Tuesday, July 31, 2007


UPDATE!: A family member of the victim in the "Moldof" case writes us an email. See below for the full email.

A longtime and careful reader of the blog was kind enough to alert us to this article from Manatee County about 11 suspected gang members who were arrested after a five month investigation. One problem: the Court is having trouble rounding up eleven lawyers stupid enough to take the case for the new flat fee of $2,000.00.

Go here to read about WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT legal style.

Oh Well.

Moldof Morass.

Here is the Herald article
reporting on the conclusion of the investigation of Broward lawyer Hilliard Moldof who was accused in 2003 of tampering with a witness in a murder prosecution by paying the witness $100.00 . The article reports that the Dade SAO, who was appointed to investigate the case reached a “settlement” with Mr. Moldof wherein Moldof agreed to a statement of facts in which he acknowledged that his actions could be the basis for charging him with a felony. The case was then referred to the Bar and the Dade SAO took no further action, deeming their settlement a type of deferred prosecution.

Rundle's office has said Moldof wasn't charged because his offense was nonviolent, and he had a clean criminal history. Prosecutors told Bar officials they gave Moldof ``a break.''

The hitch is that the Dade SAO apparently believed Moldof would get a six month suspension, and instead the Bar has ordered an admonishment. The Dade SAO is not happy.

The Dade SAO has come under their fair share of criticism on these pages but not today.

Like it or not, what the Dade SAO did was exercise prosecutorial discretion. They decided not to proceed with a prosecution that they technically could have proceeded with because they believed that it was the right thing to do. It did not work out as they planned in this circumstance, but that should not dissuade them from proceeding in this manner in the future. We need more of this type of thinking, and less of the type of concrete thought process that we see too often in our courts these days.

UPDATE: After the post ran this morning, we received this email, which we print in full with full permission of the author:

I agree with 90 percent of your post, and I think you'll agree with my 10 percent after you read this.

Miami SAO had originally written, in a July 2005, document, that it was going to deferred prosecution, but reserved the right to turn around and prosecute if the Florida Bar didn't come through with at least a six-month suspension. The final agreement included no such provision; it was taken out. (Which side do you think proposed that?)

Rundle gave up her "hammer" in the case -- that Moldof get at least six months -- and once she gave that crack to Moldof's lawyers, they did a very good job of running with it. Give them credit.

It is my opinion that Rundle erred by doing that. Agree or disagree?

Also, FYI, on of Oct. 15, 2004, Michael Von Zamft wrote a letter to Michael Dutko, Moldof's attorney, saying the case was going to the Broward Grand Jury. Sometime afterward, when Moldof hired Arturo Alvarez to represent him, Miami SAO came out with the deferred prosecution agreement.

Feel free to post any or all of this

Nick Sortal. Brother of victim


We are happy to learn that the CJ is feeling better. Doctors are a bit puzzled as to what is causing this. We modestly propose our own diagnosis: The Fainting Judge syndrome.

Here is the article on the famous
of Tennessee:

Fainting goats have bulgy eyes which are very unusual and which distinguish them from other breeds. They also have very long ears that stand out to the side of their head. They are a very calm animal and make excellent pets.They are a herding animal, and should therefore be kept with at least two or three of their own kind.

The Fainting Judges of DC:

“Fainting Judges also have bulgy eyes which distinguish them from other Judges. They are usually very calm and make excellent advocates of the conservative legal agenda. They are excellent at herding other Judges into a 5-4 majority and therefore are usually found with at least 4 others of their own kind.

Goats of a feather can usually be found together.

See You in court, avoiding judges with bulging eyes.


old guy said...

Did I read the article correctly?

An experienced criminal defense attorney actually gave money to a prosecution witness to get him to change his testimony?

And the BAR was so offended, they gave him a reprimand?

Every single member of the grievance committee should hand in their ticket and go do manual labor.

Perhaps the Supreme Court will be kind enough to reject the result when they review the case.

We bring shame upon our own house -- then wonder why people detest lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Rump- prediction- they will find 11 lawyers stpuid enough to take those cases. They will find lawyers poor enough to take all the cases Dade can throw at them as well for 2 grand. Unfortunately these clients will get poor representation and the legal system will suffer.

abe laeser said...

Maybe now is the time for the FACDL to expel Moldof.

It is the right thing to do, and also suggests that the FACDL thinks that bribing witnesses is WRONG !!

Rumpole said...

Yes Old Guy, I think you did read the article incorrectly. The most respected Prosecutor in Broward County (Chuck Morton, chief of Homicide) testified to the Bar that Moldof DID not give the money with the expectation that the testimony would be changed. That is a significant fact in the case in my opinion. I value Chuck Morton's word and if he says it, I am more than inclined to believe it.

Rumpole said...

Geeze..has the FACDL ever expelled anyone? Are there procedures for such a thing? Maybe Moldof should be shunned. Every time he walks into a courtroom everyone should stand up and turn their backs to him. Or are people saving that punsihment for me when I reveal myself?

Anonymous said...

A public and constant shunning sounds great.

Very puritanical, but effective.

Anonymous said...

I continue to accept SAPD cases. I view work for the less fortunate as a moral obligation. I never take these cases for the money; rather I take them for the good of the Criminal Justice System and the Country.

Tit4tat said...

Did the League of Prosecutors or the Statewide Prosecutor's Guild (or whatever it is called) expel Mike Von Zamft or any one of a number of other prosecutors who the Bar reprimanded for their professional misconduct? If not, why not -- aren't prosecutors embarrassed to condone improperly ex parte-ing judges?

Rumpole said...

RE: Moldof- the update with the email from Mr. Sortal is very enlightening. I think there is a lot more to this case than what is in the news article and it is difficult to really voice an opinion when you don't know everything.

Anonymous said...

If I recall, wasn't Stu Mishkin famous for fainting in court when things got rough?

I got Shumie's Phone said...

Rump= Shumie got a new I phone and lost it and I found it. Here are some of the songs he was listening to:

Gloria- G.L.O.R.I.A
Rubberband man.
99 Red Balloons (english and german versions)
Theme song for the Sopranos
Sugar Sugar
I walk the line.
Walk this way (Run DMC Version)

Pretty funny stuff huh? More later.

Anonymous said...

OMG I don't know if that is true but it is the funniest thing on this blog in ages. I am going to be laughing about that one all night long.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is a slow news day, maybe it is the weather, but folks this blog is devolving into nothing but dreck! Stop the shumie stuff, enough with the Q cuteness, no more DUI rankings. The criminal bar in Miami looks like a gaggle of junior high boys with few brains, limited imagination and lots of time on their hands.

Anonymous said...

The blog is a place to discuss serious issues and also have some fun. Lighthearted discussion of what may or may not be on Shumie's I Phone is harmless and probably done by one of his friends to just have a little fun. I am sure Shumie will get a laugh from it when he sees it.

To quote from the Q's favorite movie- Stripes- "Lighten up Francis."

I found Shumie's X-Box 360 said...

Hard to beleive this but Shumie was at my house the other day after getting into a on-line snit with my two boys. Rather than admit that he had been sorely beaten at Halo 2, he inferred that my boy's X-Box was rigged. One hour later he was at our door with his X-Box 360 in tow. It was decorated with wacky pack stickers and Hot Rod flames. After again losing at Halo, he stormed out leaving his X-Box 360. Apparently he is a huge "Sonic" fan aswell as "Kirby's Dreamland". He is also up to date with Megatron !!

Rumpole said...

1:06 Pm- you are engaged in a noble altruistic cause. Personally, my philosphy tells me I am in better hands with someone who's interests are not in conflict with mine. Lets say one of the alleged gang members is innocent but the trial will take 6 weeks after 8 months of discovery. Who can really afford to do that for 2K? I'd rather not have my attorney worrying about paying his or her bills while in trial for a month and a half.

Plastics??? said...

Rump-the Dow tanked again today. The RE market is in free fall. Where do I put my defense millions?

Anonymous said...

Breaking news: Jimbo Best not in trial.

oH, And I think it is reprehensible for Rumpole to be mocking our sick Chief Justice.


More songs on Shumie's I Phone said...

Disco Duck
Night Fever
The Best of Helen Reddy
Jungle Fever
Kung Fu Fighting
10th Avenue Freeze Out
Knock 3 Times on the Ceiling
Mr. Postman
One Bad Apple by the Jackson 5
The Twist

Anonymous said...

Stop it. ROFL. Please...just stop. I need to sleep.

Anonymous said...

8:19 p.m., I didn't know there was a song about former judge Alan Postman.

Anonymous said...

moldof should have been prosecuted plain and simple. if a cop had done that rump would be calling for his head and saying sao should prosecute.

this stinks and looks like as lawyers we look out for each other.

sorry 1225 chuck mortons word means nothing. it is just an example of how totally corrupt the system is in broward and the irony is that all the anglos and jews in broward look down there nose at us cubans in miami and say we are corrupt. ok chuck tell me why do you think hilly paid this witness?
becuase he liked him? becuase moldof is a nice guy?
a disgrace

Anonymous said...

John B. Thompson, Attorney at Law
1172 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 111
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

July 31, 2007

Jack Harkness, Executive Director
Ken Marvin, Director of Lawyer Regulation
The Florida Bar
651 East Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, Florida Via Fax to 850-561-5600

Re: Complaint against Hilliard Moldof, Bar Case No. 2006-51,254

Dear Mr. Harkness and Mr. Marvin:

I have been retained by Mr. Nick Sortal whom I now represent, along his parents, in the above matter. As you may or may not know, Mr. Moldof was found guilty by The Bar of misconduct in payment of money to a witness in a murder case, and he received, remarkably, an “admonishment,” which is an even lower form of punishment that the “public reprimand” erroneously reported in today’s Miami Herald. The State Attorney is upset about this Bar action, and so are my clients, whose brother/son was killed.

The State Attorney feels like it was snookered by The Bar, and she was, it seems. The understanding, according to The Herald, is that this guy was going to get at least a six-month suspension.

We hereby inform you, then, of the following:

We seek a full review of this disciplinary decision, which we understand the Florida Supreme Court did not do because it was not involved in this decision in any fashion.

Further, under the Florida Public Records Law, we request all documents pertaining to this disciplinary decision. If The Bar thinks some of these documents are privileged, then it needs to inform us which ones it believes are.

Regards, Jack Thompson

Pacificus said...

I'm sure that Chuck Morton would take exception to being called an Angelo or Jew and I dont know what anyones ethnic background has to do with this issue.

Anonymous said...

John B. Thompson, Attorney at Law
1172 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 111
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

August 1, 2007

Frank Angones
Bar President
Miami, Florida Via Fax to 305-371-3948 and e-mail to fra@amglaw.net

Re: The Florida Bar

Dear Frank:

The Miami ABC-TV affiliate, WPLG, called me today and asked me to go on camera to talk about the scandal, of The Bar’s making, whereby it let off the hook Ft. Lauderdale attorney Hilliard Moldof for alleged witness tampering. WPLG has already done an “ambush” of Moldof, in which he sprinted away from the camera. Always a smart move.

I now represent the murder victim’s family in this matter, who contacted me, not I them. I have posted at the JAAB blog my letter to The Bar requesting a review of this scandalous matter and the public records generated thereby under Florida law. It is all the more important that this be done in light of the fact that you and The Bar Governors have actively covered up the fact that one of your Governors, Ben Kuehne, received a “target letter” from the Dept. of Justice arising out of their concerns that Kuehne has allegedly laundering money for the Medellin cocaine cartel. The Bar is protecting a possible Moldof within the bowels of its organization.

Kuehne, with your knowledge, is sitting still on the Board and even worse serving as a “designated reviewer” on grievance committees! What’s next? Suspected pedophiles as owners of day care centers? Oh, wait, the Fusters already did that in Country Walk, remember? What we need are alleged thieves sitting on grievance committees, right?

The Bar is on the cusp of a public relations disaster, and I intend to make it worse. Bar President Miles McGrane did a poll of our members years ago and an astonishing number of us told The Bar that the “disciplinary” system protects the elite lawyers and targets the weak. You have done that to me, which is why your Bar is a defendant in a federal civil rights action right now, with me as the plaintiff.

How about you have the courage to go on Michael Putney’s program, since it is WPLG who blew the lid on the Kuehne scandal and since it is pursuing the Moldof scandal, and you can defend how great The Bar is in doing something about unethical lawyers. I will take the other side, having been on Michael’s excellent show before and having been profiled, warts and all, on ABC’s Nightline recently. ABC and its affiliates know my shortcomings. What they need to know are the outrageous shortcomings of our Bar, which is quickly becoming the laughingstock of the nation.

Regards, Jack Thompson

Anonymous said...

L&L take down the State again. Late night NG in Miranda.

Anonymous said...

9:22----you should be ashamed of yourself. You judge others, but your words betray your own racist and prejudiced beliefs. Don't paint all of the Broward "Anglos and Jews" with same brush.

Anonymous said...

On that subject, should FACDL get rid of that guy from Palm Beach who jerked off on video thinking he was doing it in front of a kid but, never got prosecuted? (Ira Karmelan)

Palm Beach SAO fired him. Now he is a defense attorney.

Should FACDL expel people who are do bad things???? Who would be left?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Just read the Abe Laeser post re expelling lawyers from FACDL. Absurd,and anyway, speaking of ethics, why does Abe go 'round the cthouse with a police logo duffle bag? Is that the dept he works for? Is that taking a neutral, justice-oriented approach? Certainly appears unethical. Stop throwing bricks from inside that glass room of yours, Abe.

Anonymous said...

Uhhh...4:27 asswipe....uhhhh....Abe IS law enforcement!

abe laeser said...

YO. 4:25 critic--

They gave it to me for teaching - instead of paying me a fee.

It happens to precisely meet my daily needs, although I would not carry it when in trial. Would not want to prejudice any person's rights.

However, if you have an ACLU (I am a member) or a nice FACDL briefcase that has the precisely right combination of size, compartments, and internal folders -- please, feel free to bring it to my office. I will be proud to carry it.

If you think the cops love me, just buy John Rivera (PBA president) a drink and see if you have ever heard all of those bad words in one diatribe.

I have my own opinions. Most people do not see the world the way that I do. Ask my three bosses (yes, Gerstein might be difficult) about the arguments that we never resolved. Quite an interesting list.

Can I be pissed at the Bar or Moldof - or did I forfeit my First Amendment rights? Can you be pissed at me? Sure, that is your right.

Read more Ayn Rand, and maybe you will understand.

Anonymous said...

you go abe !