Thursday, October 30, 2008

CAN SOMEBODY EXPLAIN TO ME.....


Why the Federal Reserve cut rates yesterday?  The move pumps money into the economy. The lower rates frees up money for banks to lend more money to small businesses and and individuals. Cheaper rates allow the banks to loans to less credit worthy applicants, because the cost of the loan is cheaper.  More credit will allow the housing market to come back.  

All of that seems good. 

Query: Isn't that what got us into trouble in the first place

Yesterday the Fed lowered the prime rate to 1%.  I seem to recall the same rate fueling the housing bubble, the mortgage fraud business, and causing our mailbox to be stuffed with credit card offers.  We just spent a trillion dollars to erase those bad loans, and not a month later we're starting the cycle all over again?

It just doesn't seem right to me. 


Are you a new lawyer, facing your first trial?  Nobody wants to lose their first trial. (Fact: we lost our first two, and won our next 50 or so.)  
As the Federal Blog reports, Federal Court (land of the hung juries) just may be the place for you. You might not get a Not Guilty, but a hung jury is better than going right to sentencing. 

Here's why we don't handle civil cases. Check out the South Florida Lawyer's Blog's 3rd DCA Watch.  Some lawyer and a Judge re-set a hearing. The other side went ballistic (civil lawyer's motto: "going ballistic at $450.00 and hour as long as the client will pay.")  
Letters (ending with "kindly act accordingly") started flying back and forth, followed by motions, and finally the whole mess ended up in the 3rd DCA with the Big Man himself. Rudy Sorondo arguing the brief for one party.    There was a decision, and a dissent, and as you read the whole sordid mess on the South Florida Lawyer's Blog,  keep reminding yourself: this is over scheduling a motion. 

 Over in our humble building, if you're upset when a case is scheduled, you just go see Judge Blake. If Terry (his JA) can't help you fix it, then Stan sends the parties to Judge Newman who just clonks their heads together like Moe did to Larry and Curly and sends everyone on their way.  It works. 


Go hang those juries and drive Federal Judges nuts. 

See You in Court. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

GOODBYE JOE

Wednesday: It's nice and cold again this morning. 

Our Favourite Federal Blogger has attacked us in a scathing front page frothing at the mouth fusillade full throated defense of Brendan Sullivan. Apparently Mr. Markus learned everything you need to know about waving your arms in closing from his former boss. Check out our response in the comments section. 

Mr. Markus needs your help.  Ever since Chief Judge Fred Moreno instituted his "one Judge one Fax Machine" policy upon becoming chief Judge, there is peace and quiet and nothing to blog about in Federal Court. 

Now...The Story Of Joe Farina:


Sometime in  1989, Miami Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farina drew an unenviable task: he was assigned the case of Miami Police Officer William Lozano who was charged with manslaughter of two African American men who Lozano said were speeding at him on a motorcycle.

Riots in Overtown ensued following the killings, and every move in the racially tense trial was watched by the nation. The NY Times had a reporter here, as did the major networks, and many of the side stories focused on the tremendous pressure Judge Farina was under. 

Lozano was convicted (John Hogan for the State, Roy Black and Mark Seiden for the defense) and then the case was reversed by the Third DCA on the issue of Farina's denial of the motion for change of venue. The case was moved to Orlando, where the unfortunate task of prosecuting the case fell to then ASA (and now Judge) Jerald Bagley,  and Lozano was quickly acquitted. 

But what came out of his handling of the Lozano case was a universal respect for Judge Farina, who was on his second go around as a Circuit Judge.  Farina had been a Judge, resigned, and then re-applied and was appointed again. Talk about political pull.

Farina's  tenure has been marked by a mostly peaceful administration of the Judges and Courts of Dade County. (For comparison, just look about twenty five miles north on I-95). We have a new family courthouse, a re-vamped civil courthouse, and extra toilet paper and yellow stickies for criminal court. 

It cannot be an easy job catering to the egos of over 200 lawyers suffering from various stages of "robe-itis" (Clinical diagnosis: Stage 1-exhibited by most newly appointed judges. Symptoms include a sudden professional demeanor, the belief that all your jokes are funny and opinions relevant, and the false memory syndrome in which the Judge suddenly believes they were the successful party in over 100 jury trials. Stage 4- which is invariably fatal, is marked by a demand for a large courtroom, the incurable need to send your bailiff to pick up your dry cleaning, and the inability to pay for a check when eating out. Stages 2-3, which we have recently seen, is marked by irritability with other judges who don't treat you with the same deference you browbeat lawyers into doing.) 

But Farina has done a good job (fax fights not withstanding.) He leaves the Dade Courts much better than he found them, and that says a lot, because he had big shoes to fill with the retirement of his predecessor:  the popular Judge Wetherington.  (although some say Farina replaced Rivkind, and I don't actually recall, the shadow of Wetherington was large. We was well regarded. )

Well Done Judge Farina. And Thank you. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brrrrrrr

BREAKING BLOG NEWS: as reported in the comments section by many alert readers, Chief Judge Farina will not be seeking re-election. 
"If nominated, I will not run. 
If elected, I shall not serve." 
Big changes afoot for our 11th Judicial Circuit. 
If you think a couple of judges breaking into a shoving match over a fax machine was a big deal, wait until you see our dear robed readers fight for this plum. 

Our first cold day of the Fall season. Wouldn't it have been great if the cold front had arrived Sunday morning? A crisp cool Sunday afternoon at Dolphin stadium, with brats and wings on the grill would have been a perfect compliment to that great Fin win. 


October sees the end of the worst month for the DOW industrials since September 1931. 

George Yoss isn't getting paid. And as the DBR reports here, he doesn't like it one bit. 
Rumpole says: welcome to the party pal.  For those of you who weren't lawyers at the time (and by that we mean just about every judge in the criminal division of county court and about half the judges in criminal circuit) George handled a a few cases for Janet Reno when she was State Attorney. 


Alaska's powerful Senator Ted Stevens was found guilty yesterday of seven charges in Federal Court in Washington, DC. The Times article is here. 

 While we're most often found pacing the halls of branch courts, we have been known to wander certain halls of power from time to time in our nation's capital.  
Ted Stevens? One word: Hubris. 


Hubris: It was most evident in the public and private actions of the powerful and rich. The word was also used to describe actions of those who challenged the gods or their laws, especially in Greek tragedy, resulting in the protagonist's downfall.

It's not like Stevens  did something really bad, like shoving another senator in a dispute over a fax machine,  but all of our elected officials (robed readers- put down those comics or FLW cliff notes and pay attention)  should remember that they are one dumb move away from ruin. It is a privilege to be a public servant, and when you forget that, you end up with Brendan Sullivan charging you a million bucks for a histrionic closing argument that rarely works. 

We're seven days away from electing a new president and a third of the senate. The real fallout of the conviction of Stevens is that it gives the Democrats a real chance to pick up his seat in the election and moves them one step closer to a sixty member  "filibuster proof" majority.   

As we often remind clients and some intransigent federal prosecutors, be careful what you ask for, because you may get it.  

Meanwhile, the economic news just gets worse and worse. It really was an impossible task to ask any Republican to run in the shadow of this President's failed economic and foreign policies. John McCain obtained the nomination he deserved eight years ago, and proceeded to wreck any credibility he had in not pandering to the worst elements of his party.  Only seven more days and McCain's national embarassment of a vice presidential candidate will fade into a obscurity. 

See you in court, wearing our favourite sweater for the first time in a while. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

DAVID STERN FUNERAL TODAY

From the Herald Obituary:

STERN, DAVID B., 53. Passed away peacefully at home on 10/24/2008. David was born to Andrew and Eva Stern on 12/11/1954 in Cleveland, Ohio. David moved to Miami in 1988 to work as a Miami- Dade County Assistant State Attorney under Janet Reno. Later in his career David, worked as an attorney for Broward County. He is survived by his wife Ellen, his mother Eva, his sisters Vera, Divora, Hannah, and Dena, his nieces Ariel, Maya, and Carmel, and his nephew Ian. A visitation will be held on Monday, October 27 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Riverside Gordon Memorial Chapels, 1920 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

NFL WEEK EIGHT

UPDATE: winning 4 of 5 today for a +345 for the day and +829 for the year. Our only loss was the Browns beating the Jags which canceled out when we won the under ( but was a -5 over all because of the vig).  What did we tell you about our Fish? Nice Dolphins win!!!. 

Very touching and poignant comments remembering former ASA David Stern from yesterday's post. Go read them. It will make you feel better. 

The half way point of the NFL season. We're up 484 for the year, but after two losing weeks, we're hanging on. 

That's why when you're down, and really need help, look inward. Go home young bettor. 

We present to you, our best bet of the day and the savior of our slump:



That's right: We like the Dolphins, at home  getting a point from  the overrated Bills.  Now that being said, the Bills are good. They have built this team the way the Dolphins only wished they had. They have a starting QB drafted in the third round. All their first and second and third round draft picks for the last three or four years are starters or play and contribute, and a few are pro-bowl picks.  But they are still a 10-6 or 11-5 team and that means they have 4 or 5 losses left in them, and on the road this Sunday is one of those losses.  Miami +1  for 100 units.


How bout dem Cowpokes? Who told you they were overrated? Who told you before the very first game was played that they would tank this year? Rumpole did.
 That's why Rumpole saysTake those Cowboys, even money to finally straighten things out and win one at home over a Tampa Bay team that also isn't as good as everyone thinks they are.  Actually this is our best bet today. Dallas even +150.

 (Notice a theme here? Teams are pulled toward the mediocre, with only a few outstanding teams any year. It's called regression analysis, and it's quite complicated. 
It's actually a non-linear regression model that we have constructed, and that is even more complicated than simple regression analysis. 
Regression towards the mean is a less complicated form of the analysis. Basically I'm betting most NFL teams are average, and when the point spread reflects an imbalance based on the previous week's results, I'm going to take advantage of it.  Thus, the Cowboys are better than even at home against the Bucs, but because they got their cowpoke butts kicked by St. Louis last week, the line does not reflect the true value of the game. (True Value of the Game, (c) Rumpole 2008, all rights reserved.)

Why I've spent hundreds of hours developing a non-linear regression analysis model for the NFL instead of stock market options, lord only knows. Maybe I'm bored trying disorderly conduct cases. )

Ok. Back to English. 

The Browns go to Jacksonville to play the well rested Jaguars. Take the Jags coming off a bye week for -7 for 50. Take the under 42 for 50. 

Here is one trend we're not going to buck: The Texans are on a two game win streak. The Bengals are this year's Dolphins: 0-7 and on their way to 0-8. The Texans are moving up to the mean, as they are not as bad as they started out. The Bengals just stink. When they hit 0-8 they will pull the trigger on Carson Palmer for the season and get him that surgery he needs. Houston -10  +100.


POLITICS:
Interesting article in the NY Times (the link is below). While McCain wasn't looking, Obama put Florida in play. This election is going just how Obama's managers planned it several months ago. They are playing the game on McCain's side of the field. Instead of both candidates battling it out in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, Obama has attacked the republicans hard in many traditional republican states and those states are now in play. 

So as we approach the final ten days until the election, McCain finds himself trying to defend territory Bush won four and eight years ago, instead of trying to win the swing states. States like New Mexico  (McCain was there Saturday, and Obama showed up a few hours later), Virginia   (which hasn't voted for a Democrat since LBJ in 1964) Nevada  and Indiana are all in play and McCain has to solidify his base before he can compete in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he is behind in all three states. 

 For an excellent analysis of polling bias, and all the latest polls fairly interpreted, check out  538 dot com.




Go Dolphins See you tomorrow.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

FORMER ASA DAVID STERN HAS PASSED AWAY

Sad news once again. Former Assistant State Attorney David Stern, well known to all of us who practiced in the REGJB through the late 1980's and 1990's has passed away after a long and very brave battle with cancer. We received the email from his friend Dan Lurvey informing us of this news. 

David practiced law as a prosecutor with fairness, a certain flair, and humor and compassion, all while doing his job for the people of the State Of Florida exceptionally well. David was well liked and well respected by almost all the Judges and lawyers he worked with. 

We need more lawyers like David Stern. He will be missed and remembered as one of the good guys

Friday, October 24, 2008

THE NY TIMES ENDORSES OBAMA

The title links to the full endorsement.

Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems.

In the same time, Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism. His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress.

Given the particularly ugly nature of Mr. McCain’s campaign, the urge to choose on the basis of raw emotion is strong. But there is a greater value in looking closely at the facts of life in America today and at the prescriptions the candidates offer. The differences are profound.

Mr. McCain offers more of the Republican every-man-for-himself ideology, now lying in shards on Wall Street and in Americans’ bank accounts. Mr. Obama has another vision of government’s role and responsibilities.

In his convention speech in Denver, Mr. Obama said, “Government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.”

Since the financial crisis, he has correctly identified the abject failure of government regulation that has brought the markets to the brink of collapse.


GENERAL POWELL SPEAKS

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan is a Muslim.  He was killed in Iraq. 

One small important fact may change how you think of him. Kareen Rashad Sultan Khan was an American Solider killed in the line of duty. He received the purple heart and the bronze star. 

General Collin Powell saw a picture in the New Yorker magazine of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother with her face pressed up against the gravestone of her twenty year old son who will never turn twenty one.  And after staring at that picture for about an hour Collin Powell decided he had enough. 

As detailed in Maureen Dowd's Op Ed piece this past week, Powell went on Meet the Press last Sunday, and for the first time in this long debate we are having about about Muslims and Islam, expressed the true ideals of America:

From the Op Ed piece (the title links to the whole article)
He told Tom Brokaw that he was troubled by what other Republicans, not McCain, had said: “ ‘Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’ Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no. That’s not America. Is something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?”

Finally!! Someone with enough courage and gravitas to say what needed to be said. The issue is not whether Barak Obama is or was a Muslim. The issue is "who cares?" 

White Men blew up the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma in 1995, killing 168 people. Does that mean we don't want to elect a white man president? 

Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and Germans invaded Europe twice in 30 years. The resulting two world wars killed over a hundred thousand americans. Does that mean a person of German or Asian descent should never hold elective office in the United States? 

We are a country of immigrants. We are a country founded by those who fled religious intolerance. We are NOT a Christian nation. We are NOT a Jewish nation. We are not a country that promotes any religion. It should not matter if Barak Obama is a Muslim. It should not matter if John McCain has German ancestors. 

What matters is that like Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, they are Americans. And that is all that matters.  

Thank you General Powell for saying what needed to be said.  You know, if John McCain or Sarah Palin, or for that matter Hillary Clinton had said what Powell said, maybe they wouldn't be losing elections to Barak Obama. 


Presidential vote prediction: 
We are now ready to say that not only will Barak Obama win the presidency, it will be by a landslide in popular vote and with over 300  electoral votes.  General wisdom has the election narrowing as we lead up to the election. Not this time. McCain has a solid 40% of the vote. Obama has a solid 50% of the vote. The ten percent undecided will break for Obama 5 or 6 or 7 to 1. Obama will win almost  55% of the popular vote.

This is not wishful thinking. We analyzed  29 new state polls that were released in the last two days. Obama is leading in and will probably win solid Republican states like Montana, South Dakota, and Indiana. Right now we place the odds at 95% that Obama will win the presidency. Not only does McCain not have traction where he needs it in the polls, he is losing ground in key states like the Carolinas, West Virginia,  as well as the aforementioned Indiana.  If this trend keeps up, Obama will win with over 350 electoral votes.  

Write it down and remember it. October 24, 2008, Rumpole called this election as a landslide of Reagan"esque" proportions. Obama has the chance to become the transforming candidate that Bill Clinton never could be. 



Thursday, October 23, 2008

SAFE FAX

UPDATE: A COMMENT ARRIVED WITH SAD NEWS:

Hi Rump, I hope you can relay this sad news to the legal community. Stephanie Feldman, former ASA, a just a great person passed away this week. Stephanie had melanoma.


Query: if you were running for judge or clerk would you rather be on the ballot we just had in September, or on the presidential ballot in November? Interesting advantages and disadvantages. 

In our continuing effort to help our dear robed readers, we re-print this extremely handy guide to "safe-fax" submitted by one of our alert and caring readers:

A Guide To Safe FAX


Q. Do I have to be married to have safe fax?
A. Although married people fax quite often, there are many single people who fax complete strangers every day.

Q. My parents say they never had fax when they were young and were only allowed to write memos to each other until they were twenty-one. How old do you think someone should be before they can fax?
A. Faxing procedures can be performed at any age, once you perfect the procedures.

Q. If I fax something to myself, will I go blind?
A. Certainly not, as far as we can see.

Q. There is a place on our street where you can go and pay for fax. Is this legal?
A. Yes, many people have no other outlet for their fax drives, and must pay a "professional" when their need to fax becomes too great.

Q. Should a cover always be used for faxing?
A. Unless you are really sure of the one you are faxing, a cover should always be used to insure safe fax.

Q. What happens if I do the procedure incorrectly, and I fax prematurely?
A. Don't panic. Many people prematurely fax when they haven't faxed in a long time. Just start over, most people won't mind if you start again.

Q. I have a personal and a business fax. Can transmissions become mixed up?
A. Being bi-faxual can be confusing, but as long as you use a cover with each one, you won't transmit anything you're not supposed to.  


Rumpole says: Thanks. We needed that. 

Prosecutorial Misconduct:

Now to something serious: In NYC, the big apple, prosecutorial misconduct in the form of lying to a judge and withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense that results in sending an innocent man to prison for 13 years, mandates, from the NY Bar, a strong admonishment. Nothing more!!!


The admonishment pondered whether the prosecutor was just "too stupid" to properly understand her obligations of truth to the defense and the court.  No kidding. Too stupid. 

Just one more reason to leave the bitter northeast for the warm climate of South Florida. Weather. And Judges who fight over faxes. (Wow. That punch line can last for a long time. )

See You In Court. 
 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

FAX FIGHT- BEST OF

Some of the best comments from the comments sections by our readers  about the  Fax fight between Judge David Miller and Judge Maria Espinosa Dennis:

judges sepe, shenberg and gelber said...
We have all gotten together because this brings shame and dishonor on the Dade Judiciary and we are all individually and collectively appalled.

anonymous said... (edited by Rumpole. Full comment is in yesterdays post.)
Where do I start?
Judge Blake has 38 new jokes
Judge Lindsey doesnt understand this whole thing
Judge Muir is explaining it to Judge Lindsey
Judge Thomas is holding a hearing on this at 10pm Friday
Judge Margolious is remembering all the judges he did a "nugie" on over the years

Anonymous:
Rumpole, please just the fax. hahahahhaha. get it? just the facts (fax) ???

And our personal favourite:

anonymous said...
Cost of an Administrator for 120 Judges $100,000.00 +
Cost of a Fax Machine - $350.00
Seeing the Judiciary behave like children because the Administration did not do their job -
Priceless.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

BATTERY SHE CRIED

Now we're getting somewhere. Whenever things are slow, we can count on our beloved robed readers to say or do something (stupid) and save the day. 

Miami Circuit Court Judge Maria Dennis claims she was battered by Circuit Judge David Miller in a fracas over a faulty fax machine. The Herald reports that Judge Miller became upset when Judge Dennis informed him that her fax machine was not working. (As an aside, can the Legislature now see the effects of budget cuts? Judges forced to share fax machines and other office equipment can lead to assault and battery. We told you so. Our Judges can't share. They may have passed the Bar, but most failed kindergarten.) 

The title of the post links to Joan Fleischman's story in the Herald. Stop the presses!!!! Man bites dog? Nah. Judge smacks Judge!!!!  SEE BELOW FOR A RUMPOLE EXCLUSIVE: WHAT THE HERALD DIDN'T TELL YOU BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW!!!!

The herald reports that Judge Dennis's bailiff jumped to rescue his jurist in distress after Miller mugged her (allegedly).  Someone pushed the panic alarm in chambers  and the gendarmes arrived at the scene. Apparently ignoring everything he learned in criminal court, the suspect, Judge Miller, spoke with the police, admitting contact, however stating that it was unintentional. 

Chief Judge Farina has issued his own hand made Chief Judge's Injunction, ordering both parties to have no further contact with each other. Can we look forward to the creation of a "Judicial Violence Court"?  Rumpole says: judicial violence is no laughing matter. For too long we have ignored the problem of judges battering judges, and it's time we join the 21st century and stop sweeping this problem under the bench. 

Judge Miller has Milton Hirsch. 

Judge Dennis has former Judge David Young.

ASA Joe Centorino, chief of Public Corruption, has this headache on his desk. 

 It happened in civil court. Those guys can never get along. 
Criminal Court Judges? They're old school. They keep it in house. Someone pushes someone, and Blake sends them to Newman and he straightens it out. Nobody messes with him. 

Judge Young said to the Herald that they are "exploring all legal remedies" on behalf of the victim Judge Dennis. Sounds like a case for ......THE PEOPLE'S COURT. Send it to Marilyn Milian and she'll straighten these two ruffians out. The rest of the judiciary in Miami is on TV or wants to be, so why not these two? 

Meanwhile, North of the Border there are a bunch of judges high-fiving each other. 

EXCLUSIVE TO RUMPOLE: WHAT THE HERALD DIDN'T TELL YOU, was that this whole mess was the subject of "a sit down" at an Italian Restaurant across from civil court, run by none other than  Justice Building Favourite Judge Rob Pinero.  Judge Miller and Judge Pinero and other Judges had a "sit down" during which this matter was discussed and attempts were made to resolve it amicably. Email reports are trickling in that retired Judge Mercedes Bach and Judge Jose Rodriguez were present at the restaurant as well, but it is not clear if they were involved in the "sit down." 

"Miller looked like my five year old does when he is going into the doctor's office to get a shot" one lawyer wrote to us about  Miller entering the restaurant for the "sit down." 

"It wasn't pleasant and nothing was accomplished" wrote another "on the scene" source. 

Stay tuned. 



Monday, October 20, 2008

REMOVAL

I was asked, and I agreed,  to remove the last post which was written by someone else in defense of Douglas Chumbley.  The comments were very favorable and well intentioned. However, they had unintended side effects and the author requested I remove them. 

I have never done this in the past. Indeed I have been threatened if I did not remove my own posts that certain individuals took offense to. Of course I never backed down when threatened. However, I did not write that last post. It was emailed to me by several well meaning individuals. Therefore, when the author asked me to remove, for well intentioned reasons, I did so.  Deal with it.  

I will post (almost) any and all comments criticising me about removing the post or putting it up to begin with. I will not post crude comments about former Judge Chumbley or his family, so don't waste your time writing them. It takes me less than one second to click the "don't publish" button.  Deal with it. 

MNF:
I think I like the under tonight. But the way I have been on these lately, you should probably take the over. 

Denver at NE. Under 49. +50.  

Update: We won our bet last night, barely, so the ugly totals are as follows: we lost both big over bets this weekend for a -330, but we won both small bets based on our updated matrix for +50, for a total of -280. We won our MNF under for 50 for a weekly total of  714-230=484.  Maybe we'll just roll everything on a parlay of Obama Florida + Ohio. 


WHEN CHARACTER WAS KING

We've criticised the Republican presidential ticket. But apparently we aren't the only ones to note the problems on the right. 
You want to know what Reagan conservatives think of VP Nominee Sarah Palin? You don't have to take it from us that Palin is a know-nothing caricature of a candidate. Peggy Noonan is a certified Reagan Republican. She was Reagan's speechwriter and the author of a book on the 4oth President: "When Character was King, The Story Of Ronald Reagan" (which is a great book by the way).

Noonan wrote this about Palin  in the Wall Street Journal this past week:She doesn’t think aloud. She just ...says things... She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation.”

That about says is all on the Palin issue. Here is more of Noonan on Palin:
[W]e have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven weeks I've listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or Reaganite—a spender, to speak briefly, whose political decisions seem untethered to a political philosophy, and whose foreign policy is shaped by a certain emotionalism, or a conservative whose principles are rooted in philosophy, and whose foreign policy leans more toward what might be called romantic realism, and that is speak truth, know America, be America, move diplomatically, respect public opinion, and move within an awareness and appreciation of reality.
Noonan's identification of the differences between the current Bush and Reagan are profound. She nails W as "a spender" whose policies are rooted in "emotionalism" and not grounded in a particular philosophy or logic. Look around the world today, and you will see the end result of a leader who acts based on what "his gut tells him" rather than based on what learned professionals think should be done. Remember Bush's famous statement of looking into Putin's eyes and seeing his soul? Did that include the destruction of Georgia? We are a country with a simpleton president who is not even close to being a deep thinker. And all you have to do is see the enthusiastic crowds cheering for Palin to understand why anti-intellectualism rules the day in the US. Now make no mistake, this appeal to anti-intellectualism is crafted and created by very smart people (Karl Rove, et.al.) However, the end result is when the Frankenstein they created starts two wars and supports legislation that does away with regulations over financial institutions. We have the country and the problems we deserve because we elected these profoundly and proud anti-intellectual politicians. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

NFL WEEK SEVEN

We cannot find a game/match up/line that we really like this week.  But we like these two over plays. 

Cleveland/ Washington over 42.5. 150. 

 Bills/Chargers. Over 44. +150.

Many people have emailed us  asking our secrete  in picking football games. A few years ago, almost in an epiphany, we realized that a few simple football statistics when measured against each other gave an almost unprecedented insight into any particular match up. This year, we have been experimenting with this proposition: most teams deviate towards the average of 8-8. Thus a team that has an amazing win one week, should have a less dominating performance the following week- all things being equal. Of course all things are never equal and that is why some teams finish 14-2. But most don't. So we have added a new matrix to our equations to help us identify the vast majority of mediocre teams and pick against them as they are pulled  by the ghost of Pete Rozelle towards 8-8. 


Herewith are our two picks based on our new matrix:

Green Bay +1 at home over Indy. +25

Carolina -3 at home over the Saints.  +25.
We'll go light on these picks until we fine tune the matrix. 


NEW SUICIDE POOL CHAMP. 
The new champ  blog reader and  high powered criminal defense lawyer, with offices in Broward AND Washington DC:  CARY MARTIN CLENNON, ESQ. 

Which just goes to show you that this humble blog is read well beyond the confines of 14th street and 14th avenue.

We haven't had a moment to breathe recently to get the prize package out, but it includes a framed certificate certifying that Cary Clennon is the winner of the 2008 Justice Building Blog NFL Suicide Pool, and as such is entitled to all the rights, responsibilities, privileges, AND immunities, said title confers, and.....a Starbucks Gift card. 
Conrgats Champ!!!!!!!!

Coming Monday: "When Character was King."

 




Thursday, October 16, 2008

BUSINESS FOR US ALL

The title links to the NY Times  article stating  that the majority of mortgage fraud cases brought by the Justice Department have been in South Florida. On behalf of all the defense attorneys in Miami, let us be the first to say to the DOJ: "THANK YOU."  The holidays are right around the corner, and our 401K has been wrecked by the market.  Gas is still over $3.00 a gallon, and that ski chalet in Vail is still expensive, although the price is down from last year. Thank you, thank you,   thank you. And keep going guys. There's plenty more where those cases came from.  



The Lord was successful recently in a civil matter. We kid you not. 
Service cannot be effectuated. Case dismissed. 
Nebraska (motto: "hey, remember us?") State Senator Ernie Chambers sued the almighty, as reported in the Link.  The lawsuit blamed the Lord for a series of ills and ailments inflicted upon us. We read in the Times the other day  that the suit was dismissed by a careful jurist who noted that jurisdiction could not be obtained over the defendant because service could not be had. Here is the story on the dismissal in the Star News online. 

And we always thought that the almighty was where ever you looked for him

And finally, Donnie Brasco, a/k/a former agent Joe Pistone did NOT testify in the Justice Building this week because Judge Blake refused to allow him to testify in disguise. 

Curt Anderson of the AP is covering the trial and he sent us an email in which he explained that Blake asked the Defendant Connolly if he wanted the court to issue a rule to show cause in which Pistone could be held in contempt for refusing to testify. "Connolly stood up and said he did not want the subpoena enforced because 'if something happened to him, I can't (sic) live with myself.'"
Mr. Anderson noted that apparently there is a still a mafia contract out on Pistone. 

All that excitement for nothing.   

No more suicide pool. Stay tuned this weekend as the winner "surph" is revealed, and I promise you it will be a surprise. We were surprised that's for sure. Plus football picks as we look to bounce back from our first losing week. A nice suite was made available to us this weekend, so maybe we will have a Fins pick to go with our shrimp and lobster at the game.  

Thanks to the So Florida Lawyers Blog for that one. Down 10 pounds in 2 days.












JUDGE CHARGED WITH CRIME

Update: Check out the Broward Blog post PSCC Lovefest. 
It's about the success of Broward's First Appearance Court. And it really is working. As PD Howard Finkelstein pointed out, it only took Broward 35 years to finally follow Florida's first appearance law. Prior to this happening, this was the kind of backwards jurisprudence, or absence thereof, that really drove attorneys from other counties to distraction over the unbelievably unfair practices in Broward.

Former Judge Chumbley:

It is with sadness that we report that Judge Douglas Chumbley has been charged with a misdemeanor. The title of the post links to the clerk website. Judge Chumbley abruptly resigned earlier this week, and now we know why.

There is no joy here. We are all human beings. Even judges. We all put our pants on one leg at at a time. We all have our positive qualities and we all have our negative qualities and we all have private matters we never want publicised. Unfortunately for Judge Chumbley he has been charged with the misdemeanor of indecent exposure. He is of course innocent until proven guilty and indeed he may very well be innocent of this conduct.

The point is that even the best and brightest among us- Judges, or Sheriff Ken Jenne in Broward, are not perfect. And it is in that spirit that we write this so that those who do Judge- Judges and Prosecutors- might consider the human element in the difficult work we do. And we acknowledge that many Judges and prosecutors do just that. But some do not, and this is an occasion to remember that the criminal justice system is not "just-us." It is not us against them ("them" being the defendants).

Martin Luther King wrote that "justice is truth in action." And some times Justice is remembering that not one of us can cast the first stone, because in some manner all of us have sinned.

We sincerely wish Mr. Chumbley the best.

See you in court, a bit sadder.
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS.......


ELECTION UPDATE AND OTHER THOUGHTS:


We are T-Minus 96 hours until the start of voting here in the State of Florida and early voting has already begun in several states. In 19 days, we will know who will lead our country for the next four years.

The polls seem to indicate that it could be one of those year's where it's "throw the bums out" and if that rings true, then all incumbents are in deep doggie doo. Names like Mario Diaz Balart, Lincoln Diaz Balart and Ileana Ros Lehtinen, and others may be looking for a new line of work come January.

Why do the polls indicate that Congress has about a 10% positive rating in 2008? Just look at the Congressional seat in District 16 held by Timothy Mahoney. It was barely two years ago when the Incumbent Mark Foley resigned in disgrace after allegations came to light that the Congressman was carrying on a text message affair with male congressional pages. Mahoney ran against him, tauted his clean background and campaigned against such corruption. Fast-forward to 2008 and Mahoney has been the lead story in the news for the past 48 hours. The mistresses are now lining up to tell their stories about how they had affairs with Mahoney. The first one to come to light was an affair that allegedly took place during Mahoney's campaign against Foley. It is now being alleged that Mahoney, through his attorney, paid "hush" money to the victim to buy her silence.


Locally, we have one judicial contest, GROUP 19, with Yvonne Colodny v. Steven Millan. Below is my June 19, 2008 analysis with some updated information.

YVONNE COLODNY .....

Assistant Public Defender Yvonne Colodny has been a member of The Florida Bar for nine (9) years. She has been an APD for that entire time. She graduated from FSU Law School and has gone on to serve in just about every Division of the PD's office. Ms. Colodny filed to run in April of 2008.

Ms. Colodny has put together a campaign war chest many politicians would envy. Her campaign totals as of the end of September show $295,430, including $169,900 raised from 549 contributors and an additional $125,530 in loans. Colodny has already spent $233,169 with Balsera Communications Group the primary beneficiary of her expenditures. They have reaped a grand total of $132,000 from her campaign

You can read all about Yvonne Colodny on her web site at colodnyforjudge.com.

STEPHEN MILLAN ....

Steve has BTDT (as one of our readers likes to sign). In 2006, he challenged incumbent Judge Karen Mills Francis in Group 11 of the County Court. Millan got trounced in that election by double digits, losing 56% - 44% (76,565 - 59,513). Now he seeks your vote to the Circuit Court. Steve has been a member of The Florida Bar for 17 years. Mr. Millan's area of practice is primarily Criminal Defense law. He filed in January of 2007, right after the 2006 winners were sworn in.

Millan is the polar opposite of Colodny when it comes to fundraising. He has raised a total of $42,916 as of August 1, 2008. That money comes from 204 contributors; he has not loaned his campaign one cent! Millan has spent $38,595, with his biggest expense going to Quantum Results, which received $7,500. I do not profess to totally understand the campaign finance laws as they relate to reporting, but FS 106 and the administrative laws seem to require that Millan should have filed a few more reports since August 1, 2008?

You can check out Millan at millanforjudge.com.

OTHER THOUGHTS .....

GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING - LOT 26

I couldn't believe my eyes this week when I pulled my expensive sedan into Lot 26 at the GJB and saw a new black top and lines, yes lines, separating the lanes. It was comical to see how the cars were still parking haphazardly, even with the clearly marked lanes; I guess it will take a while getting used to having to actually park inside the lines.

BASEBALL - WORLD SERIES

If the Tampa Bay Rays win one more game, FOX Sports will probably go into cardiac arrest. Outside of Philadelphia and the Tampa Bay area, the estimates are that about nine people will watch a Phillies v. Rays World Series. And we all wanted so much to see the Dodgers and Manny against his former team, the Red Sox.

FLORIDA'S SUPREME COURT

Governor Charlie Crist gets to name yet another Supreme Court Justice with the recent announcement of the retirement of Justice Harry Lee Anstead. Anstead sits on an at-large seat, so the seat is open to anyone. Will our local favorite son, Judge Kevin Emas, make it to the final cut of five names again, like he did this summer before being beaten out by newly named Justice Charles Canady? Or will Crist go in a completely different direction? It seems that Crist is trying to send a message to the Supreme Court JNC with his letter to them where the Governor emphasized his belief that "our state's judges should reflect the racial, gender and geographic diversity of the people that they serve." Both of his summer nominees have been white males. The "Hispanic" seat left vacant by Justice Cantero remains ready to be filled.

CAPTAIN OUT .......

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

IN DA HOUSE?


Rumors were running rampant that famed undercover agent Donnie Brasco a/k/a Joseph Pistone was testifying or scheduled to testify before Judge Blake today in the murder trial of a Jai Alai Executive.   A "turncoat" "disgraced" former FBI agent stands accused.  

Definitely the trial of the year. For pure theatre and interest we think this trial ranks right up there with the Joyce Cohen case in which Joyce was convicted of having her husband "wacked" as they say in the mob.  Any thoughts as to the top REGJB trials in the last 20 years or so?


Can anyone report if Brasco testified? His wikipedia link is here. 



The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the execution of Troy Davis. Davis has been on death row in Georgia for the murder of a Savannah police officer.  Since his conviction, seven of nine witnesses have recanted their testimony. The Times article here reports that three witnesses have said another man has admitted to the murder, and that Davis was convicted without any physical evidence tying him to the crime

"Actual innocence should not stand in the way of an execution" we imagine the Supreme Court writing. " We haven't read the opinion, but is there any suspense as to which justices voted which way?


Nice article on drug courts in the Nation. Miami gets a passing mention as the first in the nation drug court.

And finally the NY Times reports that McCain's negative advertising against Obama is not working and is in fact working against McCain.  It's gratifying to see that many Americans can see through the BS. When I hear McCain criticise Obama for bailing out his buddies on wall street, I just want to scream "you voted for the bailout as well." What is disappointing is that McCain promised a campaign on the issues. And then he fell behind and then Rove's boys took over the campaign and the next thing you know all you hear is about the Weather Underground. Obama was 8 for chrissakes when the Weathermen were bombing the Pentagon. Anyway,   McCain is now down 52-39 in the national poll. A few more weeks of mudslinging and Rove's boys will turn this into a Reagan-Cater debacle for the Republicans. 



Busy day in the building huh?

Monday, October 13, 2008

TUESDAY AND WE'RE BACK!!!!!

First, please read our post from yesterday and this weekend about the crisis of children starving in the Sudan. Now is the time to stand up an do something. 

Second, congratulations to our new suicide pool champ: Surph. We have invited surph to go public so we can give him/her their just due, as well as some prizes we have. 
We would like to mention we had an improbable run of picking a winner every week for what was it last year- 9-8 weeks? And then for five straight weeks this year. We finished second along with FACDL Prez Rick Freedman who atoned for his one week and out finish last year.  Great job Rick- who knew it would be this week that the Rams decided to show up and play some ball? Oh well. It was fun. Wait till next year!!!!!  
We lost our MNF bet (and of course the over won, which we changed from. We have a rule- never ever change your bet. We violated that rule and of course we lost). We finish our week  -26 for the first losing week this year, coinciding with our inglorious exit from the suicide pool, we are at +714 for the year. 

Third. Many of you are emailing us and asking us privately for our advice regarding the stock market. If you thought we could pick football games, them you ain't seen nothing. We went all cash Thursday August 21, 2008, and sold the QQQ and the various exchanges short (or bought Puts) ever since. However, we took all positions out of the market last week when things got too crazy. As to Monday's rally, two things to consider: 1) In this day and age the bond market is the dog wagging the stocks tail, and the bond market was closed Monday, so what does that tell you? 2) It should be no surprise that after the worst week in the history of the street, we had the best day in 75  years. A classic Bear rally.  If we had any stocks left, we'd be a seller on Tuesday. Think of this- have the bailouts done one thing to improve earnings? Is CISCO or ATT or Apple or Microsoft ready to post earnings that exceed expectations? Of course not. The basic economy is still in the tank. 

What does that mean for stocks? We haven't seen the bottom yet, although we are close. When you go back in, go slowly and start with Johnson and Johnson, Kellogs, and the like. Nice defensive stocks. There are some values out there, but you have to search for them. Don't just buy a company because it has been beaten down 60 points in the last two months. Not every company comes back- and if you don't believe that we can sell you some Freddy Mac or Merrill Lynch stock if you like.

And finally there is some more action North of Border regarding Judge Ana Gardiner. The Sun Sentinel finally had an article about the Judge and her dinner companions (like the ASA who was trying a murder case before her) but here is Bob Norman's take on why it took the Sun Sentinel so long to even cover everyone's favorite dinner companion in Broward. 
 
The Broward Blog also has the opinion of the Florida Supreme Court denying cert in the Pedro Dijols matter.  Remember, in Broward a vote for Dijols is a vote for Obama...or wait...a vote for Dijols is a vote for Bobber...or is it Levey? Or Cohen. Or Levey-Cohen. Or is Palin saying vote for McCain to elect Dijols? Anyway, in Broward just vote. 

See You In Court. 

PS. We removed the side content mostly because people complained it bled into the text. We suggest you adjust your text size, but in any event, it is gone.