Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Sy and "Lurvey darling"

SY GAER’S funeral will be this Thursday at the Mahi Shine Temple.
Viewing starting at 3:00 PM, with a service from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Thank you to Judge Farina who did the right thing and ordered the flags at the Justice Building to be flown at half staff for the rest of the week.

All the comments have been wonderful. Here are some of our favourites:

Mr. Sissleman starts things off with a fact we did not know: Sy was injured in combat during the Korean War!:

Sy was the the best. Most don't know he was a wounded combat vet, bayanetted (sic) by the chinese in the Korea. A tough guy w/ always a kind word and a how ya doing kid. He was our Perry Mason & Matlock. We Will miss you greatly Sy,

D. Sisselman

Bill Matthewman said...
Sy cross-examined me when I was a young Miami cop. I would have rather had root canal. After I left Court humbled (and pissed), the prosecutor told me, don't worry, that's just Sy. Since then, as a defense attorney, we had cases together and I grew to admire him. We became friends, and I'll miss the old guy. If there are trials in Heaven, he'll announce ready upon entering the Pearly Gates.

This anonymous poster speaks for a lot of us, including yours truly:

Anonymous said...
I'm a better lawyer for having known you, and you didn't even know it.

Thanks Sy.

lurveydarling said...
The reason I became a lawyer was because of Sy. Summer internship from UF in 1983 with Marco Loffredo (another great guy). Saw Sy's show one day and found him everyday that summer and followed him around. He made it look so fun. Many years later I asked him how he did it everyday. He raised his hand slightly above his shoulder, palm to the heavens and said "its all right here, in the hand"

You always expect the legendary to be around forever. I prosecuted cases against Sy, later he appeared before me in court. He never changed, never had a client who wasn't "poor and misunderstood".Most folks didn't know that he was a decorated Marine during the Korean War, or know of his pro bono work for some of the least of our bretheren, or know of his kindness to attorneys just starting private practice. Sy wasn't one to brag.He was truly a good man.Rest in peace, my good friend.Your "sweetheart".Katie Pooler

Here are some snippets collected from some of the comments we received:

His humor, his ability to laugh at himself and the honest appreciation he had for those around him will be missed. Sy,if there is a heaven and you approach the pearly gates, the first words out of G-d's mouth will be "I have this angel who has a problem, can you help him out."

I can safely thank almost every attorney in the building for giving this man the appreciation and respect he deserved in life - here's a case where each of us derived a benefit at no cost, other than stepping back a moment to watch history in the making. Good for you Sy, most people don't succeed without appearing to try too hard, and even fewer gain the praise of competitors while the war is still being waged. You had our gratitude and life, and its safe to say your memory will live on as a kind smile for whenever a hint of your existence passes through the building.
He always brought a smile to my face when he approached the podium in court to talk about his "poor innocent child" of a client. I will also miss how he greeted me with a "how ya doing kid?" every time he saw me.

Always a kind word or a happy greeting. Never an empty glass if Sy was around. A cunning fox in trial, He had incredible passion for this work we do and the passion was real, you cannot fake it, they will know.

The number of lives he impacted can partially be summed up by the fact that children were named after him by the fathers he saved from life in prison for transgressions made attempting to overcome obstacles to success that almost none of us have faced and almost no young prosecutor can fathom which is why so many prosecutors have mourned his passing because he helped teach them compassion for the poor and oppressed and not scorn and he did it through humor

Yes, we all loved Sy and his shtick. But having tried cases against Sy, he was a damn good and tenacious trial attorney. He also knew when his client was getting a good or raw deal and advised accordingly. I was able to resolve a truly tough case due to Sy's honesty and candor both with myself and his client.

To borrow from Kissinger's eulogy of Nelson Rockefeller--To think that Sy Gaer is dead is both shattering and nearly inconceivable. One thought him indestructible. We have lost a giant. Rest in peace--

His black book should be encased in a memorial in the lobby, like the Declaration of Independence.

Informations were "declarations of war," and every client's file was the "tear stained one."

Three weeks ago Sy had been named a “Legal Legend” in the inaugural class of 12 honorees by the 11th Judicial Circuit Historical Society. He was to be presented this honor this fall at a dinner downtown with 11 other "Legends." The committee was made up of civil and criminal practitioners and state and federal judges, all knew or knew of Sy. It was amazing to hear civil lawyers talk about him.

The Herald’s article by Ms. Nesmith is HERE

Please make sure you read all the wonderful comments under the original post about Sy. Every one of them tells a wonderful story. This man was a gem and is really going to be missed. It is often said, but not often true- however in this case it is- the REGJB will just never ever be the same.



Anonymous said...

I once told Sy that his little black book was the original Palm Pilot. He looked at me and said, "what's that?" and walked away. I don't know why I always thought that was funny.

Joe Fernandez

Anonymous said...

Thanks Captain for pushing for the flags to be flown at half-mast and thanks to Judge Farina for following up on the suggestion. It is well-deserved.

Anonymous said...

I once witnessed a "heated" discussion between Judge Genden and Sy. Judge Genden was trying to schedule Sy for something and Sy kept looking at his black book and telling the Judge he couldn't do it. Finally, Genden asked Sy for the black book, Sy said no. Genden asked for it again, again Sy said no. Finally, Genden ordered Sy to give him the book, and Sy said..."Judge, if I give you this book, you'll see your wife's number in it!!" The courtroom was in total silence until Genden snatched his glasses off and started laughing at Sy...it was very funny!!!


Anonymous said...

Northwest 13th Street should be renamed to SY GAER WAY.

jason grey said...

I was in judge Snyder’s courtroom one day, and the judge and Sy were going at it. Snyder kept telling Sy to stop talking and Sy kept arguing his point. Finally Judge Snyder says I hold you in direct contempt and fine you one hundred dollars. With out missing a beat Sy reached in to his pocket withdrew a large stack of bills, stripped a c-note off threw it on the clerks desk and kept right on arguing. Judge Snyder didn’t say another word

Anonymous said...

How am I supposed to walk through the REGJB tomorrow without Sy asking me "how ya feelin kid?"

Anonymous said...

I'm struggling

Anonymous said...

Sy, you were a true legend and your memory and spirit will live forever in those whose lives you have touched.

Anonymous said...

"This prosecutor trying this case is the best weapon I have." Sy, you will be missed dearly. "Kid" ASA

Anonymous said...

"This poor child doesn't even speak the language"

Anonymous said...

"Judge, it's a tragedy what they've done to this poor child"

Anonymous said...

"Poor child" was often "poor misunderstood child" and there would be some 30-ish defendant towering over Sy.
Katie Pooler

Anonymous said...

Miami-Dade is a better place because of good honorable men like Sy and Judge Crespo. I truly know that many in our legal arena have the integrety of Sy and that is what makes me happy to say Miami is my home town.

RIP Sy....

Anonymous said...

Perhaps one of the best things that I will remember about Sy, is that he always took his client and their causes quite seriously, but he never really took himself or the shtick he did, quite seriously. He had a wonderful sense of perspective that was something more than learned, it was like he was born with it.

One can try to emulate his greatness, but he was one of a kind, the likes of which may never be seen again. You are sorely missed, Mr. Gaer.

Another Kid ASA

Anonymous said...

So, does the mantle now pass on to "Lurvey Darling"?

Anonymous said...


You should ditch the "Rump" name and change it to "Sy"

Anonymous said...

Florida is one of the few states which allow depositions. I always felt required to do them in life felony cases if for no other reason than fear of Rule 3 and complaints from the client. Mr. Gaer achieved his success trying cases and cross-examining without the crutch of depos and got the same or better results based on his past accomplishments and his reputation as opposed to demonstrating weakness to the asa because a witness failed to appear for depo or witnesses gave conflicting testimony. It is my understanding that only those over age 50 truly know how gifted a trial lawyer he was and what he accomplished. In our profession perhaps the biggest compliment is who do the Judges go to to request someone take on the impossible for little money or acclaim. In the 15 years I did the wheel he was easily at the top of the list and how he defended these stressful cases for so long is beyond me. When a man dies rarely does anyone care how much money they made, how many toys they accumulated etc. It is how many lives did they impact and did they have family/friends. He died a very rich man.

Rumpole said...

I removed Mr. Thompson's post and the responses because this is about Sy. Have some class. The man is dead and we are spending a few days putting aside our petty differences and remembering a real great guy.

Anonymous said...

I was a "kid" ASA and Sy and I had our battles. I won more than I lost with him, but he was a tough guy and a great litigator. I remember fresh felony ASAs saying they were going to try a case against Sy and that he hadn't even taken depos. I remember telling each of them that Sy doesn't need depos and watch your step or he'll wipe up the courtroom with you like you're a first year law student.
He will be missed.

Anonymous said...

I'm mostly a civil lawyer but I met Sy about a year ago thru - yes - Lurveydarling. He looks at me and says "I didn't know they made Jews that big." Each and every time I saw him after that, he made sure to stop, pat me on the back, and say "how are ya, kid" and to chat.

A mensch if there ever was one.

Anonymous said...

dan that's a fabulous picture!!!!!! what a cutie.. oh and you too dan... lol

Anonymous said...

Who is gonna step up like Sy for poor blacks? Seems like most lawyers, regardless of race, just don't wanna take cases for what the poor can afford. Sy will be missed by defendants more than anyone else. He kept the whole deal down here as honest as one man could keep it.

Rumpole said...