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, July 13, 2009

JUDICIAL SHAKE-UP

"Some day we'll look back and this will all seem funny..."
Bruce Springsteen, Rosalita.



CJ Joel Brown (seated behind a desk) There are things being negotiated now that are gonna solve all your problems and answer all your questions. That's all I can tell you now... (then, to Orlando) Orlando, you worked in Juvenile. When we make our move there, you're gonna be my right- hand man. (then, to the group) Cindy's no longer Consiglieri -- She's gonna be our Judge in civil. That's no reflection on Cindy, but that's the way I want it. Langer..small potatoes. He's out too. George Sarduy will be helping Orlando.


As we understand it- Cindy Lederman is OUT as adminstrative Judge in Juvenile, and REGJB Circuit Judge Orlando Prescott is IN.

Lester Langer is OUT as associate administrative Judge in Juvenile... new Circuit Court sensation George Sarduy is IN.

What can Brown do for you? Plenty ...if you supported him.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Check your facts, Rump. Judge Sarduy was an early and vocal supporter of Judge Fernandez in the Chief Judge race. It says a lot about Judge Brown that he wouldn't hold that against him.

Anonymous said...

if you made it the jewish mafia, it would be much more realistic.

Anonymous said...

What about Sarduy's cat?

Anonymous said...

Jewish mafia? Uh, not quite. Brown replaced Lederman and Langer with Prescott and Sarduy. Obviously religion had nothing to do with this.

Anonymous said...

Your readers should understand that Judge Brown is simply trying to cover his political tracks by appointing Hispanics Prescott,Sarduy and Reyes respectively to administrative posts.

While running for Chief Judge, Brown specifically promised not to replace Lederman,Which he did as soon as he could although he ONLY won the chief judges position by 2 votes

Those in the know will always remember this treachery irrespective of how many minorities he elevates.

Don't you know Joel that even Latins care about what happens to the children of this community?

It is a funamental law of physics that "Every action has an opposite and equal reaction"

Science is an important subject

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Izzy. He'll be helping Michael with the Cuba operation.

Anonymous said...

And if your facts are right about Lederman going to civil, that creates a vacancy in dependency, to be filled by...?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Lederman will be nicer to people now. Probably not.

Anonymous said...

I dont see how Judge Brown can seriously make the "merit" not "politics" argument. When you are talking about Lederman? Come on!
Anonymous

Fake Alex Michaels said...

Vhat is dees crap? Judge Joel Brown is judge on TV--he is not real judge. I come home last night, turn on my TV, and there he is! We need real Chief Judge, not TV judge.

In my country of Romania, we choose Chief Judge this way. All judges go after vampire. First judge to kill vampire is Chief Judge.

DEEEEES EEEEEES BULLSHEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!

Anonymous said...

Kudos for Judge Brown who doesn't just pay lip service to diversity - with in six months of being elected he has appointed two females, an African American, two Hispanics and an openly Gay individual to head various divisions of the court. Actions speak louder than words.

Anonymous said...

Our own Samantha Ruiz Cohen is holding her own with the big boys statewide:
http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2009/07/who-raised-the-most.html

Go Sam Go Sam Go Sam

Anonymous said...

I don’t understand the uproar surrounding the recent changes in administration in the Civil Division, and particularly, Juvenile Division. All Administrative and Associate Administrative Judges serve at the pleasure of the Chief Judge, and it is to be expected that a new Chief Judge is going to want to make some changes. Just like when a new President takes the helm and replaces the previous administration’s Cabinet and staff with people of his own choosing, so too a new Chief Judge has the same prerogative. No one would have expected President Obama to keep Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General or Josh Bolten as his Chief of Staff, for example. The replacements of Judge Lederman and Judge Langer have nothing to do with their work on the bench, and in fact, now that they have been liberated of their administrative duties, each of them will have more time to devote to the children and families of Miami-Dade County on whose behalf they have tirelessly worked for years on the bench.

Boss Tweed said...

Religion? no. Politics? yes.

Would you expect an incoming CEO or President to keep the old guard? Brown wants to put his stamp on his tenure and he has every right to put his people in admin positions.

I would have quarrel with these picks if they were hacks, but they're not.

Brown's implied assurances that Lederman wouldn't be touched (if true) were to get support from judges. If he stabbed them in the back, that sucks. But, thats politics.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

North of the Border ....

"It's in essence a legal fiction" .... "Did she discharge the weapon? Of course she did, right? But if we deem that the mandatory sentence would not be appropriate, (20 years), then we would amend those words OUT".

Those words were spoken by Jeff Marcus, Chief of the Felony Division for the Broward State Attorney's Office yesterday.

The Defendant: The wife of the Chief of Police of Fort Lauderdale.

The Charge: Aggravated Assault With A Firearm.

The plea: she will be sentenced on August 21, 2009 by Judge Levenson to between nine months and 30 months in prison.

Fair ?????

CAPTAIN OUT .....

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Mark Caputo, Miami Herald's Political Blog Reporter, does a lousy job on reporting the top 20 fundraisers - mentioning Samatha Ruiz Cohen - while leaving out Milton Hirsch.

First, the facts:

In the past quarter, Cohen records do show over $88,000 - problem is that $72,500 was Cohen's money. She actually raised $16,358 in the quarter ending June 30.

Hirsch raised $27,030 in the same quarter - none of it from his own pockets.

The total numbers for open seat candidates (and Adrien), excluding personal loans are:

Milt Hirsch - $89,433

Miguel de la O - $29,077
Pat Kopco - $0.00

Peter Adrien - $2,870
S. Ruiz Cohen - $16,358
Jeff Swartz - $250

Robert Kuntz - $26,531
JC Planas - $2,800

CAPTAIN OUT ....

Anonymous said...

Is this really about the children? Poor children will not have Lederman championing their fight? Think again... ask the family of Riley Wilson how they feel about that. Maybe Lederman will show up to work more often now...instead of traveling around the Country using her position to benefit her own career.

Anonymous said...

7:28-- what the f@#k are you talking about? You bias against Brown is so obvious. You lack credibility just like Platzer. Brown never promised anything of the sort. Cindy and Lester should have been gone years ago. The facade of Lederman is over. New blood is always welcome. Prescott and Sarduy will bring much needed energy to the plight of the juvenile in our community.

Anonymous said...

Judge Brown's comittment to diversity must be applauded. What would Marbin eeven ask that blow hard Lombana for a quote? By the way Hector, your quote was so damn funny. Do you think we don't know that you were once again pulling the strings to get Ivan elected? And you have the balls to condemn politics in the Judiciary. You are such a fraud. By the way Hector, we now have more hispanics in Administrative jobs than ever before.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Excellent editorial today in Daytona Beach News:

The editorial states: "When the state seeks to convict someone of murder and sentence that person to death, courts have a duty to demand credible evidence that demonstrates guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In the Florida case of Herman Lindsey, who's spent nearly three years on Death Row, that didn't happen. Lindsey was convicted in 2006 of the 1994 murder of a Broward County pawnshop clerk. In an unusual ruling Thursday [July 9], the Florida Supreme Court decried the flimsy web of circumstantial details that led to Lindsey's conviction and death sentence. But the court failed to confront one of the biggest problems with Lindsey's conviction, and many others: The unbridled use of dubious 'snitch' testimony to achieve convictions, against a growing body of evidence demonstrating that many jailhouse accounts of 'confessions' are born not from reality, but from spite or a desire to gain favorable treatment."

to read entire editorial:

http://www.news-journalonline.com/
NewsJournalOnline/Opinion/
Editorials/opnOPN77071409.htm

Da Truth said...

Lederman is one of the rudest most incompetent judges who ever trod the face of the earth. She had no respect for the litigants rights and is basicaslly a blow hard. In terms of the consitution she was clueless. Good Riddance Lederman!!!!!

ps. Judge Lederman: Are you losing control?

Anonymous said...

Judge Adrien to replace Stan Blake.

Anonymous said...

CAN anyone explain to me why the %$#!@$@^!@& clerk's website has been down all day?

Anonymous said...

Hey Rump - why didn't you post my comments about the Captain the other day. They were legit and since he's as anonymous as I - I think they were fair game.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Hector Lombana drove by the juvenile courthouse at least once during the past few years. Who better to comment on the qualifications for the juvenile spots than a lawyer who practices in civil.

Coming tomorrow, Roy Black comments on the probate division assignments and KFR comments on which county judges can most efficiently handle a PIP caseload.

batman said...

I continue to be amazed at how all these more senior judges are described as "rude". I don't think they are rude, most of you don't like being told you are wrong. And by the way, when did it become so important that a judge be "nice"? It is a bonus when a judge is polite, but it is not a requirement. That is not to say that a judge should be abusive, but absent that abuse, too bad for you.

A judge's job is to rule appropriately on the law and see that the law is fairly and impartially applied. Some of you just have to grow a thicker skin.

In days gone by, judges were to be feared, not in bad way, but in a respectful way. If you are not performing as the judge has ruled you should or a party is defying the court, why shouldn't you and they fear that judge? It is only that respect and fear that enforces a judge's order. We don't have soldiers knock on a door and take people away without due process for not obeying the court, as in other countries.

Did any of you think that this arrogance and vitriol you show here shines through in your appearances in court? Get off your high horses, stick that self-righteousness where the sun don't shine and learn your place. The judge is in charge, not you. As long as the ruling is correct and due process has been observed, stop bitching.

Cindy Lederman has been an outstanding judge who has dedicated herself to the juvenile justice system for years when most judges could not wait to get out of there. The same goes for Lester Langer. Cindy may not be easy to get along with, but what difference does that make to what an unimaginably great job she did under unbelieveably difficult circumstances for so long? She and Lester both deserve to honored by your admiration and gratitude, not punished with your disdain.

You all need to recognize good, dedicated and honest judges when you see them, whether you like their personalities or not.

In simple terms - Grow up.

Anonymous said...

The truth behind the Rilya Wilson story is this. Had Judge Lederman taken the time to ask the right questions from the bench as opposed to just moving cases along and not wanting to hear problems, Rilya Wilson would have never gone missing or ended up presumably dead! There are Judges who currently sit and have previously sat in Juvenile and painstakingly ask the right questions and don't just want a quick synopsis of what's going on. Rilya Wilson would be alive if Judge Cohen, Judge Bernstein, Judge Butchko or Judge Venzer had heard the case.

Judge Lederman uses the Rilya Wilson story to boost her credentials when in fact she's partly to blame

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that the 2010 Judicial elections are about to get about to get really active and that more people will get challengers?Any truth to this rumor?

Anonymous said...

Some of us think that there will be many more Hispanics and African Americans in administrative positions after the 2010 elections

Anonymous said...

Is O Prescott going to juvy? He's one of my favorites and should stay in felonies

/s/ liberal def atty

Anonymous said...

Batman, your true identity is very obvious. Your attitude, as expressed in your recent post is exactly the reason why you are no longer a judge.

Anonymous said...

7:59, why don't you stop asking like a child and just ask the question? Couching it as a "rumor" (that you started) really shows your lack of intelligence

Anonymous said...

Listen you low life freaks! None of you ticket hacks had the balls to oppose Judge Lederman in the last election. Next time you don't like a Judge file papers and run against her/him otherwise shut up!

Lederman had the guts to say that a gay couple had equal rights to be considered an adoptive parents just like any other couple.

Who else had the legal integrity to make such a tough decision?

Anonymous said...

Batman,

You and I usually agree, but you're off base on this one. Courtrooms belong to the people, not the judge. There simply is no reason for a judge to be less than professional (this comment is not directed toward Lederman or Langer; I've never practiced in front of either and have no opinions about their demeanor or abilities).

The people are represented by the State. Thus, courtroom really belongs to the prosecutors (which is why defense attorneys play such important roles). It is the prosecutor who decides who gets charged and what they're charged with, so long as the prosecutor follows certain rules. The judge's role is limited to being a neutral arbiter on legal process, ensuring that the prosecutor follows the law (and that the defense attorney doesn't go too far in challenging him or her), and sentencing. Saying a judge owns the courtroom is like saying that the referee owns the court. It's ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

It may be time for the perennial group of GINA, Josie and Mario to come out and run yet another time.

batman said...

9:44 - I truly am sorry to disappoint you, but without stating whether I am a judge or not, the words “no longer a judge” would indicate your belief that I “was” a judge and that is a past tense that does not apply to me.

My words are born of the ongoing complaints of those who “are” judges or those who have left the bench for the very reasons espoused in my most recent comment. Some are judges who have found it necessary to move their motion calendars into a courtroom where they wear robes, and sit on the bench with the bailiff present, believing they can better control the proceedings. Some are judges who are aghast at the aggressiveness of young attorneys toward opposing counsel and the court. Some of the complaints are from attorneys who sit through motion calendars and observe this confrontational and disrespectful attitude toward judges and don’t understand why so many of them tolerate the behavior.

Many voice their concern that when judges are contemporaries of, or even younger than, the lawyers appearing before the judges, they are incapable of standing up to them. Most lawyers believe that judges are afraid of the lawyers instead of the other way around. Many complain that judges are being overly tolerant of misconduct and are playing politics with their office in order to keep their positions and to curry favor with lawyers. What is most bothersome about that is the same lawyers who insist on showing the greatest lack of respect for the judges and the system in which they operate, are the same lawyers who complain that judges are acting like politicians and allow politics to infiltrate the way they do their jobs.

If you put your ear to the ground and really pay attention, it is not one person saying these things, but many on and off the bench. The Committee on Professionalism with The Bar has tried to deal with this issue. Professionalism seminars, rules of behavior issued by the 11th Circuit Chief Judge and increased Bar Examiner review of applicants is not producing the results judges and many lawyers would like to see. The fact of the matter is that unless or until judges are willing to put themselves on the line to clean this up, nothing will change.

And just to make one thing clear. Saying that judges are not required to be “nice”, does not excuse abusiveness, nastiness or being impolite. It does not excuse overbearing and condescending attitudes. But it is not required that judges be “nice” or show respect to those who show no respect, not for the person, but for the position they represent and the authority they possess. In other words, you should get what you give. Act like an ass in front of a judge and expect to be treated in a less than kind manner. Act professionally and any judge will treat you with the same “niceness” and respect you show.

Thus I come again to the real reason for my comment. Simply put, Cindy and Lester have been dedicated judicial officers putting up with colleagues who had one foot out the door before they ever got there. The physical surroundings are even sub-standard to other courthouses and the workload abominable. They have tried to save the world one child at a time with no cooperation from the State, the PD or DCF. Can you blame them if occasionally they are short of patience? They both, but especially Cindy, should be appreciated for their long and tireless efforts. Instead of picking at their carcasses, you should be honoring them and holding them out as examples of what caring individuals can accomplish.

Anonymous said...

Batman you are so wrong! Judges that have that "I'm in charge and I don't have to be nice" attitude are the ones that become easy target for opposition. Judges don't have to be chummy, or even friendly but yes, they do have to be polite--it's professional and goes along with proper courtroom decorum. Rude judges are not respected or feared--they are thought of as unhappy, insecure, and miserable. We don't fear them, we pity them.

A happy, well adjusted, and polite lawyer.

batman said...

7:02 and 11:33 –We do agree. Please don't misread my statement to say that the judge "owns the courtroom." As you have said, the judge is a neutral arbiter or referee of the dispute. If you are the referee, then the players must respect the rules, the interpretation of the rules and the call. Make your argument. But in the end if you protest too much, well in baseball you get thrown out of the game, in basketball you get a technical foul, in hockey it is a game misconduct, in soccer it is a red card. You get my drift. Somebody has to be in charge. Like in a ball game, the referee is in charge.

Please read my latest comment. It just incensed me that Cindy came under the attacks she did from those who don't really know her history or Lester's.

If you are a happy, polite, well adjusted and professional lawyer and you face a rude, nasty and confrontational judge, then I agree with your analysis. It is inappropriate and subject to comment and scrutiny. If you read my first comment on this subject you would have seen I was addressing myself to certain lawyers who think a judge is rude or nasty because they lose and or after the ruling, taking a self-righteous attitude, keep arguing and just will not accept the decision. Then when the judge has no choice but to be short and direct with them, the lawyer feels somehow he has been offended. My answer to them is: Take an appeal. That is what appellate courts are for.

Somewhere in my travels I have faced the occasional belligerent and difficult judge (admittedly mostly in Federal Court) and have not enjoyed the experience. Even the worst of what I have seen in Miami does not compete some of those in this and other Federal Districts. Maybe it is time to be grateful for what we have and appreciate, maybe not all, but most of what we have and celebrate the best of them.

The Professor said...

I rarely post, but I'll just say these two things.

First, Batman is not a FORMER judge. His posts make it clear that he is a strong writer with strong opinions. I'll just leave that there.

Second, while I agree with a great deal of what the Caped (ahem, "robed"?) Crusader said, I diverge with him in his saying that attorneys should "get what [they] give." A judge should never act disrespectfully towards any litigant, witness, citizen, or anyone else in the courtroom, regardless of the tone of that person. To every person in the room, the judge is the embodiment and symbol of the Law. If a judge is rude, even in reaction to rudeness, she sends the message that the Law condones rudeness. In that way, I often wonder whether judicial demeanor impacts recidivism.

I'm not saying a judge should be "nice" in the face of rudeness, and I agree with Batman that that smacks of politicking. But, a judge should always keep her composure, even in the face of improper behavior from others.

Scott Saul said...

I know being a judge can be difficult, pressure-filled, there are potential challegers waiting in the shadows, the sytem has it's flaws and drawbacks and some lawyers have a lack of candor...but you know what?...so what! Nobody forced them to be judges. Most people know the trials and tribulations of being a judge. They wanted the job now they have to do it.

There is no excuse for not being nice. If you can't distinguish between being authorative and being nice, then you do not belong on the bench.

Just as a defense attorney, if I lose my cool, I am very disgusted with myself later on. The same (really more) should be applied to a judge.

Sometimes, within the arena of law, us lawyers think our dung does not stink. Can you imagine a waiter saying "What the #&%@ do you want? A doctor saying "Open up mother%#(*er and say Ah?" or a salesperson saying "Buy my product $#&*head?

If a Judge can't be courteous and respectful, even as they are performing their difficult job, then they should come in on the weekends and practice till they get it right.

Anonymous said...

You should read the judicial cannons it requires the judges to be courteous and polite to all who appear before them.

Anonymous said...

This conversation reminds me of those gentle, judicial giants Simon & Gordon. They knew how to run a court with decorum and respect.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not Judge Lederman was a "meanie" is irrelevant. She remains a judge and, for the sake of argument, is free to continue her bullying.

What this is about, very simply, is her service, along with Judge Langer, as administrative judge to the juvenile court.

In that capacity, she has built a model and reputation that is recognized nationally. I don't speak of her reputation... I speak of the juvenile court's reputation.

Despite the widespread admiration of our juvenile division, despite the widespread admiration of the administrative judge, that administrative judge has been removed.

Why?

Because she didn't support CJ Brown? If THAT is the reason, shame on Brown for allowing politics to come before the interests of the court.

Is it because Lederman didn't want the juvenile court folded into the family division as favored by Chief Judge Brown? If so, that is an idea that was fought by many more than Judge Lederman. Having been killed, it provides no legitimate reason for removing Judge Lederman.

Is it because Brown can't stand Judge Lederman? If so, he has let the personal obscure what's best for the court.

Ultimately, I have yet to see a reason for removing Judge Lederman as Administrative judge. The biggest complaint voiced is the irrelevant argument that she is a bully in court.

Why this really does matter should be articulated further. It is no tempest in a teapot.

It matters because it appears CJ Brown gained his narrow victory of Judge Fernandez, in part, by promising to leave Juvenile alone. If so, Brown has shown the value of his word.

It matters because the national reputation of the court and Judge Lederman will inevitably invite questions. Without an articulate reason to remove Judge Lederman, conclusions will be drawn... and they will not be favorable to CJ Brown.

Ultimately, CJ Brown has chosen, as his first major action, to bring national attention upon himself. I do not think he has done any favors to his unformed reputation as chief judge. In fact I suggest that CJ Brown, as his first act, has neutered his reputation outside of the circuit.

This decision will ultimately affect the 11th Circuit as a whole. The Chief Judge is more than an administrator, he must also advocate on behalf of the 11th Circuit. In that respect, I believe his decision will be most unhelpful.

batman said...

I thank everyone for their input on this issue. This is a discussion that needed to be had. If judges and lawyers had this type of communication on an ongoing basis, I promise things would be better.

Things to remember:

1. Don't take results of a case personally. If you don't, you will keep your cool and so will the judge.

2. Judges are human beings and, try as they may, they have bad days too. They suffer the same life's pressures as lawyers (not the same business pressures) and occasionally will be short or impatient. That does not make them bad judges or people. That is not to say that, if it is continuous or abusive, it should not be called out.

3. Don't mistake stern and direct talk as being mean, discourteous, arrogant or nasty.

4. When it is over, it is over. Accept the ruling and, if you think the judge is wrong, take an appeal or file a motion for rehearing. Don't try to engage the judge in a debate. That is absolutely the wrong thing to do.

5. Judges, remember the lawyer is trying to make a living and protect his/her client. Give them some slack until it becomes disrespectful. Then cut it off politely, but firmly.

6. Lawyers, most judges will talk to you if you go to see them. If you have a real gripe, not about a ruling, but about something that happened, go to the judge and talk it out. You will be amazed how short most of their memories are.

We have all used different words and phrases, but for the most part we agree. Keep your eyes open and when you see bad conduct by a lawyer talk to him/her and try to calm them down before it grows out of proportion.

If it is a judge, find someone you know that is friends with the judge. Tell them the story and suggest they speak with their friend about it. A good word here and there will go a long way.

Anonymous said...

total nonsense. No one is folding the juvenile division into the fmaily division. That was a story put out there by Judge Lederman when she feared she was losing her little kingdom. If she really cared about what was good for the children and families of Dade County when she had the chance to have the juvenile division have space in the beautiful family courthouse she would have gladly accepted the change, but instead decided that everyone needed to stay put out on 27th Avenue in deplorable conditions!

Anonymous said...

If Orlando and CJ Brown can get 27 ave Court torn down he made the correct decision.

One of the top major cities on the USA and that Court house looks like or worse from a Bagdad Iraq, Court building. Shame on all the Admins of the 11th Circuit no matter what position for allowing that hell hole of a building to exist for children.

At least tear down the bathrooms, just disgusting!

Fuacata !!!! said...

Judge Brown needs to be reviewed by the JQC !
He has several cases on his desk for review and doesn't even take a glimpse of them, meanwhile poeple in this community are being stripped of legal rights !!!!
Filings of complaints are piling in the courts against CJ Brown...!

Lederman victim said...

Terrible judge

Lederman victim said...

She is still terrible!!! The worst judge ever!!!