WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Friday, September 29, 2006

DRESS FOR SUCCESS

OK...where were we?

A clothes contretemps has broken out among our fair readers:


Anonymous said...
Earlier this week I saw a young woman attorney at REG. She argued her point in high-heels, a knee length skirt and tank-top.Now... I've no desire to wear dresses and silk blouses, but I'm curious about this... Why must male attorneys sweat out court in suit and tie while women attorneys are allowed to dress "for summer."If male attorneys are required to wear long sleaves, shouldn't women? If male attorneys are required to wear long pants, shouldn't women be required to wear long pants or dresses. If men are required to wear ties, should women be allowed to wear v-necks?Would it be so hard or so wrong to create a gender neutral dress code which still lets women dress like women and men dress like men?


Anonymous said...
I am a female defense attorney and at the risk of sounding too conservative, I agree with 3:36. I will speak for myself. I wear tank tops all the time, but while in the courthouse, I always have my suit jacket on. I never take it off until I leave the courthouse. If I'm wearing a skirt, which I try to avoid, I always have on pantyhose. [Rumpole notes: Me too.] And I personally think it's inappropriate to wear open toe sandals (even if they have high heels) in court. Men have a dress code. Women should too. It's all about showing respect to the court system, although it often is not worthy of it.


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Rumpole, I would like to get some feedback from attorneys and judges who read this blog. This issue was briefly discussed several weeks ago and I remember that Judge L. Schwartz permitted men to appear before him sans necktie.Here is the proposal (and you can add this to one of your polls if you want):FROM MEMORIAL DAY TO LABOR DAY, the courts will be on a summer dress code. This means that a male attorney may appear in court with either: long sleeve shirt and necktie, but no jacket OR dress shirt and jacket, but no necktie.That is the proposal, please give me your feedback.


Mr. Blackwell said...
This is supposed to be a noble profession. Why is it that we want respect but are willing to show none. Wearing appropriate clothes is a matter of respect. Respect for the Court, for the system, and for the public. I am not a used car salesman. Is it so difficult to wear a suit and tie? You must be kidding. Lets do court on the beach in speedos. We wonder why the publics trust and esteem for lawyers and the Courts are ebbing it is because we do not have a high enough opinion of ourselves. Lets not devolve to the lowest common denominator but elevate our profession. If you want to be a park ranger have at it. But, if you want to be a lawyer is it unreasonable to expect a certain amount of decorum from oneself and each other.

We have dresscodes for everything; schools, formals, and yes even Court


Rumpole replies: we would LOVE to be a park ranger. Where do we apply?

Anonymous said...
once saw a top Broward attorney in Broward court with loafers and no socks.

Lost a lot of respect for him but no one up there seemed to mind.Hey 3:50 female attorney-give us more descriptions of your clothing ensemble- caliente!

Rumpole speculates that you must have been sitting around waiting to be called while the North of the Border Judge had a good chuckle at your expense.

Anonymous said...
It's 90 days people; no ties; the judges don't even wear ties under those robes. hey judges, remember when you had to walk through the parking lot in and our of the MJB in July. I SAY NO TIES IN JULY


Rumpole notes that this is a matter for our fearless leader. Yes, I am speaking of none other than Chief Judge Joe Farina (www imthechiefandyournot dot com. )

Appoint a Judge to lead a commission. Take testimony, issue a proposal for public comment, and adopt a rule. Or save everyone a lot of time and sign an order stating “from June 15 through Labor Day, attorneys shall be allowed to dress appropriately for summer, which can include not wearing a tie in court during calendar calls and hearings.”

Or something like that.

See you in court. We’re the one who uses a Windsor knot in our tie.



PS: The REGJB building manager has assured us that the new green awnings have been purchased from a very reputable Reputable Midwest company. The awnings are wind rated to 9 mph. As the building manager was overheard to say: “hurricane season is almost over. Let the next guy worry about it next year. I’m outta here.”

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

TED KLEIN HAS PASSED AWAY

FROM THE CAPTAIN:

MAGISTRATE JUDGE THEODORE KLEIN(1940-2006)

Theodore Klein has over 30 years of experience in the practice of white-collar criminal law. He has represented individuals and collective entities in a variety of investigations before grand juries, federal and state administrative agencies and boards, and in quasi-trial and trial proceedings in all courts. He is experienced in white-collar matters, including RICO, medicare and medicaid violations, fraud against the government, money laundering, banking violations, and international extradition. He has represented individuals and entities in forfeiture matters involving currency, property, and conveyances.

Mr. Klein is listed in The Best Lawyers in America , and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney before entering into private practice. He as been an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law for 25 years.

He is a past President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the local chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and served for six years on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar.

He has appeared in courts at all levels in the nation, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is often appointed as a Special Master in hotly contested federal and state litigation; serves as a mediator in federal and state civil cases; and represents individuals in Florida Bar disciplinary matters.

He had been a Magistrate Judge, since October 30, 2003.



Rumpole remembers: When Ted Klein walked into a courtroom he comanded respect. His presence, his professionalism, his demeanor all bespoke of a rare attorney and man who graced us with his presence and whose likes will not be seen again in these parts.

We fondly remember reading his “farewell email” to his fellow criminal defense attorneys when he was appointed a Federal Magistrate. After writing about all the things he would miss, he wrote with what was clearly a smile evident even though we were just reading words, that becoming a Magistrate meant, and we are paraphrasing this from memory “No More Visits to Jails!!!”

His email brought a smile to our face because his appointment as a Magistrate was an honor long overdue and we celebrated his joy in starting a new facet of his distinguished career. He will be missed and long remembered.

5 EASY PIECES

Never one to hide our opinion, we "humbly" offer these simple steps to improve the little world we all work in.

5 simple steps to improve the efficiency of the criminal justice system:


1) Take most third degree felonies and make them misdemeanors. Grand Theft under $2,500, possession of cocaine under 10 grams, grand theft auto, burglary of a car or structure other than a dwelling or business (ie., a shed, etc.,) littering, felony battery, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, felony DWLS, are all candidates.

2) Take most second degree misdemeanors and make them civil infractions. Disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxication, driving without eye-glasses or riding a motor-cycle without an endorsement, driving a van without commercial markings, possession of marijuana, are all candidates.

3) Train traffic magistrates to handle these new civil infractions. Magistrates Like Mr. Peckins, Mr. Haguel, Mr. Cobitz will have no trouble handling these cases.

4) Increase the penalties available to magistrates and misdemeanor judges to handle these new cases. Magistrates should have the ability to fine people up to $2,000.00 and order up to 200 hours of community service. County Court Judges should have the ability to order up to five years probation in addition to jail to handle the reduced felonies.

5) Take a misdemeanor Judge like Judge Hague ( who was an ace prosecutor) and have them handle all other third degree misdemeanor arraignments for all Judges in a special calendar. This can be expanded to include trials, bench and jury for these cases in that division as well. Remove the ability of the prosecutors to demand a jury trial when the defense waives the right to a jury trial for third degree felonies.


These simple steps will ease the burden on the criminal justice system and free up the Circuit Court Judges to handle their more serious cases, and spend more time on matters that remain before them.


Coming next: Rumpole’s 5 secret REGJB diet tips.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

FAN MAIL.

WE HAVE FANS.

With fans like these....


Anonymous wrote:

why this blog has started to suck:

1. Migna and her stupid song
2. The Chris and Allen posts.
3. Tinkler Mendez and Parks get top fold press.
4. People fighting about naming a jury room after that sweet old pizza loving Judge Crespo(rip) and,
5. it has been taken over by a bunch of traffic hacks.
I miss the old days when the blog was filled with personal attacks, sex, law suits…


Another fan wrote in:

This blog couldn't be more boring. It definitely has seen better days. I always wondered what the hell we'd talk about once the elections were over. That Dolphin poem the other day was the death of the blog. Sorry Rumpy but it sucks.


Anonymous said:
bring back fake brummer with him asleep in his car


Anonymous wrote:
Oh man, this blog has jumped the shark!


thetruth said...
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Rumpole Responds:

The blog tends to drag when we are otherwise occupied with a trial. For that we plead guilty as charged.

However,

The blog is dependent upon Judges, our old friend Bennett “ban em” Brummer, and various other local characters to do something “blog-worthy”. Until that happens we just tend to slog along, and as you can see by Sunday’s post, left to our own devices, the results tend to be disastrous. (We wish we could blame Sunday on a hang-over, but we don’t drink when we are in trial. We really have no excuse for Sunday except sometimes even the best of us lay an egg.)


Finally, the blog is approaching the one year anniversary of it’s first post. During that year we have managed to churn out 378 posts. We find that number to be almost unbelievable. Many of those posts contain some of our finest writing, as our old friend “zzzzzzzzzzzz” can attest to. Some of those posts have addressed important subjects, and we’d like to think some of those posts have caused more than one person to laugh.


We know the blog has not been it’s best lately. Hopefully that will change.

Tough times don’t last.
Tough bloggers do.

See You In Court looking for material.

Monday, September 25, 2006

PARKS v. TINKLER-MENDEZ

Lots of sniping on the blog between anonymous individuals portending to be the supporters of these two candidates.

Ms. Parks is embroiled in her second run-off in as many campaigns for circuit court. We admire her tenacity. Ms. Parks brings a solid and well rounded resume to her quest for the bench, including time as a nurse. A diverse background is a valuable asset to a conscientious jurist.

Ms. Tinkler-Mendez is well known to the denizens of the REGJB, as she has spent almost her entire career in criminal defense, working with some of the very best attorneys we have in this town. Were she to win this run-off, the bench would gain a very capable and experienced jurist.

Perhaps it’s time for the sniping to stop and the candidates to speak? We invite both to send us an email which, according to our policy, will go up un-edited, with the understanding that about two pages of written material is all a good post should have.

OK. Have at it.

And while you’re at it, call off the dogs in the comments section.


What can go wrong with the wrong judge on the bench?
Glad you asked.


The NY Times, in an article reported today on the abuses of small state courts in New York, where many judges did not even complete high school.

Here are some of the highlights:

While hearing a request for a restraining order:

The justice, Donald R. Roberts, a former state trooper with a high school diploma, not only refused, according to state officials, but later told the court clerk, “Every woman needs a good pounding every now and then.”

During a hearing involving a fight in a bar:

A black soldier charged in a bar fight near Fort Drum became alarmed when his accuser described him in court as “that colored man.” But the village justice, Charles A. Pennington, a boat hauler and a high school graduate, denied his objections and later convicted him. “You know,” the justice said, “I could understand if he would have called you a Negro, or he had called you a nigger.”


And finally, speaking for frustrated judges everywhere:

Several people in the small town of Dannemora were intimidated by their longtime justice, Thomas R. Buckley, a phone-company repairman who cursed at defendants and jailed them without bail or a trial, state disciplinary officials found. Feuding with a neighbor over her dog’s running loose, he threatened to jail her and ordered the dog killed.
“I just follow my own common sense,” Mr. Buckley, in an interview, said of his 13 years on the bench. “And the hell with the law.”


See You In Court.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

IF

IF.
A POEM.
BY RUMPOLE.
PROPS TO R. KIPLING.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are screaming at the Dolphins and blaming it on Culpepper
If you can trust your team when all are laughing at you

If you can dream of just winning one--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think of just scoring once--and not make offense your aim;

If you can bear to hear the truth about Ricky Williams
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one lousy teaser with the Dolphins and over
And lose, and not jump out the window

If you can talk with crowds at the Stadium
Or walk with Shula, and still sit in the upper deck

If neither foes nor Titans can hurt you

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With a decent two minute drill
Then yours is the NFL and everything that's in it,

And--which is more--you'll be at least 1 and 2.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

PETITION TO HONOR JUDGE CRESPO.

Sam I am wrote:

One may argue against a court-room dedication for Judge Crespo WITHOUT insulting Judge Crespo. As has been pointed out, we have lost many judges while they served. Why are we to honor Crespo but not Levine, Dakis, et al? Why are we to honor Crespo over those judges who served, retired and then died? Judge Crespo was a fine and honorable man, but so are a great many other judges who sit and have sat in Miami-Dade County over the past 100 years.


Judge Roberto M. Pineiro said...

Judge Lenny Glick has posted that Judge Scott Silverman, our official historian, has opined that it is the within the purview of our county commission to name a courtroom. If Judge Scotty says it, it must be right. As such, I have take the liberty of preparing a petition to be circulated in our community and sent to the commission.
I do this fully mindful of and obedient to Canon 4 of our Code of Judicial Conduct encouraging judges to Engage in Activities to Improve the Law, the Legal System, and the Aministration of Justice.

I do not, in any way, mean to denigrate fine jusrists and good friends such as Judges Henry Leyte-Vidal, Linda Dakis, Steve Levine or any of the other fine judges mentioned in the blog as deserving of recognition. I do this to celebrate and remember the life of one of us who was truly unique. I am the first to say: Though I've kidded you and berated you, by the living God that made you, you're a better man than I am, Manny Crespo.

The following petition can be signed in my chambers at the REGJB--602. Copies will be provided to all who wish to get others to sign. All signed petitions should be sent to my office for collection and forwarding to the commission:

Whereas: Judge Manny Crespo was a consummate public servant.
Whereas: Judge Manny Crespo strove on a daily basis to provide our community with fair and equal justice for all.
Whereas: Judge Manny Crespo has raised the bar of public service by devoting so much of his “work” time and his “free” time to assure our community that equality, fairness and justice are not simply cherished, nebulous concepts, but a reality to which we can aspire.
Whereas: Judge Manny Crespo should serve as an example to us all, but especially to those of us who labor in our courts.
We the undersigned, most respectfully, request the Miami-Dade County Commission name a courtroom in the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building the Judge Manny Crespo Memorial Courtroom.
The courtroom to be so named shall be designated by the Chief Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida.


Anonymous said...
Judge Pineiro's heart may be in the right place, but his petition drive certainly violates Canon 5, which prohibits using the office of judge to conduct solicitations, whether for funds, membership, or any other purpose. Every lawyer who appears before the good judge will wonder if failure to enter chambers to sign the petition will have adverse consequences for the lawyer or client. This is precisely the type of judicial coercion that Canon 5 prohibits. If the name-a-courtroom-for-Crespo idea has merit, it will have community support without lobbying by judges. And if it does not have that kind of community support, it is not entitled to impermissible lobbying by the judiciary. At the very least, Judge P should seek an Advisory Opinion before undertaking such questionable activity.


Judge Roberto M. Pineiro said...
In response to 3:17:36 PM. You are absolutely right. It never occured to me that someone might be concerned that failing to sign the petition would incur my animosity--for the simple reason that it never would as this has nothing to do with any case. What is personal should always stay personal.

However, I should always shy away from the appearance of impropriety so I thank-you for you advice and will follow it. However much I would like to assume an active role in the promotion of a memorial, I will simply sign the petition and turn it over to anyone who wishes to be responsible for distribution, collection and forwarding to the Miami Dade Commission.
The petition, sadly, will no longer be available in chambers, but I am sure someone will be able to run with it. Again thank-you for pointing out a stumbling block which should have, quite frankly, been obvious to me.

If Rumpole may interject as a mediator (a role we are otherwise wholly unsuited for) in this matter, it seems to us that honoring the memory of Judge Crespo does not demean the memory of Judges Dakis, Levine, Leyte-Vidal and others. Judge Crespo has friends who wish to extend this honor in his memory. We support the naming of courtrooms after all of these Judges, and probably others as well. But since Judge Crespo volunteered for weekend bond duty frequently, and volunteered every Monday to address and swear in prospective jurors, it is all together fitting and proper (to steal a line from President Lincoln) that we remember him by naming either the Jury Room or the bond hearing courtroom after him.


To answer Sam I Am, it seems illogical to argue against honoring Judge Crespo because others are equally deserving of the same honor. Why not honor all departed Judges? Judge Crespo has his close friends and supporters and it is up to the friends of the other Judges to do the same.

To address Judge Pinero's concerns the Petition should be given to your friendly neighborhood FACDL Justice Building Rep, who can post it in the attorneys' room on two, the coffee shop on seven, and Au Bon Pain.

Sorry for the slow posts, but this thing is spinning out of control. Judge Phil Knight would have had this thing over with in two days.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

HERE WE GO AGAIN

THE NY TIMES REPORTS:

DNA Evidence Frees Man After 15 Years in Prison

WHITE PLAINS, Sept. 20 — In 1990, a jury convicted Jeffrey Mark Deskovic, then 16, of raping, beating and strangling a high school classmate, even though jurors were told the DNA evidence in the case did not point to him.
They believed a police detective, who testified that Mr. Deskovic had confessed to the crime. A judge sentenced him to 15 years to life in prison, and at age 17 Mr. Deskovic was locked up.


Today, another judge set the 33-year-old Mr. Deskovic free, saying he agreed with his lawyers and the Westchester district attorney that more sophisticated DNA testing showed that someone else had killed and raped Angela Correa in November 1989.
When he heard that he was being set free, Mr. Deskovic, who has been arguing his innocence for years, sat speechless for a few minutes. Then he hugged his lawers and walked out of the courtroom.

Afterward, he talked to reporters and others about his overwhelming sense of relief, mixed with anger, over what he has lost by spending almost half his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

“I was supposed to finish out my education, begin a career,” he said. “Marry, have a family, spend some time with my family, share the last years of my grandmother’s life with her.”
He said his plans to marry his girlfriend were thwarted when he went to prison. His family grew apart.
“My family has become strangers to me,” Mr. Deskovic said.

Court records show that the police became suspicious of Mr. Deskovic when he showed unusual interest in the case, telling the police he was investigating the case himself, and visiting the crime scene.
A police detective said Mr. Deskovic had confessed.
But Mr. Deskovic had pleaded not guilty from the beginning of the case, and DNA evidence from the crime scene indicated he was not involved in the murder of his Peekskill High School classmate, who was 15. Ms. Correa’s body was found in a woods near an elementary school.

Even after he was imprisoned, Mr. Deskovic insisted he had not killed Ms. Correa, taking his case to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the matter.
Finally, with the aid of the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, the Westchester district attorney considered results of more sophisticated DNA evidence that pointed to someone else.
Prosecutors ran the results of the testing through a national databank, which turned up a match to another inmate already serving a life sentence for another Westchester murder.

Once again Rumpole notes that if the more serious murder cases are supposedly defended by the better defense attorneys, then who is working on the cases of innocent individuals in prison who were represented by "not the best attorneys" on cases involving questionable confessions or tainted eyewitness identifications for crimes like burglary or robbery?

Just a sobering, depressing, nightmarish thought.

How many times does this have to happen before we get it through our thick heads that the criminal justice system is broken and needs to be fixed?

We are so entranced with the American ideals of cross examination, the right to remain silent, the burden of proof, and a trial by jury, that we cannot see the forest through the trees.

Those ideals while worthy and deserving of praise, do not make up for the fact that thousands of innocent people (if not more) are in prison serving sentences.
There are over a million people incarcerated in our country. a five percent error rate means that more than 50,000 innocent people are in prison.

See You In Court, trying our best to prevent an injustice from occurring.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"A STAIN ON ALL OF US"

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

The Captain Reports:

You've heard of Girls Gone Wild - Call this JURIST GONE WILD:

Circuit Judge Richard Albritton Jr. of Panama City received a scolding Monday from the Florida Supreme Court for 14 admitted ethics violations, including unconstitutionally ordering a probationer to attend church, but he will be allowed to remain on the bench.


"Your behavior is unacceptable," Chief Justice Lewis (Rumpole notes: He's sharp our CJ,nothing slips by him) told Albritton, who stood silently beside his lawyer facing the seven justices. "It's a stain on all of us."

Judge Albritton admitted the violations in an agreement with the Judicial Qualifications Commission that calls for him to receive the public reprimand, serve a 30-day unpaid suspension and pay a $5,000 fine and $1,203.70 in costs.

Albritton initially was accused of 36 violations. In one instance he was accused of telling a woman in open court that she "needed to close her legs and stop having babies." Other admitted violations included jailing a young mother because she was unable to remember her address, soliciting gifts and invitations to lunch, getting hunting trips from lawyers and demeaning a Department of Children & Families staffer because of her young age.

And still more violations included asking parents in dependency cases whether they used drugs. If they answered no, he would order a drug test on the spot. If they tested positive he would have the parents jailed for contempt.

This is the kicker of all kickers. Albritton initially denied all 36 allegations. He finally admitted to the 14 violations only after qualifying for judicial elections had closed in May and no challenger filed to oppose his re-election. Can you believe it, NO challengers!!!

So, fellow RUMPOLE bloggers, who are you candidates for .... "JURIST GONE WILD"?????


Rumpole thanks the Captain for pitching in. Trial and all of that you know.

Monday, September 18, 2006

TIME MACHINE: RETURING TO CRIMINAL LAW CIRCA 1976

JUDGE YOUNG’S SENTENCE.

We read the headline in the Herald on Saturday announcing the 31 year prison sentence Judge Young gave the 87 year old woman who shot and killed a 13 year old boy who was swimming in her pool in 1976. The woman fled after the trial and was only recently arrested. We confess our sin and admit that we were initially shocked by the sentence. We violated the same rule that we rail against among our friends and relatives: do not question the outcome of a case by merely reading the headline.

A few paragraphs into the article and it was abundantly clear why Judge Young sentenced the woman to the amount of time he did: she had no remorse for taking a human life, especially the life of a child. She deserved every year she got.

The real issue raised by Judge Young’s sentence was the time machine like quality of the proceedings. For a brief moment, the law on the 4th Floor of the REGJB in Dade County returned to the days when Judges were Judges and legislatures were…still bumpkins, but less meddling bumpkins.


There were no sentencing guidelines at the time the Defendant was convicted in this case, and the entire sentence was left to the discretion of the Judge, which turned out to be Judge Young some thirty years later. If the trial were held today a clerk could sentence the defendant, as Judge Young would have absolutely no discretion in the matter. We think that is wrong. We think it outrageous that Judges spend a quarter of million dollars to run for Judge, and then sit quietly by while the legislature takes more and more power away from them, turning them into robed clerks, whose job is defined by the ability to fill out forms, add numbers, check boxes, and sign orders.

Discretion, life experience, the particular facts of the case, remorse, or lack of remorse, have been outlawed and are not permitted as sentencing factors by a legislature intent on establishing minimum mandatory sentences for every type of crime. Racing on the Highway now has a minimum mandatory sentence for crying out loud.

When the guidelines were enacted, the legislature prattled on about fairness and uniformity of sentencing throughout the state, although it was clear to us that “liberal” ( you can read that as “Miami Liberal” ) judges were being targeted. It started with murder cases, and now has filtered down to misdemeanors.

We live in a State where a 25 year old prosecutor is more trusted by the legislature to decide whether a minimum mandatory sentence is appropriate, then the fifty year old Judge before whom the case is being tried. Something is wrong with that. And all the while Judges sat on their gavels and watched more and more of their discretion legislated away.

The Herald article revealed that Judge Young had not made up his mind about the sentence until hearing from the Defendant. Then, based on his experience as a former prosecutor, his years on the bench, and his overall life experience and common sense, he arrived at a sentence that he believed was just based on the facts and the defendant before him.


That’s how it’s supposed to work.

But unless a whole bunch of defendants who didn’t appear for court in 1976 start getting arrested, then it’s back to the current state of the Judiciary: a good calculator and sharp pencil to check a few boxes, and on to the next case.

Judges of Florida unite! You have nothing to lose and your power and discretion to gain.

Or do you robed readers like kowtowing to that 25 year old prosecutor who has been a lawyer two years and has more power over sentencing than you do?


See you in court with our calculator.

Friday, September 15, 2006

JUDGE CRESPO'S COURTROOM


Judge Glick took a moment from his busy schedule to drop us an email to enlist our assistance in the worthy cause of renaming the Bond Hearing Courtroom in Honor of the late Judge Manny Crespo:

[We] need to get a band wagon effect going to name the bond hearing courtroom after the late Judge Manuel Crespo. Most recently Judge David Young floated an idea, with the powers that be, to name the bond hearing Courtroom 5-3 in Manny’s honor. So far no word. I believe if the bench and bar were made aware of this idea and spoke to people who need speaking to it might have some success. Your BLOGSITE disseminates a lot of information to people who could make a difference. Please consider.

Rumpole wonders “who the powers may be” are?

Is there actually an individual who has the keys the REGJB?
We thought the building was run by Gremlins.

When Judge Crespo died there were many stirring tributes written about him on this blog. One consistent theme voiced by many of his fellow members of the bench and the lawyers who appeared before Judge Crespo was his dedication to the law in Dade County and his willingness to work weekends and holidays to make sure Bond Hearings were done, and done well.

It made a big difference to lawyers and clients when they appeared at a hearing on a weekend or holiday to see a wise and experienced Judge like Manny Crespo on the bench. Walking into an otherwise empty courthouse on the weekend with their client's worried family members, lawyers would tell their client’s families something to the effect of : “We got lucky today. It’s Judge Crespo. He knows what he’s doing.”

MEMO TO THE MIAMI CHAPTER OF THE FACDL: step up to the plate. Pass out the hat, collect a few bucks for the framing of a picture of Judge Crespo for the courtroom. We are sure Judge Glick could work with Judge Crespo's family to obtain a suitable picture.

MEMO TO THE REST OF OUR ROBED READERS: Sign some orders, call Judge Farina,(1-800-I'DA-BOSS) throw your considerable weight around (some pun intended) and get this done.

We all remember Judge Crespo. His love for his Country, his community, and his job should not go unrecognized. We are all diminished by his loss.

Just picture this scene: Some Sunday in 2010. A new Judge laboring away at a never ending list of new cases that need to be reviewed and have bonds set. The Judge takes a break and asks the clerk about the picture hanging on the wall. The Clerk smiles and starts to tell one more "Crespo story", maybe about his willingness to fill in for a colleague and cover a weekend bond hearing calendar. Refreshed with the spirit and memory of a man who loved his job, the Judge returns to work.

See You In Court.

PS:
Judge Glick also saw fit to write to us about our post yesterday and the steamship docked outside his chambers:

“ F.Y.I , the “steamship outside his chambers” that you refer to in your ringing endorsement of my sanity is a hand made model of the steamship CARINTHIA, a Cunard liner from 1956, lest anyone who takes statements from the BLOG literally thinks there is a real steamship outside the office. “

Rumpole responds: Everybody knows there is no way a steamship could dock outside of Judge Glick’s chambers: it could not fit through the security machine. Guns, knives, and various other weapons all fit nicely through the machine and make their way into our workplace everyday.

But a steamship would (eventually) catch the attention of the highly trained and vigilant security force into whose hands we place our security every day.

Sleep tight.

Have a Good Weekend.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A WARM MIAMI WELCOME PLEASE.

COUEY TRIAL MOVED TO MIAMI

An alert reader posted that the trial of the man accused of killing Jessica Lunsford has been moved from Citrus County to our humble courthouse. The reader asked what advice we might have for the Judge, staff, and attorneys.

Rumpole, always ready to oblige, has this simple to advice.


As with all visitors who grace our city, you will be welcomed with the traditional warm Miami Greeting: “Welcome. Now turn over your rental car and empty your pockets.”

Just kidding.

Here are some helpful tips:

OUR COURTHOUSE. Called the Justice Building, it is really the Gerstein Justice Building, named after our most famous fugitive from Justice: Miami Commissioner Joe Gersten. Joe was a friendly fellow. He made the rather close acquaintance of a fetching young woman, who took him to her cozy crack house, and after getting Joe higher than his soon to be calculated sentencing guidelines, she and her friends stole the commissioner’s Mercedes. Joe reported the car stolen from his Coral Gables residence, and when the crack smoke cleared, Joe found himself under arrest for a Rundle/bundle of crimes arising from filing a false police report.


When Commissioner Gersten found himself in the not so unusual position of being a politician in Miami under arrest, he decided that it was time to take a vacation down under.

“Crikey Mates- The Dingo ate my return ticket!” Gersten liked Australia so much, he never returned.

Anyway, with the city in the embarrassing position of having named its criminal courthouse after a fugitive, it was decided to ad an “I” to Gersten, changing the name to Gerstein, who as everyone knows was the long time State Attorney before Janet Reno. Because Miami is commonly referred to as “The City Of Fugitives” there is some talk about returning the building to it’s original name.

JUSTICE BUILDING TIPS: One of the JA's is rumoured to run "an escalator" pool from chambers. One buck buys you the chance to pick the exact moment all six escalators are working for more than one minute in any given week.

Want to avoid games of chance? Then you should use the elevators which only stop on odd numbered floors on Mondays and Thursdays, and even numbered floors on Fridays. You see, what we do in Miami is just turn 60 jurors loose, tell them the courtroom number, and if 6 are actually able to stagger in before closing (which is 1PM for all County Court Judges) then you have your jury. However, remember that most jurors will have a bench warrant for some traffic infraction, (remember, we are "The City of Fugitives") so make sure you select plenty of alternates, as many jurors tend to get arrested during the trial.

CY GAER: If you see an older Gentleman appear before you and suddenly begin talking about a “great tragedy befalling his young and innocent client” that is just Cy Gaer. Give him a trial date in two weeks and he will leave.

FOOD: Miami runs on the “Cuban system.”
Don’t ask for a “cola” as you are liable to be misunderstood and given a colada which is a small, dark, sweet, poisonous concoction of caffeine. Cuban toast is a large long piece of white bread that is stale and crumbles when you bite into it. If it tastes like cardboard, then you have one of the good pieces. All entries in Miami are accompanied by black beans and rice. This includes Carvel Ice Cream Cones and Pizza.

Speaking of Cuban, Miami runs on “Cuban Time.”

Court starts promptly at 9:00 am., which means sometime between 10:30 and 12:00 noon.

MISCELLANEOUS: Be careful what you say in chambers, as the FDLE has a nasty habit of not removing the bugs from it’s last corruption investigation. The FDLE’s position is that it has placed so many listening devices in the REGJB that it has a hard time keeping track of them.

We have a JA that operates a mini-Wal Mart from chambers.

Many visitors to our building will be happy to assist procuring for you whatever you may have left behind at home, including cell phones, luxury vehicles, substances of “medicinal value” and companionship for those long lonely Miami nights. These individuals are recognizable by the “City Commissioner” emblem on their shirt, and they are just trying to make ends meet.


We once had a bailiff convicted of Murder.
Ditto for a Miami Dade Homicide Sergeant.
OJ was acquitted here.
But all other professional athletes do not fair as well. Ask Judge Glick when you see him. He has some sort of steamship outside of his chambers. And he’s one of the more normal and stable Robe wearer in our building.

Any way, as an un-official ambassador for our fair courthouse, let us be the fist to extend to you a warm Miami welcome.

Now your wallet please.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

COUNTY COURT CASH

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

In the eleven County Court races, more than $2.73 million dollars was spent so far and there is still one runoff taking place in November. That brings the cost of the 16 contests in County and Circuit Court to a grand total of 3.87 million dollars.

I think it's time to go into a new business Rump (seeing as you are always complaining about the lack of clients); that being the political consulting business.

The biggest loser in County Court, Michael Samuels, who spent over $187,000 in his loss. The biggest winner, Don Cohn, who was outspent 3-1 by Bonnie Rippingille and still won.

Here are the numbers:

MARINO

Raised $116,108
Spent $91,200

MCWHORTER

Raised $115,838
Spent $103,556
------------------------------
FABER

Raised $204,489
Spent $174,384

HERNANDEZ

Raised $90,731
Spent $69,523

(Rumpole notes that what is doubly striking about this race is the amount of money Faber raised, and that facing a strong challenge, Judge Hernandez left 20 thousand in the barn and didn't even use it. )
------------------------------
del PINO

Raised $148,378
Spent $139,805

JACOBI

Raised $77,721
Spent $70,112
------------------------------------
ADDICOTT

Raised $23,630
Spent $21,549

PANDO

Raised $215,435
Spent $172,376

(Rumpole notes: Lesson: Don't mess with Pando.)
----------------------------------------
MILLS FRANCIS

Raised $130,275
Spent $113,063

MILLAN

Raised $153,750
Spent $152,288
------------------------------------------
GONZALEZ
Raised $76,475
Spent $60,714
LEIFMAN
Raised $271,217
Spent $199,922
(Rumpole says: Who da man? Leifman da man. Now that the election is over we are going back to calling him "Lord of the Traffic Magistrates.")

--------------------------------------------
GONZALEZ MEYER
Raised $123,905
Spent $108,647
SAMUELS
Raised $209,050
Spent $187,398
---------------------------------------------
SANCHEZ LLORENS
Raised $213,525
Spent $175,595
SHELLY SCHWARTZ
Raised $259,492
Spent $260,782
(Rumpole notes: Wow! Almost a half a million bucks was spent in this race.)
----------------------------------------------
ALVAREZ
Raised $149,398
Spent $133,071
MILLER
Raised $240,524
Spent $195,762

----------------------------------------------
COHN
Raised $51,720
Spent $47,435
RIPPINGILLE
Raised $260,572
Spent $128,017
(Rumpole notes: Not only is he a Judge elect, but Don Cohn is the author of the forthcoming book: "How to run for Judge and win on less than 50 thousand dollars.")
----------------------------------------------
CHAVEZ
Raised $20,505
Spent $19,550
BIENSTOCK
Raised $29,500
Spent $27,402


FERNANDEZ
Raised $96,525
Spent $78,861



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

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A LIFE WELL LIVED.

KING TUPOU IV

From America to Tonga:

Careful and very longtime readers of our humble blog know of our fondness for the life well lived, and the obituary well written. The NY Times reported on the death of our favourite monarch, and we feel compelled to highlight the wonderful facts of King Tupou’s life. The King was the ruler of Tonga and the 10, 000 island Polynesian archipelago.

At 460 pounds, King Tupou was regarded in 1976 as the world’s heaviest monarch. Then at age 70, he went on a health kick and lost 200 pounds through diet and exercise which included riding his bicycle on the airport’s runway in the mornings. He lived to 88 years of age, giving hope to the more rotund among us.

The King was said to hold his island’s record for pole vaulting, at ten feet, set when he was 14 in 1932.
You just don’t hear much about Polynesian Pole Vaulters these days.

A man of letters, and a college and law school graduate (From the University of Sydney, Australia) the King commissioned the first dictionary of Tongan, the Polynesian language, and led a spirited effort to have the letter “B” replaced with the letter “P” although the reasons are far from known to us, and must be Tonganian in nature. Somehow “Rumbole” doesn’t work. We liked the King, but we like the “P” more.

The King proclaimed full independence from England in 1970 and was present for the first Tongan television transmission.

In 1990 the King saw fit to take advantage of a loophole in international law and claimed the last 16 desirable and unoccupied satellite orbital spaces for Tonga’s “space program”. However the 119 nation satellite consortium awarded Tonga only six spaces. The King was accused of using the loophole to lease the spaces for profit, but claimed them in a need to “upgrade his country’s telecommunications”.

At the time, only 4, 000 citizens in his kingdom had a telephone.

You have to love a Polynesian Monarch with chutzpah.

The King toyed with the idea of establishing nuclear waste storage facilities and oil refineries on uninhabited islands in his kingdom, and authorized the selling of 30 million dollars worth of Tonga citizenships at $20,000.00 a pop.

In summary, King Tupou IV led an extraordinary life. Monarchies are on the decline and we will not see his likes again. As opposed to yesterday’s post, he was distinctly “Un American” and that is not a bad thing.

Sometimes it’s a good thing to step back from our small world here in Miami and recognize the diversity of life and lives.
…..
......
...........
OK. Now back to the Prosecutor vs. Defense attorney debate that broke out in the comments section last night.

Monday, September 11, 2006

AMERICANS

Today we are Americans.

No other label applies. We stand united against evil, tyranny, hatred and those who believe innocent people are targets in what they call a holy war.

We are not perfect. We, as a nation, have made terrible mistakes. But we live in a society that allows us to discuss those mistakes, and vote out the leaders who make them.

But today is not about mistakes. Today is a day for heroes.

The world first saw the character of Americans in places called called Bunker Hill and Valley Forge.

We tested the character of our nation, on battlefields called Antietam and Gettysburg.

More Americans died at Antietam than on any other day in the history of our nation. September 11, 2001 is the second most bloodiest day in our history.
From those battlefields on American soil, came in the words of President Lincoln,

“A new birth of freedom.”

We emerged from our civil war stronger and wiser. When the world needed us in 1917, we answered the call. Americans died in battlefields and trenches an ocean away. Americans died so that other nations could enjoy the freedom we already knew.

Then came the depression, and the emergence of a new evil. Hitler and Tojo underestimated our character. Once again the call came. Once again Americans answered the call.

Americans died on the beaches of Normandy, in the cold winter of the Ardennes Forrest, and in the stifling hot jungles of Guadalcanal. We raised the flag on Mount Surabachi on Iwo Jima, because once we start fighting, we do not stop. We do not surrender no matter the odds against us.


6,821 Americans gave their life on Iwo Jima.

In the battle of Midway in June 1942, , young American boys, many not 20 years of age, flew their bombers – most unescorted and unprotected by fighters- into almost certain death, as again and again waves of American Naval Aviators attacked and sank four Japanese Carriers. When the day was over, Japan was never again able to mount a naval challenge in the Pacific.
Americans had answered the call.

Americans answered the call in Korea, and American and Royal British Marines fought side by side in the frigid cold of the Chosin Reservoir, surrounded by an overwhelming number of Chinese soldiers. The Marines never gave up.

We answered the call in South East Asia, and learned that with power and bravery, a country needs wisdom and temperance. Over fifty thousand names are engraved in granite in Washington DC to remember not the mistake of our politicians, but the bravery and character of Americans.

We took down a wall in Berlin, and nary a shot was fired.

And five years ago today, we once again rose to the occasion.


New York City Firemen, Policemen, and NYC Transit Authority officers ran into two burning buildings. Two buildings that happened to be two of the tallest buildings in the world. Most did not come out.

Janitors, stockbrokers, waiters, lawyers, accountants, secretaries, ordinary people all, stopped in those burning buildings, and helped their fellow Americans out. Some paid for their courage with their lives as well.

And on one airplane, over Pennsylvania, 41 Americans fought back.


They were not soldiers trained to fight. But to fight terror and tyranny was in their blood, in their genes, and in their character forged from those holy battlefields we have mentioned, and thousand others we have not. Those Americans banded together in the face of fear and almost certain death.
They stood up and looked evil in the eye and said “NO. Not anymore. No more Americans will die today by airplanes crashing into buildings.”

You see, we are Americans and we fight when we need to.

United Flight 93 crashed in a farm field in Shanksville Pennsylvania.
That ground is now holy as well.

This is a day we remember heroes.

This is a day when, above and beyond all else, we are simply, proudly, Americans.


And we shall never forget our heroes.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

MOONS OVER MIAMI

ATTORNEY TERRY MOONS FROM NORTH OF THE BORDER WRITES IN TO SUPPORT A MIAMI LAWYER IN A BROWARD JUDICIAL ELECTION BATTLE:

We received this email:

I would like to post a blog on your site about Michele Towbin-Singer.

But I’m not sure on how to introduce a new topic….

Michele has been a Miami-Dade PD for years. She won the primary election but did not get enough votes to win outright. Her opponent is a politician.

Okay - he has the time required as an attorney, but lacks Michele’s trial and courtroom experience.

I am a Broward Criminal Defense attorney who has read and laughed my ass off at the comments regarding the Broward “system” on this blogspot.

Well, now its time to put a Dade County Criminal Defense Lawyer on the bench in Broward. For those of you north of the border, your vote would certainly help. For those south of the border your checks would certainly be appreciated.
You can reach her at this address: michele at micheletowbin dot com.


Please contact me if you have any questions comments or otherwise have something that needs to be covered when you are in a bind. (Rumpole notes that by definition whenever we have a case North of the Border, we are “in a bind”. )

Terry Moons
409 Southeast 7 St. Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 Ofc 954-525-8900



Rumpole is certain that Judges North of the Border will welcome a Miami Criminal Defense attorney into their own club as quickly as they would welcome a case scurvy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

MONEY

THERE'S A WHOLE LOTTA MONEY BEING SPENT ....................


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

In the five Circuit Court races, more than $1.14 million dollars was spent so far and with two of the races headed for a runoff, expect to see more fundraisers between now and November.

The biggest loser, Josie Perez Velis, who dropped over $261,000, most of it her own money. The biggest winners, Jose Gronlier and Cathy Parks. Gronlier spent only $10,000 to make his runoff and Parks spent slightly more than $12,000 to lead her pack of challengers into the runoff.

Here are the numbers:

Perez-Velis

Raised $14,570
Loans $330,000
Spent $261,000 (rumpole notes: OUCH!)

Murphy

Raised $102,326
Loans $0000000
Spent $87,000

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

Mendez

Raised $28,515
Loans $103,000
Spent $81,000

Schwartz

Raised $192,990
Loans $100,000
Spent $178,000

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

Bardawil

Raised $13,515
Loans $46,000
Spent $49,000

Schurrr

Raised $20,910
Loans $250,000
Spent $211,000

Gronlier

Raised $5,710
Loans $9,300
Spent $10,000

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


Davidson

Raised $13,800
Loans $20,000
Spent $15,000

Marin

Raised $38,575
Loans $134,000
Spent $104,000

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

Garcia

Raised $12,150
Loans $19,000
Spent $26,000

Mendez

Raised $54,685
Loans $135,000
Spent $108,000

Parks

Raised $6,350
Loans $10,000
Spent $12,000

Next up, on Monday, County Court.......

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

Thursday, September 07, 2006

FRIDAY MORNING QUARTERBACKING

ANALYSIS


What an interesting night election night was! Word has it that Shelly Schwartz is now breathing normally and may be able to return to work in a few weeks. We can't help but feel very happy if not relieved that Judges Murphy and Leifman were rewarded with well deserved wins. Judge Leifman in particular has had his share of election night disappointments in the past. We send him a "WELL DONE SIR" and know he will continue being the judge we are all proud to appear before.

Lets look at a few races:

RUNOFF: JOE FERNANDEZ VS. ASA MICHAEL BIENSTOCK:

The totals from Tuesday night were:
Cecilia Armenteros-Chavez
25.47%
33,447
Michael A. Bienstock
32.86%
43,152
Jose L. 'Joe' Fernandez
41.67%
54,712

131,311


Joe Fernandez looks good in this race. He had a great endorsement by the Herald. He has a good political organization running, and if one “assumes” that Ms. Chavez took some votes away from Mr. Fernandez (assuming the voters vote along ethic lines in a majority of the votes cast) then Mr. Fernandez will get a well deserved win.

RUNOFF: MARISA TINKLER MENDEZ VS. CATHERINE PARKS:

(scchhhwing!)

The totals from Tuesday night were:
Marisa Tinkler Mendez
30.32%
40,624
Mario Garcia Jr.
28.77%
38,548
Catherine 'Cathy' Parks
40.90%
54,794

133,966


This is a bit tougher to call. What happened here?


Did Mendez and Parks split the “female vote”?
Or did Garcia take votes away from Mendez in the “Hispanic Vote?”

This is Ms. Parks second try at a judicial race, and her second run-off. We admire her tenacity. We think she has a good political organization set to go, but don’t count out Ms. Mendez, who has a great group of criminal defense attorneys behind her. The thinking here is that it will come down to how much support Ms. Parks will get from the civil community. That translates into money. A big media push by either candidate gets the win here.

RUNOFF: MANNO-SCHURR VS-SANCHEZ GRONLIER:
HYPHEN HEAVEN:


The totals from Tuesday night were:

Valerie R. Manno Schurr
41.13%
53,676
Jose R. Sanchez-Gronlier
33.01%
43,081
Rima Catherine Bardawil
25.86%
33,744


130,501

[Memo to Rima Bardawil: get a hypen. You were out-hyphenated.]

We sniff an upset here. We can’t pinpoint exactly why we feel it, but something inside of us says “Sanchez-Gronlier”. What a story that would be! From clerk to Judge. Mr. Sanchez-Gronlier has a lot to be proud of already, but he is clearly an underdog here, because we believe that Ms. Manno-Schurr has the money -or ability to raise the money needed- to win. But she should not rest on her laurels. Stranger things have happened.


FINAL RUN-OFF ANALYSIS:

The next election is the general election. In this past Gubernatorial primary election, the Republican turn out was weak, as they were confident Mr. Crist would get the nomination. The Democrats had a real fight, and turned out in large numbers to vote.

Republicans will be out in force the next time around. That should translate into a bigger Hispanic turnout. But as we have seen in general elections, Miami is still a Democratic party town. Who will benefit from the general election? Our thought is female candidates will benefit, and that spells advantage Manno-Schurr over Sanchez-Gronlier.

OCCAM'S RAZOR?

The totals for Tuesday night were:

Don S. Cohn
50.77%
63,271
Bonnie Lano Rippingille
49.23%
61,359

124,630

This is the race we cannot figure out. All election night long, Don Cohn clung to a slim lead. There is talk that the rain held back voters in Hispanic neighborhoods, allowing the North Dade block to push Shelly Schwartz, Larry Schwartz, and Dennis Murphy over the top against Hispanic opponents.

But what was going on here?


In the last 15 years, female candidates have been almost unbeatable when matched up against a male candidate. You can go as far back as Judge Martin Kahn losing to Mindy Glazer; Judge Phil Knight was also beaten by a female challenger;
Karen Mills-Francis beat Judge Goldstein 6 years ago and whipped Mr. Millan last night. Judge Pando beat Dave Alschuler six years ago, Challenger Myriam Lehr beat Judge Leifman previously. We could go on and on. And yet Don Cohn was able to beat an incumbent Female Judge who had lots of money and lots of endorsements.


Can anyone explain this one?

Perhaps Friar William of Ockham had it right: the simplest explanation is the best. People just didn't like Judge Rippingille.



Friar William of Ockham (not Don Cohn).

See you in court.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

CLASS

Rumpole,

Thank you for the kind words. Please do me one favor and post the following comments:

To all the people who supported me throughout my campaign, I say thank you. Your kindness will forever be remembered and appreciated. I am humbled by your show of support.

To the people who say Judge Larry Schwartz will come back worse than before, I say you're wrong. If nothing else, this experience has undoubtedly demonstrated to him that respect, courtesy, and kindness are of the utmost importance and will be demanded by all who come before him. I am sure he will be a better judge because of this and I wish him and his family all the best.

To the person who called me a perennial loser : You and your friends sit around and bitch all day about how poorly certain judges treated you or how their lack of legal knowledge astounds you. You call people dumb and stupid and an ass. Well, I didn't sit around and bitch. I didn't sit at a computer and attack people while cowarding behind anonymity. I stepped up to the plate and struck out, but at least I went down swinging. I did something that you don't have the courage, the strength, or the tenacity to do. You are a person of words, I am a person of action. I rather be the latter, than the former.

And finally, as to all the attacks on my husband: I am married to Jeff Locke. We have been married for 9 years and we have two beautiful girls. I am proud to be married to him. And I am overjoyed that he has honored me with his commitment, his loyalty, and his support. You can only wish that you were 1/2 the husband and father that Jeff Locke is.

Thank you all.
See you in court.
Gina Mendez.


Rumpole is humbled in the presence of class.
We are reminded of this:

"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."
Sir Winston Churchill

And of course, our all time favourite quote, that every trial lawyer who has tasted the bitter sting of defeat should look to in times of despair. We hope Ms. Mendez, and all candidates who lost on Tuesday can take comfort in this:




It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt:
From a speech given in Paris at the Sorbonne in 1910


Ms. Mendez and Judge McWhorter are among the proud who dared to be great and their place shall never be among the cold and timid who never had the courage to try.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

11 PM UPDATE 99% REPORTING

Lawrence 'Larry' Schwartz
51.62%
70,862
Gina Mendez
48.38%
66,404
137,266

JUDGE LARRY SCHWARTZ: FIRST A TEACHER; THEN A PROSECUTOR: STILL A JUDGE. CONGRATULATIONS.
By the way: we saw Ms. Mendez working hard, campaigning in an honest and ethical manner, and we think she should not give up her dream to be a Judge.



Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer
51.21%
67,088
Michael J. 'Mike' Samuels
48.79%
63,912
131,000

TAKE A BOW JUDGE GONZALEZ-MEYER.


Migna Sanchez-Llorens
48.07%
63,212
Sheldon 'Shelly' Schwartz
51.93%
68,282
131,494


SIX MORE YEARS OF COLORFUL TIES AND ROBES.
MIAMI LOVED SHELLY MORE THAN MIGNA.


Don S. Cohn
50.77%
62,816
Bonnie Lano Rippingille
49.23%
60,899
123,715

CAN YOU SAY JUDGE COHN?
SOMETIMES THE REALLY NICE AND GOOD GUYS CATCH A BREAK.


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
Our final 4 races that were 51-49% can all be called now, and the Captain is prepared to call the following candidates -

"JUDGE"Judge Lawrence Schwartz over Gina Mendez, with a 4,500 vote lead

Judge Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer over ex-Judge Samuels, with a 3,200 vote lead

Judge Sheldon Schwartz over Migna Sanchez-Llorens, with a 5,000 vote lead

Judge Don Cohn over ex-Judge Bonnie Rippingille, with a 1,900 vote lead.

Finally, looks like it will be Marisa Mendez in the run-off with Cathy Parks, as she leads Mario Garcia by 2,200 votes.
CAPTAIN OUT .............

10:30 UPDATE

95% OF ALL PRECINCTS REPORTING:

HERE ARE THE CLOSE ONES:


Don S. Cohn
50.77%
60,439
Bonnie Lano Rippingille
49.23%
58,595
119,034- TOTAL VOTES

DON COHN HAS HELD THIS RAZOR THIN MARGIN ALL NIGHT LONG. HAS TO BE NERVE WRACKING FOR BOTH CANDIDATES.



Migna Sanchez-Llorens
48.56%
61,453
Sheldon 'Shelly' Schwartz
51.44%
65,107
126,560 TOTAL VOTES

MIAMI MAY JUST LOVE SHELLY A BIT MORE THAN MIGNA.


Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer
51.57%
65,033
Michael J. 'Mike' Samuels
48.43%
61,065
126,098 TOTAL VOTES



Robin Faber
52.06%
66,551
Ivan Hernandez
47.94%
61,287
127,838 TOTAL VOTES

MR. ROBIN FABER IS A PROBABLE WINNER


Patricia Marino-Pedraza
53.75%
66,979
Shirlyon J. McWhorter
46.25%
57,626
124,605 TOTAL VOTES


MS MARINO-PEDRAZA IS A PROBABLE WINNER


Lawrence 'Larry' Schwartz
51.27%
67,719
Gina Mendez
48.73%
64,364
132,083 TOTAL VOTES

THIS ONE IS A REAL BARN BURNER. NO TRUTH TO THE RUMORS THAT BOTH PARTIES ARE HIRING PRESIDENT BUSH'S ELECTION LAWYERS.


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
With 95% of the votes counted, we are now prepared to call:

Judge Robin Faber (sounds good, eh Robin)
Judge Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer (sorry Mike Samuels)

Just to keep it interesting, we have 3 races that are 51% to 49%:
Schwartz over Mendez 51-49
Schwartz over Llorens 51-49
Cohn over Rippingille 51-49
and Cathy Parks is still trying to figure out who will be her runoff opponent:
Mendez over Garcia 30-29.
CAPTAIN OUT ...........



9:45 UPDATE

86 % of all PRECINCTS AND
ABSENTEE AND EARLY VOTING ONLY:

RUMPOLE BELIEVES THAT ANY LEAD OVER 10,000 VOTES IS A CLEAR WINNER AND ANY LEAD OVER 5,000 VOTES IS A PROBABLE WINNER

MURPHY AHEAD 56-43 ; MURPHY WILL WIN


LARRY SCHWARTZ PULLS AHEAD 51-48 - 3,500 VOTE LEAD.

MANNO-SCHURR AND SANCHEZ-GRONLIER IN A HYPHENATED RUNOFF AS BARDAWIL’S BANDWAGON LEFT BEHIND.


MARIN SPANKING DAVIDSON: MARIN WILL WIN

PARKS WITH SLIGHT LEAD OVER MENDEZ AND GARCIA

PEDRAZA HOLDS ON TO LEAD OVER MCWHORTER 56-44- UP 8,000 VOTES


JUDGE MILLER STAYS AHEAD OF ALVAREZ 55-45; JUDGE MILLER RETAINED.

FABER LEADS HERNANDEZ 52-47. FABER UP 6,000 VOTES

DELPINO IN A ROMP - CONGRATS TO THE NEW JUDGE VICKI DEL P.

PANDO WINS REELECTION.

MILLS FRANCIS 57 MILLAN 43- MILLS FRANCIS RE-ELECTED.

LEIFMAN STAYS AHEAD OF GONZALEZ 56-43- LEIFMAN RE-ELECTED


JUDGE SAMUELS STILL DOWN 3,000 VOTES, 51-48.


SHELLY SCHWARTZ LEADS BY 5800 VOTES, 51-48

MIGNA SINGING THE BLUES


DON COHEN HOLDS ON TO SLIM LEAD OF 1500 VOTES; 51-49;

DUI JOE FERNANDEZ IN COMMAND IN THREE WAY RACE BUT LOOKING AT A RUNOFF WITH MICHAEL “JACK AND THE” BIENSTOCK

STAY TUNED.



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
We are prepared to call the following races:
Judge Murphy - WINS
New Judge Marin - WINS
New Judge Marino - WINS
New Judge del Pino - WINS
Judge Pando - WINS
Judge Mills Francis - WINS
Judge Leifman - WINS
Judge Miller - WINS
CAPTAIN OUT ........

CAPTAIN said...
Still too close to call:

Schwartz - Mendez
Faber - Hernandez (but Faber is looking good)
Gonzalez - Samuels
Sanchez - Schwartz
Cohn - Rippingille
We are now prepared to call the runoff opponent to Joe Fernandez; it will be Bienstock.
CAPTAIN OUT ........

9:15 UPDATE

Things are staying the same with almost 60% of the County reporting with these exceptions:


LARRY SCHWARTZ COMING ON STRONG- RACE TIGHTENS TO 50-49 WITH MENDEZ HOLDING TO SMALL LEAD;

SHELLY SCHWARTZ ALSO DOWN 50-49- 330 VOTES SEPARATE THE CANDIDATES WITH OVER 92 THOUSAND VOTES CAST.

MIAMI LOVES MIGNA, BUT JUST HOW MUCH???

MURPHY EXPANDS LEAD 55-45

COHN/RIPPINGILLE AND FABER/HERNANDEZ STILL DEAD HEAT



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:We stick to our earlier comments, with these new updates:
We are now prepared to call a win for the following:
Judge Murphy
Judge Mills-Francis
Judge Leifman...... will all retain their seats on the bench.No changes on the rest of the races.

Those that will need to take the NO-DOZE:
Schwartz - Mendez
Faber - HernandezS
anchez Llorens - Schwartz
Cohn - Rippingille

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

8:45 UPDATE

728 of 744 precincts reporting 35 % of all PRECINCTS AND
ABSENTEE AND EARLY VOTING.


THIS UPDATE MIGHT BE A GOOD INDICATOR OF A TREND

MURPHY AHEAD 52-47


LARRY SCHWARTZ - STILL DOWN 51-48

MANNO-SCHURR AND SANCHEZ-GRONLIER IN A HYPHENATED RUNOFF AS BARDAWIL’S BANDWAGON LEFT BEHIND.


MARIN SPANKING DAVIDSON

PARKS WITH SLIGHT LEAD OVER MENDEZ AND GARCIA

PEDRAZA HOLDS ON TO LEAD OVER MCWHORTER 56-44


JUDGE MILLER STAYS AHEAD OF ALVAREZ 52-48;

FABER AND HERNANDEZ STILL DEAD HEAT

DELPINO IN A ROMP

PANDO COMMANDO

MILLS FRANCIS 55 MILLAN 45

LEIFMAN INCREASES LEAD OVER OF GONZALEZ 55-45


JUDGE SAMUELS STILL DOWN 10 POINTS.


MIGNA HOLDS ON TO LEAD OVER SHELLY SCHWARTZ BY 3 POINTS


DON COHEN HOLDS ON TO SLIM LEAD;

DUI JOE FERNANDEZ IN COMMAND WITH 42% IN THREE WAY RACE BUT LOOKING AT A RUNOFF WITH MICHAEL “JACK AND THE” BIENSTOCK

STAY TUNED.

8pm update

720 of 744 precincts reporting

ABSENTEE AND EARLY VOTING ONLY:

MURPHY PULLS AHEAD;

JUDGE MILLER EDGES AHEAD OF ALVAREZ 51-48;

LEIFMAN EDGES AHEAD OF GONZALEZ 52-48;

LARRY SCHWARTZ CLAWS BACK- STILL DOWN 53-47;

MIGNA HOLDS ON TO LEAD OVER SHELLY SCHWARTZ ;

MILLS FRANCIS PULLS AHEAD 55-45;


PANDO STILL WITH LARGE LEAD;

FABER AND HERNANDEZ IN DEAD HEAT;

PEDRAZA HOLDS ON TO LEAD OVER MCWHORTER;

DON COHEN HOLDS ON TO SLIM LEAD;

JUDGE SAMUELS STILL DOWN 10 POINTS.

STAY TUNED.

7:30 UPDATE

THESE APPEAR TO BE ABSENTEE BALLOTS ONLY:

LEIFMAN LOSING, HERNANDEZ WINNING BIG: 699 OF 744 PRECINCTS REPORTING:

GINA MENDEZ WINNING BIG; SHELLY SCHWARTZ BEHIND 60-40;

DON COHN UP 7 POINTS;

PANDO IN A LANDSLIDE 70-30;

MURPHY LOSING 52-48.



GEORGE ALVAREZ OVER JUDGE MILLER 55-45;

JUDGE MILLS FRANCIS AND STEVEN MILLAN HAVE 250 VOTES SEPERATING THEM OVER 25,000 CAST.

STAY TUNED!!!!!

DISCOURSE

We received this comment on the election today:

Rumpole, it is obvious that you are an Anglo Bigot. Those Hispanic Judges you mention from the past were the token Hispanics at that time. Sort of what the establishment is doing now with the African-American Judges, i.e., McWhorter and Francis who we all know stink. (Well, Francis not as much as McWhorter.) You are playing the game of numbers. Soon, the Anglos will become the token pieces in this game. Also, as you know, Merit Retention will never pass. Well, at least not until Hispanics are seated in 85 or more of the Judicial Seats in Miami-Dade County. Thus, if you do not like it, go north my pal. Your days, I mean, hours are numbered. Ger ready for a avalanche of new Judges and continuation of Pando and Hernandez on the bench. Yes, the two Judges who never bow down to Slom or anyone else at the Court. They are free thinkers unlike your so called Exceptionally Qualified losers who will cry and not get any sleep tonight.

RUMPOLE RESPONDS: We have thought about this awhile, because your oh so thoughtful comment merits a serious reply.

Dear Ignoramus: What high school committed the negligent, nay, criminal act, of giving you a diploma? You call us a bigot? A bigot is a person who discriminates based on a specific characteristic. First, you slander the good names of great Judges. Federal Judge Jose Gonzalez was a “token appointment’? You disgrace his good name, his outstanding intellect, and his first rate judicial demeanor by calling his appointment a “token” act. Second, you make mention of a certain magic number of 85 Hispanics on the bench. Clearly, Hispanics are just a number to you. You care not if the person is of good character, intelligent, fair, just, hard working, and deserving of power over a defendant’s liberty, if not his life. You only care that the Judge is Hispanic.
Who here is the bigot?

There is a certain place for hell in you, and I am kind enough to tell you what it is in advance.

You will be in court one day. You will be accused of something you didn’t do, or be sued for some alleged act of negligence. You will need a fair judge, not someone who is easily influenced by the media, or popular public opinion. And instead, you will get a Judge with a last name you like, who will proceed to eviscerate you and throw your life on the trash heap of public opinion. And then you will know what it means to select Judges on the basis of quality, and not race.

We will have no sympathy for you. (Although for the proper fee, we will handle your appeal.)


Another, more thoughtful reader, had this to say:

Rumpole: To say that "other judges have opposition for no other reason than their opponent's last name" is a big overgeneralization. I don't know Murphy so I can't comment on why he drew opposition.Knowing both Leifman and Miller, however, there are reasons that both of them drew opposition, irrespective of the fact that their opponents have hispanic last names.Leifman has angered many attorneys in his rulings, his association with the prosecutor's office and the legislature, and while he is to be commended for his 'mental health' work, many do not feel that this is the appropriate role for a judge. As for Miller, simply because she was a talented prosecutor does not mean she is a talented judge, especially when the cases she has been ruling on over the last year have not been criminal. Simply because she is a sitting judge (with only one year experience) does not give her an automatic 6 year extension. From your writings, Rump, you obviously never handle PI cases, especially in South Dade. Prior to recommending Miller, perhaps you should have sat in her courtroom a couple of times and talked to those of us who have been in front of her. So, while, yes, their opponents do have hispanic names, I don't believe that this is why they drew opposition.

Rumpole responds:
You are 100% correct about Judge Leifman. In the course of executing his duties, he did institute a system that was financially disadvantageous to the traffic ticket lawyers. By requiring a system of soundings for tickets, he doubled the in court expenses of those traffic ticket firms that litter the legal landscape. You can applaud Judge Leifman for making a decision that is better for the community, in the face of angering a base of potential support in the election. Or you can say that is why he has opposition. But the person running against Judge Leifman is not a partner in a ticket firm, or even an employee. Leifman was targeted by a former traffic magistrate that is barely compos mentis. And Judge Leifman’s opponent is being assisted by the Runaway JA- D’Arce, who threatened Leifman not with just running an opponent against him, but running a Hispanic opponent. And that is wrong.

As for Judge Miller, you make a few wrong assumptions. 1) We NEVER handle PI cases. Anywhere, anytime, any place. Civil court gives us the willies.

2) It is true we only know Judge Miller by her work as a prosecutor, and we were impressed with that work.

It pains us to say this, because by all appearances the lawyer challenging Judge Miller is a very nice man. It just appears to us that he does not have the experience necessary to be a Judge. And by that, we are primarily commenting on jury trial experience. A Judge must be many things. But we believe, if a lawyer has NEVER tried a case before a Jury, then that lawyer is not ready to be a Judge.

Want to know what to do to become a Judge? Talk to Judge McWhorter. Listen to her tell you about her attempts to be appointed, and how she switched jobs to gain the experience the JNC wanted her to have. As nice and as dedicated a man as the gentleman is who is challenging Judge Miller, he does not have the experience. Therefore, we view the challenge to Judge Miller as a challenge in name only.
And we mean that in every context.

STAY TUNED.

SHOW TIME

Today is Election Day.

For some fair citizens of Miami, it’s the chance to receive another cash payment for voting again. For the rest of the law abiding among us, it’s the chance to make an informed choice from the best and brightest Miami and Florida has to offer.

In our little corner of the world, “best and brightest” is unfortunately not synonymous with the choices the electorate makes about Judges.

Some Judges have no one but themselves to blame for their opposition. Judge Ivan Hernandez comes to mind first, but arguably (although we have endorsed them) Judges Larry Schwartz and Shirlyon McWhorter can also be put into that category.


Perhaps some of our dear robed readers time would be better spent remembering the words of Solomon, then fretting over tee times and lunch or dinner reservations at Christy's:

By much slothfulness the building decayeth
and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through

Ecclesiastes 10-18.


Other Judges have opposition for no reason other than their opponent’s last name. Judges Steve Leifman, Dennis Murphy and Bronwyn Miller fit into that category. If these three qualified Judges are able to be re-elected despite facing individuals with Hispanic sur-names, then we will have faith in our system of electing Judges. But if two out of three of these Judges are defeated, then we will grudgingly be forced to embrace merit retention for Judges.



Please do not be mistaken about our words.

In our opinion, some of the very best Judges Miami has ever seen are Hispanic. Judge Jose Gonzalez (now a senior Judge) in Federal Court was about the best we have ever tried a case before. Judge Federico Moreno is a close second. This is not about not wanting to see Hispanic attorneys as Judges. It was just as wrong two decades ago when any lawyer named Klein was unbeatable at the polls.

We have spoken about this before. Race, Religion, Gender or Ethnicity are not what makes an individual qualified to be a Judge.

This is about quality, ability, talent, and dedication. Judges Leifman, Murphy and Miller (although Miller has not had enough time to really develop ) have those qualities, and in our opinion, their challengers do not.

STAY WITH ALL US DAY AND INTO ELECTION NIGHT AS WE WILL HAVE SPECIAL ELECTION DAY
(unless a certain Judge forces us into a trial) AND NIGHT COVERAGE OF ALL THE JUDICIAL RACES.

SEE YOU AT THE POLLS.