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

Saturday, August 30, 2008

STORMY WEATHER

SUNDAY MORNING TROPICAL STORM HANNA UPDATE: THE  PROJECTED PATH HAS CHANGED- SEE BELOW

Meanwhile, one Broward County Circuit Court (Motto: "Hispanics not welcome") race is headed to a mandatory recount as the battle for second and third place was less than 111 votes, and rumors surfaced that at least 10% of the electorate had cast their votes for Pat Buchanan.  The Herald story is here.

And we couldn't make this up if we tried: The Herald has this headline: "The National Weather Service recommends that you stay out of the Atlantic this weekend."
Gee, with two named storms and two depressions following right behind them, you think they're right?


Two Labor Day Weekend storms bear down on Cuba and the United States.


Sunday morning Update: Gustav is taking direct aim at New Orleans. There is a mandatory evacuation order, and President Bush promises to get the government to provide help as soon as he returns from his ranch and the Labor Day holiday.

Gustav batters Cuba Saturday morning before heading into the Gulf where it's expected to gain strength and then strike somewhere on the Gulf coast. We can all rest assured that the President and his disaster team will react with the same alacrity and professionalism that made us all proud of the Government's rescue efforts after hurricane Katrina.




Ignore what we wrote below: as you can see from the chart, the expected path of Hanna has now changed. Longer range forcasts by the National Weather Service have Hanna striking Sioux City South Dakota, Tallahassee, Buffalo, New York, and Seattle, all within a two day period. Stay tuned. 

Meanwhile Tropical Storm Hanna is making what is known in meteorological  terms as the WHNIIWDT* turn to the west and is expected to pass between South Florida and Cuba in the Florida Straits (defined as "area where hurricanes like to go") before passing over Cuba (Motto: "Bienveniedos:All Hurricanes are welcome here.") and then (as impossible as this is to believe) will be making the "classic Hurricane pivot to the North" where it is expected to follow Gustav into  New Orleans, where Pat Bentar has been hired by the State to sing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" over and over again on the stage in the New Orleans Super-Hurricane Dome.  

Labor Day Hurricane of 1935:
Long time residents of Florida know of the deadly"Labor Day Hurricane of 1935" which struck the Florida Keys, coincidentally, on Labor Day in 1935.  The storm was believed to be the first Cat 5 storm of the 20th Century.  Because most of the Keys were not wired for Cable TV or the Internet in 1935, there was little warning of the impending monster storm. An 18-20 foot storm surge killed over 400 people in the Keys, including over 250 WWI veterans who were in the lower Keys in work camps working on the railroad, which the storm washed away. 

For  those of you with nothing better to do this long weekend, there is a Memorial to those who died in the Keys in this storm at Mile Marker 82 in Lower Matecumbe.  Approximately 300 unidentified victims of the storm were cremated and their remains lie in this simple Memorial.  

Well, that's enough fun and frivolity for one post. The simple truth is that all of us in South Florida feel real empathy for the citizens of New Orleans. The cable news is now full of pictures of people standing in hot lines (again) as they wait for buses to take them out of the path of the storm.  We always feel a little guilty hoping that a hurricane misses us, because our good fortune becomes someone else's misery. All we can do is hope and pray that this storm weakens and strikes the least vulnerable part of the US. 


*(we had no idea it would do this)

Friday, August 29, 2008

WINNERS. LOSERS. AND WHINERS.


UPDATE: TS HANNA TO MAKE A LEFT TURN EARLIER THAN EXPECTED AND SOUTH FLORIDA NOW IN CONE OF UNCERTAINTY.

The worst part of this is the Republicans crowing about this is what happens when you move to the left instead of the right. We'll keep you updated throughout the weekend.

UPDATE: We've added a new poll and some Blog Widgets, from the Google headlines of the day, to some other content which may spice up your blog experience. All part of the same one user friendly price we charge for this blog.

UPDATE: MCCAIN'S VP CHOICE: MITT IS NOT IT. 

Bob Norman's blog in Broward has the winners and losers in the Broward County political races. The losers? Hispanics according to Bob Norman. 

Success has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan. 
Here in the Herald are the prosecutors whining about Miami juries and why they lost a case. Really- to blame it on CSI-how crass. We wouldn't let a client take the stand with an explanation  that pathetic.  Take it from this trial lawyer- the only lesson from defeat is that it is your fault. Be brutally honest about your performance. Accept the responsibility completely-learn from the defeat and move on. 

Or better yet- be  bunch of whiners and don't get any better. Just makes our job easier. 

For what it's worth, we thought Senator Obama's speech last night was good, not great, and that the ending fell way short of  the kind of dramatic oratory that we see in closing arguments every day in the REGJB.  

And maybe it's because we're old, but we thought the Republicans constant intrusion into the news cycles surrounding the Democratic convention was cheap politics at its worst. We remember when a real leader, and a real gentleman- President George H. W. Bush went on a week long camping trip during the convention that nominated Dukakis.  Lee Atwater was left with the unpleasant task of  informing Bush when he returned that he was 17 points down in the polls. It didn't matter.  Class and competence rose to the top and Bush won. We can't help thinking that Senator McCain's candidacy is infected with former mid-level Bush/Rove operatives who do him no good. Their sacrifice of McCain's morals and ideals cheapen his quest for the presidency and will harm his legacy more than losing ever could. 

But maybe this is just politics in a 24 hour news cycle blogging environment. 

Enjoy the long weekend and having Monday off. 
Never doubt that we shall be ready Tuesday to pounce on the REGJB powers that be if Tuesday brings us long entrance lines to the Courthouse. 

PS. Hurricane Gustav appears on a path to enter the warm waters of the Gulf Of Mexico this weekend and then strike the Gulf Coast of the US early next week as a major hurricane. Meanwhile TS Hanna moves off to the east of our State with a possible turn and landfall in the Lake Okeechobee area.  We will post updates as warranted, and we fervently hope these storms do not reach the intensity and cause the type of damage we all know they can cause.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

THE DREAM FULFILLED


Forty  Five years ago today, August 28, 1963,  Dr. Martin Luther King was introduced at the Mall in Washington  as "The Moral leader of our nation."

Dr. King began his remarks by stating he believed he was speaking at the "greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation."  He was right.

During his famous speech he dreamed of the day his "four little  children would live in a nation where they would be judged not by  not the color of their skin but by the content of their character."  Those were words which have touched my soul and have directed my life, for better or worse. 

Tonight, a young man who was a child at the time of that speech accepts the nomination of the Democratic Party, and will be asking a nation to judge him, not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. 

Barak Obama is a black man,  but that is the least and worst reason to consider voting for him (or against him). 

Vote for him because he comes from a broken family, and became a man who is raising two daughters with his wife. Vote for him because he is smart. Vote for him because he  used his Harvard degree not to obtain wealth on Wall Street, which was his right to do, but because he saw wrong in the neighborhoods of his home, and went back to do right. 

In short, examine Mr. Obama's character and his ideas and his promises, and vote for him or don't vote for him, and don't even consider the color of his skin.  That decision, either way you make it, fulfills the dream of Martin King and validates the greatness of this country. 

The title to this post links to the You-Tube video of Dr. King's entire speech. It's a worthy way to spend 18 minutes of your day. Make it a habit to read this speech to your children or show  them the you tube video once a year, every August 28. 

We have not made the decision on who to vote for. We have often averred that had John McCain not been savaged by Karl Rove's henchmen of the religious right 8 years ago in the South Carolina primary against Bush, he would have won the presidency, and this country and this world would be a much different and better place. 

So we anticipate the speech of Senator Obama tonight, and Senator McCain in a week or so for now, and we hope one of them lays forth the dreams we as a nation can set about working to fulfill in the next fifty years. 


PS. KUDOS to Defense Attorney Frank Rubio for his stunning NOT GUILTY verdict in the case in which his client was charged with attempted murder of songwriter Estefano. The coverage is on the front page of the Herald here. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

AFTERMATH

Congratulations to our new Judges, and congratulations to Judges Bernie Shapiro Jerri-Beth Cohen and Norma Lindsey in retaining their seats. We are especially pleased for Bernie Shapiro because he is a well respected Judge who did not deserve opposition. His re-election puts to rest at least a little bit, the recent conventional wisdom that any Hispanic Female attorney could beat any sitting Judge. 

Call us cock-eyed optimists, but we strongly believe that any election should be based on the best and brightest among us, and not on race, religion or color. 

By all account Judge Douglas Chumbley (who was defeated yesterday) was a good judge for the short time he served. But his defeat while sad for him and possibly not warranted, is not nearly egregious as the defeat of Bernie Shapiro would have been. 

Speaking of egregious elections based on race, have you seen the incumbent bloodbath North Of the Border? 

Broward is Dade 30 years ago, where is appears that no Hispanic lawyer, no matter how qualified,  has any chance on the ballot. The highest bar-poll rated Judge in Broward- County Court Judge Julio Gonzalez Jr., was trounced. While Circuit Court Judge Pedro Dijolis remains in 3rd place 171 votes out of the run-off between the top two candidates. A recount is in progress. Of all the Judges that could have been bounced out North of Border they pick on Pedro Dijolis and Julio Gonzalez?  Hmm. What do they have in common?

When was the last time you remember that a sitting Circuit Court Judge could not even make the top two in a multi-candidate election?  Broward is and remains some piece of work. Qualified and highly qualified Judges can't even retain their seats based on nothing more than the color of their skin and the nature of their last names. 

Broward. The name just makes us ill. You can have it. We'll take Hialeah branch court any day of the week.  

See You In Court.



THE MAN IN THE ARENA

Today the votes have been counted. The winners celebrate a future bright, while the losers face a new day, haggard from a sleepless night contemplating what might have been. 

For all those who were "In the arena" we re-run what has become a tradition on this blog- that portion of Teddy Roosevelt's famous "Man in the Arena" speech first given by our 26th President on April 23, 1910 at the Sorbonne, Paris, France, that deals with defeat. These are words we have taken solace in, on those thankfully rare occasions when we have needed them. We offer them today in honor of those who entered the arena and even while having lost, take their place not with the "timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat" but with those who dared to do great things. 
We salute you:


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

1:00 am ELECTION UPDATE


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

VOTING RETURNS - 1:00 am



Things look bleak for Chumbly. I think at 9:35 you can safely say that races that are at 55-45 will probably stay that way. The candidate that has benefited the most from the returns in the south is Stacy Glick. As predicted, she has closed the gap and now about 500 votes separate the two candidates. UPDATE: 9:53- STACY GLICK GRABS THE LEAD FOR THE FIRST TIME!

Migna looks headed for a win, as does Judge Bernie Shapiro, Cynamon, Judge Cohen, Judge Lindsey, while Cueto holds a slim and shaky lead over Velis.

COUNTY COURT:

Group 42:
Lisa Lesperance - 44% vs. Norma Lindsey (I) - 56%

CIRCUIT COURT:

Group 11:
Jorge Cueto - 53% vs. Josie Perez Velis - 47%

Group 18:
Migna Sanchez-Llorens - 59% vs. Manny Segarra - 41%

Group 19:
Yvonne Colodny - 32% vs. Patricia Kopco - 27% vs. Stephen Millan - 40%

Group 38:
Mario Garcia - 48% vs. Stacy Glick - 52%

Group 50:
Ricardo Corona - 47% vs. Abby Cynamon - 53%

Group 51:
Marcia Caballero - 57% vs. Douglas Chumbley (I) - 43%

Group 55:
Jeri Beth Cohen (I) - 57% vs. Abbie Cuellar - 43%

Group 57:
Bernard Shapiro (I) - 59% vs. Denise Scanziani - 41%

Come January, there will be six new judges on the Circuit Court bench.


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

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION

I never made it to Denver so I voted this morning. Apparently I am on some blogger watch list at the airport. I declined the invitation of a very large man named Stanley to do a cavity search prior to boarding the aircraft. So I decided watching the convention on CNBC was good enough, and as I headed back from the airport, I decided to vote. 

Here is democracy in action- Miami style: 

I parked and approached the polling site. There were several elderly women sitting on chairs surrounding the entrance. Upon seeing me, they immediately sprung into action, grabbed their walkers or canes and cards containing ads for various candidates and descended upon me. 

Now I've lived in Miami long enough to understand most Spanish, so I immediately recognized when an elderly woman loudly insulted the heritage and family members of Fidel Castro while thrusting a Rick Corona for Judge card into my hand.  Another woman attempted to press a voting slate into my hand while complaining, I'm pretty sure, of the Dolphins decision to release their kicker from last year and go with a rookie. She also doesn't like the 3-4 defense, which she made quite clear to me in Spanish while handing me a Harvey Ruvin for Clerk card.

Finally, as I almost entered the polling place I felt a distinct tug on the back of my Team USA Basketball shirt that I always wear when traveling. A woman thrust a slate of candidates into my hand and told me in no uncertain terms that I had to vote for them. My Spanish is not great, so I carefully inquired if I could vote for anyone else?  
"NO" came the loud response. "These were the people I must vote for."  I waived over a polling marshal, whom I'm pretty sure I recognized from the security screening at the REGJB. Therein ensued a loud argument in Creole and Spanish between the marshal and the woman. 

I walked into the voting area adjusting my Team USA shirt and handed another elderly  woman  (aren't their any retired men who work at polling stations?) my election card and driver's license. 

 "WHO ARE YOU"? she screamed at me in Spanish.
Well I certainly wasn't about to reveal my identity as the blogger at this point, so I said my real name. 
"NO. WHAT ARE YOU?" My spanish isn't great so I had not correctly understood the first question. It has been a long time since anyone ever seriously asked me that question and it caught me by surprise.

"American?" I ventured.

"NO. WHAT ARE YOU?"  She screamed again. She was shouting in Spanish loud enough to actually wake up the other poll workers. 

"A human being?"  I mumbled, "although some who read my blog might disagree. Really I just want to vote."

Another poll worker came over and explained I needed to tell her if I was a Republican or Democrat. The crisis being settled, I signed my name, received a ticket, a large folder and a special pen and was sent to the voting booth. 

So much for electronic voting. We are now back to the days of SATs and the like. It's the good old fill in the oval with the special pen. 

The ballot has choices for Clerk of Court (I voted for Harvey) Judges, and two referendums on the back, which basically ask if the voter has any decency left to want to help feed hungry children. (I voted yes twice.)

I confess that I spent several minutes pondering the Manny/Migna race. 
I could not bring myself to vote for either of them. 
I pondered the "einy meeny miney moe" method, and then thought it would be disrespectful to the soldiers in Iraq who attacked Sadam Hussein because (VP Dick Cheney has told us) of his opposition to the "einy meeny miney moe" method of voting. 

"Miami Loves Migna" or so the song on the blog says, I thought to myself. But it's been years since a song influenced how I voted. (Although I thought it was pretty cool that Joe Biden was introduced as Obama's running mate to Springsteen's "The Rising").

Eventually I settled on a decision, which I will not reveal here. I just hope whoever wins surprises all of us. 

After you vote you have to take your ballot to an optical screening machine.  The one I used was one of the newer ones, which I could tell because the tape holding it together was still sticky.  A polling official came over and took my ballot and (I kid you not) carefully looked at every choice I made.

"What are you doing?" I said. 

She replied in Spanish that she was checking to make sure I voted correctly. 

"I don't think you're allowed to do that" I said. And she scowled at me like I was a relative of Fidel Castro. Another official came over and I inquired if voting in the United States Of America was by secret ballot. 

"Que?" was the response.   I did not know the phrase "secret ballot" in Spanish, so I had to wait several minutes for another supervisor to come over, wherein  I explained the situation.  The three of them huddled for a few minutes, casting glances at me that I had not seen since I had tried to board a plane earlier in the morning. Eventually the supervisor and returned and explained to me (and I have not made any of this up) that If I really wanted to, I had the right to have the ballot put through the electronic screener without it being reviewed. 

I opted for that decision, and someone pulled a starter cord and the high tech optical screener coughed to life and I put my ballot through and voted. 

I love this country.  And I really love my town. Who could think of moving anywhere else, when this kind of entertainment is available for free?

Check in tonight as I will give a running update as the returns come in. 



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:




"The right of citizens of the United States to vote should not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

On August 26, 1920, 88 years ago today, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution became law.

Today, if we are lucky, three in ten will go to the polls and cast a vote. That, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of American men and women have given their lives in the defense of freedom and so that you and I could go to the polls and vote.

In Australia, 95% of eligible voters cast a ballot. In Malta it's 94%, Austria 92%, Belgium 91%, Italy 90%, Luxembourg 90%, and eight more countries including Germany and the Czech Republic vote at levels of 85% or higher. But in the United States, we are proud when we get 56% to the polls for a presidential election.

If you do nothing else today, go to the polls and Vote.

The contested judicial elections are:

COUNTY COURT:

Group 42:
Lisa Lesperance vs. Norma Lindsey (I)

CIRCUIT COURT:

Group 11:
Jorge Cueto vs. Josie Perez Velis

Group 18:
Migna Sanchez-Llorens vs. Manny Segarra

Group 19:
Yvonne Colodny vs. Patricia Kopco vs. Stephen Millan

Group 38:
Mario Garcia vs. Stacy Glick

Group 50:
Ricardo Corona vs. Abby Cynamon

Group 51:
Marcia Caballero vs. Douglas Chumbley (I)

Group 55:
Jeri Beth Cohen (I) vs. Abbie Cuellar

Group 57:
Bernard Shapiro (I) vs. Denise Scanziani


We look forward to the returns later tonight and to Rumpole's live blogging from - the Pepsi Center?


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

Monday, August 25, 2008

VOTE!!!

Tomorrow/Today is election day in Dade County. There are several judicial races that will directly impact the readers of this blog. Unlike in past years, we have refrained from making endorsements, primarily because we don't know most of the candidates, and quite frankly, the choices are demoralizing at best.  How many races pit candidates both of which have never tried a case before a jury?  As far as we can see, Stacy Glick is the only real trial lawyer running for Judge. 

While it takes more than trial experience in being a Judge, shouldn't trial experience be required? When we as criminal defense attorneys stand before Reemberto Diaz, or Stan Bake, or Orlando Prescott,  or Joe Fernandez in County Court we know that whether the rulings we receive are favorable or not, that those Judges have stood where we stood. They have faced the anxiety and fear and pressure and they understand like no other person could what we are feeling.  And appointment versus election doesn't make a difference as Blake and Fernandez were elected while Diaz and Prescott were appointed. 

So this election day might well be the only time these future Judges know what it really means to put everything on the line, do your best, and then have your fate decided by others who you hope and pray are smart enough to make the correct choice. 

Some other thoughts: Denise Martinez never really explained to us why Bernie Shapiro deserved opposition.

The Cynamon/Corona race is a weird one.  We don't think Cynamon's time spent watching trials counts for much, and Mr. Corona never did explain whether or not there  is a cloud hanging over his prior work with his family's bank that effects his ability to be a Judge. Again, we're not sure if either of these candidates represent the "best and brightest" the legal community has to offer. On the other hand, we don't know either of these two people, and perhaps both will make outstanding judges. Time will tell. 

Anyway, we find it awfully hard to get excited about the election. And if we can't get excited about the election, what does that portend for the general public, most of whom will never appear before any of these Judges?

Well, no matter what, we will endeavor to blog live tomorrow night bringing election updates as they occur throughout the evening. The Pepsi Center was wired by Qwest and they claim to be able to handle 50 million emails a second, so internet access shouldn't be a problem. Wooops.

See You at the polling both. Or Not. 

Sunday, August 24, 2008

RENAME THE E.R. GRAHAM

She remains the finest prosecutor any of us will ever encounter. She inspired a generation of prosecutors and lawyers by giving them simple and heartfelt instructions: "go where the facts and evidence take you and do what's right."  As a lawyer, State Attorney and Attorney General of the United States she always did her "level best" to do the job right. We are speaking of course of Janet Reno, and there is not even a bus stop in this town named after her. It's time to change that. 

The State Attorneys' building is the E.R. Graham building, named, we think, after former Governor and Senator Bob Graham's father. The building was named the E.R Graham building when it housed a variety of state agencies, and the SAO's county court division. Now of course it is the office of the State Attorney for Dade County, and it is time to change its name to the Janet Reno building.  It is the very least we can do to honor one of our own who continues to inspire us with her work with the Innocence Project, and whose  words of advice and  encouragement for lawyers to always do what's right no matter the political cost, ringing in our ears.  She was the longest serving Cabinet Member of the Clinton administration and her simple and straight froward refusal to play politics did us proud. 

Re-name the Graham Building the Janet Reno Building, and lets do it while Janet Reno can still enjoy the knowledge that we are all proud of her, and many of us owe our careers to her

See You In Court. 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

OBAMA-BIDEN !!!!!!!!!



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

IT'S BIDEN.

BARACK OBAMA HAS CHOSEN DELEWARE SENATOR JOSEPH BIDEN AS HIS RUNNING MATE.

THE TICKET READS: OBAMA/BIDEN.

CAPTAIN OUT .........

Good Job El Capitan. I saw the news when I got back from my run. The title links to the NY Times Article. 

HR

Friday, August 22, 2008

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME

FOOTBALL? We are!  

THE SUICIDE POOL, YEAR II:
Remember the excitement of last year's suicide pool, won by your humble blogger Rumpole? We defeated CK deep into the season and we look forward to a rematch. Just shoot us an email and you are in. The rules are you need to pick one team, no point spread, to win each week, and once you use that team you cannot use it any longer for the rest of the year. So choose wisely and join in.  It's free, and unless you're anonymous like us, if you win  you get bragging rights, a Starbucks Card, and some sort of trophy suitable for display. 


OUR PREDICATIONS
Longtime and careful readers will remember we had another fantastic season last year, going something like 197-10 in our picks. Real careful readers will remember we were on fire for the first month. Our philosophy was and is to identify a trend against popular opinion and then bet the heck out of it. Last year it was that San Diego was way over rated and it paid off big time in the first 6 weeks or so. 

This year? We're working on a few theories, running complicated computer simulations and while we're not ready to release any information, lets just say we have a suspicion that the happiest moments of the upcoming season for Cowboys QB Tony Romo will be at home with Jessica Simpson and not on the football field. We think the Cowpokes may be headed for a big let down. Conversely we still like the Pack and (as much as it pains us to say it) the J..E...T...S  to rebound and have a good season. 

Can anyone tell us why the 18-0 New England Cheaters have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL this year

Some more quick thoughts- The Cleveland Browns are overrated until they show us otherwise. Avoid putting any rent money on the Brownies.  The Chargers who came on strong late in the season will win the AFC West by default. Every other team in the NFL's weakest division will probably have a losing record, and the Broncos may well implode into a Dolphins like season of misery and woe.  The NFC West is another disaster of a division and if Cardinal QB Matt Leinart can stay out of hot tubs with ASU  Co-eds long enough to practice, this may be the year the Cards break through and end Seattle's long dominance of the division.  

The division to watch is the NFC East, where at least on paper the Cowpokes and the Gints are legitimate SB contenders. The Redskins and the Eagles, while not legitimate contenders have the ability to force season splits in their series with the boyz from NY and Dallas. Every game in this division this year will be a good one. 

And finally our lovable losers, the Miami Dolphins. While we don't expect a winning season, 8-8 is not out of the realm of possibility. They won't make the playoffs, but Parcells has turned this team around. He builds from the bottom up,  spending high draft choices on men in the trenches. The O Line and D Line are solid, and if Ricky can "Run Ricky Run" this year, then the Fins will keep it close. Watch the under on these games, as a good D and a conservative offense will keep the Fins in close, low scoring games. 

Enjoy the weekend. 




Wednesday, August 20, 2008

CHINA SENTENCES TWO ELDERY WOMEN TO RE-EDUCATION CAMP

UPDATE: SOMEONE'S MESSING WITH OUR POLLS. FOR SHAME FOR SHAME

Two elderly (ages 77 & 79)  women attempted a protest during the olympic games. They have been sentenced by the government of China to a re-education camp.  The title links to the NY Times Article. We guess any government that is not muslim is OK with the Bush administration. 

ONLY IN FLORIDA: A Lion and a Tiger escaped from an animal sanctuary in West Palm, forcing the lockdown of nearby schools. Sounds Like a bad Disney movie.  The link is to the Herald article. 

SHUT IT DOWN?
Several reports question whether the powers that be acted too quickly in shutting down government and schools in anticipation of TS Fay. We say that they did it just right. Any storm can quickly intensify, and predictions of the path of a storm cannot be precise beyond 25-50 miles. No one wants a replay of New Orleans here. Better safe than sorry we say. 


SCOTUS BLOG- has a good analysis of the Supreme Court's 07 term's decisions on criminal law. Good reading if business is slow due to the storm. 

Don't forget to vote often in our polls on the right. It will be interesting to see how close the polls here come to the actual results.  The two closest races are the Lindsey/Lesperance county court battle, and the three way race in circuit court. So far there are about 130 votes on average for each question.

See You in court. 


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


CHECK OUT THE NEW POLLS ON THE LEFT. VOTE FOR JUDGE.  VOTE FOR VP. VOTE!
Update: about 35 votes so far and the poll went up about 4 hours ago. COURT IS OPEN TOMORROW (except for Broward which will close in remembrance of the tropical storm)

I spelled candidate Marcia Caballero's name wrong in the poll. I cannot change it now because voting has begun. But her name is Marcia not Maria. 


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Over the course of the next two weeks, two of the most important decisions in American political history will take place.

Never before have the choices for Vice President had the probability of impacting our lives as directly as they do for us today.

No one may admit out loud that a “black” candidate for president and potentially a “black” President will automatically be a significant target of some extreme nut-jobs in our society - and on the flip side- nobody has kept quiet about the fact that if McCain is elected he will be the oldest elected President in history. Both of these facts lead one to understand that the VP choice is more than just a choice for the second (wo)man on the ticket.

It is the choice (and the reasoning behind it) that a President is always supposed to think about first; that being the fact that the VP is always just a "heart-beat" away from becoming our nation's commander and chief. And in the year 2008, that "heart-beat" is one we should all be paying close attention to.

No one may vote for the Vice-President, so to speak, but that does not make the choices any less important.

This is both an exciting and critically important time in the history of American politics and soon the history books will be written.

The short list for each side appears to be getting shorter and shorter.

For the Democrats:

Evan Bayh, 52, Sen. Indiana. A “swing” state with 11 electoral votes is the primary reason why his name is mentioned. His strength is the fact that he is on the Senate Intelligence & Armed Services Committee. Negative: He was a strong supporter of the war. Truth is, the Republicans will win this state with or without a Bayh on the Obama ticket.

Joseph Biden, 65, Sen. Delaware. Can you say foreign policy experience? Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His only downside to the Obama qualifications list is that he is from “inside the beltway”.

Hillary Clinton, 60, Sen. NY. The only way she will get on the ticket is if she promises to guarantee that Bill would move to a small country in Africa for the next eight years and two months.

Timothy Kaine, 50, Gov. Virginia. An “outside” the beltway Governor, and from a swing state that, while it has gone red for the past 44 years, is close enough to move to the Democrats with this popular Governor on the ticket. Little known fact: he is a Spanish speaking former Catholic missionary. Negative: has no national security experience.

Kathleen Sebelius, 60, Gov. Kansas. Two-term popular governor of a red state (also for the past 44 years), she could swing this state to blue. If you really want to put a qualified woman on the ticket and you don’t want her name to be Hillary, she is a perfect pick. Of course, picking her would cause a continental divide among all of Hillary’s supporters.


For the Republicans:

Charlie Crist, Gov. Fla. 27 and 51. Those two numbers are strong arguments for Crist. The Republicans cannot keep the White House without Florida and they almost guarantee winning its 27 electoral votes with Crist on the ticket. And Crist is only 51 years old and looks even better with his new fiancé by his side. Negative: McCain needs someone to the right of him, not the left.

Joseph Lieberman, 66, Sen. Conn. Vice presidential running mate of Al Gore in 2000, he was elected as an independent in the last senate election in his state of Connecticut. With McCain trying to sure up the base of his own party, picking Lieberman would be McCain shooting himself in the foot. McCain also needs someone younger on the ticket with him. They may be close friends, but they won’t be running mates.

Timothy Pawlenty, 47, Gov. Minnesota. This has been a blue state since 1972, but with Pawlenty on the ticket, it could easily go red. A popular, “young”, two term governor of a Midwest state. Big on energy and the environment. If he gets picked, you will hear a lot about his Community Based Energy Development Credit – a policy about using wind and clean energy in his state.

Mitt Romney, 61, former Gov. Mass. They love him in the Midwest and Ohio is the number one “swing state” for the Republicans. They need to hold it. Saved the Olympics and has a sterling business resume. That balance is what McCain is looking for, because we need to remember that people vote their pocketbooks and “it’s all about the economy, stupid.”

Could we have two guys named Tim on the ticket? I think it certainly comes down to Kaine & Biden for the donkeys and Romney & Pawlenty for the elephants. But every day brings a new rumor and the winds can shift significantly in just 24 hours.

Who do you think will join Obama & McCain on their tickets???


Stay tuned, folks, it's going to be a very interesting two weeks.

CAPTAIN OUT .....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

COURT IS CLOSED MONDAY AND TUESDAY

SECOND UPDATE MONDAY AFTERNOON: COURT IS CLOSED MONDAY AND TUESDAY AS FAY SLOWS DOWN. FAY EXPECTED TO HIT MONDAY NIGHT/TUESDAY MORNING
 (Fed Ct is closed MONDAY AND TUESDAY (except Judge Huck who is picking a jury-just kidding, but we bet he would if he could)

   Interesting to note that the federal court administrative order ties the court to whether schools are open or closed. Broward, in their infinite wisdom will probably again be open just from 9-11, the better to inconvenience everyone.)


THE TITLE LINKS TO MIAMI DADE GOV EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT WEBSITE WHICH STATES THAT COURT IS CLOSED MONDAY

Of course the 11th Judicial Circuit website here has no mention of this. Another example of our efficient court system at work. People who want to know what to do (today) regarding court would naturally go to the 11th Judicial Circuit website, which apparently is updated as frequently as the president is on world affairs ("The Russians invaded Georgia? Those boys in Atlanta won't stand for this.")

Meanwhile the Herald covers the race for the clerk of court here between Ruvin and a librarian. While the candidates yell about how soon it will take to go paperless and have e-filing, we suggest the clerk first get a website that can be updated to reflect current events.

Anyway, court is canceled enjoy the day off. 


BROWARD?
PS. With their "north of the border logic" Broward courts are open today...until noon. Then they close. Great. Make people come to court for nothing, and then send them home into the teeth of the storm. Be thankful we practice in Dade.

QUERY:  How are you spending your days off? At home? At work? Fishing?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

THE LONG GOODBYE



UPDATE: THE CONE OF DEATH RETURNS


Judge Rosinek was back in the REGJB Friday presiding over his last Drug Court graduation as a Judge. It was by all accounts a wonderful afternoon in the big courtroom on the fourth floor. It is bittersweet to see someone who has done this community so good leave us, and yet his retirement is well deserved.   

"Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need to know of hell". Emily Dickinson.


And we're sure the Captain will update us with details of a goodbye dinner to be held at the end of the month. 








Thursday, August 14, 2008

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ELECTION UPDATE ....

The first week of early voting ends tomorrow and you can still vote through next weekend without having to stand in line on Tuesday, August 26, 2008. Don't forget to exercise your right to vote; we could have as many as nine new judges on the bench come January.

DRUG COURT UPDATE ...

Also, as was previously reported on the blog, Judge Jeffrey Rosinek is officially retiring and he will be present for his last Drug Court Graduation Ceremony on Friday, August 15, 2008 in Courtroom 4-1 at 11:30 am. If you have not seen a graduation before, you should go by and see the successes of Judge Rosinek and his program. You can also thank him for all his work as Judge Deborah White-Laborah takes over Drug Court on Monday.

SUPREME COURT UPDATE ....

One of our local Circuit Court Judges, Judge Kevin Emas, is a finalist for one of the two open seats on the Florida Supreme Court. His name was sent to Governor Crist's office today with the names of four others. One of them will replace retiring Judge Cantero.

The other finalists include: Judge Charles Canady, 54, Lakeland, Second District Court of Appeal, Edward G. Guedes, 44, Miami, Attorney, Judge Jorge Labarga, 55, West Palm Beach, 15th Judicial Circuit and Judge Vincent G. Torpy, Jr., 52, Daytona Beach, Fifth District Court of Appeal.

Canady is a former state legislator (6 years) and US Congressman (8 years) before becoming a Judge on the 2nd DCA in 2002; Guedes has been an attorney for 20 years and works in the appellate division of Greenberg, Traurig; Labarga started his career with the Public Defender's Office (3 years), then moved to the State Attorney's Office (5 years), then to private practice (9 years) before being appointed by Gov. Chiles to the Circuit Court in West Palm Beach in 1996; and Torpy started out as a police officer (6 years), before going to law school at Florida State University, then into private practice for 16 years before joining the Circuit Court in 1999. He spent just over three years there before joining the 5th DCA in 2003. While it is true that Gov. Crist is also a Seminole, he did not go to law school with Torpy. Crist attended FSU undergrad (1978) and went to law school at Cumberland in Alabama.

The competition is stiff, but if you want to help out Judge Emas, you can write to the Governor at: Governor Charlie Crist, The Governor's Office, Tallahassee, Florida 32301.

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

RUSKIES IN TROUBLE NOW

Judge Chumbley gets top marks, Judge Jeri Cohen not so bueno.


The NY Times reports that our fearless and feckless president has decided to punish Russia by sic-ing Condi Rice on them. Plus he's sending "aid" to Georgia, including a shipment of spare exercise bicycles he no longer uses, and DVD's of the best of Donald Rumsfeld. 

That'll show em.   You don't mess with idiots from Texas. 

The federal blog has salacious pictures of Paris Hilton that appeal to the prurient interests of aging federal magistrates. 

If you need the blogging equivalent of a cold shower after visiting Mr. Markus's federal "T-n-A" blog,  you can hop over to the Supreme Court blog and check out a fascinating dissertation on whether Alaskan fisherman are entitled to interest in the Exxon Valdez case.  If that doesn't cool you down, nothing will. 

And last but not least, here is the New Times article on your favourite humble little blog and blogger. 





Tuesday, August 12, 2008

AUGUST DOLDRUMS

There's just not a lot going on. 

Is it me, or is our president positively Jimmy Carterish in his dealings with the Russians this week? I mean, he can't do anything other than shake his finger at them and accuse them of violating international law. And if that is not the Texas pot calling the kettle black, then I don't know what is. 

While the Broward Blog is on vacation, we'll comment on the Broward SAO's decision to charge the wife of the police chief with disorderly conduct for shooting at him. OK- that's a bit of an exaggeration, but how many other defendants discharge multiple shots from a firearm at a victim and DON'T get charged with attempted murder? 

Or maybe this is just the new kindler, gentler Broward SAO we've all been promised. Here's the Herald article with the Broward SAO dancing around their filing decision. 
Remember, this is the county that sends more non-violent first offense felons to state prison than any other.  Wonder what the plea offer will be for firing at gun at the Chief Of Police? W/H 2 years probation, special condition an apology and a promise not to do it again?

The US Mens Olympic Basketball team beat Angola.  There hasn't been a matchup this one sided  since Russia attacked Georgia. 

The South Florida lawyers Blog reports that Dade Circuit Judges Israel Reyes, Kevin Emas, and Gisela Cardonne-Ely join 3rd DCA Judges Juan Ramirez Jr., Leslie Rothenberg and Angel Cortinas in applying for the vacant Florida Supreme Court Justice slot. Our personal choice: The Governor could do a lot worse than Kevin Emas.

Bit of trivia: Name the last Florida Supreme Court Justice to be selected from the Dade Circuit Court?

BREAKING NEWS: Our State Attorney has returned from vacation to opine that "gangs" are a problem. The Herald's coverage of this fascinating and surprising statement is here. 

PUNISHMENT: We could not make this up. United States District Court Judge James Robertson for the District of Columbia, issued an order in USA v. Everette Lee hayes, Jr., 03-0500(JR) in which the prosecutor, having missed a deadline to file a response to a 2255 petition was ordered "to append to the response a single sheet of paper, on which he has written 100 times, in his own hand, 'I will not miss filing dates in federal court.' SO ORDERED." 

Now who said Federal Judges lack imagination?

And finally, the Fins released kicker Jay Feeley today after he turned in a record setting season last year.  (21 of 23 fgs for a record 91.3 %success rate). GM Bill Parcells has announced that no job is safe "including that of Huizenga's. If the owner doesn't shape up, I'll put his butt on waivers, and you can quote me."  

We did.  (sort of). 

See You In Court.





Sunday, August 10, 2008

THE GOSPEL

UPDATE BELOW:

ACCORDING TO THE BOSS- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. 


The Link is to the NPR story this morning. 

This may be a town for losers, but I'm not pulling out of here to win. Not yet anyway. 

Enjoy. 



That's the question our ally Georgia wants to know. Georgia is so pro-west that the Capital has a George W. Bush street. Lot of good that has done them. 

Where's the tough freedom fighter our President pretends to be? If Iran invaded another country what would we be doing? 

Maybe our military just isn't up to helping our ally because they are bogged down in a war based on a lie.  



Saturday, August 09, 2008

CHAD-STER!!!!!



(send me your tired, your weak, your washed up and injured and "on the way out" veterans)


The Fins sign Chad Pennington, late of the NY Jets who just signed Brett Favre. The title links to the Yahoo sports article. 

The Dolphins now have an estimated 64 quarterbacks in camp, with the number expected to rise over the weekend as other teams begin cutting QBs. 

Rumpole says: In the league since 2000, Pennington is older than his years. Injuries have sapped questionable arm strength to begin with, and we do not believe he is capable of throwing the 20 yard out any more. If you want to know how important that throw is, watch Tom Brady- that is his out pass and he throws it better than anyone since Montana. Because Pennington cannot go deep or throw the out with zip, defenses sit on the short stuff and take away the routes, thus he gets sacked, injured, etc. 

Just what kind of plan is it to  get all the other teams QB rejects?  It seems like a program designed for mediocrity.  And with the way things have been here, who wouldn't take 8-8 this year? 4-12 sounds more like it though. 

See you in court Monday, its going to be a long season again for Fins Fans. 

Thursday, August 07, 2008

NEW FINGERPRINT TECHNOLOGY

UPDATE: This is on Markus's Federal Fight Blog, but it bears repeating here: the government has filed a bill of particulars in the Ben Kuehne case in which they essentially admit they have no direct evidence of any wrongdoing by Kuehne. And in Bush's justice department, not doing anything wrong is no defense to a criminal charge.  The law dot com article is here. 


UPDATE: OK THIS IS SCARY-  GEORGIA (the country not the state) says it shot down two Russian planes over the night. Russian tanks are rumbling towards the border and Russian Boss Putin says war has begun. 


The NY Times reports (the title links to the article) on an article in the Journal Of Science in which mass spectrometry can now identify what a fingerprint was touching prior to leaving the print.  The article details controlled experiments in which latents were left with cocaine, the explosive RDX and other chemicals. The lab was able to identify the chemical on the finger that left the print. 

The application to criminal law is obvious. And it occurs to us that the advent of new technologies which ostensibly would seem to benefit law enforcement and prosecution has been embraced and used by the criminal defense bar. Just how many hundreds of people have been exonerated by DNA? 

And that always leads us back to the point of how many people are languishing in prison who were not fortunate enough to have DNA evidence preserved in their case? 


Meanwhile,  Osama Bin Laden's driver has been sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.  After which he will be held as an enemy combatant for the rest of his life. Some system of justice our President has come up with.  However, you our dear readers, have full permission to go to court and reply to any outrageous plea offer with the statement that "Osama Bin Laden's driver only got  5 1/2 years judge, and they want to give my client 8 years for stealing a beer." 

OUCH A Miami Officer just shot himself in the foot. The Herald has the breaking news here. 


It's still hot. See you in court. 

PS The J..E...T...S...JETS JETS JETS traded for Brett Favre today. His first game as a Jet?  You guessed it. Against the Fins. If it wasn't for bad luck we would have no luck at all.