Friday, July 13, 2007
HERE WE GO AGAIN
You have to admit, those wacky Judges North of the Border just don’t know when to stop. One day after receiving a coveted Rumpolian seal of approval for demonstrating what we saw as care and concern for a juvenile defendant who was wearing all black in his court, comes news that Broward Judge Charlie Kaplan may have exchanged a light sentence in a juvenile case for a boat ride in a parade. Once again, we do not have the imagination to make this stuff up.
The Sun Sentinel obtained a memo written by Broward assistant public defender Tanya Simpson in the case.
From the Sun Sentinel Article
During a June 12 courtroom recess and before imposing a sentence upon a teenage boy, Broward Circuit Judge Charles Kaplan gave his business card to the teen's father after he told the judge he could get free tickets to social soirees, according to Assistant Public Defender Tanya Simpson's memo…
Simpson wrote that Kaplan "seemed impressed" when the teen's father said he had been the piano player at the June 10 send-off of the Emmy-winning mob drama The Sopranos at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.Kaplan seemed further impressed, she wrote, when the father said he could get the judge free tickets for other events, such as a yacht ride during the annual Winterfest Boat Parade along the Intracoastal.
The article also alleges that Kaplan gave the father of the Defendant his business card.
Rumpole says, one day we are supporting the Judge Kaplan, despite our discomfort in finding anything to approve of about a North of the Border Judge, and the next day Kaplan is demonstrating the kind of judgment we normally expect from North of the Border:
Let’s see, free tickets and a ride on a yacht in a Christmas parade…woopee!!!! versus a virtually secure (no one gets opposition in Broward) 150K a year job, plus benefits, plus you only have to work four hours a day before hitting the tennis courts (See, In re Seidlin). “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. ‘I’ll take the yacht ride AND keep my job because I work North of the Border.’ “
OK, I see it is time for us to intervene. We cannot just sit on the sidelines and watch the entire Broward Judiciary implode on an orgy of greedy stupidity.
If you are a Broward Judge, please commit these simple lines to memory. Then every morning, while you are in the shower, just repeat them for a few moments:
“I will neither take nor solicit gifts.
I will avoid the appearance of impropriety.
The appearance of impropriety does NOT mean giving the other side an equal opportunity to match the “gift” one party has given me.
I will pay for all my meals myself.
I will endeavor each and every day to work more than four hours a day.
I will be nice to lawyers from Miami.”
OK. We couldn’t resist. Ignore the last mantra. This is hard enough without asking you to do the near impossible. However, it is really that simple. Just follow these simple rules and Rumpole guarantees you can spend your career in that miserable little courthouse demeaning attorneys, being rude to the public, scaring defendants, and laughing about it when you get home. In other words, you can be a normal Broward Judge and not risk having your career destroyed by the news media.
Just remember, the next time you are denying a Miami’s lawyers motion for continuance for the week they are getting married ( we actually saw Broward Judge do that once) the lawyer you are being mean to just might be the well intentioned lawyer who gave you this career saving advice.
See You In Court, where Judges rarely if ever, give US their business card. (Who even knew they had business cards? For what purpose does a Judge need a business card? If you think about it, it can only get them in trouble. It’s not like they can say “here…if you ever need anything give me a call. The next thing you know, they'll be carrying badges: "FREEZE! 17th Judicial Circuit. Get out of the car and give me the bag of marijuana.")