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, April 29, 2009

SOUND OFF




THE UTIMATE SMEAR:  In our humble opinion the boys at the Broward Blog have hurled the ultimate insult at Judge Seraphin. In linking to our article, the Broward Blog has this title: "Judge Seraphin has a Broward Moment." Ouch. Being compared to his robed brethren North of the Border says it all. Double ouch. 


UPDATE BELOW. A county court lawyer writes in about the problem. 



(accused of the crime of "not calling lawyers out of turn")

What in the Sam Hill is going on in County Court? 

Our email is going crazy this morning. 

Here's a sample:

I am blogging as I stand on line in Judge Seraphin's courtroom. I have been standing here for 30 minutes but he refuses to call attorneys out of turn (so there is a line of attorneys out the door). He is also rude What is wrong with him? He is up for election on 2010. I'll pledge $500 to whoever runs against him.

Can some county court lawyer write in and give us the low down on what is going on?

UPDATE: a lawyer sent us this email:

Rumpole, please keep my name private. I am in county court every day.  Judge Seraphin is causing a big problem. Today there was a line out of the door of his courtroom. One lawyer missed a deposition because he was kept waiting over an hour. When the bailiff handed the judge a note asking him to call the lawyers out of turn, the Judge made a big show of reading the note out loud and then crumpling it up. It was rude and uncalled for. It made a lot of lawyers very angry. 

The larger issue is that there is a problem in county court on Wednesdays: There are lots of lawyers who stream in and out of courtrooms trying to get their cases called. Meanwhile, unrepresented defendants who are sitting in court waiting for their 9:00 AM case are not getting their case called until 11 or 11:30. 

What is the solution?  It takes some creative thinking that these judges are incapable of doing. For instance:  Everyone gets a continuance if they want one the first time the case is up. Have a sign in sheet for "first time up cases."  Defense attorneys who want a continuance should be able to walk in, sign the sheet, list the case and their bar number, leave a cell phone number in case there is a problem, and then leave. This would take care of 25% of the cases. 

Second solution: About 10% of the cases are resolved with a plea where the defense attorney has a plea of absentia form. Create another sign in sheet. Have the state leave the plea offer. Have the defense attorney sign in, leave the plea of absentia form, and leave the other information, and leave.  That takes care of 35% of the cases, and I've only spent about ten minutes thinking about this. 

Another solution. Create a master list. If the state is ready, and the defense is ready,  and both sides want it set for trial, both sides can sign the list for a particular case, and BAM! the case is set for trial without it ever being called and without the lawyers having to wait in line. This probably takes care of 40% of the cases on any given Wednesday. Now we're up to 75% of the cases in question without anyone ever having to wait in line. 

Anyway Rumpole, Seraphin is overwhelmed and making most of us miss Judge Lindsey terribly.  His response is to be rude and unconcerned with our problems. Seraphin was never a private lawyer who made a living like we do in County Court. He doesn't understand the need of most of us to be in every courtroom on Wednesday, and then back to our office before noon.  One way to handle this is for every lawyer , when they are before the other county court judges to say "I'm sorry I'm late, but I was in Judge Seraphin's courtroom and he doesn't call lawyers out of turn and made me wait an hour to do one case."

This is an issue for the administrative judges to step in an handle, so you know what that means. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
As you like to say Rumpole. "See you in (county) court."


51 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fake Anonymous said...

Have I said how happy I am to work in Federal Court?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fake Alex Michaels said...

STOP THEEES BULSHEEEEEEET!!!!!

I am going to run for Judge. Do I take on Judge Adrien Camacho in Circuit Court or go for County Court seat held by Judge Seraphin?

Whichever seat I run for, my motto is

STOP THEEEES BULSHEEEET--ALEX MICHAELS FOR JUDGE

Anonymous said...

So let me see if I got this correct.

1. You winney little too bit traffic hack wants to be taken out of turn ahead of other Attorneys.

2. If you do not get special considerations you write on a blog BTW controlled by a too bit traffic hack for a shoulder to cry on.

Who made you Roy Black of the County Court? That title belongs to Michael Catalano so get over it!

Rumpole said...

701- get your head out of your ass. Judges are generally not required to make decisions on whether they believe a defense attorney who is testifying at a motion to suppress, unless in the unlikely event, the defense attorney made a citizens arrest. On the other hand, judges who are married to police officers are in the position of perhaps saying and ruling that they do not believe a police officer, and that can be a bit more tricky when the judge is married to a police officer. For the same reason I would not want a judge who is married to a surgeon presiding over a med mal case, I am uncomfortable with a judge who is married to a police officer sitting in criminal court.

Every day that Judge wakes up, he or she has to know their spouse might never return from work. That is the unfortunate nature of a police officer's job. A job for which they should be well paid and applauded. But that does not remove the appearance of impropriety. Get it?

I'll take it a step further. Lets say a Judge was married to an attorney who did insurance defense. I would not want that judge sitting in a case where I was suing an insurance company. It just makes sense.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Bring back Norma!

Anonymous said...

Updates please:
Dan "the man" Shulifan
Michael "rubber band man" Band.

Edwin "not guilty by far" Sarr

and former PD Super intern
Joey "Bag of donuts" Moreli.

Anonymous said...

Check out Abe on miamiherald.com!

old guy said...

Band is a partner at Adorno-Yoss.

Fake Real Anonymous said...

Are you kidding fake anonymous? I will take this stuff any day over lying cheating ausas. Goooooo Acosta!

Anonymous said...

I might well think that if a Judge's spouse of any profession might be an influence even when they are a defense attorney. Doesn't matter if your spouse is doctor, insurance company person, corporate officer, police officer, or what have you. Everyone has an agenda.

Might some be more influential than others. True. But at the end of the day, we're supposed to trust our judiciary to remain neutral. At least in theory.

Anonymous said...

Listen you 17 cases a day traffic hacks. No, you can't saunter into Seraphin's courtroom at 10 and expect him to stop everything he is doing. Bloom is the same way, she just has less cases. Lindsey left a division with 10 million cases, that's not Seraphin's fault. You have somewhere to be besides home by noon, he'll call you out of turn. Now grow up.

Anonymous said...

Seraphin called me out of turn

Anonymous said...

7:55

We don't bitch about Circuit Court judges doing what Seraphin has been doing because they all call attorneys immediately after handling in custody matters (which need to be called first for security reasons). If a Circuit Court judge did to you what Seraphin is doing in County, you would me bitching too. This is not about "traffic hacks" acting like children, it is about a judge who has little respect for the defense bar and little understanding of what it takes to run a law practice.

Not The Lawyer said...

As a civilian (not an attorney), when I see/hear attorneys getting called out of turn, given a special line at through security, etc.

I get really peeved!

I understand that being in court is, "how you make your living", however all of us non-lawyers kept waiting while you jump to the head of the line are also being kept from making our living.

the trialmaster said...

quite frankly, the trialmaster does do Kountry Kourt unless there is a celebrity and a large fee, say say25k to start. the trialmaster does not give a hoot about these problems. the trialmaster has better tasks to tackle/

Anonymous said...

Not the Lawyer:

You have to be in court one day out of the month probably. We have to be there every day and then run back to our offices to handle new clients or office matters. It might get you upset, but you have to understand that it is our livelihood. Judge Seraphin doesn't seem to understand that, or if he does, he doesn't seem to care.

Anonymous said...

Not the Lawyer:
If I worked at Macys, I would get 20% off. At some places I waited tables, we could eat for free during the day of any shift we worked. I don't get mad that I have to pay full price now.
Common courtesy and respect for those you work with on a daily basis doesn't mean you're disrepecting others.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that the unrepresented are ALSO waiting much longer in Seraphin's courtroom. A few judges, such as Seraphin, just simply do not know how to run a calendar.

Fake Trialmaster said...

The Trialmaster has many traffic tickets to handle in South Dade. Plus a bunch of drinking in public cases in Hialeah and other branch courts.

Fake Peter Adrien said...

Keep your head high, Fred. They are only bashing us on this blog because of Swine Flu fears out of Mexico and we are the only two Mexican American judges in the circuit.

Just wait till next week when they start bashing Judge Blake simply because he is from Cameroon.

Anonymous said...

What about Ward?

Former defense attorney, married to a defense attorney.

Now very pro-state, in my humble opinion.

ron jeremy said...

Judge Adrien:

You are misinformed. Judge Blake's origins are not from Cameroon. If you know his first name, Stanford, you would know that his name will tell you everything about his origins.

Stanford, originates from Stonehedge, the stone momuments in England from many thousands of years ago. Stan meaning stone and Ford means well hung; ie stone well hung.

And if you have ever seen Stanford sans his robe, you would understand what I am speaking of. Hard as the stones of Stonehedge and well hung.

Anonymous said...

To NOT A LAWYER and others who don't get the criticism of Seraphin:

I understand your concerns, but you have to understand (as should Seraphin) that lawyers may have to appear in several courtrooms with cases set AT THE SAME TIME. I've had similar problems with circuit judges as some of you are experiencing in county court. When lawyers wait in one courtroom, they back up the caseload in every other courtroom they're supposed to be in. THAT's why attorneys should be taken out of turn (not because of "professional courtesy").

BTDT

PS---I like Seraphin; I'm just sayin'...................

Anonymous said...

Fake Peter Adrien - give the man a contract on this blog.

Anonymous said...

This is a lot of hooting and hollering for no particular reason. Judge Seraphin is light years better than Judge Lindsey and his pre-trial rulings and evidentiary rulings in trial are even handed. He is one of the few judges you truly understand 403 objections.

So what you have to wait a little to call your cases out of turn. Go do some other business first. He allows all attorneys to call cases out of turn from 930 to 10am. The pro-se defendants wait the entire morning.

If most of the private bar actually took their cases to trial instead of running a plea deal mill, they would appreciate Judge Seraphin a little more.

Anonymous said...

Defense attorneys make pro state judges.

Prosecutors are used to Defendants in the abstract, they find the market price and stick with it. Defense attorneys know firsthand what dirtbags Defendants are.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

JUDGE JOHN KASTRENAKES

Last month I mentioned on this BLOG that former Dade ASA John Kastrenakes was on the short list to become a Circuit Court Judge in Palm Beach County.

GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE


TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today appointed Meenu Sasser of West Palm Beach and John S. Kastrenakes of Tequesta to the 15th Judicial Circuit Court.

“Meenu’s 14 years of practicing complex litigation in a wide variety of cases, in addition to her excellent legal and writing skills, will help her apply the law in a consistent and fair manner,” said Governor Crist. “In addition, her leadership and experience working with various community, professional and charitable activities will enhance her ability to effectively rule from the bench.”

Sasser, 38, has practiced with Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart since 1995. Sasser earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

“John is a dedicated public servant who has served as a tough but truthful advocate for the people of Florida in our criminal justice system,” Governor Crist said. “His extensive experience in handling complex cases qualifies him to fairly administer justice and treat all who come before him as a judge with respect and dignity.”

Kastrenakes, 53, has served as an assistant United States attorney with the Southern District of Florida, in Miami from 1995 to 1996, and in West Palm Beach since 1996. Previously, he served as an assistant state attorney in Miami-Dade County from 1981 to 1984 and from 1985 to 1995. In the interim, he practiced with Goodhart and Rosner. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of Florida.

Sasser will fill the vacancy created by the elevation of Justice Jorge Labarga to the Florida Supreme Court. Kastrenakes will fill the vacancy created by the disqualification of Judge-elect William Abramson.

CAPTAIN OUT ...

Anonymous said...

I have been in Judge Seraphin's courtroom several times over the last few weeks. The way he runs a calendar is nothing short of a disaster. I dont understand what he is trying to accomplish or prove. His only real accomplishment is to piss everyone off.

It is my understanding that he is up for election in 2010. Hopefully he will be challenged by a worthy candidate and those of us who disapprove of the way he runs a courtroom can finacially support his opponent and get him removed from office.

Anonymous said...

What I find offensive is that Seraphin seemed to enjoy letting the attorneys stew on line while he called every other case, including those of attorneys who were not in court. His crumpling up of the paper requesting that he call the attorney's cases was uncalled for. At best, it is inefficient to call cases when the attorney is not present ... but this just felt like a judge on a power trip. I'd love to hear from anyone else who was there Wednesday to see if they feel the same way I do.

JUDICIAL SWINE FLU HERE!!! said...

TO: ALL MEDIA IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FROM: 11TH CIRCUIT COURT SPOKESPERSON MARVEL MIZZLOU HAGAER.

This is to confirm that the honorable Judge Fred Seraphin is Miami's first confirmed case of Judicial Swine Flu. Judge Seraphin is resting comfortably and anticipates returning to work in several months when he is tanned, rested and ready to resume his role as the "go to" DUI judge.

As you may know, symptoms of Judicial Swine Flu (JWF) includes a heightened sense of self importance, inability to concentrate and make decisions, unwillingness to cooperate with fellow judges and attorneys (hence the not calling attorneys first) and the inexplicable and uncontrollable desire to quote Justice Antonin Scalia at length. Thus when attorneys over heard Judge Seraphin state "the evidence of guilt is so overwhelming that it renders the defendant's fourth amendment violations claims specious and just a bunch of hooey" what they actually were hearing is Judge Seraphin quoting from Santovilla v. US, decided last term.

We at the REGJB will struggle without Judge Seraphin's steady hand to guide us, but we will get by.

Anonymous said...

I've had only one case in front of Seraphin and it was a nightmare. Client stopped for speeding and cocaine in the car. Cocaine case is no actioned in felony division, but the citation gets transferred. Go back a few weeks later for what I anticipate to be a meaningless citation hearing. I walk in for the hearing with about 50 defendants and two other traffic lawyers. Seraphin proceeds to make me and the 50 other defendants wait while he goes through every single case that the traffic lawyers have. I finally try to crowbar my way in by standing at the podium. Seraphin stares me in the face, gives me a look that would kill and proceeds to go back to the traffic lawyer. Doesnt say a word. I finally have to ask the traffic lawyer to call my case, which she did. (She got it dismissed for some unknown reason)
Now I understand that the traffic lawyers have carte blanche in there, so they go first. But how can a judge sit there and watch an attorney wait for thirty minutes (at the bar) to call up one freaking traffic citation? It was awful. Have a little respect for the schedules of your fellow bar members. Of course, I didnt expect the whole court to come to a halt once I walked into the courtroom, but c'mon Fred. I knew you when I was an ASA and you were an APD. You seemed reasonable then and I was glad you got appointed, but c'mon already.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I was recently in Fred Saraphin's court for a sounding and he got angry at the citizens in the seats for talking too much, told us all he was taking a break as punishment for them talking and left 7 lawyers waiting in line for 15 minutes.

When I later got to Circuit Court, I got bitched at for being late.

Fred, the dead head, you are getting opposition in the next election. Trust me. You are. Add to that list:
Jackie Whackie Scola, Macho Camacho Adrien and Diane Ward off Defense attorneys.

Anonymous said...

Quit deleting comments!!!What about the First Amendment.
Bob

Anonymous said...

Aint karma a bitch. Opened up my court notice today and lo and behold- my branch case got transferred downtown to who else?

Judge Seraphin. Yipeee? The hearing is set in mid-May? Should I get to the courtroom today? Or should I block off all of the last two weeks of May while I wait in his courtroom?

Anonymous said...

Happy to announce that on Sounding Wednesdays he will be starting at 8:30 and for an hour, all the private attorneys can call their cases out of turn.

To make things easier remember the following:
1.) If its a crimes case, tell the clerk so she can pull the paper file.
2.) State whether its a DUI or Traffic case.
3.) If you want a plea only, see the plea sheets that are laid out on the defenses table rather that asking the ASAs.
4.) After your case is called, dont start whispering in the ASAs ear about your case. Call them later, you are not the only case to handle.
5.) Dont start bantering to the judge about some nonsense when you are at the podium, NOONE cares.
6.) Limit your response to: set it for trial, not ready or accepting the plea... anything else is wasting EVERYONES time.

Got it?

Anonymous said...

To Fred

From Lawyer

I can tell that you are a good guy but, you really need to take notice that the lawyers do not like some of the things you do.

Please work with us. We have problems too. We get in trouble all the time for being late to court and the reason is simply that the clerk set us to be in too many places at the same time.

Keeping lawyers waiting causes all kinds of problem with other judges.

Fred, work with us or you probably will get opposition next time up.

Anonymous said...

80% of the posts on this board = why people hate lawyers.

As someone heading to law school in the fall, can you let me know at what point its customary for all lawyers to become whining babies who think the world revolves around them?

I'd very much like to skip that step.