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

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.")


25 comments:

Jason Grey said...

Boat rides! What happened to the good old days when Judges could only be bought for cash ,or sexual favors?

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

On a separate note, a total of 29 candidates have filed to run for Circuit Court Judge so far; 21 incumbents and eight newcomers. The interesting point of this is - North of the Border - not a single person - incumbent or challenger has filed yet for the September 2008 election.

Same thing in County Court, where four incumbents and one challenger have filed in Dade - and none have filed in Broward.

The more things change - (the Broward Blog) - the more they stay the same!!!

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

(reprinted - in light of Rumpole's most recent post)

typical american mentality said...

Yeah but DUDE! The guy WAS like one degree away from the friggin Sopranos - doesn't that like change everything? Did he have a part in the ending?

Browards Big Brother said...

Hey rumpy at least broward judges don't do the following top 10 things:

1. Allow JA's to run political campaigns from the chambers of the court.

2. Have Judges who think the DCJ would be empty if we sent back all the Cuban rafters.

3. Oh my Operation Court Broom should I say more?

4. Have Judges who speak at anti gay events.

5. The miami bar is so dumb that a seasoned lawyer gets 5 years in prison for falling for a Nigerian e-mail scam and forwards all her clients $250,000.00 trust account money to Nigeria.

6. see #3

7. see #3

8. see #3

9. see #3

10. see #3

Rumpole said...

A couple of thoughts- if you're going to do the crime, do it right. Sell the name of an informant and stuff 50 grand down the front of your pants like Shenberg did- don't sell out a lighter sentence for a boat ride with santy claus.

Inside info leads me to believe Knovack Jones, the lawyer you wrote about falling for a Nigerian email scam didn't really do that. It was a convenient way to explain the missing money.

Anonymous said...

The day is beginning with yet another update about a judge north of the border. In reading the past columns, Rump, when you gave kudos to some Miami judges: Judge Bob Scola and Judge Dava Tunis, it brings me back to the "anonymous" issue. You basically say about Judge Bob Scola, congratulations, well-deserved. You say about Judge Dava Tunis a "Rumpolian well done" for managing a two co-defendant first degree murder trial that lasted 3 weeks.

Then some person responds
anonymously asking about what the judge even did right. I guess the response is ask us, the attorneys and clerks and peolpe that were in court each day for 3 weeks.

Your guest, The TRIALMASTER writes that Judge Tunis is very polite and extremely professional. While that's not a "signed" response, this is someone who is a regular on your blog.

Then anonymously someone says she is rude and pushy, and didn't follow a 3DCA case on point. Anyone that practices in front of her with regularity, say daily to weekly, to monthly, knows thats a crock. She follows the law and whether you agree or disagree with her decisions, her actions and reputation are of always being professional and polite. Upon reading that post it makes one wonder if the person even does criminal law or are they disquising their post as an actual REG practitioner, just to say demeaning things about Judge Tunis.

It starts out with your recognition and takes an apparent and unrealistic nosedive by, perhaps, someone who is not even a criminal practitioner, but just wants to use the opportunity to write negatively about a very good and respected judge. What do you think Rump, didn't you write something about posting pleadings, then chose to block them?

Rumpole said...

I'm not sure where you are going with this, and I don't under stand the last paragraph. I don't "block" comments. I do moderate, and will not post a comment that for instance referred to a spouse of someone as a "witch". People know the rules. Nobody gets more crap then me. I get called all sorts of names and slammed all the time. And all those comments make it. So whatever you are trying to say, put down te coffee, and give it another try old chap.

Anonymous said...

RUMP

It was not a reference to you blocking comments. It was a reference to you saying you were blocking pleadings (many weeks ago)and then writing on DOM's federal blog about pleadings posted.

Could there be a connection between negative comments about Judge Tunis, an REG judge that is highly respected by those who actually practice in front of her, versus anonymous comments possibly posted by a non-REG practioner for other motives?

I'm drinking de-caf. Does this make any sense?

Rumpole said...

Hmmmm...I have received via email "pleadings" from an attorney who is facing bar proceedings where Judge Tunis is the referree and I have not posted most of those pleadings. I wouldn't call it "blocking" pleadings in that I am not quite sure why he emails them to me.

And yes, the decaf helps.

Fake Nesmith said...

CBS4) MIAMI Gov. Crist has asked the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office to investigate charges that Circuit Court Judge Larry Seidlin received gifts or loans from a local attorney who regularly represented clients in his courtroom.

Rundle, who was on a short well earned 4 month vacation promised to look into te matter as soon as she returns in September.

Anonymous said...

fida house party tonight @ 121 ne 45 st. 8:30pm on..
joel denaro

Anonymous said...

Rump,

When you figure out why Thompson e-mails you the pleadings, can you please let me know? I have been scratching my head for years trying to figure out why I am on his e-mail list and how to get off of it.

Anonymous said...

9th floor article on cnn.com online.

Anonymous said...

Jack's just trying to find some relevancy in this world, let him get his own site.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll enter this fray. It's Saturday, I've got time.

It's utterly ridiculous that someone alleged that J. Tunis saw caselaw from the 3rd re: credibility of witnesses and ignored it. Anyone who REALLY litigates in her ct, say on a motion to suppress, knows that if the blogger was truthful-that wit. 1 and wit. 2 said things that created a credibility gap, which was compounded by a supervisor giving version #3, J. Tunis would do this: She'd either grant the motion to suppress or she'd asked the attys if they mind going off the record. Then she'd call them side bar and say something like: I have no idea what happened since I just heard three different stories. State, do you want a chance to re-evaluate your case and speak to a supervisor, or do you want me to rule now?

She gives each side a shot to deal with it. She told both sides she would gladly repeat her comments for the record, but it all worked out between the attys. I then waived a min. man. and closed the case. Since I'm an ASA and have had this happen twice just in my cases, I think the other person who wrote in about her ignoring the law, credibility of witnesses and "sending it to the jury", has no clue what they are talking about. Frankly, no judge says, 'let's send it to the jury.' They just rule and the case goes forward. Are you sure, Rump, that it was actually a lawyer that wrote in? Or they could just be making it all up, since it's ridiculous. Whatever she is, Judge Tunis is one judge that is a straight shooter; whichever side it comes down on.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rump:

Maybe the Broward Judges can move the Vegas and supervise all the dirty lawyers out there. Enclosed is an editorial from the Las Vegas Sun in re: Unethetical lawyers

July 10, 2007

Editorial: A law unto themselves?
Legal system needs change to ensure cases against attorneys are properly handled

Nevadans lodge complaints about attorneys more than almost any other state in the nation, yet when it comes time to root out the bad lawyers, law enforcement seems reluctant to do anything about them.

As reported by Sam Skolnik in Sunday's Las Vegas Sun, the Nevada State Bar Association's Client Security Fund, which reimburses people who have been ripped off by their lawyers, concluded that 21 attorneys had stolen $1.2 million from clients in 2004 and 2005.

But those attorneys were never criminally investigated or prosecuted.

This is not a priority in the legal system. It may not even be treated as a crime. The Clark County district attorney's office has only prosecuted two such cases in the past decade and none since 2002. Metro Police spokesman Bill Cassell said cases handled by the Nevada State Bar Association's Client Security Fund are civil matters. In other words, let the victim - already burned by one attorney - find another lawyer to file a lawsuit.

Las Vegas attorney John Shook, vice chairman of the fund, says change is needed. He wrote to the state attorney general's office in 2005 asking for help "in finding a simple and effective way to ensure that victims of this attorney fraud are heard and the attorneys are prosecuted."

He never received a reply. The lack of a reply is troubling considering the number of complaints lodged against attorneys and the fund's findings.

The Sun's review of complaints against attorneys in Nevada found that from 2002 to 2005 there was an average of one complaint for every five licensed attorneys. That rate is twice the national average and higher than every state but Arizona and Colorado.

Bar association officials say they are disciplining the same way other states do. The difference is that Nevada, with its explosive growth, is unlike other states.

Shook said there are some key reasons people complain. Some lawyers fall into addictive behaviors, which may lead to theft or other misconduct. Some lawyers focus on quantity, taking on a large number of clients, which potentially sacrifices quality. Some lawyers in Las Vegas may take advantage of a populace that has a lower education level than other cities.

"There's no doubt that the dynamic of a boomtown affects everything about the place," Shook said.

Unfortunately, one of the things left in the dust of Las Vegas' explosive growth has been oversight of the legal system. For example, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline moves at glacial speed, letting the embarrassing reign of District Judge Elizabeth Halverson continue while it slowly performs its machinations behind closed doors.

Lawyers, judges and police should be moving quickly and cooperatively to address these problems because there is a perception that the legal system does not hold its own to the same standards it holds others. That must change.

The bar association and police should be working cooperatively. And the attorney general's office should take up the task of evaluating potential criminal cases involving lawyers and pursuing them. All of these investigations should be handled with vigor and a sense of urgency.

The bottom line is the public's trust, and those in the system must work harder to uphold it.

Anonymous said...

Well here's confirmation of something we all already knew:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/14/us/14defenders.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Anonymous said...

I cannot tell you how much I adore Judge Tunis for being a straight shooter. This Judge is one of the best jurist the State of Florida has to offer.

Anyone, I repeat anyone who says different simply has a bone to pick for personal reasons. This person should seek immediate professional medical eval and medications that help delusional episodes.

In short for the mentally challenged "GET A LIFE"!.

q in da house said...

Top ten things not commonly known about the Q? OK I'll start

q10/ He is a champion on line chess player

q9/ He is a numismatist.

Anonymous said...

OK i'll play too

q8/He is a world renown onophile.
q7/ the Screen saver on his office computers all say "REFUSE TO LOSE."

wannabe q said...

q6/ the Q actually invented all the gadgets in the James Bond movies and uses them in Court.

Anonymous said...

This "Q" stuff used to be so funny, like the first 300 times I saw it.

IONQ said...

My dear sir- there is nothing funny about the Q.

If you are a prosecutor, you have been trained to fear the Q

If you are a defense attorney, respect the Q.

If you want to improve yourself, then take up TM Meditation, like the Q himself.
Close your eyes. See it. Feel it.

Become the Q.

Anonymous said...

Judge Tunis is like any other judge. She's not extraordinarily learned in the full extent of the law nor is she ignorant in the law. She will listen to arguments and read whatever is put in front of her, but at the end of the day, she will go with what feels right for Judge Tunis. Its all a matter of how you spin the law. Its neither a good thing or a bad thing. Its the way things are.

Anonymous said...

What does this mean:

That Judge Tunis is, "extraordinarily learned in the full extent of the law; nor is she ignorant in the law. She will listen to arguments and read whatever is put in front of her, but at the end of the day, she will go with what feels right for Judge Tunis."

That's Bull sh** as it relates to any lawyer or judge.

No one is perfect about the latest state of the law, but the discord on the blog was about her abilities as a jurist to give each side a fair shake. For ANY judge or attorney, how does that include to do 'what they FEEL is right?'