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

Thursday, October 18, 2007

NAKED CAME THE LAWYER

File this under you wouldn’t believe such things still happen in Florida Courts in the 21st Century.

The Scene: Courtroom 5900, Criminal Division, North Of the Border.

Dramatis Personae: Judge Eileen O’Connor; ASA Berki Alvaarez; Defense Counsel Gary Ostrow; Defendant Steven Turner; A criminal jury panel.

Courtesy of the Broward Blog, here is the exchange, which quite frankly we read several times because we could not believe what we were reading:

In any event, JAABLOG has obtained an excerpt of the transcript from October 5, 2007, State of Florida vs. Steven G. Turner, case number 06-6876-CF10A. The following exchange occurred after Judge O’Connor handed the last juror the Certificate of Appreciation:


JUDGE O’CONNOR: At this time the defendant having been found not guilty in this case, the defendant will be returned to Federal custody at this time. Thank you. All right, everybody, thank you very much for your service.

(JURY PANEL BEGINS EXITING)

ASA MS. BERKI ALVAREZ: He’ll come back. Hopefully you won’t be a victim.
THE JUROR: No, I won’t (laughing).
(JURY EXITS)


DEFENSE COUNSEL GARY OSTROW: That’s not appropriate conduct to a jury.

JUDGE O’CONNOR: Mr. Ostrow, you’re not dressed appropriately in this courtroom.
MR. GARY OSTROW: We’re even.

JUDGE O’CONNOR: You have jeans on and no shirt –
MR. GARY OSTROW: No shirt!

JUDGE O’CONNOR: No tie. Do not come back to this courtroom dressed inappropriately. Thank you very much. You can be excused. Okay. I’ll enter a finding of not guilty.


Rumpole says:


How in the world does a defense attorney get to try a case in court without a shirt??

Does the rule only apply to men, or can we expect some topless female attorneys North Of the Border to strut their stuff as well?


Will certain attorneys who spend more time in the gym or are otherwise well blessed by nature have an unfair advantage over other attorneys?

Will there be a two drink minimum in any courtroom in which an attorney is topless?

Can a spectator request a private meeting in the jury room with a topless attorney?
And if so, will there be couches and champagne?


Can anyone appear in a courtroom North of the Border topless?

Is this what Judge Tobin meant when he said he was going to bring changes to the criminal courts?

And is this how Judge Tobin won the election- by promising to allow attorneys to practice naked from the waist up?

Will our own Dade County be sending a contingent of Judges to observe the practices North of the Border?


Oh, and there’s that little matter of the rules of professional conduct which prevent judges or attorneys from saying anything to jurors that would affect their ability to serve in the future.

See You In court, where suit, tie, shirt, pants, underwear and socks are always the order of the day (ok- maybe no underwear on Fridays).

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

FBI Investigates Magician David Copperfield
Apparently he made Osama Bin Laden disappear.


*drum roll*

Thank you! Thank you! I'm here every night. Try the veal. Tip your waitress.

Anonymous said...

Not knowing Carlos Martinez's last name makes one a moron?? Like Carlos Martinez is some kind of big star or something.

In the words of Raleigh Lee Sakers: " You aint no star, asshole. You're just a fucking errand boy."

Anonymous said...

You feel really close to nature when you discard your clothes and feel warm sunshine, fresh air or cool water on the whole of your body.
You maybe go to nudist site called http://nudistconnect.com to share your comments

Anonymous said...

From the exchange, it appears that the judge meant to say no tie, said shirt instead, and then corrected herself. Some lawyers in Broward just don't wear ties.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole is: SCOTT F. KOTLER, ESQ

Rumpole said...

1:02 Am- in the words of a legal scholar "no duh". But then we wouldn't have had so much fun with the post.

Rumpole said...

There was a comment calling the ASA in Broward whiny and requesting that "they" (whomever they are) "disbar her ass". There was an additional comment about a sexual organ that wasn't really appropriate. But you get the idea. The reader doesn't like her conduct.

Anonymous said...

The ASA's conduct was both unprofessional and unethical. Every lawyer should know that he/she cannot institute a conversation with a juror. She should be reported to the Bar and disciplined appropriately. When I was an ASA, even when a juror initiated a conversation with me, I never whined or complained about a verdict. And I never heard of one of my colleagues doing likewise.

Anonymous said...

Is that ASA hot? Is she like the Bloom PDs and the Court Options blonde surfer?

Anonymous said...

"THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ELECTION UPDATE - BREAKING NEWS:

It had to happen sooner or later. The first anglo incumbent judge to have a hispanic challenger is Judge Douglas Chumbley.

Attorney Marcia Caballero has filed in Group 51 to challenge Chumbley."

Hey Captain, maybe she is very qualified, this has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.

Anonymous said...

"Hey Captain, maybe she is very qualified, this has nothing to do with race or ethnicity."

Friday, October 19, 2007 11:32:00 AM

Maybe she is qualified, but so is Doug Chumbley. He is already there and done a very good job. So why is she running against Doug? I can think of more than a few others who aren't half as smart, but their last names are hispanic. Could that be why?

That's the problem, there is an epidemic of people running judicial races against incumbents for reasons having NOTHING to do with their abilities. Until she can convince me that this is not about race or ethnicity, she will never get my vote.

Rumpole said...

Somebody wrote to say they don't think Rumpole is Scott Kotler. We don't confirm or deny our identity ever. We think it's a good practice to stop doing that because it just causes some people problems and to date no one has been able to think outside the box.

We didn't publish the post for other reasons which to the person who wrote it- are ridiculous and you shouldn't worry about such things, because I'm not. You have a better chance of winning the lottery two weeks in a row than that happening.

Anonymous said...

Rump, I don't know if you are a baseball fan (not a HUGE one myself) but if so, I was wondering if you or other more knowledgeable bloggers would say that Josh Beckett is one of the great pitchers of all time. I think he's got to be.

Anonymous said...

Judge O'Connor is a moron. She may be the worst judge in the state (and to think she was appointed, in part, due to her improper application to the Govenor).

Anonymous said...

Ostrow is an ass who has been in more trouble with more judges over the years than his clients.

Rumpole said...

Greatest picthers of all time?

Lets get past the oldies none of us have seen: Cy Young, Lefty Grove, etc.

Then the more modern oldies: Sandy Kofax comes to mind.
The best of that era: the 60's, in my opinion was Bob Gibson. He would be my pick for the one pitcher to win one game.

Then the 70's: Lefty- Steve Carlton; Tom Terrific Seaver; Louisiana Lightning: Ron Guidry;

the 80's- Doc Gooden in his first two years was just about unhittable.

And now you have The Rocket- Roger Clemons. Was there ever a pitcher who was more intense and competitive (perhaps Gibson)? Certainly no one was able to keep his level of performance into his mid-40's.

So is Beckett the best ever?

He doesn't crack the top 20 I am thinking about, and probably another 20 after that.

Anonymous said...

Where's all the outrage at this state attorney's behavior? How dare that judge repremand defense counsel after the asa did something classless and unethical? What the hell is going on over there?

Reliable Sources... said...

Hey: Friday, October 19, 2007 12:24:00 PM

Do not get you're pantie's in a bunch yet. If history repeats the Hispanic names will lose. With the exception of being linked to Dan Marino and if you use Dolphin colors for campaign. Otherwise cheer up the Herald will get you that extra 8,000 votes typically needed to win.

Some say D'Arce is washed up and won't be back? I heard a reliable source that he is gearing for the 08' election for payback. Time will tell and as Rumpole says hear and there "Tick Tock..."

Rumpole said...

I'm outraged over their conduct. The rule is in place to protect the integrity of the jury system. When a Judge or laywer chastises a jury or informs them of an inadmissible matter that may seem to contradict their verdict- it strikes at the heart of the integrity of the jury system, because it may affect that juror's ability to be fair the next time they are selected.

The lawyer should be at least publicly admonished and required to re-take the ethics test, and the judge, who for sure should have known better, should be suspended and fined. Her conduct is all the more intolerable because she is a judge and is there to enforce the rules, not attack a lawyer for wearing jeans.

Anonymous said...

No, moron.

Not knowing Carlos Martinez's last name doesn't make you a moron. Posting a comment on a public forum regarding a matter you clearly don't have all the information on MAKES YOU A MORON.

Try again.

Rumpole said...

Just one more reason not to venture North Of the Border. The Judge's comments more than violate the appearance of impropriety. Was she a netural magistrate, or did she have a rooting interest in the outcome of the case? By her words, she was upset by the verdict. One can only wonder how she shaped her rulings to influence the outcome.

Anonymous said...

As a former ASA, I've heard of these stories where a lawyer will chastise a juror for rendering a "wrong" verdict. 99 times out of 100, it is the ASA that is doing it.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

The JNC is getting more work!

With the announcement that Judge Mercedes Bach is resigning, effective February 1, 2008, the 11th Circuit JNC is now accepting applications, again, for another open Circuit Court seat.

All persons interested in applying must deliver a completed application and 10 copies to:

Marie F.S. Bell, chairperson
3225 Aviation Ave., Suite 501
Miami, FL 33133.

The deadline for submitting applications is 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16.

CAPTAIN OUT ...............

Rumpole said...

Well lets not kid ourselves- 99 times out of a hundred, our client did something at least a stupid act to put himself or herself in that position. I have tried well over 100 jury trials. Its probably approaching 130. I can think of two that I lost where after all the pain and emotion went away, I can still say the jury made the absolute 100% wrong decision. One was federal and one was state. The federal matter, while my client did associate with crooks, he did nothing wrong, he was caught in a conspriacy, the judge came close to rule 29'ing it- and the 11th circuit went against me 2-1. And that one still hurts the most. In any other case that I've lost, I've understood why. The good news is that while in many of the cases that I won I knew why, there are a dozen of so not guilties that just came out of left field- and those are especially sweet.

Rumpole said...

Bach was Circuit??? I thought she was County.

Anonymous said...

Some one was talking about Carlos Martinez...

Carlos Martinez is the most hated administrator by pit lawyers at the public defender's office. He has Never done a single act in the legal field to distingish himself apart from being a man afraid to try a case.
Rory and Weed have No respect for him and both cringe at the thought that he will be the next public defender of Dade County. He is Brummer's pick not theirs.

CAPTAIN said...

CORRECTION:

Thanks Rump ... she is a County Court Judge.

Spiderman said...

http://blogonaut-blogonaut.blogspot.com/2007/10/university-of-miami-law-professor.html

3rd floor pd said...

Lets be honest: Carlos Martinez was a "c" pit atty with no apparent trial abilities who was called upstairs by BHB to become an administrator b/c he needed a hispanic man to offset political concerns over an all-Jewish and male front office.

Carlos had zero qualifications other than being a willing ass-kisser in the right place at the right time.

But I'll still support him over Weed and Rory combined.

CAPTAIN said...

in light of 4:14 pm's post, and in response to an earlier request, I will now strongly have to consider the possibility of entering the race for Public Defender.

Captain Out ...

Anonymous said...

There is a rule of Criminal Procedure that says that judges are not supposed to do anything to make the jury feel bad when they find someone not guilty. I would expect that kid of shit from Judge O'Connor.

When Alberto "rock em and sock em" Milian lost a case, he went on TV and called the jury, "lobotimized zombies and morons" for their verdit and then said he did not believe in the jury system. I do not think the Bar even did anything to him about all of that.

The judge needs to be reported to the JQC.

The silent majority said...

Rumpole, you are the best. Don't ever ever stop what you are doing. We need you and we love you.

Real Fake Blecher said...

When Bach quits, a few weeks later can we start the "bring back Bach" campaign?

Why is she leaving?

Anonymous said...

Why does anyone really care whether or not the elected PD has trial experience or not? The PDO is a huge office with a huge budget; frankly, as an APD, at election time I'm not going to be thinking "how many trials has this person done?" It is so irrelevant it's ludicrous. It's only an issue among those ignorant of the responsibilities of the job, and of the social, political, and financial hurdles the office faces. Can the candidate fight (and win some) of the budget battles in Tallahassee? Can they make appropriate appointments of managers, assistants, and other necessary staff? Will they institute fair policies and procedures? Will they ensure that their appointees will be equipped to fight the good fight, both the major battles as well as the "trivial" skirmishes that otherwise escape scrutiny?

Has he tried a hundred cases?

Can the chairman of the board of Toyota program an automation-line welder?

Neither matters one bit to those who understand. Wake up.

Anonymous said...

Broward is a mess.... To top it all off: Was Ostrow even eligible to practice law on October 5, 2007?

IONQ said...

A few seats left for the much anticipated Q Lecture: Fear and Field Sobriety Testing: The Synergestic effects of alcohol and adrenaline."

This is a blockbuster that should not be missed.

Anonymous said...

Like the rest of us have never said anything stupid in front of jurors or others.

Get real. We all say stupid things on the record in the heat of battle or frustration. Happens all the time. Don't be so judgmental. A simple "you can't do that" probably would be enough. You really want to involve the Bar in all of this nonsense?

Anonymous said...

I'm no Al Milian fan, but you've got to admit, he was right. Jurors in Dade County are idiots. Why on earth would we entrust such momentous decision making power to the same people who scarf down hours of mindless reality television every night, and who have brought us eight years of W? We've all seen hordes of guilty defendants get acquitted for no apparent reason. These jurors are then the same people who turn around and vote for all these "tough on crime" politicians who then turn around and pass all these mandatory minumum laws. Oh, the irony!

Anonymous said...

Whenever a long term pd or sa is replaced after decades they always have a way of picking their successor, kfr was picked by reno for example. it has to do with politics and never being an outstanding lawyer. the pd office needs a better distribution of pay, only the head of appeals and felony and death/ryce cases should make more than 100k. the office needs a starting salary due to miami rent of 45k for mm, and 55k for felony and more black and hispanic attorneys, u know fiu, st thomas. when brummer is done so should go the ny jew leadership old boy network. hey stein-start working on your resume you lazy s h i t.

Anonymous said...

That Broward ASA is a --nt---le!!!

Anonymous said...

I meant --nt--le!!!

Anonymous said...

Re: Broward court

Broward has the most criminal defense hacks that I have seen
anywhere.

If they had some serious lawyers
all this crap that ASA's and Judges do up there would have
been curtailed long ago.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember who, but I heard there was a Judge that would read off the priors of certain career crimianls to the jury after a not guilty verdict. Anyone know if there's truth to that?

Rumpole said...

12:00 Pm- Actually, the rest of us haven't said dumb things to jurors. We're professionals. I was trained a long time ago to say thank you if you win and a juror smiles at you on the way out, and say thank you for your service if you lose and a juror makes contact with you.

If a trial lawyer cannot control her emotions when she loses, she certainly won't be able to control them in the heat of battle, and then she will be doing her client a real disservice. If you're a professsional- act like one. Learn to win and lose with the same grace.

Anonymous said...

Right Rump. Way to respond to half my comment. What I actually said was, "Like the rest of us have never said anything stupid in front of jurors or others."

You, of course, responded to the first phrase in that sentence and ignored the second. Your emotions get the better of you Mr. Professional? Or did you intentionally twist my words? My guess is neither you.......you simply responded carelessly. Happens all the time, especially in the heat of battle.

The point is, we all say stupid things. Sometimes in front of the jury, sometimes not. What she did was unprofessional. That doesn't mean she should be publicly slammed or referred to the Bar. Don't be so sanctimonious. Don't you defend murderers for a living? You ever argue heat of passion?

With over 100 trials (as you claim), you can't tell me that you've never, ever, said something inappropriate or unprofessional. You handle a multi-week case with high stakes (and little sleep as is often the case), and it's all too easy to say something stupid in the heat of battle. If we hammered every lawyer who said something unprofessional, we'd all have records a mile long.

Sheeesh.

Anonymous said...

win or lose? what ever happened to Justice was served period.

Win or Lose the lottery maybe, not my life.

abe laeser said...

A long time ago, in a land not so far away, I watched Sepe make a jury stay while he read out the defendant's priors after a not guilty verdict.

He then made them all stay until he sentenced the defendant on a probation violation to 15 years, based upon the crime for which he had just been acquitted.

Only then, with a well-rehearsed sneer, did he curtly thank the jury for their service.

Not my case, but I think Fred Robbins was defense counsel - although age may have dulled the details.

Anonymous said...

Bennett Brummer is living in Colorado. He has not opened a campaign account, even though filing is only 9 months away. In the past 20 years he always started campaigning and raising money a year and a half to two years prior to the election. It looks like its true: Bennett Brummer is going to retire after this term. Rory lives in Broward so cannt run. Carlos Martinez, a registered INDEPENDENT, will be our next PD. No one has the guts to run against him!

Anonymous said...

Right you are Rumpole.

By the way, Al Milian made the lobotimized zombies comment about a Broward jury. Jayne Weintraub was the defense lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone going to file a bar complaint against ASA Berki Alvarez? She seems like a typical asshole and sore loser.

Rumpole said...

9:24- Yes we have all said stupid things, even the great Rumpole. And indeed we have all said stupid things in court. Even the great Rumpole. And lord knows I have lost my share of cases at trial. No trial lawyer who is in the mix on a daily basis hasn't. What's important is that you learn from your losses.

What I was trying to say is that jury trials are special, and the jury as a concept is sacrosanct. And while I have said dumb things in court, and have said things I have to apologize for later- as we all have- I have NOT EVER said such a thing to a juror. And for that matter, despite any rancor that may exist at a trial, in winning or losing, I have NEVER said anything I regret to opposing counsel after the vedict has been rendered. When I lose a tough one, I congratulate the other lawyer(s).
It is just something a well trained professional does.

As to Mr. Laeser's Judge Sepe story- it is a horrible story- It strikes at the heart of our jury system. And since I believe in Karma, we all know what happened to Judge Sepe.

Anonymous said...

I think it was Judge Fred Berman who read the priors after the not guilty verdict.

He also got in trouble with the JQC for making all the lawyers leave after a not guilty verdict so that he could have a private "chat" with them.

I guess those jurors are tainted next time they show up.

Anonymous said...

Private Attorneys in Broward are too afraid to stand up to the ASA, the Judges, the baliffs, anyone.

I have heard other ASA's in Broward also make comments after a Not Guilty verdict. It is unprofessional and uncalled for.

I did say something to that ASA (who is now a private defense attorney - go figure). The problem is this is what they are taught in their "training"

Anonymous said...

Gary Ostrow Has Been practicing law for some time now. I think Gary Ostrow knows what he is doing and don not understand why all the confusion when it comes to gary Ostrow

Gary Ostrow Attorney said...

Gary Ostrow Has Been practicing law for some time now. I think Gary Ostrow knows what he is doing and don not understand why all the confusion when it comes to gary Ostrow

Anonymous said...

I am nothing less than awed by some of the comments that miserably are missing the mark!! If you have sat through enough trials, you will recall the instructions, among others, that discuss 'following the rules we all share."

The point is, that the unacceptable and improper post trial comments by the state and the Court are violative of the rules we all share, such as the rules of evidence or criminal procedure, for example, and tolerating such crap is tatamount to condoning and participating!! Now do you genius's get it??

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense said...

Gary is a good guy and very hard working. Maybe it was just one of those days he could not let down his hair so he took off his shirt

Gary Ostrow Attorney said...

It's amazing this story is still lingering around