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

Thursday, March 19, 2009

NEW MEXICO SCRAPS DEATH PENALTY

UPDATE: Judge Aleman did it again. Check out the Broward Blog
Appearing as a weekend bond hearing judge, Aleman was discourteous, rude, and refused to listen to an attorney who had a client stuck in the Broward County jail even though he was supposed to be released. The attorney had to call Chief Judge Tobin, who then called Judge Hurley who sits in the first appearance court during the week. Judge Hurley then had to leave his home, go to court, and sign the order releasing the client. All because Judge Aleman didn't want to listen to an attorney who needed help. 

Just how long are we going to tolerate Judge Aleman's behavior?


The title of the post links to the BBC article. 

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico (motto "Hey, we're a state too!") has signed into law a bill abolishing the death penalty in New Mexico. Richardson, a former supporter of the death penalty called it the most difficult decision of his career. Richardson  said that he no longer had confidence in the criminal justice system. 

You and me both Bill.  (Although our favourite federal blogger's faith in the justice system was recently restored with his blockbuster 141 count not guilty verdict.)

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WHEN THEY COME FOR YOU?

The House of Representatives passed a bill today imposing a 90% tax penalty on individuals who receive bonuses from companies that received more than 5 Billion dollars from the stimulus package.  The Bill essentially targets the executives of AIG. 

We have decried the AIG payments on this blog, but this is a very dangerous precedent. 

Think of it this way- If the congress can do this to a small individual group of people that the public has turned against, they can do it to you. 

When they pass the bill to impose a 90% income tax on individuals who did not support the next war,  I can guarantee you this- the Supreme Court opinion in that case will cite to the Supreme Court opinion in this case (if the law is challenged and reaches the Supreme Court) as justification for the law. 

No matter how worthy the cause, we should all be alarmed when the Congress of the United States, reacting to public outcry, passes legislation targeting a small, select group of outcasts. This nation was founded by a small, select group of outcasts, and our Constitution and our fervent belief that we are a nation of laws, means that fundamental to that concept is the protection of any minority from the tyranny of the majority. 

Unless you work for AIG. 

Or unless you belonged to the communist party in the 1950's. 

Or unless you were a black or a jew and wanted to own property on Miami Beach in the 1940's. 

Or unless you were an African  brought to these shores in chains in the 1700's and 1800's. 

So tell me, those of you applauding our Congress today, what are you going to do, and to whom are you going to turn for help, when the public bloodlust makes the Congress pass a law and they come for you? 

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rump: I doubt there are many people "applauding" the acts of congress passing a law that taxes 90% of the bonus money that the AIGers received from us, the US taxpayers. THe AIGers are still making 10% more than they deserve. They should get zero bonuses. One of the CNBC female anchors on "the Big Idea" said that the "thinking" behind the Wall Street bonus structure is toe somehow reflect those benefits that the shareholders receive. Well if that is the case, AIG is probably worth 90% less of what it was last year, so the bonuses should be 90% less. So if an AIGer got 1 million in 2008, his bonus in 2009 should be $10,000.00 or less.

This is all crazy! This is not CHANGE! It is the same old game. Obama says he is outraged but we all know that is for show. He is the ringmaster. This is Obama, Timmy, Chris Dodd, and Barney Frank playing business as usual. They are taking care of the people who pad their campaign coffers. Barak can run out to Jay Leno, play TV star, avoid the press in LA, fly back "late" and take the weekend off at Camp David and do nothing but "fiddle." Barak took off last Friday too. I guess we have a President working the 4 day work week who whenever there is a problem "takes full responsibility" and wants to "move on." Move on to what? We are not even 100 days into this experiment yet.

The futures are down. Tommorrow is "expiration." On Monday there will be selling as the big boys unwind their positions and the slide back to 6500 on the dow will begin again.

Well, you can always do what they do in Chicago: start drinking "early and often."

Anonymous said...

This AIG flap is just another example of how the media works in our society. As it gets sometimes, the media is positively obsessed with this story. This story will follow what is by now a familiar arc: the first rumblings, the beginnings of outrage, the full-fledged media assault, the official action, and eventually the tide will turn and the same ones who brought us the story to begin with will practice a bit of self-flagellation about its over-the-top reporting, going on to tell us that we have taken our eye off the ball (the economic free fall that has yet to hit bottom). Finally, the media will find the next new thing and chastise us for not knowing all about it.
But this controversy doesn't amount to a sparrow's fart in a hurricane (thanks again Kurt Vonnegut for your life and art).
We will see that the controversy over AIG's use of less than one tenth of one percent of the bail out money on bonuses will pass, and the Congress will look just as foolish now as it did when it voted to re-attach the feeding tube to Terry Schaivo's stomach. Take it from on old-time Leftist, these derivitive traders may be pigs, but we should never pass laws in a frenzy to screw someone, even pigs.
In the mean time, the Dude abides, and I'm glad to know he does.

Anonymous said...

Oh give me a freaking break. Did you hit that head of yours? They are not targeting individuals, they are (as you state) those who get $5 billion or more. Chrysler, Chevy and others fall into that catagory.

You throw race and slavery into the mix. Have you lost it!

Rumpole said...

You miss the point ( as expected).

This is government action targeted against a few specific individuals, probably less than 50, because the public demands it.

The majority demands action against a small group of individuals, and without any legal process, without the right to defend or explain themselves, the government takes 90% of something that, for better or worse, a contract guaranteed them.

Just how much is that contract you have worth now, when Congress can do what it just did?

Anonymous said...

Get off your high Rump! This is truly democracy in action with Congress reflecting the emotions of the People and mark my words it WILL be upheld by the Supremes if it comes to that.

Anonymous said...

Check your facts Rump! NYtimes says over 400 persons got AIG bonuses in the last round alone.

South Florida Lawyers said...

Rump, I agree with the notion that the government should not pass legislation that is so narrowly directed at so few (Schiavo anyone?), but it appears as drafted the legislation will affect many more people -- essentially any employee of any business accepting bailout funds:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/19/AR2009031901542_pf.html

Anonymous said...

Fmr Governor of Illinois George Ryan did the same thing right before he got indicted and later went to prison for corruption. Richardson is under investigation and may be indicted soon. Hmmm... see a pattern?

Anonymous said...

Rump, i realize you do criminal work. so have no idea beyond the fourth and fifth amendments. But the last time I checked, any tax imposed on someone because of their first amendment views, or 14th amendment status of being in a protected category, is per se unconstitutional. This tax, though I agree it is silly and over-reactive, is not levied for any reason other than economic regulation of companies who voluntarily consume federal tax dollars. Thus the tax is clearly within the commerce, taxing and spending powers, and no individual right is at issue. So your hysterical rantings about congress coming to get you are just wrong. That being said, your policy argument -- that the tax should not be imposed -- may be right. Your legal argument is another matter.

Anonymous said...

Checking the State website, Peter Adrien has opened his campaign account for re-election.

Anonymous said...

Obama ridicules people with disabilities: “No, no. I have been practicing,” Obama said. “I bowled a 129. It's like — it was like Special Olympics, or something." Thanks Barak. We all love those big ears you have. I bet you can fly like Dumbo! Go have a smoke and bail out your banking buddies!

Anonymous said...

I am going to pay my taxes and thank God I am an American.

So what if they tax rich assholes. So Fucking What?

The Professor said...

10:39. You're just plain wrong.

"[A]ny tax imposed on someone because of their first amendment views, or 14th amendment status of being in a protected category, is per se unconstitutional."

No, sorry, you're wrong. Government action directed at those within a "14th amendment status" (by which I assume you mean a protected class under the Equal Protection Clause) is not "per se unconstitutional." It is unconstitutional if it fails to serve a compelling state interest, its means are not narrowly tailored to affect its goals, and/ or it has less discriminatory alternatives. Furthermore, a regulation of "1st amendment views," which would be classified as fundamental rights under the Due Process Clause, would also be constitutional if it met the strict scrutiny test noted above.

While Congress certainly has the POWER to take this measure under either the Commerce Clause or its Taxing Power, such actions still must comport with individual rights (i.e. Equal Protection or Substantive Due Process). For instance, Congress certainly had the POWER to regulate guns in DC, but Heller held that the regulation violated the individual right held under the 2nd Amendment.

If you're going to mock Rumpole about only knowing the 4th and 5th Amendments, you shouldn't flub your own analysis.

Shumie Rules said...

How many judges does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Two. One to turn it and the other to "overturn" it.

Spotted the great man with his Blackberry twittering with the latina. Rump-Master what is the latest on her updates.

Anonymous said...

Obama is a hypocrite. He espouses all this nonsense about how we as a people must come together and "share the burden." And at the same time he makes cavalier comments disparaging Special Olympics. God forbid someone should make jokes about Obama getting into Harvard by virtue of Affirmative Action. Maybe he should just flap his big ears and fly back to Kenya where he was born. 2010 (20 months) can't come soon enough when Chris Dood, Barney Frank, and the Dem boys in Congress are sent packing. The nation will suffer at the expense of Obama and his banker buddies. He has lost credibility and he is not even in office 100 days.

Anonymous said...

what does the average criminal defense atty in miami make per year?

which c.d.a. make the most per year

who is the best criminal defense attorney in miami after the trial master

Anonymous said...

"Dodd said he was misled on the issue of bonuses for AIG executives. He claimed he would not have drafted key legislative changes allowing the bonuses to move forward if he knew the purpose of those changes." Well Chrissy, who misled you? Was it Timmy? Was it Barackie? Time to start talking now Chrissy and save that Senate seat your Daddy gave you. So who was it Chris??????

Anonymous said...

Isn't Congress not supposed to pass laws that impair existing contractual obligations? I think there is something in the Constitution to that efeect. Assuming this law is constitutional, can a similar law be passed that is directed to judges like Adrien and Aleman?

Anonymous said...

The tax law could be made to target circuit judges in Dade or Broward counties whose last names start with an "A", end with an "n" and contain an "e" between the "A" and the "n".

the trialmaster said...

7:29pm. Be advised that "the trialmaster is one word , not 2. There is no one even close.

Fake Trialmaster said...

I don't know the average a criminal defense attorney makes per year, nor the highest-paid.

I do know that The Trialmaster is the best criminal defense attorney who has 85% of his practice in the branch courts, and he makes trillions per year--in Zimbabwean dollars.

Anonymous said...

This blog made the news!

Free-speech lawsuit rocks Dade state attorney's office

"A federal lawsuit by a Miami-Dade prosecutor against his boss has stirred controversy about free speech in connection with an unresolved fatal police shooting of a teenager."

"[David] Ranck claims Fernández Rundle and her two top assistants trampled on his First Amendment free-speech rights by retaliating against him for posting his own memo to the 'Justice Building' blog. The state attorney countered that Ranck violated her office's strict confidentiality rules on criminal investigations, and that she and her aides have `qualified immunity'."

http://www.miamiherald.com/457/story/960774.html

Anonymous Liberal said...

Professor:

You are dead on, but how could you forget to cite to Caroline Products footnote 4 in support of your argument? You get a 9 on my scorecard. Coulda been a 10.

Anonymous said...

MIAMI HERALD 3.21.09

Free-speech lawsuit rocks Dade state attorney's office.

A federal lawsuit by a Miami-Dade prosecutor against his boss has stirred controversy about free speech in connection with an unresolved fatal police shooting of a teenager.
BY JAY WEAVER
jweaver@MiamiHerald.com
David Ranck isn't afraid of speaking his mind.

When the veteran prosecutor thought a Miami-Dade police officer's 2004 fatal shooting of an unarmed teenage burglar wasn't ''clean,'' he said so.

When Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle took Ranck off the case because of it, he wrote to her that his removal would raise doubt about her office's independence from the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Now his memo is at the center of a federal lawsuit. Ranck has sued Fernández Rundle for suspending him for one month without pay. The suspension came last year after Ranck obtained his own memo from her chief assistant in a public records request -- then posted it on his blog and linked it to a popular Miami-Dade legal website for the world to see.

Ranck claims Fernández Rundle and her two top assistants trampled on his First Amendment free-speech rights by retaliating against him for posting his own memo to the ''Justice Building'' blog. The state attorney countered that Ranck violated her office's strict confidentiality rules on criminal investigations, and that she and her aides have ``qualified immunity.''

The lawsuit poses provocative issues about Ranck's constitutional right to speak his mind about the shooting five years ago, which is still under investigation in the state attorney's office.

In his Feb. 23, 2004, memo -- five weeks after the officer killed a 17-year-old burglar -- Ranck said top aides in Fernández Rundle's office told him he was being taken off the investigation for ``diplomatic reasons.''

Ranck sent the memo in an e-mail to Fernández Rundle, her chief assistant Don L. Horn and other top prosecutors. He alleged an ''appearance of impropriety'' because a Miami-Dade police major had called the state attorney's office to have him removed from the case after he ``had expressed legitimate, justified reservations about the propriety of the shooting.''

He wrote that his removal under those circumstances ``could hardly look worse to a community that has the right to expect independence of this office from the police agency involved.''

Ranck -- still prosecuting major felony cases after more than 25 years in the state attorney's office -- wants Fernández Rundle, Horn and another chief assistant, Jose Arrojo, to pay damages in the free-speech case. Whether they have to compensate Ranck, 53, will be up to U.S. District Judge Alan Gold.

FIVE YEARS AGO

Ranck's role in the investigation of the controversial police shooting began on Jan. 16, 2004.

That afternoon, teenagers Leonardo Barquin and Rolando Llanes broke into a home at 14773 SW 58th St. Neighbors spotted the pair and called police. Miami-Dade officer Jorge Espinosa interrupted the burglary, confronting the two suspects.

Espinosa gave this account: Barquin aimed a gun at him -- once in the house and again in the backyard -- threatening to kill the officer. In an arrest affidavit, Espinosa said he fired at the teen in and outside the house. Barquin shot twice and collapsed in a yard near the home, bleeding to death from wounds to his upper-right buttocks and back left thigh.

Miami-Dade detectives didn't recover the gun that the officer said Barquin had aimed at him.

Ranck, a division chief who was responsible for homicides and police shootings, went to the Kendall home immediately after the shooting and was briefed by the lead homicide detective, Charles ''Buck'' McCully.

the trialmaster said...

11:43. I can assure you the THE TRIALMASTER does not do branch courts. And unless there is a fee of 25k you will not see him or her in kounty kourt.The trialmaster received a huge victory this week getting a major case dismissed in a midatlantic state.

Anonymous said...

THE TRIALMASTER can osculate my gluteus.

Anonymous said...

Trialmaster,

Just curious - what is the most serious case you have ever handled?

And if you had to pick co-counsel from Miami, who would the top 10 be?