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

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mercy Mercy

The quality of mercy is not strained, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blest:It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown...
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,

Portia, Merchant of Venice.

Many times (but not too many) in our fabled career, we have been called upon to beseech those that wear black robes to dispense both mercy and justice.

Lately, there has been commentary in the media about the 23 month sentence Michael Vick received. We have read and heard sports commentators and media figures state that while they believe Vick needed to be punished, his punishment, which caused Vick the loss of a 50 million dollar contract, was too severe. In essence, what they are saying is that because of what Vick lost, which is more than the average individual, his punishment exceeded what was necessary.

Our thoughts on this are mixed. However, what occurs to us is that people criticizing the sentence have no experience with clients being sent to prison (which unfortunately we do in those rare cases that our pleas before a jury fall on deaf ears).


Even the slightest prison sentence usually results in an individual losing their job, placing their house in jeopardy, and a hardship in economic and social matters beyond the months served. Basically everyone loses money and work and has career problems after going to prison. With privilege and great wealth comes responsibility, which Vick did not demonstrate.

Should the Judge have sentenced Mr. Vick to less time because Vick stood to lose significantly more than the average defendant? We say no. While personal considerations should be relevant in sentencing, business considerations rarely should affect a Judge’s decision to lessen a sentence. Mr. Vick ruthlessly participated in abusing and killing animals. If the collateral consequence of his sentence is that besides being incarcerated he loses 50 million dollars and years during a playing career that cannot be recaptured, so be it.


It was not that long ago when professional athletes were drafted into the armed service and sent to war. Ted Williams lost at least five years of professional baseball when he served his country as a front line fighter pilot during WWII and the Korean War. There are some things, perhaps many things, more important than an athletic career. We say this even though we recognize that athletic careers today, with the potential to earn over a hundred million dollars are vastly more lucrative than athletic careers were up through the 1970’s.

The only value we see in the Vick discussion is the value in understanding that incarceration is a severe form of punishment. To the extent the Vick saga lessens the general public’s appetite for the “lock em up and throw away the key” approach to criminal law, that is a good thing. But Vick deserves every day of the sentence he received, and we hope he feels in someway the pain and misery he has caused.

See you in court, where because of this blog and our big mouth, we can no longer wow Judges with our memorized recital of Portia’s elegant speech.

17 comments:

william morris said...

He Rumpole, see. I'm the agent for Shumie's dog, see. You and youse guy better stop using this here pup, see, for yours own purposes, see, and start paying this little doggie if you intend to use him, see, for your little blog.

Please let your readers know that this pooch got himself an agent see, and if you want to book him, youse gotta come to me.

abe laeser said...

My short (very short) list of persons whom I have heard utter those precise Shakesperean words is down to exactly: ONE.

I will not, however, reveal that name.

No Courthouse For Old Men said...

Apparently the Coen brothers' cinematic achievement has crept into our beloved courthouse. My two sons witnessed a fifth floor judge decide a hard fought misdemeanor trial with a coin toss. He uttered "call it..friendo". Classic.

Scooby Doo said...

Rut roh--Vick got off easy. Should've given him 10 years. Now where's Shaggy with my Scooby Snacks?

Sisselman sez said...

Rump,
All my clients in custody awaiting trial , lose their livelyhood, cannt support their family or pay the bills. Many lose their Apartment or lease and all their stuff. The secondary and tirieary effect of the system are like dominoes. This is esspecially true for the middle class, working class and working poor. I dont cry for Vick.
D. Sisselman

Dumb Ass of the Year said...

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA

JOHN B. THOMPSON, aka
Dumb Ass of the Year

Petitioner,

v. Case Numbers SC 07 - 80 and 07- 354

THE FLORIDA BAR,

Respondent.

SUPPLEMENT TO PETITION FOR WRIT OF PROHIBITION

COMES NOW petitioner, Thompson,and stated:

I admit wrong and move this court to sanction me.

I respectfully request this Court to save me the heartache of the continued bar proceedings and suspend me for 91 days and allow me the opportunity to get my bar license again. I need to spend my energy and time caring for my wife whom is ill.

I acted in a way that warrants more punishment.

Through this motion I say SORRY to all I have libeled, slander, harrassed.

Respectfully submitted,
Dumb Ass of the Year.

Anonymous said...

I say let's kill every dog and cat , fu---- all these animals. they're nasty and stink. who the hell cares about dogs? The man didn't kill or rape or rob anybody. 23 months for killing a few pitbulls is severe. I don't care what anyone says. Rapists are going on probation every m-fucking day. burglars are getting the standard CTS and withhold, and you think vick's punishment was fair? go blow yourself, bunch of hypocrites. As for me, tonight I'm going to kick the first dog that crosses my path.

Rumpole said...

7:54 PM. I do not often laugh out loud at a comment, but I admit I did with yours. Very funny.

shumie's dog said...

ggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....I hate Vick. Woof grrrrrrrrrrrwoof.

fake alschuler said...

actually rumpola, the 8:39 dumb ass of the year post made me laugh out loud.

Anonymous said...

for what its worth, the last line from 8:45 was pure comedy.

Anonymous said...

So Rump, you won't punish my Jack Thompson writes like Bette Davis talks and the inescapable conclusion one must draw from that fact post? So much for your vaunted committment to "free speech."

Anonymous said...

Fund raiser for Judge Julio Gonzalez from Broward tonight 12-13-07 at martini bar in sunset place at 6:30.......

2007 Dumb Ass of the Year Award said...

As the year comes to an end we begin our nomination process to choose the "Dumb Ass of the Year".

Please submit all potential names below keeping in mind that last years winner Hon Judge Leslie Rothenberg and the runner up Ivan Hernandez are excluded.

All votes will be tallied by Rumpole and his crew at Tobacco Road after several rounds of tequila.

Let the voting begin.

batman said...

If not for Vick's stupidity during the investigation and prosecution of this matter, his sentence probably would have been in the 12 month range. But Vick inexplicably lied to the Government during his debriefings and got caught. He ridiculously smoked pot knowing he was subject to random drug testing as a condition of his release. He surrendered himself, not so much to get the inevitable underway, but to avoid getting caught doing something else to exacerbate his sentence.

The judge in this case saw an unremorseful, arrogant and self- indulgent jerk who still did not understand that the Teflon has worn off.

I think we have given this person more than enough of our time and energy. He is a subject now worth forgetting. Other than the unavoidable news of his release in a couple of years, let's move on.

However, if we are not to consider the loss Michael Vick has suffered as mitigation, then we should not consider the lack of assets as a basis for mitigation either. What say you Rumpole? Do you believe we should punish the rich greater than the poor?

Anonymous said...

If Vick had killed Thompson, then it would have been justifiable homicide and would have made Rump find something else to discuss.

If Karen Carpenter had eaten Momma Cass Elliot's sandwich, they would both be alive today.

If you cross Rump with a landfill, you get rumptedump.

Rumpole said...

7:46 am. Longtime and careful readers of the blog know that I do not allow any comment that attacks any individual for race, creed, color, sexual orientation, or looks. Your comment violated one of those blog rules. However, since I do support free speech, I invite you to go to Google, open up a Blog, sign your name, and post your comment. In fact if you do that, I will post a link to your blog. The great thing about this country is that you are entirely free to demonstrate your ignorance and lack of class to the entire world. Have at it.