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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

MEAN RUMPOLE

In the wake of our criticism of the FACDL and Judges Blake and Slom, we have been flooded with emails telling us in so many words to back off and give these guys a break. Criticizing these guys is apparently akin to kicking a puppy.

For instance:

"Rumpole: I think you need to work on your interpersonal skills. When you have a problem with someone, I have found that the better approach is to quietly sit down and talk it out with them. I would suggest that in the future you avoid public confrontations.
Sincerely, your faithful reader,
OJ Simpson."

"Mr. Rumpole: try not to act so erratically in public.
Britney Spears"

"Rumpole: Diplomacy is always the best course.
Best Regards,
George W. Bush."

So clearly, public opinion is running against our criticism of the chief judges for not quickly and effectively addressing the court house parking and access problems on Mondays (and Tuesdays when Monday is a holiday.)

Meanwhile, members of the FACDL have sent us emails promising that work is being done on the Sy Gaer memorial. Without naming names, we have been told that money has been appropriated, the memorial approved, and the only thing remaining is a few loose ends. Rumpole has obtained the emails dealing with those loose ends, which we print here exclusively:

From: FACDL Bigwig
To: Chief Judge:
RE: Sy

I am pleased to report that the joint judicial/facdl taskforce has reached the following agreements: 1) The picture of Sy will be 10 1/2 by 11 3/4, which represents an agreement by facdl to abandon their request that the picture be 10 3/4 x 12.
2) The height of the picture will be 77 inches, which represents an agreement by the judges to raise the height 4 inches.
3) The box holding Sy's book will be placed "not more than" 2 1/8 inches away from the supporting wall. 4) We still have not figured out a way to get the hammer and nails past security so we can hang the picture and secure the box. Please advise.

From: Chief Judge
To: Facdl Big wig

The hammer and nail issue remains a difficult point to resolve. We have received your request to bring the aforesaid hammer and nail through security. While you did provide the mandatory 12 copies, the original was signed in black ink, not blue as was clearly specified. The request is being returned to you to comply with our procedures. However, as you know, REGJB policy clearly requires that all items which are to be mounted on a wall for public display be done during the month of February only. Since our policy is to take 5 weeks to carefully review any requests to bring hammers and nails into the building, your request could not be approved until March 2008, which would make February 2009 the earliest this could be accomplished. However, since there will be a Judicial election in September and November 2008, we cannot actually approve your request until all new Judges have served 13 months on the bench. This means the earliest we could approve your request would be March 2009, which would push the actual instillation of the items until February 2010.
Best wishes, your pal,
CJ.

So there you have it. Your tax dollars at work.

When will Sy's memorial be up?
When will a citizen of Miami be able to come to court and find parking and not have to wait in line for an hour or more?

Call us a cynic, but we think the Dolphins will win the Super Bowl before this gets done.
We think they will find WMD's in Iraq before this gets done.
We think Dick Cheney has a better chance of being selected as Obama's running mate than these issues have of being resolved.


But what do we know?

See You in court.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

REAPING WHAT WE SOW

UPDATED WITH BREAKING BLOG NEWS: JURY VERDICT IN ROLEX ROBBERS CASE.

GUILTY.

The unintended consequences of the budget cuts in the Justice System are detailed here in this DBR article. DBR

From the article that details the delays in a criminal case in which a person was shot and his wife was murdered: "The Sutton case illustrates what may end up becoming a constitutional crisis of massive proportions in the state’s court system. The state is struggling through a budget shortfall and cuts in the court system are hampering prosecutors, courts and public defenders."

EDWARDS DROPS OUT:
Rumpole's choice for President, John Edwards, has dropped out of the race, marking the first time since 1968 when Rumpole's choice was not on the ballot (Robert Kennedy).

SUPREME COURT ARGUMENTS
June will be a busy month for Rumpole as he takes time away from research on disorderly intoxication to watch three cases that are being argued before the Supreme Court:

Tuesday, April 15
No. 07-330, Greenlaw v. United States (on circuits courts’ power to enhance criminal sentences sua sponte)
No. 06-7517, Irizarry v. United States (on notice to parties before departing from sentencing guidelines)


Wednesday, April 16
No. 07-343: Kennedy v. Louisiana (on the constitutionality of the death penalty for child rape)


A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words:
A special REGJB prize awaits the first loyal reader who emails us a picture of the lines to get in the Justice Building on a Monday. If you want the prize you will have to identify yourself in the email, but we will keep your identity confidential. (And if there's anything we've shown we can do in the last two plus years, it's keep a secret.)

FACDL FAKES.

You join FACDL. You pay your dues. Then they say they will do something nice to help remember Sy Gaer. And then nothing. No picture in the lobby. No black book. Nothing. Lots of talk, no action. You would think they are in training to become a chief judge.

ROLEX ROBBERY CASE TO THE JURY?

The two defendant murder-robbery case before Judge Reemberto Diaz is wrapping up today. As soon as the jury has a verdict (and the Herald reports it) we'll be the "first" to let you know.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

JUST WONDERING

How is that Sy Gaer memorial coming, FACDL head honcho Barry Wax?
You know, the one with a his small black book and a picture of Sy? Any day now?

Why did it take a lawsuit for JAC to pay court reporters the bills for work they performed? Is JAC getting as bad as health insurance companies?

When (if ever) is the SAO going to address the allegations of sexual harassment by one of the division chiefs they just fired? Or does quitting mean never having to say you're sorry?

In this day and age when judicial restraint are the code words for appointment and advancement in the federal system, by what right and what power does a Judge tell an acquitted defendant that he cannot speak about his ordeal at the hands of the government?

Do any of the chief judges give a damn that there is no parking and it takes a freaking hour (that's a legal term they teach in law school. It means "a long f'ing time") to get into the building on a Monday? Or are those problems the price people pay for justice at the Justice Building? It's not like there are less cases every year. There are more cases, and no matter how many hours they spend studying this problem on the golf courses of Miami, it's not going to get any better.

What happened to that case before Judge Jimenez where evidence of the homicide cops instructing witnesses on how to testify came out during the motion to suppress?

Just who disenfranchised Florida's democratic voters from the presidential primary. And why isn't that person's head on a platter?

What are the odds that both races end up in an open convention? About a year ago we would have said the odds were about the same as any football team having an undefeated season. And yet...

And speaking of politics, does todays events mean Teddy Kennedy won't be taking the Clintons sailing again any time soon?

Just wondering.

Monday, January 28, 2008

STAR WARS

EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE

It is a period of civil war. Rebel Court reporters, striking from their hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil galactic and Florida Empire, JAC.



During the battle, rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to JAC's ultimate weapon: the thirty six page request for reimbursement form. This form is complex enough to allow JAC to deny any and every claim for reimbursement, which strikes at the very heart of the rebel court reporters' ability to work.

Pursued by JAC's sinister agents, Princess Rosa Naccarato races to circuit court and manages against all odds to achieve a stunning victory that can save her court reporters and restore order and sanity to Florida's court systems.




But the Evil JAC will not rest.....

(The following is a memo obtained by Rumpole)


TO: PCAC or Indigent for Costs Counsel
FROM: Goldman, Naccarato, Patterson, Vela & Associates, Inc.

This is a brief but necessary disclosure from the available court records and is not a confidential disclosure. Circuit Court Judge David Miller denied JAC’s Motions to Dismiss and Motion for Change of Venue to Leon County on January 10, 2008. On January 14, 2008, GNPV settled its differences with JAC by Mediation Agreement so that GNPV remains a contract vendor with rights set out in the Mediation Agreement. Ultimately the pending cases will be dismissed. GNPV is hopeful that it can continue, in some places where it left off, to do the same type of work for which it was hired in the past. Now GNPV has complete confidence in its relationship with JAC and can assure its reporters and counsel of its new confidence and security in its JAC relationship. GNPV looks forward to continuing if not expanding its business.

Very truly yours, John R. Sutton

Saturday, January 26, 2008

THIS SPACE FOR RENT

The football season has dwindled down to its final game: Next Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. Most americans will spend the morning in their favourite house of worship, before solemnly settling down to four to six hours of lust, greed, gluttony, and over indulgence. But the mere fact that we seek the good lord's blessings before hand is what makes us a greater country than, say, a country run by Muslim extremists, who hmmm.....also seek the lord's blessing before engaging in any activity.

But.ummm....they have the wrong deity, so that makes us better. Right?

In the darkest days of the Civil War – a group of ministers went to see President Lincoln in the White House. The North was not doing well at the time.

One of the ministers asked Mr. Lincoln, "Is God on our side?"

The President replied:

"The question is not whether God is on our side. The question is whether we are on God's side."


Anyway, the end of the football season leaves a one day gap in our blog. Any individual who thinks they have something interesting to say, send us an email and we will give you a shot. Who knows, you may achieve the fame and fortune, not to mention the public adulation and the blogging groupies that have so enriched our life the past few years.

As long as you follow our simple rules, the blog will be yours on Sunday, to say and do what you want.

See You In Court, where our cross examinations often leaves the prosecution seeking Divine intervention.

Friday, January 25, 2008

ROME IS BURNING?




Nope. But the Monte Carlo hotel in Vegas is on fire!!!!!


And congratulations to ASA Flora Seff on being named Prosecutor of the Year.
The Herald article is HERE

Thursday, January 24, 2008

HECKLE THE CHIEF JUDGE TONIGHT

Tonight. One night only. Those crazy and wild lawyers at the 11th Circuit Historical society are doing it again with a wild Symposium in which Chief Judge Joe Farina and former Chief Judge Gerald Wetherington will appear together in a reunion rivaling the Beatles reunion in historical significance and pure entertainment.

The Symposium is entitled Reflections on Justice” and the Chief Judges will discuss the direction the Justice System has taken in the last 30-40 years and where we can expect it to go.

WHERE: Miami Historical Museum 101 West Flagler Street

WHEN: 6:00 PM Thursday evening.

Be there or be square.

And don’t pass up the chance to heckle Judge Farina on those long lines this past Tuesday at the Justice Building.

NO EASY ACCESS- NO PEACE!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

IF IT'S TUESDAY, THEN IT'S ALSO MONDAY IN MIAMI


(undated Herald Photo of Miamians waiting in line on Tuesday after the former federal holiday celebrating the birthday of Rutherford B Hayes.)
Something has got to be done.

The system is breaking down.

We are speaking of Tuesday trial days when Monday is a holiday.

Two of the busiest days of the court week are jammed into one, and the result is chaos.

Parking is next to impossible.

The lines to get into the courthouse are literally around the block.

There is mass confusion and everyone is upset.

In county court, calendars grind to a halt as both defense attorneys and prosecutors plead for more time when their clients/witnesses aren’t present because there is a decent chance they are stuck trying to park or in the security line (“people with knives to the left; people with rocket launchers to the right, please. Please take all explosives out of your pocket. All explosives must go through the x-ray machine. “ )


In felony court two days worth of calendars makes for large calendars, long lines, grumpy attorneys, overworked clerks, and Judges whose problems in getting the calendar done so they can get to Joes before noon we could really care less about.

Chief Judges Blake and Slom need to recognize there is a problem.
While they don’t have a problem parking, and while they don’t have a problem getting into the building, perhaps if they glance out of their dark tinted windows as they cruise into work humming the Gator fight song they may see the mass confusion going on outside their Corinthian leather appointed cars.

What the overcrowded court system does is cause disillusionment and disrespect for the court system. If we the victim in a case and it was dismissed in county court because it took us an hour to park and get through security, we would be very angry.

The system is broke, and Slom and Blake have the responsibility to fix it.
(yes, we wrote this line with a straight face.)

We will be watching.


See You In Court,
doing sudoko puzzles in line.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

WHO'S WEARING THE WHITE HAT THESE DAYS?

Not Prosecutors in Virginia.

In the State Of Virginia’s relentless pursuit to execute a retarded man (See, Atkins v. Virginia 536 U.S. 304 (2002) ) we now know the reason the prosecutor’s are so angry: Mr. Atkins may well be innocent of the accusation that he was the trigger man in a robbery. The death penalty in Virginia is only available for the person who pulled the trigger unlike Florida (motto: “we like to execute accomplices too”).

And in Virginia, getting a conviction means never having to say you’re sorry.

Attorney Leslie Smith who defended a co-defendant in this case, encountered the type of ethical dilemma that is a criminal defense attorney’s nightmare- the requirement that he keep his client’s secrets to the detriment and possible life of another person.

What occurred was that while Smith’s client was being debriefed by the prosecutor: one Cathy E. Krinick, the prosecutor stopped the tape, and pointed out the troubling fact that Smith’s client’s testimony that Atkins was the trigger man was not supported by the evidence. Being a good prosecutor (not!) Krinick did what the homicide cops should have done- coached the witness to give testimony matching the evidence. Once that small problem was cleared up, it was home sailing through the trial and the death penalty.

But Smith was wracked by his conscience: while representing his client, he probably witnessed the prosecution assist his client in giving perjured testimony that was necessary to put Atkins to death. But to speak up would be to reveal a client confidence and put Smith’s own client at jeopardy. And Smith didn’t want that because it was clear that ol’ Cathy Krinick was not going to rest until she killed someone in this case.

The NY Times article is
HERE


After several attempts, Smith was finally able to get a state bar ethics lawyer to agree that because his client’s case was over, he was free to come forward with his statement.

No word on whether the Virginia prosecutor’s office, having been denied their bloodlust in this case, is seeking the death penalty against Smith for having the audacity to tell the truth.


Speaking of telling the truth…

Canada has added the United States to a list of countries that includes Iran, China, Israel, Egypt, and Mexico as a country that tortures its prisoners.

The AP reports that the US Ambassador to Canada had this to say:
“Damn right baby. However, I would take slight issue with China and Mexico, only to the extent that we employ much more technologically sophisticated torture methods. A bullet to the back of the head is just so crude, don’t you think?”

Actually, the Ambassador had this to say:
''We find it to be offensive for us to be on the same list with countries like Iran and China. Quite frankly it's absurd,'' U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins told The Associated Press. "For us to be on a list like that is just ridiculous.'' (Notice Israel and Egypt were missing from the Ambassador's statement. Why? Well both are allies, and the CIA uses the threat of releasing prisoners to Egypt for torture as a way to get captives to speak.)

Ridiculous? Yes.


Sad? Absolutely.

Not true? No way.



We torture people, pure and simple. And what President Bush and President Cheney don’t understand (because they never served in the military) is what Senator McCain and Collin Powell (former combat military officers) have said : that by using torture we are putting our own military at risk, because sure as you’re reading this, there will be another war, US soldiers will be captured, and we will have no right to complain when they are water boarded and held in the Iranian or North Korean (Or Canadian) equivalent of Guantanamo.



But since neither Bush nor Cheney nor their children are in the military,

c’est la vie (that’s Canadian for “The US is run by thugs and idiots.”)

Anyway, not many White Hats worn these days where they’re supposed to be.

See You In Court. It’s Tuesday after a Monday off. Yuck.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

NELAN SWEET HAS PASSED AWAY

We read with sadness this morning in Joan Fleischman's column in the Herald, that former municipal court Judge Nelan Sweet passed away at age 85.

There is a service today, Sunday, at 2:30 at Mt. Nebo at 5505 NW 3rd Street.

Old timers will remember Mr. Sweet in the courtroom as a courteous attorney. And really old timers will remember Mr. Sweet along with Alvin Goodman as judges on the old Municipal Court. And really really old timers will have practiced in that court.

Sy Gaer. Alvin Goodman. Nelan Sweet. These were the lawyers who practiced law in the criminal courts as Miami turned from a sleepy southern tourist town into a bustling metropolis.

When a prosecutor or defense attorney walks into a courtroom a seeks justice, they are, in a sense standing on the shoulders of these pioneers. It's just something to remember the next time you, dear reader, think nothing happened in this town until you graced us with your legal genius. And that applies doubly to our robed readers.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY

And now the games are down to a precious few: two tomorrow, and then a bittersweet finale two weeks from now. Bittersweet because once again, going on some twenty plus years since our last super bowl appearance, our home town Dolphins just barely missed the playoffs. And it is sad to say, but if you are 33 years old, the Dolphins have not won a super bowl in your life time. But wait till next year!

First the rumors: No truth to the rumor that Bill the Cheater Belichick is lobbying to have the Dolphins replace the Chargers tomorrow on the theory the Chargers are all banged up and the Dolphins would be a more competitive match up.

Could these Cheaters be any luckier? They win the Ravens game after they lose it twice, only to have the two plays overturned on a ill timed timeout, and then their own penalty. Then they get to play a San Diego team so beaten up that they may have trouble fielding eleven players on offense and defense. And of course they couldn't beat the Jets without cheating which got them into trouble in the first place. (They should have been suspended for the season in our humble opinion, and Belichick should have been banned like Pete Rose is in baseball. He is a cheater. )

In the Cheaters game, they are currently a 14 point favorite. Rivers is hurt; the rumor is he has a partially torn ACL. Tomlinson is banged up, and the all pro TE is o..u..t..out. Yeah, the Cheater should win, and while we would avoid the game, lay the 14 points if you must.

Meanwhile in the frozen tundra of Green Bay, the NY Football Giants, exceeding all expectations including our own, roll into town to face the Packers. The Pack is favored by 7, and here’s why you should avoid this game: The only team that gave the Pack trouble this year was Da Bears. And the Giants resemble those Bears, with a rough defense, a pounding running game, and a QB whose main purpose is not to get them into any more trouble. Meanwhile, could there be any better story line than the Pack and Favre wrapping up a career by getting into the Super Bowl and then knocking those Cheaters on their cheating butts? That’s the scenario we are rooting for, so we are laying the seven points, but we’re doing it lightly.

Go Pack.

Enjoy the long weekend.


Did we mention we don't like Belichick? We really don't. He's so smarmy in that dopey hoodie that he wears. Just once, we'd like to see Joey Porter miss a tackle on the sideline and knock him on his pompous posterior. Anyway, that's another reason to look forward to next season. And the Big Tuna dislikes Belichick just as much as we do. Maybe more.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE



to go to court and get appointments,








THE ROC IS BACK!

The Supremes have spoken HERE

The Stay is back in effect.

ROC n roll.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY



To the "Greatest" of all time. He's 66 today.

There he is, standing over Sonny Liston, in Lewiston Maine, May 25, 1965, having thrown "the phantom punch." Only a real boxing aficionado could tell you that former heavyweight champ Jersey Joe Wallcott was the third man in the ring that night. (And only a real boxing trivia buff could tell you that Jersey Joe, who when he won the heavyweight championship at age 37 became at the time the oldest person to win the title, was born Arnold Raymond Cream. "Jersey Arnold" just doesn't have the same ring to it.)

You can see a tape of perhaps the most controversial first round in heavyweight championship history HERE.
Don't blink, or you'll miss the vicious left that puts Liston on the canvas.


Ali trained right here in Miami, at the 5th Street Gym, which is no longer in existence.

We will tell you that upon arriving on the shores of our fair city, a young Rumpole dumped his possessions in a small apartment and ambled down to the 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach to just take in the history of the place. Later, we jumped a little rope and hit the heavy bag and speed bag a few times, and climbed into the ring, just to be able to say we put on the gloves in the same place where Ali trained in the sweet science.

Happy Birthday Muhammad.

See you in court, where we often say that we float like a butterfly and sting like a bee;
the prosecution can't convict what their witnesses didn't see.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

SECOND AMENDMENT SHOWDOWN

The Supreme Court is scheduled to resolve a conundrum they haven’t addressed in over sixty years: How can they look at themselves in the mirror every morning having voted to stop the re-count in Florida in 2000?

No, seriously: just what does the second amendment mean and what does it protect?

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear high powered semi-automatic weapons shall not be infringed.” Or something like that.

Here is the question on Nino Scalia’s mind: “Its Monday, are they serving baked chicken again in the Cafeteria?”

The reason Judge Scalia is worried about what he eats is that as a self proclaimed “semi-strict constructionist” his judicial philosophy might well lead him to a result his conservative friends will abhor and will give him heartburn. And if his conservative friends get upset, no more free hunting trips.

Lets take a look at the two parts of the Second Amendment:

Part I:
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" - a strict constructionist would call this “the purpose clause”, meaning the reason for the language to follow.

Therefore, interpreting the amendment is simple- once the army is well funded and armed, the purpose of the amendment has been satisfied. The term “well regulated militia” must refer to something more than a bunch of beer drinking guys out on the paint ball course on a Sunday afternoon. (Readers with a knowledge of history will recall that Thomas Jefferson loved, just loved, paintball.)


If you go on the Scotusblog website, you can read a fascinating amicus brief by two professors of English linguistics, HERE
with a specialty in 18th century English linguistics that arrive at the same opinion (albeit more elegantly). While long time and careful readers may question why Rumpole spent his weekend reading amicus briefs in a second amendment case instead of his more usual fare of racing forms and football statistical analysis spreadsheets, we shall save that answer for another day and more appropriate forum.

Like the baked chicken in the Supreme Court cafeteria that they serve on Mondays, the simple analysis based on original intent and plain meaning leaves people like Justice Scalia (not to mention his pal and sometimes hunting buddy Dick “shotgun in your face” Cheney ) so unsatisfied. There’s just got to be more.

Part II (the subject clause):

“the right of the people to keep and bear arms”

To “keep arms” must, our original intent theorists suggest, mean personally keep.

But, the liberals reply, the amendment doesn’t just say “keep arms” – it says “keep and bear arms” and as the Justice Department has recognized in an internal memo leaked to Rumpole, “keep and bear arms” plainly refers to “bearing arms” in a military context. Thus the amendment merely provides for the arming of the militia, not everyone else.

You see dear readers, what has occurred here, as in Bush v. Gore, is that the philosophical bent of the various collations of the Justices leads them to conclusions that are
opposite to the politics that got them on the court in the first place.

Ginsberg and Stevens and Breyer will all be arguing that strict construction based on plain reading and the framers' intent leads to the inescapable conclusion that the Second Amendment only protects the arms of citizens to populate a militia. And the military being well funded, the second amendment does not prohibit governmental restrictions (or..gasp ..bans) on firearms. The problem is that Ginsberg, et.al., have too much invested in a broader judicial philosophy in almost every other area of constitutional law to carry the strict constructionist banner in this, or any other case.

Thomas and Scalia and Alito and Roberts, are all torch carrying conservatives, and as such, the second amendment’s protection of their Neanderthal backers' right to shoot each other in the face during hunting trips is sacrosanct. Yet a traditional strict constructionist and original intent analysis leads them astray from the promised land:
a gun in everyone’s hand.

So what to do?

In Rumpole’s world, this second amendment case is the perfect storm of chickens coming home to roost. Each bloc of the court- liberal and conservative- must use the other side’s preferred method of constitutional analysis to arrive at the conclusion they prefer. Scalia and Thomas must find “life and breadth” as well as “penumbras” (see, Griswald v. Connecticut, and Justice Douglas’s creation of the “right to privacy” in a “penumbra” of the bill of rights) in the simple phrases they are reviewing, while Ginsberg and Breyer et.al., must argue for original intent to protect the government’s right to regulate firearms.

This is just too good to be true. It’s a game of constitutional chicken and the first one to blink is the first justice that abandons their judicial philosophy and admits to being result oriented.

Who will blink first?

Monday, January 14, 2008

FORMER JUDGE ELEANOR SHOCKETT HAS PASSED AWAY

UPDATED BELOW:

The details are sketchy, and we believe her funeral is scheduled for
January 27th @ 11:00 A.M. at Temple Judea, Coral Gables.

We suggest you check the Herald Obits for further details.

We did not really know Judge Shockett so we are unable to provide any memories or details about her life and work as a Judge.


UPDATE:

Judge Shockett was involved in the organization LEAP- Law Enforcement Against
Prohibition- an organization against minimum mandatory penalties.

An alert reader emailed us this Bio:


Eleanor Schockett was born in Ruleville, Miss. and raised in Birmingham, Ala. She received her B.A from the University of Alabama with majors in History, Political Science and Law. She then headed to New Orleans, La. to complete her legal studies and receive a J.D. from Tulane Law School. She became interested in Drug Policy when she wrote her senior paper on the administration of US drug laws and knew something was terribly wrong. She maintained her interest on the issues first in the '60's as the wife of a owner/pharmacist and then in the '70's as a guest talkmaster on WKAT's Talk of Miami.

Eleanor was elected to the Circuit Court of Miami-Dade County Florida and began her service in January 1991. Although the latter 15 years of her private practice were devoted to Family Law, her first assignment was to the Criminal Court. By the time she left the Bench on December 31, 2002 she had served in the Family and General Jurisdiction divisions as well. In all three divisions she saw the havoc wrought by a failed drug policy.

Her particular concerns were the erosion of personal liberties of all our citizens. She believes if the American people learn just how bad things are, they will be changed for the better. She vowed to speak out and appreciates the opportunity.

OUCH

A couple of us are saying "ouch" today.

First Rumpole, utterly beaten on Sunday, picked both games incorrect, after picking both Saturday playoff games correctly.


Not only did this hurt, but we didn't see it coming, it was totally unexpected, and we'd probably make the same bets again. Sunday was just "one of those days." Ouch.
There is now only one sensible and reasonable thing to do: double the bets for next week to make up for our loses.



And Judge Spencer EIg is also saying "ouch" as he was spanked by the Third DCA for his bond antics. The decision is here: SPANKED


As near as we can figure, Judge Eig set a bond, then wanted to modify the bond at a later hearing sua sponte (Latin for "the judge is acting crazy again.") and then when the public defender objected and said s/he would appeal, the Judge then took the defendant into custody and re-set the bond at one million dollars.
Lesson learned: The Third DCA doesn't like it when Judges act petulant and set million dollar bonds after first setting a reasonable bond.
How it will be applied in the REGJB: No more initial reasonable bonds.
OUR BUILDING WOULD BE EMPTY:
And with a tip of the hat to the Broward Blog, we post this LINK
to the story of a Washington State Court Judge who resigned after her affair with a Public Defender in her courtroom became public.
Lest any of our robed readers express outrage, let s/he who has not sinned cast the first stone against that glass house.
Our thoroughly un-scientific opinion is that if everyone in our little courthouse resigned for that reason, it would be an awfully lonely place for hacks like us.
See You In Court, where no judge has ever had to resign because of us. (Of course, to borrow a Woody Allen line, the PD was just doing to the Judge what she had been doing to his clients.)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

NFL SUNDAY

Both of todays games are like low hanging fruit on a tree.
Take both home teams and give the points. Simple as that.
Take the Indy/Charger over 47.

2-0 yesterday on lines. Green Bay after a shaky start was the pick of the weekend. The Cheaters couldn't cover so our Jax pick paid off. One loss on the under in NE if you ignored our warnings that it was a weak pick.

No weak picks today.

Colts -8 and Dallas -7.5 are the way to go.

Over in the Colts game, stay away from the total in the Dallas game.

And don't forget to scroll back and read our post from last night about the Federal gag order. Good stuff.

See You Tomorrow, flush with flow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

GAG ME WITH A LENARD

The Sun Sentinel reports HERE
on our favourite Federal Blogger, David O Markus with a K, and the gag order issued in the Liberty City Seven case.

Lenard issued a "gag order" that included Queen Elizabeth, Janet Reno, Sylvester Stallone, "every resident in any zip code that begins with 3..." most of the Lower Parliament of New Zealand, as well as to victorious Liberty City Seven Lawyer Joel DeFabio "and his agents."

Mr. Markus, having decided to represent Mr. DeFabio, is of the opinion that along with the members of the New Zealand House Of Representatives, he is now officially gagged from blogging about the Liberty City Seven Trial. Mr. Markus entered his appearance on behalf of DeFabio when Lenard forbade DeFabio and his client from talking about their victory in Federal Court. "The Defendant starts publicising that he was acquitted, and the next thing you know everyone will want a trial, and we can't have that here in the United States" a Comrade Prosecutor from the US Attorneys Office was heard to argue in court the other day. "The first amendment is obviously the least important, right? One is much less than ten." the US Attorneys Office successfully argued to the court.

Remember, the US Attorneys Office (motto: "Beat us once, we'll gag you. Beat us again, we'll indict you. Beat us a third time and we send you hunting with Dick Cheney.) is trying this case for the second time, having lost their case against one defendant, and hanging the jury against the rest.

So, Mr. Markus, being silenced for the foreseeable future, your humble blogger and servant becomes Liberty's Last Champion.

Have a comment on the Liberty City Seven Trial?
POST IT HERE!!! (almost) all are welcome. We are not encouraging anyone under Judge Lenard's order to violate it. We will not be accepting any Kiwi Komments until this matter is resolved.

Meanwhile, we anxiously await the re-trial. "In the interest of a fair trial" the Government has requested that every defendant and defense attorney be required to wear an "Osama Bin Laden" mask, so that "an atmosphere of fear descends upon the new jury." We will report on the court's ruling on this motion, and anything else that pops up before the defendants are acquitted (oopps..that just earned us a subpoena and contempt of court charge. Number one if you're counting.)

See You in Court, where we once saw someone throw up on a jury, but have never personally been gagged.

NFL SATURDAY

Green Bay hosts the Seahawks today in the early game while the Jaguars travel to New England to play the 135-0 Cheaters.

Both lines have moved since the opening and that merits discussion.

The Packer/Seahawk game opened at GB-8.5 and it is now GB-7.5. Traditionally you see this occur in the second round of the playoffs when the winning wild card team, that played the following week, picks up support from the fans who watched them win, as opposed to the division winner (Green Bay) that was off.

Give the points here. This is our best bet of the week. The Packers -7.5 all the way. There may be some questions about this Green Bay team. They have to prove they have a legitimate running game and can beat Dallas which handled them pretty well earlier in the season. But for today they play a Seattle team that has just never clicked on all cylinders all season.
The over under is 40 and we say stay away. This game could be a 35-20 rout, or a 27-10 rout. Farve will show up- of that we have no doubt. But we can't say the same for the Seahawk defense.


The Cheaters/Jaguars line has also moved, but the other way. The Cheaters opened as 11 point favorites, and the line has moved to -13.5 as the public hops on the undefeated bandwagon.
The over/under line has also moved from 48 to 50. We think the play here is under 50. Defense has a way of asserting itself in playoff games in January in the north east. Don't think for one second that the Cheaters don't have a running game. They do. And while they're far from conservative, we think if they get a 10 point lead they just may try and sit on it.

The question is whether Jax can take a play from the Ravens and to a lesser extent the Colts and turn this game into a one or two fourth quarter possession game. We think they can. Jacksonville is well coached and they have a plan and they do a pretty go job dictating the flow of the game. Take the 13.5 points but lightly. And if you really want to have fun, the you can get 6-1 on your money by taking Jax without your points.

We will have more to say on this tomorrow, but early on we like Dallas and the Colts.

Friday, January 11, 2008

TIMONEY "LAWYERS UP."

You've seen it a hundred times if you've seen it once.
The police are investigating your client. He or she is under arrest. They take them to that small windowless interview room and cuff them to the bench and let them stew for an hour or so thinking about their fate.

Then two cops walk into the interview room, and one of them reads the client their Miranda rights. You client isn't sure what to do. "Hey, if you have nothing to hide, why wouldn't you talk to us?" one cop says. Maybe the other cop passes a comment about the Judge being upset when he hears that the client didn't cooperate. All too soon your client is talking a mile a minute.

Well those lessons have apparently been well learned by the City Of Miami's top cop.

As our favourite Herald Scribe reports today HERE Miami Chief of Police John "Lexus" Timoney told the Citizen Investigative Panel absolutely nothing when he "responded" to a subpoena to testify about his free car by not showing up at the hearing "upon advice of counsel."

We have a few questions for Chief Timoney: If you think it's best not to talk to someone without counsel present on a matter that might get you arrested, can you think of one good reason why any defendant should talk to any of your police officers without a lawyer present?

Do you think your refusal to respond to a subpoena is an admission of guilt? If not, then why does your department along with the prosecutor's office argue that a refusal to provide a breath test in a DUI is an admission of guilt?

Just what does it say about Miami's top cop when he feels his actions are so serious that anything he might say could be used against him in a court of law?

Just how sweet was that ride?

Rims?

And in closing, let us all remember that Chief Timoney's need for counsel continues the City Of Miami Police Department's long tradition of having officers end up on the wrong side of the law.

Somehow the term "Lexus Cop" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "The River Cops".

See You In Court, where we hope all our clients take note of Chief Timoney's wise actions and "lawyer up" rather than trying to talk their way out of it.


Jimmy Conway, who was played by Robert De Niro in Goodfellas would be proud of our Chief Timoney today:


Everybody gets pinched. But you did it right. You told 'em nothing and they got nothing...I'm proud of you. You took your first pinch like a man and you learned the two greatest things in life...Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

COURTHOUSE STUFF

We are gratified to run this blog when we can do something like host a site where people can comment on their remembrances of someone like Alvin Goodman who has just passed away.

The comments about Alvin reflect a life well lived. Alvin was an original. We think it is best to remember the seventy some years of his life on this earth and all the good that he did. He brought happiness to many people. He defended clients who needed him. And there is a special place in whatever you believe waits for us beyond life for all of the smiles he brought to the faces of children. Lets remember his life- the one day he passed away pales in significance to how he lived his life.

In other matters not necessarily germane to anything:

Senator John Kerry has endorsed Senator Obama for President. Is that a good thing? And shouldn't he have at least waited until his running mate from 2004 John Edwards was out of the race? We still support Edwards and believe he can get the nomination and will win the presidency if he does. Of course we wake up every day and head to the REGJB fully believing justice will be done, so what do we know?

Word reaches us that Sir Edmund Hillary has passed away. The BBC article is

HERE.


And word reaches us that the 4th DCA (motto "A 100 times better than the 3rd DCA") has ordered the immediate release of Victoria Sando- the wheelchair bound woman sentenced to 6 months in jail for missing a court date.
The Broward Blog has a link to the opinion HERE

No truth to the rumor that if the 4th DCA keeps enforcing the Constitution that the rest of the DCAs may band together and shun the judges of the 4th.

See You In Court, where every now and then there is a nice opinion to read in the FLWs.

And as everyone already knows, Congratulations to our new Circuit Judge George Sarduy who was just promoted to circuit court after a brief stint in the county court domestic violence division.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A MURPHY MIRACLE?

The Herald (via our Oh Susannah Nesmith) is reporting HERE
nothing short of a miracle!

Judge Murphy has accomplished something that legions of prosecutors, not to mention judges, have been unable to do over the years: he silenced Richard Sharpstein!!!!. And what really makes it a miracle, is that the Herald is reporting that Sharpie agreed to it!!!!

The Herald article covers the gag order issued in the Sean Taylor murder case. The the real shocker is the silencing of Sharpstein, who ironically is not directly involved in the case. (Sharpstein was murder victim and NFL star Sean Taylor's attorney in a prior prosecution in Dade County.)

Just when you think you've seen everything in the Justice Building...

In other REGJB news, the Herald reports HERE
that Judge Areces sentenced former Police Officer Paul Brosky to 50 years in prison for kidnapping and molesting a seventeen year old woman he stopped for a traffic infraction. Bill Altfield was the prosecutor, and the Herald reports that the former officer turned down a 25 year offer right before sentencing to cover the case he was convicted on, and a similar case that is scheduled for trial in the spring.

And finally our favourite federal blog has coverage all this week of the Padilla sentencing taking place before Judge Cooke. As Mr. Markus is wont to say he will be "standy by" and reporting on all the events as they unfold in Federal Court.

See You In Court, where maybe Sharpstein agreed to shut up, but us? Never, never, never, never. For we shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France...we shall fight in the fields and the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender. (Sorry, but when we get emotional, we get Churchillian)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

ALVIN GOODMAN HAS PASSED AWAY

A day for sad news continues as word reaches us that everyone's favorite Lawyer cum Magician, palm reader, Boxing Aficionado, and dabbler in the occult has passed away.

Like Sy Gaer, Alvin was a true REGJB original. He could represent you, and make the Ace of Spades rise out of your shirt pocket. He delighted in charming the young children in Au Bon Pain (and the Pickle Barrel before that and Cazolas before that) with magic tricks.

Alvin was also very involved with boxing and was a well known and beloved figure in the boxing world. When he went to Las Vegas for championship fights, he was treated like royalty.

All in all we are glad we knew him, and we will miss him.

Goodbye old friend. Rest in Peace (when you're not palming a coin to pull out of someone's ear unexpectedly).

Rumpole.

MIAMI DETECTIVE JAMES WALKER SLAIN

Tragedy strikes our City and police force again today.

The Miami Herald story is HERE

Monday, January 07, 2008

HAPPY?


Happiness is a warm puppy. Is it also a job at the SAO?

The comments on the blog are mostly about whether assistant state attorneys are happy, and whether the SAO is a good place to work.

The events surrounding the Christmas Eve Massacre cannot have improved morale.

Query to pit prosecutors: Are you Happy? Is the SAO a good place to work? Do you feel secure in your job if you voice a complaint? Some readers make the office sound downright Stalinist in nature.

Query to the State Attorney: You fired (or demanded his resignation, same difference) a prosecutor (Herbert Erving Walker III) for touching females without their consent. Isn't that a crime? You fired Mr. Walker for what essentially amounts to sexual harassment. You issued a press release about a secretary who was fired for sexual harassment, but as of today on your web site, nary a comment about Mr. Walker's firing. Mr. Walker was a DC- a division chief. A supervisor with great responsibility.

Just what is the SAO doing to remedy this type of behavior?

Just what is the SAO doing to reevaluate the process for how prosecutors are promoted? There is credible evidence that this prosecutor was repeatedly promoted in the face of complaints about harassment that go back to the time he was in County Court.

Is anything being done, or are you just sweeping this under the rug?

See You In Court, where it is harder to get the SAO to abandon a petit theft of a candy bar, then to get them to talk about one of their prosecutors battering their employees.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A BISCUIT TOO FAR


Fudge needs some help for the next six months.

The Broward Blog continues its criticism of Judge Marina Garcia-Wood's actions in sentencing a paralyzed and wheel chair bound woman to six months in prison for contempt of court, with a request on their website that readers send donations to take care of Fudge- the defendant's dog trained to assist her- to the chambers of Judge Garcia-Wood.

Now, when there is an ego inflated, dim witted, wouldn't know justice if it bit him/her on the butt judge doing something stupid, we are first in line to expose the lunacy. And while there may be another side to this story, we have no problem publicising it to force the Judge's actions to be examined in the cold light of day.

However, we must disagree with our brethren bloggers for a few reasons:

1) If the Dog needs assistance, a reputable charity should be involved.

2) There are plenty of abused and homeless animals that need assistance, and readers efforts would be better spent on donating to their local animal shelter.

3) There are better ways to protest the Judge's actions: you can send a card bought at an animal shelter to the Judge's chambers if you really believe she doesn't care about animals. This would benefit the shelter and show the Judge the scope of public opinion (which really shouldn't matter to her, but that's another story.)

4) But to flood her chambers with dog biscuits and food serves no purpose other than to harass her and her staff beyond the bounds of what we deem effective protests. Essentially, Broward Blog readers would be forfeiting the upper hand of reasonableness in this debate, and that is a valuable thing that should not be given up lightly.



"Be the change you want to see in the world.”


Mahatma Gandhi


Saturday, January 05, 2008

OUR WISE FLORIDA JUDGES

Thanks to the Broward Blog which is keeping us well informed of the responsible, caring, wise, and judicious decisions of the Judges of the State Of Florida.


Broward Circuit Judge Marina Garcia-Wood was a little ticked off when Victoria Sando failed to appear on a domestic violence battery charge. So beyond issuing a warrant for the arrest of Sando, who happens to be paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair, Judge Wood held Sando in contempt of court and sentenced her to six months in jail. BSO executed the warrant at 5:30 AM earlier this week, and the citizens of Broward County can now rest easier knowing that wheelchair bound Sando has been taken off the streets for the next six months. Sando is scrambling to find someone to take care of her guide dog. Perhaps Judge Garcia-Wood can arrange for Michael Vick to help. Kudos to Judge Garcia-Wood, who exemplifies the Judicial philosophy North of the Border of giving the defendant a real good kick when they are down and most vulnerable. We are certain her “tough on crime” actions in this case will be something Judge Garcia-Wood can brag about for the rest of her career. It’s not often a Judge gets to send a swat team at 5:30 in the morning to haul a paralyzed woman off to jail.


The Sun Sentinel story is : HERE



Speaking of kicking someone when they’re down, Jacksonville Circuit Judge Bowden fired his judicial assistant of 17 years just ten days before Christmas. But Bowden had good reason: Christine Birch, 54, was dying of cancer and had been unable to work since August. Bowden’s actions had the effect of terminating Birch and her medical insurance. Chief Circuit Judge Donald Moran responded to Judge Bowden’s actions by calling him, and this is an exact quote “a no good son of a bitch.”


Judge Bowden was panicked by the possibility that, if he didn’t fire Birch immediately, he might not have the ability to hire a new judicial assistant for sixty days. And lord knows the entire State of Florida would grind to a halt if Judge Bowden wasn’t on the bench administering the type of caring and concern to the litigants who appear before him as he does to the people who work for him for 17 years.

All the juicy details are:HERE


Judges sending paralyzed women to jail for six months for missing court. Judges firing employees dying of cancer, who then lose their health insurance.

Welcome to Florida, where we have the best, brightest, most caring and concerned Judges this side of Saudi Arabia (whose appellate judges recently enhanced the sentenced a young woman received to six months prison and 200 lashes for being gang raped.) That story is HERE

There is no truth to the rumor that next week’s Florida Judicial Conference is being held in Riyadh.


See you in court, where truth in Florida courts is sadly stranger than fiction.

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

WILDCARD WEEKEND- where anything can happen, like first appearances North Of the Border, but more fun.

Washington at Seattle. In spite of our legion of Redskin fans who count on us to post on their blog about the Sean Taylor case (you should see the emails I get from female Skins fans-lots of skin to say the least) I must disappoint them and say the Seahawks -4 is the lock of the day. And if you look hard, you can get it at -3. We admire the Skins scrappy play and toughness, and lord knows that they have an emotional issue to play for. But these Hawks are two years removed from the Super Bowl. They have many of the same players and they have picked up their play in the last few weeks. Seahawks -4, over 39.

Jax at Pittsburgh. We looked up this stat: In 75 years, and during many of them they were the worst team in the NFL, the Steelers have never lost twice in one season to the same team at home. The Jags have the chance tonight to be first. The Jags are favourites by 2.5 to 3 and you can make a good case that when the Jags went into Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and beat the Steelers at their own game- running in the snow, that was no fluke. But the game was closer than it looked, and the real question here is how bad is the Steeler offensive front line? They are down to a third string left tackle against a premier defense. However, Steeler QB Roethlisberger has been in the playoffs three of his first four years and he is the youngest QB to win a Super Bowl. On the other side, the Jags QB is making his first playoff start, in Pittsburgh no less.

We haven’t been able to pick a Steeler game right all year, so our advice is to leave the game alone. However, a fun play that you can make a case for is the money line- Steelers +130. Bet a hundred, win 130, no point spread. Or, a traditional analysis says that with a beaten up offensive line, no way the Steelers can win this game. However, they have a very good defense, and Roethlisberger can make plays, so we may just risk the 100 to win 130, but go light.

The NY Giants rumble into Tampa tomorrow with a lot on the line. A “one and out in the playoffs” probably means the end of the line for coach Coughlin, not to mention Eli Manning. The team came together nicely at the end of the season and gave the Cheaters all they could handle. They are getting three points from a Tampa team that quietly moved through the season without making much noise. The Bucs did a good job this year and they are on the right track. But the Giants D has roared at times this year, and we like their running game. Giants +3 on the road to win. Because we like the Giants to win, we also suggest you forgo the points and lay 100 to win 130. The Giants money line +130.

Tennessee at San Diego. Ah, San Diego and QB Rivers. Out favourite early season punching back. We loaded up against them early and that made it a very profitable season for us indeed. However, there is a thought that the Chargers just needed some more time to pick up and execute Norv Turner’s new offense. And there may be some truth to that. On the other side, Coach Fisher is our pick for coach of the year for the second year in a row. He is good. He is smart. And he teaches his players to find a way to win. The problem is that his star QB Vince Young is limping. And his team just doesn’t have the guns to run with these lightening bolts just yet. This year you can file the Titans under the category “Just happy to be here.” Although we will be rooting otherwise, no upset in the making here. Go ahead and lay the 10 points if you’re a Charger fan. The over 39 seems like a better play. And watch these Titans. Because with a few good draft picks in the Offensive line and linebackers, they may just start going deep into the playoffs.



Of note in the Titans/Chargers game is that the outcome determines who plays the Cheaters next week. If the Chargers win, then the Steelers/Jags winner goes to the land of secret videotapes and coaches who cheat in grey hoodies. If the Titans manage an upset, then the Steelers/Jags play the Colts and the Titans earn a trip to 16-0 land.

By the way, lets just get it on the record right now.

The MVP of this year’s Super Bowl, just happens to be the famous winning quarter back of this year’s Super Bowl. Yup, we are talking about the obvious here:


Brett Favre and the
Green Bay Packers.
GO PACK.


Coming up: on the blog next week: after a month of vacations, short weeks, and days off, what do the Judges of Florida do? Schedule a Judicial seminar of course. And Rumpole gives you a sneak peek at some of the topics.

Friday, January 04, 2008

TOOT YOUR OWN HORN FRIDAY

We said Huckabee would beat Romney. We ignored history and the power of the evangelical vote in Iowa (Pat Robertson finished second in Iowa) when we said Huckabee would edge out Romney. We also had a healthy respect for the large political machine Romney built in Iowa. We missed the margin of victory, but called the result. Mitt is in the fight for his political life now in New Hampshire. A McCain win puts McCain on the path to the nomination. McCain, with his pragmatic approach and willingness to defend unpopular policies is definitely the Republicans' best chance to retain the White House. At the end of the day, he is the more experienced candidate, and the one best able to reach out to Reagan Democrats.

We called the Democratic results on the money. Clinton has already revamped her election strategy for New Hampshire. Less policy speeches, more Q/A sessions with the voters.

Edwards reported an influx in cash overnight. Pundits say Edwards needs a win in New Hampshire. We disagree. He needs another solid second place in New Hampshire, a win in South Carolina, and then on to Super Tuesday.

Obama just needs to be himself and keep on doing what he has done. Don't mess with success. Don't get too conservative; don't get too aggressive.

And while we are tooting our own horn, who told you Cam was Canned? Who scooped them all?

We're not going to reveal any sources, but lets just say when it comes to Big Tuna, we're the bread and mayo.

We're back! See You Monday. Football playoff predictions tonght or tomorrow.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

ELECTION LOGIC

The possibility of what happens tonight in the frozen tundra of Iowa creates an almost endless scenario of possibilities.

We will address a few of the more fascinating and likely possibilities.

Rudy "9/11" Guliani. It's getting a little tiresome to listen to this man who cannot complete more than two sentences without remaining anyone and everyone he was the Mayor of NY on 9/11.

You've heard of a "front loading strategy'? Guliani decided to do something that has rarely been done before. He back loaded his strategy. Super Tuesday is February 5, 2008 when 1,113 of 2,500 delegates in 20 states are uo for grabs. The problem is that by Super Tuesday Guiliani might be 0 for 8, or at best 1 for 8 as he competes in Florida on Tuesday January 9, 2007. If a week is an eternity in politics, a month is more than a life time, and Rudy G may well find himself irrelevant before his race even begins.

Huckabee/Romney/McCain.
This is the battle. McCain needs to show a strong third in Iowa and New Hampshire is in play for the man written off over the summer.

Huckabee is a phenomenon who needs to avoid a Howard Dean. No matter how he finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, he just needs to keep plugging along doing what he is doing. He has a solid evangelical base that will not abandon him. If Romney implodes in Iowa/New Hampshire, the Florida race looks for solid for Huckabee in six days, and he goes into super Tuesday as the candidate of change versus McCain the candidate of the Republican establishment.

Out bet: Huckabee is out of his league and screws is up.

Mitt Romney. Forget being Morman. Is the country ready for a president named "Mitt"?
He has money. He has organization. He has worked the hardest and has put himself in position to win it all. In other words, he is where you don't want to be- out in front, with major expectations. Short of a full sweep and a video of Ronald Regan calling Romney the country's only hope, in many ways Romney and Hillary Clinton have only one place to go- down.

That leaves McCain. He's honest. He's paid the price for his honesty on immigration that put him at odds with most Republicans. He is the most experienced of the group. He has the gravitas to be President. He has been in tougher spots than this, and if he emerges with the buzz of a survivor it plays into his image. He needs to win New Hampshire; he needs the voters of South Carolina to not abandon him like they shamefully did in 2000 when he ran against Bush. A strong showing in Iowa, wins in New Hampshire and South Carolina and he is set up with money and organization to compete and win on Super Tuesday.

The Democrats.

Here is the most fascinating scenario: Clinton finishes third in Iowa and a weak second or third in New Hampshire. Obama has not campaigned in Michigan at all, so that leaves South Carolina on January 26 before Super Tuesday on February 5. The SC race is tight. Clinton could well be in third by then. She would then be faced with this difficult choice- go after Obama hard. Flay him down to his bone and destroy him or face losing the nomination. However, Obama holds a strong segment of Democrats who would never forgive Clinton for doing that. She would in a sense be destroying her own party to secure her nomination. Is that the legacy she wants?


Edwards needs a win tonight or a strong second and a win in new Hampshire or a strong second to get him to South Carolina where if he has been competitive until then, he could win, giving him new money and momentum for super Tuesday. Edwards has more than a 100 days on the ground in Iowa, which is more than Obama, who has about 70. Edwards has a very fine organization in Iowa, and his supporters are just as evangelical about him as Obama's are about him. He has kept expectations low while working hard and building a complete organization in Iowa. He has a lot to gain tonight with a strong showing.

Obama. He has the premier organization in Iowa. Clinton's is almost as good. Almost. Obama has tried to change the parameters of the race by bringing in independents who have traditionally not shown up in big numbers. Obama has name recognition and strength to carry him into Super Tuesday no matter what his results, absent a Howard Dean melt down. The question is whether in these dangerous and troubled times the voters in the end feel he has the gravitas to be a President. Obama probably wins Iowa which gives him the street cred he needs to take him into Super Tuesday. We think in a head to head comparison he fairs better against Clinton, who has strong negatives, than against Edwards who doesn't differ a whole lot ideologically from Obama, but based in his experience, might well be more acceptable to voters.

An Edwards/Obama ticket, but not the other way, would be formidable indeed.

This is the start of a process, that by the very nature of press coverage, front runner status, and impressions, will be over in a quick month. We might be better off as a country having a more lengthy primary season- something that would last into June, and would give the entire country a chance to see and evaluate candidates. But this is what it is and for better or worse, we are about to begin a process that will select our next President.

In January 2009, we want to hear CJ John Roberts say "I John Edwards, do solemnly swear to faithfully execute the Office of President Of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States."

Whether that will actually happen, remains to be seen.

PREDICTIONS

Between Planes.
Blogging on the go.

Republicans:
Huckabee edges out Romney. End in sight for Mitt as McCain wins New Hampshire.

Democrats.

Three candidiates in a statistical heat. Nobody talks about the third: Edwards. He comes in Second. Obama wins. Clinton disappointing third. She gets creamed in New Hampshire and all of the sudden needs a win in South Carolina.

We shall see.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

WE RESOLVE

Fact: Most New Years resolutions are quickly broken.

Solution: Alter your expectations.

WE RESOLVE:


To eat more. Especially bad carbs like Ice Cream and M&M’s. Leave the brown rice and sweet potatoes for those making unrealistic resolutions.

To be nicer to the SAO on the blog. Bennett too.

To roll our eyes at opposing counsel when in chambers, the Judge, who graduated law school in 2000, tells us how s/he tried every case they had, had all depos set and most taken within two weeks of arrest. We also promise to continue coughing out loud when the judge whispers that s/he will let us in on a secrete- that the Governor really wants them on the 3rd DCA.

We’re going to keep fantasizing about women way too young for us (We mean like 20-25).

To spend like crazy. Best Buy here we come.

To work a lot more. So when the time comes to pass on to the great blog in the sky, we can have that dreamy look in our eyes as we sigh “at least we spent enough time in the office.”

To not even look at discovery until the day of trial. Especially in Federal Cases.

To charge clients less. Who cares about bills and credit ratings anyway? And sign up for all those Capital One credit card offers. Just load up and blow em out.

3 words: Butter, Pizza, Cholesterol.

We’re gonna put down that book and turn on ESPN. Plus, there’s a whole bunch of new gambling websites we need to sign up for.

Pilates and Yoga are for wimps.

Sign up for that beer frequent buyer card.

To be more nasty and rude to clerks than seems possible. We went to law school! Don’t they realize that means we’re better human beings than they are? They exist merely to stamp and copy, and to do it quickly at that. Chop chop.

And finally, to blog more at the expense of our personal life and work life. After all, there is that great blog in the sky, and we’re soooo very important to legal life in Miami. Right?

Gonna do our best- like in past years- do make a dedicated effort- or as Reno likes to say “Our Level Best” to keep each and every one of these resolutions.

See You In Court yelling at the clerk and mocking the judge.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

HE'S NUMBER ONE

Just a little hobby of ours to see the first felony of the new year.
We hope it brings good tidings to all of us who work at the REGJB for a living.

Judge Prescott has the honor of the first felony of the year.

COURT CASE: F08000001
State Case#: 132008CF0000010001XX
Name: HENDERSON, CHRISTOPHER ANTIONE
DOB: 05/14/1985

Date Filed: 01/01/2008
Date Closed: 00/00/0000
Hearing Date: 01/22/2008
Hearing Time: 900
Hearing Type: A
Courtroom: REGJB-JUSTICE BUILDING, ROOM#:7-4
Address: 1351 N.W. 12 ST
Judge: PRESCOTT, ORLANDO A
Defense Attorney: PUBLIC DEFENDER APPOINTMENT, ASSIGN
Bfile Section: F002
File Location: PREHEARING
GRD THEFT/3D/FIREARM
FELONY
2
CONCEALED F/A /CARRY
FELONY


Query: What's a "Bfile Section"?

Steve Shenkman has passed away.

We start the year off with some sad news. We did not know Steve Shenkman, but it warms our heart to learn we brought him some enjoyment.

Readers are encouraged to share their memories.

It is wth great sadness that I must report that Traffic Hearing Officer Steve Shenkman Passed away yesterday after battling pancreatic cancer for the last three months. Steve loved reading the Blog and I am sure he is still reading it now ... just from a higher vantage point. He will be sorely missed.

Tom Cobitz