Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Wednesday: It's nice and cold again this morning.
Our Favourite Federal Blogger has attacked us in a scathing front page frothing at the mouth fusillade full throated defense of Brendan Sullivan. Apparently Mr. Markus learned everything you need to know about waving your arms in closing from his former boss. Check out our response in the comments section.
Mr. Markus needs your help. Ever since Chief Judge Fred Moreno instituted his "one Judge one Fax Machine" policy upon becoming chief Judge, there is peace and quiet and nothing to blog about in Federal Court.
Now...The Story Of Joe Farina:
Sometime in 1989, Miami Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farina drew an unenviable task: he was assigned the case of Miami Police Officer William Lozano who was charged with manslaughter of two African American men who Lozano said were speeding at him on a motorcycle.
Riots in Overtown ensued following the killings, and every move in the racially tense trial was watched by the nation. The NY Times had a reporter here, as did the major networks, and many of the side stories focused on the tremendous pressure Judge Farina was under.
Lozano was convicted (John Hogan for the State, Roy Black and Mark Seiden for the defense) and then the case was reversed by the Third DCA on the issue of Farina's denial of the motion for change of venue. The case was moved to Orlando, where the unfortunate task of prosecuting the case fell to then ASA (and now Judge) Jerald Bagley, and Lozano was quickly acquitted.
But what came out of his handling of the Lozano case was a universal respect for Judge Farina, who was on his second go around as a Circuit Judge. Farina had been a Judge, resigned, and then re-applied and was appointed again. Talk about political pull.
Farina's tenure has been marked by a mostly peaceful administration of the Judges and Courts of Dade County. (For comparison, just look about twenty five miles north on I-95). We have a new family courthouse, a re-vamped civil courthouse, and extra toilet paper and yellow stickies for criminal court.
It cannot be an easy job catering to the egos of over 200 lawyers suffering from various stages of "robe-itis" (Clinical diagnosis: Stage 1-exhibited by most newly appointed judges. Symptoms include a sudden professional demeanor, the belief that all your jokes are funny and opinions relevant, and the false memory syndrome in which the Judge suddenly believes they were the successful party in over 100 jury trials. Stage 4- which is invariably fatal, is marked by a demand for a large courtroom, the incurable need to send your bailiff to pick up your dry cleaning, and the inability to pay for a check when eating out. Stages 2-3, which we have recently seen, is marked by irritability with other judges who don't treat you with the same deference you browbeat lawyers into doing.)
But Farina has done a good job (fax fights not withstanding.) He leaves the Dade Courts much better than he found them, and that says a lot, because he had big shoes to fill with the retirement of his predecessor: the popular Judge Wetherington. (although some say Farina replaced Rivkind, and I don't actually recall, the shadow of Wetherington was large. We was well regarded. )
Well Done Judge Farina. And Thank you.