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. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Friday, February 27, 2009

JUDGE CUETO NEEDS TO BE REMOVED FROM CRIMINAL COURT

(TWO NEW POLLS ON JUDGES CUETO AND EIG.)

"I'M NOT GONNA PUT UP WITH THAT CRAP".    

Those were the words of Judge Jose Cueto  as he demanded that the police go get a distraught mother and her family, including a 15 year old juvenile,  as they left court upset after Judge Cueto refused to lower the initial bond for the woman's son.   (If you're tuning into the blog to read about Judge Eig calling someone a crack whore in Juvenile Court, that link is below.)

The title of the post links to the tape of the bond hearing. 

In well over twenty years of practice in the REGJB we have never seen a Judge lose his temper to a distraught mother this way.  

Judge Cueto needs to be removed from criminal court. He cannot control his feelings of prejudice against those charged with selling cocaine. 

Jude Cueto  opined that perhaps those who sell cocaine should be in prison forever. Perhaps Judge Cueto forgot, or does not know that sale of cocaine is a second degree felony,  the maximum penalty for which is fifteen years in prison. 

The amazing thing about this tape is that through most of the hearing Judge Cueto does an admirable job of dealing with a distraught mother. He reads her portions of the arrest affidavit so as to explain to her the evidence upon which he is basing his decision to set bond at $90,000.00. 

But when the Judge refuses to lower the bond, the family leaves upset and says something that cannot be heard on the tape. Judge Cueto says his line about not taking crap, he calls for a police officer to get the family back inside, and even reaches for the emergency police liaison button. 

When the family is brought back inside the courtroom Judge Cueto erupts in anger,  screaming at them and demanding  that they answer his question "who do you think you are" or he will throw them in jail. 

A young woman tells the Judge she is 15 years old. The Judge sarcastically tells her she has a real bright future based on how she acted, and he again threatens her with jail unless she apologizes.  This is a juvenile he knows he is now dealing with mind you when he makes the threat about jail. 

The video ends with the Judge saying "get her out of here, I need to take a break."  The police escort the woman out and the judge storms off the bench. 

This judge lost his temper for which there is no excuse. 

This video is so shocking in a display of a Judge who cannot keep his temper in the most mild of situations we have seen in the REGJB, they we are at a loss for words such that we can't even turn our attention to Judge Eig, who apparently called someone a "crack whore" in Juvenile Court.  The Herald article is here.   

Here is the point about Judge Cueto: we are supposed to be professionals. We are supposed to be trained in dealing with the emotional situations that arise on a daily if not hourly basis in criminal court. And above all others, the Judge is supposed to radiate impartiality, while controlling the courtroom and giving to all sides an impartial decision based on facts not emotion.  

At this Judge Cueto  failed miserably.  He needs to apologize to the woman and the juvenile. He needs to be removed from criminal court until such time that he shows he is capable of handling a bond hearing without losing his temper. 


Whew. When it rains it pours, even on an otherwise slow Friday afternoon.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Judge did the right thing. That is why this county is full of crap. Because we have a bunch of public defenders wearing robes on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Bullshit. Leave Cueto alone. At least he has the balls to run a courtroom. I didn't have a hard time hearing the 15 year old say that the proceedings were f-ing bullshit. Good for the judge on calling the thug-ette on her behavior. Perhaps if her mommy would have been like that she wouldn't have a foul-mouthed daughter (whose boobs were hanging out of her shirt) and a gang-banging loser of a son. Great family values. I salute you Cueto. Keep it real.

Anonymous said...

I agree. She had no right to talk to the judge that way. Don't blame him for losing his temper.

Anonymous said...

Your poll doesn't have enough choices. The kid's remark was publicly contemptuous and the judge was entitled to take some action. But he lost his temper and acted like a bully. If Judge Cueto is new to the bench, he needs some mentoring. It is too early to call for removal fromthe criminal bench, but someone needs to tell him this was overkill.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break Rump...terrible post. Cueto did the right thing...the inmates DO NOT run the asylum, no matter how hard the defense bar wishes.....

Anonymous said...

Both Judge Cueto and Judge Eig could benefit from some sensitivity and temperment training with none other than Alex Michaels.

Kenneth Weisman said...

I have had quite a few bond hearings with Judge Cueto and found him to be professional, well reasoned, and generally even-tempered. Who among us can pass such judgement on such a limited snapshot of his demeanor?

Anonymous said...

if mary jo "the flying nun" francis had lost it with a police officer this wouldnt be news on your stupid blog. get over yourself already people lose their cool and its not that big a deal.

on the eig thing he didnt call anyone a crack whore he warned a girl that she could end up a crack whore if she continued her ways. what amazes me is that the press is on eig for this when he actually said and did the right thing but never cared as he was forcing people to get married to avoid jail time

Anonymous said...

I fervently hope that the responders at 6:49 and 6:54 are not lawyers, or at least that they don't practice criminal law, but if they should be criminal lawyers, I hope I never see them in court because they are flat out wrong about a fundamental precept of our profession. Namely, as you point out, my dear Rumpole, it is a profession.
I will give the Honorable Judge Cueto the benefit of a doubt and allow that emotional restraint may take a little while to achieve on the bench. But I do note that he spent a bit of time and treasure trying to acheive the position that he now holds, and surely he must have thought once or twice during his campaign about what it would take to be a good jurist. Certainly, during those moments of circumspection he must have known that there would be moments, difficult moments, when his patience would be tried and that a good judge would hold his temper and his tongue.
His behavior left a lot to be desired as to professional decorum; I hope that he is chastened by his behavior, that he strives to change his attitude (he seemed to be on something of a moral crusade during bond hearing for God's sake), and that realizes he owes the community a respect for the system which requires impartiality and decorum.
After this auspicious start, Judge Cueto has some catching up to do.

Anonymous said...

Rump you're off base and Judge Cueto was right on the money. It's about time Judges stop letting people think and act like they're on Jerry Springer meets People's Court when they come to court proceedings.

First of all you don't have to be blind or hard of hearing to see and hear all the beeping-out of the bad words being used by the so called "juvenile" who didn't look like any juvenile and looked more like a foul mouth whore that even her mom looked ashamed of her at the end of that video. And one can clearly hear that Judge Cueto asked a bailiff to bring back the young lady.

Anonymous said...

Kudos for Judge Cueto! So what that she's 15? Is that an excuse to be disrespectful? I'm glad he's not going to take that crap!!

CAPTAIN said...

Rumpole:

Judge Cueto was wrong with the way he handled the matter. But, should he be removed from the criminal bench?

By all indications, Judge Cueto has been doing a very good job since being assigned to Bond Hearings in January. In the past two months, most of the people I have spoken with have given him high marks.

We all know that even a judge can have a bad day. Something off the bench could have easily been brought with him onto the bench.

Having said that, he was dead wrong in the way he handled the situation.

1. He should have told the mother that, based upon the facts in the affidavit, that the law requires him, in his best judgment, to set the bond at $90,000. If you disagree with that ruling, your PD will have every right to ask the assigned trial couurt judge to revisit the matter and present new facts to try and get the bond lowered. He could have also said that his decision could be appealed to a higher court and that her son and his lawyer also had that right.

2. When he ordered the 15 year old back into the courtroom, he could have made the same points and same impression without the tone of voice that he took. He needs to remember that, for many of the family members that appear before him, this is their first contact with the criminal justice system, and, it is his responsibility to leave them with a positive impression of the court system - even if they may not agree with his decisions.

We are all constantly seeing the term "judicial temperment"; Judge Cueto failed that test during this hearing.

He does owe the family an apology.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you Captain. It is the family that owes Judge Cueto and everyone in that courtroom an apology. Early on the girl started acting up, to the point that the mother turned around, while talking to the judge, and told her to be quiet. When a fifteen year old, or any body else is in a courtroom, they should respect the judge and the system, whether they agree with what is happening or not. When the girl said f***ing bullsh*t in a courtroom, she needed to be brought back and read the riot act. It is obvious that this kid has no respect for anyone. She got what she deserved. She is lucky she is not sitting in Juvenile Detention Center serving a contempt sentnece, because anyone who behaves the way she did in court needs to be taught a lesson.

the anonynouse said...

All the litle mice know that you guys are just too funny for thinking that the judge was wrong to be upset at someone saying that his bond decision was FUCKING BULLSHIT.

Maybe if he calmly held her in contempt and gave her 30 days she would grow up to be a good citizen.

We will be right back, after we eat the green cheese from the moon. You people sure are silly!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the family should have been reminded what demonstrates contempt of court. It appears the blogger seems to think that doesn't apply to some people. That teenager had already been warned by her mother. The Judge was justified in all he did and could have just answered that the bond is set; take it up with the trial judge.

Anonymous said...

Apology? Bullshit. Any judge has a right to address some foul mouthed little bitch like that and if need be, toss her in jail. She was not required to be at the hearing, but if she chooses to go, she must conduct herself accordingly. Only thing he did wrong was loose his temper. He should have calmly ordered her punk ass in jail. Rump really. The bullshit that is permitted in the courthouse as far as dress and behavior undermines the whole system.

Mike said...

Bravo Judge Cueto! Blame Dr. Spock for starting this crap.
A no nonsense Judge doesn't take being disrespected by a 15 year old family member of an alleged gang member up on drug charges lightly so now cries of "JUDGE CUETO NEEDS TO BE REMOVED FROM CRIMINAL COURT" are being raised? Get a life people!
I applaud his not taking her disrespect and making her accountable for what she said. We need more people standing up for themselves to smart mouthed teenagers.
Respect and Fear of G_d, two key elements missing from the skill set of today's youth. I blame Dr. Spock (not Mr.). When our son arrived someone gave us a copy of Dr. Spock. The first page I read after randomly opening it told me not to flush the tolet after the child took a crap in it... WTF? Rationale was that this "crap" was the child's "possession" and only he should be in charge of sending it on its way... BS in my book. Then there was the discussion between the "Spockized" parents of a child visiting in our house. The child had found a pack of matches and was playing with them sparking (pun intended) a lively discussion as to whether they should allow him to fulfill his natural curiosity or take them from him and possibly creating an unhealthy need to quench the unfulfilled desire at some future date. I got up and walked over to the kid and snatched the matches out of his hands and said "NO!"" Danger!" Case closed. He hasn't returned to burn my house down, yet... If he does the ACLU will come to his defense, a poor innocent victim of my abusive desire to protect my house from the micro arsonist.

Anonymous said...

judge eig has a super inflated ego. eig must go go go

brian tannebaum said...

Now Rump, I see you wrote this post at 6:02 on a Friday, probably after a long frustrating week and before some intake of a beverage.

But Jesus (sorry if that offended anyone) give me a fucking break (sorry if that offended anyone).

First, Eig didn't "call" anyone a crack whore. He said that some runaway would turn into a "toothless dead crack whore" if she didn't turn around. So what? He's probably the only person to ever say that to her.

And Cueto? His comment that maybe people who sell cocaine should spend life in prison is definitely something I would raise in a case where the defendant is charged with a cocaine offense and he was the judge, but on the loss of temper issue?

I think you've said before you've been in the building more than a few years. Are you going to tell me you've never seen a judge "lose it" on the bench? And let's remember that he had already made his decision on bond.

He lost it, he got heavy with a 15 year old who said it was "fucking bullshit." He made her apologize and it was over.

Eig talked a little reality with a kid.

It's old school stuff.

Enjoy the weekend, and that goes for all the fucking bullshit toothless dead crack whores.

Rumpole said...

It's not surprising that emotion is running in favor of Judge Cueto and Judge Eig. We all want to have the ability to tell of a snotty 15 year old or the mother of an accused drug dealer, especially when the mother is so condescending as this one.

But that's why we have Judges. Professionals who should be trained to restrain their human impulses in favor of impartially administering justice.

It is the prosecutor's job to get indigent at someone who flouts the law, not the Judge's - until sentencing. And this was a bond hearing.

Do we really want judges to yell at people at bond hearings? Eventually they're going to chew out an innocent person and their family. Then what?

Anonymous said...

LOL. That's why I've always liked Tannenbaum. He tells it like it is.

Captain, you say: "He needs to remember that, for many of the family members that appear before him, this is their first contact with the criminal justice system, and, it is his responsibility to leave them with a positive impression of the court system - even if they may not agree with his decisions."

Are you kidding me? Do you really think that he could've said or done anything to make this a positive experience for a mother who's kid he was detaining on a 90K bond? Come in. There's nothing any judge could've said or done to make her happy short of releasing her son. I generally agree with your posts, but that's a ridiculous comment.

And, your comment re what Cueto should've told her also is unfair. Her son has a lawyer. There are dozens of folks on calendar. Cueto gave her far more information than she was entitled to as it was and there simply was no reason to make everyone else sit through more.

BTDT

PS---to those of you who think "yeah, but she's only 15": PLEASE. How many of you would do what she did at that age? What would you do if your kid did that? Perhaps if mommy spent less time trying to cover for her son and blaming the system (it's all a big conspiracy, otherwise the police would've arrested him right after committing the offense), and more time teaching him how to follow society's rules, he wouldn't be where he is now.

Rumpole said...

At least no one can accuse me of screening the comments. The only comment remotely supporting me is the Captain, and he can post without me reviewing it.

Anonymous said...

i have your back rumpole. both of these judges wouldnt make much out in the private sector and both have poor judgement on the bench. judge brown needs to call these guys out. i must give mr. tannenbaum credit for the last line in his post. it was the only part that i agreed with...

the ultimate male

Anonymous said...

I heard the words within a "thousand feet of a school" when he read the arrest affidavit, doesn't that bump it up to a first degree felony (30 years). Additionally, it is unclear what the Defendant's criminal history is...if he was a career criminal...wouldn't that possibly make him eligible for an enhanced sentence on the 1st degree felony. Regardless, it seems to me that Judge Cueto qualified his statement about cocaine sellers remaining in jail forever with the word "maybe". It seems to me that he is entitled to express his opinion on the effects that selling cocaine has on the community, by suggesting what the appropriate sentence might be for this situation. I don't agree with him that someone who sells cocaine should be incarcerated for the rest of their lives, but the drug trade does lead to a lot of violence in this community, so I certainly could understand someone feeling that way. I don't particularly see anything wrong with his reaction...particulary since it isn't at all clear what was said to him as the mother and 15 year old were leaving.

Anonymous said...

Cueto wins. He did the right thing! It really wouldn't even matter if the brother was innocent. The Judge was addressing the disrespectful conduct of the sister. That conduct occurred in his presence and was directed at the court.

Rumpole - The next time you are in court instead of saying "I respectfully disagree." try "Judge, that ruling is fucking bullshit." See how far you get.

If this was the first time this family was in court (which I doubt) they should have been on their best behavior.

Anonymous said...

The judge did a fantastic job in bringing professionalism and respect into his courtroom. Society today disrespects the parents, the police, the courts, and the judges. This judge ensured that such behavior would stop, at least in his courtroom. I applaud him for it! Too often, I've been in court when there's obvious disrespect for the legal system and everyone turns a blind eye to it. Why? We need to demand respect for the court. It deserves it. You, who types behind the cloak of secrecy, calls for ousters?? You need to look in the mirror. I call for your ouster.

Anonymous said...

I'm a career prosecutor, and I am embarrassed by a former prosecutor's inability to hold his temper. We pay him to dispassionately enforce the law. The girl was out of line,but her behavior did not rise to contempt. If you watch carefully, she did not direct her comment to the bench. He threatened to jail her---another mistake, as that proved to be an idle threat.
The rule of law--that's what he is there to enforce, not some personal plan to clean up the community. He was out of line, and if I know Jorge he feels bad about losing it in that way.
I am disturbed, however, with the comments praising him. Since when is it alright for a Judge in a bond hearing to comment like he did about anything other than the matter at hand? Accepting, even praising, this kind of injudicious behavior is worse than accepting a citizen's foul-mouthed disagreement as she exits the courtroom. We should be better than that.

Anonymous said...

it is so pathetic how this judge keeps posting on the blog to defend himself. get over to dependency ct buddy. you do not belong in criminal.

Anonymous said...

Boy this post really brought out the cops and prosecutors out of the woodwork. I guess all of our judges should act like this on the bench. The fact that I know that my impatience and bad temper would lead to incidents like this is one reason that I decided, a long time ago, that I should never try to be a judge.

P.S.: Mary Jo Francis would never act like this on the bench, and I challenge anyone to find a videotape or transcript to prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

Bring Fast Gerry Klein back! He's sorely missed. They now have two judges is two courtrooms doing what Fast Gerry did in one courtroom in less time and with no drama.

Judge Rob Pineiro said...

Rumpole, just how pompous and sanctimonious can you possibly get? Your ranting directed at Judge Cueto clearly shatters any prior limitations. To call for the Judge’s removal from the criminal bench because of his comments at a bond hearing is akin to wielding a sledge-hammer to kill a gnat. It is so ludicrously over-the-top, I suspect it is a deliberate provocation to spark debate. In fact, I hope it is because, if not, it paints you as an unthinking, knee-jerking hypocrite who rails against zero tolerance, minimum-mandatory sentences and lack of discretion while applying the same when it suits you.

Judge Cueto is a good man who cares deeply about our constitutional rights. He knows how important a free and independent judiciary is to safeguard these rights. The judge has personally experienced the deprivation of the common human decency embodied in our constitution. Judge Cueto’s father was imprisoned as a political prisoner in Cuba for two years because the courts there were nothing more than a tyrant’s rubber stamp. Given his background, it is easy to see how this rude, crass juvenile was able to get such a reaction from him—she was attacking the courts, the institution which truly safeguards our liberty.

If you are concerned the judge gets what's comming to him, do not fear. His brethren will tease him no end for his use of the panic button.

So, Rumpole. Twist off the screw on cap of your Chateaux Miami River and chill out.

Judge Rob Pineiro

Anonymous said...

Cueto typhooned it. Completely unprofessional.

Anonymous said...

In my neighborhood, we call it screwing the pooch.

Anonymous said...

The Judge Cueto Facebook support group:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/edit.php?gid=65458178763#/group.php?gid=65458178763

Anonymous said...

Rump, thank you for enlightening me through your emotionally charged post! After first reading about it, I (as well as many others, I'm sure) was in the cheering section for the judge for dealing with the disrespectful teen on her poor behavioral outburst. But after reading what you wrote, I was swayed by your articulate comments depicting the dangers of allowing a judge to lose their rational perspective of the law based on their emotions. If we are to allow a judge to rule based on emotion--no matter how right it may seem at the time--it is to allow the same unjust system we have in place to continue. True continuity of the law requires judges to be impartial, flexible and knowledgeable. An angry judge has no place on the bench. I totally agree with Rump on that. In addition, overly emotional judges who cry in court (like the one we saw on the Anna Nicole Smith fiasco) should be ousted based on their inability to be impartial. We need to demand that our judges be held to a higher standard and uphold the law in the way it is supposed to be! I am so sick of the double standard and disparity between those in power with connections and those without. Unfortunately, judges are not in their positions based on merit. Instead, they are there due to their questionable connections. Sometimes I think a well thought out computer program would be an improvement over the judicial process we currently have in place. At least then, emotion and political ties wouldn't be contributors to justice being served. Hell, better yet, why not hold court at Hard Rock and play Wheel of Justice!! I hate to say it BUT even THAT would an improvement. Here at Broweird it truly is THAT bad!!!! Heaven help us all!
Thank you.
Ms. Rantz