Thursday, May 17, 2007


"Lonly Hisp. W/M. Atty. Gen of the U.S. Lost or losing many of my frnds. Seeking LTR. Must have law degree and be friend of W."

The hallowed halls of the Justice Department must be very lonely places these days. One can almost hear the echoing foot steps as the Attorney General wanders around wondering where everyone is. They have been fired or quit. This past Tuesday Paul McNulty, the deputy attorney general of the US and the second highest ranking official at Justice called it quits. He is fourth official at Justice to resign in the wake of the US Attorney firing scandal.

This week we were treated to the regalia of the Bush presidency's very own Saturday Night Massacre. We have previously written about the events of the Nixon presidency when the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States resigned rather than follow the President's orders and fire the special prosecutor investigating Watergate. Eventually, Nixon found a janitor at the Justice Department named Robert Bork who was only too happy to follow the orders of the president and say, in those immortal words of Donald Trump: "Archibald Cox...you're fired!"

Now comes word of high speed car races to the Hospital bedside of then Attorney General John Ashcroft. Doped up on pain killers prior to his gallbladder surgery, and barely coherent, we learned that former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, with lights and sirens blazing on his motorcade, and FBI Director Robert Muller at his side, raced to the hospital to head off Bush's Chief Of Staff Andrew Card, and Alberto Gonzales- in his then role as counsel to the President. At stake on this rainy March night in 2004, was nothing less than Bush's illegal attempt to use the NSA to intercept phone calls of US Citizens without court authorization.

With Ashcroft seriously ill, the White House needed the Attorney General's signature to re-authorize the program. But Comey was acting Attorney General and his department's Office Of Legal Counsel had just issued an opinion that the secret program was illegal. Comey refused to sign the re-authorization order. With the program set to expire the next day, Card and Gonzales raced to the hospital to apparently hold Ashcroft's hand while they guided a pen on the line that said: "To Subvert the Constitution: SIGN HERE."

Comey testified before Congress this week that he literally raced up the hospital steps with the Director of the FBI close behind. As they ran into Ashcroft's hospital room, FBI Director Mueller shouted orders to Comey's FBI security detail not to let anyone remove Comey from the room without his permission.

Finally, the FBI vs. Secret Service shootout we've all been waiting for!!! Sort of like Batman versus Superman.

Anyway, the crisis lingered until Comey went to the White House the next day for a conference on terrorism. President Bush, wandering the hallways looking for his dog ( the president is way too busy to attend conferences) bumped into Comey. He put Comey in a headlock and patiently explained to Comey that the Constitution didn't exist for Presidents from Texas. The President then wrestled Comey into the family quarters, past a startled Laura Bush, and held him down on the floor while Dick Cheeney fast forwarded through the Godfather CD until he got to the point where Michael explains to his future wife Kay about how Luca Brazzi held a gun to a bandleader's head and explained that either his signature or his brains would be on the paper giving Johnny Fontane his release from his contract.

Comey signed the extension for the NSA to continue intercepting phone calls, and the NSA recently released this interesting transcript:


Kathy? It's Don.

Hi Don. What's up?

Don: We've had four more prosecutors arrested this week, and 16 resigned. We lost 9 of 10 jury trials, and there are more complaints about low morale at the office.

Kathy: Well, it sounds like a normal week. I'll be back from vacation in three or four weeks. Keep me informed.

It's been a fun week to be an American. And to those boys and girls labouring in obscurity at the Justice Department. To quote from Stripes: "I gotta party with you. When you stole that cow....you are a wild man."

We never really knew that the ability to sprint up a flight of stairs at a hospital and shout orders to the FBI to square off with the Secret Service was all part of the job of being a government lawyer. Kind of gives you a new way of looking at those supposedly out of shape AUSA's we keep seeing at 10:oo Am and 1:30 Pm during Magistrate Court.

See You In Court, limbering up in case we have to run interference to save the Constitution.

PS: You MUST go to David Markus's federal blog and check out the motion by Milt Hersch for his client to wear his cowboy hat in court, and the outstanding order written by Judge Cooke granting the motion. Who says the feds are a boring bunch of stiffs? (Actually we say that, but Judge Cooke is #1 in our book. A Federal Judge with a sense of humor.)


Anonymous said...

Sorry, Rump, but last week, the SAO was like 7 for 10 in felony jury trials. Contrary to popular belief, there are actually many skilled litigators at the SAO.

Rumpole said...

Judge Cooke's order is in a link on the Tom Langston Post.

Inquiring Minds said...

Rumpy or Captain, why no commentary on the names the JNC sent to the Guv? Who is this guy Alan Sackrin? Why is a Broward lawyer being nominated by a Miami JNC? And What has he done to get the nod over Seff? Or Walsh? Or Toussaint?

Anonymous said...

Cooke, humourous indeed. Humourous.

Anonymous said...

Latest News: Utpal's plea offers are now reversible on the theory of impaired prosecution.

Spicoli said...

There are a lot of great lawyers there truth be told.


Get caught smoking a joint - 364 max.

If you're at a concert and pass along a joint, that could be a purchase case making it a third degree felony. Five years max. There is an exception in the statute that drops it down to misd. if there is no consideration. But, what if the girl who takes your doob gives you a kiss and a car ride home. Is that consideration? If you exchange a roach for a concert ticket, is it purchase by the guy who traded the ticket for the roach? What happens to the guy giving the roach?

Don't we have more important things to worry about? A man went to federal prison for selling bongs on the internet. There's something wrong here. Something really, really, wrong.

The Legal Beagle said...

When the worst President in our nation's history is lost and gone for good, I hope we find a great United States Attorney General.


Anonymous said...

"...Seff? Or Walsh? Or Toussaint?"

Get serious!

CAPTAIN said...


to 10:05 PM

Alan Sackrin, one of the six finalists for Judge Young's seat, does have his law office in Broward County, Florida. He has been an attorney in Florida for the past 24 years and he is Board Certified in Civil Trial. He shares office space with his wife Cindy.

They also share a home together, in Dade County, and that is why he qualifies for the Young seat.

The other five names sent to Gov. Crist for consideration are:

David Peckins, traffic magistrate and JNC perennial nominee, and attorney extraordinaire

John Thornton, former Prez of the Dade County Bar, Prez of the Florida Bar Foundation, Member of the Indigent Services Committee, etc., etc., etc., oh yeah, he happens to be an excellent attorney too

Joe Davis, a trial lawyer for the past 34 years, he has quietly earned a reputation as one our most well respected attorneys in the area and, you couldn't meet a nicer guy around

Darrin Gayles, 14 year member of the Florida Bar, former ASA for 4 years, ADA with the INS for 2 years, AUSA for 4 years, and he has been a County Court Judge since 2004

Shirlyon McWhorter, 15 year member of the Florida Bar, and former County Court Judge, she was defeated recently in the Group One race by new County Court Judge Patricia Marino Pedraza

... an interesting note, in that, the Gov has on his desk, both the names of Kevin Emas, for the 3rd DCA, and John Thornton, for the Circuit Court seat. Kevin and John used to be partners in the law firm, Thornton, Rothman and Emas.

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

CAPTAIN said...


On a somber note, SB 1088 sits on the Gov's desk today ready to be signed into law. He has until May 24th to VETO it or else it's goodbye to the Court Appointed Counsel system as we know it in Florida.

My sources tell me that the governor's office has been bombarded with emails and letters and phone calls begging him to 86 the bill. He also had a visit this week from several rep's of the FACDL.

T-minus 6 days and counting.

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

the Outer said...

captain is rick freedman.

Anonymous said...

Anyone read today's DBR piece on indicted scumbag attorney Louis Robles? Is it true that no one else at his law firm Robles & Gonzalez had a clue what was going on when 13 mil in asbestos money was coming in (and being moved overseas)?

Anonymous said...

There's an article about David Young in today's Herald On-Line. It's nice to seeing him moving up. I like the guy.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of attorneys in trouble, what ever happend to all those accusations against Gabe Martin? Did he get cleared?

CARPETBAGGER!!!!!!!!! said...

wait a second. how can Alan Sackrin put his name in for Circuit Judge for a Circuit in which he does not have a law office.

hes a fricking BROWARD LAWYER for gods sake. He will think is going to be on the bench for life like the rest of the Broweird Judges.

What percentage of his law practice is in Miami-Dade and what percentage in BRd?

We dont need no stinking carpetbaggers.

Anonymous said...

Hey 9:08 and skilled litigators,

How hard is it to say "And then what happenend next?" I would say there are "some" skilled litigators
at the State not "many".

Prosecution is so much easier than defense work. You always have a built in theory of the case - the defendant is guilty of the charges.
We have to figure out a theory -
self defense, someone else did it,
guilty of lesser charges, etc.

You get to direct your own witnesses and use open ended questions. We have to cross examine often hostile witnesses with leading questions.

You have victim/witness coordinators and police assisting you with witnesses and victims. We have our clients and there family who claim they will help us find our defense witnesses.

You have a head start on every jury trial because almost all jurors automatically believe that if a defendant is in court, he must have done something wrong.

In short you all are supposed to win every case. So to say that 7 out of 10 wins shows that your
office has "many skilled litigators", is a complete joke.
You all should be winning 9 out of
every 10 trials if in fact you actually had "many skilled litigators".

Ask any defense lawyer who does a lot of trials and they will tell you that the pit prosecutors will give you some easy wins with there
"many" strategic mistakes.

The actual "skilled litigators", like David Gilbert and Susan Dannelly, won't give you these gifts.

Anonymous said...

can someone tell me if it is possible to access a criminal file online? if so what is the email address. thank you

Anonymous said...

joe davis is the darkhorse for the vacant judge opening.

Anonymous said...

gilbert skilled? give me a break. he is in his postion simply because other more skilled attorneys who started with him have left the office for private practice.that leaves the so called career proscuters as the remains. its the peter principle. he has risen to his level of incomptence and is there only because the more talented have moved on and received offers from the private sector.

Anonymous said...

Prosecution is about creating. Defending is largely about destroying. It's much easier to destroy than to create. QED.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Susan Dannelly!

abe laeser said...

There are still some skilled lititgators here at the SAO, even if many of us were born in the pre-Cambrian age.

I never fail to be amazed as those defense attorneys who have never been prosecutors and think that this is a simple task.

I must decide which persons to call + which to omit, and the order of the presentation. I have to plan the issues for voir dire, in order to eliminate those whose views will sink my case. Openings and (now, thank G-d) two closings do not compose themselves.

I cannot make my witnesses any smarter. They may have done investigative things that cannot be undone. They have have said something at deposition that was plainly wrong. I may not be able to get them to come in for trial. Or have them study their reporta. Or sometimes even remember where the evidence room might be. Or remember the answer to the question I just asked them in the hallway.

I may be practicing before a judge whose last contact with the hearsay rule was during the Bar exam.

Any of those errors, and some attorney who is barely breathing can say: REASONABLE DOUBT, and the defendant gets to go home.

I appreciate how difficult it may be to defend some cases; but not all.

Please do not denigrate the amount of time and effort it really takes to make a case come together in such a way as to make it 'bulletproof' at trial.

I assure you that it does not happen by just showing up and swearing in the first 12.

Professionalism has little meaning in today's practice, but I always assume that my opponent is an excellent attorney. It certainly helps me to focus on the task at hand if I convinve myself that I might get my lunch handed to me by the jury.

I do not mind it as much when the defense assumes that they have a 'winner', and prepares accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Robert Rudolph-SUSPENDED FOR 91 DAYS, EFFECTIVE IN 30 DAYS (COSTS $1,462.98)see SC06-126

Anonymous said...

Robert Rudolph suspended?! SHOCKING. But seriously, how has this guy not been disbarred already?! He's an embarassment to our profession.

Rumpole said...

And I echo Mr. Laeser's comments. Especially the last part- I throughly enjoy when the prosecution has a winner and works on other matters. Yup...they had the best case...until the verdict.

Each side has it's own problems to be concerned with. There are some cops and prosecution witnesses who I would never wanted to be saddled with in a 100 years. And of course, we have clients who have problems keeping their mouths shut.

Speaking of which- every Judge and prosecutor should read the NY Times Article this past week of the Defendant exonerated of the horrible rape and murder of two children. The DNA came back matching one of the witnesses who testified against him. Oh yeah...after about 30 hours of questioning...he "confessed."

The Justice system works only when all parties assume nothing and work their butts off.

Anonymous said...

From the AP:

"Mr. Wolfowitz’s fight for vindication was led by his lawyer, known only by the letter "Q", and negotiated at the bank by the British director, Thomas Scholar, a close associate of Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the Exchequer who is to become prime minister this summer."

dui guy said...

finished the download, but the numbers haven't been crunched...but kudos to top DUI GUY BOBBY REIFF WHO SPANKED YES SPANKED A BEVY OF PROSECUTORS WITH A STUNNING NOT GUILTY IN A DUI WITH A READING ABOVE .08.

Guys...you can't compete. When Reiff walks in the door, your DUI walks out. Just offer a reckless quickly and be done with it and move on to a case you can win.

Anonymous said...

Laesar: you are not a professional, you are an excellent attorney but engage in all the gossip, backstabbing etc. that you fellow asas engage in. How did you keep all the murder cases for yourself for 20 years without engagaing in a lot of mean spirited office politics, you are the snake in the grass as opposed to the other dog in a dog fight. you act in a quiet dignified manner and then have your second chair do the dirty work, or have the detectives harass the defense attorney etc. You are disliked by most and an excellent attorney, like comparing cal ripken and barry bonds.

Anonymous said...

I just returned from holiday in Mexico. I decided prior to my holiday that I would not read the blog or check my emails for peace of mind and I just found out that my former professor died and that one of my co workers was arrested. Wow, what a week!

I do think it was a low blow to mention Utpal's disciplinary action by the SAO, however. It was not necessary. He is a stand up guy who looked at the reality of the cases and did not bow down to police officer threats to give every defendant the max. When Utpal decided to do the decent thing for a first time offender, in an unoccupied burglary case, he was vilified by the higher ups in Kathy's office for it because the victim was a cop. Why should a person with no prior record receive a maximum prison sentence instead of probation just because unbeknownst to him, the home he burglarized belonged to a police officer? Utpal worked out a prison deal but it was not enough time for the police officer so the cop called Kathy who called Jose Arrojo who wanted Utpal fired. Politics!!!! I just wanted to clear the air on this one.

So many ASAs have left the office because of the poor moral and this is one of the insane examples and as someone mentioned before, yes ASAs that drank and probably smoked with Utpal will turn their backs on him.

Utpal, keep your chin up!

Rumpole said...

We do not share 10:00 pm's thoughts but at least they were able to voice them without the string of vile curse words we usually see when someone is making a comment about another lawyer. There is something to be said with expressing your thoughts without excessive cursing, etc.

The Q said...

I have resisted posting because I do not know the idiot who keeps posting those stupid comments about me. I am a lawyer, but make no claims to the greatness that idiot claims in his posts.

However, I do tip my hat and offer congratulations to the very top lawyer in my profession: Bobby Reiff and his great Not Guilty this past week. Way to go Bobby!!

fake blecher said...

I taught them both everything they know. Boy am I proud!

abe laeser said...

To the unfortunate who wrote in at 10:00:

I select my trial partners to help train them. Can you please name any of them who have been assigned the "dirty work", whatever that might be?

I do not select the lead detectives, though I often wish I could. Could you name a single one who has ever harrased my opponent?

I have not been able to assign cases to myself since before Ms. Reno left the office. My stint in the higher circles of administration ended then,and my 'politic' skills are minimal, at best. I may be assigned cases due to their difficulty, but we do not audition for them. There are many senior attorneys, and they get the same percentage of the cases as I do. We are assigned matters based upon our pending caseload.

Now the stuff about the snake -- grow up! Or come say something to my face.

Even if you had a name, there would be no reason for me to insult you. Gossip has never earned me a promotion or raise or any other benefit. You will learn that when you mature.

Is it really that important to your Friday night plans that you spew venom? Perhaps contact with another member of the species would be good for your mental health.

P.S. Both Ripkin and Bonds achieved a level of greatness by perfecting their craft and working on it long after their peers had ended their careers. Thanks for the complimentary comparisons (to either one).

Anonymous said...

the abed one certainly has a high opinon of himself. especially from one who never had the nads to go into private practice. he makes generous plea offers on the tough cases to prosecute so he wont get whipped in trial/ he cannot win a close case on the evidence because juries dont like the abed one and his storic appearance.

Anonymous said...

Utpal should post the names of every SAO he got high with during the past three years. I bet it is a very long list!

Anonymous said...

why does abe think the only skilled litigators in the office are senior trial counsel? There are many Division Chiefs who truly are skilled litigators...He is so pompous!!!

Anonymous said...

Laesar: my response to you is that you are full of it. No one likes you because you are so arrogant. You only come out of the sao when you have to because you know everyone can't stand you. You spend a couple weeks a year in court and the rest of the time you are in your office acting arrogant and condescending and only talking to a half dozen people who kiss your ass or have to deal with you,i.e.secretaries. What fantasy land are you in where you say you have no talent for office politics, anyone who lasts more than 5 years at an sao or pd has knee pads. And to say you aren't aware of cops doing bad things to win murder cases in a town Miami is nothing but a bold faced lie. Face it- in 30 years you have a half-dozen significant accomplishments- a good year for the top defense attorneys-LIKE ME!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who believes that any part of trying a case is easy does not try many cases. When one is trying any case, but a serious felony in particular, it is an exhausting, nerve-racking endeavor on both sides of the court. Prosecutors must anticipate and coordinate witnesses, introduce evidence and deal with a myriad of problems. The Defense must adjust on the fly to testimony that was not expected and to answers that could never have been imagined from witnesses--while trying to explain that the individual in the “hot seat” actually did not do what the DNA, witnesses and all of the evidence seem to indicate she/he did do. Not to mention that both sides must contend with jurors, Judges, evidentiary issues and the reality of not being able attend to one's other cases or handle daily life while on trial. So please, let us not demean one another by playing this game of who's job is harder; we ought applaud our profession lest we are doomed to the gutter into which the public wishes to place us all. If you try more than just a few cases you come to learn the value of the work of the many good and noble people on the other side—yes I said good and noble because NONE of this easy. Never forget that "We who labor here seek the truth". It may seem hokey and many of us may point up at those words in closing, but if you do not feel that the words have their intended meaning, please go practice on West Flagler.

The musings of one tired and anonymous defense lawyer on a rainy morning……..

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

HEY ABE; WHAT HAPPENED ON THE SEAN TAYLOR CASE? Is it true you had to stay in bed a week lying on your stomach to recover from the ass whooping Sharpstein and Handfield gave you- a guy does a drive by shooting and you literally nolle prosse the case! The great one is way overrated- I'd take gail levine, laura adams, marie matos, rubin and even von zampt over you any day.

abe laeser said...

Justice happened on the Taylor case. Or would you have prefereed an unjust prosecution for offenses that I deemed could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That is my job, right?

Check with Sharpstein, Carhart, and Handfield to see if they think any differently.

Sometimes, the evidence proves one crime, but not another. Would have preferred that I grandstand to try to 'get' an NFL player?

Does my very existence really bother so many people? Maybe I should become ANONYMOUS. After all, in case you had not noticed, no one uses their name any longer on this Blog - they took too many cheap shots when the did.

Anonymous said...

Some of you are so blinded by your animosity toward prosecutors that it's frightening. I'm no Abe fan, but give the man his due. He's an outstanding prosecutor who strives to do the right thing (we can debate whether or not we think he's right or wrong, but his intentions are good). Whether we like it or not, it's people like him that keep our communities safe. We all wish we didn't cops, prosecutors, judges, jails, prisons and strict laws, but, they're what separates us from the folks who would do us harm.