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

Monday, August 13, 2007

WELCOME NEW ASAs

Ever sensitive to the lightest breeze, we have sniffed out that the new prosecutors have arrived!

Welcome.

You are about to begin a journey from law student to lawyer. You are being given great responsibility, for you are not just a lawyer; you are a prosecutor. Let us give you the worst case scenario. You will lose a case because some Judge granted a motion he or she should have denied. Then because it took so long, those witnesses you needed on your next case got bored and left, so when the Judge called that case you were forced to dismiss it because you were no longer ready. You now have a defense attorney who nobody likes trying to bamboozle you into waiving a mandatory jail sentence, and cop belittling you because he has been up all night, is tired, and can’t wait for you to get to his case. It is 3:30, you haven’t had time for lunch. It is the end of the month and your measly salary is down to a few bucks. At some point, hungry, broke, angry at being yelled at, frustrated in your attempts to prosecute, someone, maybe a pro se defendant, will tell you they are innocent. You will need will power, self control, and ability to compartmentalize your frustrations and anger, to treat that statement with all the seriousness that your job empowers you to do.

You are being entrusted with great power, and you are being given a great opportunity. The Dade State Attorneys Office has produced some of the great lawyers in Miami, Florida, and the Country. You have accepted a job that requires a sacrifice of salary and personal time. And yet, you competed against hundreds of other lawyers to get this spot. The best advice we can give you is that the best part is now starting. Squeeze every available drop of experience out of this opportunity.

While more than most people you prosecute are guilty, don’t forget that some are not. More importantly, you will need to learn the lesson of perspective. What do we mean by that? We mean that just because someone is guilty, and you can seek the most severe punishment for them, doesn’t mean you should. People lie, cheat, hit, hurt, and steal for more reasons than you can ever imagine. Perspective means working hard to get a conviction, and then seeking justice, not vengeance because some obnoxious defense attorney like us has made you work hard for that conviction. Understand the Constitution works only when we both do our job. Rolling over and pleading guilty just because you have a good case is not the way our justice system was meant to be. If we make you work for it, understand that you were chosen for this job because someone believed you had the ability to fight hard and win.

You will confront crossroads. Some colleagues and some police officers may someday to ask you to look the other way. A judge may put you on the spot and ask you a difficult question, where the truthful answer may damage a case, or deprive a victim of what you are sure is justice. Learn to recognize those moments for what they are: crossroads at which the fabric of what you are made of is revealed. Make the easy choices and you may end up regretting them for the rest of your life. A reputation earned over decades can be erased by one bad choice. Janet Reno always told her prosecutors to do the right thing. By that she meant always be honest and ethical and damn the consequences of what those honest and ethical choices may mean. Just look at the tough choices she made as Attorney General. No one could ever accuse her of playing politics.

So, welcome to our little world. In each class of new ASAs and PDs there are one or two people who find out that they have found the place where they want to make a life. It’s not a bad choice. But you don’t have to stay 20 years. Three good years of hard work and experience can set you on a path to legal success in whatever career you end up seeking.

And just remember that at some point, some inconspicuous humble lawyer may be watching what you say and do. Being on the blog can be a good thing or a difficult experience. It’s your choice.

Welcome. (And if you’re not from Miami, watch the Cuban coffee. Too much caffeine and sugar may seem like a good thing at the moment, but it will catch up with you. And watch out for those mojitos and models on South Beach. Too much of that can also lead to unintended consequences.)

See You In Court. Watching.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do think we are on to something. Lets pick 5 Rumpole suspects, and have them each submit to a poly with Slattery. Everyone can nominate one suspect until midnight tonight, and the top five vote getters will be polygraphed. Rump, you must turn off moderation so you can not delete posts of your name to keep you out of the top five. When we have the list, I will personally make the appointments. After we have the suspects and the price, I will put out a call for donations to help pay for the poly.

My Nominee:

Phil R

Anonymous said...

Let's pray they are blessed with the abilty to use sound judgment and the backbone exercise it.

Former Prosecutor said...

I absolutely loved my time at the SAO. I consider myself lucky that I got a job there and I think it was wise that I stayed there 4 years. If I could afford it (which I can't) and if I didn't dislike most of the current ASA's as much as I do, I'd go back to the SAO. But, you can never go back home. Good luck to all the ASA's and while some times will be difficult, it'll be the most fun you've ever had. Try as many cases as you possibly can, even if you lose. It doesn't matter. Just go to trial. You'll never regret it.

Anonymous said...

Rump de la Rump,

Your advice for the new ASAs is sweet, but I'm much more worried about who is going to replace Judge Shuminer. Any word on who these nominees are? Are you one of them, Rump de la Rump?

Captain, give us the skinny.

Anonymous said...

Is there a training class at the SAO for new prosecutors on how to smirk and give dirty/condescending looks at defense attorneys. I have news for you- there are not many true sociopaths in the world- most of the people you prosecute thinking you are ridding society of scum are people who are either facing desperation due to poverty, are extremely uneducated due to a poor school system, parenting or lack thereof or genetics, or have a drug or alcohol problem so WIPE THAT DAMN REPUBLICAN I AM SUPERIOR TO YOU SMIRK OFF YOUR FACE- NOW- YOU %$@#%%&^@$$^^****##@#!

Anonymous said...

TO ALL NEW ASA'S:

****PLEASE DISREGARD THE ABOVE, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY*****

REMEMBER:

OBJECT
RE-ARGUE
RETURN PHONE CALLS SPARINGLY

AND MOST OF ALL, REMEMBER THAT ALL PLEA OFFERS MUST BE APPROVED BY VICTIMS, AND COPS, AND SOMETIMES SUPERVISORS.

DONT EVER FORGET THE MOST IMPORTANT THING - THE MIAMI HERALD

richard said...

well said

abe laeser said...

Horace,
Let us do our best to cause the new ASAs to spend far longer than the three years with us.

Salary structure and workload will be daunting enough.

I can only hope that the concept: "Do the Right Thing" can stay with them for their entire careers.

Welcome, my peers. // ABE

Anonymous said...

I am a former ASA.

To you new folks, remember, the person you prosecute may be a relative of a friend.

If you treat everyone with respect and fairness, it will make you look better.

When you meet, and you will, a bastard defense lawyer, do not lower yourself to his or her level.

When a cop does something really good, try becoming friends with that cop by asking him or her if you can ride along some night.

Remember Janet Reno's rule #1: DO NOT PROSECUTE INNOCENT PEOPLE. iF YOU HAVE A REASONABLE DOUBT, DROP THE CASE, AFTER SPEAKING WITH A SUPERVISOR.

Anonymous said...

seems like rump is in trial today. anyone want to walk around gerstein and see if and where phil is in trial?

Anonymous said...

Hi

Anonymous said...

Brummer and his old whipping boy Hugh Rodham strike deal!

This just in. Brummer strikes backroom deal guaranteeing himself the AG spot if HClinton is elected he has promised to mobilize his old minions including Rory, Arnold Trevila, Bob Aaron, and even Michael Mermelstein Melinick. In exchange, HC has promised, through her brother "baby" Huey that his old boss gets the top spot...Lonnie Richardson is already trying to get himself listed as a witness for the confirmation hearings. Time for a Change. Brummer for AG. American Justice will reign supreme again!

Anonymous said...

Channel 10 reports there is a cannibal on trial in Judge Adrien`s. Has anyone seen or heard anything?

Phil R said...

Sorry to burst your bubble but I was not in trial.

Anonymous said...

Rumpola. I wait all weekend just to breeze through. Bloom and see the loves or lusts of my life

Anonymous said...

I can't help but thinking that this is the very first class of ASAs in what is like forever who will not have the opportunity to meet Sy Gaer, to be given a hard time by him, to stand at the lecturn while he makes everyone laugh and uses his old jokes.

It's sad.

Anonymous said...

As an ex-ASA myself, here's my two cents worth to the new crop of prosecutors:

1. Most, if not all, of you have participated in clinical programs and think you know a lot more than you do. Let's face it--someone fresh out of law school knows very little about practicing law. Make it a goal to learn something new each day you are in County Court.

2. Remember that as a prosecutor your job is to do justice, not to convict and seek the maximum on every defendant. As Rumpole said, the vast majority of defendants that are in Court are guilty. But, especially in County Court, there are some innocent ones. Don't be afraid to "go upstairs" on a case where you think the defendant is innocent. There WILL be at least one supervisor who will give you bonus points for that. Likewise, don't seek to max everyone out. Some defendants deserve to be punished severely. But many don't. Be fair and reasonable.

3. There is a learning curve involved. Some will master the intricacies of County Court quicker than others. I myself fell into the second category. If you happen to be a quick learner, help out your peers. If you are in the second category, seek help from your peers. Just about everyone eventually catches up.

4. You will make mistakes. Lots of them. You will get your head ripped off and shoved up your ass more than a few times. There is no shame in making an honest mistake as long as you learn from it! Even years later, I believe that many of the most valuable lessons that I learned in the practice of law came from the mistakes I made in County Court.

5. You will have long, rough days. I remember being in a jury trial until 12:30 AM and having to be in Homestead Branch Court the next morning at 8 AM. I got dinner at Taco Bell because it was the only thing near me that was open, then worked on my next day's calendar at home. Only a lot of coffee got me through the next day.

6. Don't take anything personally. The defense bar will be all over you. Judges will be all over you. Even your supervisors will be all over you at least once in a while. A lot of people in supervisory positions at the SAO really don't belong there. Just take the criticism and move on.

7. Sometime during the next three years, and probably sooner rather than later, you will probably figure out that while you love what you do, the office and its politics will drag on you. I came to the SAO thinking I would be a career prosecutor and that the only way I would leave the SAO would be for a position at a U.S. Attorney's Office. This changed very quickly--I left not long after my 3 year commitment was up. You probably will too.

8. Don't automatically distrust all defense attorneys. It is true that a number of them will try to take advantage of your youthfulness and lack of experience. There is more than one defense attorney out there who cannot be trusted. But many will help teach you the ropes if you let them. And don't assume that a defense attorney is lying/trying to weasel you just because they tell you your case is weak/has a problem/there are evidentiary issues/etc. The good ones will usually be right.

9. Reputation is everything--do the right thing, try to be as professional and civil as possible, but don't let yourself be bowled over. A good reputation takes time to build. A bad reputation builds quickly and is next to impossible to shed.

10. Have fun. Enjoy your job. While County Court can be rough, especially in the beginning, I have never enjoyed camaraderie as much as I did during my stint in County Court. You are all in this mess together, but you will develop tight bonds with most of your colleagues and have some fun times together. You will go to Happy Hours together and blow off some steam. A group of us used to come into the office on Sunday afternoons and (if we had the money) we'd either order in some pizza or go out for pizza and beer afterwards. You won't have experiences like this anywhere after you leave County Court.

Anonymous said...

To the new class (although I highly doubt any of them are reading this): forget County, go to DV.

The Admiral said...

For the Governor's consideration:

JOSEPH I. DAVIS, JR.
Employed by: Markowitz, Davis Ringel ET AL
Admitted: 1973
10 yr Discipline history: None
MH Rating: AV
2007 Legal Elite: Yes
2007 Super Lawyer: Yes


MIGUEL MANUEL DE LA O
Employed by: De La O Maro Magolnick & Leyton
Admitted: 1989
10 yr Discipline history: None
MH Rating: AV
2007 Legal Elite: Yes
2007 Super Lawyer: Yes


DARRIN PHILLIP GAYLES
Employed by: County Court Judge
Admitted: 1993
10 yr Discipline history: None
MH Rating: None
2007 Legal Elite: N/A
2007 Super Lawyer: N/A

GEORGE ALEXANDER SARDUY
Employed by: County Court Judge
Admitted: 1994
10 yr Discipline history: None
MH Rating: AV
2007 Legal Elite: N/A
2007 Super Lawyer: N/A

NUSHIN G. SAYFIE
Employed by: Public Defender'S Office 11 Judicial Circuit
Admitted: 1994
10 yr Discipline history: None
MH Rating: None
2007 Legal Elite: No
2007 Super Lawyer: No

LISA SHARON WALSH
Employed by: Lisa S. Walsh P.A.
Admitted: 1992
10 yr Discipline history: None
MH Rating: AV
2007 Legal Elite: No
2007 Super Lawyer: Yes

Anonymous said...

New ASAs beware- your naive hearts will be broken by cutthroat office politics, the longer they have been there the more evil they are and you will not put a dent in crime or solve social problems, take your pay, keep your mouth shut, and don't have expectations and you won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

New ASA's should be made to turn 6 months in the felony division with major crimes prosecutors before going to County Court. That way, they'd have perspective on misdemeanor and traffic cases.

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote:

Anonymous said...
I do think we are on to something. Lets pick 5 Rumpole suspects, and have them each submit to a poly with Slattery. Everyone can nominate one suspect until midnight tonight, and the top five vote getters will be polygraphed. Rump, you must turn off moderation so you can not delete posts of your name to keep you out of the top five. When we have the list, I will personally make the appointments. After we have the suspects and the price, I will put out a call for donations to help pay for the poly.

My Nominee:

Phil R"

Great idea my nominee's are:

1. Miguel de la O
2. Stan Blake
3. Sam Slom
4. Phil R
6. Lurvey

I also think the Herald should contact the suspects and pay for the test and publish the results.

Rumpole said...

What are you going to do when all your top prospects are cleared? Apologize to them? Or call the polygraph unreliable?

How about polygraphing every attorney in Miami, then Florida, then the US?

What a bunch-a-mopes you guys are.

No one can think outside the box.

Anonymous said...

Outside the Box, i.e. former attorney- making one of Shuminer's disbarred brothers who can get gossip from a sister-in-law judge and brother criminal defense attorney or some or disbarred or long-term suspended attorney with an ax to grind because anyone who puts together a gossip column which is 90% anonymous character assasination has a big ax to grind.

Rumpole is Rosen said...

How many times do I have to say this?

Rosen is Rumpole and
Rumpole is Rosen
The People have spoken
The voters have choosen
When confronted with the truth
don't be frozen
just repeat after me
Rumpole is Rosen

(c) Howard Rosen is Rumpole, 2007 all rights reserved.

Anonymous said...

Okay Rump, trying to think outside the box. If you are talking about "THE box", the most important box there is, you must be a woman!

CK

Anonymous said...

Excuse Me but how can you welcome the asas and not list the hotties and their courtrooms and since we are now in the 21st century list the hot men for the women and the gay men.

Anonymous said...

ABE: you have no PEERS !