Wednesday, November 12, 2008


It's not exactly Obama versus McCain, but  Daily Business Review reporter Billy Shields  has an  article on the Ivan Fernandez versus Joel Brown race for Chief Honcho of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit (motto: "Moving into the 20th century slow and steady") . The title of the post links to the article. 

Joel Brown has been around it seems as long as McCain, while Fernandez is newer to bench, having served as a prosecutor and before that a Major in the City Of Miami Police Department. 

Fernandez is better known to us denizens of the REGJB, as both a prosecutor and his time on the criminal bench. He has the temperament and knowledge to do the job. 

Farina ascended to Chief Judge after a stint in the Justice Building, but while we have applauded his tenure as Chief Judge, he really didn't do a whole lot for the Criminal Courts other than his miserable failure in trying to institute some cockamamie system of preparing cases for trial. Remember that? You had to file these stupid reports and there was a Friday afternoon "Time out" calendar for lawyers who didn't cooperate. After a few weeks, and probably a million bucks in consultant fees, we Miami lawyers sent that consultant and his stupid system packing. No one is going to tell us how to prepare for trial, that's for sure. 

Joel Brown is less well known to criminal court attorneys, but as an administrative Judge for the Family division,  he has the experience to smoothly take over and handle that dreaded 3AM call so familiar to Chief Judges:

Ring ring.  Farina: " Chief Judge here.....He did what? Again!! They're still in court at  2:45 in the morning? And he's telling the jury they can't go home until they get a verdict? Ok. I'll handle it."

So is it experience or change?  Fernandez or Brown.  Yawn.  Our time is better spent preparing for the the Dolphins/Raider matchup this weekend. 

See You In Court, no matter who is the Judge, we still have to try the cases. 

PS. Just in case you thought this was a dull town,  everyone's favourite  vice presidential candidate and geography expert is in town for the Republican Governors Convention (motto: "Oww, that hurt!")   Yup, Sarah Palin freshly clothed in RNC threads, will be in Miami, shaking an angry fist towards Cuba ("No governor, the other way, south, not north") and lobbying to be the new fresh face of the rebuilt Republican Party.  Here is the article. 

You betcha!

We've said this before: please please please make Palin the head of the Republican Party. Please hand deliver her the Republican Nomination in 2012.  She makes Dan Quayle look like Dwight Eisenhower. 


Anonymous said...

The choice between Fernandez and Brown is a no lose proposition. Both are good judges, with excellent administrative skills, temperament and the ability to get along with others. Both are low key and competent. Both are held in high exteem by their colleagues and lawyers who appear before them. Excellent choices, both.

Anonymous said...

I heard Sarah is shopping for a bikini at Ritchies in the Grove. Or did she just do the online thing with Wicked Weasel.

Civil guy that does some criminal and knows them both said...

Viva Fernandez!

Anonymous said...

Viva Judge Brown!!

Anonymous said...

That is a ridiculous comparison.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole - did you forget Judge Brown was the Administrative Judge in County Criminal?

Anonymous said...

Hey Rump. You said that Joel Brown is less well known to criminal court attorneys. I guess you don't remember that prior to being elevated to the Circuit Bench, Judge Brown served as both Associate Administrative Judge and Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division of County Court. You also may or may not remember that about 10 years ago, Judge Brown signed the warrant for Joe Gersten's arrest when Joe Gersten refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the SAO to testify about the Mercedes Benz which Joe himself reported stolen from the driveway of his Coral Gables home...Hope that jogs your memory.

Joel Brown for Chief Judge!!!

the trialmaster said...

Judge Brown has much more experience than his opponnet. joel was a plaintiffs trial lawyer in private practice and gave up a lucrative practice to take the bench. Thats something one doesnt see anymore. He has sat in every division and served with distinction. He has managed the famiy court in an efficent manner. and has more familarity with the other judges due to his long service. His educational background is firm in that he is a Univ. Of Florida grad, same as our other great gator judges, such as Stan and Kevin.

Anonymous said...

Both Brown and Fernandez would do an excellent job.Both have experience as members of the judiciary.
Fernandez was an assistant state attorney and major with the City of Miami.Being a major carries some administrative experience.
Joel Brown has been a judge I believe in excess of twenty years.He has served as an administrative judge for the County Court Criminal and Traffic Divisions.He was an Associate Administrative Judge for the Family Division,and following the reitirement of Honorable Richard Feder,was designated as the Administrative Judge of the Family Division(now referred to as Unified Family Court).
Based upon the diversity of service,as trial judge and administrative judge in county and circuit court it is suggested that Joel Brown be the next Chief Judge for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida.
P.S.We can always find fault wiht others.Why is it we can't find fault in ourselves.Farina served us well for many years,although he made errors and cared little about county court.But he did fight for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit.Remember,judges themselves are often times they own worst enemies.Look at Broward!Look at Carmels t.v.segment!The appearance of spending such money at a time such as this is carzy,but most judges do not care.Yes,money is earmarked,but look at appearance and yes,it can be put to educational use without cost of room and board for judges at hotels at least till crunch is over.Perhaps those judges needing death penalty certification may be an exception,but look at the numbers.Judge Farina should have made a response such as this to chan.7 when they inquired instead of not rturning their call(nither did other admin judges,ass.admin.judges,nor Chief judges from Dade,Broward or Palm beach County respond to the inquiry;why not?!!!!!)

Anonymous said...

BIG ROTATION of Judges in the works. Any rumors who's going who's coming??????????????

fake dale ross said...

Rumpole, per an Executive Order issued by Governor Crist today, I have been transferred to "Miami"-Dade County. I will be running for Chief Judge, and I expect all of the lesser judicial minds South of the Border to vote for me.

I am back, and back with a vengeance.

Rumpole said...

As a matter of fact I did forget Joel Brown was in the REGJB. So there you have it: my mistake for 2008. I always make one of em a year.

Anonymous said...


Comparing the race for Chief Judge to the recent presidential election? Really? This is so not a race about experience versus change. Chief Judge Farina has been an excellent representative for our circuit during his tenure as our Chief Judge and I have heard nary a complaint about him taking our Circuit in the wrong direction. This is not a race that should be filled with the partisan rancor that the election cycle brought, which is why I bristle at that comparison. This race is about two highly respected judges, either of whose election as Chief Judge will certainly result in a certain modicum of change which will do our Circuit good.

After reading the Daily Business Review article on the Chief Judge race, please allow me to provide additional information about Judge Brown since your post states that members of the Criminal Bar are less familiar with Judge Brown than they are with Judge Fernandez. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Brown was a board certified civil attorney. He served first in the County Court. While in County Court, Judge Brown served as both Associate Administrative Judge and Administrative Judge of the County Court’s Criminal Division. While Administrative Judge of County Criminal, Judge Brown set up the Drive Legal program, and was instrumental in merging the crimes and DUI divisions of the court. In 1994, Gov. Lawton Chiles ascended Judge Brown to the Circuit Court.

For the past 8 years, Judge Brown has served as the Administrative Judge of the Family Division. In addition to serving on the Advisory Board of the 11th Judicial Circuit’s Unified Family Court, Judge Brown is also actively involved with the Dade County Bar Association/Put Something Back’s annual View From the Bench program. Judge Brown regularly meets with the Family Court Judges to determine what he can do to make their jobs easier and more effective. Every time there is a judicial rotation and new judges come to the family court, Judge Brown schedules a meeting where he invites different members of the supervisory staff of the Administrative Office of the Courts to introduce them to the new Judges and to inform the new Judges about the services available to litigants in family court. He considers it his responsibility as Administrative Judge to make sure that all Judges have the tools which will make it easier for them to do their jobs. Recently, the First Family Law American Inn of Court presented Judge Brown with the Hon. Richard Yale Feder Leadership Award. He was recognized for his dedication to the administration of the Family Division of the Miami-Dade Courts, his openness to the suggestions of attorneys who appear in family court, and his responsiveness to the needs of the citizens of Miami-Dade County.

Judge Brown has also been at the forefront of bringing technology to the Courts. He was the co-chair in developing the Spirit paperless system in the Traffic Court, and together with Harvey Ruvin, has overseen the development and implementation of the Odyssey paperless system in the Family Court.

The DBR article also inaccurately describes the “Go Bus” program. The “Government on Go” program was developed by Judge Brown at the request of attorneys and court staff to serve the community of Northwest Miami after the branch court at the Joseph Caleb Center closed. Uncontested divorce calendars took place on the “Government on the Go Bus” in the parking lot of the Joseph Caleb Center, not in .

As budgetary issues will be an immediate challenge for the new Chief Judge, it bears mentioning that it was Judge Brown who stewarded the Miami-Dade County Family Court through the Article V Revision 7 transition in 2004. (For those who are unaware or who just don’t remember, Revision 7 to Article V of the Florida Constitution was approved by Florida voters in 1998 and mandated that the state pay for essential elements of the state courts system. Prior to Revision 7, each county previously contributed to these costs.) Anyone who was paying any attention to the budgetary/funding problems that this posed for the Court system as a whole knows that this was a very challenging time for the court system, particularly for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, which is the largest judicial circuit in Florida. In addition to putting hundreds of jobs at risk, Revision 7 also jeopardized many programs and services that the Family Court offered to the families of Miami-Dade County. Nevertheless, under Judge Brown’s guidance, the Family Court was able to successfully transition without having to compromise the programs and services that are essential to so many of its families.

The job of Chief Judge is a job where prior relationships and experience matter. In Judge Brown’s experience as a trial lawyer and 18 years as a Judge he has cultivated relationships with all of the people that are necessary to assure the appropriate budgeting and successful administration of the court. While Judge Fernandez might make a good candidate for Chief Judge in the future, at this time, Judge Brown is the best man for the job.

Thanks for the platform, Rump.


A member of the Bar in Miami-Dade County

Anonymous said...

We have two interesting candiates here, both of whom are qualified. Brown has sat on the bench for two decades, in all divisions, with distinction. He has a well-earned reputation for fairness, excellent knowledge of the law and a fine demeanor. Before taking the bench, he was a higly regarded and very skilled trial attorney.

Fernandez has only been a member of the Bar for about 10-12 years, starting as an ASA before being elevated to the bench. As a judge, he is known as firm but fair, has a good knowledge of the law, and has a good demeanor. He was also a Miami cop for a number of years, rising to the rank of major. He carried a lot of responsibilities in that position. Fernandez was also known as an honest, no-nonsense cop.

In terms of legal and judicial experience, Brown stands out. But one cannot discount Fernandez's police background either (think "Judge Alex"). Both are fine judges worthy of the Chief Judge position, although Brown's lengthy tenure on the bench stands out. The sad part is that whoever wins, we will lose a fine and qualified trial judge.

Anonymous said...

The same people who backed the constitutional revisions that resulted in state funding of the courts created the financial crisis in the court system. Among them are Farina and Brown.Now they go hat in and to beg for funds and their efforts fall on deaf ears in a Republican Legislature because they have little or no credibility with them. Judge Brown lacks the people skills or personality necessary to successfully loby the legislature.He will only serve to make the present situation worse

Anonymous said...

11:10 - You are incorrect - It was the public who voted for Article V Revision 7 - not the Judges

Anonymous said...

Please tell me what the limit is on donations for the campiagn to elect brown chief judge.

Anonymous said...

Joel Brown was very pompous as a county court judge.

Sorry, I don't like him.

He made it very clear that he was better than all of us.

Go with Fernandez. Better choice.

Anonymous said...

To a member of the bar.

Sounds like Judge Brown is doing a good job right where he belongs. Do not allow the "peter principal" to work and let Judge Brown rise to his level of incompetency.

Anonymous said...

4:42 ...so lets elevate the less experienced Judge Fernandez to do a job he is clearly not qualified for...

Anonymous said...

4:42 Please put the crack pipe down before you comment. If you have spent any time with or in front of Ivan you would realize that he is the best person for the job. He is smart, even tempered and is one heck of a trial judge. Moreover, he knows how to smooth over people's ruffled feathers in order to build a consensus. He is a strong leader and decisive. Clearly, he is the better choice. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.


The man in the purple suit.

Anonymous said...

To the man in the purple suit:
I think you may need to put the pipe down. I think your comment was meant for 5:23. RIght?