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

Friday, December 11, 2009

RED TIDE

Ever wonder what the rest of the State thinks of our fair city?
Hip South Beach?
Fabulous restaurants?
The new opera house?
Communities filled with hard working families making life a little better for their children?

All true, but that's not how some Floridians view us, especially Judges who work in courthouses north of Miami. If like us, you have had the occasion to travel around the state and represent individuals in other counties, then you know that many judges, prosecutors, police officers and others view Miami as some crime ridden slum exporting drugs, vice, corruption and thuggery throughout the world.


That is certainly the express and avowed view of Palm Beach Circuit Judge Krista Marx who in a recent interview said that "crime is inexorably moving northward from Miami like the red tide."

Judge and obviously amateur marine biologist Krista Marx's interview is summarized in the New Time's riptide blog here.

Marx's prediction for the future of her city? Dim. Eventually, we'll be like Miami-Dade, and that's because we live in paradise and everybody wants to live here -- including criminals."

To the reporter's credit, the article notes:
Really, Palm Beach doesn't have "scary" crime?

Marx herself presided over the Dunbar Village rape trial, which was far "scarier" than anything that's happened in Miami-Dade in a while. And where did that kid who got set on fire by his friends over a video game happen? Oh, Palm Beach County. And where did a high proportion of Madoff victims live? In Palm Beach. Miami may be at number 45 on CQ's press crime rankings, but West Palm Beach wasn't far behind at number 63.

What was the big crime story in Miami this year? The cat killer? Whatever.


The reporter concludes:

The reason Miami and the rest of South Florida has crime is not because, "we live in paradise and everybody wants to live here -- including criminals." It's because we have a shamefully large population living in poverty (most of whom are minorities) that no one, especially the rich who can afford to live in luxury towers or gated communities, really gives a shit about.

Rumpole notes: We've been to Palm Beach. We've driven through its slums and we've seen it's crime. Palm Beach is paradise? Hardly. It's a boring, backwater town inhabited by classless snobs and ignorant oafs, some of whom have apparently made it to the Circuit Bench. We'll take Miami any day with the sincere hope that despite the problems some of our robed readers may have, that our Judiciary will not get infected by the "black robed tide" of ignorant snobs creeping down from northern counties in search of a real and vibrant city to live in.

Check out Broward Blogger and attorney Bill Gelin's great reporting here on the Broward blog on the emerging scandal involving Ft. Lauderdale's Police Chief. One of disgraced attorney Scott Rothstein's friends, one "Moe the Cigar Guy" drove his Bentley into a woman driving a BMW. The crash, in which no one was injured, was somehow serious enough to merit the personal attention of the chief of police, who was on Rothstein's payroll. Luckily for Moe, he somehow was not arrested for DUI.

25 comments:

Rumpole said...

Sorry for the slow posts here. A few days of snow have made for really good skiing but intermittent power outages as well. There's something soothing for the soul about sitting in front of a fire in a house without electricity and reading a book after a vigorous day skiing. The cold shower is just about worth it.

The Straw Buyer said...

"We'll take Miami any day..."

Right on. I cringe whenever I have to go broward or PB.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, point of order. The car crash article seems to say it was Moe's girlfriend who was driving the Bentley, not Moe. Perhaps a bit more vigor....

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Too much snow out is obviously freezing your brain .....

Gelin, who usually does a great job on the Broward Blog, fumbled on this one and you threw an interception.

Moe was not driving the Bentley. Sarah Merricks was driving the Bentley.

Gelin questions why the driver of the BMW got the ticket and was charged with the accident when the Bentley drove into the BMW.

Rump - facts please. Two autos driving on Broward Blvd. Bentley driving west and BMW driving east. BMW makes left hand turn right in front of Bentley. Bentley crashes into BMW. Even you know that is called Violation of Right of Way and the BMW is at fault.

Then Gelin, out of nowhere, decides to question why they did not perform a DUI investigation on the driver of the Bentley. No facts are even mentioned that suggested that the driver was under the influence.

The Rothstein & Adderly part are worth reporting, but the rest of the story is way off base.

Now, since you posted this at 6:59 am and in Truckee that makes it 3:59 am, you either had way too much to drink last night or you need to get more sleep.

Enjoy the Sierra Nevadas!

CAP OUT .....

Anonymous said...

Rump PBC is a boring sterile place inhabited by obnoxious transplants from long island and wall street stock scammers who come down here becuase they can get homesteaded homes which cant be siezed when they get sued.

Anonymous said...

palm beach county has the highest police misconduct percentage of any local law enforcement agency nationwide.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

DNA tests are in; another major mistake made.....

This mistake cost James Bain 35 years of his life, so far. If released, he will rise to the top of the list as having served the longest in prison for a crime he did not commit. I believe he would eclipse the man that Susan Dmitrovsky and Benedict Kuehne helped to get released from prison.

Here is part of the article posted today:

BARTOW | Recent DNA testing exonerates a Central Florida man who has spent the past 35 years in prison for the rape of a child.

Of the 245 people in the U.S. who have been exonerated by DNA testing, none has spent more time behind bars than James Bain, convicted in 1974 of taking a 9-year-old boy from bed and raping him in a field near his Lake Wales home.

However, DNA testing of semen in the boy's underwear showed that it could not have come from Bain, according to the Innocence Project of Florida. A Polk County judge approved the DNA test in July after several other requests were rejected in recent years.

“I always knew I was innocent,” the group quoted Bain as saying when he was informed of the DNA results. “I've been waiting well over half my life for this miracle. I hope to be back with my family real soon.”

Attorneys for the Innocence Project said they plan to file a motion soon to throw out Bain's conviction and get him released.

Bain, 54, was convicted largely on the strength of the victim's eyewitness identification and sentenced to life in prison. He was 19 at the time.

According to the Innocence Project of Florida, witness misidentification and faulty forensics are two of the leading causes of wrongful convictions. Witness misidentification contributed to nearly 80 percent of the 245 wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA testing nationwide, the group said.

Cap Out ....

Anonymous said...

Krista Marx. Nice lady. Not the brightest bulb on the tree. As Judge Pooler would put it, "just a few ants shy of a picnic."

Not Alex Hanna said...

Sorry, Cap, you got it wrong, too. Nobody was on Broward Blvd. They both were on NW 3rd Ave, the street just east of the federal courthouse. Check out the video. The BMW starts to turn left, but freezes in the face of the zooming Bentley, which instead of moving to the right to avoid the BMW hanging partly out of the left lane, plows right into it. FTYROW citation was probably appropriate, though. Kool Mo See-gar's GF could have easily avoided the crash, though if she were paying even a little attention and not speeding.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Schwartz, I'm still pissed at you...

SFL and the DBR have great articles today about FACEBOOK. In case you missed it, or if you were recently "defriended" by a "robed one" and don't understand why, blame the FJEAC (a/k/a/ The Stone Age Gang ).

Thanks to the FJEAC, Stan & Yvonne & Steve & Stacy have kicked me out of their "friends" club. Schwartz, he never accepted me as a friend anway, so the hell with him.

When asked what all the fuss was about, judicial candidate Milton Hirsch quoted "Sartre". Of course, Milt, we all knew who he was, but for those not well read, he was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic whose interests included metaphysics, epistemology, Phenomenology and Ontology.

And Milt wants to be a Judge!

Anyway, the "appearance of impropriety" reared its ugly head again and we are the losers. And that means no more judges that I can brag to my clients about, saying "hey, your case is in front of __________; oh, good, I'm "friends" with them.

But, the committee did not address the issue of why I have been invited to fifteen judicial fundraisers in the past month and have a dozen of those "envelopes" sitting in my accounts payable pile for consideration.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

Richard Scruggs didn't make a good impression today while trying to get Judge Butchko to take pastor Gaston Smith into custody pending sentencing after he was found guilty of grand theft 3rd degree by the jury.

First he argued for custody saying that there was a rule that required it. Larry Handfield replied that he was confusing a federal rule with a state rule.

Scruggs then quoted a state rule that deals with bond release on appeal. Then he said that there was a problem with the bond because it had been posted as a favor to Smith. The judge replied that the bondsman was still responsible for the bond if the defendant absconded.

Scruggs tried to compare this case to one where the defendants were taken into custody pending sentencing after conviction for two counts of organized fraud. However, in that case, the defendants were facing 60 years and, here, Smith scored NSPS, had no record and the offense was one for which pre-trial diversion is routinely offered. Handfield raised the possibility of prosecutorial vindictiveness after Scruggs said that Smith was not a resident of Miami-Dade County because he lives in Broward even though his Friendship Church is in Miami.

In the end, Judge Butchko ordered Smith to surrender his passport to Handfield, prohibited travel outside Florida without court permission and released Smith on the existing bond pending an affidavit of the bondsman to remain on the bond.

Rick said...

Maybe I'm missing something here, and I probably am, but why is the person driving the Bentley lucky they weren't arrested for DUI? Was there some indication of that the driver was drunk?

.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I thought I was in-the-in crowd the who knows who of people in Dade. I have been dropped by Judges left and right on Facebook!

Begs the question? Can a Judge ethically send Rumpole email's or post on this blog?

Anonymous said...

Boy are you guys bashing Richard Scruggs but hey, he got a conviction so, maybe he knows what he is doing????

Anonymous said...

Have practiced in every County in So. Florida: Miami-Dade, Broward, West Palm, Collier and Monroe. Although the courthouse building in West Palm is my fave (such architectural elegance), give me a Miami-Dade Judge or jury any day.

I am a Miami Native, after all.

Anonymous said...

On the facebook issue:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking-news/story/1377349.html

Now grow up, and call and talk to your real friends.

Anonymous said...

Jeez! Let's hope Judge Marx is taken out to sea with the tide in her next election!

Anonymous said...

To 6:01pm
Scruggs made a "good impression" when the guilty verdict was read ...
Sounds like you're forgetting the Captain's Golden Rule: If you have nothing nice to say about someone then keep your mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

Great ethics opinion. We all know that if you list someone as a "friend" on Facebook, you must be BFF's right? I mean no one could possibly expect judges to rule against someone who they're "linked to," could they? Now judges just won't tell anyone who they know. That's a much better result. LOL.

I know plenty of attorneys. If I link to them on Facebook, should they recuse themselves from my cases?

What if I have coffee with opposing counsel?

Seriously, we're all (well, most of us) professionals. We spend a lot of time with each other (often more than we'd prefer!). We can be acquaintences or friends without colluding on cases or conspiring to cause harm.

Some of the people we link to on Facebook are acquaintences who we haven't seen in years. Others are professional adversaries. If we're really that worried about judges or attorneys adjusting their rulings because they're linked as "friends" on Facebook, than we've got a lot more to worry about than Facebook.

It's time for the justice system to enter the 21st century (if I can do it, the system sure as hell can).

BTDT

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like Mr. Tein (x ausa) got his ass kicked. he made first year public defender errors in public view.

Anonymous said...

Scruggs is a stand up guy.

Anonymous said...

BTDT

Saturday, December 12, 2009 7:22:00 AM

The issue before the ethics panal is not one of; can Judge's act impartial and fair (when you took the oath you sworn you would), it is the lay mans perception (aka, idiots view of the Court) that matters.

All the examples you make would fall under the idiots lay man view of the Court. However, the panal would never go that far.

I personally think any Judge who received a campaign donation from a person, attorney, blah, blah, blah, should be recused from all future cases. I also wished that campaign donations from attorneys should be banned.

Anonymous said...

Tein's strategy for a conviction: over promise in opening, under deliver in trial.

Anonymous said...

10:19----I understand that. But, I think we need a more reasonable application of "appearance of impropriety" than the one being espoused now. Everyone who uses Facebook connects with people who are not "friends" in the classic sense (ie. people who would not influence our opinions per se). Is it really any better if a judicial candidate, who is friends with plenty of us, wins and defriends us all? Doesn't that HIDE the relationship in the cynic's view? Should we expect attorneys to investigate the relationship of opposing counsel with the judge in every case? (why wouldn't that be part of the "due diligence" if we're going to apply the standard the ethics folks are suggesting?).

I think the opinion, like many others (including some by the 3rd) is ridiculous. It's dishonest to suggest that we should hide judges' "relationships," such as they are, with the litigants. I'd rather know a judge is a Facebook friend with opposing counsel (and know to watch more carefully than I normally do for improprieties), than have no clue.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

I thought Tein was a stereotypical, too high brow, unethical, clueless AUSA when with the USAO. A twerp playing a big person's game.

It is not difficult to get a Miami-Dade County Jury to walk a pastor. All they need is an excuse to walk an otherwise decent person in the community. All of the court house regulars would have had a better shot than that dweeb Tein