.

Common Sense? Justice? Or insensitive stupidity?

See You In Court (not that we have any cases with Mr. Laeser these days, but you never know. He might just pick up a few disorderly conduct cases for fun.)

PS. To that other reader: well, did we kiss his ass?


PSS to Abe: We avoid mirrors, and if you saw us, you would understand why.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

SHAME SHAME SHAME

The Miami Herald has reported on line today:

Freedom for wrongly-convicted Orlando Bosquete hit a snag Tuesday morning when a Monroe County judge postponed an exoneration hearing by two hours to give immigration officials time to show up and possibly escort the Cuban native to the Krome detention center in West Miami-Dade.
Bosquete, the sixth person in Florida set to be exonerated by DNA evidence, was convicted of sexual assault and burglary in 1983 based on an eyewitness account. He was sentenced to 55 years in prison.
Bosquete was to be freed at a 10 a.m. hearing by Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Richard Payne. ..

Scheck made it clear it was the federal government that was delaying his client's release.
The court's bailiff said it was Immigration and Customs Enforcement that asked the judge to continue to hold Bosquete. ICE Spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said she'd comment later Tuesday...

In Payne's courtroom, wearing a white baggy jacket, shirt and pants of the same color and a blue New York Yankees cap, Bosquete alternated between tears of joy -- and sadness.His brother and sister and a niece sat nearby.

''We had plans to go fishing on a boat today,'' said Bosquete, speaking squarely to the media. ``Please, if you can help me, I want to get out.''

RUMPOLE SAYS: SHAME ON YOU- Haven’t these prosecutors ruined this man’s life enough? When prosecutors wonder why they are scorned when they are supposed to “wear the white hat”. This is the reason why.

JUST IN CASE WE HAVE ALL FORGOTTEN:

DNA testing of evidence has cleared the following Florida men:
• Alan Crotzer -- Released Jan. 23. Convicted in 1982 of raping a 12-year-old girl and her mother in Tampa. Sentenced to 130 years.
• Luis Diaz -- Released Aug. 3, 2005. Convicted in May 1980 of several rapes, kidnappings and robberies as the so-called Bird Road Rapist in Miami-Dade County. Sentenced to 13 life terms plus 55 years.
• Wilton Dedge -- Released Aug. 12, 2004. Convicted in May 1982 of raping a 17-year-old girl in Brevard County. Sentenced to life.
• Jerry Frank Townsend -- Released June 7, 2001. Convicted in 1980 of four murders in Broward County. Sentenced to life.
• Frank Lee Smith -- Convicted in 1986 of the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Broward County. Died of cancer on Death Row on Jan. 30, 2000. DNA cleared him 11 months later.



Rumpole says: But you prosecutors, don’t be swayed but a half dozen or so ruined lives. You guys just keep on believing those police officers who tell you they have a good case with the eyewitness ID. Why bother to insist on excellent work when it comes to identification processes? Just continue to use the same old techniques that have worked (to ruin the lives of the above men) so well in the past.

By the way, if you guys think these are the only six, well, you don’t know beans about bubkas (a legal term….look it up.) These six were lucky enough to have some physical evidence that could be tested. How many hundreds, if not thousands of people have been wrongly convicted in our own state in cases that began with an ended with one ID?

To paraphrase an old song: “If you can’t convict the one who did it…convict the one you got.”

Finally, for you guys and gals in the white hats. Ever consider that the other tragedy is that the real rapists and murders are still on the loose?

Think Janet Reno would ever stand for such sloppy prosecution based on shaky facts?

But these days, raise those types of issues and you know what you get?

“Juahhhdge….hes a GORT he’s a PERP, he’s an LMNOP plus a QWERT….I spoke with the chief of [name your dopy subdivision within the SAO] and s/he said we can’t make a plea offer.”

Sort of like that old mercenary saying: “kill em all…let God sort em out.”
“Prosecute em all…let the jury sort it out.”

Yeah, you guys with the white hats….sleep well at night. Those of you without a conscience will…. And those of you with a conscience should work a little harder to get the police to change the way they conduct identifications.

See You In Court.

Monday, May 22, 2006

JUDGES AND THE PBA

A reader has a question:

I have a question, and I will apppreciate an intelligent answer, please. Is it ethical for the newly elected Judge Adrien to want to join the PBA? I sense that there's something wrong there, but maybe I'm just as dense as he is. I mean, officers come to testify before him in motions and trials. it's his job to grant or deny motions, to sustain or overrule objections, and limit how much embellishment some officers do come up with. isn't there a conflict of interest if he joins them, and therefore becomes part of them?


Rumpole replies with a loud and forceful NO.

NO judge should be a member of the PBA, MADD, FACDL, Florida Prosecutors Association, etc., It creates an appearance of impropriety.
These Judges are already members of enough Judicial Conference Nonsense that allows them to take approximately 176 days off a year to work at “conferences” that they have no business, and should not have the time, to join the PBA. If the Judge in question wants to join the PBA so he can send out campaign fliers saying he is a member of the PBA he should go to civil or probate or to the SAO. We don’t like what we are hearing about “Camacho” these days. Verrrry disturbing.

Judges who feel insecure enough to join the PBA should remember this:
You want to be a good Judge who is well respected by everyone?

1)Treat everyone with respect.
2)Listen to both sides of the argument.
3)Give a ruling or give sentence that is just and fair and not tinged with anger, or revenge.

Follow those simple rules, and instead of being mocked for being "Maximum_[insert name here]" when you walk down the halls, attorneys will say: "there goes a great Judge. He ruled against me last week, but he worked hard, listened to what I had to say, and did what he thought was right."

Your Choice- bufoon or respected.


THE CAPTAINS THIRD REVERSAL OF THE WEEK ©
WEEK #3 - REVERSAL OF THE WEEK

It seems that we can't get away from those Contempt cases.
So here we go again.
The case is Cuesta v. State, 31 FLW d1376, a 3rd DCA case decided on May 15, 2006. The trial court Judge was Julio JimenezTo his credit, we are assuming that JJJ (Judge Julio Jimenez) gave the defendant a fair hearing on the contempt charge. The defendant, already serving a life sentence for an attempted first degree murder with a firearm, was called by the State as a witness against the co-defendant. Cuesta refused to testify and was held in contempt. He was found guilty and sentenced to six months in the Dade County Jail; (certainly worse than the life sentence he was already doing with the Florida DOC).JJJ needed to do something more, so he provided added penalties to the sentence: loss of privileges, including no phone, family or contact visits, exercise, television, library or commissary.
The 3rd DCA panel of Cope, Cortinas and Rothenberg, said nooooooooooo to JJJ. While they affirmed the Contempt conviction, they also stated that “we strike the special conditions added to the sentence imposed. We do so "because the trial court is without jurisdiction and lacks the authority to regulate the treatment of prison inmates.”To all who labor in and about the REGJB - have a great week.CAPTAIN OUT ....................


Rumpole notes that these REGJB Judges apparently couldn’t find a cantaloupe in contempt of court. How hard can it be? Just read the rules. (woops…violation of first rule of judicial ethics: “Thou shall not read the rules of criminal procedure.”) OK. Try this….1-800-Call-Stan and speak with Judge Blake and he will guide you step by step how to find a cantaloupe in contempt.

See You In Court, we’re the one defending the cantaloupe.


PS: we've been waiting to say this since the FACDL diner: "Nice try Judge Barzee, but you will have to be smarter than that to get us to reveal our identity."

Friday, May 19, 2006

SOCIAL SCENE

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS ON THE REGJB SOCIAL SCENE:

SOCIAL SCENE:
On Saturday evening, 350 guests gathered at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables for the 30th Annual FACDL-Miami Installation Dinner. Our spies tell us that it was a very well attended event - especially given the fact that half the County Court bench has drawn opposition in the Fall election. Judges and their challengers could be seen on opposite sides of the room, wearing their badges, pressing the flesh and jockeying for support.

Ivan Hernandez was there as was his opponent Robin Faber. Lawrence Schwartz and Gina Mendez too. We understand that Judge Murphy enjoyed the entire evening while opponent Josie Velis made a surprise entrance and an even quicker exit soon after her arrival; (we are trying to find out more on that story).
We understand that Patricia Marino showed and she was followed closely by Judge Shirlyon McWhorter. Both County Admin Judges Leifman and Slom were there too. Judge Pando found her way from Hialeah to Coral Gables, and Judge "Shelly " Schwartz was seen handing out pens - just in case you ordered an absentee ballot for the election and needed something to write with.

During dinner, Judge Stan Blake paid a warm tribute to Judges' Crespo, Leyte-Vidal and Dakis. Fed. Judge Federico Moreno was honored with the Justice Gerald Kogan award and gave a funny acceptance speech.

Sworn in as the new officers were Prez. David Marcus, VP Barry Wax, Treas. Rick Freedman and Sect. Faith Mesnekoff.

TOBACCO ROADThe flesh pressing continued on Thursday night at the DCBA-Crim. Ct. Committee judicial happy hour with some new faces in the crowd. According to our sources, new judges Antonio Arzola and Norma Lindsay - both of County Court fame - came out to meet and greet. The beer was flowing as Slom, McWhorter, Faber, Shelly Schwartz, Pooler, Blake, Echarte, Bob Scola, Murphy, and a host of both ASA's and defense attorneys enjoyed the party.

DAKIS TRIBUTE:For those interested, there is a special tribute honoring Judge Linda Dakis on Friday at 4:00 pm. This "Celebration of Life”ceremony is open to the public and begins at 4 p.m. at the Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables, on the University of Miami campus.
CAPTAIN OUT ...............



A reader who’s schooling omitted several important documents and events like…the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Struggle for Civil Rights in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Nazi Germany, etc., wrote in to say:

I really don't understand how some of you members of the defense bar talk as if you hold the moral high ground.Is putting drunks back on the road God's work? Aren't all those underpaid felony ASAs trying to make it less likely that someone rapes your kid? Carjacks your wife? Breaks into your house? Sells dope in front of your kid's school?It's an epic battle between good and evil, and you, 8:15, represent evil.One last thing-- did you ever wonder why you have it so good in State court but federal judges treat you and your clients like the scum that you are? Yes, it is in part because of the differences in the law. Do you think that it is maybe also because the federal judges don't need your fucking blood money and dope money to keep their jobs?

Rumpole responds: At least one reader tried to answer this poster, but quickly became frustrated and the post denigrated into cursing.

This is a job for a professional, so step aside and read and learn:

Dear Sir/Madam:

Dr. Martin Luther King wrote from his Birmingham Jail cell on April 16, 1963, that
“ Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Now perhaps your view that when the police arrest someone there must be a good reason, and when a Judge keeps someone in jail there also must be a good reason, prevents you from remembering that Dr. King was merely trying to reverse 175 years of racism and our government’s treatment of people of color as second class citizens. Of course, history has shown that the Judge and the Police were wrong, and Dr. King was correct.

However, maybe Dr. King’s frequent arrests and incarcerations are too remote in time. Perhaps you don’t remember a time in the not to distant past when it was common to see signs on Miami Beach that said “no colored or jews” and that police would arrest and the government of our state would prosecute individuals who violated that law. Surely there are some brain cells left in your addled skull that would recognize the need for good counsel and a vigorous defense against the actions of the police and a government that enforced such laws?

Lets move to more current times. Are you aware of how many INNOCENT people have been exonerated from death row after being arrested, convicted and having their initial appeal denied? As Of May 19, 2006 the innocence project has exonerated 177 people convicted of all sorts of crimes whose initial appeals were denied. In this country 123 people have been exonerated from death row as innocent. Our own fair state Florida leads the way with wrongful convictions of death row inmates at 22.

Lets get more local. Ever hear of the River Cops in Miami? All they were were a bunch of City Of Miami Police Officers, who, when not arresting people they didn't like on trumped up charges, were murdering drug dealers, stealing their money and dope (the same dope you worry about being sold to your kids) and dumping them in the Miami River.

Your post mentioned DUI’s. Have you read on our blog recently that veteran Miami Dade Officer Jerry Davenport was disciplined for punching and beating up a DUI suspect, and then lied about it? How would you feel if DUI Tough Guy Davenport beat up your spouse or teenager and then came into court and lied about it? The sad fact is that you will continue in you dim witted beliefs until the police come for you. And by then, when you need us most, it may well be too late.

Finally, you mentioned the differences in treatment between state and federal court. It is true that the defense has less rights in federal court. It is also true that the same government that runs the federal courts has been illegally gathering evidence and illegally taping the phone calls of US citizens without warrants. That same government seeks to hold defendants without bond, trial, or even counsel in certain cases. I certainly hope for your sake that you have not been chatting with any friends from the middle east, or you might just get an invitation to go hunting with Dick Cheney in Cuba.

On the other hand, while we abhor the acts of our government and its abuses of the constitution, if there is any type of individual who is so dangerous, and whose thoughts are so anti-american and whose ideas are so insidious to the principles that our country was founded on, that they need to be locked away forever without counsel, bond, or a trial, —IT IS YOU. We sincerely hope that you get all that is coming to you and which you so richly deserve. Let us conclude in the language that you probably understand best: Sieg Heil.

Your humble and faithful servant,

Rumpole.

See You In Court.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

CANDIDATE TRAINING SESSION

AN ALERT READER SENT THIS:

CANDIDATE WATCH:On Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 1:00 PM, at the Dade County Courthouse, The Florida Bar will be conducting a training session for people seeking election to become a judge in 2006.According to The Florida Bar, this training should be attended by anyone who has filed to run already OR ANYONE SEEKING OFFICE WHO WILL BE FILING BETWEEN JULY 17-21, 2006.According to the Bar, the following issues will be addressed:

1) Hispanic Heritage for Everyone!!!!- OYE- adding a “Hernandez” or “Pedros” to your last name. Adding a “Camacho” to your middle name, or adding a “Pepe” or “Enrique” to your first name. Do's and don’t will be discussed, and the case studies of Ira “pepe” Goldstein and Miriam Schwartz-Hernandez will be analyzed.

2) Juicy Seats- why running against a black judge just might be the ticket to getting a black robe.

3) The “Swartz Maneuver” what it is and how you can perfect it in your next campaign.

4) Raising money in Dade County-how to look the other why and why the doctrine of "willful blindness" may just get you indicted.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On the issue of reversals, an alert reader sent this in on the reversal of Judge Siegler:

Dear blog master;The Third DCA withdrew the opinion in Daniel Martinez, on May 10 2006. The parties were required to file supplemental briefs. Specifically petitioner was required to provide a COMPLETE transcript of the hearing, during which petitioner claimed to have advised the court that there was a waiver in the file.The Third DCA suspects, that the trial judge was never advised of the waiver. Stay tuned.

Rumpole notes that being reversed does not make any of the Judges bad judges. Every lawyer loses a case, every judge blows a ruling now and then. Personally, we’d pick Judge Sigler to be our judge in any and every case we have.

APOLOGY. AND DISMISSAL.


We sort of think that maybe be were too hard on Judge Thomas. The thought of posting an “information” had been percolating in our minds for some time.But in retrospect, this really wasn't the right case for it. And while it is true that many readers were posting complaints, we never saw any of the conduct that they were complaining about. We have been in and out of his courtroom over the last few weeks, and quite frankly, he seems just like any other Judge in the building. He has his good points and bad points. Some of the stuff about denying continuances and berating attorneys doesn’t sit too well. But he seems fair, and has treated most everyone we saw before him- attorneys, defendants, and families of defendants- in a fair manner. In fact, he usually had a sense of humor about most things, which we find, makes the general public feel more at ease when in court.

So, charges DISMISSED. WITH PREJUDICE.
RUMPOLE., HORACE, J.


See You In Court.

Second Reversal...Secret Emails!!!

THE CAPTAIN’S SECOND REVERSAL OF THE WEEK©
AKA "What Circuit Judge got the hook this week?"

Today we highlight the case of Martinez v. State, 31 FLW d1231, decided by the 3rd DCA on May 3, 2006. This was a Writ of Mandamus. The trial court Judge was Victoria Sigler.

Daniel Martinez was charged with possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. His attorney filed a standard Notice of Appearance and Written Plea of Not Guilty. He also filed, pursuant to FRCrP 3.180(a)(3) and 3.220(p)(1) a Written Waiver of Appearance. At the Arraignment, Judge Sigler ordered counsel and his client to appear at a Report Re Plea hearing. On the Report date, counsel appeared, but his client did not. The attorney advised the judge that he had previously filed a written waiver thereby excusing his client from appearing at pretrial conferences. Judge Sigler refused to honor the written waiver and issued a Capias and Estreated the bond.The panel of Ramirez, Suarez, and Cortinas, reversed Judge Sigler. They found that Judge Sigler's refusal to accept the written waiver contravened the FRCrP cited. "While the trial court can require the defendant's appearance in court, notwithstanding a waiver, if there is good reason to do so, here there was nothing in the record indicating that Judge Sigler had good cause to require defendant's appearance notwithstanding his waiver."

REVERSAL #2:Did Judges' Miller & Adrien attend the same law school:

I couldn't help but also mention the case of Hibbert v. State, 31 FLW d1343, a 3rd DCA case. Apparently Judge Miller isn't the only one who forgot to read the rules on Contempt. Here Judge Peter Adrien held Mr. Hibbert in Direct Criminal Contempt; but, contrary to the requirements of FRCrP 3.830, the Judge forgot to permit the defendant the opportunity to present evidence of mitigating circumstances or to address to the judge why he should not impose a particular sentence.

CAPTAIN OUT ....................



A batch of private emails from a prominent attorney to Governor Bush “fell” into our hands when the attorney left them by mistake in Au Bon Pain.

May 12,2006.
TO: Governor Bush (Jeb.Bush.myflorida.notmybrotherskeeper.com)
From: Gottabeajudge.net

Dear Governor Bush:

Just a quick note to let you know that Judge Israel Reyes (Izzy to his friends) would be a great pick for the 3rd DCA. If you need more information, let me know.

Signed,
Gottabeajudgeagain.


May14,2006.
TO Jeb.Bush.rightwingersrule.com
From: Reallyreallywanttogetarobeagain.net

Dear Jeb:

Haven’t heard from you yet on our man Izzy. Hopefully everything is on track. Just doing my part as a good citizen. Izzy would be great on the 3rd.

Signed,
‘You are my only hope”

May 15, 2006.

To: Jeb.Bush.sevenmonthsandcounting.com
From: Sleepless In Miami

Jeb: I still haven’t heard from you. It’s 2am and I can’t sleep. Let me be honest. While Izzy would be great and all, the real issue is me. If you appoint Izzy to the 3rd, well, lets just say you would make my day, my 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Signed,

Sleepless in Miami.


May 16, 2006

To: Governor Bush@whowantstobe presidentin2008?.net

From: Getting angry

Dear Mr. Bush: perhaps I was a bit too forward with the Jeb thing. But this is getting serious. People really are getting angry at me, and if you don’t appoint Izzy to the 3rd and open that circuit seat for me, why…I’ll just hold my breath until you email me back.

Signed,

Turning blue.



May 16, 2006

To: Jeb
Bush@governorbisgshot.net

From: Turningblue.com

Hey! Who do I look like, David Blane? Answer the damn emails. Quick!

Signed,

Getting real blue.


May 16, 2006.

To: Jeb
Bush@packingthecourtisfun.net

From: I give up.com

Dear Governor Bush: Ok, maybe the holding the breath thing is a bit childish, especially for someone who wants the power to fry those crooks (we still use ol’sparky right?). However, you are really my last hope. I can’t win an election, people are throwing paperclips and staples at me in court, my own dog peed on my leg last night, and if you don’t elevate Izzy to the third and give me that circuit seat, why, I will….ok ok.. Just hold on. I promised no more threats.


Please please please give Izzy that seat on the 3rd DCA.
Is begging OK?
How about a nice shoe shine? Shine em up, right here. Every day I’m on the bench. Whatever you want, I’m game.
I am reduced to a quivering quaking former shell of a judge. Just please give me another chance.

Signed,

Reformed and desperate in Miami.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

QUERRY?

165 Comments over the weekend, and this reader asked the best question:

CAN ANYONE ANSWER THE QUESTION WHY ALVAREZ IS RUNNING AGAINST BRONWYN MILLER? WHAT SAY YOU MR ALVAREZ? WHATS THE REAL REASON??????????

It does deserve an answer.

Here is Rumpole's own question:

QUERRY: What do Judges (former Judge) Mike Chavies, Orlando Prescott, Shyrlon McWhorter (sorry if we botched the first name) and Karen Mills Francis all have in common?

If you answered: "They all got opposition at the end of their first term" you'd be correct.

What did you answer? And why does the more common answer seem so troubling when combined with the first answer we printed?

See You In Court.

QUERRY?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

THE INTERPRETER STRIKE BACK


THE INTERPRETER STRIKES BACK

Call us lots of things, but we like to think we are fair, and give everyone equal time. The following is an email from the interpreter who was before Judge Rosa Rodriguez. Here is her full and unedited response to what occurred.
We also take this time to note that we are very pleased the interpreters read the blog.


Mr. Rumpole:Chief Judge Farina has always been someone who has fought for our department, has lobbied greatly for more funding for more court interpreters to better help serve our diverse community and the Courts, and I am glad that you and your blog have cleared up his name and reputation. Criminal Court Interpreters have always been provided for parents or legal guardians of defendants who are minors or mentally incompetent. However, up to the point of all this ruckus and accusations towards Chief Judge Farina, many of us in the Criminal Court Interpreters Dept., including myself had been told that due to a limitation of resources, that there was an administrative order by the Chief Judge that we could not interpret for family and friends since our first duty was to the defendants, especially those in custody. Despite this many of us try to accomodate or help out whenever possible or when we are not in the middle of one courtroom's plea colluquy and a bailiff signals that we are needed before another Court. When possible we accomodate private attorneys, SAs & PDs in hallway interviews if they are willing to wait until we are done with our respective assigned judges' calendars, since the judges morning calendars and the defendants therein are our first priority.When we have multiple courtrooms to cover, particulary on Sounding days, with either Judges or PDs/Attorneys wanting to convey pleas or do colloquys and a bailiff comes from one courtroom, we do not know for what, we just go. How many times have you or one of your colleagues had to run from courtroom to courtroom or send the bailiff looking for one of us, because the interpreter in your particular courtroom is in the midst of interpreting pleas or other proceedings because defendants, PDs, private attorneys needed to close out cases, but we are too busy at that given moment. When I was called by the bailiff into the courtroom and the lady was pointed out, the proceeding was already in progress and I immediately began interpreting. It was not until the Hispanic private attorney mentioned the name of the male defendant that I inquired who was the defendant, thinking that I may have been interpreting the wrong proceeding to the wrong defendant as sometimes happens when cases are passed until I arrive. When the attorney informed me that the defendant spoke English and that HE wanted me to know if I could interpret the proceeding for the mother so she would be in the know was when I told him that we weren't allowed to interpret for family and friends pursuant to an administrative order by the Chief Judge.It was at this point that the Judge inquired and I repeated what up to that moment I thought was an order, even though I added that we do interpret for family or friends if the Judge is inquiring from them or testimony is being given to the Court. Since the Court neither ordered me nor was speaking with the Defendant's mother directly, I returned to the courtroom across the hall were they were waiting on me to finish conveying a plea in order for the Judge to proceed with the plea colloquy. As an interpreter, I try to help whenever possible while following my department's rules and/or directives, maintaining my professional code of conduct and trying not to run afoul of any of my multiple Judges' wrath. I do not always succeed. However, each of us can only cover so many defendants cases in so many courtrooms at a time without getting someone upset.Glenda Obando

Friday, May 12, 2006

FRIDAY HEADLINES

HERE ARE THE REGJB FRIDAY HEADLINES


SLOM SAD,
MILLS-FRANCIS MAD,
GLAZER POSSIBLE OPPONENTS DIDN’T “FAZE-HER”

AND… POSSIBLY ONE OF THE BEST POLITICAL MOVES YET. GENIUS.

Before we get to the Captain’s noon-time political update, we just can’t let this political move go by without comment.

He’s sneaky. He’s sly. He’s shifty. He’s got political moxie.

The type of lawyer who goes to trial just to win on venue.
The type of Judge who gets on NPR by ordering defendants to listen to opera in his chambers.

Who are we speaking of?
Why none other than Former County Court Judge, and possible Circuit Court Judge JEFFREY SWARTZ.

GIVE THE MAN HIS DUE.

Jeffrey Swartz, formerly of the bench, until pounded by Pozo in the last election, clearly had his nose in the air, his ears open, his finger wet, testing the political winds . Constantly sniffing and searching for any way to claw back in to the warm bosom of his judicial buddies, Jeff Swartz may well have outsmarted them all!

Here’s the play: Current Judge Israel “Izzy” Reyes, clearly a favorite of Jeb and the gang, is currently up for re-election. Judge Reyes also just made it to Jeb’s desk for an appointment to the Third DCA where he can join the Rothenberg Crew’s war on the fourth amendment and the commie pinko liberals who file appeals for criminals.

Anyway, by filing against Judge Reyes, who otherwise was thought to have a secure seat, Jeff Swartz essentially placed a $7,000.00 bet that Judge Reyes would be appointed to the Third DCA. Because if Judge Reyes gets the appointment, JEFF SWARTZ GETS A CIRCUIT JUDGE SLOT WITHOUT HAVING TO CAMPAIGN. IT’S A GUARANTEED WIN!!!

If Reyes doesn’t get the appointment, Swartz can save the hundreds of thousands of dollars and withdraw from the campaign.

In our humble eyes, it was a BRILLIANT MOVE.

NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS THE WINNER OF THE BEST POLITICAL MOVE IN DADE COUNTY JUDICIAL RACES THIS YEAR, IS SMART AND TRICKY JEFFREY SWARTZ. TAKE A BOW. YOU’VE EARNED IT.

NOW FOR THE CAPTAIN:


TARGET #3:Circuit Court Group 65

Incumbent Judge Israel Reyes has a challenger. He is none other than former County Court Judge Jeffrey Swartz. Reyes has had a quick rise to power. He was a cop for five years before going to law school at Nova. He was an ASA from 1998-2002 when Gov Jeb appointed him to the County Court bench on March 26, 2002. 18 months later, Bush came calling again, this time appointing him to the Circuit Court. Is he soon headed to the 3rd DCA??? Swartz (that is the way he spells it) was a County Court Judge until 2004 when Ada Pozo Revilla convinced the voters of Dade County to vote looks over age by a margin of 121,595 to 110,445.
Many remember Judge Swartz as the one who would offer those charged with a Miami Beach excessive noise violation the choice of a $500 fine or listening to the opera La Traviata for 2 1/2 hours.

TARGET #4:County Court Group 4:
IT'S THE ST. THOMAS LAW SCHOOL MANO Y MANO
Where Administrative Judge Sam Slom drew an opponent in Cecilia Armenteros-Chavez.

Slom, a 1987 graduate of the charter class of St. Thomas Law School, is the Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division in County Court. He has been a Judge since 1996 ans was formerly an ASA.Cecilia Armenteros (as she is listed with The Florida Bar and as she practices in her law firm; we do not know why she added the name Chavez to the end), is a 1993 graduate of St. Thomas Law School. She has been a member of The Florida Bar since 1994 and practices family law as an associate with the law firm of Buckner & Shifrin in Miami.

TARGET #4:County Court Group 11:

As predicted by The Captain, Judge Karen Mills-Francis will be running for Judge this summer against candidate Stephen Millan.Francis, a UF law school grad and former PD has been a County Court Judge since 2001.Millan, was formerly a candidate in Group 30, but when that seat suddenly disappeared with the appointment of Judge Silver to the Circuit Court, Millan made the move to Group 11. The other candidate for the Group 30 seat, Robert Twombley, dropped out completely, just as I predicted. CAPTAIN OUT ............


Rumpole notes that the challenge to Mills Francis is somewhat surprising in that she trounced a well respected male Judge six years, even during some negative publicity by the Herald during the week of the campaign. Having beaten a male incumbent despite the Herald. What makes Milan think he can beat a female incumbent with no negative publicity?

HEY JUDICIAL CANDIDATES. WANT A COVETED RUMPOLE ENDORSEMENT?

SEND US YOUR PRIVATE EMAIL AND ANSWER OUR LITTLE QUESTIONAIRE, AND YOU MIGHT JUST GET A RUMPOLE ENDORSEMENT FOR JUDGE.

WHAT CAN IT HURT? HAVE A LITTLE FUN. SHOW THE ELECTORATE YOU HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR. EVEN CLINTON ANSWERED ABOUT BOXERS vs. BRIEFS.


See You In Court.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

SOMETIMES WRONG NEVER IN DOUBT

KIMBERLEY MILLER WROTE:

Have heard and confirmed that Judge Bronwyn Miller's photo is the blog – would you mind using her current campaign photo?

Rumpole replies: Who do we look like, the Committee to Re-elect Miller? The photo we used was good enough for the eleventh judicial circuit web site, and that’s good enough for us. Give us credit for giving your candidate a little breathing room away from Maximum Moron, who people are confusing with your Judge Miller. Give some people an inch, and they take a mile.

EDITED UPDATE: MS MILLER WROTE US BACK:


please spell my name properly next time - thank you! Inbox
Kimberly Miller
to me
More options
4:48 pm(0 minutes ago)
Kimberly Miller


Rumpole responds: typical fancy pants high faluttin civil lawyer without the common sense of a gnat. Can you read? (true, we can't spell) But... Can you see we're in a bad mood? You are representing a candidate and you want to pick a fight with us? Keep it up smarty pants and you will really regret it. This is a blog for Criminal Lawyers. Go back to your Coral Gables cocktail parties where partners discuss the weekend polo matches and their yachts. This is for real lawyers who know how to try cases and make a difference in peoples lives. This is not for paper pushers who bill by the tenth of a minute. Go sue someone.
(Should have known it was a civil lawyer by their pushy attitude. Who are you billing this little contretemps to? [go look it up] )

SECOND EDITED UPDATE: Boy are we blowing it. First we accuse Judge Farina of something he didn't do, then we eviserate Judge Bronwyn Miller's sister when she is not even an attorney and is a fan of our blog. Some days...nothing goes right.

Here is the last email from Sister Miller:

I am Bronwyn's older sister and not an attorney and I think your blog is the best. I send excerpts to all defense attorney friends day and night – cut and pasting like a maniac. I think it's the best. I heard that her photo was posted (from the friends to whom I normally send excerpts from your blog) and saw that it was older and first, did not realize that you are Rumpole, the Rumpole, as in ohmigosh I am emailing Rumpole – can you believe??? And, second did not pay enough attention to today's blogging to realize that I would be cut to shreds with my firm's name on the blog. So sorry. Thank you.

Rumpole says: Sorry to be so mean. Of course you are just trying to help your sister, who as we said in an email to you, was a wonderful and well respected prosecutor, and who we think will be a great judge. All is forgiven, and for the second time in two days, we look like a real horses-ass. Well, we've looked like worse in front of juries, so at least this is anonymous. Good luck with the campaign.



Here’s why we’re really in a bad mood. Turns out our plans for a grand sit in in Judge Farina’s office have to be abandoned. Mr. Rick Freedman, always on top of things, wrote in to say this:

Let's clear this matter up. I spoke today with one of the Directors of the Court Interpreter Office at the REGJB, and he informs me that there is NO Administrative Order in this County, signed by Judge Farina, or anyone else that prohibits what happened in Judge Rosa Rodriquez' court. The interpreter mistated and misunderstood what is a directive from Court Adminsitrator Ruben Carrerou. That directive was written and is intended to make every reasonable attempt to use the resources the interpreter's office has been provided and keep members of the public informed as to what is going on in court to the best of their ability.What the directive does say is that if a person who does not understand english is involved in a legal proceeding at the REGJB, a defendant, a witness, someone that the judge is addressing, then the interpreter must interpret. They are not there for the general public; meaning that when the spanish speaking grandmother wants an entire hearing interpreted for her, that will not be done. However, when the english speaking attorney asks the interpreter to simply explain to grandma what happened and when the next court date will be, the interpreter has always in the past and will continue in the future to make every reasonable effort to help the attorney out.I hope this clears the matter up. Personally, I think the interpreters do an amazing job given the limited resources they have. They are constantly being pulled from one hearing to another, from one attorney to another, from one location to another, and they always seem to do it professionally and with a smile on their face. This despite the fact that we rarely thank them for all they do.Keep up the good work

Rump.
Rick Freedman


Just remember Rumpole’s most cherished motto: SOMETIMES WRONG….NEVER IN DOUBT.
NEVER LET IT BE SAID WE ARE TOO PROUD TO ADMIT WE ARE WRONG.

Ahemm… ummm… ‘weresorryjudgefarinaandwewontdoitagain.”

There. We said it. Sorry Judge Farina. You didn’t sign the order. As we have said before, gee it must really stink to be accused of something you didn’t do. You can thank defense attorney Rick Freedman for your successful defense.


See You In Court feeling a bit stupid. See, there are hundreds of perfectly valid reasons for remaining anonymous. And this is one of them. That’s the last time we rely on anonymous source “worlds meanest defense attorney” who we think is Front Porch Phil R.

FRIDAY IS FUN DAY

FRIDAY IS FUN DAY

JUDGE LARRY SCHWARTZ WEIGHS IN ON INTERPRETERS:

I'm unaware of what you are calling the "Farina Rule". Anyone who has been in my courtroom knows that if a defendant speaks English and a parent doesn't AND the interpreter is present, I ask the interrupter to translate for the parent. A noncustodial defendant who is non-English speaking can have a non English speaking family member with them while the interpreter does their job for the defendant. And last, a custodial non-English speaking defendant with a non-English speaking parent present, I've asked the interpreters to speak loud enough so that the family member can hear the translation. No interpreter has ever complained nor have I ever been told that there is an administrative order prohibiting the use of interpreters in this manner.Feel free to come to Courtroom 2-5 to watch the procedure.
Judge Larry Schwartz

Rumpole replies: we have a source on this. As per our source, “on Wednesday May 10, 2006, before Judge Rosa Rodriguez, an interpreter who was asked in open court to explain to a Defendant’s mother what had occurred said

“Judge Farina has an administrative order that prohibits us from interpreting for anyone other than a defendant.” The Interpreter then turned on her heel and stormed out.
Ask Judge Rosa Rodriguez, she seemed as shocked as the rest of us.”


IM GONNA MAKE EM AN OFFER HE CAN’T REFUSE:

One reader claims the Farina rule is about business:

This rule is promted as a business move by the Hispanic Lawyers Association (HLA). Read about it in today's Herald. Either english-only attorneys will need to tag along privately paid interpreters, and thereby have to charge their clients more, and eventually lose clients because of this, or they will not be able to completely communicate with their clients, and thereby provide less quality representation, and in time lose them as clients. In both ways the HLA members will make out. The market will not change and move toward the non-HLA attorneys. Non-HLA attorneys need to learn spanish or they will lose out to the HLA over time.


GOT IT? GOT IT!

Let's clear this up, once and for all:Alberto "Left Hook" Milian (M-I-L-I-A-N), former ASA in Broward County, former boxer who punched a defense attorney in an elevator in the Broward County Courthouse - during the trial - former candidate for Dade State Attorney -has not filed to run for anything as of 10:35 today.Stephen Millan (M-I-L-L-A-N), has filed to run for County Court Judge in Group 30. I mentioned earlier this week, that I predict he will move to another race before Noon on Friday - possibly filing against Karen Mills Francis or Deborah White Labora. If he does change Groups, he will only have to drive to downtown Miami to do so, not Tallahassee.Now, does that clear it up ....Captain out ..................

Rumpole says, no, because you didn’t clear up the Judge Miller/ Judge Miller confusion.

This is the one voted best prosecutor:








This is the former prosecutor who currently has opposition from Jorge Alvarez.








rumpole, can you confirm the rumor floating out there that jeb is coming to mia to personally campaign for judge b miller?

No, but we love the rumor.


Talk about inviting trouble:

Captain reports:

According to my good sources, I wish to report that, a Judge, who shall remain nameless, has sent out invitations to his victory party in anticipation of not receiving any opposition. (I was not invited). But, knowing who this judge is, I certainly hope and expect that he will receive no opposition in the next 22 hours and 18 minutes.Captain out ..........

Rumpole says if Farina didn’t sign the Farina rule, then he ought to come out and say it. Otherwise, ITS DAY THREE OF THE FARINA WATCH.

See You In Court.

TICK TOCK...ELECTION CLOCK

Candidate Enriquez wrote in to clear the record:

Captain,

In response to your query whether I am the same Carlos Alberto Enriquez that was issued a final order in 1994 denying an Ohio Securities Salesman License, let me assure you that I am not. The Carlos Alberto Enriquez you mention to the best of my knowledge and belief was an “accountant” who lived in Coral Gables, Florida. I remember being called by several reporters back then to verify if I was that Carlos Alberto Enriquez. I am not. Thank you for giving me the opportunity of getting “the record” on the Justice Building Blog straight.
Carlos Enriquez


Candidate Mendez ponied up the dough:

CAMPAIGN UPDATE:MENDEZ IS IN. Gina Mendez paid her qualifying fee today and she is officially a candidate to unseat Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Schwartz.

CAPTAIN OUT .............


Left Hook Al to run again Judge Mills Francis?


This guy Millan is putting in against Mills Francis if he has not already.

Rumpole notes that there is currently no way to confirm the rumor that Left Hook Al will be flying to Tallahassee tomorrow to beat up any candidate who files in the same slot he files.

To those attorneys new (or newer) to our little world, Friday is the deadline for attorneys who want to file to run for Judge. It is sort of a tradition for candidates, political big-wigs, and attorneys who want to be "players" to fly to Tallahassee and hang around the clerk's office where candidates go to register.


It is also a tradition for Judges facing election to fly to Tallahassee armed to the teeth so as to prevent anyone from filing against them. Tales of flying tackles in the hallway outside the clerk’s office, sexy stewardesses plying potential candidates with liquor on the plane, back room deals, oral sexual favors and the like, are part what makes up the proud history of the Judiciary in Dade County. (The Judges of The Eleventh Judicial Circuit- our motto: “Why work for a living when you can do this?”)

This Friday at noon (which is the deadline) , if you walk the usually empty corridors of the REGJB and listen closely, those sounds you hear will either be cries of joy or the agonizing wail of a Judge who faces the distinct possibility of returning to the world where not everyone laughs at your jokes, clients bounce checks on you, and having to deal with one of the good lord’s worst creations: newly elected judges who think they know it all.

To all our robed readers: good luck.
To some of our robed readers: good riddance.

“Ties that bind” brought in this response:

No ties in Court? Maybe we could also allow jeans, and open collar shirts with slip on shoes and no socks. It could be called the "Scott Saul" rule. Or, perhaps, we could show some respect for the courtroom, and dress appropriately.

Rumpole notes that it is important to show respect to the court. However, how many Judges wear jeans and t-shirts below their robes? Ties should be worn in trial. But during summer, we think, as much as it galls us to admit it, North of the Border has the right idea: the 50% of attorneys who have to wear ties (men) should be relieved of this burden during the summer, or at least until the Bush Administration hires scientists who know how to use a thermometer and admit that global warming is a reality.

FARINA IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DAY TWO

Rumpole wonders if any members of the judiciary care to comment on the rule that interpreters may not tell family members of a defendant what just occurred in court? How about those members of the Judiciary that are facing an election? How about those candidates for the Judiciary? This is a valid election issue that should be discussed. All statements for or against the FARINA RULE will be published by this blog.



See You In Court.
No truth to the rumor that the chief judge has ordered all sharp objects removed from all judicial chambers in anticipation of Friday’s noon deadline.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

NO HABLA INGLES....EVER

THE FOLLOWING POST IS INCORRECT. RUMPOLE BLEW IT. SEE THE POST ON 511/06. JUDGE FARINA HAS NOT ORDERED ANY INTERPRETER NOT TO INTERPRET FOR A DEFENDANT'S FAMILY. SORRY. WE BLEW IT.







THIS MAN HAS ALLEGEDLY SIGNED AN ORDER PROHIBITING...…GET READY FOR THIS...

INTERPRETERS FROM ( WE CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS CAN BE TRUE IN DADE COUNTY) .....

INTERPRETING!!!!!

We received this email alert today:

Rumpole, I have a mission for you. I was in court this morning and heard an interpreter tell the judge and an attorney that she could not interpret for the Defendant's mother. The interpreter said "As per the administrative order of Judge Farina, we cannot interpret for a Defendant's family." This is mind boggling. Something straight out of Broward.!!

Help!
This calls for a sarcastical, cynical, snide type of individual, so I turned my lonely eyes to you.
The Worlds Meanest Defense Attorney (by popular vote). WMDA

Dear WMDA, you are right. We are just the person for this job.

Rumpole to the rescue!!!
How in the name of Broward County could Judge Farina sign an administrative order prohibiting interpreters from interpreting for a Defendant's family?

Here is the scene:

A lawyer is in court.
The Defendant is in custody.
There are sensitive plea negotiations at sidebar.
The case gets reset.
The defendant has to surrender his passport, pay a large fine and restitution before the case gets settled and he can get out of jail.
The new court date is two weeks away.

The interpreter does her job in court and on the way out the attorney wants to tell his client's family the new court date and what needs to be done.

The attorney signals to the interpreter, who walks over and in Spanish asks the people if they are defendants.
They politely tell the interpreter that no, they are the family of the defendant who was just in court and they ask her what happened and when they have to be back in court.

The Interpreter reaches into her pocket, pulls out her reading glasses, clears her throat (ahhem) and loudly says for all to hear:

HEAR YE HEAR YE, BY ORDER OF THE CHIEF JUDGE OF THE ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, IN AND FOR DADE COUNTY, I CANNOT ANSWER ANY OF YOUR QUESTIONS.

FURTHERMORE, BY ORDER OF THE CHIEF JUDGE, I CANNOT TRANSLATE ANY INSTRUCTIONS FROM YOUR ATTORNEY.
YOU MAY NOT BE TOLD THE NEXT COURT DATE.
YOU MAY NOT BE TOLD WHAT JUST HAPPENED.
WELCOME TO THE ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF DADE COUNTY.

I AM AUTHORIZED TO CONVEY TO YOU THAT THE CHIEF JUDGE, ON BEHALF OF ALL OF THE JUDGES OF THE ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT,
WISHES YOU A VERY NICE DAY.


RUMPOLE IS ON A MISSION TO HAVE THIS ORDER REVERSED. THIS IS SO EMBARRASSING. EVEN NORTH OF THE BORDER ALLOWS THEIR INTERPRETERS TO TELL THE DEFENDANT'S FAMILY WHAT JUST HAPPENED IN COURT. WHEN BROWARD TAKES THE LEAD IN RACIAL OR ETHNIC SENSITIVITY, THEN YOU KNOW SOMETHING IS WRONG.


FARINA ON THE HOT SEAT: DAY ONE.







Judge Dakis remembered:

Frank Abrams, late of Dade County, wrote in:

It is with great sadness that I've learned of the death of Judge Linda Dakis through a friend. What a great person she was. A fine individual with a warm smile whose common touch and sense of justice was second to none. Same with Henry Leyte Vidal. I live and practice law in North Carolina these days, and find it sad whenever someone I admired and respected passes away.

A wonderful person and a fine judge. A credit to the bench. Someone with a great sense of justice. Someone whose candor, honesty and forthright approach was one that many a sitting judge would do well to emulate. She will be missed.


See You In Court speaking broken Spanish to our client's family until you know who sees the light of day.