Monday, December 28, 2009


UPDATE: Speaking of big stories, the Herald has the story here of the bomber who created the legend of the "The Cuban Rocket" a/k/a Miami Attorney Gino Negretti.

For you young prosecutors and PDs who can't imagine a world without Starbucks and cellphone cameras, 1989 must seem like 1899 to you. But it wasn't that long ago. Miami was slowly emerging from the wild west cocaine cowboy days of the late 1970's and early 1980s. Although the Herald identifies Gino Negretti as a divorce attorney, he was well known in the REGJB. The bombing of his car was something out of a movie, and more than a few defense attorneys in the REGJB were shaken by the attack. A disgruntled client- immediately suspected of being a drug dealer- was the immediate conclusion many lawyers reached. The actual perpetrator was a nefarious drug smuggler, although his motivation was related to Negretti's representation of his wife in a divorce case.

Throw in famed Miami Defense lawyers Richard Sharpstein and Jack Blumenfeld, and you have one of the thousand "only in Miami" Justice Building stories that infuses our humble courthouse with legend and mystery.

And in a "it's too strange for the movies" ending, the man accused of ordering the bombing? The one who allegedly went after Negretti because of Negretti's vigorous representation of his wife in the divorce case? While not only did Sharpy and Jack win an acquittal- but the stress of the trial re-united the estranged couple.
Which is why we confine out legal adventures to the relative safety of representing murderers, and not husbands and wives.

What's the biggest story of 2009 that has affected our humble little courthouse?

It could be something as large as President Obama being sworn in, to something as small as the escalators being fixed/broken/fixed....

In no particular order, the nominees are:

1) Scott Rothstein steals a few bucks;
2) Judge Adrien gets two challengers;
3) Former Judge Phil Davis finally convicted;
4) Carlos Martinez dummies up;
5) Jay Kolsky: busiest man alive;
6) Conflict Counsel stays alive;
7) Abe Laeser retires;
8) ???

What/who are your nominees?
Remember this is Miami, so vote early and vote often.

Biggest news story today? Temperature should drop to mid 40's in North Miami/Broweird tonight. A veritable heat wave where we are, but still pretty cold for the rest of you who are sticking it out at home in Miami.


Rumpole said...

Looking for your comment? You forget I decide who sees what. And your crap never makes it.

remember when? said...

Whatever happened to the ol' "Master of Disaster"- Alen Soven, Esq?

can't remember when said...

What ever happened to the "Flav-o-flav" of the Justice Building: Greg Sands?

fake Jay white said...

Oh geeze does my head hurt. Drinking a bottle of tequila to get over the Dolphins loss does not-I assure you- change the results the next day.

BTW- I will be pressing charges against the idiot Texans fan who shoved a chicken wing up my nose when I was leading the "WIN WITH GINN" chant.

CAPTAIN said...


Top Criminal Justice Story of 2009 - Sex Offender Shantytown

Rumpole, the top story for 2009 in our criminal justice building actually took place outside of the courthouse.

In 2005, the Miami-Dade County Commission passed an ordinance prohibiting convicted sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet from schools, parks, bus stops, or anywhere else where children routinely congregate.

As a result, it has become virtually impossible for these individuals to find affordable housing in Miami-Dade County that meets the 2,500 foot requirement. Fast forward to today and there are nearly eighty convicted sex offenders living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

FDLE actually has 177 convicted sex offenders whose address is listed as: "Transient"; Transient General Delivery Causeway"; "Transient Julia Tuttle Causeway Homeless" or "Transient under Julia Tuttle Causeway".

The State has a law that calls for a 1,000 foot barrier, and therein lies the current state of the litigation and conflict between the County and everyone else.

Using the 1,000 foot criteria, most of the sex offenders currently living under the Tuttle would be able to find a real place to live in accordance with state law.

If you have not had the pleasure of driving by the location, take a look at the 19 photos here:


"Tattered tents line the abutment below the bridge. On the wide landing near the water, bigger tents and plywood sheds hug the dirty shore. There is nowhere to escape heat or bugs or storms. No electricity, except for a communal generator plugged into a tangle of extension cords.

And though people on parole are supposed to stay out here all night, there is no toilet. They go in a pickle bucket then dump it into the bay. The closest running water is at a Shell station a half-hour's hike away. " (Read a great article in the Tampa Tribune at:


The Governor has shown no leadership on this issue; he is too busy running for the US Senate and avoiding anything that could bring his numbers against Marco Rubio even further down.

The MD Commission has most recently attempted to convince law enforcement agencies to arrest the dwellers because they are within 2,500 feet of an island in the middle of Biscayne Bay that is used once every five years or so as an educational nature retreat.

Miami has become the center of attention all over the world on this issue as it has been covered both nationally and overseas. And what they are saying is not positive.

Yet, still we do nothing to solve the problem.

Currently, the State of Florida, whose responsibility is to track, monitor, supervise, regulate, rehabilitate, and safely reintegrate these, our most violent felons' not in custody, back into society, cannot do so.

There is no electricity to even plug in a GPS monitor to keep it charged. Few can argue that living in filth, squalor, remote from stable family life, will increase the risk of recidivism and absconding and thereby increase the danger to society.

Rumpole, this is an issue that you should be writing about. This is the story of 2009 that few have talked about locally. Maybe it is time that we take a few minutes away from writing about Rothstein, the PD's office, Judge Adrien, and all that goes on North of the Border.

It is time to concentrate on what goes on right here, South of the Border, under a causeway dubbed "Miami's Sex Offender Shantytown".

Captain Out .....

CAPTAIN said...

The Captain Reports:

It's a foot short (or a short foot).....

On a lighter note, Rump, you being the football fan you are, I watched Tom Dempsey's record breaking field goal today on video, and noticed that, if he had made the same kick today, it would have only been a 62 yard kick by NFL record standards.

That makes Jason Elam's record tying 63 yarder against the hated JETS the actual holder of the record.

Trivia Question: Who was the Jets coach on that cold day in Denver?

Check out the video.

Cap Out ....

Anonymous said...

Elam's 63 yarder was in Denver on a not so cold day against the Jags and Tom Coughlin.

Just Checking said...

The Shumie's been called until Monday January 4, 2010, right?

Anonymous said...

Remember Gino Negretti? The man who bombed his car and left him partially paralyzed is now out of prison after beating the drug charge that was holding him in. Here's the Herald story:


Anonymous said...

That was one hell of an ending to the Bears Vikings game. Who is going to get that number two seed?

Anonymous said...

"Looking for your comment? You forget I decide who sees what. And your crap never makes it."

Is JT bothering you again?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there some lawyer, Ben something or other that was... oh, nevermind.

Fake Mel Kessler said...

Bennett Lapidus; Ahktar Hussein; Gino Negretti;

Ah...the Giants of the past.

Anonymous said...

Fake Mel Kessler? Now I've seen it all.
I remember the days with the real Mell. Do a bond hearing in federal court. Then meet the runner who had a bag of cash (before the 8300 reporting requirement days). Then on my 52 Viking. Sitting off of Key Biscayne, splitting up a million dollars in cash. Our "crew" sun bathing topless. Then on to the Mutiny after docking the boat in the Grove.
Bust the Cap on a few Moets, steak, lobster, mounds of caviar- we threw around hundreds like they were ones. Take a half dozen girls back to the suite, and wake up the next day feeling like a king, while untangling myself from the tanned nubile and naked bodies gracing my bed.

And then we'd start all over again.
RIP Mi Amigo. Those were the days. Lord, how I miss them.

I was there said...

9:57- I'm pretty sure I know who you are, because I remember being on your Viking boat with Mel. If I'm correct, than you me and Mel represented the two Orjeida Brothers and their cousin Pelayo around 1978-1979. It was a 20 key shipment which was large back then. The brothers had the hottest Colombian mother I have ever seen, and Mel was playing that. Meanwhile we got 300 K bonds for each, and Mel's bondsman kicked us back 5 points which was a sweet 7500 to go with the fee which If I recall was 250K per.

But If you are who I think you are then you remember Mel playing the DEA agent. She was that tall Irish lass who had a drinking problem and Mel turned her inside out and got her to get the AUSA to drop charges against the two brothers and the cousin took an attempted rap and got like two years.

But what I most remember were those parties at the Mutiny. Remember that one girl, Tara, who was an aspiring ballet dancer but her breasts were too big and she refused to get them reduced? The greatest body I have ever seen (and lucky for me...more). She was a dancer in every way except she was just too big up top which remain the absolutely greatest set I have ever laid my hands on- way before silicon ruined everything. She was tall, leggy, flexible beyond belief, sweet and almost too naive for the pretty heavy party scene at the Mutiny.

She ended up marrying that developer and living in Aspen.

Anyway- Mel knew how to work a case from every angle. From getting points on bonds, to cozying up to agents, to working the families in Colombia.

He was THE MAN. And you're right- those were the greatest days ever to be an attorney down here. Every Judge and prosecutor envied us, and we lived THE LIFE. Private Jets- Car phones before there were such things. The best rooms. The newest Porsches, the best women, the best food, and every now and then we argued a motion to suppress that we usually won. Oh my.

Fred the PD's friend said...

I can't even believe you guys are talking about Mel, the Mutiny and Tara of all people. Boy do I have a story for you. My best friend was at the PDs office and he met Tara. He wasn't especially good looking, but being a lawyer...well lets just say he had a talented mouth for things other than arguing. And Tara went nuts since he could...umm.."talk" for hours. She was in love or certainly in lust with him. The biggest irony is this- she turned him on to the party scene, he got way in over his head with cocaine and lost his bar license. By then, Tara was in with the Joyce Cohen-Stanley Cohen party crowd (you young lawyers google Joyce Cohen in Miami to see what I mean) and that's where Tara dumped him for the developer in Aspen.

But here's the best part of the story. Let's call my friend "Fred". Poor Jewish Kid from Hooboken, NJ. Had a double major in Computer Science from NYU. When he lost his license, and went to jail, he hit bottom. He did his 364, came out, and in about 1982 went to California. Started fooling around with computers in the Valley. And you can see where this is going. Made some money in Compuserve. Then AOL. Then worked at NetScape and was in on the IPO of Sun. That made him about 50 million. He took about 5 of that and helped a few of his goofy friends play around with software that could play videos on the net. Took his idiot friends to some venture capitalists, and eventually they sold You Tube.

Fred is worth almost a billion bucks. Lives in a beach House in Big Sur, has a G4, but still drives an old Ford Explorer, although now he is investing in Green Car battery technology, so he's driving some experimental hybrid. He married a Playmate (which I have to admit is a twin of Tara, his first real love.)

And in the greatest part of this story, he says he owes it all to the cop who arrested him. Fred says he begged this guy to let him go, he offered bribes, he cried, he yelled, he told him his life story of working his way through law school and he would lose it all. And Fred says the cop said- "It's either lose your job or your life, so I'm taking you in."

It was the cop who insisted on 364, and it was the cop who picked him up the day he got out. It was the cop who got him a place to stay, and took him to AA and NA and got him sober and gave him 500 bucks to go to California. And when Fred had the chance to repay him, he did. Big time. Tens of thousands of shares on various IPOs that made this simple Miami street cop a millionaire dozens of times over.

It's just an amazing story. I was telling one of the old PDs about Fred and he remembered him but not the whole story.

Anonymous said...

@10:35-- You nailed it.

"And you're right- those were the greatest days ever to be an attorney down here. Every Judge and prosecutor envied us, and we lived THE LIFE. Private Jets- Car phones before there were such things. The best rooms. The newest Porsches, the best women, the best food, and every now and then we argued a motion to suppress that we usually won. Oh my."


RFB said...

Oh yeah. Those were the days.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the Cuban Rocket. A one of kind Miami Guy. As to the late 70's=early 80's- it was all that and more. A schlep like me- middle of class Georgetown law- riding in a speed boat with two topless penthouse pets who are doing a mound of coke and are all over me. I was more of a Grove Isle Guy- where I had a condo and my boat- so I didn't hang at the Mutiny much. But the women and the money and the cars...it was all too much really. But I damn glad I did it.

Anonymous said...

I recall Mel" the hung" Kessler. I saw him at the old collisium racketball club in the locker room. It was unreal. No wonder he had tons of gals around him. the coke and $ helped as well.Negretti and Donald Frost were two of best trial lawyers ever to pick a jury in Miami.

Anonymous said...

Great post Rump,

I didn't know about this divorce/attempted murder/reconciliation story before. As a young lawyer, I wonder if we will have the glory days you grumpy old men had in your hay day. Only in Miami and that is why we just can't leave it. It's like having front row seats to a train wreck.

real fake said...

Mel loved the ladies, and the ladies loved Mel. Physical attributes (which were rumored to be large) not withstanding.

Just a Simple PD all these years said...

I remember that PD "Fred"- and I saw an interview in Wired Magazine a few years ago= the Malibu beach house, the hottie wife, the Jet, and to his credit he freely admitted being a PD in Miami and getting disbarred and named the cop as his best friend and the man who saved his life and to whom he owed all of his success. A very unusual and heartwarming story.

Anonymous said...

January, 2010, the roaches shouyld start coming out of the walls to light up the judicial races. Could this be the year of no gina, josie or mario????rumor has paul segal retiring and creating havoc with those filed in his seat. as the governor would fill it......

Anonymous said...

dude will someone please give us fred's real name this is a great story and i want to read about it and i dont think with all his bucks fred would mind

Anonymous said...

I am soooo jealous

Anonymous said...

Did Judge Sayfire get opposition?

Former pd said...

If any of you are gullable enough to believe 1/4 of the things you read on here today then why not go check the PD board with all of the names that have ever been a PD. It is on the wall at the PD office just past the security area.

Anonymous said...

I swear this happened: if you were not yet convinced that we have the worst education system in the world, all you had to do was watch "Are you smarter than a fifth grader" tonight.

That is when a lady was asked the question: what planet has the shortest distance to go around the sun?

Her answer: The Moon. Her reasoning was because she sees it every night.

Anonymous said...

THe Biggest REGJB Story of 2009: The Donte Stallworth gift by the Miami-Dade SAO. Money! Get your hands off my stash!

Re: The Glory Days. Missed it. Wish I didn't. Can it happen again? Doubt it. Maybe the Obama Health Care Reform will do for Oxycodone what Colombia did for cocaine? But where will the stacks of cash come from?

Just a Simple PD said...

First if all 8:34, there have probably been about 10,000 lawyers who have rotated through the PDs office since 1970. Do you really think every person who worked six months or a year and said "this is not for me" has their name on the board?

As to Fred's real name- he knows about this blog and enjoys it (as do several others in Silicon Valley Rump- they like your writing FYI) and while he has never hid his past, he is not proud of it. It's not the jail or the disbarment- it's the drug use and partying and the pain over Tara. So before I wrote about him I shot him a quick email and he said I could tell the story without using his real name. He said something like "those that remember me will recognize it immediately, and for all the others my name isn't important except to me keeping it out of Google searches, which is ironic in that I had a lot to do with the current search engine heuristics..."

So I won't name his name, but ask the real old timers, they'll know. And they'll have some other stories just as juicy.

just sayin,,, said...

Heuristics....there's a word for the word of the day guys.

Anonymous said...

i nominate Ben's case being dismissed

Anonymous said...

But then there was Steve Glass and Jerold Breslin, two uber slimebuckets

Anonymous said...

9:27, whatever you are smoking, save me some. It must be good stuff. Math clearly wasn't your major as that would mean a new set of 250 attorneys every year for forty years. So, despite your nullibiety of facts, I admire you sense of imagination.

How bout that Word of the day guys.

Old former PD said...

1:45 AM- OK- Off the top of my head- PDS from the 1990's: Joel Denaro, Bill Barzee, Frank Gavaria, Juan Elso, Brian Tannebaum,. Jackie Woodward, Nelson Gutierriez, Jerry Sandford from the 1980's, Vince Dunn, - all are not listed on the board.

And I can tell you I was Pete Mezairch's intern in 1979 and he worked there for years and his name isn't up. Pete was the one who told Black to put the socks on his clients hands in ct when they tried to take his fingerprints. Pete went to Montana and took over his Dad's gas drilling business and partnered with the Japanese in the late 80s when they were buying everything. He lives half the year in Tokyo.

Plus- I worked there Five f'ing years, and I'm not up. 1979-1985

So your premise that EVERY PD is on that board has been shattered.

Anonymous said...

Tannebaum's name is one the board

.708 BREATH said...

Driver in So Dakota DUI blows a .708. Yes, you read that correct- the legal limit is usually .08, .30 is considered life threatening and this lady blew a .708.

All together now: SOMEBODY CALL THE Q!!!!!

civil lawyer trained as PD said...

PETE was the best PD trial lawyer you've never heard about. He was quiet, almost mousy for a big raw Montana boy. He had a laconic smile and a country boy way of asking a question. Never raised his voice, in or out of court, and used simple logic to get witnesses to admit they didn't know or didn't see it.

I can't even count the times he would do this extensive cross and end up with something like- OK officer- if you agree that there was nothing on the car to show it was stolen, that you spoke to to the person who lent my client the car, and you stopped my client outside of his legitimate work place, then it's probably true he had no idea the car was stolen?

Pete won almost every case he tried, worked his ass off, cared about his clients, but never shook the oil and gas business out of his veins. We exchange emails every few months. Great guy.

Anonymous said...

Blecher is the preeminent breath guy. Stop with this Q stuff already.

rg said...

There was a reason why Pete Mezairch was the best PD trial lawyer you've never heard about.

He doesn't exist. I was there in the 70's, knew all of the APD's back then, went private, and then did the PD thing again in the 90's and now am happily hanging my shingle out in Florida, but way North of the Border.


Anonymous said...

Pete was the PD in front of Judge Paul Baker. Enough said. He was one of the best. I saw him. He taught me.

Anonymous said...

PS- just how the hell are ya Roy? Still wearin those Hawaiian shirts to court?