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

Friday, November 30, 2007

A PENNY FOR YOUR POUND OF TOMATOES

Florida’s tomato fields in the south and southwest supply most of the tomatoes to our nation's fast food industry. Migrant farm workers were paid 45 cents for every 32 pound bucket of tomatoes they hand pick. Every worker picks about 2 tons of tomatoes a day.

Then in 2005 McDonalds and Taco Bell agreed to a one penny per pound increase (77 cents per 32 pounds) payable directly to the migrant farm workers. However, Burger King, whose headquarters is in Miami, has adamantly refused to agree to the penny per pound increase. Burger King’s entire exposure in the pay raise has been estimated to be $250,000.00 per year.

The Herald is reporting that today (Friday) the City Of Miami will close the streets along a nine mile march route of a protest staged by the Coalition of Immokaleee Workers (click to see their web site). The march will begin at the headquarters of Goldman Sachs (the largest shareholder of BK) at 200 S. Biscayne Boulevard. The march will end at the BK headquarters at Blue Lagoon Drive off of 836.

The top dozen or so executives of Goldman Sachs will probably be paid more than 200 million in year end bonuses this year. The ten thousand or so migrant farm workers of Florida will probably earn less than half that, or about $10,000.00 per worker per year.

Talk about “having it your way” at Burger King.

Charge an extra nickel for those French fries that are slowly killing us anyway, and give those farm workers a decent wage. We’d like to see some of those fat cats at Goldman Sachs hop off their spin bikes and stair masters and try some real exercise by bending over for 10 hours a day lugging a 30 pound bucket through Florida’s hot sun.

Rumpole vows that until Burger King antes up the penny a pound for the migrant farm workers, nary a Whopper will pass the lips of this blogger.

BOYCOTT BURGER KING!!! We say, until the King decides to pay.

See You In Court, where Au Bon Pain’s turkey wrap is just as good, and much better for you.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

NFL TONIGHT!



The Packers roll into Dallas tonight for the start of the Thursday night NFL season.





The Pack are getting between 6.5 and 7 and the over/under is 51. We have made a pretty good living this year picking the favorite and the under, which is normally a pretty difficult proposition. And the Green Bay Packers bring a very underrated defense to the game tonight. However, we like a shootout and we like the Pack. However, in the interest of making sure people don't go losing the holiday money, we like the Pack more for personal reasons then we are convinced they will win. So if you follow our advice tonight, tred lightly.





Packers+6.5-7 and over 51.

It's still too early for our final picks, but we just might have some good news this Sunday for one particular 0-11 team near and dear to our hearts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

COURTROOM LUNACY

Ever suspicious of our robed readers, we are constantly on the lookout for exhibitions of their true nature. Now comes this report of a New York State Judge whose behaviour would make a Broward Judge proud.

The New York Times reports HERE
that Judge Robert M. Restaino, in a fairly accurate re-enactment of the infamous "strawberry incident" in The Caine Mutiny, took an entire courtroom into custody after no one would admit to owning a cell phone that rang during a hearing.

We are happy to report that such behaviour is not tolerated in New York:

Yesterday, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended the removal of a judge in Niagara Falls City Court who had what the commission’s chairman called “two hours of inexplicable madness” when a cellphone rang in his courtroom.




NEW POLL: In light of the rampant speculation in the comments section, we have a new poll up for the first time in a long time. Choose who you think should be the next Dade PD. Suggest new candidates in the comments section and we will add them to the poll.





Tuesday, November 27, 2007

MORE BENNETT BRUMMER




Miami PD Bennett Brummer has announced that he will not seek re-election.

Not exactly the same Constitutional import as the President resigning, but in the two plus years we have run this blog, the most surprising comments have been from disgruntled assistant public defenders. When we started we would have bet that it would have been assistant state attorneys that were going to fill the blog with comments about low morale (but we also picked the Giants last week, so what do we know?). But since the Dade SAO trusts its ASA's as much as China or North Korea trusts its citizens (and all three limit the Internet access of their populace) it was the assistant public defenders that filled the blog with Nixonian tales of suspicious administrators and dark machinations.

Today any lawyer can walk into the State Attorneys Office. However, the same cannot be said for Mr. Brummer's office, where in the wake of a failed coup attempt in the last election, we know of at least four lawyers who are "Banned in Dade." Along with a rather public spanking two years ago in a federal lawsuit alleging wrongful termination, and a subsequent settlement for 300 thousand dollars, that is an ignominious history for a Public Defender to have.

However, Mr. Brummer's office has consistently provided competent and in many cases excellent legal services to the citizens of Dade County. His legacy will undoubtedly be one he can be proud of. Some of the very best lawyers in the United States were trained in the Dade PD's office. H.T Smith and Roy Black and Jack Denaro are just a few that come to mind immediately.

So, while we mourn Sean Taylor, we put up this post as the more appropriate place to continue the discussion of the future of the Dade County Public Defenders Office.

SEAN TAYLOR HAS DIED



1983-2007

University of Miami Star

Washington Redskins Star

Father.

Son.

Monday, November 26, 2007

GOODBYE BENNETT

BREAKING BLOG NEWS

Oh Susannah Nesmith and the Herald have the scoop HERE

Bennett Brummer will NOT run for re-election.

Strange, but he didn't clue us in first. We cannot imagine why.

BREAKING NEWS - BRUMMER TO RETIRE

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Miami Dade County Public Defender Bennett Brummer will retire at the end of his current term. Carlos Martinez will run to replace him. Brummer will have served as the PD for 32 years when he steps down on January 1, 2009.

More to come .....

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

TALES OF THE WRONGFULLY CONVICTED

The NY Times reported Sunday HERE
on

Jeffrey Deskovic: wrongfully convicted of murder at age 17, he was freed after spending 16 years in prison on the basis of DNA evidence which served to support his contention that the detectives coerced his confession. At age 34, having lost half of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit, the Times details the everyday travails of a man who is doing things like swimming and opening a window for the first time in 16 years.

We’ve been though this familiar route so many times,
it’s time to start asking some different questions:

It is now accepted fact that eyewitness identifications are often inherently unreliable. However, most prosecutors will tell you that a good eyewitness identification is the strongest evidence they have. If you have read
The Seven Sins Of Memory you know the reasons why eyewitness identifications are unreliable. That being said, what do we do? We can start by changing the jury instructions to deal with situations in which there is only an eyewitness identification without any supporting evidence. Something along the lines of the jury instruction on a defendant’s statement- that “the jury should treat an eyewitness identification without supporting evidence with extreme caution.”

Judges and prosecutors need training (note we didn’t write “better training” because we don’t believe that most judges or prosecutors have any clue as to how unreliable an eyewitness identification really is. Before they can have better training, they need some training first.) on eyewitness identification.

Next up are confessions. Florida needs to pass a law requiring the police to videotape confessions. The fact is that innocent people confess. Just ask Jeffrey Deskovic.

The changes in the way conflict attorneys are compensated in Florida is a recipe for disaster. Instead of getting better trained lawyers, defendants charged with the most serious of crimes will have poorly trained and underpaid attorneys handling their cases. If we’re lucky there will be one Jeffrey Deskovic a year in Florida. More likely, there will be one a month.

Yes, we have an adversarial jury system. But we must recognize that mistakes will happen. When Jeffrey Deskovic was sentenced, he told the judge he was innocent. The judge responded “that may be so, but the jury has spoken.” Off went Deskovic to spend half his life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.


Anyone who abandons their common sense on the altar of “the jury has spoken” deserves to be removed from working in the criminal justice system. These are peoples lives we are dealing with. Surgeons in a hospital have a weekly conference in which they have to account to their colleagues for any mistake that occurs during an operation. The legal system has nothing remotely similar. When mistakes are made, we shrug, say “sorry”, give the poor soul a few hundred thousand dollars and send them on their way.

It’s time to change the paradigm.

And finally, we must do away with the trial tax. If we believe in a system that guarantees a trial by jury, it is time for prosecutors to stop whispering to defense attorneys “This judge will max your guy out if you lose.” A judge needs to take the excessive punishment out of the equation and sentence a defendant with reason and responsibility. The BS that the judge increased the sentence after the plea offer because s/he learned more about he case after the trial is just that: bull shit. It is a fiction and we all know it and it is time we speak up about it. If you try a case and if you lose, and if the sentence ends up being something like 5 or ten times the plea offer, it is time to put the facts on the record, accuse the judge and prosecutor of vindictiveness, and preserve the issue for appeal.


There are judges sitting in our Miami courthouse today who have been reversed for vindictiveness for giving – and we are now speaking about one particular instance- a defendant 99 years after a PVH in which the defendant turned down a plea offer of a guideline sentence of 57 months. This kind of crap has to stop, and Judges who do this need to suffer some type of ramification. This judge in question suffered nothing more than the embarrassment of the Third DCA’s opinion. Something more should have happened to a judge who so cavalierly tossed a man’s life away for no good reason. Perhaps they shouldn't be a judge, or shouldn't be in criminal court.

The legal system thrives on suing doctors who make mistakes, and yet does very little to lawyers and judges who make similar mistakes. When a doctor screws up, the patient dies. When a Judge mistakenly and vindictively sentences an innocent man to life in prison, the man dies a little bit every day. We'd take the former over the latter without any hesitation.

See You In Court.




Sunday, November 25, 2007

A TEASER FOR WEEK 12

The first thing that jumps out at us is that the Philly/Cheaters over/under line is 50.5 Very rare to see a 50 point line, and yet how many times have the cheater themselves scored in the 40’s this year? It helps if you cheat. Cheaters are also -22, which has got to be some kind of record, and again, how many twenty point plus wins have the Cheaters had this year? Stay away from this game. Too many uncertainties.

Vikes go to New Jersey to play the NY Giants. The line is Giants -7.5 and the over/under is 41. We like the under more than we like giving up that extra half a point. However, if you play teasers this is the game to tease.
Here is how it works: You risk 110 to win 100, and you get 6 points in a two proposition bet. In this instance we would say you bet 110 and tease the line to Giants -1.5 and under 47. Or you could tease the Giants to -1.5 and the Rams to +9. The Giants should win at home today, the question is will it be close. Longtime and careful readers will recognize that this is the very first time we have ever recommended a teaser, because in the long run they will break you, but today might be the day to take a plunge for some fun.


Woof woof.
Hear that?It’s a home dog barking. The St. Louis Rams: they call them butter because they are on a roll. Winner of their last two, the Rams are a home dog of +3 over the inconsistent Seahawks. Take a splash, and throw a bone to the home dog. Rams +3, or better yet, take the money line and lay 100 to win 155.

Houston versus Cleveland. Want the stat of the year? The Brownies are 9-0-1 on the over this year. Yes, nine of their ten games have gone over, and one has hit the number dead on. No surprise that the over/under in this shootout is 51. 51!!!!!???? Are these Browns for real? Maybe they are. We are wary of the over here, in fact we say buck the trend and take the under, and we like the Browns at home -3.5.


Dolphins not playing today and you’re looking for something to do? Check out the new Sidney Lumet thriller: “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.” Phillip Seymour Hoffman….Marisa Tomei in a small but very well played part…Ethan Hawke who never quite makes it for us as the hero in his movies, but revels in the role of small time loser. This is a great film by a great director who makes great films (The Verdict, Serpico, Prince of the City, oh..and a little movie that happened to be the first one he directed: “12 Angry Men.” ) Sidney Lumet is 83. He has made 44 films in 50 years, and this ranks right up there as one of his best.

Is it Sunday already? The time off went too fast. See you tomorrow ready for trial.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

PERKS

Friday night Wine tastings. In office massages. Personal valets to pick up dry cleaning and take the dog to the vet. Sabbaticals to learn to play the piano.

The NY Times has an article
HERE on the perks law firm associates are getting as firms get more competitive to land and keep the best (read: the ones who can bill 2600 hours a year) associates.

A long time ago, in a land far far away, we turned down an offer from a big firm and chose instead to move to Florida, where in our first year we earned less than we would have paid in taxes at the big firm. We have never looked back.

The practice of criminal law in Miami is rewarding, satisfying, and fun.

Query: right now: a big New York or Washington DC or Chicago law firm offers you 150 thousand a year, plus perks, plus year end bonuses of 25-50 thousand. In exchange you work 13 hours a day six days a week, fifty weeks a year, for 5-10 years at a chance to become a partner;
do you take it?


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The "alternate" Broward Blog has a post HERE about a situation that may or may not have occurred in Dade. Quick summary: a Miami defense attorney allegedly kept quiet when a case being handled by a special prosecutor out of Broward appeared on Calendar and the Broward prosecutor didn't get notice of the hearing. Upshot is that with no file, the Dade Prosecutors eventually nolle prossed the case while the defense attorney said nothing.

Rumpole says: 100% wrong move. The very best thing a client can have is an attorney in court who the Judge and the prosecutor trust. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and one stupid act to wreck it forever.

Have good holiday weekend. Football picks Sunday to make up for the lack of year end bonuses.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

HAPPY THANKSGIVING


(no this is not a judicial convention)



Three football games for our consideration today.

Green Bay goes to Detroit where the home town Lions are getting 3.5. The over/under is between 48.5 and 47.

The resurgent NY Jets go to Dallas where they play the suddenly mighty Cowboys. The boys are giving up 13.5 and the over/under is 47.5


The Colts roll into Atlanta where the low flying Falcons cannot wait until this season is over. Their QB is in jail, and with him their hopes of the playoffs and beyond. No pun, but this has been a dog of a season for the Falcons. (Ok. Bad pun.) The Colts are 13 point favorites and the over under is 41. Avoid the line here and take the over.

Detroit is a dangerous team today. They are playing their second game at home after losing to the NY Giants last week. In many ways, the Lions season is on the line today. Wanna have some fun? Eschew (“avoid, or shun” for you robed readers) the points and take the money line: lay 100 to win about 155. Green Bay has nothing at stake here while the Lions have everything to lose. Nervous about not getting any points? Then take the home dog- you’ll never go broke taking a home dog in the NFL. We also like the over 48.

J…E…T…S….can’t do it twice in a row. With a bye week, they had two weeks to prepare to shock the Steelers last week, who turned in perhaps their worst effort of the season. But now the Jets have a short week to prepare for the Cowboys who are riding high. Washington gave the boys about the best competition these cowpokes are likely to see until they meet up with the Packers in the NFC championship game in January 08. Take the pokes, leave the gravy and the Jets.


Enjoy your holiday and remember today is about giving thanks. As young American men and women are on battlefields overseas, please take a minute to remember the sacrifice they are making so that we may give thanks in peace with our families today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

MIKE MAYO'S CHEAP SHOT

Judge William Dimitrouleas (Judge D as he is known to those of us who practice on the rocket docket) sentenced former Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne to a year and a day last Friday. The initial guidelines were 18-24 months but the Judge accepted the arguments of the defense and the calculations of the Probation department and lowered the guidelines to 12-18 months. As a side note, when is the last time any federal practitioner remembers Probation calculating the guidelines lower than expected? It happens as often as Judge D or Judge Huck grant a second continuance- meaning rarely if at all.

Sun Sentinel Columnist Mike Mayo weighed in the day after Jenne’s sentence with a column full of invective tripe criticizing Judge D for his lenient treatment of a rich and powerful politician.


Mayo’s column pandering to the ignorant and baseless of Broward is HERE

Here is part of what Mayo wrote:
It was stunning and sad, seeing Broward County's former top cop led away Friday.But it was also a little enraging to see the way justice plays out for the powerful and connected. Sitting through the show that was Jenne's sentencing hearing, with its parade of power brokers testifying on his behalf, I had the distinct impression that if this were you or I, we might not have gotten the same courtesies.

Not only is Mr. Mayo dead wrong, but it is that kind of ‘the justice system is fixed for the powerful” crap that causes the problems we now have today in criminal law.

First as to Ken Jenne: Judge D did just what we want a Judge to do in a sentencing hearing: he weighed the defendant’s entire life against his admitted crimes. Judge D saw beyond the public’s cry for blood lust and vengeance and he fashioned a sentence that punished Mr. Jenne but was proportionate to his crime. Mr. Jenne served the public for over 30 years, and for the most part he served the public well. He left a lucrative law practice for public service, and along the way he made mistakes and lapses of judgment that became crimes. Jenne damn well should have known better, and for that reason the former Sheriff of Broward County sits in jail cell as you are reading this. That along with the public humiliation, probable disbarment, possible loss of pension, and financial burdens now thrust upon Mr. Jenne’s 60 year old wife are sufficient punishment for this man.

But Mr. Mayo cannot (or more likely ,chooses not) to see that the justice system does not exist merely for the judge to be a human calculator in which he or she totals the high possible sentence and then imposes that sentence. We have had (and currently have) our share of those Judges in Miami State court, and none of those Judges are especially admired for their acumen, insight and legal decisions.

In Mayo’s world, every time a judge does not arrive at the maximum sentence, especially for a public figure, it means the justice system is broken and served by a bunch of liberal “turn em loose” Judges who with a wink and a nod let their politician pals loose. That type of column catches the eye of the public, not to mention Hollywood, but it does a disservice to the readers of the Sun Sentinel and the citizens of Broward.

Mr. Mayo wonders about whether the average citizen gets a sentencing hearing like Mr. Jenne has had before Judge D. The answer is an emphatic yes! Just how many sentencing hearings conducted by Judge D has Mr. Mayo sat through, before he decided to cry out in public that another rich and powerful politician had gotten off again? We’d venture to guess that the answer is none. The truth is that the practice in the Southern District is that the counsel for the defendant informs the chambers of the Judge how long the sentencing hearing will take, and in every instance we have been involved in, the Judge’s staff accommodates the defense and schedules sufficient time on the calendar for the Judge to carefully listen to what the defendant and his supporters have to say.

Apparently Mayo's ideal Judge would have said "I've read the newspaper coverage of Mr. Jenne's activities and that's all I need to hear. There will be no witnesses at this sentencing hearing, and I will be imposing the very highest sentence allowable by law." Maybe Mr. Mayo and Dick Cheney want a justice system that does that, but speaking for the rest of the civilized world, we'll take the current system where a Federal Judge is immune from politics and pressure in arriving at a fair and just sentence.

If the powerful get off, Mr. Jenne would be home right now carving a Turkey and toasting his defense attorney. What bothers us is that what Mayo has done is pander to the public’s ignorance of the justice system and their appetite to hear that another powerful figure “got off”.

The BBC has an article

HERE that reports about a study that has determined that an 8 fold increase in the US prison population since 1970 has done little to end recidivism and crime in the US, while taxpayers spend more than 27 billion dollars a year warehousing people with little positive effect.

Here’s a headline for Mayo’s paper: “The Prison System in US is a Failure.” But that doesn’t inspire the populist outrage that Mayo is looking for. Easier to write tripe about lenient Judges and powerful politicians , then a thoughtful examination of the real issues at hand.

On Thanksgiving Mr. Mayo will enjoy his Turkey with his loved ones while Ken Jenne sits in a federal jail cell pondering his wrecked life. And that's the way it should be. Ken Jenne needed to be punished for his crimes. But nobody should get away with calling Mr. Jenne's sentence a gift. It wasn't. It was proper punishment meted out by a good Judge to a good man who made some tragically poor decisions while otherwise serving the public.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

SUPREME COURT GRANTS CERT

BREAKING BLOG NEWS

The US Supreme Court has granted certiorari in DC v. Heller (click on case for link to SCOTUS Blog) in which the court will for the first time in 68 years address the meaning of the Second Amendment's right to bear arms clause.

The NY Times article is HERE

It is interesting to note that the Court rejected the issue as framed by both of the parties in the underlying case. When a case is appealed to the Supreme Court, the way the issue is phrased can be just as important as the argument on the merits.

In Heller the court decided to frame the issue itself:

“Whether the following provisions — D.C. Code secs. 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02 — violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?”

Rumpole says: This court is rapidly becoming out of step with the American public. The main reason is that the Justice who played the largest role in keeping the court balanced was O'Connor. O'Connor provided the crucial fifth vote for either coalition for the last twenty years, and without her steadying influence on not moving too quickly, and searching for a reasonable middle ground, the court as it now stands is deeply fractured.

Rumpole predicts: Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito push Kennedy very hard for that fifth vote striking down the law. Scalia is just itching to write an "originalist" opinion interpreting an amendment that has a scarcity of case law and opinions. Whether Kennedy gives him that opportunity, and whether Roberts assigns him the opinion is another matter altogether.

NEW BOND HEARING SCHEDULES

From the Desk of Judge Sam Slom comes the brand new schedule for bond hearings:

Dear Colleagues:
Good morning.

Beginning this coming Monday, November 19th, misdemeanor first appearance hearings will be conducted live in Courtroom 3-2 (the defendants will be physically present in the courtroom). The morning session will begin at 9am and the afternoon session at 1:45pm.

Felony bond hearings will continue to be conducted via video in Courtroom 5-3. The morning session will begin at 9am and the afternoon session at 1:45pm.

Weekend and holiday first appearance hearings for adults will continue as usual with one hearing via video in Courtroom 5-3.


Couple of Rumpole thoughts: What if a defense attorney has a client in misdemeanor and felony bond hearings at the same time?

What was the reasoning behind bringing misdemeanor defendants to the courthouse instead of doing it via video?

Remember when Judges would set bonds with an "01" like setting a bond for $10,001 as a code for other judges not to lower the bond?

Trivia question: What courtroom originally had the video bond hearings?

Final thought: So the administrative Judges have finally come to the realization that they need two Judges to do the job that Gerry Klein was doing. And even with two Judges, Rumpole believes the bond hearings will not be done as quickly and efficiently as Judge Klein did them.

See You In Court, Not getting a bond.

Monday, November 19, 2007

VICK SURRENDERS!

BREAKING BLOG NEWS

Disgraced dog killer and Atlanta Falcon QB Michael Vick has surrendered to federal custody weeks before his scheduled sentencing in federal court.

The NY Times article is
HERE

Query for the Fed experts among us: Smart move or patent pandering?

"BACK" TO THE 4TH AMENDMENT

In a highly anticipated case (Maryland v. Paulino, Supreme Court Docket# 07-266)
involving the scope of a search incident to arrest and the Fourth Amendment, Supreme Court scholars are anxiously watching to see which lawyer will be achieve fame and enter legal history by being the first lawyer ever to use the words “buttocks” , “ass cheeks”, and “ass cracks” in a public legal argument with Justices Scalia and Thomas.


The information is on the Supreme Court blog HERE
(scroll down to the petitions for cert on 11/15/07)

The Defendant testified at the suppression hearing:

[Mr. Paulino]: They had searched me in my pockets, didn’t find nothing, and
eventually, they came to the subject where – in my report, it states that the
officer said, Mr. Paulino, why is your butt cheeks squeezed? And in further
response, I said nothing. He said it again, and another officers come behind
with gloves and pulled my pants down and went in my ass. Well, my cheeks.
Sorry about that.


The Maryland Court framed the issue this way:

Did the search of Petitioner, which involved an officer putting on
plastic gloves and spreading the cheek s of Petitioner’s buttocks to reveal drugs
which were not visible before that time, violate the Fourth Amendment, when
the search was con ducted in the parking lot of a car wash in the presence of
individuals other than the searching officer?


This case affects Miami in many ways. Beyond the legion of leering police officers just waiting for permission to legally shove their hands downs the backsides of models sashaying down Ocean Drive, the question remains whether the “hip/hop” fashion of wearing pants below the waist is constitutionally significant?


From the Maryland Appellate Court:

It remains un-clear whether Paulino ’s pants were below his waist as a result of his
removal from the vehicle in the course of the arrest, or, whether Paulino intentionally wore his pants below his waist as a part of a fad. Even if Paulino intentionally wore his pants below his waist and his undergarments were exposed , we conclude that because Paulino’s pants were below his waist he retained, nevertheless, a Fourth Amendment right to privacy in his person.



Will Justice Souter and his clerks stroll down the hallowed hallways of the Supreme Court with their pants hanging fashionably low, shouting out a “Yo! My Dog” to Chief Justice Roberts as they pass him by?

Will Miami lawyers now be able to recreate the search of their fetching clients in the private confines of their offices without fearing Bar reprisals?

There’s no “backing” away from this controversy. This case will not fall between the “cracks”. Which Supreme Court Justice will be “ass”igned the opinion?

Somehow, this whole Fourth Amendment issue appeals to our own prurient interests. See, Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).

See You In Court,
reading the latest cases from the Supreme Court so we don't get caught "behind" the new changes in the law.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

WEEK ELEVEN

Picking football games correctly is all about one thing: finding a trend that the public has missed and thus the line does not reflect. In our opinion, this is easier earlier in the year when opinions about teams are largely based (usually incorrectly) on the year before. Trends we missed this year: that the Packers, Cheaters and Cowpokes would be as good as they are. Trends we feasted on: that the Chargers and Aint’s were no where near as good as people thought they were. Trends that never materialized: that the 49'ers and Cardinals would tear up their divisions. Wait till next year!.

The Giants roll into Detroit where the game is listed between even and Detroit slightly favored. One trend we heard discussed this past week was the trend of teams to bounce back after a tough loss. This trend (which the Dolphins have obviously not heard about) becomes more pronounced when the team loses two games in a row and where in one of those games the opposing team scored more than 35 points. In that scenario the trend is something like 25-1 against the spread since 2000. This is because the public loses faith in the team and begins to under value that team.

No game fits that trend today, but the Giants have been on a roller coaster all season. Good enough to win the games they should win, not good enough against the elite teams of the league.
That being said, the number we see here is the over/under 49. Take the under. If you can get the game at even or -2 take the Giants.


The Mighty NE Cheaters roll into Buffalo for another win on the schedule. The over/under is (for the Cheaters) a low 46 and with the Bills RB Lych out, this game could be a shootout. Take the over 46 and just for fun, throw a few chicken wings on the Bills +16. You never know.


The Dolphins play the Eagles today in Philly. Home of Rocky. Underdog Dolphins start rookie QB Beck. Is this Rumpole’s upset special of the year???? Hardly. Take the under 41 as the Philly defense keeps this game low and slow.

Arizona Cardinals roll into Cincinnati where the stumbling Bengals remain one of this season’s biggest disappointments. Marvin Lewis is too good of a coach to be stuck with this bunch of losers that has quit on him. Meanwhile in Arizona, the chant is “Nobody beats the Whiz” as rookie head coach Ken Whizenhut has taken some lemons and made some lemonade. However, this Cardinal team has some problems on offense starting with the QB. An uninspired Bengals team keeps this game under the number of 48.5.

Warning: no game jumps out at us here today. Go low and slow if you must play at all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

ATTEMPTED MURDER?

The Herald reports HERE
that a woman who has HIV has been accused of attempted murder of a police officer by
expectorating on the officer. (For you robed readers, that means “spitting”)

Just how will the prosecution prove intent?

Two issues:


1) Isn’t it very difficult to spread the HIV virus? Doesn’t there need to be an exchange of body fluids? Doesn’t the CDC say that it is almost impossible to spread the HIV virus with saliva? But let’s take it to the next level: lets say the woman threw a vial of her blood on the back of a police officer who was in uniform? As vile as the throwing of the vial may be, there is virtually no chance of contracting HIV. So how can an act that has almost no chance of succeeding be considered attempted murder?

2) Is contracting HIV a death sentence? While we do not minimize the problems associated with HIV, aren’t millions of Americans living with the disease as chronic illness as opposed to dying? Doesn't there need to be at least a proximate cause between the act and the intended consequence?


Again, we do not minimize the conduct of the woman nor do we disvalue the life and well being of the officer. We are not saying the act is not a crime.

We are saying that we do not see how the crime of attempted murder can be proved.


See You In Court.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUMPOLE


It’s been two years since our humble blog opened with this on November 15, 2005 :

Welcome to the Justice Building Blog.
My Name is Horace Rumpole.

We seek comments, rumors, and stories on any and all Miami Justice Building habituates, Judges, Prosecutors, Attorneys, and defendants. While we (the royal we) will not be libelous, and we will not pick on those not able to defend themselves [ insert your favorite judge here] , we love a good story about a Judge or lawyer putting his or her foot in their mouth. A juicy rumor that is not too harmful will also be posted.As you can see in my profile, I have assumed the identity of that famed English Barrister Rumpole of the Bailey. The names have indeed been changed to protect - not the innocent- but those of us who still need to go to court from time to time to get our clients a bond.


Two years of laughs, and tears, and typos, and picking on our dear robed readers.


Regrets: we have a few, but then again, too few to mention. Actually only one- that several attorneys and one in particular have had to suffer the wrath of unfairly and wrongly being labeled Rumpole. The simple truth is that there is not one shred of evidence as to who we actually are, and to the extent our existence has caused any individual a problem, and unfortunately it has, we sincerely apologize. We never meant our enjoyment to come at anyone’s expense.

Triumphs: We think there were several. We brought the horrible treatment of Dade lawyers by Broward Judges to the table for discussion, and we think things have changed. We served as an on-line gathering place when we lost our dear friend Judge Manny Crespo. Readers posted comments for days, and we remain very proud that we could provide that for our friends in the Justice Building, and our friend Judge Crespo. Tragedy struck again with the death of Judge Henry Leyte Vidal, and again we gathered together as a community of lawyers, judges, clerks, and others and remembered our friend who had passed on.



We were very proud to promote Sy Gaer’s birthday party at Tobacco Road, which we think deep down many of knew was a chance so say “thank you Sy for being who you are” because we knew the time to say it was running out. And of course we again opened our blog to the wonderful remembrances of Sy when he left us earlier this year.

The most surprising post that we are proud of is the discourse between two legal giants in the Miami criminal law community: Roy Black and Abe Laeser as they wrote about their famous courtroom battle in our post entitled the
Case That Made Miami Burn.

We didn’t take down a chief judge like the Broward Blog, but then again, we like Joe Farina and we don’t want to see him going anywhere.

We have raged against the unfairness of how Judge Gerry Klein was unceremoniously dumped after 50 years of service to this community, and we have reveled in pointing out the daily absurdities judges come up with. No motions for continuance at soundings being the most famous of the ridiculous rules we have railed against.

Along the way we have picked up a cast of characters, From The Captain to Batman and all the famous “fakes” who post.

From our famous Sunday morning football picks (and we have had the most surprising run of good luck these past two years. We challenge any football tout to pick games like we do, on the record and in public, and match our winning percentage these past two years.) to our political Friday posts, it has been amazing two years for us. We shall continue on this long strange journey for as long as there is breath in our lungs, passion in our heart, and a modicum of mediocre writing talent to keep our dear readers reading.

See You In Court. We’re the ones with the birthday cake.

THE RIGHT TO BARE ARMS

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”


This was the HEADLINE
in the Herald:

"Shots fired at cops after robbery at Starbucks."

Were those shots of espresso?

It's actually a very poor joke.

How many officers in Broward County have died in the line of duty this year? 4? 5? And one deputy recovering from a gunshot wound to the head.

There is an epidemic in this country, and it is death by handguns.


The US Supreme Court has never directly addressed the question of whether the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to possess a firearm in his/her home.

There is now a request for cert. pending before the court in 07-290 (District of Columbia v. Heller) which addresses that very issue. The case was financed and brought by a wealthy individual at the Cato institute who intended to engineer the case to bring the question to the Supreme Court.

A decision in 1939, United States v. Miller, held that a sawed-off shotgun was not one of the “arms” to which the Second Amendment applied.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Asked during his confirmation hearing what he thought that sentence meant, soon to be Chief Justice Roberts responded that the Miller decision had “side-stepped the issue” and had left “very open” the question of whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right as opposed to a collective right. (We obtained this quote from the
NY Times article of November 13, 2007).

We rarely get beyond questions of interpretation of the disorderly intoxication statute, but to our eyes it seems pretty clear that the right to arms relates directly to the creation of a Militia.

Despite our President's misuse and wasting of military resources, we don't think the 3rd Armored division will soon be in need of our somewhat rusty rifle.

Law enforcement types tend to be the sort of right wing "law and order" Republicans that drive around with bumper stickers stating "when it is a crime to have a gun...only criminals will have guns."

However, as they get gunned down at record rates in Broward this year, just how many more tragedies will it take before something is done? How many millions of unregistered and illegal firearms are on our streets?

We know this is a hot button issue. But here is what we also know: when those thugs who robbed Starbucks started firing at police officers, none of the customers drew their own firearms and shot the latte larceny perpetrators dead.

We guess it's possible to live in a world where everyone walks around with a sidearm. And we agree if that were the case, the principle of mutual assured destruction would probably reduce gun violence.

But absent the arming of the entire population over the age of 18, we think the solution is less guns, not more.

We like to quip that the framers made a typo when drafting the second amendment, and that what they intended was to guarantee our citizens the right to wear short sleeved shirts (bare arms-get it?) But nothing is funny about what has happened in Broward this year.

See You In Court.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

WE RECEIVED THIS MEMO

Subject: ELEVENTH CIRCUIT JNC SUBMITS SIX NAMES TO GOVERNOR FOR VACANCY


ELEVENTH CIRCUIT JNC SUBMITS SIX NAMES TO GOVERNOR FOR VACANCY
The Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission in Miami-Dade Countyhas submitted the following six names to Gov. Charlie Crist for his consideration for the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Jorge J.Perez:


Joseph Davis

Judge Darrin Gayles
Judge Bronwyn Miller
David Peckins
Judge George Sarduy
Lisa Walsh

Monday, November 12, 2007

WE'RE BACK

We're back from the briny sea, tanned and ready to take on the day.

Is there an opening on the Federal Bench? Some comments over the weekend mentioned some Judges. We read Melvia Green's name, and she would be an excellent choice. We read another name, and quite frankly we can't think of a worse Judge in the entire State of Florida. But that is for another day.

The Dolphins march on towards an imperfect season. No team has ever finished the season win less, but our once proud Dolphins seem primed to make a run at it.

You could spend your free time in a lot worse ways then reading the Pulitzer Prize winning book "An Army At Dawn", which details the US Army's initial involvement in WWII: Operation Torch and the invasion of North Africa.

Mondays off or Fridays off? We'd pick Fridays off every time. The craziness of a combined Monday/Tuesday calendar on a Tuesday when the courthouse is dark on Monday is just not worth it. Friday calendar's are lighter and it's easier to absorb the Friday cases on Monday. Plus it's more fun to start the weekend Thursday night.

We really have no idea what's going on in the REGJB, and we think we have rambled enough.

See you in court, eyes and ears open for the latest gossip.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

WEEK NINE

And after going 5-0 last week, Rumpole is mighty fine heading into week nine.

Who won the suicide pool?

Who told you to take the Colts and the under when the entire football picking, grit eating world (note the obscure reference to “My Cousin Vinny”. I’ve had a lot of coffee this morning.) was picking the Cheaters and especially the Under?

Rumpole. That's who. Trial Lawyer. Football tout extraordinaire. (There. I’ve just about guaranteed a losing day today.)

The Buffalo Bills rumble into Miami as a road favorite. Buffalo? The team with the most injuries since the 82nd Airborne stopped the German army at Bastogne in the Ardennes Forrest in December 1944? Yes, those Buffalo Bills are a road favorite, against a home team coming off a bye week. What does that mean? It means you run from this game like a Judge asking for a favor. Stay away from it. No picks here.


The Cowboys play the Giants in New Jersey. We’re beginning to think that these Cowpokes are just a mite bit overrated. While the Giants have rallied and surprised us, as we had them winning about two games and their coach fired by now. The Giants are coming off a bye week, and the line is anywhere from even to the Giants favored by 1.5. The under line is 49, and we like the under. Good teams play good defense, as we very well knew last week in the game of the millennium. Take the Giants big, and take the Under small.


Jax plays the Titans at Tennessee. We like the Titans -4, and we like the under 35. It’s a low number, but these teams have a history of playing under. That being said, don’t bet the mortgage on the under. That was for last week. Just a couple of six packs worth of under is enough here.

There is just not a lot of match ups we like this week. So rather than push it when it isn’t there, we’re going to leave our picks as they are: but here are a few thoughts:

The Dolphins/Bills o/u is 40-41, and something tells us this could be a shoot out. Good teams play good defense, and neither of these two teams qualify for the label good, so the reverse corollary is true: bad teams play bad defense.

Norv Turner in San Diego should be arrested on suspicion of murder. He took the super bowl contending Chargers and killed them. Somewhere Marty Schottenheimer is laughing. The Colts would be the play but for the issue of how bad are they hurting for blowing a game they should have won? Tony Dungy is the class of the coaches here, and in the NFL. They don’t come any better than Dungy, and if anyone could have his team ready to go, it would be him. The problem is that in this business you go broke fast betting against home dogs, and the Chargers are getting 3.5, so be careful.


Steelers pounded the Browns in week one. But since then the Brownies have a new QB and a three game winning streak. Something tells us that the men of steel are just not as good as they looked Monday night. The Ravens got old fast. We think the Steelers will win this one, but it could be close. An angry team looking for revenge with a new QB says to us to leave the game alone.

Don't forget at 11:00 AM today what is really important. 2 Minutes of silence is the least we can do to remember.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

11th Hour 11th Day 11th Month

This is why we have Monday off.

SWITCHING ROLES

UPDATED: SEE BELOW

We have long advocated Public Defenders and Prosecutors switching jobs for six months during their first three years.

Now comes a speech from former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who says she favors just the same thing. For our robed readers, Justice O'Connor advocates doing away with the election of Judges.

JUSTICE O'CONNOR


From the article:

In England, lawyers serve both as prosecutors and defense lawyers, paid from the public treasury. "We see a level of courtesy we don't see in our country," O'Connor said. "They realize there are problems in both areas."
She said would like to find some state or local governments in the United States that would be willing to create a staff of public lawyers, who "would spend some time on both sides."


Lord knows we have taken our shots at the Miami Judiciary (all well deserved in our opinion) . And yet our Judiciary has been marked over the years by a wonderful ability to create innovative programs and challenge old ideas. We started the first drug court in the country. Ms. Reno's office had some of, if not the first, specialized divisions dealing with sexual abuse of children, domestic violence, and before drug court, Ms. Reno and Mr. Brummer worked on several programs to deal with the crack cocaine epidemic.

Now is the time for Ms. Rundle, Mr. Brummer, Chief Judge Farina, Judge Blake and others to sit down and make this happen. We are talking about County Court positions here. It's not like PD's will be sitting down rifling through sensitive files. There are plenty of Branch Court positions where ASA's deal mostly with unrepresented defendants, and that would be a great place to start. On the other side, put a few ASA's in the early representation division and have them spend a few weeks speaking with defendants who have just been incarcerated. Learning about the traumatic toll being in jail takes on a defendant and their family might just help those ASA's from throwing around 364 offers without any thought as to the consequences.


See you in court.

A reader wrote in with these comments, and s/he is 100% correct:

Anonymous said...
funny you dont mention any things that a pd might learn serving as an asa.

1. there are actually victims of crime who suffer at the hands of the defendants.
2. not all asa's are nazis (that line must be fed to baby pd's like mothers milk.
3. asa's dont give you discovery not because they dont want to, they are overwhelmed and deal with cops who dont give them all reports.
4. if you think you have it rough in court dealing with defendant's, its not so easy dealing with cops, victims and witnesses who dont give a shit about what you are doing

Rumpole says: Our motto: When you're right, write.

Two small points: any generalization by any group of attorneys against another group is counterproductive to resolving issues.
However, we recently heard a County Court Prosecutor say to another prosecutor "I don't trust anything any defense attorney says. They're all scum."
Now beyond the problem of stereotypes, Prosecutors are paid to dispense justice. Thus, a greater problem arises when a prosecutor thinks like that, then when a defense attorney thinks like that about prosecutors. Is it fair? Nope. But that's the point- as law enforcement officers and lawyers prosecutors are held to a higher standard. When prosecutors perform to that standard (as most do) they have every right to be especially proud.

Anyway, we thank the reader for saying what needed to be said. Well Done.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

DEPUTY PAUL REIN





















Deputy Paul Rein
Killed in the Line of Duty November 7, 2007.
(Picture from the Broward Blog.)

We had a whole host of emails we complied into a “tales from the Blitz-day two. But that will have to wait.

Those of us who read this blog find ourselves dealing with police officers every day in our jobs. Like everyone else, some of these officers are great people, some have bad attitudes, and some are just having bad days when we cross their paths. But unlike just about any other job in the civilian world (firefighter is about the only other one) every day they wake up and put on their uniform and kiss their family goodbye may be their last day alive. They have taken an oath to protect us, and on some tragic days, when they perform their job, they die.

We should never forget that no matter what the outcome of our cases in court; no matter if the officer is a nice guy, or if we feel s/he didn’t tell the truth in a case, that these public servants risk their lives for a whole lot less money than most of us make.

The next time you see an officer- thank them for the sacrifice they make. Let them know that even if as professionals we oppose them in court, that as citizens of Dade County we appreciate their dedication and bravery. By telling an officer that you appreciate their dedication, you are thanking all officers for the sacrifices they have made, and you honor the memory of those officers, like Deputy Paul Rein, who did their job and lost their life in the performance of their duty.


See You In Court, where sometimes just buying someone a cup of coffee leads to a life long friendship.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

WHY WE ARE LAWYERS

Now is the time to spend a brief moment forgetting about the problems of your luxury SUV, and put aside the problems with your new 60 inch LCD HD TV.
There are more serious problems to consider today.

All of us who are proud of the fact that we are lawyers can stand a little taller today. Our brethren attorneys in Pakistan are literally the last line of defense of liberty in a country teetering towards totalitarianism as the General who is President has suspended the Constitution, confined the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to his home, and declared Martial Law. In response it was the lawyers who fought back.

As the NY Times reported on
TUESDAY Lawyers in Pakistan faced down the military:

The Musharraf government’s resolve to silence its fiercest opponents was evident in the strength of the crackdown by baton-wielding police officers who pummeled lawyers and then hauled them by the legs and arms into police wagons in Lahore.
At one point, lawyers and police officers clashed in a pitched battle, with lawyers standing on the roof of the High Court throwing stones at the police below, and the police hurling them back. Some of the lawyers were bleeding from the head, and some passed out in clouds of tear gas.

Armed only with stones and the knowledge of liberty and democracy, lawyers trained to respect the Constitution and the Rule of Law did not go quietly into the night in the face of an oppressive military government. Our colleagues stood firm, the last line of defense of liberty against a government bent on suspending individual rights and the rule of law.


The Pakistani lawyers are led by by Aitzaz Ahsan, a US- Cambridge-trained lawyer. The Lawyers of Pakistan have been confronting the government since the spring of this year when General Musharraf “fired” the entire Supreme Court and placed dozens of Judges under “house arrest.” With the Judiciary under arrest and politicians being intimidated and beaten, the lawyers are the only ones left in Pakistan standing up to the Musharraf regime.

In an age and a time when lawyers get a bad rap as fee seeking obstructionists who have set up a legal system that only they profit from ( and some of this criticism of the legal system in the US rings true to our ears) we can be proud of the fact that at our center (when you slice us in half) remain our core values of respect for the law.

When the Musharrafs and Dick Cheneys of the world gain power and seek to suspend the liberties that make us Americans, it will be the lawyers who will stand united at the courthouse doors and say "No"; it will be the lawyers marching in the streets tell our citizens that what the government is doing is illegal (see: Guantanamo Bay). When the day comes (hopefully never) when some super flu runs rampant through the world- we will turn to our doctors to heal our bodies- and we will depend on lawyers to protect our rights in the face of Presidents and Potentates that are all too quick to declare national emergencies at the expense of Democracy.

The soul of this country is our Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t give rights; what is given can be taken away. The Constitution enumerates and protects those rights that the Framers called God given.

Lawyers who stand against guns to protect liberty are performing holy acts. Some will be beaten, and some may die. Such is the price free people pay for Democracy.

When the twin towers in New York fell, a newspaper in Paris led with the headline “Today we are all Americans.” We’d like to think that for one day we in our legal community can say “Today we are all Pakistanis.”

What the Lawyers in Pakistan are doing should not be ignored.

It is holy.
And it will not be forgotten, for in this Country, these words are holy:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Monday, November 05, 2007

PLEASE IN ABSENTIA

Can someone please (pretty pleas) resolve this?

Rich and Angry Traffic Lawyer said...
RUMP I'M PISSED.You may not be a traffic lawyer or a ticket lawyer, but I am and here is what sucked about this blitz.There are a number of stupid stupid acts that are crimes. Driving without glasses. Driving with an expired (not suspended) license. Etc. This was the type of crap on today. No DUI's. No serious traffic cases with accidents. Judges Bloom and Newman would not accept waiver's allowing representation in absentia. Technically, they require court approval. So when the State was not ready, and you had a waiver, they either issued a BW or let you plea. The whole point of this Blitz is to clear out junk cases that are in the system and cops aren't showing up on. Furthermore, normal Monday trials have prior Wednesday soundings. Not these Blitz cases. So according to Newman and Bloom, they wanted me to take my 125 cases this week where I have authority to proceed in absentia and place them on their busy calendars last week, and because I didn't do that, I was put in the position of pleding a case where the state was not ready, or getting a bench warrant.


Now bless her soul, Judge Ortiz gets it.
She lambasted the State for that type of behavior and made them NP all cases they were not ready on. Oritz gets the idea behind the Blitz.

Wait- it gets worse. Apparently MDPD changed the way they notify officers this week and the State's hundreds of subpoenas for them did not reach them. I don't know about the other Courtrooms, But Judge Newman gave the State a continuance in every case they asked for. Some Blitz- if the state is ready you plead- if their not ready they get a continuance, unless you have an authority to plea in absentia, in which case you get a bench warrant. Sounds like a no-win situation for the Defendant. Rumpole, you and only you can publicize this outrage. Please help.


HERE IS THE RULE: Rule 3.180 (d) Defendant May Be Tried in Absentia for Misdemeanors. Personsprosecuted for misdemeanors may, at their own request, by leave of court,be excused from attendance at any or all of the proceedings aforesaid.

It sounds to Rumpole like the Judges are correct. However, there is a difference between technical legal correctness and the right thing to do. Also, what the reader was trying to say was that the Judges would accept the authority to represent in absentia for the purposes of a plea, but not for purposes of trial, and we are not so sure the Judges were correct in their distinction. Either accept the authority (and the state Nolle prosses the case when they are not ready) or reject the authority because the lawyer did not obtain prior approval- which seems kind of ridiculous under the circumstances.

If there was no sounding then the individual who complained is correct: Did the Judges really want this lawyer placing 125 cases on their calendars last week to seek permission to proceed in absentia on a failure to wear eyeglasses case (and is that really a crime that people get arrested for????)

Isn’t a “blitz” supposed to be about quickly resolving cases. If you’re going to resort to technical “gotchas” then just leave the cases on the regular trial calendar.

In our humble opinion this is much ado about nothing, but we would bet that the majority of cases are handled by these lawyers in those misdemeanor courts, so someone should probably step in and resolve this conundrum.


Here is a more vexing situation:

A reader wrote in:

The 4th DCA correctly declared Ralph Arza's drag racing statute unconstitutional but the state, during the blitz, is trying to amend those drag racing tickets still in the system to reckless driving. Some judges are incorrectly allowing it and giving a state continuance, while other judges, like Karen Mills-Francis, are correctly dismissing those tickets because the state had plenty of time since the statute was found unconstitutional to file a reckless driving informations and serve the defendants with them, yet they didn't do it. If the state tries to do that on your cases, check the speedies and statute of limitations dates because reckless driving is a totally new charge with different elements from reckless driving and should be filed by information with personal service to the defendant, but if a judge were to allow the amendment to reckless driving, such an amendment would operate as a nolle prosse of the drag racing charge and a filing of a new charge, with all the legal consequences of such sequence of events.

Rumpole says: Several readers have emailed us privately asking that their names not be used complaining about this. As near as we can figure, this is what is going on: Officer arrests defendant for speeding- 4th DCA declares statute unconstitutional. Case appears in Court. State “amends” the charge to reckless driving and wants to proceed on the new charge. The reader says the state needs to file an information and obtain personal service over the Defendant on a new charge.


We tend to agree. Any thoughts?

Really, this is too much traffic stuff for us to stomach.

See You In Court, just not those courts, especially this week, where chaos seems to be the rule of the day.

PS. The Sun Sentinel
REPORTS:

A former Miami Dade Police Officer was convicted of molesting a young woman during a traffic stop.

What a heinous thing to do. Police Officers who use their badge to rape women are about the lowest of the low.


RED DOG BLITZ!!!!


Today at the REGJB the traffic lawyers have a BLITZ.!!!

Yes, those nameless lawyers that scurry to and fro from courtrooms with unusual numbers like "1-3" and "5-4" and are constantly consulting "Sy Gaer" like lists of 70 cases scribbled on tiny scraps of paper are involved in a week long "Blitz"

But as longtime and careful readers will remember, we were reminded if not chastised some many months ago by an angry representative of these traffic laywers. Because indeed, while we may scoff at these titans of traffic, they are the ones we ask to look at Aunt Gertie's careless parking ticket to see if subsection "L" needs to be capitalized on the ticket for the prosecution to insist that she attend the 3 hour traffic school.

Anyway, much of what goes on in those courtrooms is as understandable to us as Civil Lawyers fighting over subrogated insurance policies. But as this is a REGJB event, we shall endeavor to cover it.


WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER

Fake modesty does not prevent us from announcing that after nine football weeks, your favourite Blogger has won the Justice Building Suicide Pool. From an initial pool that included Rick Freedman (out on week one with a misguided guess on the Jaguars) to David Markus (who lost on the Chargers) to Dan Lurvey, Miguel De La "O"ver, and finally CK Clay Kaiser, Rumpole prevailed this week as CK's emotions got the best of him and he risked it all on KC over the Packers, which as a Bears fan, CK likes as much as Judge Huck likes continuing a case. Brett Favre bailed Rumpole out with some 4th Quarter heroics, while Rumpole's Tampa Bay Bucs rolled over the Cardinals.

CK will not get the Jet Ski, two week vacation in Acapulco, and Sony Bravia 60 inch LCD TV.

Neither will Rumpole. But a nice framed certificate announcing us as this year's winner will remain in the closet, as we can't go hanging it in our office's waiting room now, can we?

Thanks for playing and see you next year.

Some alert readers have noticed that this was quite a weekend for us, football wise.

We went 5-0 in our picks, including telling you to take both the Colts +5.5 and (gasp!) the Under 56 in the game of the Century. We were right on both counts.

As we wrote in the comments section last night while tooting our horn- this business of picking games should be left to the professionals like us. While Mr. Markus fritters his time away reading the new opinions from the 11th Circuit, we are diligently hard at work at our craft by leaving the office early, going to the bar, and carefully reviewing the sports pages from various newspapers around the country. If you want to be a football tout, you have to have the dedication to pass up the pleasurable experiences in life and put your nose to the grindstone while endlessly watching Sports Center on ESPN and the Football Channel.


See You In Court, where calling the "hot read" audibles off the blitz is something we believe is best left for Sunday afternoons and not Monday mornings.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

GAME OF THE MILLENNIUM

Arizona rumbles into Tampa Bay in the most anticipated NFL match up of the century. And Rumpole says ….OK just kidding.


THE NEW ENGLAND CHEATERS PLAY THE DEFENDING SUPER BOWL CHAMPION
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS.

The Champs versus the Cheaters.

The Champs are playing at home and are 5.5 to 6 point underdogs.
The Colts are getting no respect despite having arguably the best QB in the game (Manning) , the best WR in the game (Harrison) , the best number two WR in the game (Reggie Wayne) and one of the best pass catching TE’s in the game (Dallas Clark).

The Cheaters have arguably the best QB in the game (pretty boy Brady), the best WR in the game (Moss), the best number two WR in the game (Stallworth) and one of the best pass catching TE’s in the game (Watson).

The Cheaters have the highest ranked offense in the NFL, and the Colts have the second or third ranked offense depending on the stats you use.

That’s why Rumpole says Colts 6 - Cheaters 3. Bank on it.

No, seriously, there is some more you need to know before making a decision.

The Colts play what is called a Cover 2 offense. Tony Dungy got his start in football as a DB with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1979, and Coach Noll gave him his first coaching job in 1981. The old Steeler 4-3 cover two philosophy runs strong in Dungy (just as the Dark Side of the force runs strong in Coach Cheater). Cover 2 simply means the two safeties- Free Safety and Strong Safety - divide the deep part of the field in half, with each safety responsible for deep coverage on his half of the field.

The Cheaters will try and force the Colts to commit to a mismatch in coverage- having a safety cover TE Watson going deep or even better, flooding one side of the field and sending Moss in motion to try and get him single coverage with a safety. When that happens don’t expect pretty boy Brady to miss it too often.

When the Colts have the ball, they will be running Harrison deep and often, forcing the Cheaters to roll the safeties to help double Harrison- when that happens look for Manning to throw it to Reggie Wayne in single coverage. In the past the Cheaters have gambled with Ty Law working Harrison man on man, and shutting down the rest of the Colts weapons with double coverage. If the Cheaters can pull that off on Sunday, it’s going to be a long day for Peyton and his pals.

Here is the wildcard in all of this: make no mistake that Belichick built this team in the off season with one purpose in mind: to run score for score- TD for TD with the Colts. Recall that the Colts and the Cheaters had a shootout in last years AFC Championship, with the last team getting the ball scoring, which in last year’s case was the Colts. Cheater Bill had two choices- build up the defense to shut Manning down or build up the offense to run with the Colts. In this day and age where the offense has the advantage over the defense vis a vis the rules, Cheater Bill made the decision to run with the bulls and turn Brady loose.

So why aren’t we picking the Cheaters in a rout?

Two reasons: one- we really hate the Cheaters and we just don’t want to live in a world where they go 16-0; two- this is not the Super Bowl, and winning the Super Bowl is the goal. Call us crazy, but two years ago, during the Steelers 15-1 run, the Cheaters went to Pittsburgh in the regular season and were thoroughly whipped. Two months later the Cheaters returned to Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship game and were a different team, and embarrassed the Steelers at home. Did Cheater Bill (that evil genius of the dark side) hold something back in the regular season game to avoid giving the Steelers a look at all his weapons and to make them over confident in the playoffs? We wouldn’t put it past him. We reviewed some films of those two games and this much is clear- in game one the Cheaters played a basic offense and their defense in game one was entirely different then the defense in game two. In the first game they played a blitzing 4-3 and Roethlisberger picked them apart. In game two they played a cover two 3-4, and a nickel 2-4-5 and made Big Ben throw into coverage. The results speak for themselves. So will Cheater Bill be holding something back today in anticipation of another game in the playoffs against the Colts? In Cheater Bill’s mind, only the Colts stand between his team and another Super Bowl victory.

So here is the play today: the Colts are 5.5 to 6 point underdogs at home. Yet the money line is -110: meaning you have to bet 110 to win a 100. The money line is out of wack. Usually underdogs get favourable odds, something like +115, meaning you bet 100 to win 115. But in this game both teams are -110.


What does that tell you? It tells us that while the public loves the Cheaters (thus the books are forced to give the Colts points to get people to bet on them to even out the number of people betting on each team; remember that a books goal is to have an equal amount of money bet on each team, and the book scoops off 10% from the losing bets.) the books think this game is dead even. If both teams are -110, the books don’t want to give you money odds favoring the Colts which they should do with the Colts as an underdog.

That’s enough for us: we are contrarians. Whatever the public does, we do the opposite. Take the 5.5 or 6 points (since the pros believe it should be even with no points) and bet a few retainers on the Colts. Not a lot. Things could turn ugly fast for either team. But just enough to have some fun.



SUICIDE POOL:

Rumpole Picks the Tampa Bay Bucs over the Cardinals.


Tampa -3.5 is one of our picks. We also like the Under 37 in Carolina at Tennessee, Green Bay +2.5 at KC, and yes, under 56 in NE at Colts.
And just for the record, CK should have picked the Steelers at home over the Ravens. The Ravens beat the Steelers silly twice last year and this is a different team looking for revenge. We may well add the Steelers as a Monday Night pick during Monday.

CK wrote us:

Rumpole:

This is a very tough week to pick a winner. Of course, as your record shows, you are much better than me at doing this, and you might not think that it is such a hard week. At any rate, I have a hunch that this is the week that our contest will reach its end. I have narrowed my field down to three choices. The obvious choice for me (since I still have not used Pittsburgh) is Steelers over Ravens on Monday night, but I have a weird feeling about this game--it is a division match up between two teams that hate each other, and, while they definitely have offensive problems, the Raven still have a volatile defense. The game is too dicey for me. The second choice is Atlanta at home after a bye week against San Francisco, but I really don't trust Atlanta to do anything right, and I don't want to put my eight game winning streak on the Falcons shoulder/wings. The third choice is Kansas City off a bye week at home over Green Bay, and this is the game I like. I have watched Green Bay play a lot this year and can't believe that they have been able to win six games with no running game to speak of. Kansas City has an above-average defense, and with an extra week to prepare will have a good game plan ready, much as the Bears did when they played their arch-rival and beat them. Brett Favre has been relying on 8 yard cross route passes to move the Packers all year long, and it is going to catch up with him this week. Of course, maybe I am just tired of having to make a pick every week and am letting my irrational hatred for Favre and the Packers overwhelm my better judgment. Nevertheless, my pick is K.C. over Green Bay, and I can't wait to see what your pick will be. Whatever happens, it has been fun matching wits with the handicapping master of the RGJB.