Saturday, March 21, 2009


The title of the post link's to Jay Weaver of the Herald and his article about ASA David Ranck's lawsuit against the State Attorneys Office- an office Ranck has served so well for over twenty five years. 

In 2004 Ranck was assigned to a police shooting of an unarmed teenager who was accused of committing a burglary.  Ranck didn't like what he saw and heard and he said so in his memo. 

 A police Major called the State Attorneys office and asked that Ranck be removed from the case. He wasn't "playing ball." Fully committed to the belief that "we who work here seek only justice" State Attorney Fernandez-Rundle (hereinafter "Fernandle") promptly removed Ranck from the case.  Nixon couldn't have done it any better.  See, Archibald Cox.  

When Fernandle removed Ranck from the case, Ranck wrote a memo stating that his removal created the appearance that the State Attorneys Office was not impartial in finding out the facts  of the shooting. 


Last year Ranck filed a public records request to obtain his own memo and when he received it  we posted it on this humble blog. 

And here's the DBR covering Ranck and our coverage of this contretemps in May, 2006. 

Ranck was promptly suspended without pay for a month. 

He hired counsel and sued the State Attorneys Office in Federal Court. 

And that's where things are at this point. 

Rumpole ponders:  1) memo to Jay Weaver and the Herald: if we're going to do your leg work for you (publish the memo and publish the story about Ranck) the least you can do is put the address of the blog in the article. 

2) Ranck had to file a public records request to get his own memo??? Sort of puts a new spin on when prosecutors show up in court and say they don't have their file and are not sure how long it will take to get it. 

3)  Can anyone imagine Janet Reno removing a prosecutor from a case who challenged a police officer's version of shooting an unarmed man, at the request of the officer's supervisor?

Perhaps we should all chip in an buy Fernandle a "WWJD" bracelet. 
(what would Janet do?)

Will Ranck take the stand? 
Will Fernandle take the stand?
Will Don Horn take the stand?

Stay tuned. 

Enjoy the weekend, even if it's raining a bit. 


Anonymous said...

The “David Ranck” affair offers only a small window of the incestuous nature of the relationship of State Attorneys Office and the Police in this community. The SAO has compromised its independence and with that its constitutional mission within the justice system. Police officers deliberately lie and exaggerate without raising so much as an eyebrow of either SAO or many judges. Not only is truth is a victim, we are all victimized by this complacency, for the decadence of the system adversely affects all who labor in it. It makes us all suspects - all conspirators. The failure of a defense attorney to push in defense of the client reinforces the bad habits of those whose conduct compromises or outright breaches their oath of office, encouraging the conduct. When an ASA allows the police to dictate the course of action in a case, wither by exaggerating facts, outright lying, or because they want a certain disposition, they violate their oath of office. When a judge allows this scenario to play out without correcting it, they destroy the system.

Fake Don Horn said...

Rumpole, you are fired. Anyone else who posts regarding Rumpole's rantings if also fired.

Rumpole said...

If you're looking for your comment here, it was not posted. As you know, you are banned from the blog, among other things. It must just kill you that Janet Reno was Attorney General for seven years.

Anonymous said...

Janet Reno would likely have "played ball" just like Fernandle did. After all, she "played ball" extremely well for Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro in the Elian case.

Anonymous said...

Soon we may know the identity of Rumpole.

Anonymous said...

chris lyons


sallworth will get what he pays for : aplea.

Anonymous said...

The Miami Police Department , as well a several other law enforcement agencies in South Florida, are cesspools of corruption. Many ASA's know this but are powerless to do anything about it. That's why we need term limits on the State Attorney's. No need for any shanningans in the justice building.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah. The SAO is in the PBA's pocket. Just ask John Riveira. LOL.

You know the office is doing something right when it's catching criticism for both sides (I particularly find the earlier and I'm sure soon to be republished comments re Don Horn [the man who prosecuted Lozano amidst great criticism from the police] and Abe Laesar [whose comments caused KFR quite a bit of heartburn in a published DCA opinon] amusing, albiet inane. Anyone who knows anything about those guys knows that they don't cave to anyone, especially the police). I love how some of you sanctimonious types are so quick to judge the office on after hearing one side of the story. Anyone who knows anything knows that Ranck wasn't just suspended for releasing the memo. There's a lot more going on here (no, I will not satisfy the voyeurs among you by publishing it). Ranck is not a victim here. This is not the case to hold up as an example.

Regardless, I wish all involved nothing but the best and hope Ranck finds the peace we all deserve.

Anonymous said...

What exactly does don horn do?

eye-on-shumie said...


Anonymous said...

Once again the Herald got it wrong.The Story is not so much that David Ranck got slapped down for releasing a document he got in a Public Records Request. The Story should be the fact that AFTER FIVE YEARS NEITHER THE STATE ATTORNEY NOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS HAS RESOLVED THIS Investigation. Hell, how hard can it be to decide what happen when the kid got shot twice from/in the Behind. The cops didn't even find a throw down gun. Seems Ranck's initial analysis was right.
D. Sisselman

Anonymous said...

On October 20, 1973, in an event termed the Saturday Night Massacre, U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Rather than comply with this order, Attorney General Richardson resigned, leaving his second-in-command, Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus in charge of the Justice Department. Ruckelshaus likewise refused to fire Cox, and he, too, resigned. The highest-ranking officer in the Justice Department was now Solicitor General Robert Bork; Bork fired Cox, as requested. Upon being fired, Cox stated, "whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people to decide."

The firing of Cox illustrated the need for independent counsels — prosecutors specifically appointed to investigate official misconduct.

Anonymous said...

1:30: Stop being such a hater Mike.

SAO Insider said...

Don Horn makes sure the water coolers are filled with fresh, cold filtered water. Don Horn makes sure all the secretaries pay their weekly coffee club fee. Don Horn makes sure Kathy Rundle's vacation slips are properly filled out. Don Horn hires lawyers when the office is sued. Don Horn makes sure all the snacks in the snack machines are free of trans-fats. And Don Horn mediates parking disputes in the SAO parking lot. Don Horn picks who goes to Juvie and who does weekend and holiday bond hearings.

And when the day is done, and all his chores are finished, Don Horn fires people and when they lie about why they were fired, why he fires them again.

That is what Don Horn does.

fake country dave said...

Hey. I have a new client. Bond hearing is tomorrow. When Does Gerry Klein start bond hearings?

The Voice of Reason said...

The New Yuck Times is reporting that TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States) is going to attempt to regulate pay for executives, not just for banks that receive "stimulus money" but "all financial institutions, including those not now covered by any pay rules because they are not receiving federal bailout money. Officials say the rules could also be applied more broadly to publicly traded companies." Apparently, the government will dictate the amount companies can pay their employees, not at a level agreed on by shareholders, or capitalism dictated by market principals, but at a level that the government feels is appropriate. Is it too far a stretch to envision a scenario where the government dictates how much a private defense attorney can charge so as to ensure "equal and fair representation?" I thought that we would have learned from the examples set by the USSR, Cuba, North Korea (vs. the exact same people, geography, resources in S. Korea), and other socialist hellholes. We live in very scary times, and this type of attitude is a harbinger of scarier times ahead.

so·cial·ism (ssh-lzm)n.
1. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.
2. The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.

Blog General manager said...

Umm...Fake Country Dave.....Gerry Klein doesn't do bond hearings anymore. He hasn't for a while. When is the last time you got a new client?

Plus- your contract with the blog doesn't start until the new blog fiscal year- April 16.

eyeonaleXmichaels said...

Ranck got suspended?? DIS IS BULSHEEEEET.

A cop shoots an unarmed teenager and it's swept under the rug? DIS IS BULSHEEEEET.

Ranck sues the office? DIS IS BULSHEEEET.

(so began Alex Michael's monologue at the Hard Rock on Saturday night around midnight.)

Anonymous said...

chris lyons can try a dui case with the best of them.

the ultimate

Anonymous said...

The most interesting or, more actually, more perplexing aspect of the David Ranck matter is why does an inquest into the shooting of an apparently unarmed juvenile in the back which occurred in February 2004 still “open” in May 2008? I suggest the inquest is not “open,” but would probably lead to potential charges against a police officer who shoot an unarmed juvenile in the back, when the juvenile was not a threat. Why are the police permitted to investigate their own and themselves? That is the bigger question. Sadly to say, there are many victims of police lies and factitious testimony, and all those ASA’s and judges who allow it are accomplices! If you cannot stand up to those who assail the integrity and independence of the system, please resign, from the SAO and the bench!

Anonymous said...

Cut to the chase 9:07 and title yourself the Voice of Pill Popper Rush

Anonymous said...

I agree with 9:52 - it is poisonous to the justice system for an ASA to allow a police officer to dictate the outcome of a case. But the SAO policy is that ASAs do not close out cases involving crimes against LEOs without express approval from the officer. Bullshit. 90% of "crimes against LEOs" are shitty batteries where some indignant defendant smacks a roided-up Hoss Cartwright on the shoulder causing "redness and swelling to the officer's shoulder area" (gotta love A-forms). The defendant has no priors, is perfectly eligible for PTI, is willing to take PTI, but the ASA can't offer it because the officer wants jail/prison time.

For the ASAs without a backbone, these cases go to trial. Take a look at the booking photo - this defendant got his clock cleaned, and the ASA still has to put this crappy waste of time and taxpayer money in front of a jury for a guaranteed not guilty.

For the ASAs with backbone - an endangered and often poached species around that office - a PTI offer usual results in an angry call to a division chief by the officer, putting an ASA - a college and law school graduate with a bar card and a brain - in a position to defend his or her professional decision because some 22-year old high school grad with a gun and a badge got his feelings hurt.

This office has adopted this policy with regard to victims as well. As we ALL KNOW - lots of victims are full of shit, and are hardly victims. Homicide next of kin, sexual battery victims, serious robbery victims - are TRUE victims, and should have their wishes honored as much as is legally possible.

For "C" case victims - which are about 60% of victims in Miami-Dade County, they should not have the right to determine the course of action for a case. Take a car burglary, for instance. Unfortunate occurance, but they happen. Defendant is a punk kid with no record. Victim is outraged and wants jail. Maybe no PTI if victim is that adamant, but a withhold and probation and the case should be done. Instead, too many ASAs are holding off on closing out closable cases because the victim indicated "wants jail" on their PFC sheet.

ASAs - and if you can't tell, I am one of them: We need to use our own professional judgment when it comes to cases. We are very educated and capable beings. We should be able to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a case and make a plea offer based on that. Under no circumstances, should we ever be made to take a case to trial when we don't believe in our hearts that we can meet our burden. There is a difference between a weak case, and a case that shouldn't go to trial. Those cases include:

- 1 witness/1 victim

- Unoccupied burglaries with no physical evidence or at least 2 credible IDs

- He said/She said domestics with no corroboration

- Batt/LEOs where the defendant got more tuned up than the officer

- Tampering with physical evidence - I don't care if the dude swallows the bag of crack on videotape in front of 100 witnesses and there's fingerprints and DNA on everything! This charge should never be put in front of a jury. Three letters - CTS. Nuff said.

Victims have a right to be heard and a right to be informed. They do not have a right to dictate the outcome of their case. That is our job. We are not customer service representatives. We are prosecutors and must do justice on a broad scale - what is just for the victim, what is just for the defendant, and what is just for the community.

And yes, financial considerations should be taken. We are broke and the juries should be reserved for the most severe cases. All others can and should be resolved.

On the other hand, this doesn't mean we give away the house. We should be making offers consistent with the defendant's record, the severity of the crime, and the strength of the evidence.

But nobody outside of the State Attorney's Office should have so much influence on you that you fail to live up to your standard, which is to do justice. No victim, no officer, should be able to take that duty away from you. And no ASA should obliged them because you are scared that someone might call KFR.

Make good decisions and back up your reasoning. Fear of political backlash is no substitute for justice. Our clientele - the entire state of Florida - demands it.

Anonymous said...

104 I JUST WISH reno had played ball harder in elian saga. i wish the ins had broken a few heads in that raid.

The Voice of Reason... said...

Congratulations, 1:09, on your thoughtful, well-reasoned, intellectual response. Character assasination, so frequently used by the left, is always a good way to win an argument. Just because you now have buyers remorse and are embarassed that you supported an unqualified partisan socialist for president, don't blame others. It is just more evidence that conservatives think, liberals feel.

Anonymous said...

To 4:07 George W. Bush... The Great Thinker; Sarah Palin: A regular Albert Einstein; Was it three or 4 colleges she went to? And wasn't it George Bush that initiated the great socialist policy of the bailout? Why don't you and your black helicopter crowd be intellectually honest and renounce the great "socialist" programs that are social security, medicare, and public schools?

Anonymous said...

3:49--well said. In fact, that is probably one of the top five or so posts I have read on this blog. The tone at the SAO since KFR took over is CYA.

The STATE, not the victim, is the one prosecuting a case. All victims should have the opportunity to be listened to, have their reasonable questions answered and be treated with courtesy and respect. Any ASA should do all of the above. In 95%of all cases, if you do the above, the victim will understand and accept a decision that is made, even if they disagree and/or dislike the decision. It is that other 5%, who want the death penalty for a trivial matter, who can make life at the SAO a living hell. Undoubtedly these miserable souls will call a higher-up and the ASA who did the right thing can expect to get a certain orifice reamed just for doing the right thing.

Any wonder why morale at the SAO is so damn low? I admire folks like David Ranck who stay put and do the right thing, administration be damned. Say what you want about Ranck--he (like any other ASA) has his flaws, but he is 100% dedicated to doing justice, the ultimate responsibility of a prosecutor. He always does the right thing. Ranck should not have to find himself in a bucket of shit because he chooses to fastidiously uphold the oath his took as a prosecutor.

eye-on-shumie said...

RED ROVER RED ROVER South Florida lawyers Blog....


Anonymous said...

3:49 -- You are undoubtedly a credit to your office and the people of the state of Florida. I wish the SAO were filled with others like you - those who know how to separate the wheat from the chaff and who can call BS when they see it. I don't often post but you deserve props for telling it like it is (or should be). Now, can I encourage you to actually run against KFR?


An admiring PD

eyeonq said...

The Q's brief to the 2nd Circuit to free Madoff on bond pending sentencing has been called a masterpiece of legal literature. Stunningly brief, just six pages of argument, it's quotes range from Kant to Golda Mier, and his preview of the argument that Madoff is entitled to a 17 level downward departure has been called "brilliant beyond all measure."

Go Q Go!

Anonymous said...

3:49 should run for state attorney or, at the very least, be given Don Horn's job.

Anonymous said...

3:49, while I agree with most of what you said, it is absurd to suggest that one witness cases should never go to trial. You need to use the judgment you talked about in your statement to make the decision you think is right on each particular case. Not every one witness case is made up or a loser. Your failure to understand that is why the office limits your ability to make decisions.

The world is grey my friend. It took me a dozen years to learn that. The faster you learn it, the better off you'll be (I hope you learn it faster than I did!).

That said, I admire your desire to do the right thing......I operated on the same principle when I was an ASA and wish others did the same.

Good luck.


you-should-have-voted-for-McCain said...

Obama and Geithner Knew About AIG Bonuses for Months!!!!!

BTW, Rump you're twittering with the Princess. Send her a message-"the republican" says she's looking mighty good.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody confirm the RUMOR/ GINA MENDEZ running again, against another male incumbent??????

Anonymous said...

Lawsuits against the SAO?


Perhaps a few more of them will make the SAO rethink its ways.

Anonymous said...

I miss the Sunday DUI power rankings.

abe laeser said...

Rumpole, You made up your "facts".

The Major called me because Ranck was in trial. For that reason alone, I became involved in the case. I NEVER bother anyone in trial with other matters; I assume that the present trial is too important.

I got permission to work on the case, and eventually prosecuted the co-defendant burglar for felony murder.

Three persons were in the house. One was dead, one fled during the shooting, and one refused to voluntarily co-operate with most aspects of the police shooting investigation.

Perhaps one of the Anonymous defense counsel could suggest how to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is far too easy to trash KFR. Perhaps the rantings of Mr. Ranck are not always entitled to unexamined discussion. He probably has gotten more than one big break; yet wants to sue everyone.

What surprises me is that Rumpole is buying into this mis-statement of what took place. I thought that he might have actually looked into it. After all, the Barquin case is closed and a public record.

Demagogues exist in all forms + with all political leanings, eh Rumpy?

Rumpole said...

I am admittedly on the outside looking in. There are two reasons for this: 1) I am not a journalist nor have I ever said I was. I am a lawyer. 2) Because of my anonymity I cannot just call people up and start interviewing them.

I cite to where I get my information, in this case the Herald. Although I reading Mr. Laeser's comments I seem to remember that in the original posts I did with Ranck's memos, Ranck did say that initially he was in trial.

I would never suggest one accept what one reads anywhere, most of all any blog as facts.

I have always said that the purpose of this blog was to foster discussion, and in that realm I believe I have been successful.

As to KFR all I can tell you is this- I have done business with the last two State Attorneys and there is a marked difference between the two women in their desire to search for the truth. With Reno it was always her number one priority and she researched and reviewed whatever allegations, no matter how specious, any lawyer, or citizen for that matter, brought to her attention. The result was that her prosecutors were easier to deal with- NEVER did any ASA ever say to me when Reno was State attorney "I know you're right, but id I do this I'll get fired."

In the last month I have heard that said to me TWICE- once by a supervisor.

Is it easy to bash KFR? You bet. She gives us so many opportunities and if her job creates problems for her and requires her to make tough decisions then I have no sympathy for her. That is what the job requires, and she ran for re-election twice, so I am assuming she wants those tough decisions on her plate, although her actions speak otherwise.


the Ghost of the SAO said...

The treatment of Ranck is no different then how the KFR, Horn, and Lorna show handles all matters. If you have KFR's ear, you can smash a prosecutor.

Some idiots like to run around and get people in trouble, like a wanna be prominent DUI attorney did years ago to a few of the clerks. Some people try to come up with bullshit lies about prosecutors, as a few unnamed short defense attorneys have done in the past.

The problem is that KFR does not stand up for her prosecutors, unless you are one of the prized women in her building. Some believe it is the female and Cuban bias, some think it is the sex KFR may get on the side. However, we all know that if you are not in KFR's pocket, you can be crushed at any time.

Look at some who have left the office, but during their tenure were mistreated by the KFR cronies. One is wearing a robe today! Actually a couple are.

Anonymous said...

This is the Rumpole I like. Interesting story about a justice building issue, mixed in with just enough A-hole to make it fun.

coffee-drinking-judge said...

Heard through the grapevine you're getting your legal hands on the latina at eight o'clock Sir Rump.

You Know You Have a Bad Lawyer When...
He picks the jury by playing "duck-duck-goose."

Anonymous said...

word is that milton hirsch will have opposition from a cuban male.

Fake Don Horn said...

Sunday 8:57 AM and Sunday 3:49 PM have been fired.

I have requested and expect to be granted special firing privileges from Gov. Crist. Be warned that anyone who criticizes THE STATE ATTORNEY, myself or any of those who kiss our asses will be fired.

Anonymous said...

ABE saying ranck has gotten too many breaks strikes me as a tad hypocitical coming from the likes of you. I respect your abilities as a trial lawyer so i wont get into the specifics but you too have had some "breaks" when you have had some "issues" at the sao

Anonymous said...

word is that milton hirsch will have opposition from a cuban female.

rump-is-da-man said...

Red Rover, Red Rover,
Sir Rump what happened when the Princess come over?

Anonymous said...

I left the SAO several years ago after being a prosecutor for years. While there, I was openly critical of certain members of the administration, disagreed with her decisions on a couple of cases, and supported unionization.

Neither KFR nor anyone else EVER retaliated or did anything inappropriate in response (even though, as I look back on it today, I probably would've deserved a harsh talking to if not more). In fact, I received two promotions despite my actions. Say what you want, but KFR goes out of her way to treat prosecutors fairly (I can cite examples of other prosecutors she graciously tried to rehabilitate, but cannot do so without unnecessarily rehashing old news and embarassing people, so I won't). The vindictiveness claim is nonsense largely perpetrated by the prosecutors or former prosecutors who got what they had coming (it doesn't help that certain Chief Assistants have spoken out of school and contributed to the problems by undermining Kathy and/or each other).

As I look back on my career in the comforts of my office, I realize that much of my frustration was born out of my passion for the job (yes, the source of my strength also was my greatest weakness). I have come to the realization that Kathy has done a pretty good (albiet imperfect) job in spite of almost insurmountable challenges like ridiculously low funding, an inability to efficiently discipline those who deserve it, and the PBA's abuse. Regardless, many of the naysayers would appreciate her more if they spent some time with her.


PS-----I also know of several cases where Kathy DECLINED to prosecute charges I or others thought were appropriate because she felt there wasn't enough there. Kathy also was a big supporter of the Justice Project from the get go. I can't speak to Satz, but any assertion that Kathy doesn't care about guilt or innocence is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

there are some really arrogant JERKS here who either have never left their home or are clearly living the hypocritical life. tell me you've never made a mistake, and only then you can judge another for making one.

he DID deserve his day in court, like any one else.. as did his family.

Jorge Espinosa was an officer of the law, not a civilian in his home. he WAs trained to shoot ONLY if he felt his life was in danger, and it wasn't.

NOR DID HE FEEL IT SO, because Leonardo Barquin owned NO gun.
... i would know, i was his girlfriend.



Anonymous said...

Let’s talk about the facts.

A teen -with a clean record- made a mistake and paid with his life… A former police officer with a record of police brutality killed him and nothing happened to him… A prosecutor is removed from the case when he found some reasonable doubt about the shooting… Five years after the shooting the prosecutor is still investigating the case…

Feel free to make your own conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Total cover up by the State Attorneys Office and the Police Dept. Where is the gun? Not even the FBI found the weapon. He was a teenager without a criminal record, never had been arrested and was disarmed. Espinosa could have arrested him and allowed him his day in court. Espinosa is a murdered and a coward. He should be indicted.

P.S. I wonder how Katherine Fernandez Rundle would have handled this had it been one of her delinquent sons!!

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for the kid and his family, and while they may not have realized that getting shot was an option, you assume that risk when you break into someones home. homeowners or police officers have no other option but to assume a person breaking into a home intends to do them harm and must act accordingly and swiftly. thinking otherwise could endanger their safety. its a no win, but the right of the violated must supersede those of the perpetrator.

Anonymous said...

ex-police Jorge Espinosa has a record of police brutality before and after assasinating Leanardo Barquin

Beatriz Luis-Garcia,mother of Leonardo Barquin