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

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

JUST A JOKE

Well, those fine folks North Of the Border have done it again.

This time it is Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Levenson, who put his robed foot in his mouth by making an inappropriate joke about the Defendant in a sexual battery case during the charge conference.

To his everlasting credit, Judge Levenson IMMEDIATELY realized his faux pas, and apologized to all present including the defendant.

To summarize, apparently the Defendant is a high school football player, and the case involved the allegation of illegal sexual contact with another male. Judge Levenson asked what position the defendant played. He was told "linebacker" and another person in the courtroom said "Tight End" at which point Judge Levenson said "Wide Receiver?"

Not the type of commentary which will get you on the 4th DCA.

Actually, we've heard good things about Judge Levenson. He's a former Federal Prosecutor and not a member of the Broward Old Boys Network.

Everyone is entitled to make a mistake, and this is Judge Levenson's mistake. We think people should accept his apology and move on.

However, it might be a good lesson for the Judge to learn: Sometimes even the best and brightest people do and say stupid things, and many times second chances are just what they need.

Based on the alarming rate Broward Judges send first offenders to state prison (the highest in the state of Florida) second chances are not something the Broward Judiciary is known for.

This is one Dade lawyer who is ready to give Judge Levenson a second chance. Hopefully, that feeling will spread to Broward and they can stop sending so many people to state prison. (And hopefully the Dolphins will win the rest of their games and make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl! There's about the same chance for either event occurring. )

The whole sordid mess including the transcript is on the Broward Blog, and if you scroll back you will find the post on Broward Judges sending people to state prison, along with the infamous Dale Ross memo to the judiciary recommending that the judges send as many people to state prison as possible as a way of reducing the over crowding at the Broward County Jail.

See You In Court, where we rarely joke, and never during a charge conference.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Levenson's a good guy, he was a good guy as a prosecutor as well.

Stupid joke, but I trust it will go further than it needs to.

Mistakes are not tolerated anymore, in most scenarios.

Anonymous said...

go to jaab and read the transcript its was the PD that started the exhance calling the child a tight end. Nice job Brian Reidy

Fake Stan Blake said...

Stop me if you've heard this one:

In a show of team unity, Dolphins Coach Cam Cameron announced that the entire team will be dressing up for Halloween as Porn Star Jena Jameison.

The reason is that just like Jena, they get pounded every weekend by a bunch of strange guys.

Thanks. You've been a great audience.

judge rob pineiro said...

It is true Joe Reyes passed away a few years ago and the REGB is a sadder place for it. The PD's office did a really nice memorial service for him.

I was fortunate to work with Joe Reyes when he was in my division. He was a really good lawyer and great guy.

He did a fantastic job for his clients--always willing to point them in the right direction whether they wanted to go there or not. He was an expert in the practitce of diplomacy, that is, diplomacy ala Reyes--telling someone to go to heck in such a way he actually looks forward to the trip.

One example: His client was refusing a very reasonable plea and wanted to know his chances at trial. Joe said they were good so long as the jury understood the explanation for the horrendous mistake that led to the charges. Yeah, three seperate victims were abler to id him, but eyewitness ids are notoriusly faulty. True, two police officers were parked in their unit and observed his getaway on his wobbly, dilapidated bike--they gave chase. He only fled because his severe hearing problem didn't let him notice the lights and sirens. Sure, he ditched his bike, but he was tired of its wobbly and dilapidated condition and wanted to get rid of it. Okay, so he jumped in a canal apparently to continue his flight. But, it was a hot day and he just wanted to cool off and clean his clothes while doing so. So what that one of the cops had to jump in to save him from drowning as he didn't know how to swim? All he had wa an untimely cramp. True, the cops found the exact dollar amount stolen in his pockets, but coincidences are never ending. Finally he confessed only because he felt bad ablut the cop getting wet saving him. Yeah, they could explain everything to the jury and the jury would believe them despite his prior convictioins--no problema.

The defendant pled.

Anonymous said...

Bout time we had a fake stan blake post.

Anonymous said...

But for my one and only but very horrible experience before Judge Levenson, I would give him a second chance too.

Anonymous said...

Up early for case law reading.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, Rump, I am a little upset that you won't decide this. You are like those judges that can't rule or run to an administrative judge for an answer.

I don't want to be "fake" anything. That is reserved for a certain kind of comment on the blog. I like Clay so I will do the altruistic thing and defer to him even though you baptized me with the name. I guess I can use the initials for "Freshly Unbaptized CK" or maybe I'll just be f/k/a CK.

Circle K is closed!

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE6DC133CF935A35751C1A967958260#


f/k/a CK (nickname pending)

Anonymous said...

Did I read the transcript right? Did the PD actually tell the judge that his client has a problem with telling the truth?

Anonymous said...

Unreal. If a prosecutor made that comment, you'd slam him.

I've made the point for several days now........people make stupid mistakes without thinking. They don't all deserve to get slammed. You've responded to every comment I've made arguing the opposite. Now all of a sudden you're forgiving and reasonable?

What a bunch of bullshit. You need to stop your prosecutor hating.

Fake Wheel Attorney said...

http://www.careerbuilder.com/monk-e-mail/?mid=23993258

Anonymous said...

State Attorneys in Krieger-Martin's courtroom should be wary of the PD in there, Ms. Workman. Watched her in trial on a pretty untriable case and she still managed to get a not guilty on one of the charges. Her cross was pretty good for an up and comer. Nice job to her.

Anonymous said...

Lunchtime in my little office is time for what? Time to read some more case law.

Anonymous said...

Judge Crespo actually made that joke before Levenson did. Years ago, Judge Crespo (in advising an unreasonble defendant during one of his "blitzes") said: "You're going to go into jail a tight end and come out a wide receiver." His joke was much more direct than Levenson and he made no apology.

I do not say this as criticism of the late Manny Crespo. It was just his way. By the way, he was justified in making the joke. The defendant was an HVO and Judge Crespo had gone over the State's head and was giving away everything but the kitchen sink. The evidence against the Defendant (including a confession and DNA results) was great.

Anonymous said...

Once I had a client who got a DUI for sitting in his car, outside a gay bar, behind the wheel, properly parked, motor running, and cop walked up and saw defendant number 2 giving him a blow job.

Prosecutor said.... "I don't think I can swallow that defense...."
True story.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey is a nice guy but, he is rotten in court.

He expects you to be ready for trial in one month and denies almost all defense continuances.

He has no business being a judge. He has no idea how much he fucks up people's lives with his rush to judgment rules.

SleepyB said...

With Rory Stien I sleep fine.

Anonymous said...

Re Broward case:
Defendant not a high school football player. He was born in 1966. I think it was alleged that he had contact with a male high school football player.
Although the defense attorney, as well as the judge, made an inappropriate comment, it obviously did not affect his ability to defend the guy. Jury came back with a Not Guilty.

Anonymous said...

Are we sure that the pic is of BHB? Looks like at least a half dozen middle-aged white guys I know.

Anonymous said...

Rump you may want to post this seperately

Broward judge accused of misconduct

Broward County Judge Terri-Ann Miller


By Paula McMahon | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
4:11 PM EDT, October 24, 2007
Article tools
E-mail Share
Digg Del.icio.us Facebook Fark Google Newsvine Reddit Yahoo Print Single page view Reprints Reader feedback Text size: The Judicial Qualifications Commission filed formal misconduct charges against Broward County Judge Terri-Ann Miller on Wednesday accusing her of misleading voters to think that she was an incumbent judge when she successfully ran for election last year.

The commission accused Miller, in documents filed Wednesday, of distributing campaign materials "calculated" to wrongly imply she was a sitting Broward judge when she was not. Her campaign material included a photo of her wearing a judicial robe and using words that implied she was the incumbent, the commission charged.

The state watchdog agency said Miller "made a continuing deliberate effort to misrepresent your qualifications for office ... which cumulative misconduct constitutes a pattern and practice unbecoming a candidate for and lacking the dignity appropriate to judicial office, with the effect of bringing the judiciary into disrepute."



Related links
Notice of formal charges against Judge Terri-Ann Miller
Miller declined comment and referred questions to her attorney, her judicial assistant said Wednesday afternoon.

Miller's lawyer, Michael Catalano, said the judge never intended to do anything wrong and will fight the charges. If the commission finds her guilty of misconduct, she faces anything from a reprimand to removal from the bench.

"She never meant to intentionally mislead anyone," Catalano said.

Miller previously served eight years as a judge in Miami-Dade County.

Based at the Hollywood satellite courthouse, Miller hears civil cases in county court. She earns about $137,000 per year.

Last year's campaign was Miller's third bid for a seat on the Broward bench. She was in private practice when she ran for election and beat out Brenda Lynn Di Ioia, a Broward traffic magistrate.

In November, Broward's Fair Campaign Practices Committee dismissed a prior complaint against Miller accusing her of using campaign ads to make the public think she was already a judge. The committee found Miller might have been "stretching the envelope" with her campaign material but found she did not deliberately set out to deceive the public.

At the time, Miller said the yard signs were left over from a 2000 run for Broward County judge. She said she put small stickers saying "former" before the word judge and posted about 10 signs near polling places.

More articles

Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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Anonymous said...

I sent Rump stuff about our position in the Judge Terri Ann Miller case.

I am rather confident she will be found not guilty.

The Florida Elections Commission found no problable cause on the same facts.

The Broward Fair Campaign Practices Committe also found no probable cause.

Mike Catalano

Rumpole said...

An individual felt compelled to inform me that he and his girlfirned just finished engaging in sexual relations, and it was now time to read some case law. He did not describe it in such terms, indeed he used a four letter word, so I decided to not post the comment and instead relate the apparently earth shattering news that he was able to acheieve both an erection and ejaculation.

I shall alert the media at once if you would be kind enough to email me your name.

Anonymous said...

Would Jeffrey Levenson had made a similar comment if it was a straight couple?

Anonymous said...

Trouble at the Broward Blog? Moderating their own, too funny.


Due to events beyond my control, my original post entitled "The Levenson And Reidy Exchange" was edited, without my permission or consultation, by the moderators of JAABLOG, and signed as "JAAB" (although it still says "posted by William Gelin at 2:22 p.m."). I have reposted it here under my name, in its entirety. It may not be that different in content from the edited version below, but it's important to me that my work not be misrepresented - Bill Gelin.

THE LEVENSON AND REIDY EXCHANGE

As many of you know, there has been a lot of talk around the Courthouse, and in the comments section of this blog, regarding an incident in Judge Levenson's courtroom late last week. Some highly inappropriate comments were made regarding the alleged victim of a sex crime, involving the Judge, and Assistant Public Defender Brian Reidy.

JAABLOG has obtained an excerpt of the transcript, available below. To his credit, Judge Levenson apologized immediately and profusely for his comment, unlike other judges, who refuse to take responsibility when they cross the line. In any event, it's my understanding the fallout from this will continue for some time, following so closely on the heels of Mayor Naugle's perceived homophobic crusade, and Chief Judge Victor Tobin's declaration that sensitivity training is not a necessary priority for the Broward Judiciary.

This is a tough one for me personally. Brian Reidy, a lifelong advocate for the accused, is a founding member of JAAB. Similarly, I find Judge Levenson to be a prime example of the newer, younger breed of Broward judge, who are able to distinguish the true criminal from someone who has committed a criminal act, or from someone who is simply a non-violent victim of drug addiction. As Assistant State Attorney Alcalde pointed out, they should have known better.

That's it. I understand the story will hit the papers tomorrow. I'm sure they'll be contacting all the parties to fill in the gaps. Read the story tomorrow and the transcript below, and draw your own conclusions.

Bill Gelin

Anonymous said...

uh no 6:23, it was a gay joke, we all understand that, but thanks for trying to make the point.

Stupid Redneck said...

Rump,

Isn't political correctness fascism? Back in the robing room a man unbends slightly and alludes to the latent homosexualism we all know is part of american football. Another man chuckles and responds with another innuendo.

With the speed of a shrew, the Harpy pounces and the judge grovels at her feet, abjectly begging her for forgiveness. That the Harpy is a servant of the crown should offend us all. That a government lawyer has the power to destroy a career over such a trivial remark demonstrates the fundamental corruption of that government.

Can you imagine how badly the rest of the charge conference was? How could that judge possibly rule against a jury instruction requested by Miami's bad joke Inspector Javert?

Rumpole said...

You could write a book on the complications of judges making jokes. Today political correctness trumps all. The pendulum has swung from the time Judges and attorneys referred to african-american men in court as "boy".

As to Judge Levenson's comment- let he who has not joked cast the first stone. While I find anti-homosexual slurs abhorrent, can I say that in the heat of trial I might not mutter some dumb stupid comment? No I cannot. Jews tell jokes about Jews. Italians do the same. Black americans use the N-word at an alarming rate. As a football fan, might I have said "tight end" ? It's possible. In another circumstance can we imagine the term "tightend" used in a manner to facilitate a joke with sexual innuendo? Sure. But just as assuredly, one must agree that the courtroom is the last place such humor belongs. What does it show? That everyone can make a mistake. If Judge Levenson's courtroom was a spawning ground for sexual humor, then a punishment or removal would be merited. But one dumb comment does not a career make (thankgoodness for that.)