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

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

William "Bill" Ferguson

UPDATED with funeral information.

Attorney William "Bill" Ferguson passed away last week after a car accident.

A reader was kind enough to write this about him:

William "Bill" Ferguson was a lawyer and businessman with deep roots in the Opa-Locka area.Besides having a law practice he also owned a beauty salon and other businesses in the neighborhood in which he lived.

Bill helped out young attorneys when they were starting their careers by lending an ear and even by employing some. Bill always had a smile on his face and was a pleasure to see in the Justice building.

Of course he was a role model for many African-Americans. A black man with his own businesses and law practice in the community. But he was also a role model for those who wish to pursue a career inl aw later in life. (I believe he went to law school later than most ASA's at least)

Bottom line is Bill deserves some acknowledgment on this blog.


For anyone who wants to pay respects to the family of Bill Ferguson:

A viewing will be held on Thursday, January 18, 2007 from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 901 NW 3 Avenue, Overtown.

Services will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, January 19, 2006 at the same location. At the conclusion of the burial (approximately 2 - 2:30 pm),

a repass will be held at the New Birth Baptist Cathedral in the Fellowship Hall, 2300 NW 135 Street, Opa Locka, FL

48 comments:

Rumpole said...

Could the reader who wrote this post about Bill Ferguson send me an email at howardroark21@gmail.com with a return address I could reply to? I would like to say something to them privately.

Thanks.

Rumpole said...

I received this email:

The Herald needs a hand again.

Would anyone who knew Bill Ferguson please contact a colleague of mine, Andrea Robinson. She is working on his obituary and wants to makes sure she covers the aspects of his life he would want to be remembered for.

Andrea's number is 305-376-3412.

Thanks
Susannah Nesmith
Miami Herald

Rumpole said...

I think some of my readers like even steven have a very active imagination.

even steven said...

Rumpole- how dare you? You place me in a very precarious position. You know that your other web sites have rules that I will violate if I respond in kind. I realize i came close with revealing who is NOT Rumpole, but your comment invites me to defend myself by revealing the code I broke and how- which as you well know, would exlcude me from continuing the search. Take it back.

Frank Bruni said...

While I was traveling North of the Border I had the pleasure of dining in one of their finest eateries. I was of course at Lil Reds on SR84. First, the rules. Although they open at 7:00 AM, they steadfastly refuse to sell their ribs until 11:00 AM. Nevertheless, their breakfast menu is a sight to behold. Their breakfast meats are all outstanding. Best bet is the steak and eggs at 6.99. Moving on to the main attraction, the ribs. They come two ways, regular and blackened. The blackened is the better choice. They also come with a hotter sauce (ask them to bring the sauce on the side). I also suggest you order the full rack of ribs at 10.99. The waitress will also ask you to choose two side dishes. Forget the cole slaw and the rice and beans (two forgivable transgressions). I suggest you opt for their outstanding collard greens and the corn. All orders come with two slices of Texas toast. The barbecue chicken is also delicious.
You can also opt for the half and half (ribs and chicken). One caveat, on two occasions I found the ribs served at dinner time to be slightly dried out. Forget the desserts entirely and get safely back to Dade County.

Ugly_Betty_Fan_2007 said...

who likes ugly betty!

Ho Fa Show said...

return address?

Need the news to know said...

Rump

Any reports on how all the new judges did today?

Anonymous said...

this just in Judge Faber is allowing for hearings and motions to be heard and also proper notice ..... I miss the good o'le days when JA's obstructed the access to the courts made life easy.

Anonymous said...

check out were the new and old judges are these days:

http://reports.jud11.flcourts.org/jud_dir2a.pdf

Anonymous said...

JEAC Opinion Number #2006-32

"Although judicial assistants are not bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct, judge has obligation to direct his or her judicial assistant not to accept employment cleaning the offices of attorneys likely to appear before the judge. Since the judge could not accept such employment because of the appearance of impropriety, it follows that the judge should not allow someone under his or her direction or control to accept such employment. 2B; 5A; 5D(1), (4).

Anonymous said...

i did not know bill, but i would volunteer my services to look into a wrongful death case on a pro bono basis. the trialmaster.

Anonymous said...

As an addendum to my Lil Reds review I wish to acknowledge Dan Lurvey's comments. He correctly reminded me to mention the pepper sauce as the appropriate condiment for the collard greens. Thank You Dan

Anonymous said...

For anyone who wants to pay respects to the family of Bill Ferguson:
A viewing will be held on Thursday, January 18, 2007 from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 901 NW 3 Avenue, Overtown. Services will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, January 19, 2006 at the same location.

At the conclusion of the burial (approximately 2 - 2:30 pm), a repass will be held at the New Birth Baptist Cathedral in the Fellowship Hall, 2300 NW 135 Street, Opa Locka, FL

Anonymous said...

JQC COMPLAINT FILED ?

The Broward County public defender’s office and Broward Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes say they are trying to set up a meeting this week to discuss a list of complaints the PD’s office sent to her.

The meeting was prompted by a controversial decision Holmes made to jail a felony defendant for being late to court.

In a detailed letter sent Friday to Chief Assistant Public Defender Frank de la Torre, Judge Holmes defended her actions in the Jan. 8 jailing of Clarence Gordon, who was charged with felony possession of cocaine.

Her judicial assistant faxed the letter to the Daily Business Review late Friday afternoon.

She ordered Gordon arrested after he failed to respond to a court call and was late to a hearing. He and his public defender were out in the hall discussing his legal options. The public defender tried to explain 25 minutes later, but Holmes cut him off and had his client jailed for more than nine hours.

In her letter, Holmes maintained that because of a capital murder trial in her courtroom, she did not have time to hear an explanation from Gordon’s public defender at the time. As soon as she discovered the problem, she put in a written order for Gordon’s release from jail and personally called to ensure he was released. Furthermore, she addressed each of de la Torre’s additional complaints about her court and said she would like to work with the public defender’s office to address their concerns.

Judge Holmes drafted the letter in response to one written by de la Torre and sent to her office Friday laying out a list of complaints, including that Holmes frequently jails defendants for tardiness. He said in the letter that the public defender’s office had asked five times to meet with Judge Holmes but that she never responded. De la Torre provided the Review with the letter.

Holmes said she wished to address each point in her letter and discuss the matters in person this week.

Calls to Holmes’ office were not returned before deadline Tuesday. In response to Holmes’ letter, de la Torre said in an interview Tuesday that “I am glad that she wanted to have a dialogue with me and my office and I am willing to go forward and meet with her and discuss this situation.”

In an interview Tuesday, Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein called Holmes’ letter inaccurate and said her assertions were untrue. Specifically, Holmes wrote that Gordon’s public defender was agitated when he reentered the courtroom and discovered the case had already been called.

Finkelstein said Faisal Afzal, the public defender representing Gordon, was not agitated before the judge ordered him away from the podium. He also questioned her characterization of what happened in her courtroom.

Finkelstein strongly hinted that his office had filed a state Judicial Qualifications Commission complaint against her. But he said state rules do not allow him to say whether his office had or will file a complaint.

In her letter, Holmes said the Jan. 8 incident could have been prevented if Afzal, had notified the court that he was stepping into the hall with Gordon. She maintained that she has no policy that attorneys have to discuss business with clients in the hall, as the public defender’s office claimed. But she acknowledged that she does have a policy of keeping noise to a minimum.

Gordon’s case was called at 10:35 a.m. According to Holmes’ letter, when Afzal returned to the courtroom at 11 a.m. to address the judge, the warrant already had been issued and a jury panel for a separate death penalty case was entering the courtroom. “In my attempt to keep 50 citizens from waiting in the hallway, I could not hear Mr. Afzal’s explanation, which would have taken more than a few seconds of court time,” she wrote.

Holmes also addressed each of the other alleged problems cited by de la Torre in his letter.

In response to de la Torre’s claim that defendants had to wait weeks or months for pleas to be heard, she explained that she has more cases than most Broward judges. She said that in her courtroom most hearings are set within 30 days and bond hearings are set immediately.

According to Broward Administrative Criminal Judge Charles Greene, Holmes has an above-average caseload. She had 717 cases in December, compared with an average in the mid to low 600s for the 12-judge unit. The highest caseload for a judge was 827 cases, while the lowest was 449.

She also said that because so many drug defendants file motions for downward departures in sentencing, she has to hear witnesses and experts, which takes up even more of the court’s time.

Holmes blamed tardiness by assistant public defenders for the alleged problem of bailiffs in her courtroom being rude to the public defenders and their clients. She wrote that the bailiffs informed her that the public defenders were arriving in the courtroom just prior to her taking the bench.

While it is common practice in many judges’ courtrooms, she said, it is a breach of Broward Sheriff Office security policy to allow attorneys to brief their clients in the jury box when it is not being occupied by a jury. “So when counsels are asked to leave the box and refuse, I have heard a raised voice from time to time,” she wrote.

As for de la Torre’s accusation that Holmes’ judicial assistant frequently loses, misplaces or ignores motions for continuances and to furnish copies of motions filed by the assistant public defenders, Holmes wrote that she has been assured that everything is up to date. But, she wrote that she will discuss the issue with her judicial assistant.

Holmes denied de la Torre’s contention that she is “disrespectful and dismissive” to attorneys, saying that she always treats attorneys with respect. She asked de la Torre for specific examples. She also requested further specifics as to the allegation that she “routinely detains” defendants for being late to her court.

De la Torre’s letter also complained that Holmes and her staff failed to communicate with counsel on motions to continue a case. Holmes said she tries to place a copy of motions to continue in a box in her courtroom by at least by Thursday before a Monday trial.

She said she provides her judicial assistant with a handwritten list of cases that have been continued in order to have them removed from the docket. But, she wrote, the complaint about continuances is the same in every Broward judge’s courtroom. She said she looked forward to any suggestions de la Torre had for solving the problem.

As for the assertion that Holmes’ judicial assistant failed to return phone calls and advise counsel of rulings on pending motions, Holmes agreed that the phones were a problem.

De la Torre said he hopes to meet with Holmes sometime this week.

Rebecca Riddick can be reached at rriddick@alm.com or at (561) 820-2565.

Anonymous said...

WOW. Gotta love the way the Broward PDO administrators fight for their APDs. It's nice to see someone take on the few out of control judges who need to be reined in!

Anonymous said...

2:50 pm I could not of said it better. If we can just get BHB from .... oh forget it.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Carlos Alvarez has told the Christian Family Coalition to take a flying F%$#...

read the Herald story:

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/living/columnists/steve_rothaus/16414639.htm

Maybe we can get Judge Rothenberg to mirror Mayor Alvarez decision to tell hate groups like CFC and its group of felons to take a hike!

Anonymous said...

umm

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/living/columnists/steve_rothaus/16414639.htm

you dont like the story?

Hater?

Anonymous said...

any one have a photo of Bill Ferguson ?

Anonymous said...

I think the link for the Herald story 3:15 tried to post got garbled. Here is a story on that subject:

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/living/columnists/steve_rothaus/16441391.htm

Or anyone interested can search the site for Rothaus, the writer.

Susannah Nesmith
Miami Herald

Anonymous said...

i am happy that you finally featured the sad story about the passing of William Bill Ferguson
and mentioned the good and selfless deeds he did

Anonymous said...

The real revelation of the DBR article is that drug defendants get guidelines offers from the Broward SAO and the defense bar has to file motions for downward departure if they want anything better. Isn't it refreshing that they take crime seriously north of the border!

Anonymous said...

I hate to bring this up, but since I'm not in Miami to hear any news from the area...Does anyone know how the 2 people that were injured in the Cholakis accident are doing? Are they both out of the hospital? Did anyone die?

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

What we can tell you about the George Cholakis case is that Arraignment is set for Monday, 1/22/07 before Judge Jorge Perez.

It has been specially assigned to ASA Stefanie Newman, an ASA from "North of the Border", a 15 year veteran prosecutor.

If Mr. Cholakis has hired an attorney, that person has not yet filed a Notice of Appearance.

No idea what the status is on the two injured persons. I am sure that everyone is waiting with baited breath for the lab to return the blood results.

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

Anonymous said...

South Florida is the public corruption capital of the country, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Between 1996 and 2005, a record-setting 576 people were convicted of federal corruption charges in the district that extends from Key West to Sebastian, according to the agency’s most recent annual report.That’s far more than the 402 convicted during the same 10 years in Washington, D.C. or the 453 convicted in Chicago, where political machines have been rolling for decades.

New York City, another hotbed of government scandal, didn’t even come close. A mere 374 people were convicted of public corruption charges during the last decade, the report shows.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Cholakis hired Chris Lyons...don't know if its true!!!

Anonymous said...

I heard Obi Wan Zenobi will be representing Cholakis and that Lurvey and Lyons, who would have done a great job opted out because of their friendship. I also heard it could be Sharpstein. That would be who I would choose- Richard S, and Richard Hersch- a dream team. Good luck George, we are behind you.

Anonymous said...

what happened mr. mrs ASA, he kick your ass or something?

Anonymous said...

Rumpole,

Where are you? Consulting with Michael Vick?

Anonymous said...

miami is not a corrupt town. we have the most honest and caring public servants in the world. how dare you post that we are a corrupt town shame on you.

Paid for by the committee to elect former Judge Ivan Hernandez in 2008 for Circuit Court Judge.

Anonymous said...

There was a photo of him in the Herald today.

Nice guy, will be missed.

Mike Catalano

Anonymous said...

another brilliant, insightful, and newsworthy tidbit from mental midget michael catalano, the 50 year old lawyer with the teenage schoolgirl mentality, a tattletale, gossip, and punk.

Art Buchwald said...

Why are all these anonymous people so bitter. Even if you can't help yourself from being petty, at least save the rest of us from having to read it.

Anonymous said...

Richard Hersch is fantastic at beating up on asa's six months out of law school. a seasoned 15 year vet asa would beat him like a red headed stepchild in trial.

Rumpole said...

I am here, just working on a brief.

Anonymous said...

So RUmpole, you "are here" and just ignoring that people are using your blog to call other lawyers an "ass and really not that good of a lawyer. He has temper tamtrums...very unprofessional," and a "mental midget... the 50 year old lawyer with the teenage schoolgirl mentality, a tattletale, gossip, and punk."

Wonderful.

Rumpole said...

At some point, I have to draw a line. I have drawn it at mocking a person's physical appearance. I have been called, as Rumpole and as the real attorney I am, all sorts of horrible names and statements about how bad I am, an idiot, a jerk, etc. At some point, no matter how dumb the idiot is who is leaving a post, I will let it stay up . I think Richard hersch is a great lawyer. Someone else doesn't. That's life.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole did you get my email about taking down the libel on me?

Anonymous said...

rumpole is not married.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Richard is a very creative lawyer who is particularly skilled in motion practice. We've battled before..........yes, he can be difficult. Then again, it's easy to judge someone personally when you haven't walked in their shoes. Richard is a decent guy who, although a bit hot tempered and cranky at times, deserves a lot better than he's getting here.

Richard is a good friend to those who know him well (I am not a friend, just an observor in the know).

Anonymous said...

Nice stuff about Hersch here, maybe his kids will read it, you ever think about that?

Anonymous said...

i wouldnt be too concerned about hersch's kids reading this about him. his kids know him better than you do and have seen him wake up in the morning, be tired after work and talk to clients/asas/judges on the phone or in person.
i know his kids, both girls, one at an ivy league university another at an excellent private high school. they have more insight into him than you do so stfu, imho.

on the other hand, catalano as a teenage schoolgirl left me on the floor laughing.

Anonymous said...

are you referring to the nun- murder case?

sounds like an investigation for el capitan.

Anonymous said...

really hope that cholakis doesnt lsten to the idjits on this blog who says he ought to trust his freedom to a guy whose practice consists of beating up on county court asa's.

his temper is typical of all older defense attorneys who spend thier time in county court--they cant handle the fact that a judge who was in diapers when they started practicing is saying no to them. they go appoplectic when a new asa wont give them a reckless and makes them earn thier 5k in a trial.

Anonymous said...

CAN SOMEONE POST A PICTURE OF BILL FERGUSON? I HAVE HEARD NICE THINGS ABOUT HIM BUT I AM NOT SURE IF I HAVE EVER MET HIM. THANKS

Anonymous said...

Hersch is a mean and smelly man.

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