Monday, October 15, 2007


The jury verdict acquitting the guards charged in the beating death of Martin Lee Anderson sparked some controversy on the blog.

In response to our comment about an all white jury acquitting the guards, some readers pointed out that one guard was an Afro-American and one other defendant was Asian.

Other readers commented on the apparent hypocrisy of a blog run by a defense attorney bemoaning the acquittal of defendants.

These are valid comments, and we shall address both of them.

1) There is a lingering opinion, based on decades of horrendous and un-just verdicts, that African American males are not valued by white southern juries when it comes to making a decision about them either as a defendant, or as a victim. This verdict opens old wounds. However, Herald reporter Oh Susannah Nesmith was present throughout the trial, and based on the evidence she saw, she correctly predicted an acquittal. If the evidence was not sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then we applaud the jury for doing what they were supposed to do. Whether this case was handled properly is a different matter. What we do know is that a young man was beaten for 30 minutes and died of asphyxiation and no one has been held criminally liable for his death.

2) As defense attorneys, we do not give up our right to see justice done. And sometimes, justice is a verdict of guilt. Beyond our jobs, we are citizens of this town, this community, this state, and this nation. As Martin Luther King wrote from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama, “Injustice anywhere is Injustice everywhere.”

An additional point is that as defense attorneys, we come in close contact with clients on a daily or weekly basis who complain of mistreatment at the hands of the police or corrections officers. Many of us have defended clients accused of battery of a police officer and been horrified at the booking photo, which shows our client beaten to a pulp. “He fell” is sometimes the response. Or who can forget the defense in the Sweetwater case in which the officer said the defendant repeatedly threw himself into the bars of his jail cell, rupturing his spleen?”

The point is that when our clients enter the system, they become vulnerable. “Who’s going to believe them?” is often the attitude of brutal cops or corrections officers. So when we see some corrections officers charged with brutality- which in and of itself is a rare event- we hope for justice just this once.

If these officers were innocent- the verdict is correct. If they are not, at the moment, they may only have to answer to their maker for their actions, unless the Feds take over, and we have conflicting thoughts about that.


Its been about three months since a new class of prosecutors and PDs descended upon our humble work place.

How are things going? Do you enjoy your job? What do you think about the REGJB?

We’d like to know.


On it goes. Rumpole and CK locked in a battle of wits. (CK is clearly not a robed reader or this would have been over a long time ago.)

Both of us won our games this past Sunday, so we proceed to week seven.

We had a winning week to get us back in the black, and we can’t help but crow about our prediction of the game of the week. We said Cheaters 45- Cowpokes 30. Documented Sunday morning before the game. Final score: Cheaters 48- Cowpokes 27. Not bad at all.

See You In Court.


A longtime robed reader said...

What I like about you ol' Rump de la Rump, is your ability to step back and see an issue from both sides. You'd make a great Judge.

The Anderson verdict is troubling and yet as the Nesmith article have us a glimpse, there is really more to this young man's death than just a beating. He had a condition that affects the ability of his blood to transfer oxygen.

A verdict of guilt just because he is black is as bad as a verdict of not guilty for the same reason.

Thanks for your blog.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 7:56 however you would not think that it should take 30 plus minutes for them to realize that the boy wasn't faking an illness. At the very least, shouldn't we be talking aggravated battery?

On another note, I was listening to 1080 radio this morning and heard Rod vereen speaking on the topic. Mr. Vereen, I believe, mispoke when he said that "it was his job as a defense attorney to get his clients off IF HE COULD PROVE THEY WERE NOT GUILTY." Also, in talking about the nurse's past misdeeds in her profession, I believe that a better job could have been done in explaining to laypeople whether that type of evidence would be relevant and / or admissible.

Anonymous said...

Your MLK quote can also be found at the bottom of nut job's website. The quote is slightly different: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere" but I guess both of you have similar sentiments.


Fake Don Shula said...

Let's have a suicide pool for when the Dolphins will win their first game. Put me in for this lame team going 0-16.

Anonymous said...

The problem, Rumpole, is that we live in a world of media-bites, but few things and events can be described in one sentence. Few events can be described in two pages.

So what happens? We fall towards stereotypes and gross assumptions. In effect, we are predisposed to believe something, and loathe to give up that belief.

White man's guilt and black man's fear... (not unreasonable after so much racist harm has been inflicted and continues to be inflicted) makes it almost impossible for us to judge the Duke lacrosse scandal, the Anderson beating, or the events in Jena. Whatever happens or happened, we look right past the evidence square before us.

If the case is black on white. If the case is white on black. If the meme rings too true, you can bet it is. Ask Boston's Charles Stuart.

Anonymous said...

It's, not its. Maybe Marcus was right about you.

Anonymous said...

Rump, I'll ask again: Do defense lawyers want blacks on their juries b/c they think blacks will be fair to the defendant or b/c they think blacks will be unfair to the state?

CAPTAIN said...



Judge Cristina Miranda finally filed her papers to run in Group 30 County Court.

That leaves Judge Rosa Figarola as the only incumbent who is up for reelection but has yet to file her papers.


Anonymous said...

Rump - you may not like em but even you would have to admit that the Cheaters look pretty darn good right now. Go Pats!

Anonymous said...

Rump, I criticized you in an earlier chain for celebrating the acquittal of guilty as hell offenders. Your reponse was that you felt for your colleagues.

Now, you apparently, are so overwhelmed by your sense of injustice that you can't celebrate their victory here.

I don't see you "crying out for justice" when one of your colleagues wins a tough murder case (especially when they do so in Federal court). Do you only value the lives of black youths who are killed while incarcerated? No, of course not. Are their lives worth more than your non-minority neighbor who is killed in a home invasion or robbery? Certainly not.

Again, I'll make the point I failed to make in the earlier chain. These trials may be amusing to some, but to the victims, their families and the community, they're anything but a game. I urge you to use the same perspective you're using with this case when you celebrate the other NG's. Non-minority victims have families too. Without commenting on the guilt or innocence of the guards, we should all keep in mind that when guilty offenders walk, they often commit additional crimes.

Regardless, their escaping justice is no laughing matter and no reason to celebrate.

a friend of the trialmaster said...

it is reported that the TRIALMASTER has been retained on a major cocaine case in federal court.

Anonymous said...

I heard Rod Vereen this morning also. He was terrible at explaining what the role of the defense atty is, made no sense when discussing the facts and law of the case, and was all-around incomprehensible. Maybe it was just too early.

been there done that said...

FOT (friend of trial master)

If its the case in front of Huck, and he didn't quote the 200 that Srebnick and the rest of us quoted, then he's a two bit bottom feeder for under quoting a massive case and feeling happy with his miserable 30 thousand.

Georges Jacques Danton said...

"Do defense lawyers want blacks on their juries b/c they think blacks will be fair to the defendant or b/c they think blacks will be unfair to the state?"

When I have a black defendant I like to have a black juror so that there will be no bullshit going on in the jury room. I might not strike a black I would otherwise have struck. I feel that a black on the jury will keep them honest.

When I have a white defendant I don't care as much about race as I do the people sitting in the box.

What is "fair to the State?" Your state is evil. It kills people. Your state puts men in prison for running a lottery and runs a lottery itself. Your state is evil to the core and deserves not a drop of fairness.

Anonymous said...

Rump, Ortiz's Court Options "California surfer girl" was in court today- golden, blonde, tanned, tall and and lean, and causing my heart to skip. I think I'm in love, the Bloom PDs be dammed.

Anonymous said...

That dude in front of Huck is going down for a long time.

Anonymous said...

4:42, "your state is evil to the core and deserves no fairness" What does that mean? Complete violent criminal anarchy? Abolish the police dept? Let "non-state actors" like gangs run society? Grow up,small-brained faux revolutionary.

Rumpole said...

Google shutting down blogs (all blogs, not just this one) at 7pm our time for a while. Check back to see when its up again. Usually takes an hour.

SleepyB said...

SleepyB represents fo' free

Anonymous said...

I love SleepyB...funny!!!!!

Anonymous said...

ok I want more the Marlins will win or something that

you know who you are send me details

Anonymous said...

The biggest loser lawyer has got to be Michael Cantalano (sic) what you think Rumpole?

Michael what's up? or should I say what's up Rumpole?

Ghost said...

Payback for OJ!

Anonymous said...

I must say that the sleepyb pic is the greatest photo ever captured in mjb history. It must be a fake!

Anonymous said...

The picture of Brummer is a fake!! Take it down Rumpole.

Rumpole said...

Actually I believe the picture is real. When I started this blog over a year and half ago, someone anonymously emailed me a series of pictures that seemed to be taken with a cellphone that appeared to show our illustrious Public Defender taking a nap in a car on a street in Coral Gables in broad daylight.

If you've ever read the Danilowitz case, you would know the police would have no right to knock on the window and wake up our sleepy Public Defender absent a concern for his safety.

The ability to take a quick nap and wake up refreshed and ready to face the rest of the day should be admired.

Anonymous said...

He's sleepy and he's snoozy
he paid a civil verdict that was a doozy
being the PD makes him woozy
He's Bennett the sleepy PD!!

(sung to the tune of the Adams family song)/

Anonymous said...

The picture is not to be believed!! Is he drunk? I love this guy. Sleepy for life!

Anonymous said...

rumpole have u read the book "the nine"? It's a fantastic quick read.

Rumpole said...

It's on my night stand waiting in line.

CAPTAIN said...


North of the Border:
(just in case anyone does appellate law - we know Rumpole doesn't)

The Fourth District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission has selected the following nominees to be sent to Gov. Charlie Crist for the District Court of Appeal vacancy resulting from the resignation of Judge Bobby W. Gunther.

The nominees are:

Jack Schramm Cox, Esq.
Judge Dorian Damoorgian
Judge David Krathen
Judge Jorge Labarga
Judge Elizabeth Maass
Judge William L. Roby


Ella said...

All jokes aside, anyone that's voting for Josie or feels compelled to vote for her is on crack ... god knows what she was thinking last year when she decided to run against Judge Murphy. She's not qualified and you can't argue that. Seriously, you can't argue that.

Jorge E. Cueto is an excellent A.S.A. and he's definitely going to make a superb judge.

Quite frankly, who ever posted the pathetic comments is most probably some loser defense attorney who didn't catch a break. Better luck next time cupcake ;-)

Anonymous said...

Harsh sentences for crack are necessary to deter "serious" and "major traffickers."

This was what Congress claimed when it passed the laws, but it defined "serious" trafficking as five grams -- less than one-sixth of an ounce. U.S. Sentencing Commission figures have long shown that more than three-fourths of those snagged are merely users and low-level sellers caught with tiny amounts. And they are overwhelmingly African Americans. Perversely, small-time sellers serve up to five times longer in prison than the cocaine-powder dealers caught with the same weight, who may well have supplied them.

These laws have helped increase the number of drug offenders in U.S. prisons nearly ninefold, from about 50,000 when President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981 to more than 450,000 today. They have helped triple the prison population and given the United States the highest rate of incarceration in the world. This costs U.S. taxpayers billions each year, but it has never made much of a dent in our most serious drug problems.

We cannot incarcerate our way to a "drug-free society."

Let the circus begin.. said...

Most of the circuit court judges in Miami--and 80% of the practicing lawyers--are a G*d D*mned joke and an embarrassment to what was once a proud profession. Litigating in Miami-Dade is a circus.

Anonymous said...

Catalano is not Rumpole.

He is not a football fan at all.

Is it not obvious that Rumpole is a big fan of pro football?