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

Saturday, January 20, 2007

TWO BLACK EYES

2 fer Friday

Two disturbing stories in the Herald on Friday.

First we learned that Art “You should tell a lie” Koch counseled his client to lie on the witness stand. There are so many problems with what Koch is alleged to have done, we don’t know where to begin.

1) Koch abandoned his responsibilities as an officer of the court. Too often we as defense attorneys act as if the only person required to act in a responsible manner is the prosecutor. Having a client’s life in one’s hands is an awesome responsibility. Yet Mr. Koch denigrated the very court system that gives attorneys like Koch the power to protect and defend his client.


By telling his client to lie, Mr. Koch spit on the Constitution.

2) Koch’s actions damaged everyone associated with the criminal justice system.

We cannot forget, but nor can we fathom, the pain of the parents of Jimmy Ryce. Their pain was not a reason for Mr. Koch or any defense attorney not to try their level best. No matter how heinous the allegation, everyone is entitled to the very best defense possible. But, Mr. Koch has done the equivalent of rubbing Jimmy Ryce’s death in his parent’s face. Again.

Koch's actions, which reach the heights of irresponsibility, create the very real possibility Chavez may have a second trial, requiring Ryce's parents to live through the horror all over again. Who could blame these people if they lost all hope and respect for our court system and the lawyers who work in it?

3) If Koch was physically or mentally unable to effectively represent his client, he owed it to everyone to withdraw from representation in the case. Indeed, the strange events and allegations surrounding his representation should have led him to immediately inform the court and request a special assistant public defender be appointed from the private bar.

Any way you look at this, Mr. Koch has taken his entire career and ruined his name, tarnished the court system in Miami, and open new wounds in people who have suffered more than anyone should ever have to suffer.

Jimmy Ryce was a little boy who was senselessly murdered. His life should stand for something other than the unmitigated failure of a justice system and the lawyers who work in it.


This is a dark day for all of us.



The Herald also reported on Friday about the court records scandal.


With the Florida Supreme Court about to hold oral arguments on the practice of altering state court criminal records, the Florida Public Defenders Association has called for the appointment of a special prosecutor.

The Dade County State Attorneys Office responded thusly:
''Absurdity doesn't merit comment.''

Altering court records is a crime. If prosecutors and Judges did this, they may have committed a crime, their good intentions to serve justice not withstanding:

“the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

To restore the integrity of the justice system, a Special Prosecutor is just what this mess needs.

The hubris of the State Attorneys Office we can do without.


What in the name of Abu Gariff is going on at the SAO and PD's office? These two Miami institutions, which traditionally produce some of the finest lawyers in Miami, if not Florida and beyond, are both sporting serious black eyes.

The phrase "Inmates running the asylum" comes to mind.

Bennett Brummer owes an explanation as to how he could allow an attorney who was not physically and mentally up to the task, to take on the defense of the most serious case his office was handling. He also must explain the training and oversight procedures at an office which we find out had a senior trial attorney telling his client to lie on the stand.

Kathy “Fernandle” needs to put a cork in her mouth piece. The seriousness of changing court records needs to be an investigated. One hopes that that the arrogance of the State Attorneys Office does not come back to bite them in their briefs.

We can’t help but think that what both of these offices need is a good shake up.

Starting at the top.

See You In Court, not flipping clients and changing court records.


PS. Thank You El Capitan for writing about a subject that has been on our minds, and needs to be discussed. We need to keep the pressure on until each and every detainee has counsel. The John Adam example was perfect.



56 comments:

fake brummer said...

Go ahead and try to "shake me up".

Anonymous said...

NOVEMBER 21, 2006 - THE CAPTAIN REPORTED

Fast-forward 53 years and we are faced with our own Piltdown Man scandal as the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office has decided to attempt to pull one over on all of us. Only today’s version of Piltdown Man is the falsification and forgery of official court records and documents all for the greater good.

In the words of Jose Arrojo, a top assistant to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, said judges' altering public records in informant cases at prosecutors' request has been ''an established practice in this circuit'' for two decades.

Florida law makes it a crime for anyone -- including judges, clerks or ''other public officers'' -- to alter or falsify court records or proceedings. Offenders can be sent to prison for a year.

F.S. 839.13 Falsifying records

… if any judge, justice, mayor, alderman, clerk, sheriff, coroner, or other public officer, … or any person whatsoever, shall …, alter, corruptly withdraw, falsify or avoid any record, …, or any paper filed in any judicial proceeding in any court of this state, or shall knowingly and willfully take off, discharge or conceal any issue, … or shall forge, deface, or falsify any document or instrument recorded, or filed in any court, …; or if any person shall cause or procure any of the offenses aforesaid to be committed, or be in anywise concerned therein, the person so offending shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree …

Court Clerk Harvey Ruvin said he learned from Arrojo only this week that court records were being altered. ''He called and assured me it was totally proper,'' Ruvin said. Arrojo, chief assistant state attorney for special prosecutions, said his office believes state laws that exempt some sensitive records from public disclosure also allow judges to authorize what was done with the docket … ''This is an established practice in this circuit for many, many years and we are comfortable that the rules of judicial administration allows for this,'' he said … If you expect your government to engage in proactive investigations while protecting the lives of cooperating witnesses . . . certain materials are going to have to be kept from public view.''

Anonymous said...

Kathy “Fernandle” needs to put a cork in her mouth piece.

Rump now I know you have balls.

Anonymous said...

I just about cried laughing so hard. The "Fake Brummer" link that shows picture of BHB sleeping in his car.

I clicked on the Fake Brummer name and just pissed my pants laughing.

Anonymous said...

Anything on the new Judges?

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head with the Koch piece, but still, apparently, don't get the public records stuff. It's much ado about nothing. You make it sound like the SAO is running amuck. The fact is, that in every situation where that was done, there was a judge, a defense attorney and others involved. The practice saved (and saves) lives. The court has an inherent power to protect the participants.

Anonymous said...

I dont know about that. It sounds like commonsense but does the rules and law provide for it?

Anonymous said...

Taking Koch at his word, he lacked competency because of prescribed medications. Suggesting that he should have withdrawn implies that Koch had the capacity to recognize his incapacity.

To put it succinctly: What didn't he know and when did he know he didn't know it.

Anonymous said...

when's the next judicial election? who's up for reelection in dade county (county and circuit)? Has anyone put in for it? When's the deadline?

Anonymous said...

Rumpis get over yourself you are starting to rival fed blogger david markus for self righteous clap trap. criminal defense attorneys tell clients to lie. we all know this. they may not do it blantantly as koch says he did but it is very commmon--or as omar in "the wire" would say "its all in the game".

The falsifying dockets is idiocy. i dont recall all this outrage when this was done to catch the court broom judges. why are you and ms nesmith so in love with this story?

Anonymous said...

you meant "anonymous asa"

Anonymous said...

Hey ANON 138, 2008, check the web for county and state, and bet on seeing the triplets, GINA, JOSIE and MIGDA on the trail.

Anonymous said...

Migda has already announced for Circus Court--check out the State's web site.

Anonymous said...

Hey - is the Captain David Markus? - seems Markus wrote about the GITMO detainees on the same day as The Captain - the exact same day.

Give it up Markus -

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Sure enough, Migna is at it again. She has filed to run in Group 18 of the Circuit Court seat presently occupied by Jon Gordon. Gordon's seat is up for election in 2008. But I believe he may be age linited and therefore retiring.

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

Anonymous said...

Migna should give it up already!

Anonymous said...

Is that Josie a/k/a will hock the farm, summer house and heirlooms to get elected - Velis?

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

There are as many as 34 Circuit and 6 County judicial seats up for election in 2008. Expect as many contested races as there were in 2006, probably more!

Anonymous said...

Migda/Migna a/k/a what ethnic background is she:she can run but she cannot hide.Perhaps those she challenges this year will provide tha "history"of the true Migda?It is not as impressive as she wants all to believe(i.e.suggests she is d.v.advocate for victoms/perhaps against her own clients,20 year attorney/professional)

Anonymous said...

Rump,

I’m usually just an occasional reader of the blog but felt the need to weigh in on the “secret docket” issue and what I respectfully believe to be your harsh and somewhat unfair criticism of the State Attorney in her handling of this issue and comments. Consider first the comment by someone earlier regarding “courtbroom” (as well as cases of that nature that have occurred across the country). In that case, I believe that prior approval to “change” dockets was obtained by the Florida Supreme Court, based in part on the fact that the extent of corruption in our circuit court was unknown. If there was no law violation in that instance, how could there be in this instance for the reasons that follow?

In the case of confidential informants, my understanding is that each individual judge presiding over the case is informed, and therefore approved of what was occurring. (A trial judge does not have to accept a plea). Most importantly, however, is the fact that in each of those cases, the confidential informant has a pending case and an attorney representing him who appeared in court with him and was involved in the arrangement. How many public defenders were in fact involved in representing people in this situation? Do you really think none? Thus, Mr. Brummer’s comments that he did not know about this practice are at best, hard to believe.

Further, consider the reason why this practice has probably been used. It not only protects the physical safety of the informant but also protects the safety of the countless undercover police officers who utilize confidential informants to reach bigger drug defendants. Can you imagine if a bad guy discovered that an informant closed his case out by way of plea and subsequently shows up as the middleman between that bad guy and an undercover police officer during a drug deal? Both are as good as dead. If the public wants the members of law enforcement to continue to proactively investigate these types of drug crimes, this may be the trade-off.

Anonymous said...

rump i know you will say there is no such danger criminals dont check dockets but you are wrong. in fact there is a website out there i heard about called something likeewhoseasnitch with a list of snitches

Anonymous said...

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Rumpole said...

Anonymous said...
Taking Koch at his word, he lacked competency because of prescribed medications. Suggesting that he should have withdrawn implies that Koch had the capacity to recognize his incapacity


Rumpole replies succintly: if he was able to get up, dress himself, and drive to court, he was able to realize he was not up to defending Chavez.

Anonymous said...

Markus is not The Captain. Tannebaum is Captain (or as he puts it on his own blog, "Captain Liberty").

Captain Outed ......

Rumpole said...

In RE: Falsifying court records:

1) I am not for endangering cooperating witnesses. I don't like the extensive use of them, but I am not for endangering them.

2) Here is the law:

F.S. 839.13 Falsifying records

… if any judge, justice, mayor, alderman, clerk, sheriff, coroner, or other public officer, … or any person whatsoever, shall …, alter, corruptly withdraw, falsify or avoid any record, …, or any paper filed in any judicial proceeding in any court of this state, or shall knowingly and willfully take off, discharge or conceal any issue, … or shall forge, deface, or falsify any document or instrument recorded, or filed in any court, …; or if any person shall cause or procure any of the offenses aforesaid to be committed, or be in anywise concerned therein, the person so offending shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree …

Rumpole says I have had too many santimonious Judges and prosecutors lecture me that they could care less about the good intentions of my client: "if they broke the law, they deserved to be punished" they bellow in one form or another.

Well, if these Judges and prosecutors were too damn dumb to read the law, isn't the axiom: "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" applicable here? They may have broke the law. A special prosecutor should be appointed.

NEW POLL ON SPECIAL PROSECUTOR

Anonymous said...

regards the Koch issue and I am ignorant on this subject. But since it is a capital crime is it not a capital offense to lie perjury in capital cases?

Whats the deal with that.

Anonymous said...

Rump, But did they really violate that statute? If a court clerk - either on his own or at the direction of the trial judge - were to go back and correct or modify (a/k/a alter) an entry made on a docket sheet, would he/she would be guilty of violating that statute? Under the plain language of the statute that you reference, they would be.

Rumpole said...

You read the statute, and then you tell me. I think it merits a special prosecutor.

Rumpole said...

I hardly belive it is a capital crime to comitt perjury in a capital case. But it may well be a crime. Mr. Koch is in most desperate need of good counsel. Immediately.

Anonymous said...

I second that considering both BHB and KFR are in the same corner on this subject.

Can a person get any dumb... oh wait.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe any of you believe anything that comes out of Art Koch's mouth. My guess is that Shumacher will find him to be completely incredible and deny the motion.

Anonymous said...

I guess you think the Fl Supreme Court should be investigated for the Court Broom operation that we ALL think was critical to maintaining the integrity of the system. I don't see an exception in the law for them either.

Get real Rump.

Anonymous said...

Get real Rump, ?

How can he get real when thats not even his real name.

Anonymous said...

Look lets just start a petition to shut down this blog and get back to...oh, scratch that .

Anonymous said...

The brummer photo deserves a pulitzer.

Anonymous said...

Rump,

You are many years behind in the call for a major shake-up at the SAO in Miami. Former ASAs have been saying this since the late 1990s. In fact, many ASAs supported KFR's competition.

It is the defense bar who continues to support KFR in public, but behind the scenes curses her. There were and are so many better candidates to hold KFR's seat, but no one will go out and support them. And by the way, the problem is not only with KFR, but KH and DH need to go as well, and many of these prosecutors who have been given free passes for 10+ years need to go.

Just look at some of the upper middle class ASAs in the office. You have a bunch of people who have been sitting around and doing nothing. I am not talking about the elder ASAs, but am talking about those that started in the 1994-2000 range that need to be kicked in the ass.

Get rid of KFR is a great start, but do not stop there or the office will continue with more then a black eye. There is so much there now that needs to be disclosed, but no one is ever willing to run with it. Over the last year, how many stories have we heard about ASAs doing improper acts?

KFR breads it.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong about DH. DH is awesome. He went through a tough time because of personal reasons (like many of us have), but is actually a great guy. The reason so many people misperceive him is because he does all of the dirty work that has to be done but nobody else has the cajones to do.

You want someone to get rid of lazy ASA's, punish ASA's who violate ethical rules, handle problems, etc.???? So does everyone else. It's a miserable job that takes someone of DH's caliber to do. Unfortunately, it's also a sure way to become incredibly unpopular. ESPECIALLY, if the person has the integrity to refrain from telling his (or the office's) side of the story (which DH does). The fact is, that the vast majority of nonsense you hear about DH is not true. It's told by self-serving folks trying to protect their own reputations or jobs. Those who work closest with DH (and aren't power mongers competing for authority) will tell you I'm right.

Anonymous said...

DH is part of the problem. DH does not stand up to KFR and tell her she is wrong, because he knows he would be on the streets if he did. DH is at the mercy of KFR and that dumb ass employment attorney that sit around and try to get rid of people they do not like. It is a personal thing, not an ethical thang over in KFR zoo.

Remember all the bs that has gone in KFR's office. IT is only a small amount of it. The favorites get kept on no matter what, but the good ones who KFR does not like, or her cronies do not like get kicked to the curb.

Anonymous said...

wahhhh wahhhhhh wahhhhhh

Anonymous said...

DH stands for _________________.

Anonymous said...

any word on the 28 different investigations that have been asked for on this blog?

Anonymous said...

Hey Nesmith!

You are a DORK. Listen here crackhead, soon you will be the star of your own making. We shall see how you deal with the news when it seeks you.

I promise.

Anonymous said...

10:34.....you obviously never served in an administrative position in the office or have any idea what's really happening. DH has disagreed with KFR on many occasions.

I have been critical of KFR on many things, but, must give her credit where it is due. KFR routinely solicits her top administrators' opinions. She is very inclusive (in fact, if anything, she's overly inclusive). She has always been good about allowing others to privately disagree with her and looking for a course that people can agree in. DH, like any good employee, simply will not embarass his boss in public.

The same is true of LS. If they talked out of school the way some others do, the truth would be known. They just have too much integrity to publicly discuss what should be confidential things even though their reputations get trashed unfairly. I respect that.

All of this leaves me wondering: Are you one of the bozos who believes the nonsense that the self-serving fools or spreading or one of the lazy people who got nailed for not doing your job?

Anonymous said...

Horn + Solomon have smarts or sense? Are quaaludes back in fashion? They are weaklings who support evrything KFR can throw out, even when sober.

Anonymous said...

Are you people defense lawyers or what? I think what Koch has done is
incredible and worthy of encouragement. He's the ultimate
advocate even willing to put himself under the bus to save his clients life. Give him props.

Most of you money hungry heartless souls would much rather Chavez get
killed by the State than risk your
own name and careers in order to
subvert the justice system.

If you are truly against the death
penalty then an "Any means necessary" approach as taken by
Koch is the way to go.

If you want to sit back and just
do fulfill your ethical requirements on these cases, then
clients like Chavez will be dead.

Anonymous said...

AMEN to Sunday, January 21, 2007 4:24:36 PM!

Well said.

Anonymous said...

"Are you people defense lawyers or what? I think what Koch has done is
incredible and worthy of encouragement. He's the ultimate
advocate even willing to put himself under the bus to save his clients life. Give him props.....If you are truly against the death
penalty then an "Any means necessary" approach as taken by
Koch is the way to go."

THIS IS EXACTLY WHY SO MANY PEOPLE HATE LAWYERS. Whether you like it or not, the law does NOT allow defense attorneys to save their clients by perjuring themselves or building in appellate issues. It's people like you who provide the ammunition to the lunatics of the world to eliminate important agencies like the Capital Collateral Regional Council or strip attorneys of tools they should have to defend people.

Anonymous said...

Although no big fan of BHB or KFR, they are politicians and not lawyers, the enormity of their job is so far beyond the comprehension of the average lawyer who pipes in on this blog that is laughable. To the bitter ex-pd; what are you going to do when you have a judge who humiliates your young attorneys, or does exparte meetings with asas, lunch, golf etc. Or you know a judge is on coke, or having an affair with the asa in his division. Or you have an excellent attorney over stressed by defending a man who rapes and chops up an innocent child, 3.850s by the dozen accusing your lawyers with lies, burnout, underpaid attorneys etc. How many people out there want to spend hours in jails defending guilty murderers, serial rapists, etc. Not an easy job but you all could do it better. As for KFR- I am sure you could manage the dozens of murder, cap.sex.batt. serial rapist, gang violence.hfos etc. And you would know how to handle judicial corruption, illegal police shootings, keep the community from rioting, prosecute cops, have one of your employees arrested every six months, corrupt corrections officer, half the politicians in the county on the take, employee turnover due to low wages, and 2 dozen lawyers you can't get rid of because they were here before you or they have something on you, grand juries, 3.850 after every trial etc. etc. Yes YOU, THE 35 year old who has never hired anyone or supervised anyone other than maybe 1 secretary, you could do a better job. THE MORE LIKELY SCENARIO IS THAT YOU COULDN'T AND THAT IS WHY SAO AND PD ARE ONLY CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS NOT SUBJECT TO TERM LIMITS BECAUSE THE JOB IS TOO DAMN TOUGH AND NOT MANY CAN DO IT SO WHEN YOU GET SOMEONE WHO CAN YOU KEEP THEM FOR 15, 20, 30 YEARS. LOOK AROUND THE STATE AND YOU'LL SEE PD AND SAO HEAD DOESN'T CHANGE OFTEN. BUT KOCK IS BITTER AND SOME FILES WERE HIDDEN SO INFORMANTS WOULDN'T BE MURDERED SO REPLACE THEM BOTH. YOU ARE SIMPLEMINDED FUCKS!

abe laeser said...

BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY?

Isn't that the catch phrase of the anti-abortion loonies who think that it is moral to murder the doctors?

Maybe as a lawyer you can pay the witnesses to leave town? If they are unwilling, have them killed?

You are a part of a most noble profession. You must abide by the law as an example to others (clients). Selling your Bar license and your career by lying for a client is about as noble as the assasination of a witness.

Why be ethical? Or moral? If you tell the truth Chavez might die? He got into that predicament by kidnapping an innocent child, raping him, murdering him, and hacking up the body parts. That murder destroyed the lives of the child's parents.

What punishment is right for the most vile of sociopaths -- who kill without conscience?

You think the death penalty is immoral? Good for you! Go petition the government about your grievences - it is in the Constitution. That is a right which you do have. Lying to free a client is a 'right' which no person has.

Anonymous said...

Damn,I was about to say something intelligent but Abe got ahead of me. Anyway...how can anyone say we as attorneys should be encouraged to lie for our clients. It all goes back to what Clinton did. I didn't care what he did, with who and when, what I thought was wrong was how he lied during deposition. He's an attorney and shouldn't have done that...that is why they took his bar license away.

Anonymous said...

Is the FL Bar investigating KFR and BHB for the latest abuses on the people of Miami-Dade County? Rump, can we send a complaint from the Blog on them two?

Anonymous said...

With MIGDA already filed, can Josie and Gina Mendez Locke "N Load be far behind?

Anonymous said...

abe well said!!!

Anonymous said...

To Abe and the blogger directly above him, you guys are my heros!

To the rest of you - I'm annoyed by all of you.

Judge Andrew Hague said...

Mr. Laeser made an excellent point. As lawyers, we have a license to practice what is supposed to be a most ethical profession. Years ago, when I was an Assistant State Attorney, I learned that a Detective omitted one of the sources of his information in our wiretap application. Instead of just an "anonymous" tip, it should have also included an individual close to one of the defendants. I found this out during Discovery and when I confronted the Detective, he told me that the reason he did it was to protect the safety of the witness. I told him that I had absolutely no choice but to disclose the name of the witness at that point and that he had better take whatever steps he deemed necessary to protect the safety of that witness. Luckily, it was a gambling case, but the facts don't change your responsibilities to the court. My disclosure hurt the State's case tremendously as well as the career of that Detective. I understood his motives, but I also understood my unwaivering duty as an officer of the court.
We cannot oick and chose which parts of the oath we are going to uphold, and when.

Anonymous said...

We can only hope that the brummer dynasty will someday end. Look at this guy. he testifies from "Colorado" in the most notorious murder case Miami has seen in years, while "skiing." Meanwhile,his pit attorneys can't take time off because there is no coverage. How could there be? Rory and his macho -aging asshole-friends are taking trips "recruiting" pretty young things on college campuses. Did you all know that? paid for by yours truly. How many over 50 year old-horny-men do you need to recruit? Answer: 1.Rory 2. Bobby 3. Mike, etc... When was the last time they actually worked? Ah, get in at 10:00, go to court, walk around, make a stink about anything, 11:00 go back to the office, call friends, 11:30 go to lunch, 3:00 come back from lunch, take nap, 3:30 go home. Collect 6 figure salaries. And its all on us. You wonder why people were actually willing to support a nobody? because even that was better than the same old clowns milking the office, at the expense of new attorneys who do the work, clients who get shafted because pit attorneys simply don't have the time, and taxpayers who subsidise this lifestyle for lazy lazy loudmouths.