Monday, February 26, 2007

A MAJORITY OF ONE

The Feds dedicated their new courthouse on Friday. [Motto: If we build it- you can all look at it, but no one can use it because it's too complicated to explain here.]

The Courthouse has been named in Honor of the Late Judge Wilkie Ferguson.
Judge Ferguson served on many courts, the last two being the Third DCA and the the U.S. District Court. Judge Ferguson was born and raised in Miami, and his life is proof that talent and dedication can overcome obstacles and help change society.

Judge Ferguson helped change our community and our law, all for the better. But it was one quote attributed to him at the opening ceremonies that caught our eye.

The Herald reported this, including a quote from Attorney H. T Smith attributed to Judge Ferguson.

In a famous 1980 decision -- one that was echoed years later by the U.S. Supreme Court -- Ferguson ruled against local courtroom practices that had systematically allowed blacks to be excluded from jury duty.
It was a risky decision, one likely to be at odds with how other judges saw the issue, H.T. Smith, an attorney and close Ferguson friend, reminisced during a video tribute played on monitors inside the new courthouse.
Ferguson back then offered Smith this explanation for his ruling:


``In the moral universe, one is a majority if you're right. And on this one, H.T., I'm right.''

It doesn't get any better than that.

In this day and age of supervisors, and supervisors for supervisors ('too many chiefs, not enough Indians' Judge Moreno likes to say) when prosecutors have to check every decision they make through the maze and matrix of supervisors, it's nice to remember a time when one man saw the right thing to do, and did it, consequences be dammed.

"In The Moral Universe, One Is A Majority If You're Right."

A fitting epitaph for a great man.

See You In Court.


56 comments:

jason grey said...

It would be nice to see that quote inscribed over the main entrance. Of course it would never happen, might give the occasional juror the idea that they should stand up against some of the bullshit the Government's prosecutors put in front of them.

Anonymous said...

Wilkie, H.T., Alcee, McCrary -- there were some very fine Black criminal practitioners / judges.

Where are their replacements?

Robert White and Judge Thomas could not even stand in their shadow!

Anonymous said...

What about Alan Shuminer?

Anonymous said...

Were very fine?

Makes it sound like all of them are dead. Alcee is still a state legislator. HT still practices and teaches.

Lets not lay them in their coffins too early now.

weekend at strom's said...

alan shuminer??? i hear al sharpton's second cousin , twice removed's great great grand-neice was once a book-keeper in the shuminer empire.

Anonymous said...

alcee is a congressman, not a state legislator.

Fake HT Smith said...

Win with Wilkie! I always say.

even steven said...

all quiet on the club/restaurant front. No news to report.

Anonymous said...

Please don't lump Alcee in with the other two. Ferguson was, and HT is, a man with great integrity. Alcee is not. How soon we forget.........

Anonymous said...

Are you sure Even Steven? Did you miss that not so young judge ordering an extra basket of bread at a Kendall eatery before sauntering into Target for some new bath towels on sale for $7.99?

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS: The image of the Virgin Mary has been located on the bottom of an elementary school baking pan. I must say the Virgin is more elusive than Rumpole and Waldo.....

Anonymous said...

Alcee was a superb litigator. Very persuasive + sharp. I cannot help it that he became a goniff.

H.T. is semi-retired, at best.

Good black lawyers are going for the $$$ out of law school. Why bother with Prosecution/Defense? No $$$ in that route.

Anonymous said...

judge thomas is smart and was a very good litigator. he needs to slow down on the bench and he will be fine. he is fair and gives an exellent trial.
rod vereen
larry handfield
cristian dunnum
anthony britt

Anonymous said...

Thomas is a self-centered, pompous and rude judge. He does not read submissions, rules based upon which side you are on (I am presently on the 'other side'), and demeans people who appear in front of him.

Maybe another stint as a federal PD will teach him more humility. Next election, whoever his opponent is will have my complete support -- even if I have to run against him.

Anonymous said...

Judge Thomas gives a fair trial everytime. He expects the attorneys to do their job, be prepared, and not be lazy. What a horror! I suspect that you are probably one of the exhalted masses that has been allowed to skirt by for far too long and was called out.

He will have my full support and the support of those influential people who ask for my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I think it is important to note that the black lawyer's whose names are being put up here are not only great black lawyers, they are great lawyers period.

Anthony Britt kicked my butt around the courtroom a couple times when I was a prosecutor, he is a supurb trial attorney for many reasons. I still remember that son of a gun remembering every damm juror's name during voi dire. I used to hate that.

s/ I want a rematch.

Anonymous said...

Sure, Thomas like refusing to excuse a juror who had a note from a doctor about a back injury, and was being medicated so she could not be attentive -- Thomas made her stay the whole day. Real empathy.

NOT my idea of a wise jurist.

Anonymous said...

Thomas is a judge who had great potential and then turned into a pompous idiot.There is a lesson for all judges in this

Anonymous said...

Why are we on an Anthony Britt love fest? Is that you Anthony?????

Anonymous said...

would someone ever let that mother take her daughter to Texas and not move her to a foreign land

the trialmaster said...

back in the days when wilkie sat as a criminal judge he appointed the trialmaster to defend a man charged with raping a guest at his wedding on his wedding day, a 15 yr old girl. the cops caught him in the act. he was acquitted by the jury on rape and convicted only on tresspass. and wilkie awarded a fee of 25k, a large feein those days he was a great guy and a wonderful trial judge. he certainly left us too soon. he was one of the top 5 judges the ttialmaster has appeared before.

Anonymous said...

Is that like "An Army of One"? Only kidding ... great words from a great man.

Anonymous said...

trial master. we do you feel the need to stroke your ego in anonymously

Anonymous said...

HT is an amazing attorney with an amazing history and integrity. I am comforted in knowing that his words echo through the new courthouse.

Anonymous said...

HT IS RUNNING FOR PUBLIC DEFENDER IN 08.

abe laeser said...

If H.T. had ever been serious about running, he would have had my unqualified support. He would also, I assume, change the approach of that office in a positive and meaningful way.

Last time we spoke about it, his heart was not in the effort needed to run, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Is everyone forgetting Wayne "My Name is Azeem" Ramelize?

Anonymous said...

Anybody with any information about ASA Herb Walker getting help in contempt of court by Judge Ward and fined 500 bucks for not showing up to an 8:30 am motion because he didn't feel like it?

Rumpole Hunter said...

N=R*f(p)n(e)F(e)F(i)F(e) L


This was a clue on a whoisrumpolewebsite (I can't give the exact address for reasons I can't disclose)
it's 2 web sites away from the fabled "seven seals of Rumpole"

does anyone recognize this? Help.

Anonymous said...

TRUST ME ABE-HE IS RUNNING.

Anonymous said...

why on earth would anyone want to be public defender?

John Nash said...

It looks like the Drake Formula to me. The formula used to determine the probability of life existing on other planets. But I'm just a Nobel winning scientist with schizophrenia, so what do I know?

Anonymous said...

Run HT Run!

Anonymous said...

Strange goings ons in the REGJB today. Not a good day to be a prosecutor, especially in a murder case. Yowza!

Anonymous said...

i hear phil r just got a big win in a murder case. eyewitness arrested for purjury after trial. yowza!!!

fake brummer said...

I'll beat HT with my eyes shut

Anonymous said...

Some news headlines across the nation that might prove interesting with respect to being under the influence of spirits and the right to travel...

“Hartford Officer Arrested in Vegas for Drunk Driving”

“Off-Duty Athens-Clark Police Officer Arrested on DUI Charge”

“Former Cop Pleads Guilty to Assault in DWI Accident that Injured Teens”

“St. Petersburg Police Officer Arrested for DUI”

“Prosecutor Arrested for Drunk Driving”

“N. Ky. Police Chief Arrested on DUI Charge”

“CMPD Officer Arrested for DWI in Irdell Co.”

“Another Officer Faces DUI”

“Warsaw Police Chief Arrested for DUI”

“Police Officer Among Those Arrested for DUI Over Weekend”

“Prosecutor Fired After Car Wreck, DUI Arrest”

“Police Report: Off-Duty Deputy Arrested for DUI”

"Scalia’s Daughter Charged with Drunk Driving"

Very interesting last few weeks...

Anonymous said...

5:22 Wow. Very interesting. You catch that all by yourself?

You must be a genius. So complex. Hundreds of thousands of cops and prosecutors in this country. And a few get arrested for DUI. Wow. Sounds like an epidemic.

"Right to travel" and spirits? You implying that there's a right to drink in drive? Or even a right to drive? Better go read the case law again.

keeping it real said...

human frailty maybe, but the hypocracy of LEOs and ASAs getting arrested for dui (and other crimes) is the point i think the poster was making.

ASAs and LEOs are required to NOT be impaired while driving or commit any other crime for that matter as an intrinsic part of the public trust we place in them. the general public has an obligation to society in general to not break the law, but ASAs and LEOs are (and should be) held to a higher standard.

that young ASA who seeks jail on a second DUI outside 5 years may just find him/herself coming home from monty's and getting stopped by a cop who doesnt care about their badge and load them anyway.

Anonymous said...

"He would also, I assume, change the approach of that office in a positive and meaningful way."

Abe,
The approach you want, rolling over and playing dead, will not occur with a change at the PDO. HT will have his guys kick your guys' ass just like BHB has for all these years. Your problem isn't BHB, it's KFR and you. You and she, like Nifong in NC, have lost sight of the goal of the prosecutor -ie; to seek the truth -and instead have opted for the goal of getting convictions at all costs. Shame on you.

asa said...

excuse me sir but bhb and co. have never kicked abe's ass because abe tries death penalty cases. the last death penalty case that YOUR office tried was jimmy rice-and look how that one turned out.

Anonymous said...

of the fakes-sleepy brummer is by far and away the most original. fdcl should honor him along side "fast jerry"

abe laeser said...

Early lunch at my desk -- hearing at 1:00.

Thanks 'anonymous' for guessing wrong. I want the strong advocate. Rolling over and playing dead is an affront to any concept of justice. I like the idea that two fine lawyers will help a jury decide the issues.

When Jack Denaro, Roy Black, H.T. Smith, Clay, Bronis, Rosen, Rosenblatt, Flynn, Von Zamft, Tarkoff... tried every difficult homicide case, their clients got the best possible representation. I cannot recall the last time a PD walked his client on a homicide in a major case in this circuit.

The first question now is: Can we find a conflict? The effort is not to work on the tough cases, but to plead them, dump them on conflict counsel, and move on to the lesser cases (with a greater chance of 'winning'). Whose interests are being served - lawyer or client?

P.S. Comparing me to the Duke prosecutor just makes me more devoted to doing my job correctly. I have 'acquitted' many defendants by refusing to approve a warrant. But I do enjoy convicting the Guilty. Perhaps you can be so kind as to pick up a capital case so that I could explain it to you - in exquisite detail.

Anonymous said...

finally-things on the blog heat up. it has been to long....

i agree with abe, sleepy is sleepy and loves to conflict. he has been in office since the Carter Administration....

HT would be nothing like Brummer-it is not fair to compare the two men.

Anonymous said...

BHB aside, the pds have been getting not guilty verdicts constantly over the asas. when it comes to trials, the pds have the better lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Guess it is easier when you can plead the bad ones + insist on going to trial when the odds are greatest. There are good lawyers on both sides. I think Abe was just commenting about the dead wood at the top of the PD's office. Lots of people who have not spoken to a jury in years on any really big case.

Anonymous said...

we are talking murders here.... the last victory in a murder came three years ago. can you name the pd's who got the w? and no, it was not rory stein.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell is Anthony Britt? He is black? Wasn't he that hot guy in Judge Barzee's Division?

Anonymous said...

Was the APD Joel Denaro?

Anonymous said...

along with "country" dave pettus and chis dunnum. the case was i duck but we pulled it out in front of judge ferrer.

Anonymous said...

Anthony wasn't the hot guy, that was Mattsun (I think I spelled it wrong). Great guy.

Anonymous said...

Joel denaro walked a killer in his dreams

Anonymous said...

actually, it was during the day. now sleep tight- hater.

fake brummer said...

but what are you saying sir? i dream by day so why can't denaro?

Anonymous said...

all in the pockets of ceasar alvarez. amy donner, now judge juday creeger. when will it end. had to tak amy realizing she didnt want her husband to know she was screwing joel...............

Anonymous said...

everyone is screwing someone