Saturday, May 31, 2008
Address me as Mr…..(almost blew it there) Rumpole. And I will reciprocate by using their last name .
I don’t care to know the brand of organic fertilizer used to grow the potatoes. Starbucks is now telling me on what day they roasted the coffee. Just pour the damn cup and leave some room for sugar and let me get on with my life.
I don’t need to know the temperament of the chef, and I don’t care how long the tuna is fire-roasted for. Just cook it and put it on the plate. I don’t discuss the intricacies of cross examination or how I prepare an opening with my clients (“This opening was first used by the Gustav defense in 1967 and it has changed slightly over the years based on the changes in the self defense laws…”) and I really don’t care how much butter is in the roux.
I don’t care what the waiter’s favourite dish is. I am assuming if it is on the menu, it is because they think it is good. And most importantly, there is a special place in hell, with no tips, reserved for waiters who linger and wait until you take a bite of food before rushing over to engage you in conversation about the meal. I don’t wish to share my dinning experience with the wait staff. I really don’t wish to speak with them at all beyond the order. And while we’re talking about the staff, I really don’t care for their snide looks when I turn down a $30.00 bottle of water. I know the water scam and I’m not about to fall for it. I don’t mind paying a small fortune for a lobster, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend a hundred bucks on something that runs from the taps for free.
If I don’t eat all the food it’s not because I didn’t like it, but because they have served a side of beef big enough to feed a town in Somalia. I can’t stand it when I’ve eaten a reasonable amount from my plate and the entire contingent of waiters rushes over as if I’m choking and need the Heimlich. Trust me, if I don’t like something, I’ll let them know about it.
Just take my order and leave me the hell alone.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Officers Geovani Nuñez and Detective George Hernandez were arrested, according to the Herald, HERE
for offenses involving "drugs" and "stolen merchandise", but not "stolen drugs" as there is indeed, apparently, honor among thieves, even those that wear a badge. Allegedly.
Michael Catalano for the defense of Officer Nunez. A first appearance before a Federal Magistrate today at 1:30 awaits the accused.
We dryly note that the Feds seem to like arresting our clients on federal matters around 4:30 on Fridays, keeping them at FDC until Monday. Somehow, the FBI decided a Thursday arrest was in order in this matter.
We're guessing it was just luck. Right.
See You In Court Monday.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Sad news reaches us, apparently confirmed, that longtime REGJB Lawyer Stuart Mishkin has passed away. Stuart was a former prosecutor, and good friend to many lawyers, court reporters, Judges, and court staff. Stuart Mishkin passed away after a long brave fight. Those of you who were Stuart's friends, knew that at least two years ago, despite a grim diagnosis, Stuart kept working and surprised his doctors. Stuart Mishkin was part of a different era. He was a lawyer when Miami was changing from a sleepy southern tourist town, to the high powered, cocaine fueled, exploding metropolis of the "Miami Vice 1980's". Stuart was here when it all changed. When we think of Stuart, we think of other old-time lawyers like Max Engle, Paul Pollock, Sy Gaer, and of course his longtime former partners Steve Golembe and Ken Weisman. Stuart left his mark on countless clients and friends, and he will be missed and remembered.
Jonathan Davidoff wrote this:
Stuart Mishkin was a great guy. As a former ASA and presently a defense attorney, it was always a pleasure to work with Stuart.Just two weeks ago, I saw Stuart on the third floor running around with a giant smiling on his face. Stuart told me he was dying, but enjoying every day without concern for the future.As a prosecutor, Stuart annoyed me with a smile, but was always respectful and kind. When I started in private practice, Stuart always offered advice, assistance and offered cases. Stuart will be greatly missed, not as an attorney, but as a person!
Stuart's former secretary Janet, wrote this:
I had the honor of being Stuart's secretary for 13 years. I was saddened when Maria told me the news of his death. Stuart was so dedicated to his work...he lived for the office. He loved to kid people and talk, talk, talk. He was truly one of a kind. You are in my thoughts. Goodbye old boss.
And Stuart's friend and colleague Judge Lenny Glick, wrote these wonderful words:
I am saddened by the passing of my friend Stu Mishkin. We started at the State Attorneys Office in 1972. I went to his wedding, knew his family and remained friends over these many years.We were trial partners on a few cases,in the early days, and he tried cases before me over the past 17 years that I have been a judge. Like the Sy Gaers of our business his word was his bond. He was an attorney who really cared about his clients while being very realistic about how our business is conducted. Never afraid to go trial but understanding the risks. He had a unique appeal with jurors because he always presented reasonable alternatives to the prosecution case. He will be missed for his sense of humour, his humanity and his humbleness.We who knew him need to reflect on what is important in life. Family,friends,honor and integrity and then work.
The "job", whatever it is we do, comes last, all other things come first. Stu personified the legacy we all strive for:
Did his work with dignity and ethics.
Good lawyer who cared.
Loved life and family.
Was a friend who could be counted on.
Didn't take himself to seriously.
Tried to make a difference.
We will miss him but he will be remembered.
A friend, Lenny Glick
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
(updated below and here: Sad news reaches us, apparently confirmed, that longtime REGJB Lawyer Stuart Mishkin has passed away. Stuart was a former prosecutor, and good friend to many lawyers, court reporters, Judges, and court staff.
Stuart Miskin passed away after a long brave fight. Those of you who were Stuart's friends, knew that at least two years ago, despite a grim diagnosis, Stuart kept working and surprised his doctors. Stuart Mishkin was part of a different era. He was a lawyer when Miami was changing from a sleepy southern tourist town, to the high powered, cocaine fueled, exploding metropolis of the "Miami Vice 1980's". Stuart was here when it all changed. When we think of Stuart, we think of other old-time lawyers like Max Engle, Paul Pollock, Sy Gaer, and of course his longtime former partners Steve Golembe and Ken Weisman. Stuart left his mark on countless clients and friends, and he will be missed and remembered.)
The rumor we are hearing is that very shortly because of the infamous budget cuts, the Public defenders, those champions of altruism and defender of those who no one else will defend, will very shortly be telling judges (politely we hope for their sake) that they can no longer accept appointments on new cases. The halls of PDs office are full of rumors of impending layoffs, attorneys being furloughed, no new lawyers or support staff being hired. It has not been the most pleasant place to work lately.
So, Mr. Martinez, as some of our favourite judges like to say "what say you?"
Are you guys putting up the shutters and closing the door and turning away the poor, the weak, the wretched refuse of Dade County. Has rain and sleet and gloom of no money forced the PDs to abandon the swift completion of their appointed cases? (Why are we quoting so many verses from words etched in stone in NYC?)
See you in court, where we often ponder the oath of admission to the Bar of Florida, in which, inter alia, young lawyers are required to swear that they would never turn down a case because of money.
Update: ASA David Ranck's "documents blog" getting some outside publicity:RANCK
ELECTION UPDATE .....
Beginning today and continuing each and every Wednesday, we will attempt to provide you with a weekly contest overview and then let you have at it and give us your opinions on why we should or should not vote for a certain candidate.
Let's begin with the lone County Court contest, in Group 42. The candidates vying for the seat are Incumbent Norma Lindsey and Challenger Lisa Lesperance.
NORMA LINDSEY .....
Judge Lindsey presently resides at the Gerstein Justice Building. In 2005, she was nominated by the JNC and Governor Bush appointed her to the bench in November of that year. She did not have to run in 2006, so this is her first time with her name on the ballot.
Lindsey graduated from Marshall in 1987 and went to law school at the University of Miami. She received her JD in 1993. For the first six years of her legal career, she was in private practice handling commercial litigation. In 2002, she became Associate General Counsel to the Boys & Girls Club of Miami Dade County. She was also a member of the 3rd DCA JNC.
An interesting note about Judge Lindsey; she earned a track and field scholarship, (she excelled in the high jump) to Marshall.
You can read all about Judge Lindsey on her web site at retainjudgenormalindsey.com.
Ms. Lesperance graduated from the University of Florida in 1987 and went on to obtain her JD from St. Thomas in 1993. She has maintained a private practice for more than 14 years. She handles all types of cases, but concentrates on family law and criminal defense. If you are a frequent visitor to the Gerstein Justice Building, you probably have run into her brother Robert or her father Lou. With the passing of Sy, Lou probably holds the banner right now as the "oldtimer" in the building.
This is the first run for office for Lesperance. You can read all about Lisa on her web site at voteforlisa.net.
Please do your homework on the two candidates. Help out our readers by giving us your comments, pro and con, on your experiences appearing before Judge Lindsey and with anything you know about Ms. Lesperance.
The election takes place on Tuesday, August 26, 2008.
CAPTAIN OUT .........
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The down escalator from 2 to 1 is fixed so of course they now take the up escalator from 1 to 2 out of service. Why do they taunt us like this?
Did the new plan to reduce traffic to the building work today? It seemed the lines to get into the building were shorter. However some Judges were grumbling so we hear.
See You In Court when we get a moment to come up for air.
P.S. To re-iterate our policy: When we ban someone from the blog, that means we don't discuss them anymore, and in this particular case, it means we don't let them post their 45 motions and 12 new lawsuits a day in the comments section. (Perhaps we have under estimated the number of lawsuits a bit, but you get the ide.) So if this particular person gets suspended or disbarred or wins a lawsuit and gets the Bar disbarred, we care not. We have washed our hands of him and his warped view of the world. Go read the game politics web site (the link is above) , whose readers revel in this attorney's misfortune.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
This year, with 35 written opinions issued so far, there has been one decided 5-4.
While Kennedy has been as dominant as ever, his swing vote on the 5-4 decisions has not been needed.
The NY Times has the article
The article also has these startling criticisms of the court and the Chief Justice by none other than Conservative Hero (the Times calls him an "Icon") Judge Richard Posner:
"Judge Richard A. Posner, the conservative icon who sits on the federal appeals court in Chicago, offers some pointed and unusually personal criticism of Chief Justice Roberts in his new book, “How Judges Think,” published this year by Harvard University Press. The chief justice’s self-description during his confirmation hearing as a simple baseball umpire might have been a “tactical error” for one who evidently “aspires to remake significant areas of constitutional law,” Judge Posner writes, adding:
“The tension between what he said at his confirmation hearing and what he is doing as a justice is a blow to Roberts’s reputation for candor and a further debasement of the already debased currency of the testimony of nominees at judicial confirmation hearings.”
Stern words indeed.
Meanwhile, ASA David Ranck has some new emails posted on his blog HERE.
In all honesty we couldn't exactly follow the import of the posted documents, but then, we've been known to get an early start on a long weekend before.
So enjoy another Memorial Day long weekend.
And then comes the Tuesday disaster after the long weekend. How well have our chief judges prepared this time? The proof as they say, is in the length of the lines on Tuesday.
See You Tuesday, tanned, rested and ready for another trial.
Courtesy of the Daily Business Review, here is the link to the close out memo:
Apparently Judges Orlando Prescott, Linda Singer-Stein and Dava Tunis have signatures on their loyalty oaths ("are you now or have you ever been Rumpole?") that were forged.
As the close out memo states, there was no criminal motive for the Judges to execute forged loyalty oaths (other than them being Rumpole), and while it appears that the notary for all three oaths was the same employee in the Court's large bureaucracy, no criminal charges are being brought because of the statute of limitations.
As to Judge Tunis's findings in some obscure Bar disciplinary proceeding, do you really care? Some lawyer did a bunch of stuff he shouldn't have done...blah blah blah...there will be some form of punishment, and life in our humble little courthouse will go on. In the scheme of things, aren't the Marlins and their surprising success this season much more interesting and relevant?
See you in court, where we don't read the reports of bar disciplinary proceedings, but we do peruse the box scores.
PS. If such things interest you and you really have nothing better to do, the sentencing phase of the disciplinary proceeding is on Wednesday June 4, 2008, courtroom 6-3 at 2:00 PM. Tickets on sale at your local Ticketmaster.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
And Moses was content to dwell with the man : and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, "I have been a stranger in a strange land."
-- Exodus 2: 21-22
We recently received an email from a prominent federal defense attorney who noted his/her travails on a recent Monday morning outing to our humble building.
There was no place to park and after a half an hour of circling they parked in the median on a grass strip several blocks away.
They got to the courtroom only to be told the prosecutor they had a meeting with had decided not to show up for work that day.
A quick trip to the restroom (a clear rookie mistake) produced a few untimely steps in human liquid waste that was on the floor.
And finally, beaten down by the heat, the lines, the smelly and dirty bathrooms not to mention the ridiculous belief that the prosecutor who agreed to meet them in court had any intention of actually showing up, they trudged back to their car, tie askew, bathed in sweat, actually longing for Judge Dimeitrouleas’s rocket docket, or for a quick arraignment and trial before Judge Huck, or a nice friendly sentencing before Judge Zlock.
Query: The door swings both ways on this. State practitioners will occasionally latch onto a federal matter and walk out of court bewildered by the lack of discovery and astounded by pre-sentence reports (ghost written by federal prosecutors, for federal prosecutors, thus ensuring that federal prosecutors will not perish from this earth-or something like that) and confused by a maze of rules and statute numbers (“discovery shall not be provided until the appellate decision is final”), not to mention appellate decisions written by Bush appointees, all designed to ensure that the defendant has a speedy and fair trial, followed by a sentencing usually within a week of arrest.
Have we reached a time of specialization when practitioners of criminal law are better off staying in their own respective ponds?
See you in court, where after all this time in the REGJB, if you haven't latched on to a sympathetic judge who will let you use their bathroom, or figured out the "jury room bathroom trick", then all the knowledge in the world of case law will not save you from yourself.
How many people does it take to get a man out of a tree?
The Herald has the answer
The real question is how many civil lawyers will it take to sort out the mess now?
Monday, May 19, 2008
My obsession has now spread beyond our own humble building.
I obviously need help. Plus, nothing else is going on. But fear not, our collection of robed readers in situ loci and North Of The Border are sure to help out shortly.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The dinner begins at 7:00.
During the evening, the new officers elected for 2008-2009 will be sworn in including President Rick Freedman of the Law Firm of Gordon & Doner. Also, Vice-president Hector Flores (a Federal Assistant Public Defender), Treasurer Sabrina Puglisi (a Federal Assistant Public Defender) and Secretary Robin Kaplan (an associate with David Oscar Marcus, PA).
The highlight of the evening will be the awarding of our three most distinguished honors: The Honorable Gerald Kogan Judicial Distinction Award to County Judge Steve Leifman, The Rodney Thaxton "Against All Odds" Award to The Padilla Trial Team and The Daniel Pearson-Harry Prebish Founders Award to Benedict Kuehne.
Below is additional information about the Awards:
The Honorable Gerald Kogan Judicial Distinction Award: This award is given in recognition of an extraordinary career contribution and dedicated service to the improvement of the criminal justice system and for the preservation of constitutional rights. This year's award will be presented to the Honorable Steven Leifman.
The Rodney Thaxton “Against All Odds” Award”: Named after the late and gentle Rodney Thaxton, this award is given, when appropriate, to a criminal defense lawyer who, having taken on a particularly difficult or unpopular client or cause, represents the heart and spirit of criminal defense, and who epitomizes the courage of the criminal defense lawyer to stand apart (and often alone) as Liberty's Last Champion. This year's award will be given to the team of defense lawyers in USA v. Jose Padilla, et al. Jeanne Baker, Michael Caruso, Orlando do Campo, Marshall Dore Louis, Anthony Natale, Marjorie Russell, Kenneth M. Swartz, William W. Swor.
The Daniel S. Pearson-Harry W. Prebish Founder's Award: This award is given in recognition of a lifetime commitment to preserve the constitutional rights of all citizens and for manifesting the very best principles for which FACDL-Miami stands – an openhearted devotion to justice, civility, discretion, courage, respect for human dignity and mercy. This year's award will be presented to Benedict Kuehne.
Friday, May 16, 2008
A reader posted this BREAKING BLOG NEWS:
Move over, Capitan:Breaking Blog News....Rodney Smith has just been appointed as a County Court judge. Good luck to everyone.
We were poking around the new Federal Courthouse the other day, seeing just how far we could get until the Marshals asked us to leave, and we actually got to the top floor, which just happens to be the thirteenth floor. Further investigation revealed that Chief Judge Federico Moreno, complete with the circa 1987 Justice Building wooden sign that he was first given to put outside his courtroom when appointed as a county court judge, was there with the old sign hanging outside his new courtroom.
The rumor was Judge Paul "Take all the time you need to get ready" Huck was going to start his calendars in the new building on the thirteenth floor today.
Query: Just how many clients are going to be happy having trials on the thirteenth floor of the courthouse?
Of course the real luck , as longtime and careful readers of this blog know, is in hiring the right lawyer, as opposed to the lawyer the client's bondsman tells him/her to hire (if you look in the mirror and the previous sentence applies to you counselor: for shame for shame).
In any event, it seemed a bit warm in the building, and the elevators were not nearly as nice as the refurbished ones we have in our humble Justice Building.
How many years late is this courthouse in opening? And they still have A/C and mold problems? And they tempted fate by making it thirteen floors? As Judge Moreno once told one of our clients: "Be careful what you ask for in life, because you may get it."
See You In Court, NOT on the 13th floor (not that it really matters to us. A "not guilty" is a "not guilty" wherever it comes.)
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Rumpole, I do not know if you were at ceremony for the dedication of Sy's memorial. Stan Blake was his usual ebullient self. He pulled out a bag containing dozens of black books from all his years in private practice, saying he learned to keep track of his cases from Sy just the way Sy did.
Barry Wax, representing FACDL Miami mentioned you; apparently you have been on his case to get the memorial done. Barry was also the driving force behind getting the picture framed along with Sy's famous Black Book and some nice words by Milt Hersch.
Sy's son spoke, and so did David Markus, who noted he shared and office with Sy for more than 20 years, and that was longer than many marriages these days. Also in attendance was Sy's long time secretary Ibis (spelling?). Both David and Ibis seemed near tears.
As I mentioned, there are some wonderful words by Milt Hirsch, memorializing Sy, hands outstretched, pleading his defense on behalf of his client. Milt's written words and David's small speech both refer to the fact that Sy was the lawyer of the people. He gave people pride in the fact that they hired someone who would be going to court fighting just for them.
Sy worked in our building for over 45 years. He started his criminal defense practice sometime around 1962!! When you think of all the giants who have worked in our building: From Judges like Ed Cowart to lawyers like Ed Carhart, the fact that Sy and only Sy has earned a special memorial and a place in our hearts and memories is something special.
I'm glad the memorial of Sy is up, and I know, as Stan and Barry mentioned, that when I'm having a tough day, I can always walk by and take a look at Sy's picture, and smile, and that will help get me through the day.
Rumpole says: Well said.
There has been some discussion on the order signed by the Judge, linked in yesterday's post, ordering an attorney to take a case he did not want to handle.
We have many thoughts on the subject, but for now we will say this:
There is nothing surprising in the Judge's order. It is just the chickens coming home to roost. We live in a society whose laws are built around altruistic collectivist ethics. You are not entitled to the fruit of your labours when measured against the need of the collective good. Don't believe us? We leave you with these two items:
1) The Florida Bar Oath, states in part:
"I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed, or delay anyone's cause for lucre or malice. So help me God."
2) The decision in Wickard v. Filburn 317 U.S. 111 (1942);
The Wikipedia explanation is HERE
What the case holds is that Congress, through the Commerce Clause has the power to stop a farmer from eating the wheat he had grown. And if the Government can do that, what makes us think the Judicial Branch of Government doesn't have the power to force a lawyer to take a case?
From the Supreme Court decision:
Appellee says that this is a regulation of production and consumption of wheat. Such activities are, he urges, beyond the reach of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause, since they are local in character, and their effects upon interstate commerce are at most "indirect." ...
The maintenance by government regulation of a price for wheat undoubtedly can be accomplished as effectively by sustaining or increasing the demand as by limiting the supply. The effect of the statute before us is to restrict the amount which may be produced for market and the extent as well to which one may forestall resort to the market by producing to meet his own needs. That appellee's own contribution to the demand for wheat may be trivial by itself is not enough to remove him from the scope of federal regulation where, as here, his contribution,taken together with that of many others similarly situated, is far from trivial...
It is said, however, that this Act, forcing some farmers into the market to buy what they could provide for themselves, is an unfair promotion of the markets and prices of specializing wheat growers. It is of the essence of regulation that it lays a restraining hand on the self-interest of the regulated and that advantages from the regulation commonly fall to others. The conflicts of economic interest between the regulated and those who advantage by it are wisely left under our system to resolution by the Congress under its more flexible and responsible legislative process.
Rumpole explains the philosophy behind the last paragraph that is highlighted:
Some people produce things that other people need. The needs of those that need it outweigh the rights of those that produce it. Need is the standard. Congress has the power to decide who needs what. And when Congress decides someone needs something, the person who produces it must give it to the person who needs it.
In Florida, a Judge has decided someone needs representation. That person's needs outweigh the rights of the Lawyer to his or her own work. The Lawyer must subject their own personal welfare to the needs of the collective. To the greater good. The lawyer must take the case. This is called altruist collectivist ethics. And as a side note, we mention that just about every proclamation in Nazi Germany was justified on need, and for the public good.
When you see someone championing the rights of the needy, and demanding the sacrifice of someone's skill, talent, or money, you can be sure of two things: 1) The person making the demand is not the person with the skill or talent; 2) The person making the demand usually has their own self interest in obtaining power (elected office) or expanding their power. More people need than produce, so the people expand the power of those that give them what the producers make. Vox Populi.
See You In Court with our well worn copy of
WHO KNOWS THEIR SPEEDY TRIAL ISSUES HERE?
The scene is Broward!
I have a client that was arrested, and had charges filed, for a felony and corresponding misdemeanor.Without ever taking a continuance and 170 days into the case, the State nolle prossed the felony. Because the client did not want to close the misdemeanor, the State had the Judge transfer the misdemeanor to county court. It took the Clerk's Office 3 days to create a county court case number.The day after the nolle prosse, but before the creation of the county court case number, I filed a NOE. I put the citation number on the pleading. The County Clerk's Office refused to take it and mandated that it be filed in circuit court (which was the still existing case number).
After 15 days passed, I filed a motion for discharge and set the motion.The Broward Judge denied the motion and struck my NOE. Her reasons were because;1) She felt that I should have requested a supervisor in County Court and forced them to take the pleading at that level;2) She felt that it was underhanded to file the NOE before a county case number was created and
3) There exists an "administrative order" where all lawyers must cc the Judge on the filing of a NOE. You must give them a courtesy copy.This order is not posted anywhere but I did not comply with it.(Can an administrative order expand, clarify or distinguish an enacted Rule of Criminal procedure?)
I feel that her reasons are no good. However, my concern is 3.191 (f). Under that rule, if a misdemeanor is consolidated with a felony, the applicable speedy trial time is the felony one.
In my case, if the felony is nolle prossed leaving just the misdemeanor, does the speedy trial time revert to 90 days or does the misdemeanor enjoy the 175 day period since it started out in a felony information? Did my filing of the NOE before the 175 days make it a nullity under 3.191( f)? Does a misdemeanor always get felony speedy trial treatment if it's point of origin is in Circuit Court? I want to take a writ on the Judge's ruling yet not if 3.191(f) makes her (seemingly) erroneous ruling immaterial.
Instead of bashing lawyers and spreading gossip, this is what the blog should be for? What do y'all think?
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
SIGNS OF THE TIMES?
Speaking of signs, those of us who have traversed the hallways and by-ways of our Justice Building (Motto: "The REGJB may be old, but at least it's open." See, In Re: Miami Federal Courthouse Fiasco, 111 Waste Of Money, 666 (2005-2008) ) have noticed this week that once again the escalators are on the fritz. First it was the first floor "Up" escalator, and then yesterday and today it was the second floor "down" escalator.
More disturbing, and you can see this for yourself, is the printed and framed sign, standing in its own metal frame, on the first floor of the REGJB, proclaiming that the escalator is broken and to use the stairs. What this means is that someone realized that the escalators would be broken so often, they went to the time and expense of purchasing and framing a sign for weekly use.
At least our elevators are swanky.
And speaking of both Federal Courts, ("Casa De Moreno" A&B) at least our elevators work.
BURGER BLOGGERS FIRED
The Herald reports HERE
on a Whopper of a story. Burger King Corp. has fired two employees for participating in a blog that contained content criticising a migrant farmer advocacy group.
JUDGE ORDER'S INVOLUNTARY APPOINTMENT OF ATTORNEY
The Scene: Manatee County.
Dramatis Personae: Attorney Joseph Campoli, Manatee County solo practitioner; Johnny Vasquez- defendant in an organized fraud RICO case; The Honorable Lee Haworth, Chief Judge for Manatee County.
Summary of events: Manatee County has the biggest criminal case they've ever seen. RICO charges for 14 defendants and counting . Manatee County has between 5 and 15 lawyers on the Court registry willing to take court appointments. There are no lawyers available to take the appointment to Mr. Vasquez's case.
In an extraordinarily well researched and soundly written opinion, Judge Haworth lays bare all the inequities and problems with JAC. From the low fees, to the blatant attempts to avoid paying bills by rejecting over 95% of them for petty reasons, Judge Haworth resorts to some very sound reasoning as to why he is forced to take extraordinary measures. His critique of the low fees paid to private counsel is well documented and very persuasive.
It is a lengthy order but well worth the investment of time.
See You In Court, avoiding Manate County at all costs. Wander up there and before you can leave you may be ordered to take a defendant in a RICO case that could last years.
Police officers don’t lie do they? Ask any prosecutor and they will tell you police officers never lie. Most Judges in Florida feel the same way. But much like the way the water in NYC makes the bagels taste different, so must the water imbue the Judges of New York City (State and Federal) with the ability to discern when an officer has lied. And judging by a NY Times article yesterday, they lie with alacrity.
From the ARTICLE:
US District Court (and former US attorney) John Martin, Jr: “This has to be one of the most blatant cases of perjury I’ve seen…[I doubt] Officer Kim Carillo has any use for the truth. She will tell it, I think, whatever way it suits her to tell it.”
US District Court Judge David Trager: “I hope you won’t darken my courtroom with this police officer’s testimony again.”
US District Judge Jed Rakoff: [A police sergeant’s testimony] “ was riddled with exaggerations…and proved unworthy of belief.”
US District Judge Laura Swain was told by a police officer that by using his flashlight he was able to see into a car through the tinted windows. Invited by the enterprising defense attorney to try it out on the car itself which was in the court garage, the Judge did, and could not see a thing.
The gist of the NY Times article was that while time and time again Judges in New York are making findings that police officers lied, little if anything is being done about it. No sanctions, no perjury investigations, no reprimands by their department, no additional training ( “please open your dictionary’s to the word ‘truth’ and repeat after me…”) no nothing.
But that’s New York.
Perhaps the same mysterious elements in the water that makes great bagels and turns Judges into accurate fact finders affects police officers in a way that makes them prevaricate.
Query: How many City Of Miami Beach Police Officers does it take to throw a defendant down a flight of stairs? None. He fell.
We urge our Robed Readers to click on the link above and read what their brethren in New York are doing. It takes courage to call a cop a liar in open court. Just how much courage does it take to deny a motion that should be granted, or send an innocent person to jail because the cop lied? That is the real question.
See You In Court, where NYC is looking more and more appealing.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
From the article:
The courts won’t know exactly what effect the budget cuts will have on each circuit until after a meeting of the Trial Court Budget Commission and chief judges next week in Tampa. In an e-mail, Miami-Dade Chief Circuit Judge Joseph P. Farina Jr. estimated his circuit will lose nearly 30 employees. Palm Beach Chief Judge Kroll does not have a figure but estimates it will be less than in Miami-Dade.
The article is here.
All Rumpole can say is thank goodness we managed to deal with the worst emergency and re-do the inside of the elevators of the REGJB. We mean, imagine riding in an elevator with substandard paneling? Why, that is down right unconstitutional isn't it? Better to have sharp looking elevator interiors, than to waste money on stupid stuff like clerks, judicial staff, interpreters, Drug Court and salaries for PD's and ASA's.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Now on with the show.
Hillary Clinton will not drop out of the race for the democratic nomination, and Rumpole is going to tell you why certain numbers tell the story.
76 and 80. If John McCain wins the presidency, he will be 76 when he runs for reelection and we would have to elect a president who will serve when he is 80 years old. That makes his reelection an unlikely scenario.
1992. When was the last time a party ran after holding the White House for 12 years? 1992. And despite winning a war, President Bush could not get reelected. You have to go back to Roosevelt/Truman to find a successor President from the same party (Truman) winning reelection (over Dewey, and by the way "Truman Beats Dewey" is just up in the Herald's Breaking News section right now.)
So if McCain getting reelected is unlikely, what is in Clinton's best interest if she cannot get nominated now? We propose that she intends to attack Obama until she has separated him from every last independent voter, older democratic female, and working class disaffected (read "white) male, thus handing the election to McCain and giving her the best chance to win in 2012.
2016. What does her getting the nomination as Vice President do for her? Not much. She would have to wait until 2016 to run again for President. Who were the last two sitting Vice Presidents to win the Presidency? George Herbert Walker Bush in 1988 and Martin Van Buren in 1837. And both of them served only one term.
The last Vice President to be elected to two terms was Richard Milhous Nixon and he was not a sitting Vice President when elected. The elections of Nixon and Ronald Regan also give hope to Clinton. They were elected and re-elected after having run for the Presidency and lost. Nixon lost the general election in 1960 and Regan lost his challenge to Ford for the Republican nomination in 1976. Nixon waited eight years before trying again and finally winning. The last person to get his party's nomination twice in a row after losing the first time was Adlai Stevenson who lost in 1952 and 1956. Stevenson ended up heroically staring down and cross examining Valerian Zorin for Kennedy at the UN during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The prospects of Obama getting the nomination twice in a row are dim. "He couldn't beat McCain in 2008" would be the analysis, "so lets give Clinton a shot now".
So if you are Hillary Clinton and have come so close to your dream of being elected President, and if you are willing to spend your personal fortune and make all the other sacrifices necessary to achieve your dream, what is the play here? Take second place on the ticket and watch it all slip away, or give the election to McCain so you can run and win in four years?
We think Clinton will not give up. We think she will fight right to the convention this summer, attacking Obama at every chance she gets. This is the only way we see her getting her chance to be President for eight years, even if it means starting four years from now.
See you in court, where not even a lowly county court candidate would give our political analytical skills the time of day.
"Do we have the right here in the United States to say that we're going to kill tens of thousands, and make millions of peoples, as we have, refugees, kill women and children as we have...I very seriously question whether we have that right...when we use bombs, when a village is destroyed and civilians are killed...this is a moral obligation and moral responsibility for us here in the United States."
Who said that?
Not Barak Obama. Not Hillary Clinton. Not John McCain. Not even our favourite John Edwards.
Those wise words were said on November 26, 1967, on the television show Face the Nation, by Senator Robert Kennedy.
We substituted "Bombs" for "napalm" to keep the statement current. And of course the Senator was talking about Vietnam.
It just seems like we haven't learned very much in 41 years.
Except how to kill. We've never forgotten to do that, and we certainly do it more efficiently. Our own soldiers still get killed while they are killing, but we have managed to learn how to kill hundreds of thousands of humans while limiting our own deaths to less than five thousand.
So we are more efficient killers.
It just doesn't seem something to crow about.
In the 82 days after Robert Kennedy announced his decision to challenge a sitting president from his own party, his president announced he would not run for re-election; Dr. Martin King was assassinated, our cities burned, and then Robert Kennedy was assassinated. In 82 days we buried three leaders- one figuratively and two literally, and our world was irrevocably changed.
In twice that time- in less than 180 days, we will elect a new president. We can change our world again, for the better. Lets see just how much we've learned in 41 years.
See You In Court.
Update. Mr. Ranck has published an explanation of the events surrounding how he obtained the email he published, and what has occurred since then.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
Espinosa gave a statement that he saw Barquin with a gun. No gun was found. The co-defendant gave a statement that neither of the two men had a firearm.
This post is NOT about whether Espinosa had just cause to fire his weapon.
This post is about how the Dade County State Attorneys Office handles police shootings.
Here is what we know: ASA David Ranck was assigned to the shooting. Those of you who know Mr. Ranck know him to be one of the finest, most experienced, honest, and ethical lawyers the SAO has ever been lucky to have.
Mr. Ranck was a career prosecutor with 20 plus years experience when he handled the investigation into this shooting. Or should we say that Mr. Ranck was assigned the shooting. Because when he had the temerity to question whether the shooting was justified HE WAS SUMMARILY REMOVED FROM THE INVESTIGATION.
Secret meetings were held behind his back. When Mr. Ranck refused to clear the officer immediately at the scene (or soon thereafter) Police Major Angus Butler called and complained about Mr. Ranck. Ranck was soon removed from the investigation. He was chastised for telling the lead homicide investigator that he had questions about the shooting. He was told that he had no authority to speak for the State Attorneys Office.
Think about it. An experienced prosecutor is assigned to a police shooting. The deceased is shot in the back. He does not have a firearm. The PBA lawyer representing the Officer is pressuring the homicide investigator to get the prosecutor's position on the matter. The prosecutor responds to a phone call.... and later is removed from the shooting and chastised for doing his job.
But enough about our feelings.
Below is the link to the blockbuster email from Mr. Ranck to all your favorite ASA's. Howard Pohl. Abe Laeser. Don Horn. Kathleen Hoague. Susan Dechovitz.
Here, in Mr. Ranck's own words, are the problems with how the SAO handles police shootings. Draw your own conclusions.
We are left with the sad thought that it is just too bad this came out a few days after the qualifying deadline for State Attorney.
From the Christmas day massacre to possible police shooting cover-ups, to morale lower than President Bush's approval ratings, something just doesn't seem right at the SAO.
See You In Court.
ps. When you go to the site, which is a blogger site, look at the statement under "about me"= "pre-unemployed". That would be a tragedy indeed.
Perhaps the legal community can help here.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
you sent it this morning. We attempted to respond to the email with the aol address but it was bounced back, probably from your spam filter. Please add our address as a safe email. We really need to speak with you before we run this.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
The Captain had it here first, and unlike the on-line articles in the Herald's Breaking News Section, the Captain had it right.
Great Job Captain.
Friday, May 02, 2008
ELECTION UPDATE ……
On a separate note, we have a new PUBLIC DEFENDER. Carlos Martinez, Chief Assistant to BHB, has been elected, as no one has filed to run against him. On January 1, 2009 he takes over an office that has been run by Mr. Brummer for 32 years. In 1971, Brummer joined the Dade County Public Defender's Office as an Assistant Public Defender in the Appellate Division. Over the next five years, he was promoted to Chief of the Appellate Division and later to Executive Assistant to the Public Defender. In 1976, Bennett Brummer was elected Dade County’s Public Defender, and in November 2004 he was re-elected to his eighth consecutive term.
Also, Katherine Fernandez Rundle wins another four year term as our State Attorney. Ms. Rundle started her career at the SAO in 1978 and has been the State Attorney since 1993.
Now, on to the Judicial races .......
Victoria Brennan ............................ Cristina Miranda
Rosa Figarola ................................. Nuria Saenz
Jacqueline Schwartz ........................Antonio Arzola
Congratulations to the following 28 Circuit Court Judges who have been reelected to a new six year term:
Ivan Fernandez ...................... Celeste Hardee Muir
Mary Barzee Flores ................. Jerald Bagley
Diane Ward ............................ Sarah Zabel
Amy Steele Donner ..................Kevin Emas
Margarita Esquiroz ................ Thomas Wilson Jr.
Jose Rodriguez ........ Bernard Shapiro - NOT (sorry Bernie - last minute filing)
Ronald Friedman ................... Marc Schumacher
Leon Firtel ............................ Jacqueline Hogan Scola
Daryl Trawick ......................Robert Scola
Peter Lopez ......................... Sandy Karlan
Ronald Dresnick .................. Victoria Sigler
Joseph Farina ..................... Reemberto Diaz
Orlando Prescott ................ Dava Tunis
Roberto Pineiro ................. Beatrice Avgherino Butchko
For all 35 of you, it’s nice to know that you will be able to avoid the unemployment lines until at least the year 2014.
Unfortunately, for the rest, it’s a long hot summer ahead of breakfasts in Goulds, lunches in Hialeah and dinners in Aventura, as you make your way across this large and great county of ours, meeting and greeting voters, holding fundraisers and begging for checks from members of the bar, all the while with a smile on your face (and Purell in your pocket). The campaign begins anew, May 2 – August 26, 2008, and for some, it may drag on until November 4th. At least 116 days of campaigning …..
The contested elections:
Lisa Lesperance vs. Norma Lindsey (I)
Jorge Cueto vs. Josie Perez Velis
Migna Sanchez-Llorens vs. Manny Segarra (I have eliminated Tauler)
Yvonne Colodny vs. Patricia Kopco vs. Stephen Millan
Mario Garcia vs. Stacy Glick
Ricardo Corona vs. Abby Cynamon
Marcia Caballero vs. Douglas Chumbley (I)
Jeri Beth Cohen (I) vs. Abbie Cuellar
Maria Sampedro-Iglesia vs. NO-ONE - YOU ARE A WINNER !!!!!
Over the course of the next 16 weeks, we will attempt to feature each of the 11 contested races and open it up for discussion as to whom are the most qualified candidates to wear the robe and hold the gavel.
Congratulations and good luck.