WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Friday, November 07, 2008

JUDICIAL CONFERENCE CONTRETEMPS!!!

Judicial conferences, those shrimp cocktail and margarita fueled meetings in which Judges from around the state gather together to share stories (...." and then I said 'I don't care if you're getting married on Saturday and leaving on a honeymoon on Sunday, this grand theft is going to trial on Monday!'  hahahahha!") are now under the gun in light of Florida's financial crisis:

A reader wrote in:

Channel 7 reported of two judicial conferences being scheduled before the end of the year.It was prompted by a Broward County judge,and unfortunately,it may be on point.
A "financial crisis"exists,yet hundred of thousands of dollars will be expended for a county court conference and circuit court conference within the next six weeks.The report also suggested how many people within the judicial system would have retained their respective positions had the funding for these conference been used for salaries instead.The figures were in excess of 20 in Miami Dade County,in excess of 15 in Broward,and in excess of 10 in Palm Beach County.The report also indicated the Chief Judges as well as Administrative Judges in each county did not respond or return calls to the reporter.


A Judge, robes and hackles raised in ire, the pending loss of cocktails (shrimp and otherwise) looming on the horizon, responded thusly:

As a "Robed-Reader" I want to say

In response to 10:20,
Judicial conferences are funded through a State Trust Fund, created ONLY for the purpose of the educational conferences. The funds can not be used for any other purpose.
The hotels charge ONLY a State negotiated rate and the daily food reimbursement is limited to same allotted for all state employees. It's about $21.00 for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ALL evening social activities are paid for by EACH Judge without reimbursement.
The hotels selected are chosen because they have meeting facilities large enough for each conference. (Motel 6 doesn't have enough rooms or meeting places.)
The Conference have already been reduced to 1 per year, with the December conferences already contracted for before the any budget issues arose. They are booked about 2 years in advance to make sure of availability.
Each Judge in REG has to be certified or recertified by the Supreme Court to handle Death cases. Check and see how many current and soon to be REG Judges, can't handle them because of the cancellation of AJS this year and no Death penalty course being offered. It's a 5 day program. The individual Conferences are only 3 days. AJS was the only one with the 5 required days.

And while you're looking at our benefits and salaries, please remember a few things, we CAN'T write-off for business purposes all of those things that you can. We have no PA to foot the bill. Our insurance package from Miami-Dade County, which provided supplemental medical coverage to the Sate insurance and was paid for partially by each individual was cancelled by the County, without the ability to replace it.
There have been no Judicial pay raises for 6 years and no cost of living adjustments for the last 5.
If the public doesn't already know we care, then it's up to you to make sure they do.


Rumpole says:  while the "robed reader" may be correct, this is an appearance of arrogance.  For all the problems our long suffering Judges have endured, they have a job, which  as they well know, is more than some of the people they worked with a few months ago can say. They have health insurance, which is more than tens of millions of Americans can say. 

I bet I could find three experts in death penalty law, and pay them $10,000.00 to record a ten hour lecture on new changes in the death penalty. And then our long suffering judges could get the video tape, and horrors of horrors, work a little on the weekend and watch the damn thing. I know golf scores will rise across the state, but that will be the price all citizens must pay in this crisis. 
 
I'm sorry judge, but as your brethren say to me on a daily basis, I see your point, but  I'm not convinced you're right on this one.  Assuming your point on the death penalty is valid, just what were the County Court Judges  (reported on in the Channel 7 report, the link is above) getting re-certified on in Naples this summer? Petit Theft sentencing? Updates on disorderly conduct trials? Really, that conference should have been canceled. 







11 comments:

South Florida Lawyers said...

Odd, but I don't see any scandal in this at all. Judges are public servants, underpaid, and these meetings don't seem unduly extravagant or excessive to me.

I agree it's a shame what budget cuts have done to our justice system, but I'd rather Channel Seven focus on that underreported situation rather than whether judges meet periodically at judicial conferences.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rumpy,
You are off base here. Most judges not only don't earn a lot, but have less job security, than say, a country sanitation worker. Further, they are not all rich nor great fund raisers. Therefore, about 20% of each year's salary is often set aside for the next potential challenge. You may find this hard to believe but some judges, especially the old timers (those "old white guys " disparaged by the capitan---shame captain, the bench has been diverse for years), believe in public service and put in more than a full week. Some had 20 or more years as lawyers before they presumed to think they had the seasoning to serve as a judge, and some don't need 5 gallons of mustard to cover them because they are such big hot dogs. Regrettably the ratio of hot dogs with black robe fever seems to be changing. Perhaps the non-flamboyant jurists who labor hard and long just don't catch the attention and the media coverage that the work horses of the judiciary do. No, I am not a judge, never was one, not thinking of running---too thankless for me.

Anonymous said...

And where, pray tell, Mr. Rumpole would you like judges to get that continuing judicial education you so fervently want them to obtain? Or is it that you resent the conferences because the judges just might learn something you would rather they did not know, like the law?

Your narrow minded ill-concieved attempt to paint a picture of arrogance is inappropriate and self-serving. Most of the instructors are judges who share their knowledge in specific subjects, so lawyers can not get away with the idiocy they often try to foist upon the court.

We really live it up on $21 a day. That does not even buy your lunch.

Anonymous said...

The story is bullshit.

Judges have to go to conferences and they are not 7-11 clerks so they should stay at a decent place.

If they don't meet, then, how will they learn.

Anonymous said...

Just cancel de death penalty.

Rumpole said...

My dear robed reader at 11:04- my lunch consists of an apple and some fresh squeezed greens run through a juicer. It costs about $3.75. I live simply.

Times are tough. The Judges can be provided with the same video tapes we as attorneys view to catchup on CLE credits. When times are better and the people laid off have been re-hired, you can return to the high class resorts you so fervently believe your black robe entitles you to.

Or this- STAY at a motel 6 and have your intensive training at a nearby school.

You guys are supposed to be bright. Set an example when today we learned that another 240,000 Americans lost their job in October.

Shape up now, or later you may find yourselves in those jobless lines.

Anonymous said...

Sad news Rump. In light of the election, one of you favorite lawyers and a popular one is ill. No getting around this difficult news, so I will come out and say it: Joel Denaro has boogie fever, and he has it bad. I think it's going around.

Anonymous said...

It's better then sickel cell!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Rump,

11:07 here. Obviously you have a great deal of pent-up hostility and need some intensive anger management therapy. There is not one dollar being spent that is denying anyone a job. The money that is used, as one "robed reader" informed you, is from a trust fund used solely for this purpose.

Your CLE tapes do nothing for judges who are supposed to learn the law "objectively" not from lawyers with agendas. Nice try. Gee let's teach the judges what we want them to know, not what they should know.

I still believe that you and those like you want to keep judges dumb and ill-informed in order to take advantage. Most judges would gladly stay at a Motel 6 and meet at a school, if only the Motel 6 had enough rooms and the local school would open its doors.

By the way when was the last time you stayed at a Motel 6? Don't you charge your clients for everything under the sun including a really nice luxury hotel room, all your meals and those porno movies on the TV.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...I guess Judge Jullian from Broward was getting "continuing judicial education" when she was caught in the hallway with no pants.

Those conferences are at great resorts (i.e. Marco Island) and more judges are on the greens rather than in their seats.

Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Supreme court just dismissed state attorney's appeal of order allowing pd's office out of cases.