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

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

WILD ABOUT THE WILDCAT

WHAT A GAME!  Our Fins beat those J...E...T...S and we found ourselves a starting QB. 

Correction- we lost the Cheaters bet Sunday so we were down 880 Bradys  but the Fins won outright so we won 1000 Hennes and are up 120 Estafans for the week! 


Supreme Court update: normally the milieu of famous federal bloggers (but our favourite federal blogger is much more interested in his fantasy football nonsense) we bring you an update on what's going on at the Supreme Court:

The court heard argument today in Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky
From the SCOTUS blog: At issue in the case is whether a criminal defendant’s guilty plea can be set aside because his defense counsel affirmatively misadvised him with regard to the deportation consequences of the plea, and whether such misadvice constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment.

Query: We thought only Massachusetts was a commonwealth. What other states are Commonwealths and what is the difference between a Commonwealth and a State? 

The "misadvice" issue is one area of both state and federal law that we often see in post conviction motions. 

For those death penalty mavens, the  Court heard argument today in Smith v. Spisak
on whether there must be jury unanimity in finding mitigating evidence in a capital case.  The issue is not that broad upon first glance because it deals with a specific instruction used in Ohio: [i]f all twelve members of the jury find by proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the aggravating circumstances in each separate count outweighs the mitigating factors, then you must return that finding to the court.” 

Of course the court has the option to extend its opinion beyond these narrow instructions

And finally for those of you with a white collar practice,  the court 
agreed to examine   claims that “searing media attacks” on  Enron executive Jeffrey K. Skilling tainted his criminal trial and conviction on various fraud charges.  The case of Skilling v. U.S. (08-1394) also raises an issue on the scope of the federal law punishing the failure to provide “honest services” as a corporate executive.   The "honest services" issue has been hotly litigated the last few years as the DOJ applied increasing pressure on prosecuting corporate officers. 

11 comments:

Faux Fakey Fakerstein, Esq. said...

Well, let's see.....

You've got your Commonwealth of Virginia, your Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, along with the aforementioned Massachussetts and Kentucky.

Technically, in a commonwealth landowners do not possess mineral or oil rights in connection with land ownership. In essence, an argument can be made that people don't actually own their land but own its use.

The use of the term Commonwealth versus State does not significantly change their structure or self-government.

Historically, "commonwealth" was a popular term for describing a state/nation where the people came together by mutual consent and as a result, their sovereignty as an entity was by social compact. It was a term with democratic overtones, as compared to the monarchic system that the colonies were originally a part of. Apparently, when writing the draft of the Masssachussetts constitution, John Adams put the word "commonwealth" and it was accepted. That's why Massachusetts is a commonwealth. Given that Virginia and Pennsylvania would have written their Constitutions around the same time, the same ideas about "commonwealth" versus "state" may have been in the minds of their constitutional framers as well.

Thank you for this historical minute from the "Crap You Had No Reason to Actually Know" show, playing nightly on the Who Gives a Shit Channel.

Anonymous said...

Four Commonwealths: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. Puerto Rico also, but it is not yet a state. In other Supreme Court news, how about some props for Miami Beach attorney Todd Scher, who had cert granted today in the case of Holland v. Florida.

Anonymous said...

"What other states are Commonwealths and what is the difference between a Commonwealth and a State?"

According to the Wikipedia and the Intertubes:
Four states in the United States officially designate themselves as "commonwealths": Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Pretty sure its some function of the number of toothless inhabitants and the number of resident MLB teams still in World Series contention... Better watch your back Phillies.

CAPTAIN said...

Great game Rump, but the Fins DB's are still pretty weak. However, that last PI on called on Allen at the 3 yard line was bogus;(and ESPN said that).

As for the Supremes (not the female singers), according to the NLJ, the Skilling case is the third "honest services" fraud case they have agreed to hear this term: "With two cases on its docket already addressing the federal law on "honest services" fraud, it's fair to wonder why the Supreme Court added a third, but that's what the justices did this morning, granting review of an appeal filed by onetime Enron president Jeffrey Skilling. "

In the Spisak case, you mention that "the issue is not that broad". The NLJ speaks about a recent get together in Chicago of five former solicitors general, to assess the Roberts Court. Their conclusion: "The U.S. Supreme Court led by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. is taking more cases and deciding them more narrowly".

By the way, isn't Florida the only State/Commonwealth in the Union that permits execution by less than a 12-0 vote?! And, I believe I read recently, or better stated daily, that Florida has the added distinction of leading the Union in incarcerating the most teenagers serving life sentences for cases that are not homicides.

Cap Out ...

Anonymous said...

Rump
The Commonwealths are PA, Mass, Kentucky and old VA.
DS

Anonymous said...

Rumpole
No comments on the article the shows that out of 109 Juvys serving LIFE sentences in the USA, 77 are in FLA?
DS

Anonymous said...

There are four commonwelaths in U.S.: Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Pennsylvania

A state in which the government functions with the common consent of the people. This definition would seem to me to be virtually identical to that of a democracy. One source describes the USA and its individual states as being commonwealths in this sense but with only the states listed above officially designating themselves as such. The term would therefore appear to be merely a description and to have little or no precise meaning.

A fixed but flexible association of states, as in the British Commonwealth and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Anonymous said...

There are 3 more commonwealths in the U.S. in addition to Mass. and Kentucky: Pennsylvania, Virginia, & Puerto Rico. From Wikipedia: This designation "commonwealth," which has no constitutional impact, emphasizes that they have a "government based on the common consent of the people" as opposed to one legitimized through their earlier Royal Colony status that was derived from the King of Great Britain. The word commonwealth in this context refers to the common "wealth" or welfare of the public and is an older term for "republic"

Anonymous said...

On Sunday people were talking on the blog about Madden Judiciary 2010. Here's an interesting scenario- instead of playing the long game choose the scenarios-Miami-Criminal-Moore.

You can't get a criminal case in Moore resolved with a Not Guilty or anything below midlevel guidelines. No downward departures and no low end of the guidelines no matter what the the charge is, what the defense is, or who the attorney is. Only playing as Al Krieger gets you a 50-50 shot at midlevel guidelines and that's only with a plea and a heavy downward departure motion- but most players in the game never arrive at the Miami scenario with enough money to afford a Krieger "big downward departure motion". Anyway, have fun with the game guys.

Fake Steve Taklpins said...

Hey Best-Hey Catalano- Hey Canet- Hey Hersch-Hey Blecher-

howz about those interlock devices?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Anonymous said...

Rump, I love it when you talk case law.
The only thing the could be better would be reading it in Asbury Park.