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

Monday, March 31, 2008

REPRINT

THIS WAS ON THE BROWARD BLOG OVER THE WEEKEND.

SCHOOL -- 1958 vs. 2008

Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.
1958 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2008 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario : Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
1958 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2008 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario : Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students .
1958 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2008 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario : Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1958 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2008 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psycho logist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario : Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1958 - Mark shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock.
2008 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario : Pedro fails high school English.
1958 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English , goes to college.
2008 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario : Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.
1958 - Ants die.
2008 - BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario : Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1958 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2008 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

BAR NONE

EDITORIAL

TC PALM Editorial: Judicial Candidates Hide Behind Florida Bar's Restrictive Free-Speech Canon

Florida's sparsely contested judicial contests continue to suffer from a lack of transparency

Florida has 162 Circuit Court judgeships up for grabs this year. So far, just 23 of those races are contested and only five incumbents face a challenge.


Voters might infer that the current crop of sitting judges is doing such a spectacular job that no competition is necessary. That questionable inference is buttressed by the Florida Bar, which effectively muzzles campaign debate via the "Code of Judicial Conduct."

Canon 7 prevents judicial candidates from making "pledges or promises of conduct in office other than the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of the office." It also prohibits "statements that commit or appear to commit them with respect to cases, controversies or issues likely to come before the court."

The Code of Conduct may be a well-meaning attempt to keep "politics" out of the judiciary, but elections are, by definition, political. To properly exercise their franchise, voters need transparency not robotic responses and legalistic stonewalls.
Federal courts, up to the U.S. Supreme Court, have repeatedly held that judicial candidates like every other seeker of public office have First Amendment rights to free speech.


In a 1990 case, American Civil Liberties Union v. the Florida Bar, a federal district court threw out provisions of Florida's Code of Judicial Conduct that barred judicial candidates from announcing their views of disputed legal or political issues.
Yet this state's Bar and its disciplinary council continue to chill the environment.


"Florida is defying these decisions," says James Bopp, an Indiana attorney who litigates free-speech issues nationwide. In 2006, he sued over judicial candidates' failure to respond to a questionnaire from the Florida Family Policy Council. The case is pending at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court.

Calling this state's canon "unconstitutional," Bopp says the Bar has "a lot of authority over judges." And, it seems, over voters, as well. With precious little disclosure or debate, the electorate can only go by what the Bar deems appropriate.

Acting as a virtual cartel, the Bar indulges in a bit of politicking itself by issuing recommendations in judicial retention elections. Batting 1.000, it has advised Floridians to retain every judge, and voters have obeyed that counsel every time. The Soviet Union's Politburo had greater electoral diversity. (Rumpole notes that our Comrade Bar President has done a very good job, da?)

Lawyers, including lawyers who want to be judges, maintain that the judiciary is "different" than the executive or legislative branches of government. But to suggest that politics don't enter into the courtroom is simply fatuous. As long as the Florida Constitution provides for election of judges, the electoral process must be open and transparent. Democracy demands it.
"There's a move nationally toward further disclosure of judicial candidates' philosophy," says Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch in Washington, D.C. That trend, backed by federal court decisions, needs to play out in the Sunshine State, which, in other arenas, has some of the strongest open-government laws in the country.


It's time the Bar and its barristers let the sun shine in.

Rumpole says, isn't it a little bit much to ask our dear robed readers to speak intelligently in public on issues of importance? It's not like most of them had any training or experience in public speaking before ascending to the bench.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

WITH THIS PLEA I THEE WED

The following is a transcript from Judge Spencer Eig’s division. (Welcome to the blog Judge Eig) Some of the names have been removed by Rumpole to protect the innocent. The transcript has been edited in that much of the proceedings have been removed. However, no words have been added. The words below are as they appear in the entire transcript that was emailed to us. The transcript was emailed to us by someone who was NOT a party to this case. We have no idea how or why they obtained this transcript.


CRIMINAL DIVISION JUDGE SPENCER EIG
CASE NO. F07-7312
STATE OF FLORIDA,
Plaintiff,
-vs-
WOODROW STARLING,
Defendant.
The above-entitled case came on for hearing before the Honorable JUDGE SPENCER EIG,
Judge of the above-styled court at the Metropolitan Justice Building, at 1351 Northwest 12th Street, Miami, Florida, 33125, on September 25, 2007…

THE COURT: Good morning to you all.
FAMILY MEMBER: Good morning.
THE COURT: Are you relatives of Mr. Starling?
FAMILY MEMBER: Yes, Sir.
THE COURT: What is your name?
FAMILY MEMBER: My name is
_________. I am his sister. That is my father, ------------, --------his baby's mother and ------- Starling, his baby.
THE COURT: Good morning, Baby. What is your name?
FAMILY MEMBER: ------ --------
THE COURT: Were you and Mr. Starling living together?
FAMILY MEMBER: Yes.
THE COURT: Mr. Starling, were you living with Ms. ----?
THE DEFENDANT: Off and on. We resided together. But the conditions of my probation I had to stay at my father's house, you know.
THE COURT: Is there a special condition of Mr. Starling's probation that he live with his father?...

THE CLERK: No.
THE COURT: Mr. Starling, you are getting old. How old are you?
THE DEFENDANT: 21.
THE COURT: You have child a there.
THE COURT: Is that your child?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes. That was my child… (there is a discussion of the defendant’s other cases and whether there is a stay away order prohibiting the defendant from living with the mother of his child.)
THE COURT: Do you want to get back to go with
Mr. Starling? Or do you want a stay away order or what do you want?
FAMILY MEMBER: No. I don't want A stay away order.
THE COURT: Anyway, Mr. Starling, we have this thing. I don't know how to describe it except for thing that our state and really our own country have established people who show they want to make a commitment to the future and be a productive member of society. This thing is called marriage. Some people all it an institution. They also call it Dade County Jail Institution.
(Rumpole notes, we consider the comparison of jail and marriage to be an apt way of determining the virtues of marriage. And jail for that matter.)
It is not like that. If you indicated to me that you wanted to make a commitment to the future, that you have Ms. --- here and you wanted to make her Mrs. Starling. What is the baby's name?
THE COURT: And make a commitment to this family unit that I am seeing here in front of you, this is something I would place a great deal of respect for. I would release you today, and you know you can come back in the future and deal with whatever issues there are. You would have a lot to bring to the table. Living some place else. This is my baby mama. And this is a very loose relationship that could be here one day and gone tomorrow, you are not bringing anything to the table. I am not trying to force you. You have to enter into marriage voluntarily. And it is something you all need to discuss as a family that that is the best way to proceed. So what I am going to do today is release you on your own recognizance. I am going to temporarily add that you participate in a domestic violence class as a part of your probation. So that whatever occurred in the past, you will start to get the tools to deal with whatever situations raise without getting into trouble for it. And you know and Ms--- and your family can decide what kind of a future that you all want to have together. That is up to you all. We can come back for a charge, and we will see what is going on with that. There is, you know, a lot of people who think they couldn't get married. To get married they have to have money for a house and a big wedding and all of that kind of stuff. It is not true. It is not true at all.
(Rumpole notes that Judge Eig has not been dating the same women we have dated. Money and a big house have EVERYTHING to do with marriage in our milieu.) People can make a commitment to the future and not necessarily have the whole thing all at once, but build it. Build it brick by brick. So we will set the case for report on the affidavit for October 26th. I will ROR you today. We will add the domestic violence referral, as soon as possible. And I wish you and the whole family the best of luck in the future.

Rumpole notes: Good intentions, bad execution. One cannot fault the judge for trying to impose some lifetime wisdom and experience in this matter. Lord knows the problems of absentee fathers has wrecked havoc with this generation of children. The statistics are there, check them out. BUT, there is something just WRONG with a judge releasing someone from jail, holding a probation violation affidavit over their head, telling them to return, and making sure they understand in no uncertain terms how favourably the court would view the nuptials of the defendant and the mother of his child.

There is an element of coercion present for one thing, no matter how much Judge Eig tried to avoid it. For another thing, there is an element of equal protection. Can a Defendant who lives an alternative lifestyle and is gay expect the same fair treatment from a Judge who is family oriented?

Judges who put themselves into the lives of young defendants and require them to finish high school or get a GED, and remain drug and alcohol free are doing great work. And a Judge who made inquiry about child support in a matter similar to this would also be within the bounds of propriety in nudging a defendant to meet their responsibility to their family. But in our view, despite the very best intentions of Judge Eig, we do not think it is proper for a Judge to be encouraging anyone to get married. And while we admit a healthy aversion to the institution of marriage, there are bigger issues at play here beyond our own fears of commitment.


See you in court, and not in a Chapel getting hitched anytime soon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

CRISIS: State cuts court budgets. Chief Judges in Dade and North of the Border announce drastic personnel cuts. Drug court (at least in Broward) will be gone. No social service programs of any sort. Limited civil court hours as most resources directed to keeping the criminal courts running.

RESPONSE: Change the siding in the elevators in the REGJB.

Can someone in the name of government waste and $2,000.00 toilet seats tell us why in the midst of the worst budgetary crisis to hit the courts since Richard Gerstein was calling the shots for the SAO ARE THEY SPENDING MONEY TO RE-DO THE INTERIORS OF THE ELEVATORS IN THE REGJB?

Maybe it’s just the way we look at things. But you have to feel sorry for the clerk who gets laid-off and rides downstairs for the last time in one of those revamped elevators. Maybe they are wondering about getting new health insurance, or paying the rent, and to add insult to injury they have to look at where their salary was just pissed away.

NEXT UP: Court hours to be cut to four days a week… which the chief judge notes will actually be a good idea while they replace all the fixtures in the judges’ bathrooms.


See You In Court, riding the escalators as a matter of protest.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

11th Judicial Circuit Historical Society

We rarely get invited to anything intentionally, but somehow this arrived in our email in box:






THIS THURSDAY March 27, 2008 @ 6:00 PM
THE HISTORICAL MUSEUM OF MIAMI
101 West Flagler Street
Call 305-375-1619 for details.



Dear friend,
Please accept this invitation to attend the 11th Judicial Circuit Historical Society’s Second Annual Reception. Besides good food, drink, and company, we plan to unveil our second magazine.
Don’t forget, the 11thJCHS is now accepting nominations for the 2008 Legal Legends awards. Please nominate anyone you think is deserving of being honored as a Legal Legend. You can even submit your nominations on-line. Click
HERE to download a PDF form or fill in an on-line nomination form.
We look forward to seeing you at the reception.
Our best,
The Board of Trustees of the 11th Judicial Circuit Historical Society





Rumpole says: those wild and crazy lawyers at the 11th Circuit Historical Society are at it again. It's "party party party" with those guys all the time.

This is the organization that honored our dear and departed friend Sy Gaer with a "Legal Legends" award, and we can tell you Sy was touched beyond words to be included with the likes of Janet Reno and other Miami Legal Legands.

This is a great organization. For you young lawyers, do you know who the Justice Building is named after? Do you ever wonder what it was like to practice law in the wild 1970's and cash crazy 1980's? How about the prosecution of Al Capone or the man who tried to assasinate President Roosevelt? Or the judicial scandals before there was "courtbroom"?

Judge Scott Silverman who founded this organization has all the answers and more. Attend the event; have a good time; and as we used to say where we grew up "Maybe someone will learn you something."

UPDATE: We forgot to mention that non-members will have to pay a sawbuck to hobnob with the members. I think we applied last year but were told that at the time they were not accepting applications from anonymous bloggers.

Monday, March 24, 2008

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ELECTION UPDATE .....


The 2008 Election season just got hotter as we now have our fifth incumbent judge who has drawn opposition.

In Circuit Court Group 76, Incumbent Judge Spencer Eig is being challenged by Aventura attorney Roniel "Ron" Rodriguez IV. Mr. Rodriguez has been a member of The Florida Bar for five (5) years.

Mr. Rodriguez lists his practice areas as in civil and commercial litigation. He has two quite interesting email addresses: sue u soon @aol.com and lawsuit8 @aol.com.

He has some "claim to fame" having sued Hooters, PF Changs, Sports Authority and other retail establishments under an obscure federal law. In the Hooters action, he sued them for "revealing too many figures" as an article on law.com states. It is a violation of federal law for a business to put all of your credit cards numbers on the receipt. Hooters was doing it and Rodriguez filed suit. Apparently, he has been handling this type of litigation against other businesses as well.

Judge Spencer Eig has not had to run in an election before as he was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush in October of 2005, after the legislature created a new seat. Eig sits in the Criminal Division.

With Rodriguez' challenge of an incumbent Judge, he joins these races with an incumbent versus a challenger:

Circuit Court Group 51
Incumbent Douglas Chumbley vs. Challenger Marcia Caballero

Circuit Court Group 55
Incumbent Jeri Beth Cohen vs. Challenger Abbie Cueller

County Court Group 17
Incumbent Eric Hendon vs. Challenger Denise Martinez Scanziani

County Court Group 42
Incumbent Norma Lindsey vs. Challenger Lisa Lesperance

Other tidbits:

I must admit when I'm wrong. Judge Prescott is not running for any other office. He has filed in Group 35 to retain his seat as a Circuit Court Judge.

This completes the filings of incumbent judges expected to file for reelection. Now we get to watch over the next six weeks to see if anybody new jumps into the races to challenge another incumbent judge or instead opts to file in one of the open seats.

And speaking of open seats, Migna Sanchez-Llorens remains the only candidate without a challenger in the "open seats" category. Group 18 Circuit Court Judge Jon Gordon is not running again and Migna is the only one who has filed for the seat - So Far .....

As for the "open seat" in Group 63, Judge Rosinek's plans to resign before the end of his term have been put in a freezer.

Rosinek, who participates in the infamous drop program, had wanted to exit out early as the result of the drop system - but - he has gotten some behind the scenes pressure from some incumbent judges whom I shall not name - to keep his seat until the very end. To do otherwise, would cause a domino effect the likes we haven't seen since the war in Vietnam. If Rosinek resigns, Crist gets to appoint a replacement. If that happens, the two candidates that are now running to replace Rosinek, Maria Sampedro-Iglesia and Manny Segarra - would be forced to file against incumbent judges - alas, two more incumbents would join the five races mentioned above. So, you see, Rosinek is here to stay, until December 31, 2008.

It's going to get very interesting .....

Judicial Nominating Commission

The JNC has met and they have recommended six attorneys to Gov. Crist to replace County Court Judge George Sarduy, (who was promoted to the Circuit Court). The names:

Joeseph Davis, Jr. (34 years)
Steve Grossbard (34 years)
Alicia Otazo-Reyes (16 years)
David Peckins (31 years)
Rodney Smith (7 years; City Atty's Office)
Lourdes Simon (13 years; Public Defender)

Notably missing from the list: Stephen Millan, Mario Garcia, Jr., and Migna Sanchez-Llorens (all judicial candidates), Shirlyon McWhorter, Flora Seff and William Altfield.

CAPTAIN OUT ........

Saturday, March 22, 2008

OUR LEGISLATURE AT WORK

From the Broward Blog:

OUR LEGISLATORS HARD AT WORK DURING A BUDGET CRISIS:
A bill to be entitled An act relating to the indecent wearing of below-waist underwear; prohibiting a student from exposing below-waist underwear in a specified manner while on the grounds of a public school; providing penalties; providing an effective date.


Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Exposure of undergarments.--(1) A student may not wear and expose below-waist underwear while on the grounds of a public school in a manner that exposes or exhibits one's covered or uncovered sexual organs in a vulgar and indecent manner.(2) For a first offense, a student who violates this section shall be given a verbal warning, and the school principal shall call the student's parents. For a second offense, a student shall be suspended from school pursuant to s. 1003.01(5)(b), Florida Statutes, for 3 days, and the school principal shall call the student's parents and send them a written letter regarding the student's suspension. For a third offense, the student shall be suspended from school pursuant to s. 1003.01(5)(b), Florida Statutes, for 10 days, and the school principal shall meet with the student's parents. For a fourth or subsequent violation, the student shall be suspended from school pursuant to s. 1003.01(5)(a), Florida Statutes. Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2008.

**AND WE KID YOU NOT:


Senators Aronberg and Baker moved the following amendment:Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
(3) This section does not apply to students who are studying refrigerator repair or plumbing.


Rumpole says: if things were so bad in this State; if our courts and our publicly funded programs were not in such dire straits, this would be funny. Instead, it's damn sad those morons are wasting their time and tax payer money on this arrant nonsense.

Friday, March 21, 2008

OBAMA FOR ELEPHANTS

We were very impressed with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s endorsement of Barak Obama. This endorsement may well turn out to be the turning point in this protracted campaign. However, we for one do not believe a contested convention would be a bad thing for the Democratic party. For one thing, it would bring excitement to an otherwise dull event. For another, the candidate that wins will have emerged as a “battle tested” victor, and will have that almost ghostly quality of what George H.W Bush called in 1979 (during his primary battles with Ronald Regan) “big mo” or momentum.

Senator Obama’s speech on race was masterful. Beyond the words however, we were impressed by this man’s ability to take a crisis and turn it into a positive event. Obama has emerged stronger from this race/Reverend contretemps, and that says something about the man’s leadership abilities.

What is Rumpole reading?


We just finished Charlie Wilson’s War: If you saw the movie, you saw about 5% of the story. The book takes the reader through the entire astonishing career of Congressman Charlie Wilson and how he single handedly directed American foreign policy (which happens to be illegal for a congressman to do) in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1979 through 1989. Wilson was a lightweight congressional playboy with a penchant for self destructive acts and an even greater penchant for daring last minute rescues of his career and the Afghan Mujahedeen. The chapter on Wilson’s DUI crash on a bridge the night before he led a congressional delegation to Pakistan and the subsequent DC Police escort (Wilson sat on the DC appropriations committee that handled the budget for the Capitol Police) to Andrews Air Force Base as the Virginia State Police sought to arrest him, is not to be missed. The book is a hundred times more fascinating and astonishing than the movie, and it contains the type of “it's too strange to be fiction” Washington DC stories that Congressman Wilson relished being at the center of. Many years ago Rumpole played a small part on the periphery of the struggle of the Mujahedeen against the Soviets. Our role was way too modest to mention here, but the brave Mujahedeen have always had a spot in our heart, which made their corruption by the Taliban all the more painful. Not all of the Mujahedeen are Muslim radicals, but the byzantine world of Afghan tribesmen is so wrought with tribal internecine disputes that it would take a westerner a lifetime to understand their ways. It seems in retrospect almost pre-ordained that we would screw up Afghanistan after the Russians left. And that’s just what happened.

We also poured through Jimmy Breslin’s “The Good Rat”, which is the story of a low level mafia informant and his testimony in the trial of mafia hit men/NY Police Officers Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito. The book is a good and fast read. The story is typical Breslin, with a riveting cast of NY characters from the mob, the police department, and the fringes of society. The prosecution of Caracappa and Eppolito weave together the familiar NY mob stories of John Gotti, Henry Hill, and Paul Castellano, along with the stories of a dozen or so sad sack mobster characters. Readers should note that the trial Judge in the case just happens to be the very best Federal District Court Judge Rumpole has ever had the honour and privilege of appearing before: The Legendry Judge Jack Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York.

And finally, we recommend one of the very best novels we have read in the last ten years: Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen. An amazing tale of an old man, a young man, love, the circus in depression era America, and last but not least, of an elephant that ties the whole tale together. It is a great great novel, and you will really be missing something if you enjoy literature and don’t read this book.

Currently we are poking into The Shadow Year, by Jeffrey Ford. Set in Long Island, NY, the story of a young boy and his family and a bizarre series of events promises to be a most interesting read. We’ll let you know.

Have another great weekend with some more great South Florida spring weather.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

HEIMLICH MANEUVER NEEDED...WE'RE CHOKING!

From the Miami Herald article on the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice's comments on budget cuts:

(The Crist is Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Victor Crist)

Noting that the use of court and social services rises with a bad economy, Crist also said that state attorneys, judges and public defenders need to do a better job managing their time, selecting cases to prosecute and ensuring that only the truly poor use public defenders. But neither Lewis nor state attorneys nor public defenders in the room said they were aware of widespread mismanagement of court time or cases."

The full article is HERE

Rumpole notes, we've recovered somewhat after reading that last sentence. Can CJ Lewis come to Miami and watch the crap they file? For instance, we have been reliably informed that the SAO in county court is no longer dismissing criminal cases where the person is charged with driving without eyeglasses. It used to be that the person would come to court with the glasses, apologize, and get the case dismissed with a warning. Now, because the SAO could not think of anything better to do, police officers will be coming to court, using valuable court time, to prosecute these cases.

Let's move on to the felony cases: Just write in and let us know the Resisting with violence cases that the State is offering prison time on; or the felony criminal mischief cases that are going to trial; or the sale of marijuana cases.

They don't think there is waste in the system of criminal prosecutions in Dade County?

Now is the time to show people the power of this blog. Have at it.

See You in Court trying felony criminal mischief cases.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

THE 110

Judge Farina has concluded that the 11th Judicial Circuit will have to FIRE 110 court employees to meet the current budgetary cuts!!!

From the Chief Judge's latest email:

On Tuesday, March 18th, we began to evaluate the impact of the proposed budget cuts on the judicial branch's budget and our ability to carry out our responsibilities as required by the State of Florida's Constitution. Quite candidly, as we endeavored to reconcile our obligation to provide justice for all with the inadequate resources provided by the legislature, we reluctantly came to the realization that we would have to take drastic measures in order to maintain some semblance of a court system that is accessible and effective. Towards that end, based upon the dire revenue forecast for the judicial branch generally and the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in particular, in addition to other cost saving measures, we may have to eliminate approximately 110 positions from this Circuit's workforce as of July 1, 2008.

Undoubtedly such extensive loss of personnel, approximately 33% of all state funded employees, will have a profound effect on the manner in which we have customarily provided services to the public, in that we may have to, at a minimum:
Prioritize court operations to ensure that we carry out our constitutional mandates. Thus, reducing, and possibly eliminating those functions that enhanced the quality of our services, but are not constitutionally or statutorily required. Reduce the ratio of support personnel for every judge: judicial assistants, case managers, staff attorneys, court interpreters, circuit court mediators, court reporters, general magistrates and related AOC administrative support. Further reduce, and in some instances, eliminate our expenditures for supplies, (Rumpole notes: there go the cappuccino machines for chambers!!!)publications, and travel. (Rumpole notes: No more travel??? A dozen robed readers just fainted. No more "working" conferences at the Four seasons???? Times are indeed hard.)
Defer furniture purchases and other renovations indefinitely (except for life, safety, and health matters). Reduce technology services.

Indeed, these are challenging times of catastrophic proportions; but the battle for fair and equitable treatment, as the third, co-equal branch of government, is not over. Together we can and must confront the daunting task of preserving our judicial system by doing "Whatever It Takes" in a consolidated, coordinated manner.

(Rumpole notes; Here comes our Chief Judge "taking it to the streets". He's a real 60's type radical!)Therefore, we encourage you to: Contact the Miami-Dade legislative delegation requesting adequate funding for the court system, and impress upon them the impact these reductions will have on citizens' access to the courts and respective services. Attached are the names and addresses of our delegation members. If you personally know local business persons, members of voluntary Bar Associations, members of Chambers of Commerce or other organizational leaders, contact them for their support and commitment to reach our Miami-Dade delegation members on behalf of the courts. Explain to your family and friends how the budgetary cuts in the courts will affect their lives; urge them to contact their legislators.

And by all means, continue to provide high quality, first rate services to the public. (Especially you security screeners.)

Attached are documents that provide a comprehensive profile of the court system and the myriad of services provided. Please use this information to express how these services will be adversely impacted by the proposed cuts. As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please contact either one of us, preferably by telephone. Thank you for your continuing understanding, patience and cooperation during this very difficult period in the history of Florida's justice system.
Joseph P. Farina
Ruben O. Carrerou

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

RUMPOLE INVITED!!!

We received the following invitation:

Marsha Madorsky and I would like to invite you to attend a cocktail reception for our friend Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
Please RSVP to
Chris in my office at (305) 285-9331.
Rick Sisser


Bill and Jessica Biondi, Steve Brodie, Ruben and Mariana Garcia, Gregory Cesarano, Ellen Freidin, Debra Goodstone, Marsha Madorsky, Amelia Maguire, Edith Osman, Chuck Rosenberg, Rick Sisser, and Bill and Gretchen Tunkey
Cordially invite you to a fundraiser in honor & in support of our friend and neighbor

Katherine Fernandez Rundle,
State Attorney
on Thursday, March 27, 2008
from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
at L'Hermitage, 2000 South Bayshore Drive, # 41

Valet Parking Provided

Rumpole wonders: Just how did they get our email address?


If we attend, will the State Attorney address the issues that we raised during the “State Attorneys Office Christmas Massacre Post?”

Why is valet parking needed?

Will the State Attorney explain to us how Herb Walker decided to resign out of the blue, and how his resignation had absolutely nothing to do with the sexual harassment complaints made against him?

Will the State Attorney explain to us her policy of firing people who lie about why they were fired? How about her policy of punishing and firing young assistants who assist charities.

In lieu of the above, does she really want Rumpole to attend her party?

We may well solicit funds to allow us to make a donation and attend.

Should Rumpole attend the State Attorney’s fundraiser?
And should we trust her valets with our car?

Monday, March 17, 2008

"I SHOT THE CLERK? I SHOT THE CLERK?"

FACDL-MIAMI FREE SEMINAR:
"ANATOMY OF AN INTERROGATION"
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Brickell Bay Club
2333 Brickell Avenue, Miami
5:00 PM

Sponsored by: Transitions Recovery Program

The evening includes a seminar as well as Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvresCome learn about the methods used by police during the process of interviewing and interrogating subjects.

Edith Georgi and Dr. John Palmatier will be presenting.

JOIN FACDL-MIAMI
The Seminar is only open to current members of FACDL-Miami. If you have not yet paid your 2008 dues ($75 for private attorneys and $25 for government attorneys) please bring your checkbook and renew your membership on Thursday evening.
In order to have enough seats, food and drinks, we would appreciate an RSVP if you intend to come to the seminar.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact us at facdlmiami (at)aol.com
Look forward to seeing you there.

Well, maybe not everyone will be there- we might be home watching "My Cousin Vinny". Then again, we might just put in an appearance.


Update: for those of you who wasted your time in law school reading cases instead of going to the movies, the "I shot the clerk" reference is to the movie "My Cousin Vinny" where the police chief questions Vinny's nephew, and he repeats the phrase in disbelief, but the officer records it as a confession.

A COUPLE QUESTIONS

TOP'O THE MORNING TO YA!

1) A reader wants to know why are our superbly trained and highly efficient REGJB security people are making people remove their belts?
Q: What’s that?
A: A paper clip.
Q: Code Red! Code Red! Sir. Please stay right where you are. Do not move. You, next in line with the rocket launcher , please move through the machine. You with the paper clip- please put your hands behind your back and go with the police officer.


Why are these people making everyone remove their belts at the security checkpoint? Are they looking for imported protected crocodile skins? Or do they just enjoy making hundreds of people wait in line while they exercise the tiny little bit of authority they have been given?


On to a more legal subject, a reader asks:

Rump: You never addressed the question I posed last week, and none of the contributors seemed to touch it, so here we go again.




Cannon 2, of the Rules of Judicial Conduct states that “A Judge Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in all of the Judge's Activities,” providing that “A judge shall . . act . . in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary”; saying that “A judge shall not allow family, social, political or other relationships to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment.”



The test for appearance of impropriety according to the commentaries “is whether the conduct would create in reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances that a reasonable inquiry would disclose, a perception that the judge's ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality, and competence is impaired.”



Would you afford us all the benefit of your opinion, and seek the opinion of our readers and contributors to the following: What is the propriety of a judge who is married or in a “meaningful” or “significant” relationship with a police officer sitting in the criminal division? Would the opinion change if the judge handles cases involving officers who are assigned the mates or significant others unit or section?

Rumpole says: Good question. We have an opinion, but for once we will keep it to ourselves. I know some robed readers have weighed in on this before, and we expect to hear from them again.




But let us start the ball rolling with this : If you are of the belief that a Judge married to a police officer should not sit in the criminal division, then should a Judge with children not hear a child molestation or child abuse case? Should a female Judge not hear a sexual assault case? Should an African-American judge not hear a deprivation of civil rights case? Just wondering how far you intend to go with this.

See you in court.

Friday, March 14, 2008

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS

Nice DBR article on the different election problems Florida Judges face from County to County.

DBR

For instance, North of the Border, if you run against an incumbent judge and win, the Judges in power respond by assigning you the weekend bond hearings for the first 5 1/2 out of six years of your first term, with the remainder of the time spent being required to read "The collected wit and wisdom of Dale Ross." (Pompous Publishing, 2007.)

Jack Thompson: more fun with pleadings:

This from a recent filing with the Florida Supreme Court:

"Mr. Chaykin, who is presently serving the best interests of the citizens of Florida, is the one who demands permanent disbarment for Thompson. Mr. Chaykin is has publicly branded anyone who does not agree with him on gay adoption (Thompson does not) an “enemy of The Bar” and “outside the core values of our Bar.” This is terrific. The Bar has a paranoid on its Board of Governors who actively seeks retribution against his “enemies” with enhanced punishment because they aren’t square pegs that fit into his pro-gay hole.

Thompson should like to propose a deal to this Court, since this is obviously how this Court operates: Thompson will change his party affiliate to “Democrat,” pronounce his fondness for gay adoption and the gay lifestyle, have sex with 16-year-old prostitutes, have forced sex with his female clients, launder money for the Medellin cocaine cartel to benefit Roy Black, confine his criticisms, like the aforementioned Roy Black, to Florida judges on national television rather than in Thompson’s letters to those judges, represent the porn-to-kids industry rather than attack it, stalk a former employee, as did Thompson Bar complainant Tom Tew, commit perjury like Larry Kellogg and Al Cardenas to try to nail an anti-obscenity crusader, and last, but not least, exhibit the Spitzer-eclipsing hubris of one of you sitting on the Supreme Court and announce that we need to round up lawyers with bad manners and suspend them, the United States Constitution notwithstanding.

If Thompson does all of that, will you, this Honorable Court, give me a “get out of jail free and get out of disbarment free” card? Apparently one has to be a pervert to catch a break from this Court and its “official arm,” The Floriduh Bar."

Rumpole notes: no one can ever accuse Mr. Thompson of backing down in the face of adversity.

See You in Court on Monday, have a nice weekend and enjoy this great weather.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

ROCK N ROLL

BREAKING BLOG NEWS:

Several alert readers have emailed us that the Florida Supreme Court (motto: Gore Should be President) has upheld the new conflict public defender's office, what we have been calling the ROC.

The order is below.

ORDER

A tricky disorderly conduct case has kept us in court for the last few days so we haven't had a chance to review the order. But it seems clear that ROC n roll is here to stay.

Remember that we all still owe big thanks to the FACDL lawyers who worked on this pro bono.

See You In Court.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

HUBRIS



From Wikipedia:


Hubris or hybris (Greek ὕβριςa) according to its modern usage, is exaggerated self pride, arrogance or self-confidence (overbearing pride), often resulting in fatal retribution. In Ancient Greece, "hubris" referred to actions taken in order to shame and humiliate the victim, thereby making oneself seem superior.


Hubris was a crime in classical Athens. It was considered the greatest sin of the ancient Greek world. The category of acts constituting hubris for the ancient Greeks apparently broadened from the original specific reference to molestation of a corpse, or a humiliation of a defeated foe, to molestation, or irreverent, "outrageous treatment", in general. The meaning was further generalized in its modern English usage to apply to any outrageous act or exhibition of pride or disregard for basic moral law. Such an act may be referred to as an "act of hubris", or the person committing the act may be said to be hubristic. Ate, Greek for 'ruin, folly, delusion', is the action performed by the hero, usually because of his/her hubris, or great pride, that leads to his/her death or downfall.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

ADVICE


"Never talk when you can nod,

and never nod when you can wink,

and never write an e-mail because it's death.

You're giving prosecutors all the evidence we need."
Elliott Spitzer, interview with ABC news, circa 2006 as Attorney General of New York.

Monday, March 10, 2008

17th AVENUE BRIDGE RE-OPENS


Rumour has it that one of the more distressing periods in REGJB history has come to (or will soon come to) an inglorious end with the re-opening of the 17th avenue bridge.

If you recall, in an example of superb urban planning, while re-constructing the 12th Street Bridge, city planners suddenly decided to close the 17th avenue bridge, effectively reducing access to the REGJB from most points south to one or two lanes of obstructed traffic on one bridge over the famed Miami River (motto used to be: “cops dump your drug rip-off murder victims bodies here”. You younger lawyers go ask someone who has been around a while).


Of course the 17th avenue Bridge’s sudden closure was not the result of anything other than a bridge collapsing in Minnesota, which prompted some intern in the Miami City Engineer’s office, who happened to be watching CNN, to do a little investigation which yielded the interesting result that the last time the 17th avenue bridge was inspected Richard Gerstein was sitting on the 6th floor running things.


So rather than face the tragedy of a bunch of judges and lawyers unceremoniously dumped into the Miami River in their Lexus SUV’s (who said our blog was depressing? Can you think of a better picture to cheer you up on a Monday?) someone decided to inspect the bridge and found that the last temporary repair of scotch tape and paper clips was just about to fail. And ever since our commuting time to work has doubled.

But now free at last, free at last, we can drive our fuel inefficient SUV’s to work while on the phone and drinking starbucks while screaming at a client, at last!

See You In Court, and now you know how to find us- just hang out on the 17th avenue Bridge and watch us commute to work.
UPDATE: Thanks to hawaiian shirt wearing former Dade PD Roy Gonzalez for alerting us to our mistake about the bridge being on 17th avenue, not street. Roy writes in to tell us that retirement was boring so he is now practicing law in Sebring.
Hmm...no work...no shirt and tie...no clients complaining..no jails to visit...sit around all day and drink beer and cash a pension cheque....somebody needs to get Roy a psych eval!!!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

SHOTS FIRED

Two Miami Herald articles have caught our attention:

In the first, shots were fired and thankfully missed Miami Attorney and judicial candidate Abbie Cuellar as she was driving her car home from a function last week. The David Ovalle Herald article is
HERE
, and the current belief is that it was an attempted car jacking and not related to any political activites.


We also noted, as the Herald reported
HERE that in the case involving the murder of wealthy Coconut Grover resident and business man Jose Calvo, Anthony Lee confessed and pled guilty to the murder last week, admitting that the early rampant speculation that he was acting on behalf of Calvo’s wife- Denise Calvo- was false.

When this killing occurred there was rampant speculation that Ms. Calvo had orchestrated the killing. The marriage appeared to be rocky, and there was a lot of money involved. Without going over all the details involving drug use, conflicting statements she may have given, the police’s allegations she was “uncooperative” and her recently being added as a beneficiary to a half million dollar life insurance policy, the facts had everybody whispering she was involved ala the famed Joyce Cohen
Coconut Grove case from a decade or so earlier. (Where's John Kastrenakis and Kevin DiGregory when you need them?)

Just one problem: Denise Calvo was innocent. And therein lies our thought for the day: there is a reason why we have a presumption of innocence in this country (although it may be against the law to say that in Federal Court more than once per trial, we are researching the issue as you read this.) and that is to avoid putting people in prison who “everyone knows did it” or who otherwise seem guilty.


So the next time you pick up the Herald and read about a story and shake your head because you “know the guy is guilty” just remember ( as we sometimes try to speak with jurors about in voire dire) that there may be evidence of guilt against an innocent person. Certainly Denise Calvo may have had marital difficulties, or she may have stood to benefit from her husband’s death, or she may not have been 100% cooperative with homicide detectives (which in this case probably means she turned down the offer of a Big Mac at 4:00 am in an interview room in exchange for admitting she had her husband killed.) but that doesn’t mean she is a killer.

See You In Court, where we remind judges and prosecutors of the above on a daily basis.


PS. Speaking of voire dire and federal court, does anyone else find it a bit difficult to interview forty or so jurors in the 8 minutes and 35 seconds the judge has so graciously carved out of his/her lunch time to allow you to do your job?



Saturday, March 08, 2008

RUMPOLE ON SLATE.COM!!!

Yes we've made the big time (although Ms. Nesmith's columns have been great as well).

Slate.com writes HERE about our posting Mr. Thompson's legal pleadings in his "dispute" with the Florida Bar. And all you readers said our indulging Mr. Thomson would lead to no good! Indeed.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

THREE STOOGES AND SILENT JOHN


WE CORRECTED THE ERROR IN THE POST TO RELFECT THE TIMONEY ISSUE IS BEFORE JUDGE SIGLER AND NOT JUDGE PLATZER. SORRY.



David Ovalle has this news story about some of our soon to be clients
HERE
It seems Moe, Larry, and Curly, went to rob a jewelry store; jumped out of the car with masks and guns; ran to the door….and realized that the owner needed to buzz them in.

Woops…no harm, no foul, but the police were called and apprehended our soon to be clients shortly thereafter.

No one ever said you needed an advance degree to try and commit a robbery. You just need a modicum of smarts and planning to do a successful robbery.

And the Herald has
THIS STORY
this story about Miami Police Chief “Silent John” Timoney, and Judge Sigler's pending decision to hold him in contempt for refusing to answer questions put to him by the Civilian Investigative Panel.


Silent John went before the panel and raised his middle finger…err raised his right hand, was sworn in, and then refused to answer questions about how he came into possession of a Lexus SUV for a year without having to pay for it.

It occurs to us that many of our clients suddenly and without explanation find themselves in possession of luxury automobiles without having to make the requisite monthly payments. However, when our clients get caught, they don’t have the luxury of a panel investigating them. A withhold and a years probation and restitution seems the appropriate sentence here.

In any event, we shall be watching to see if Judge Sigler can convince Silent John to shed his shyness and fess up to the phat ride.


And finally, our Florida Bar (motto: "we never met a lawyer we didn't want to disbar") has decided to move forward with a formal complaint against Broward attorney Sean Conway for his comment calling Judge Aleman an "evil, unfair witch" on the Broward Blog. The blog's post on the topic is
HERE along with Fred Haddad's (Conway's counsel in the matter) thoughtful legal analysis of the complaint: "a piece of shit".

Truer words were never spoken.



See you in court, where none of our dear robed readers in Dade is either evil or a witch.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

COURT CRISIS CONTINUES

Rumpole has received the Memo from the “Trial Court Budget Commission” (who even knew there was such a thing? Maybe if they did away with the commission they might have enough money to staff the courts. Just a thought. )

A Mr. Belvin Perry Jr. has written that we can expect the following belt tightening changes:

1) GOOD BYE TRAFFIC MAGISTRATES! Funding ends Friday March 14, 2008. Judges will now be required to work (gasp!) and handle these calendars. Coincidentally, for all our readers who are duffers, there was a completely coincidental canceling of 10 tee times at the Coral Gables County Club golf course for the afternoon of Friday March 14, 2008.
Rumpole says, the next time you see a County Court Judge, offer to buy them a cup of coffee and pat them on the back. Working Friday afternoons was not what they signed up for when they sought to be a Judge.

2) GOODBYE SENIOR JUDGES.!! Yes, your favourite Judges from yesteryear will now just be a fond memory as County and Circuit Court Judges will now be expected to handle their own calendars without exception or a well deserved break beyond the 152 days a year they are at a conference at the Ritz Carlton on the West Coast of Florida. Also, the State will no longer reimburse those Judges at conferences for “more than two orders of shrimp cocktail per conference.”

3) GOODBYE ACTING CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES.!!! No, we’re not talking about judges pretending to be judges (although we have a lot of that.) We’re talking about your favourite County Court Judges sitting in Circuit Court and getting to say something other than “you must pay court costs and complete traffic school within two months of today.”
Rumpole wonders: What does that mean for the contingent of County Court Judges in domestic violence court?

There is also some mumbo jumbo about "terminating all OPS employment”, and so if you are employed OPS, it is time to pack your things and head out for greener pastures.


So there you have it: life in the courts in an era when government money is sparse (other than our federal government spending a BILLION DOLLARS A DAY for a war started because of a lie. And yes we know the difference between federal and state dollars. But somehow, if we had no war, we think the government could have saved 200 billion and distributed 150 billion to the States to use as they saw fit.)

QUICK NOTE: COURT CARE FUNDRAISER TOMORROW. This is a great program for a great cause. 1111Brickell Avenue, 30th Floor. Mingle, drink, contribute to a great cause-there is a silent auction as well, and see how civil lawyers work and live.

See You In Court; maybe we'll stop in and watch a few traffic calendars just for laughs.

Woops: we almost forgot: Go HERE to see the channel ten report including our now famous photo of the lines around the building.

And as always, Great Job El Capitan.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Can you say SALVIA DIVINORUM & SALVINORIN A ... ???

- SPRING SESSION 2008 -
THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE - BACK IN SESSION

And with it comes the hundreds of bills that the 120 House members and 40 Senators have introduced to be heard during the annual 60 day Spring Session. As usual, bills that address the criminal statutes dominate the agenda. After all, what better way to get reelected every two years than to tell your constituents that you are "tough on crime". And, with the recent report out that showed that 1 out of every 100 adults are incarcerated in our country, and that the USA leads the world in incarceration and that Florida leads the country in adding to the prison population, it will be interesting to see what bills do make it out of committee and onto the floors of each chamber.

Here are just a few of the bills proposed:

Senate Bill S340: SALVIA DIVINORUM & SALVINORIN A

The bill introduces a new Schedule I drug to Chapter 893. (More defendants and lots of new cases to go around for everyone.) Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also S7020, S1574)

Senate Bill S188: CRIMES AGAINST THE ELDERLY

Theft or exploitation of someone 65 or older in the amount of $10,000 or more of funds, assets or property (excluding motor vehicles) equals 3 year MM in prison. Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also H339)

Senate Bill S456: IGNITION INTERLOCK

One of many new Ignition Interlock bills proposed. This one requests 6 months on a .15 for a first, one year on a second; and one year on a .20 for a first and two years of ignition interlock on a second. Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also H369)

Senate Bill S654: RESISTING ARREST

A person would no longer be justified in resisting a LEO engaged in an unlawful arrest. Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also H61)

Senate Bill S782: FIREARMS

New Min Mans galore. For possession of a semi-automatic weapon; from 15-20 years and from 20-25 years and from 25-Life for possession, discharge and hitting your target, respectfully. Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also H425)

Senate Bill S804: DUI BLOOD TESTING

Adds new language for drawing blood in DUI/Serious Bodily Injury and Death cases. Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also H317)

Senate Bill S816: TRAFFIC INFRACTION INDICATORS

This is George Orwell and 1984. Traffic ticket clinics will get lots of new business as the cities start writing tickets for running that red light when the camera and the sensor determines that the vehicle ran the red light. The owner gets the ticket - whether they were operating the vehicle or not.
Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also H351)

Senate Bill S1030: NVDL, DWLS

More min mans for the jails, because they just need to fill those beds. 30 days MM for driving on a refusal or DUI suspension; 60 days MM for driving on an HTO suspension and 90 days MM for driving on a permanent suspension. Also discusses impoundment of the vehicle. Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also H109)

Senate Bill S1424: IGNITION INTERLOCK

Another one; this adds 10 years of interlock for a 4th DUI. Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also H945)

Senate Bill S1574: IGNITION INTERLOCK

This drops the reading from .05 to .025 to turn on that car when the interlock is engaged. Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also H579)

Senate S2688: DUI/BUI

No more one year probation on a first; now it's unlimited probation; 30 days MM on a third eliminating the requirement that the 3rd must be within ten years of the first; and 2 years FSP MM on a 4th. Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

House Bill H115: FLEEING/IMPOUNDMENT

Authorizes officer who is in pursuit of vehicle and decides to end pursuit based on safety concerns, can order the impoundment of the motor vehicle. In order to get the vehicle back, the owner must pay costs of towing and storage and also pay a civil penalty of $2,000. (The bill is written without a stolen vehicle exception; so if it were to pass in its present form, even if your vehicle were stolen, you would still have to pay the $2,000). Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

Three other bills worth mentioning:

Senate Bill S2254: SEALING & EXPUNGING

Introduced by Senator Siplin, (for those of you that don't know who he is, he was arrested, convicted and then had the conviction overturned by the DCA recently - he refused to resign and kept his Senate seat throughout the ordeal); he is pushing a bill to expand the ability to seal from one arrest to three separate arrests. Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

Senate Bill S2464: MICROCHIPS

This is the type of legislation that got the Adam Walsh Foundation and the Center For Missing and Exploited Children going. You can track your car and any other tangible property with tracking devices - but if your most precious possession, your child, is kidnapped out of your home in the middle of the night or taken from a mall when you got distracted for a moment, you must rely on the Amber Alert Network. This bill would prohibit implanting of a microchip or similar monitoring device into a person without full disclosure and written consent. Now how is my three year old going to give me written consent? (I am assuming that this issue will be addressed during the committee hearings so I can protect my most precious asset). Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

Senate Bill S744: SEX WITH ANIMALS

It will become unlawful and a First Degree Felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison to: knowingly engage in sexual conduct with an animal; to permit sexual conduct with an animal to take place on your premises; or to film someone engaged in sexual conduct with an animal. (Contrary to an earlier report, the definition of an animal does not include a description of my first date in college). Session :Bills : flsenate.gov

(See also H119 and H1227).

Contact your State Senator and/or State Representative in Tallahassee and let them know how you feel about any of the proposed legislation that has been introduced for the Spring Session 2008.

CAPTAIN OUT ...............

THE BLOG ON CHANNEL TEN

BLOG NEWS ALERT

At 6:00 pm tonight, Ace Channel Ten reporter/anchor Glenna Milberg reports on the crisis at the Justice Building and the long lines our clients have to endure to get into court.

Rumor has it that the news report (which should air right after the first set of commercials) may even use the now infamous picture we posted on the blog of lines snaking around the justice building.

There is absolutely no truth to the rumor (so far as we are aware) that if you digitally enhance the photograph you can see a group of Judges through a window playing gin.

ZACK CLEARED

Proving that we in Dade County don't hold grudges, our own Dade Assistant State Attorney Howard Rosen issued a "close out memo" clearing Broward Judge Robert Zack of any possible criminal charges in taking two loans from an attorney north of the border.

From the Broward Blog, we post the link to the memo
HERE (you need to scroll down a bit before the memo begins.)

Considering the reputation the Broward State Attorneys Office has for filing just about any case and letting the jury sort it out, one wonders how a Dade judge would have fared in a similar situation?

We note however, that Judge Zack has the reputation among all lawyers of calling it as he sees it. He's a bit rude, even cantankerous, but since he treats everyone that way, and not just us lawyers from Dade, we have never had occasion to believe he was anything but fair. We wish him well as his case goes to the JQC.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

DENISE MARTINEZ-SCANZIANI RESPONDS:

The following is an unedited reply to the Captain's post from Judicial Candidate Denise Martinez-Scanziani. We received an email from the candidate and re-print it in its entirety here:

O, Captain! My Captain! Quite a fearful trip you have dragged us into. Is it true what they say, that any rumor posted here, left unchallenged, becomes fact (kind of a sad commentary)?

I am new to this blog – I only became aware of it as a result of my being thrust into its spotlight – and, I must say, I was astounded and saddened by the undeserved attack upon my character based on unsubstantiated “facts,” rumor and flat out speculation. While the timeline is accurate, the scheming and strategizing and manipulating that I am accused of could not be further from the truth. Truly, Captain, if I “misjudged” anything, it was simply because I was naïve enough to believe that a campaign, especially a judicial campaign, can still be about the candidates--no more, no less.

I may know some of you, but it’s hard to tell since everyone posts anonymously. In any event, I dedicate myself to the civil arena. So, let me give you the facts:

1)I was born Denise Marie Martinez in 1975.

2)I lived in this community for my whole life until I went to the University of Florida. (For those of you keeping count, that is 23 years where everyone knew me as Denise Martinez.)

3)I completed my undergraduate and law school degrees at the University of Florida (Still Martinez, until July 10, 1998, when I married. Running total: Martinez = 23 years v. Scanziani = 9 ½ happily married years)

4)While always proud of my heritage and actively involved in my community, for brevity and convenience I began working professionally as Denise Scanziani, for no other reason than Denise Martinez-Scanziani seemed too cumbersome.

5)I practiced as an attorney, taught, and had a family. At no time, was the name I chose to use at issue.

6)Throughout my personal life, I have used Denise Martinez-Scanziani and Denise Scanziani interchangeably. Interestingly enough, no one ever found that duplicitous.

7)My husband, Paul, is also Hispanic. Actually, to my knowledge, no one in his or my family has even stepped foot in Italy, although I would love to someday. Should I be offended that you presumed I was Italian, simply based on my name? (See Paragraph 3 of your February 23, 2008 post in direct contradiction to your comment in the February 25, 2008 post.)

8) I initially filed to run under Group 34 as Denise M. Scanziani. Again, for brevity. However, the actual filing that dictates how my name will appear on the ballot is not due until May 2nd. (Note: Yes, I was aware Judge Sarduy was moving up and the Group would not be up for election soon, but just in case you are not aware, a candidate cannot really begin to “campaign” without filing documents.) However, any candidate can (and many do) switch groups before the end of qualifying, which doesn’t happen until May 2nd. I certainly did not think my filing would make such a splash – I assumed it would go largely unnoticed.

Due to my innocence regarding this process, I thought it was more important to state my intentions to run than to have a fixed Group in mind. The response from those who know me was amazingly wonderful and supportive. Perhaps I acted precipitously and had I filed under Martinez-Scanziani initially, I would have gone largely unnoticed. In fact, were I as manipulative and conniving as you suggest, wouldn’t I have filed this way from the get go? Something is not adding up…

9)In the interim, when I was deciding what Group to run in, I met with a group of friends, friends whom I had not seen in years and who knew me as Denise Martinez. In discussing my candidacy, they told me they would have never known it was me without my maiden name. (Recall: Martinez=23 years v. Scanziani=9 ½ years). Hence, my decision a few days later to run under Denise Martinez-Scanziani. If there was any “strategy” involved it was merely to ensure that those who know me in this community actually know it’s me. Not based on ethnicity, but just me.

10)In fact, I routinely use both names when socializing and corresponding.

11) In the span of a week I went from being Hispanic to being (gasp!) Hispanic. It might also shock you to know that although my middle name is French, I know of no French ancestors.

12) Gender, heritage, ethnicity—none of these played a role nor will they play a role in the future. There are no misrepresentations; I am who I am, and anyone who knows me, knows that this grand scheme of which I am accused is not in line with my character, my beliefs, or my sense of fair play.

It’s easy to post anonymously and to eviscerate someone whom you do not know based on limited facts in the context of a skewed perspective. I am not sure which is worse: basing your conclusions on a set of documents that, by themselves, do not say much or purporting to know so much about a person by simply looking at his or her name? What is truly sad is that you have denigrated this judicial race and made it into something it is not. I respect all of those who serve our community by serving on the bench. Judge Eric Hendon is no exception. You have demeaned us both by placing race and ethnicity at issue. My candidacy is about bringing everything I have to the bench, including integrity, justice and excellence. I believe I can make a difference.

BTW, to those of you who are planning and plotting, please cease and desist with those colorful, if somewhat disturbing, anonymous faxes (e.g. From: “Eyes are Watching” in Georgia, no less). Save your energy and your paper. I’m not sure what the point is, but you can leave the “cloak and dagger” business at home. I am available to anyone who wishes to discuss further my desire to serve this community as a County Judge. However, after this post, as far as I am concerned, this particular subject is closed.

Denise Martinez-Scanziani OUT.

Rumpole notes that while we have some thougths on these issues, the blog today belongs to Ms. Martinez-Scanziani, who asked for and was entitled to a front page response to the Captain's post. Well sais Ms. Martinez-Scanziani, and welcome to our humble blog.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

LEGISLATURE BLINKS!!!!

BREAKING NEWS:

Reported by the Miami Herald HERE

The Florida Legislature has agreed to tap into "emergency funds" (meaning they will forgo their nightly Ribeyes at tax payer expense) and fund the court system without any layoffs for JAs, clerks, etc.

Officer Struck and Killed

City Of North Miami Police Officer Fritz Doucet was killed in Fort Pierce on I-95 when he and another person who had stopped their morotcycles in the emergency lane were struck by a car when the driver lost control of her vehicle.

According to the Miami Herald report HERE

Docuet was a nine year veteran of the police department.