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. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Friday, November 02, 2007

DBR SPANKS CHIEF JUDGE TOBIN

UPDATE: THE BROWARD BLOG IS ALIVE!!!

Rising like Judge Joel Lazarus from the bench after a good snooze during a trial, (sorry Judge, actually its just your name we are using for a pun. You have never slept during one of our trials.) the Broward Blog has emerged alive and apparently well, with an explanation (sort of) as to what happened.

The Blog is back with the type of Broward Blog stuff you would expect: updates on the impending JQC trial of Judge Aleman (wouldn't it just be great if she was delayed getting to court by traffic and the JQC issued a default verdict against her? Readers will remember Aleman first came to our attention when she terminated parental rights when a parent who was using public transportation was late to court. Reversed by the 4th DCA, she did the same thing again in a different case!) and an update on the JQC complaint against Former Dade Judge and now Broward Judge Terry Miller. (Can any reader remember another Judge who served in both counties? We can't.)

Anyway- in the tradition of Halloween, we welcome our brother bloggers to the North back from a grave that couldn't hold them.

Query: Is North Of the Border big enough for two blogs???


OH THIS IS GOOD:

The Daily Business Review and Eddie Dominguez have taken North of the Border Chief Judge to the woodshed for a good old fashion spanking in public. The full article is HERE

If denial were a communicable disease, we’d have to quarantine the Broward County Courthouse. In yet another mystifying episode of judicial indiscretion, Circuit Judge Jeffrey Levenson made a homophobic “joke” about a 16-year-old high school football player — the alleged victim of a 41-year-old man accused of having oral sex with the boy. By reputation, Levenson is supposedly one of the circuit’s more fair and open-minded judges — a frightening thought. Despite this latest gaffe by one of Broward’s newer judges, Chief Judge Victor Tobin is rejecting the notion that judges in his circuit need more diversity and sensitivity training. ...

The denial starts at the top — with Tobin, who yet again has scoffed at the need for additional diversity training for Broward’s judges. Despite calls from bar leaders and others, he seems to be holding his ground while expressing some willingness to reconsider. Former Chief Judge Dale Ross — with his shortcomings — ordered diversity training for the circuit’s 90 judges, albeit under order from Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Lewis. Ross also established a diversity committee to address issues and complaints in the circuit. Tobin abolished the panel when he took over, and he indicates he won’t add to the judges’ training requirements shy of another order from the state’s high court. But Tobin took it one step further when he dismissed the severity of Levenson’s misconduct as little more than an everyday comment. “Every time someone says something doesn’t mean I send 90 people to training,” the chief told the Daily Business Review.


Tobin clearly doesn’t get it, and it would seem sensitivity training at this point needs to start at the top. Chief, Levenson didn’t just say “something.” He picked on a boy who was in his courtroom as the alleged victim of a sex crime. And he did so by poking fun at gays. That is what one might expect from a schoolyard bully rather than a judge presiding over a criminal hearing.

One point that seems lost in the exchange is the boy was belittled by the very institution that was supposed to be dispensing justice. Gays are a common target of “humor,” and perhaps the day will come when everybody stops laughing. But in a gay-intolerant world, one can only wonder what kind of discrimination and ostracism a gay teen might face in school, in the locker room, at home — in life, if this is how the topic is handled in court. Teens are naturally confused and vulnerable as their bodies go through tremendous changes, and they begin to develop their identities. Apply a layer of coping with a different sexual orientation and societal pressures, and you have a recipe for disaster. That might explain the high suicide rates for gay teens in the U.S. A survey from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of 5,000 gay men and women found 35 percent of gay men and 38 percent of lesbians have considered or attempted suicide. That’s quite astounding when compared to a global suicide rate of 10.7 per 100,000, according to the World Health Organization. That should put Levenson’s comments into a more appropriate perspective than Tobin’s “something.”

In familiar fashion, the new chief judge has angrily dismissed the latest calls for more sensitivity training for Broward judges. He went so far as to try to shift blame away from judges and suggest that, because the first off-color comment was made by an assistant public defender, lawyers — not judges — need the training. “Don’t know why not for lawyers. A lawyer made the first comment,” Tobin said of the Levenson exchange. “Why single out judges?” With that question, we take denial to new heights. The fact that the chief judge would even ask such a ridiculous question really proves the point. He just doesn’t get it. Unlike Tobin, the assistant public defender’s boss took immediate action. PD Howard Finkelstein promptly docked Assistant Public Defense Brian Reidy a week’s vacation and ordered him to write an apology and address his colleagues at a staff meeting. Finkelstein, like many minority bar leaders and others, thinks it’s time for a more serious response to Broward’s conga line of mishaps. But apparently not Tobin. On one level I agree with the chief. Broward judges really don’t need a sensitivity class. They need a program. And Judge Tobin should be the first judge enrolled.

Rumpole says: nothing. Mr. Dominguez said it all, better than we ever could.

OK- one comment to the Chief Judge. Do you not truly understand the difference between a lawyer and a Judge? Do you not really get that a Judge is supposed to be the one individual in the courtroom not only above reproach, but the most experienced, learned, just, fair, and respected individual in the courtroom?
The Judge is the one who stops lawyers from making inappropriate remarks. The Judge should not be the one who piles on and then afterwards points the finger and cries "well he started it!"

Judge Levenson made a mistake and apologized for it. Judge Tobin made a mistake and is too arrogant to admit it. Having had a few cases in our time in his courtroom, we unfortunately cannot say that we are surprised.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wish you would take on the judges who treat everyone like crap. Maybe no bad words, but no manners and no common sense.

You could start with Ward and Thomas.

Fakey Fakerstein, Esq. said...

Rump -

Thanks for the additional hints as to your identity, given that Vic hasn't been in a criminal courtroom for a few years. We can now say for certain you have been practicing law for more than 3 years. That leaves about 69000 lawyers in Florida you could possibly be......We're closing in.

I would disagree with your feelings about Chief Vic (and his First Lady, Dorian Daamorgian). His ineptitude appears to have popped up since his switch to the civil bench from criminal.

My experiences with him on the criminal bench were that he gave a good trial, was decent on the law, would grant a suppression when the facts and law warranted it, and wouldn't launch your client inappropriately.

I don't know what happened to him since he took the civil bench of became El Jefe of Broward County.

He sends out memos to the other judges that are so filled with spelling and grammatical errors they look like my 3-year old daughter wrote them. He then sends out an "appology" email commenting on how he should have spell-checked his first email with the "double P" in apology.

He's canceled sensitivity training, kept on a hack judge as head of criminal (she has what by all accounts is nice boob job though), and hasn't followed through on anything he was expected to.

Now with his "First Lady" Daamorgian likely going up to WPB on the 4th DCA, our Bumbling Chief is likely to spin further out of control.

BE AFRAID, BROWARD LAWYERS, BE VERY VERY AFRAID.

Rumpole said...

10:38 - this blog is here for YOU to take on Judges who treat you badly. Write about what they did. Send me a long story in email and I will post it on the front page. I can't be everywhere and see everything. Or can I?

Fakey- In my experience, no Broward Judge treated Miami lawyers worse than Tobin. Nasty. Condescending. Mean. Sarcastic. He went out of his way to make a Miami lawyer feel uncomfortable in his courtroom. Take it from me. I could tell you stories.

Rumpole said...

My Goodness. Like Joel Lazarus rising from the bench, the Broward Blog appears to be alive and well!!!!

Anonymous said...

even though those a-hole judges and prosecutors try to keep the lawyers from the 305 down, they are just jealous. on the rare occasion i head up north, i keep my head high knowing all these tie-less rednecks wish they lived, played, and worked in dade.

Alan and Chris said...

Rumpola- the other day a reader inquired what happened to Chris and Alan?

We are happy to say that we have taken another job with a Washington blog devoted to rumors about the Department of Energy, where we are known as "Roy" and "Harold" from accounting.

The pay is better, DC is a gas, and we are hoping to break into the big time of Washington political blogs. We have a few applications pending. We will keep you guys informed.

Alan and Chris.

Fake Peckins said...

Everybody always gets the jobs I want. Damn you Chris and Alan, I applied for that Dept of Energy Blog job.

Anonymous said...

Where is DUI guy? We miss the Sunday power rankings.

My-Am-Uh said...

there be some funny S**T on the BA today. www.bcjc17.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

does anyone know who are the PDs in judge wards courtroom? thanks

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between JAAB and the Justice Building Blog?

The only people who post on JAAB are themselves while people in the community post on Rumpole.

Rump, look at the post titled Do the Math. Like everyone got up at the same time this morning to post. It been the dirty secret up there for a year, the only way they get hits is to post themselves. They had their big fight and no one posted for over a week. All of a sudden bill and the boys are back and there are a ton of posts,come on. Everyone up here sees it for what it is now, just 3 guys writing stuff for self pleasure.

A DUI Lawyer who knows said...

The DUI Guy met his "end" in two "incidents":

First: a couple of distraught ticket chicks who believed they should be in the DUI rankings cornered the DUI guy and "roughed him up" a bit-

Second: The Jacksonville Blog was looking for a DUI guy and they paid better, so rather than risk another run in with angry ticket chicks, the DUI hightailed it out of town.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Tobin's mistake was playing the 'he started it first' blame game or the fact that he didn't order 'sensitivity' training?
I think I agree with Tobin on part of this. Just because one judge makes a comment that people don't like, doesn't mean all judges need to go to some type of program.
I'm getting so sick of this 'politically correct' b.s. where we have to send people to classes and have to be stepping on eggshells to prevent offending anyone. This is a nation built upon free speech. Let people say want they want. Those individuals will suffer reproach. But don't require an entire class of people to programs because of the comment of one.

Rumpole said...

I've had several unpleasant experiences with Tobin, and he has always stuck me (and he has always acted) like a guy who speaks first and thinks later. Yes, he is correct- one judge's mistake does not require 90 Judges to attend a conference. But it is just like Tobin to be hot-headed- he hates it when anyone challenges him, and to respond with the "the lawyer started it" quip.

Of all the Judges who could have brought stability and gravitas to the job of Chief Judge in Broward, Tobin was at the bottom of my list.

Fake Cobitz and Fake Alschuler said...

Where can we cash in on these blogging job? We need more bucks too.

Anonymous said...

Rump, I'm gay, and I found nothing that objectionable about the Levenson incident. In fact, it sounds like something I might have said myself. We are living in a world that has become far too "politically correct" and sensitive. If Levenson had called the kid a fag, then sure, outrage would be warranted. But all he did was make a joke, a joke that was devoid of any homophobic intent as far as I can tell. Everyone--you, the Broward Blog, the DBR--need to get off their high horses. The kind of world you want us to live in would be lacking in humor and fun, and as such, would be thoroughly unliveable.

Rumpole said...

You make a valid point- you can look at the remark and say its harmless and people joke about worse things every day=-

but then you must remember this is a court- and gay people have been discriminated and their lives devalued to the point where they are killed for their sexual preference.

One might- repeat might- be able to make a funny remark about a lynching- but you cannot imagine how that could ever be appropriate in a court in the south.
Personally, I don't find anything funny about about a lynching, but perhaps their are comedians that can do it. The point is, that even if a funny remark could be made, the circumstances prohibit it.

I have already said that Levenson apologized and needs to be forgiven. As Ronald Regan used to say "trust, but verify." We can forgive Levension, but he bears watching to make sure something else isn't going on.

Anonymous said...

Rump- with the Famous Freddy Moldovan Las Vegas tour set to leave in a week, is there any truth that the group has tickets to see the new hit lounge crooner Ricky Margolius at the Hilton Flamingo.

Anonymous said...

I love you Horace!!!

Anonymous said...

How specifically is the noose related to lynchings of black men. Having been born in the 60's, my opinion of lychings was formed primarily by the spaghetti westerns and other classic movies.

Rumpole said...

hmmm 4:08...dinner and a movie???

Town Blog crier said...

Jimbo Best retiring from law to devote all his time to professional bass fishing?

Steven Amster to mediate hollywood writer's strike?

Bloom PDs to put out a calendar for charity?

All these rumors and more to be answered next week.

Anonymous said...

I don't like to go North of the Border because I have a big mouth and don't take crap from anyone, so I know one of this judges will hold me in contempt when they say something stupid and I answer back. I better stick to the safety of South of the Border.

Anonymous said...

I am gay too and I was bothered by Levenson's comments.

It is not a real big deal but, he should have known better.

He is not a fair judge. He is an OK judge but, extremely state oriented.

Anonymous said...

Terri Ann Miller served as a Judge here in Dade and also in Naples

Anonymous said...

how the hell do I find my way into the Blog...I go to Court get my continuance and I quickly leave...I dont bother anyone...but yet I still get my balls busted....I thought Jason stopped blogging.


Steve Amster

edward crespo said...

If you think that the current problem with the Broward County judges is bad, then all I can say is,"You don't know the HALF OF IT!"
For the past 3 years I have been gathering a vast amount of what can best be described as, "public record that the public doesn't know about!" There are currently just over 200 felony convicted ex-cons practicing law in Fla. as members in good standing with the Fla. Bar. These lawyers were given their law licenses back, (after they were released from prison, of course),based on the "recomendation
of reinstatement" by the designated referee judges, many of whom were and still are Broward County judges
serving on the bench. What kind of judge knowingly and deliberately turns a convicted criminal loose on the public by letting him go back to practicing law?? SHAME on every Broward County judge who decided that it was o.k. for convicted criminals to practice law and ex-cons to serve as officers of the court! They should be removed from the bench, as well as being disbarred themselves!