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

Monday, June 01, 2009

GREGG WENZEL

For those of you who remember Gregg Wenzel, he was a Dade Public Defender in the mid-1990's. The title of the post links to a CIA press release confirming that Gregg Wenzel died in the service of his country as a field agent for the CIA in Ethiopia in 2003. 

From the press release detailing the ceremony at the CIA on Monday:

“During months of rigorous training, Gregg stood out as a leader, for his talent and for his intellect, but also for his great sense of humor and a great penchant for fun,” Director Panetta said. “He helped unite the class and kept its spirits high in the toughest moments.”

Overseas, Wenzel gathered intelligence on a wide range of national security priorities. In Director Panetta’s words: “At age 33, a promising young officer—a leader and friend to so many—was taken from us. We find some measure of solace in knowing that Gregg achieved what he set out to do: He lived for a purpose greater than himself. Like his star on this Wall, that lesson remains with us always.”


This story comes to us courtesy of Brian Tannebaum, who was Gregg's friend,  and has always worked to keep Gregg's memory alive.  True friend that he is, Brian went to the CIA ceremony honoring Gregg. Very nice. 

ASA David Ranck reports to us that he has been fired for his arrest on charges of battery on a pizza delivery woman. If Mr. Ranck was not in the middle of a contentious federal lawsuit with the State Attorneys Office, this story would not smell as bad as it does. 



35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude - that's no grand conspiracy. Its gutter, and grounds for termination. The only thing that smells bad was likely the pizza, and Rankie flipped his lid and started screaming at the poor pizza delivery girl.

"Arrest for battery on a pizza delivery woman."

That is an hilarious sentence.

Why would that ever happen? Over a $1 tip? The wrong pizza delivered? Pizza was cold? What?

And, I can envision the wry smile spreading across Wenzel's face if he heard such a thing. Indeed, his sense of humor and mischievous wit were second to none. He was a great guy. He had passion and an unwavering moral compass. And he could smack a softball a country mile.

Anonymous said...

Greg tried more dwls cases then any county court public defender ever. The man was fearless.
Then he went and fought terrorists in Africa!! This guy is my hero.

Anonymous said...

Some people have claimed in prior posts, that David Ranck "went off the reservation" or "save us from this nut job" and so forth - these people don't truly know David Ranck.

He's a man with over two decades of public service who gave a lot to this community in terms of playing his role as a prosecutor and playing that role fairly.

Has he suffered lapses in personal judgment on rare occasion? Perhaps so.

But whom among you, has NEVER suffered a lapse in judgment? Who among you has never had bad moments ever? If you don't think you have, I think you're deluded - everyone has his or her moment.

Fortunately, when that's happened, its never quite ended up on the front page of the morning paper for the most of the rest of the world. For him it has. Singing and dancing and cracking jokes to the plight of another person is disgusting.

Have some decency and respect for the man. The news reporting of this has been atrocious. I heard one reporter on Channel 10 last night ask, "If his previous charges are going to be able to be used to help with proving this current case?"

Um hello, he has no "previous charges". That reporter has no clue what she's talking about. But that creates an impression in the public mind like he's a career criminal or a repeat offender.

But that's because they seem to classify the incident with the trial where he got overly aggressive and vocal and his lawsuit against his employer, as if they were previous "charges."

With other terms out there like "controversial prosecutor" - yeah he's being vilified in the media. Which I suspect, has to do with the spinmasters at the SAO who rushed to serve him up so that they could finally discharge him on a "nonretaliatory" basis as they've been waiting to do for months.

Not once do you ever hear any reference to his length of service or the good work he's done over the years in any of the media reporting. All of that conveniently forgotten.

Terrible, just terrible.

Anonymous said...

One article, took a shot at Ranck, comparing him to a Broward ASA who hit a male cop in the back of the head.

As to say, at least the Broward ASA had the decency to hit a man.

Um, hello? Since when is hitting a COP in the back of the head suddenly "better" than anything?

Absolutely terrible reporting.

Ranck like all is presumed innocent. Its up to the State to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Over a $1 tip 7:35am? What the heck does that have to do with Ranck hitting her? That probably would have been grounds for the pizza woman hitting Ranck for being a cheapskate.

The pizza woman is an "alleged victim" or AV. Lets not induct her into sainthood already, no depositions or testimony has been taken in the case.

Anonymous said...

Dude get rid of the polka dots!

Anonymous said...

What happened to the presumption of innocence? We all have tried a lot of battery cases where the actual facts that come out of the trial are the opposite of what the State charged. That's why so many battery cases result in not guilty verdicts. Let's wait for David Ranck's trial before jumping to conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Ranck has an attitude problem.

How could he have expected to survive at the SAO after suing them?

I bet the police went out of their way not to arrest him. He was carrying a badge like all of them do.

Also, I thought the police did not make battery arrests on the spot unless the cop saw it or it was a domestic case. Was he having sex with the pizza delivery person? I think not.

Maybe Dominoes will deliver on time next time.

Anonymous said...

What I find funny/sad is that most of the assholes that post on here are DEFENSE ATTORNEYS and everyone is jumping all over Ranck based upon some report by NBC6!!! Remember the "when there's smoke there's not always fire" boilerplate jury selections you do? Know your role. Few/none of you can provide an anecdote where Ranck did you wrong, so back off! Maybe he did smack the Little Caeserette, maybe she did clip him with her car....but don't be dicks until it's time.

Rumpole said...

For the record I support David as one of the most ethical and honest prosecutors you will ever find. I presume him innocent and it's almost worth it for me to shed my identity, emerge from my Hialeah branch court disorderly conduct practice and step up to defend this bogus battery on a pizza purveyor.

I really and truly feel bad for David and wish him the best.

HR

Anonymous said...

ok, but can we all agree kaiser is a complete moron?

"His lawyer, Allan Kaiser, declined to comment on the case. But he did say: ``At this point, I'm wondering where his pizza is. He never got his pizza.''

oy.

Anonymous said...

Its so funny to hear prosecutors and former prosecutors whine and cry like stuck pigs, in defense of one of their own. You are the same people who pontificate from on high, labeling people charged with crimes, scoffing at exculpatory or mitigating evidence. "let teh jury sort it out," you say. And now you blanch at the same treatment, for poor, poor David. You F*&^%$# hypocrites. How many times have you said, "the defendant's prior good deeds do not excuse his horrible conduct here, of (fill in the blank with some silly state court offense much less severe than punching a female pizza delivery person.) You are missing the point: he's 54. He is a professional. A lawyer. Grow up. Learn some self control. Yes, you are held to a higher standard, just like other professionals. No, your tin badge does not give you the right to act lawlessly, like you do with impunity in court. For goodness sake, stop whining. Plus, what a joke - trying to plagarize so many of those bogus battery on a LEO A-forms, to try and get the pizza delivery woman charged. Nope - you lose.

Anonymous said...

9:05a.m. again, addressing the mental midget at 8:56:

They PTA'd him, which is what the statute says to do on a misd. battery case unless there is threat of it continuing (like in a DV case).

The failure to take into custody/arrest had nothing to do with Ranck being an ASA or having a badge...it's what the cops were supposed to do.

Hater.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole,

I wish you didn't post Ranck's story under Gregg's memorial. Two very separate issues and frankly, I would rather be remembering Gregg rather than hearing people bash Ranck.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Question here:

Did you see the comment by KFR on the Ranck matter?:

"These cases are always disappointing anytime anyone -- support staff or lawyers in this office -- ENGAGE IN THIS BEHAVIOR THAT VIOLATES THE LAW"

Thank goodness the defense attorneys on this blog have more respect for the presumption of innocence than does our own State Attorney.

Captain Out ...

Anonymous said...

To 8:01

All of us have suffered from lapses in judgment; Few of us have hit a woman as a result of such a lapse; I presume him innocent, but there are few excuses for striking a person presumably weaker than yourself.

Anonymous said...

My goodness, 10:28 - you certainly seem to have some sour grapes for your opposing counsel. Grow up. Each attorney is an individual. Defense attorneys are not all unethical lying cheaters, and not all prosecutors are over-zealous cop lovers who just seek to put everyone in prison. (Having been on both sides, however, I'd say there are more of the former than the later). Methinks you have badge-envy.

Anonymous said...

Greg Wensel is a legend

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

To show you how ridiculous the "clean hands" provision of the compensation law is, (to pay former inmates who were wrongly incarcerated), read this:

William Dillon didn't have "clean hands" before he was sent to prison for murder, so he is barred from compensation under Florida's new Wrongful Incarceration Act. The 49-year-old Satellite Beach man must find a sponsor in the Florida Legislature to write a special claims bill for the 2010 session. Dillon spent 27 years in prison for the murder of James Dvorak, but he was released last year, when a judge granted a new trial based on DNA evidence. He became a free man when the state decided not to prosecute again. The state's compensation bill would have paid him $50,000 a year for the time he was in prison -- or $1.35 million, if a drug conviction hadn't made him ineligible. Dillon pleaded guilty to drunken driving and possession of a controlled substance in Seminole County in 1979. He was sentenced to three years of probation and fined $150. Two years later, he was convicted of killing Dvorak.

Cap Out ...

Anonymous said...

JNC finally put out the announcement regarding taking applications for Tam Wilson's soon-to-be open circuit seat.

I can't WAIT to see the quality applications on this one.

batman said...

Word has it that this situation was reported by Ranck's neighbor. Apparently the delivery person had problems getting in the building and Ranck lost it. He tore the sign off the side of the car and was so loud and abusive that the neighbor called the police.

Rump, I don't think the charges are bogus. I think Ranck really lost it this time.

Anonymous said...

Someone should make a public records request of sao for names of prosecutors arrested in last 5 years and whether they still have their jobs. Interesting results.

Anonymous said...

The Ranck story made the Drudge Report.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JUDGE ....

The Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission is now accepting applications for a Miami-Dade Circuit Court vacancy created by the resignation of Circuit Judge Thomas S. Wilson, Jr., effective Oct. 15, 2009.

To qualify, an applicant must be a registered voter, a member of the Florida Bar for the past five years and a resident of Miami-Dade County at the time of the appointment.

Applications will be screened by the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Nominating Commission, which will send no fewer than three and no more than six names to the governor.

The governor will then have 60 days from the receipt of the list of nominees to make the appointment.

All persons interested in applying must deliver a complete application and 10 copies to:

Andrés Rivero, Chair
Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission
c/o Rivero Mestre & Castro
2525 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Suite 1000
Coral Gables, FL 33134

CAPTAIN OUT .....

Anonymous said...

Saw L&L twins Associate (what is her name?) display more then just good looks when she argued and won big motion. I think I love her.

Anonymous said...

Ranck is ajoke and what goes around comes around. His clueless and classless lawyer, Alan kaiser, should be replaced. He is not funny and he is not comptetent.

CAPTAIN said...

On Sotomayor:

How come all those right wingers who have been pointing out that she has been reversed so often by the Supreme Court (3 of 5 opinions by the way), have forgotten about the fact that:

Then 3d Circuit Judge Samuel Alito Jr. was reversed 100% of the time by the Supreme Court.

Former ASA said...

I second what 8:01 A.M. said. David Ranck is definitely one of the "good guys" at the SAO and I say this having worked both with and against him.

I have a pretty short fuse to begin with--lately due to various stressors my fuse has been nonexistent. This is another "but for the grace of God go I" situation.

I wish David nothing but the best.

As for Gregg Wenzel, another one of the good guys. I tried several cases against him and had good battles in court with him every time. What was truly special about him was that even at a young age and with little experience, he would fight like hell in court but took nothing personally (a la Sy Gaer). You could argue with him in Court one morning or afternoon and laugh about it over drinks later that evening.

Anonymous said...

Right on 8:37am.

8:01am has a point.

8:56am, get a clue.

10:28am, you presume too much that only prosecutors and former prosecutors are the only ones that understand David's plight. And while you're right that lots of ASA's are jerks about considering exculpatory evidence, I think that you're missing the point.

David isn't more "innocent" because he's got a long history of being a fair and ethical prosecutor - but in the press and media, it sure is convenient that not one thing is being said about his service to the community.

That all we're getting to hear about is "unrelated bad acts".

Talking about the good things he's done over the years - that's not sensationalism, that's not 'news'. Portraying him as some sort of wack job is 'news' apparently.

And wack job he is not. Human he is. Something you seem to have forgotten how to be.

The facts of what really happened will come out eventually.

Anonymous said...

Rump
David Ranck has always been a stand-up guy and a decent prosecutor. Firm but fair.
D. Sisselman

Joe said...

It is a great shame for the people to lose David Ranck as a prosecutor. As a guy who has been hassled by David, but who came to respect and admire him as one of our finest public servants, I see it as a very sad day for Miami-Dade County. We have lost a community protector of enormous ability, capacity, integrity, and devotion to duty. This is a guy who called them as he saw them, who did not cower in the face of a threat or a badge.
When he is necessarily replaced by a hard-working, upcoming young ASA who some day might aspire to David's ability, but is not quite there yet, and a case is lost, at least we will know that the pizza will always be delivered without incident and there will never be the unseemly suggestion emanating from the office of the State Attorney that a police officer has ever done anything wrong.
Good luck, David. We are all in your debt for your decades of service. I bet that in addition to all of your admirers who wish you well, there are a lot of very dangerous guys out there tonight who must be celebrating. Joe Klock

Rumpole said...

There's an extraordinary personal and private matter involving a defense attorney and his family and it will remain that way unless and until he decides to address it here, which I am sure is the farthest thing from his mind. But I will not post it, despite how well meaning the comments are. Please understand. I choose to err on the side of privacy here.

the anonymouse said...

Let us not get silly.

This is the same David Ranck who just got a murder case reversed for cursing out a defense attorney in open court, right?

And the same guy who is suing his boss because she disagreed with him about the handling of a case and gave it to Laeser + Scruggs. Then he claimed - on this blog - that this was a coverup by KFR.

Now he gets pissed at someone who speaks Spanish - and punches her, in full view of the neighbors.

You expect him to keep his job? Even the crowd at the SAO is not that nuts.

The litle mice all know that if he is not fired, they will have to ask the legislature to pass a bill to pay the damages the "next time".

Anonymous said...

badge envy - that's hilarious.

how many "transgressions" before he's no longer "such a great guy?"

what a joke.

whine, whine.

LENNY GLICK said...

I had the opportunity to work with David Ranck in the State Attorney's Office and David has apppeared before me periodically in the 18 years I spent as a judge in the Criminal Court Division.
You will not find a more ethical and committed public servant. David made sure that the mission of the prosecutor was carried out to the fullest extent, i.e. The guilty must be convicted and the innocent must not be prosecuted.
This was not always a popular position to take but it was the right decision to make. David always made sure that before the charges were filed against an individual there needed to be evidence not guesswork. David was not always the " The Darling " of the law enforcement community but he made the hard calls and the right decisions for the right reasons. That is his legacy!
The recent issues in his personal life will eventually be resolved and the system that he so zealously championed will run it's course. Whatever the outcome let's not forget the service to the community that David has given.
I wish him well, good luck and if needed will speak on his behalf to anyone interested.

David Ranck's friend,
Judge Lenny Glick

Anonymous said...

Whatever you think about Ranck, there's no reason to take pleasure in what's happening. When I was at the SAO, I knew him as a dedicated and honest prosecutor (not to mention a helluva good guy). Did you know that the only reason he was never promoted to Major Crimes (when that unit existed) was because he didn't believe in the death penalty and refused to participate in the penalty phase? His integrity was beyond question.

I don't know what's going on, and I don't like what he's done with the public attacks (particularly with regard to the legal division attorneys), BUT, I take no pleasure in what's happening now. Ranck IS one of the good guys. Regardless, he is a human being and deserve better than the sanctimonious crap some of you are spewing here.