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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3RD DCA TAKES JUDGE LANGER TO THE WOODSHED

For an old fashion spanking.   (Things are breaking quickly today. There are two new posts within the last hour.  So lean back, take a break, and read a bit.) 

We have been asked to do a regular feature where we update readers on the latest criminal decisions from the 3rd DCA. We have responded that the time required might well cut into the time we have set aside for drinking and gambling. However, sober today, we get a jump on our New Year's Resolutions by reporting the decision in CB v. Doubler. The title links to the Opinion. 

The opinion is a barn burner. It starts out: 

We have before us the twelfth in a series of cases spanning three years (all
but one in the last two years) in which the same trial judge has summarily ordered
an uncooperative juvenile directly to secure detention contrary to law.


The opinion continues:
In  each case, a panel of this Court ordered immediate release of the juvenile,
 frequently upon commendably swift confessions of error by the State. The
present case is legally indistinguishable—and barely factually distinguishable—
from those that have preceded it.



CB was arrested on disorderly conduct charges and was released. He missed a few  court dates and a pick up order was issued.  Then he was arrested on a new charge. The prosecution stood mute as Judge Langer
sua sponte  (Latin for "doing something stupid without taking the time to think about it." Rumpole;s New American Legal Dictionary, Vol. 1, p. 324) ordered CB into custody.  The opinion points out that Langer ignored a "risk assessment" that did not require CB to be taken into custody. And the Court reminded Langer that it was a "principal of law" that Judges are required to take the 'risk assessment" into account, and that the 3rd DCA had "reminded" Langer of that principle a mere 90 days prior to his sua sponte act in CB's case. 

The PD raced (s/he did not walk, nor run) to the 3rd DCA on a Habeus Writ and within hours of receiving it the 3rd DCA opened its "Langer sua sponte" file and ordered CB released. 

From the opinion, here's what happened next, and it's not pretty: 

The next morning, June 6, 2008, the judge—again acting sua sponte (there's that phrase again) —placed  C.B.’s case back on the calendar for that afternoon, and informed the parties that  “[t]he Court will be issuing a rule to show cause in th[e] case.” When informed in  the afternoon that we already had granted C.B.’s petition for immediate release, the  judge perplexingly replied:  Well, I’m glad the Third DCA acted so quickly, because I was  going to release him today after I served him with a rule to show  cause as to why he should not be held in contempt of court for
missing three court hearings on his original case. I’m serving you all
with a copy of that rule to show cause, which is now set for June 10th
at 1:30, in open court. You are to notify your client accordingly. "


Then Judge Langer, in all his wisdom forgot what they taught him at the first day of Judge's school: NEVER DISPARAGE YOUR APPELLATE COURT ON THE RECORD! (duh). 

Here's what's Langer said (open mouth-insert foot and career): 

And, quite frankly, I’m well within the 72 hours that the statute
allows me to hold him, by the way.
So I think perhaps the Third
DCA’s ruling is a bit premature,
since he was just picked up on the
3rd of June and today is only the 6th, Counsel.  

Memo to Judge Langer: When the 3rd DCA vacates an order you issued the same day, stop f'ing with them.  Leave the case alone and move along little doggy. They will always- repeat- always get the last word and they always-repeat-always win. 



The 3rd DCA opinion continues:

It is clear to us from the transcript of the June 6 hearing that the judge’s invocation of section  985.255(1)(i) of the Florida Statutes at that time was nothing more than an effort at post-hoc justification of his June 3 order. See also B.M., 979 So. 2d at 314.
(similarly finding same trial judge’s effort to label B.M. an “absconder” to justify
detaining her for eighteen days to be an unfounded “post-hoc justification”).


And because the 3rd DCA is really a bit tired of releasing all of Judge Langer's defendants, they decided to add a
 'coup de judge ': 

Stated otherwise, no person, not even a judge, is above the law...
We will not  permit the children of this state to be played as a game of ping-pong between  courts.
Petition granted.

Rumpole notes: Rarely are sitting judges treated as harshly as Judge Langer was in this case. 

Call us crazy, but for the New Year, Judge Langer just might want to reconsider his policy of sua sponte taking children into custody. 

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's funny how this blog attacks Judge Langer. Certainly, the 3rd DCA is correct with its interpretation of the juvenile law, but what this blog neglects to write is that Langer is one of the few judges in juvenile who actually care about the kids who come before him. Regardless of the legality of his actions, his motives I'm sure, are to try and reign in these juveniles who have no structure or support in their lives. And to try and impede, if not slow, the worse event that can and will happen to many of these absconding kids in juvenile court....a direct file. But hey, once that happens, I guess they're out of Langer's jurisdiction and the PD's are free to defend these kids as adults where they won't be absconding but rather sitting in the DCJ.

Anonymous said...

When will Lester learn?

He needs to move out of Juv.

Anonymous said...

When you walk into Langer's court
in juvenile, you are literally walking into Langer's court. He treats it like his little fiefdom
and could care less what others think of him. Making it worse is that he actually thinks his actions are "good for the kids."

Wake up Langer - not you nor anyone else is going to make these kids understand. Kids have to realize things on their own just like regular people. Ever try getting a crack head to quit?

Rumpole said...

I'm not so sure I've attacked Judge Langer. I've commented on the blistering opinion. I think perhaps 11 PRIOR OPINIONS from the 3rd should l be sufficient notice to stop doing what he is doing. But I do not take issue with your statement that Judge Langer cares about the kids. That is his reputation. And I admire him for it. It doesn't mean he gets a free pass for this. Many judges work very hard and creatively to help the people before them. But what you can't do is continually thumb your nose at the 3rd DCA.

Anonymous said...

Langer is a good man and a good judge. Most of the PD's do not get that. Lets start with that foul mouth know nothing lazy Osborn.

Anonymous said...

Bennett Brumer shame on you!!!!!!! i cant believe that you are retiring and going to soak the taxpayers for more money with some silly consultants position at the PDO. Doing this at the same time as your office fires lawyers gives no one raises and cuts benefits for employees is a disgrace. how can you credibly go to court and tell judges that you dont have money to take cases and then you take a consultants fee which could be used to hire more lawyers?

brummer this is a disgrace

Anonymous said...

Lurvey JOA (again) Palm Bch Dui Judge Marx.

FOAM PARTY!!!! said...

KENNY WEISMAN ANNUAL FOAM PARTY at Privee in Mansion, Miami Beach: FRIDAY NIGHT 9PM-4AM- TO BENEFIT The Retired County Court Judges Society.

So many County Court Judges have retired before the advent of the DROP program, and they are struggling, and now you can help!!!

Drop by, make a donation, and throw some foam at your favorite retired Judge.

Anonymous said...

Judge langer is fair and thoughtful. i'm sure his intent was to help a child. -- juvi court should be closed anyway, it does not work.

Anonymous said...

Juvenile is a joke. The SAO needs to stop filing cases against 12 year old kids who fight at school, and young girls who shoplift diapers for their babies. What ever happened to the schools suspending and disciplining? What ever happened to store managers calling parents on shoplifters instead of calling the cops.

Half of the juvenile cases are garbage that should be dealt with in the schools. When two kids get into a fist fight, it's not grounds for criminal charges. It's a suspension at best. When a kid hits a teacher, unless that teacher is injured (beyond pride), then the police should not be brought into the mess and the kid should be expelled. Enough with using the system to pass the buck. Schools AND ESPECIALLY PARENTS need to take responsibility.

The remainder of the system needs to focus on the hard core offenders, and yes, they exist at the ages of 15, 16, etc... We need a scared straight program in Florida where little wannabes can be thrown in a room with some no-nonsense convicts . Maybe the prospect of spending eternity in a cell with a 300 pound man named Sally will scare a little act-right into them.

As for Langer's actions, he is just an old judge who's been around a long time and is very frustrated at how the juvenile system doesn't work.

The PDs, the State, the schools. the police, the legislature...everyone, needs to re-evalutate this "system."

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

BREAKING NEWS ....

Governor Crist Appoints Judges Cory J. Ciklin and Jorge
Labargato Fourth District Court of Appeal

WHY is this important?

Well, although Labarga's name is still one of the five before Gov. Crist for nomination to the Florida Supreme Court, his appointment to the 4th makes him less likely the "one".

That narrows the field to Judge Emas, Freeman, and two others.

The Governor has 60 days to make his decision but can certainly make the decision much more quickly (he took only 23 days to name the two 4th DCA judges).

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

The Public Defender's Office needs change. If this rumor is true that Brummer is going to get paid consulting fees by Carlos Martinez, the Miami Herald will savage Brummer again.

Anonymous said...

freeman will be picked for the supreme court. you read it here first.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that the Miller-Dennis Espinosa case has been no actioned?

Scott Saul said...

Lester Langer is one of the best, nicest and kindest judges out there.

Everyone can make a mistake. Any of you that knock him must have very little experience in front of him. He is the "best of the best".

Juvenile is more about helping kids than adhereing to every nuance of the letter of the law.

In our checks and balances style government, there is nothing wrong with a Judge getting a little gutsy and not always being submissive to the higher ups.

I would go to bat for him any day and most other lawyers would as well

Anonymous said...

I went to the Kenny Weisman foam party last year. It was FOAMTASTIC!

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, be aware that the opinion does not mention Judge Langer by name. It's sort of like protecting their own.

Anonymous said...

I'm really on the horns of a dilemma here; when does Judge Langer take kids into custody? They are usually noticed for 9am but the Judge usually doesn't come in until 10am???

Anonymous said...

Scott you missed the point go read the 3rd DCA opinion.

Why in Habeas Corpus petitions the trial Judge's name is left out?

Anonymous said...

Unlike many of the judges in juvie, who simply see their time there as a stepping stone to criminal or civil, Judge Langer actually cares about the kids that come before him. He wants to make an impression upon them, make it clear to them that their actions are not to be tolerated, and REHABILITATE them. Knowing him, I'm sure he's tired of two simple facts:

1. The Florida juvenile justice "system" is a joke. Most juvie courts in general are a joke, but Florida is worse that most.

2. DJJ might be the most inept department in the State of Florida. It's no secret that Langer is sick of their crap.

South Florida Lawyers said...

Good report, Rump. But what about the situation Langer is attempting to address -- is there nothing within the mandates of the statute that can be done in these situations? I would have liked to see the 3d address this point directly, or at least acknowledge the problem.

Anonymous said...

Judge Langer is an a thoughtful Judge who somehow never stops caring about the little miscreants who come through his courtroom. I am neither a parent nor a Hillary fan, but if she's right and it takes a village to raise a child, and if parents are not willing or able to keep their children under control, bless Judge LL for stepping in. This is not a case of a Judge run amok.

Anonymous said...

As one very well intentioned Judge once told me when taking my side but ruling against me:

"I agree with you but I have to follow the law. We don't make laws here the legislature does".

Anonymous said...

Due to the economy there will be no more foam.

Furthermore, it is sooooooo 1998 anyway.

Anonymous said...

Breaking News:

The body of Caylee Anthony was found a few blocks from the Anthony home in a wooded area. A utility meter reader found a bag and when he lifted it up a small skull of a child rolled out.

Equa Search said they did not search that area because when they first went to the location it was flooded with water. A few weeks ago when they returned the area had been fenced off.

In video the mother was always saying I feel Caylee is near by.

What a sad day.

Rumpole said...

South Florida- I'm glad you brought this up. I am a great believer in a few hours in jail, especially for a punk kid who isn't showing up to court. I don't practice Juvie and I am astounded to learn a Judge cannot take a kid in who is missing court. I would have thrown his butt in jail and brought him out at 5pm and if he wasn't changing his tune i would have kept him in overnight. I think it's better to give a kid a wake up call than wait until he does a purse snatch and catches 3 years.

But if the law is the law, then Langer has to follow it.

Anonymous said...

9:31 - who was that judge?

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

DEFENDANTS USING FALSE NAMES ....

Collier County Judge Mike Carr has made it his mission to make sure defendants don't continue using aliases to avoid heftier punishment in court. Today, he'll speak to The Florida Bar Review Committee on Professional Ethics in Orlando, which is reconsidering Advisory Opinion 90-6 — the duty of attorneys who learn their criminal clients are proceeding in court under false names. Carr considers aliases a fraud upon the court, but says it also "shatters innocent lives" when identities are stolen. He notes that some immigrants seeking citizenship have learned their identities have been stolen and are forced to spend months unraveling the damage to gain citizenship. Defense attorney A. Russell Smith of Jacksonville, a member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, will argue against the change. He says there are other ways to handle defendants using an alias, including putting a defendant under oath at a first appearance hearing so the defendant can provide the judge with a name.

Cap Out ...

Anonymous said...

Rump--I agree with you 100%. Juveniles now realize they can literally get away with murder (no pun intended) in juvenile court. So they rack up their juvie priors. Eventually either they turn 18 or, more likely, they get direct filed. Then its DCJ and prison for them.

More very tough love--a mixture of tempered punishment and rehabilitation, with a focus on the penalty being unpleasant but not overly harsh--at the juvenile level would keep more than a few defendants from reaching a adult system.

Anonymous said...

Do any of you guys ever read before making a comment? The 3rd DCA went out of it's way to highlight the fact the cases mentioned and the current case are misdemeanors not FELONY charges.

With Judge's doing crazy things do we want a Judge putting a child in jail for 60 days because a candy bar was stolen?

If I am not mistaken the law and order of the 3rd DCA does not deal with Felony cases?

Scott Saul said...

Sometimes there is a higher calling than the letter of the law. Some laws need to be broken because of unintended consequences.

I hate autotron, non thinking Judges, prosecutors, lawyers etc. Being involved with the law should, sometimes, involve emotions and heart. Nobody should ever walk into a juvenile/criminal courtroom without passion.

For instance, the burglary with an assault/battery statute is too encompassing. It is a bad statute. For the defendant that tweaks a motorist's nose through the car window, you should admire a Judge that looks past the law and imposes bond rather than treating it as a life felony.

This system is too bureaucratic, with people saying things just to preserve the record, so always following the law, when the law is inapplicable is morally wrong.

I [think] I remember when ex Judge Lauren Miller launched a person for stealing a case of toilet paper and the case was reversed. Richard Margolius gave a quoted saying among other things, first and foremost, that the law must be fair.

Juvenile is about helping kids. That is why teh style is "In Re" rather than State v. _____________

The system is so screwed up that you have to cut corners and create your own agenda just to achieve the morally right result. DCA analysis of juvenile may be quite distinguishable from the same of adult court.

Judge Langer never tries to be vigilant against the kids, but he may try tough love. You cannot be a committed juvenile Judge and not truly care about the kids.

I understand why he did what he did. In juvenile, the adage of taking one step backwards in order to go two steps foreward, can be very accurate.

Being a juvenile Judge involves getting much more intimate with the accused than in adult court.

The 3rd DCA may be right in analysis but wrong in reflecting what is in the best interests of the child and community

Anonymous said...

IS THIS SHIT ABOUT BRUMMER TRUE??????

Anonymous said...

Fake Anonymous Says--
Uh, doesn't the 3DCA only get certain facts...in this case as presented by the PD? I weigh that against a fact that I know: the degree of commitment that Judge Langer has to children throughout his entire adult life in and out of court, his sincere desire to make a difference in their lives, and his usual very good bar poll ratings. Now, I add guts to the list. Imagine if one of these darlings goes out and murders someone because the judge felt they did not meet criteria in a very gray area. It's a wonder that quality people like Langer choose to stay on the bench in this "damned if you do and damned if you don't atmosphere". Only the finest stay in juvie --- and don't nag the chief to get out asap to the nicer courtrooms and contributor$ heavy courts downtown. Hurray for Lester Langer! I echo Scott Saul. Sincerely, Fake Anonymous

Anonymous said...

That's right Langer basically wants to put kids in jail for doing the same things we all did as juveniles (skipping school, stealing candy bars, drinking alcohol,etc). Luckily for a lot of us, when we got caught the police just took us home or we got suspended from school and grounded by our parents. But if you're growing up today in Miami, you"ll end up before Judge Langer. And once before Judge Langer, if you do another immature act like failing to appear for court, you'll end up in jail. All when you
should have just got a Judicial
Warning and punishment by your school and/or family.

ScottAfrica

Anonymous said...

2:36

There is no distinction between misd. and felony cases as it applies to who is the appellate court. All juvie cases are Circuit Court cases, numbnuts...

Anonymous said...

The kid did not show to court and then picked up a new fucking case. What do you think he is going to do when he is old enough to hold a gun? You think he is going to be better served when he gets direct filed. Come off it. I used to be a prosecutor in front of Judge Langer and was often frustrated because he took it too easy on kids. The judge has an obligation to follow the law, but when discretion permits, he should protect the community.

Judge Langer is a great judge.

Kenneth Weisman said...

Wow, you people need to get a life. THERE IS NO FOAM PARTY AT MANSION!! This year I was able to upgrade the venue to Club LIV (the new chic new hotspot at the Fountainbleu). Yes, there will be foam. We have also partnered with Victoria Secret the soiree. Dont forget your glowsticks.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I get what you are saying, however:

1. I will tell you that once you take a petty offender and allow him to experience his worst fear (detention/Juvi JAIL) you take away the fear of the unknown. The result is he/she will now think juvi jail is really not all that bad. The petty offender starts rubbing elbows with serious juvi offenders, maybe picks up a bad habit or two. They exchange contact info and now he has graduated from stealing candy bars at the local store to holding it up at gun point.

2. Remember the boy who was in Miami Juvi Jail he complained about pain in the stomack his pleas for help ignored and died of a burst appendix.

3. The other boy in upper Florida who took a joy ride in his gradmas car and hours after being sentenced to boot camp was murdered by the guards while a juvi nurse watched.

The legislator for what ever reason made the law. Perhaps because of what I say above or other facts.

I think a real solution is start fining the parents for the petty acts of the children. Guide the parents on what is appropriate corporal punishment, groundings and such. Once you have mom and dad getting fined they will act to stop the petty crimes. Take the court out of the mix. If the parents can't handle it then DCF needs to file dependency or TPR cases. In those cases group homes exist that can better serve the child.

A careful balance is needed. I agree all the Judges in juvi are the best in the State if not the nation.

Anonymous said...

The 3rd.D.C.A.may be correct with "Black Letter Law".But What is a judge to do when defendants do not comply with court orders,continue to violate the law while awaiting trial,etc.In felony court the judge may revoke bond of a defendant and take him into custody.Are we saying juvenile are above reproach.Parents today cannot control and many do not even attempt to control their children.Many are fearful of those they have given life to.Thay are thrown to society to do as they wish.We `are enterring and are in a "lawless society".We are a society who's only desire is to fulfill ones own needs and to hell with everyone else.Years ago this was not so.The 60's started change,and youngsters started to disrespect teachers,police ate.Think back to when we first heard of teachers being attacked.It was the 60's.This trend and has continued.
The laws have not kept up with the ills of society.Parents suing teachers because of punishment being provided to their "kid"!Fourteen year old girls stripping for friends on the internet and when school officials intercede,they are suid.Parents suing the school in south Florida when their child is repremanded for bringing a toy pistol to school.Paying defendants who commit serious crimes being compensated for injuries they received while being apprehended(26 million to subway robber shot during commission of armed robbery in New York and serving 25 years plus,rapist in Coloroado receiveing 6 million when shot during apprehension and doing 20 years).
Yes,certain offenses,true minor offenses must be handled differently.But after numerous violations of the law,constant cntact with the judicial system something must be done;lest we exaserbate an already lawless society.
What would you do nif you were Langer(who has been and continues to be a most caring judge,or hge would have requested a transfer from the Juvy Division).Why don't the judges that made that ruling in the sanctity of their "tower"make suggestions on what a judge is to do,to see that justice is alligned with safety.

Anonymous said...

Scott Africa--in a perfect world, your words would ring true. My parents came down on me hard when I did stupid stuff like skip school, etc., although I never ended up arrested or in juvenile court. I intend to do the same with my children when they reach the point when they are tempted by such things.

Unfortunately, too many parents just don't give a damn about what their kids do. Many ignore it. Those with sufficient resources (i.e. lots of cash) try to cover it up. Others deny it. (An example--I once defended a juvenile charged with five home burglaries. He confessed to every one, and was found with stuff stolen from each and every one. His mother kept insisting he was innocent, and was pissed when I pled him out in juvenile court because he was about to get direct filed, where he was looking at serious prison time). That is why the juvenile justice system must become involved.

One of the greatest things a parent can teach a child is that there is both responsibility and accountability for one's actions. Too many parents today do not do that. Judge Langer at least tries to. He is a huge believer in tough love--make a point to the child, yet do everything possible to rehabilitate him. Judge Langer is also very frustrated by the laxity of the juvenile system. Nobody can fault him for that.

Both as a criminal defense attorney and a parent, I'd rather have the juvenile system espouse a tough love philosophy then the current slap on the wrist system. Then, as Rumpole said, we wouldn't have young adult offenders looking at three years in prison for a purse snatching.

Scott Saul, I agree with your comments 100%.

Anonymous said...

Kenny- the problem is that former Judges Colby and Postman, who are on hard times and will be benefiting from your generous foam party have both been banned from the Fountainbleau when it was alleged they skipped out (dine and dash) on a bill for a couple of steaks and wine.

foam party tonight!!!! said...

It's friday 4:45 PM- I'm going to work out and get dressed and have something to eat before Kenny's FOAM PARTY- So I'm calling the Shum- Shumie Time.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the article on the Daily Business Review website on the shananigans going on in the Florida Supreme Court JNC? Looks almost like Illinois.

Anonymous said...

Altanta Courthouse Shooter Brian Nichols sentenced to life after a jury deadlocked 9-3. The trial cost the state of Georgia at least 3 million, probably more. The defendant asked to plead guilty to receive life without parole a year and a half ago and the State said no way. What a colossal waste of money and resources. Mr. Nichols will and should never be a free man again, but at what cost? The death penalty experiment has failed. It's time to join the rest of the civilized countries and get rid of it.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe some of the nonsense I've read on this blog. the entire Juvenile "Screw The Kids" system is a joke. Families who already have jobs they are struggling to hold on to have to find time and money to bring their children to the courthouse. they have to wait for eternity sometimes until the almighty Langer decides to see them (and let's not even mention the torment for the parents with kids with cases in Judge Roger Silvers courtroom--all day affair!) and pray that the state attorney will have some mercy. This is money making, family stressing, burdensome, unnecessary crap! I feel sorry for the parents and kids with cases in front of Judge Faber--the EX-PD with NO REASONABLE DOUBT STANDARD--SHAMEFUL! I pity both the ASA's and PD's in Judge Silvers courtroom who work all day, write memo's for their dumb judge at night, and rarely ever get to go to trial because of his complete inefficiency. Somebody do something PLEASE!