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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

BLOGGIN NEW YEARS EVE WITH RUMPOLE


10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
(unfortunately 2009 was broken up into several pieces by a Hedge Fund and sold as a derivative to a German Bank that has since gone under. Therefore, unless the Congress comes up with the money for an additional bailout, we are stuck with .....)



No information as to whether the Budweiser Clydesdales were involved. 

SPEEDY TRIAL CRISIS?

We'll take this moment to remind US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald: "When you strike at the King, you must kill him." Ralph Waldo Emerson.  (It was either Emerson who said that, or former Judge Howie "The Mouse" Gross.) 

(Cathy Vogel retires. See Below.)

Speedy Trial Crisis?

Not really, although the title of the post links to the Herald article where outgoing Public Defender (and incoming special consultant?) Bennett Brummer bemoans the fact that defendants facing third degree felonies who are represented by his office will "have to wait much longer to face a judge."

Oh really?  NO. 

As long as the judges are not shut down by the budget crisis, they will still set cases for trial within the normal course, and all defendants will be in court on a regular schedule. And Mr. Brummer knows that. We all do. 

There is a crisis, but we don't think Mr. Brummer is properly explaining it. We'll return to him in a moment- because right now the State Attorney is in our sights. 

Her brilliant proposal, as quoted in the article was for Mr. Brummer's office to spend less resources on defending misdemeanor cases. 

Bulletin to the State Attorney which she can ponder while on one of her many out of the office "trips":  The Public Defender's office would not have to spend any resources on misdemeanor cases if your lawyers stopped asking for jail on ridiculous misdemeanor cases!!!  Would you like us to ask our county court lawyers to write in on a daily basis with all the outrageous plea offers being made on petit theft cases, or possession of marijuana? Do you really want the statistics on PD domestic violence cases that are dismissed because the complaining witness has stated several times s/he lied and nothing really happened, and yet the prosecution continues the case for months and months? 

Yes, there are minimum mandatory jail sentences on repeat DUI offenders who need representation in county court. But as to all the other cases, don't take our word for it. 
Go speak to the County Court judges who see those other ridiculous cases prosecuted- they will tell you how out of touch the State Attorneys Office Supervisors really are. They will tell you how it takes three and four levels of supervisors who are all scared of their own shadow (remember last year's Christmas Eve Massacre at the SAO? Click here) before the prosecutor in court can do anything different than what some nameless -faceless supervisor wrote on a file six months before. 

Madam State Attorney: You want the PDs to spend less time on misdemeanor cases? Straighten up your own house before you throw stones at the PDs. 

Whew!  We've been waiting a long time to say that. 

OK Bennett, now get back to court. Wait. You're gone. Or are you? Is it Colorado or 14th Street? Or both? Lets us know. 

CATHY VOGEL RETIRES!:
Long time REGJB regulars remember Ms. Vogel as a good and fair and decent (decent as in caring and concerned) prosecutor. Several years ago she traded in her shoes for flip flops and went to the SAO in Key West (Motto "eat a shrimp out of season and we will get you!"). Now she writes in the  comments section yesterday that she has  retired and hung out a shingle across the street from the Key West Courthouse. Well Done Ms. Vogel!. Thank you for 32 years of service to our state.

Here is her comment:

Catherine Vogel writes:

I would like to let all my friends and former colleagues at the MJB that I have finally retired from the SAO here in Key West. (Yes, I have 32 1/2 years in as a State employee, time flies when you are having so much fun.) I am staying here and am opening my own practice doing CRIMINAL DEFENSE. I'll be doing a little family and mediation on the side. Some of you have visited me, my new office is right across the street. You can reach me at 305-296-0203 or 305-849-8663 after January 5. I can't wait to start pestering young prosecutors! Miss you all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!




Monday, December 29, 2008

RED MASS


RUMPOLE EXPLAINS: Red Mass is an "idea", a "concept", designed to honor those in our profession who have passed on. I assumed, wrongly, that people would understand that I was proposing a NON-DENOMINATIONAL ceremony to honor our friends who have died. But judging by the number of emails I received, I was wrong. So one New Year vow is to communicate more effectively.

HEY, HERE'S AN IDEA-why not have a non-denominational service where all those who served the legal community and have passed away in the last year are remembered? Gee, that sounds like a good idea. And the best part is, unlike the Red Mass in Washington, DC, this service would be NON-DENOMINATIONAL, meaning all people of all faiths, or no faith, would feel comfortable at the service.


NFL Update below:


FROM WIKIPEDIA:


Red Mass
refers to a Mass celebrated annually in the Roman Catholic Church for judges, prosecutors, attorneys, law school professors, students, and government officials. The Mass requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice, and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.

One of the better-known Red Masses is the one celebrated each fall at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. on the Sunday before the first Monday in October (the Supreme Court convenes on the first Monday in October). It is sponsored by the John Carroll Society and attended by Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, the diplomatic corps, the Cabinet and other government departments and sometimes the President of the United States. All officials attend in their capacity as private individuals, rather than as government representatives, to quell arguments with respect to a weakening of the separation of church and state. This logic had greater import in the 1950s when the first services were held, as Catholicism was viewed with greater suspicion than today in the American body politic.
A Red Mass is now celebrated annually in more than half the states of the United States
.


Rumpole says, we have had this idea for several years now. A "Red Mass" type remembrance in the large 4th floor courtroom in December for all those attorneys and judges who have passed away during the year. This year we would remember Sy Gaer, Stuart Mishkin, Alvin Goodman, and David Stern.


Who are we forgetting?


Which Judge wants to take this project on with help from a volunteer from the FACDL?

NFL Update: We hit 3 of 4 (naturally) and how th Ravens/Jags didn't even score a field goal in the second half is beyond us- because if they had we would have been 4 for 4. As it is we enter the playoffs 1189 Mangini's up. Right now lock of the week- Your Philadelphia Eagles will beat he Vikes in Minny. Guaranteed.

It's "snow" nice here in the high Sierras we may never come home.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

NFL WEEK SEVENTEEN

Last week of the regular season and we just can't seem to stay above the 1000 mark. We lost two out of three last week and sit at 809 Penningtons. 

This week sees a couple of games for playoff spots and division championships.  We're going to Dwayne Wade right in and pick the winners in the games that matter. 

DOLPHINS vs. J...E...T...S: Who would have ever imagined in their wildest Nick Saban nightmares that on the last week of the season our Dolphins would be playing for the AFC East Championship? All the credit to Bill Parcells and his staff. Once again Big Tuna showed that winning football begins in the lines. Get a couple of hoss'es, run the ball, don't turn it over, play aggressive defense, and you'll be playing meaningful games in December, and maybe just maybe, in  January. 

The Jets are 2.5 favorites.  Brett Favre. At home. The playoffs on the line.  Mr. Money. Mr. Hall of Fame. TAKE THE DOLPHINS. Favre's arm is shot.  The film is out and every defensive coordinator in the league knows it. 

If the  Fins stop the run we'll be leaving our winter blogger's retreat and  see everyone at a home playoff game next week.  Dolphins +2.5  +100. 

BRONCOS AT SAN DIEGO. 
The Broncos are riding a 3 game losing streak while the Chargers are 2-2 over their last 4 games. Pick your poison.  The Charger's Norv Turner is perhaps the worst coach in the league (along with Wade Phillips and we'll get to him next),  while the Broncos are what their record says they are- about a .500 team. The point spread seems high here. Rivers can get hot and light up the scoreboard. If you're choosing a winner, the Chargers are the pick. They blame their current situation on the refs stealing the game from them the first time they played the Bronocs this year.  -9 seems a bit high, but we're going to lay the points. Chargers -9 +100. 

Cowboys at Eagles. Ohhh do we not like these Cowpokes and their  Vanilla coach Wade Phillips. The Eagles have heart. They have bounced back from some tough losses and QB Donovan McNaab has been quoted this week as saying he wants a new deal to stay in Philly. Meanwhile, Cowpokes owner Jerry Jones has been all over ESPN repeatedly saying in not so many words that if the Cowpokes lose this game he's going to clean house. 

Can you say yes to  5 years & 50 million bucks, Coach Bill Cowher? 

The line is pick'em. The Eagles might be out of the playoffs by game time, but we're going with character and pride. (The book about Coach Vince Lombardi "When Pride Still Mattered" is a nice read and a good late gift to your favourite football fan.)  

The Cowpokes have the talent, but the Eagles have the Philly Heart. 

200 Geno's Cheesesteaks  (everyone knows Geno's cheesesteaks "wit" -meaning "with cheese"- are better than Pat's which is right across the street on Passyunk Ave ) on the Eagles  to send Vanilla Phillips and his crybaby Cowpokes home for January. 


Want to make some money? +200 on over 36 Jacksonville at Baltimore. Ravens have the highest scoring offense in the last 8 weeks and they need this win to get in to the playoffs. 

Nestled high in the Sierra Nevada mountains in out winter blogger's retreat, we have experienced intermittent problems with our internet. We'll get those comments up as quickly as you can say Chad Pennnington. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

LET IT SNOW

JUDICIAL CONUNDRUM:
Before we get to "Snows" submitted for your consideration:
Palm Beach Circuit Judge Elect William Abramson. In an extremely close election that went through a manual recount, Abramson edged his long time nemesis Circuit Judge Richard Wennet. After 24 years on the bench Wennet goes to that hinder land where his jokes are no longer funny, and his legal analysis no longer brilliant.

So Abramson starts work January 5, 2009.

Just one little teensy insy problem: The Florida Supreme Court just suspended Abramson's license to practice law for 91 days. As many people know, that extra day after 90 usually connotes the requirement that the offending lawyer re-take the bar exam. Ouch.

So dear readers, can an attorney who can no longer practice law be a judge?

We all know the opposite is true. (Rumpole cheap shot at judges alert).



SECOND UPDATE: Our learned readers have opined that nothing prevents Abramson from taking the bench and wearing the robes as he has been a member of the Bar for five years. They have pointed out that being suspended does not mean he is not a member of the Bar.
SO...... (and this really is a hanging curve ball that we cannot miss)
The only difference between Abramson and the rest of his colleagues is that once on the bench Abramson REALLY cannot practice law, while .....(add your cheap shot here.)

SNOW'S:

For some strange reason, we find ourselves reading Texas Monthly Magazine (Motto: "Texas! Proud Home State to two Presidents, both of whom screwed up a war.") more often than we would like to admit.

However, perusing articles on Cattle and Dallas sprinkled with words like "y'all" sometimes yields unexpected results. Like when Texas Monthly shocked the Barbeque world by naming a complete unknown as the best BBQ in Texas: Snows. (Click on the Link for the article and on the Title of the post for Snow's website.)

Here's all you need to know about Snows: They're only open on Saturdays in Lexington, TX, population 1100. They get in at about 2-3 AM and cook the meats for about 8 hours. By noon they have sold out (about 800 pounds of chicken, pork, brisket, ribs, and sausage) and they close up.

Good Barbecue is Texas BBQ. (Save the emails you KC fanatics. Texas wins.) You order some meat, you get a few slices of white bread, and you get your bottles of sauce at the table. One BBQ joint proudly announces: "No fork, salads, or plates. "

Oh yeah- the real deal Texas BBQ is served on white butcher paper and you eat it with your hands. Some places make you ask for the sauce just so they can heap scorn upon you.

Anyway, a little break from our "Rice n-beans" Justice Building stuff.

Why are we reading Texas Monthly anyway? Hmmmmm.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

HO HO HO CHRISTMAS IN MIAMI




MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ALL YOUR FRIENDS AT YOUR FAVOURITE LITTLE BLOG. 


This from the comments section made me laugh. How true. It's why I got  out of town when the getting was good.  (I did a smidgen of editing to make it at least semi-palatable on Christmas Eve.)

Anonymous wrote:
If one more f'ing  judge wants a hearing this Friday or next Friday, I am going to explode.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

4th DCA BROUHAHA

The title of the post links to attorney Gary Kollin's letter to Governor Crist about his appointment of Judge Labarga to the 4th DCA. A great great choice if you like judges who hold grudges and wait to get even with lawyers they think have disrespected them. 

Apparently Kollin had Labarga recuse himself from a criminal case. Once that was done, there were some sarcastic comments from Labarga to Kollin. 

Then Kollin left the courtroom and Labarga really unloaded, including comments about how he never forgets and will get even with lawyers like Kollin at some point in the future. Labarga speculated that perhaps in the future he might have a hearing on a motion by Kollin for attorneys fees or the like. But it was clear from Labarga's comments that he holds grudges against attorneys and gets even when he can. 

Click on this link to the Broward Blog which has more of the Labarga transcript. 

And that folks, is the best and brightest person your Governor could find for the the 4th DCA. 

THE WOLF

We're going to get a little "touchy-feely" and reprint something we read in Wayne Dyer's book "The Power of Intention."  If you are unhappy in your job or life, we recommend this book to you. It works. (Click on the link to the Amazon page for the book.) 

A grandfather in NYC is talking to his grandson in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. 

"You know, there are two wolves inside of me. One Wolf is angry and wants vengeance and retribution against the people who did this. That wolf wants to kill and hurt people. 

The other wolf inside of me wants to try and understand why this happened and what can be done in understanding and forgiveness to make sure this never happens again. That wolf seek peace and understanding."

The young boy thinks about this and asks his grandfather 
"What wolf will win?"

The grandfather replies "Whichever one I feed."

Something to think about in the New Year. 

Happy Holidays from your friends at the best little Justice Building blog around. 

Monday, December 22, 2008

WELCOME TO THE GLICK FAMILY BLOG

UPDATED:  First Judge Glick's daughter wrote in, now his wife. That's OK. We'll just be the Glick Family Blog for a few days. They've more than earned it. 

I would like to thank those who have been so kind with your praise for my husband Judge Leonard Glick. I look forward to the years ahead with him. We have been together since we were 18 years old and have literally grown up together. I will share him with you as a Senior judge, however, as much as everyone loves Lenny at the REGJB, I love him more. To each of you, Lenny loved going to work every day. He tried to make that samll change in the world, frustrated many times wondering if he was succeeding. He wanted the community to be one where the average citizen could feel safe. Lenny cared for all the personnel in the building. He spent 36 years there. I know he will be back. He loved being a judge and you will see him again. We are all lucky to have this man of such class, kindness, caring, and quality in "our" lives. I am proud to share him with you. I am proud to be the wife of Lenny Glick for over 43 years. Fondly. Dianne Glick


Rumpole notes, it's a wealthy man indeed who has the respect and love of his family and his community. 


RUMORS:
As we close out 2008 the very best rumor we have so far is a confirmed rumor that attorney  Milt Hirsch (who used to market himself as the "
Dr. Ruth of the 4th Amendment") has committed to run in an open Circuit Court seat in 2009/2010.  
We think he will make a fine Judge and we wish him well. 

Several rumors floating around about lawyers committed to running against seated judges, including one first term judge in particular who had a very rocky relationship in the REGJB and is moving on to civil in the hope he can find some friends there. 

Any comments or additional rumors?  Of course some rumors turn out to be false. Our Judge Blake retires- "Dewey beats Truman" like headline last week left us feeling a bit embarrassed. 

Speaking of being embarrassed, which SAO has THE WORST conviction rate at trial?

If you guessed our cousins north of the border you are correct. 

We have long decried State Attorney Mike Satz's outspoken policy to "let the jury decide" on trials where there is more than substantial evidence to indicate that a defendant is innocent. If you practice law in Broward (something we strongly recommend against) you've invariably come upon that situation where the in court prosecutor sheepishly admits they don't have a case but their supervisors won't let them dismiss it. This is an outrageous violation of the Rules of Ethics and they've been doing it for years in Broward. 

Now the Broward Blog has this article showing that by far Satz and his lawyers lose more jury trials than any other prosecuting office in the State. Click here. 

The Statewide jury acquittal rate is 34%.  The Broward  SAO loses 47% of their jury trials.  In DUI court the Broward SAO loses an astonishing 81% of jury trials. 

These are statistics that we are proud to say we have contributed to. But at what point do Broward voters realize they have a broken and backwards system at their prosecutors' office and when do they decide to make some changes? 

Anybody in trial this week? What a waste of time and resources to keep all these court divisions open when not much is going on. The State has an additional budget shortfall for 2009 and there will be a special session in Tallahassee in January 2009 to close the gap with more budget cuts, but our court system keeps whistling past the graveyard refusing to take emergency pro-active actions to deal with the shortfall before being ordered by Tallahassee to cut back on pencils and paper. 

See Ya in January. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

VERY FUNNY COMMENT

Sometimes our readers just crack us up. 

Like this comment on Sunday:


Fake Judge Miller said...
All I want for Christmas is a working fax machine.

HP - Fax/ Copier
Model: FAX640 | SKU: 9038025

Hint, Hint,..

Have delivered ASAP before someone gets hurt.

Send to, David C. Miller, Dade County Courthouse, 73 West Flagler Street, RM 511, Miami, Florida 33130

NFL WEEK SIXTEEN

We're up 1039 Blakes for the year, and feeling pretty good. Let's play some more prevent defense and protect our lead. 

Are the NY Giants, losers of the last two games that bad? Does losing Buress really affect the G-Men? We think not. They're 3 point favorites over the NFC's number two team- the Carolina Panthers. Take the G Men at home to right the ship and lock up home field for the playoffs. 
Giants -3  + 100. 

The Fins go to KC in a continuation of their unlikely bid for "worst to first." We think the Fins can win this game, but not by 4. The better number is the 41 O/U. Take the under big time. Under 41 +200. If that number has dropped, and it probably has here's some advice- under 40 +150, under 39- + 125, under 38 +100. The higher number the bigger the bet here. Shop around. 

Arizona at NE. The Patriots will win, but 9 is a big number. Why, because there will be bad weather in NE this weekend. The over/under is 44. The worse the  weather, the higher the bet. Dan Marino likes to say "if it's snowing, I'm throwing" but the reality is a that a team from the desert does not do well in cold, snowy, windy December New England weather. Under 44 +100. 


Anybody trying a case this week?   How about the chief judges shutting the system down for two weeks to save some money? Nothing can be going on in civil court, although we're sure family is hopping. 

In Criminal court bring back Gerry Klein, give him a court room and a clerk and a court reporter and a PD and an ASA and let him clear out everyones' arraignments and reports. And he'd do it before 11 and he'd be on the golf course by noon. But who wants efficiency these days when we have Circuit Judges who have 100+ page calendars? 

Can't say I'll see you in court tomorrow because I won't. 


Friday, December 19, 2008

FAKED OUT- BLAKE NOT RETIRING

UPDATED BELOW: Stacy Glick writes in about her dad. 

JUDGE BLAKE IS NOT RETIRING!!!!!!!  

Proving just how hard it is to blog 3,000 miles away from Miami, we eat a bit of crow here and announce, much to everyone's satisfaction we may add, that Judge Stanford Blake is NOT retiring. 

There was an announcement on the rarely used PA system this morning. Some have said that the announcement mistakenly said Judge Blake was retiring before correcting the announcement and saying that it was Judge Lenny Glick who was retiring and today was his last day. 

It was before dawn in our winter blogger's retreat in the cold and snowy  Sierra Nevada mountains when our email started buzzing with the shocking news about Judge Blake.  By the time we got back from a few snow board runs, the whole mess had been straightened out. 

Either way, we say: 1) Glad to have you back Judge Blake. And many more years to come we hope. 

2) Au revoire and farewell Judge Glick. You've really spent a lifetime in the REGJB. From a prosecutor in the old municipal court, to a Chief Prosecutor  under Janet Reno, to a long serving and greatly respected trial judge, we hope this next chapter in your life provides  you with happiness and fulfillment.   We will miss you, and we hope you return often as a retired judge, where your counsel and wisdom will be greatly welcomed.  Miami is a better place because of the service you provided our community throughout your entire  career.  Of course very few if any judges are afforded the wonderful and proud moment of retiring only to have their daughter replace them. You are a lucky man indeed. 

Godspeed. 

HR. 
Tomorrow on the blog:  Janet Reno to return as State Attorney? 
 
UPDATE: STACY GLICK:

The soon to be honorable Stacy Glick wrote on the comments section this about her dad: 

I am very proud of my father. I know he is looking forward to spending time with my mother in his retirement. He deserves well-wishes from all who practice in the REGJB. While it would be nearly impossible to match his 35-year committment and dedication to serving this community, I am proud and humbled to be filling his seat in the upcoming years. I hope he enjoys his retirement but I look forward to his return as a mentor and fine jurist. 

Thanks for writing in Ms. Glick, and just remember these three little letters , where applicable: " J..O....A."    Try it out. It's more fun than you may have realized as a prosecutor. 

See you in court next year. 

BLAKE OUT OR FAKE OUT????

Our email exploded this morning with loyal readers sending us messages from their phones in court  that Judge Stan Blake has unexpectedly retired and that TODAY was his last day in court. Some readers wrote that the rarely used REGJB building wide speaker system was put into use announcing the Criminal Division's Chief Judge's retirement. 

So as we sit here ensconced  high in our Sierra Nevada Winter Blogger's retreat, fully aware that it is not April First, is  it BLAKE OUT OR FAKE OUT? 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

MILLER WALKS!!!!!

"The Accused" beats the rap. 

In the most high profile Dade County Judicial Battery case since, well, has there ever been a sitting Judge who complained s/he was battered by a colleague?,   The Dade County State Attorneys Office has declined to prosecute Circuit Court Judge David "O.J." Miller for an accusation that he battered Circuit Court  Judge Maria Dennis.  

Joe Centorino, chief of the Public Corruption Unit, who has been (we've been reliably informed) working on this earth shattering case night and day ever since the shocking allegations became public,  wrote a close out memo in which his office declined to file charges against Judge Miller, whom colleagues have taken to calling "The Teflon Judge" in reference to his "John Gotti" like ability to escape criminal prosecution. 

 Centorino noted that the "Faux Fax Fight Fiasco" was better suited for a Judicial Qualifications Complaint. 

Anybody know if the victim, Judge Maria Dennis, has filed a JQC Complaint?  Anybody care?

Chief Judge Farina, (who was recently overheard to say "I'm not gonna miss dealing with those two ^%$#&&((!! Judges when I'm gone") in one of his last acts as Chief Judge, banished the Jousting Jurists  to separate floors of the (un)civil court house, and in a Solomon like decision, gave each of them their very own Fax machine. 

No confirmation yet of the rumors that both TV Judges Marilyn Milian and David Young were battling for the rights to bring the litigants into their own private courts. 

See You In Court, defending battery charges every bit as ridiculous as this one, but charges which for some reason, aren't screened as carefully as Mr. Centorino screened this one. 

PS. You know there are dozens of ideas that flow from this little contretemps. (French for "a little fight in which the French end up surrendering".  Benefits of a classical education I guess.) 

"Fighting Judges" an ABC reality show that could air after Dancing with the Stars. The TV Cameras  follow two Judges who don't like each for weeks as they train and spar and get ready for a fight. The final episode would be a ratings block buster. 

CSI Miami - special Miami Civil Courthouse edition. Where the CSI Miami group pours into the civil courthouse and closely inspects the crime scene to see if charges can be filed. 

Post your ideas in the comments section. These two are a blogger's dream. 



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

OFFICER WOLFINGER HAS PASSED AWAY

We are receiving reports that Officer Norm Wolfinger, known to many regulars of the REGJB as a longtime DUI officer, has passed away today from self inflicted wounds. 

This is a sad and tragic story. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

A CRAZY VERDICT

UPDATED

  A CRAZY VERDICT: back from vacation and fully rested, ace Herald scribe Susannah Nesmith reports on the RARE  NGI (Not guilty insanity) verdict on a double murder case before Judge Adrien last week. 
(The title of the post links to the article.) 

Veteran Prosecutor David Waksman for the state and G.P. Della Fera for the defense.  We take Ms. Nesmith to task for reporting that the verdict means that the defendant could be released from a mental hospital in a few years. Possible but extremely unlikely. And that type of reporting(and the "sour grape" like statements from Waksman that the defendant will be out in a few years and taking street drugs)  leads to the Hollywood like hysteria that makes verdicts like this a near impossibility.  
(For a good defense of Mr. Waksman, and a swift and strong rebuttal of Rumpole's cheap "sour grapes" shot, see Scott Saul's comment in the comment section of this post.) 

As reported in the article, this type of verdict is extremely rare. The reason is that media hype has the general public believing that this type of outcome is the normal occurrence rather than the rare event that it is.  That in turn makes people angry and distrustful of the criminal justice system, which then makes verdicts like this- even when supported by the evidence- very difficult to achieve. 


MNF Pick below.- Update- the game went over (barely) and we won and we are now 1039 Shoes thrown at Bush up for the year. 

With the pending  appointment to the 4th DCA of one of the Judges on the short list for the Florida Supreme Court, the odds just got a little bit better for Dade Judges Emas and Freeman. 

Query: Has the Governor boxed himself into the appointment of a minority or a woman with his recent fights with the 5th DCA?  See, this is where the rubber meets the road if you're Judge Kevin Emas.  Judge Emas is very qualified for the selection and yet how would he feel if another, perhaps less qualified Judge was selected based on factors other than the ability to be a great Supreme Court Judge? And this whole discussion even casts a dark light on those female or minority candidates. I'm sure Judge Freemen  and her supporters believe that she is on the short list for no other reason than she may very well be the best choice for the spot. (And we have no information to aver otherwise). And yet,  would she feel uncomfortable ala Justice Clarence Thomas if someone criticised her selection based on anything other than her ability? 


Speaking of appointments, Caroline Kennedy of NYC has officially cast her hat into the ring for appointment to her  late Uncle Bobby's senate seat currently about to be vacated by Hillary  Clinton. The NY Times Article is here.  New York has traditionally had some wonderful and intellectually strong senators (Al D'Amato  notwithstanding). Just how would another Kennedy in the senate be viewed?  And not to be morbid, but Caroline's uncle Ted is approaching the end of a historic tenure in the Senate. 

No kidding? 

Anybody trying cases this week? How about next week or 12/29? 

See You In Court not trying any more cases this year. 

MNF: In a game that probably looked good over the summer, but is clearly a dog, the Browns go to Philly to play the streaking Eagles. The line is Philly -15 and over 39. The Eagles should win and should cover but what is easier here, covering the 15 or over 39? Probably the over 39, which we'll take for +50. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

NFL WEEK FIFTEEN

UPDATE: We told you the Fins would win and we told you the Fins would not cover. And we told you that the Texans would hand the Titans their second loss of the season. Not bad. Not bad at all.  And we won the Carolina under pick. We finish the day up 150 (2-0 on the picks) and +989 for the year. 

The big news down here is that the Dolphins are playing a meaningful game in Mid December. The Fins are favored by 7 points. The Fins have been an awful home favorite this year,  2-4 against the spread and losers of their last three against the spread at home. We think the trend continues, the Fins win but may not cover. San Fran has some injury issues, so just pop open a cold one and cheer on the Fins, but stay away from the game for money purposes. 

We started the week up 839 Blagojevich's

Denver travels to Carolina where the Panthers are 9 point favorites. But we like the under 48 here. That number has creeped up this week,  meaning the initial money was on the over. Be that as it may, we think the Broncos are overrated and the Panthers have a decent defense that keeps this game under.  +100 under 48. 

The Titans go to Houston where the Texans are three point home dogs. Something tells us this is a trap game for the Titans. First of all  Kerry Collins is coming down to earth real soon when he meets a real defense (The Steelers or the Ravens) in the playoffs. That being said,  Titan coach Jeff Fisher is not just the longest serving coach in the NFL, he is one of the best. We see the Titans losing the AFC Championship game, but that analysis is for another today. Today the Titans stumble in a fairly meaningless game against the Texans.  Houston +3 +50. 

We're keeping our eye on the Eagles/Browns Monday Night Football match up.  The question is how high the line goes and whether we feel comfortable saying the Eagles will cover.

Speaking of the Browns, they were everyone's pre-season darlings. They stink. Their coach is the first to be fired. Unfortunately, Marvin Lewis, a really decent guy and a great defensive coach,  will be fired by the Bengals the day after the season is over as well. Not even Lewis could bring discipline and success to that mess of a franchise. 

Here's something to think about: Name the number one scoring offense over the last eight weeks?  Cowpokes? Ha. San Diego Super Chargers? Nope. High flying Falcons? No way. 

It's your AFC North second place  Baltimore Ravens led by Joe Flacco and O Coordinator Cam Cameron. Remember Cam Dol-fans?  

The o/u line in the Steeler/Ravens shootout is 33. Huh? The Steelers can't run, and the Raven can pass. Why so low? Because both sets of coaches know that a defensive turnover can turn the game around. So the pros expect the "Mindset" of the teams to be conservative.  But what if one coach sees the trend and the expectations and decides to mix things up? What if the Steelers open with a 50 yard bomb to Nate Washington and the Raven respond with a flea-flicker when they get the ball? This game could go way over- or it could end 10-7. We sorta, kinda, maybe like the over under because we're basically contrarians. However, when the bookies are practically begging you to go over- and 33 is about a low a number as you will see in a professional game, you have to be wary. Conversely, and counter-intuitively, if the number was 39-40, we would go on the over number big time. 

Just a sneak peak into our thought process. 

Go Dolphins. 


Saturday, December 13, 2008

ANOTHER TWIST; ANOTHER TURN

Long time and careful readers of this blog will recall our reporting on the strange case of Kareem Bellamy. Bellamy was convicted of murder in New York. While serving his prison sentence, his attorneys obtained statements from one Michael Green confessing to the murders Bellamy was convicted of. A motion was filed and the conviction was overturned and Bellamy was released. 

We then reported on the fact that it appeared that Green had faked the confession and in fact Bellamy might not be innocent.  Motions were filed to re-instate Bellamy's conviction. 

Now comes word that Green, who testified for the prosecution last week, was arrested yesterday for breaking into a woman's apartment and robbing her at knife point. 

The title of the post links to the NY Times article. 

The saga continues. 

Big game for the Fins tomorrow. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3RD DCA TAKES JUDGE LANGER TO THE WOODSHED

For an old fashion spanking.   (Things are breaking quickly today. There are two new posts within the last hour.  So lean back, take a break, and read a bit.) 

We have been asked to do a regular feature where we update readers on the latest criminal decisions from the 3rd DCA. We have responded that the time required might well cut into the time we have set aside for drinking and gambling. However, sober today, we get a jump on our New Year's Resolutions by reporting the decision in CB v. Doubler. The title links to the Opinion. 

The opinion is a barn burner. It starts out: 

We have before us the twelfth in a series of cases spanning three years (all
but one in the last two years) in which the same trial judge has summarily ordered
an uncooperative juvenile directly to secure detention contrary to law.


The opinion continues:
In  each case, a panel of this Court ordered immediate release of the juvenile,
 frequently upon commendably swift confessions of error by the State. The
present case is legally indistinguishable—and barely factually distinguishable—
from those that have preceded it.



CB was arrested on disorderly conduct charges and was released. He missed a few  court dates and a pick up order was issued.  Then he was arrested on a new charge. The prosecution stood mute as Judge Langer
sua sponte  (Latin for "doing something stupid without taking the time to think about it." Rumpole;s New American Legal Dictionary, Vol. 1, p. 324) ordered CB into custody.  The opinion points out that Langer ignored a "risk assessment" that did not require CB to be taken into custody. And the Court reminded Langer that it was a "principal of law" that Judges are required to take the 'risk assessment" into account, and that the 3rd DCA had "reminded" Langer of that principle a mere 90 days prior to his sua sponte act in CB's case. 

The PD raced (s/he did not walk, nor run) to the 3rd DCA on a Habeus Writ and within hours of receiving it the 3rd DCA opened its "Langer sua sponte" file and ordered CB released. 

From the opinion, here's what happened next, and it's not pretty: 

The next morning, June 6, 2008, the judge—again acting sua sponte (there's that phrase again) —placed  C.B.’s case back on the calendar for that afternoon, and informed the parties that  “[t]he Court will be issuing a rule to show cause in th[e] case.” When informed in  the afternoon that we already had granted C.B.’s petition for immediate release, the  judge perplexingly replied:  Well, I’m glad the Third DCA acted so quickly, because I was  going to release him today after I served him with a rule to show  cause as to why he should not be held in contempt of court for
missing three court hearings on his original case. I’m serving you all
with a copy of that rule to show cause, which is now set for June 10th
at 1:30, in open court. You are to notify your client accordingly. "


Then Judge Langer, in all his wisdom forgot what they taught him at the first day of Judge's school: NEVER DISPARAGE YOUR APPELLATE COURT ON THE RECORD! (duh). 

Here's what's Langer said (open mouth-insert foot and career): 

And, quite frankly, I’m well within the 72 hours that the statute
allows me to hold him, by the way.
So I think perhaps the Third
DCA’s ruling is a bit premature,
since he was just picked up on the
3rd of June and today is only the 6th, Counsel.  

Memo to Judge Langer: When the 3rd DCA vacates an order you issued the same day, stop f'ing with them.  Leave the case alone and move along little doggy. They will always- repeat- always get the last word and they always-repeat-always win. 



The 3rd DCA opinion continues:

It is clear to us from the transcript of the June 6 hearing that the judge’s invocation of section  985.255(1)(i) of the Florida Statutes at that time was nothing more than an effort at post-hoc justification of his June 3 order. See also B.M., 979 So. 2d at 314.
(similarly finding same trial judge’s effort to label B.M. an “absconder” to justify
detaining her for eighteen days to be an unfounded “post-hoc justification”).


And because the 3rd DCA is really a bit tired of releasing all of Judge Langer's defendants, they decided to add a
 'coup de judge ': 

Stated otherwise, no person, not even a judge, is above the law...
We will not  permit the children of this state to be played as a game of ping-pong between  courts.
Petition granted.

Rumpole notes: Rarely are sitting judges treated as harshly as Judge Langer was in this case. 

Call us crazy, but for the New Year, Judge Langer just might want to reconsider his policy of sua sponte taking children into custody. 

NORM KENT DEFENDS BILL GELIN

The below letter from Norm Kent appears on the Broward Blog today. We reprint it in its entirety, and add only this:

Norm Kent has made a career out of kicking the butt (in litigation) of disbarred attorney Jack Thompson. We are confident he will prevail once again.

Also, as we freely admit, Mr. Thompson, having been banned from this blog will NOT be allowed to respond in the comments section. That's the price he pays for his behavior. He can open his own blog and say whatever he chooses. 


I am writing this letter in my capacity as Bill Gelin’s lawyer in a dispute generated by a complaint Jack Thompson has authored.

Earlier today, Jack Thompson, a former Florida attorney, recently convicted and disbarred on 27 counts of ethical violations, used this blog to freely post a "News Release", announcing that the Florida Bar has opened an ethics complaint against one Bill Gelin.

Mr. Thompson wrote the blog is "owned and operated by Gelin," and that it "traffics in rumors, gossip, and scandal about members of the legal community, including primarily judges."

Nowhere in the press release that Mr. Thompson has gleefully distributed did he disclose that he was the author of this specious complaint, or that it was repetitive, redundant, and previously rejected.

Nowhere in the press release did Mr. Thompson reveal that on two prior occasions this year he has also similarly charged Mr. Gelin with nearly identical complaints that were summarily dismissed.

Nowhere in the press release did Mr. Thompson mention that both files have been closed by the Florida Bar as "unfounded," with authorities concluding each time that "there is no indication Mr. Gelin has violated any Bar rules." In fact, one such letter was signed by Bar staff counsel as early as March 13, 2008.

Nevertheless, Mr. Thompson engineered a new complaint on October 31, which he posted on his own, on this blog, which he claims is moderated by the very person he is complaining about. The new allegations evolve out of the same postings relating to Sean Conway which Mr. Thompson has already unsuccessfully challenged.

Unfortunately, these new allegations, specious again though they are, have caused the Florida Bar to draft a new letter of inquiry to Mr. Gelin, on December 5, 2008. Thus, in accordance with Florida Bar rules, a new file was opened and generated by virtue of yet another hollow complaint authored by the disbarred attorney.

Right or wrong, the Florida Bar is dutibound to review properly sworn allegations, whether they come from a confessed rapist in a state prison, or a disbarred lawyer. The Bar must solicit a reply from the accused party, if only to close the file and summarily dismiss the allegation.

An inquiry letter does not mean the Bar has reached a conclusion, rendered a disposition, or made a judgment. It is simply an invitation for counsel to explain his position, and show how he has not violated any of the rules of our profession. The process can be an unnecessary headache, but we are healthier for it, knowing that legitimate grievances will be processed and lunatics will be sent packing.

All that has happened today is that the Bar has opened a file, once again at Mr. Thompson’s behest. In his latest accusation, Mr. Thompson again misstates and misrepresents material facts. Once again, as I have before, my office will respond to the specious allegations by pointing out the governing law under the Communications Decency Act. We will also show that the blog is a community billboard and people’s website, not ‘owned’ by Mr. Gelin.

I am confident that once again Mr. Thompson’s false charges and broad mischaracterizations will be summarily tossed by the Florida Bar. I am also confident Mr. Gelin will not permit a disbarred attorney to tortiously defame his good name without retaliatory legal action of his own. Mr. Thompson, ever aware of Biblical verses, will soon learn again that he who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind.

This blog, angry, erratic, hostile, and sometimes even mean-spirited is the first amendment at its best and worst. We get sophisticated comments and moronic blathering. We see thoughtful and caring posts as news, and informative revelations about judicial operations. And the price is right.

Ironically, the blog itself was just a piece of a greater goal, which was to create a non profit association to advance justice and advocacy in Broward. The Blog has a life of its own, and no one on it is sacred or untouchable. From ‘Help me Howard’ to a judge whose divorce decision sent an angry plaintiff here to post bitter critiques, we are all potential targets.

Bloggers and blogs, for better or worse, have become the electronic soapboxes of the new century. The posters are no different than the woman standing on the steps of the Courthouse and flailing a Bible in her hand, quoting Scripture. It may be loud and irritating, but lawful and protected. Call it the sounds of democracy.

So too is this unmoderated blog, albeit on a computer, in a website, or across the Internet. It is the breadth of the first amendment, a unique but inalienable right inherent to our citizens, our countrymen, and our constitution. It is worth protecting, and against all the enemies of free speech, we shall.

Norm Kent, Esquire


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

FOR SALE

One State and all the accoutrements including judicial seats, senate seats, construction projects,  and baseball stadiums. 




Inquire within. 

The title of the post links to the Chicago Tribune Article.