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. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Saturday, January 31, 2009

SUPER BOWL BREAK DOWN ONE.

Good morning. It is 47 degrees this morning at 6:32 with a windchill of 41 degrees. The high will be 65 today and this cool weather should last through Wednesday. Perhaps our last cold front of the season? Enjoy it. 

Cardinal Defense versus Steeler Offense:

The Arizona Cardinals Defense has been superb in the playoffs. While still giving up 4.1 yards per rush (which could be a problem as discussed below) the defense has  12 turnovers in the playoffs out of which they scored three touchdowns and three field goals. 

But for the Cardinals to have a chance, their defense needs turnovers. 

The Cardinals defense is a unit subject to breakdowns, giving up 56, 48, 37, and 35 points during different games this past year. Meanwhile, the Steeler defense finished the year number one in the league, giving up 13.9 points per game and giving up over 21 points only four times all year. Only Tennessee managed to score more than 30 points (31) on this Steeler defense. 

The Steelers clearly have the superior defense. Indeed they had the best defense in the league this year by far. However we see this Super Bowl has having two intangibles that could allow the Cardinals to upset the Steelers- the first is which defense for the Cardinals shows up? The one that produced 12 turnovers in 3 playoff games? Or the one which regularly got lit up during the regular season.  

The second intangible is the Steelers suspect punting game, and we'll get to that next time. 

Super bowl fact: ten teams have returned interceptions for touchdowns in the Super Bowl. Those teams are 10-0. Lesson learned: In the Super Bowl, it's much harder to rebound from a costly mistake on offense. 

If the Cardinals defense can neutralize the inconsistent Steeler offense, then we have a game. If the Cardinal defense can get a turnover or two, we may have an upset. Look for the Steelers to try and establish their troubled running game. With a healthy WIllie Parker at the end of the season, the Steelers were able to run against the Browns in the last game of the season, and the Chargers in the divisional playoffs. The Ravens however, were able to shut the Steeler running game down.  The Steeler running game looks like a favorable matchup against a Cardinals defense that is weak against the run. 

Running the ball has two advantages for the Steelers on Sunday: one-  time of possession keeps the ball out of the explosive Cardinals offense; two-running the ball reduces the likelihood of the type of turnover that the Cardinals have thrived on during the playoffs. 

If the Steelers have to throw, they like to do it out of a spread set. The more pressure a defense tends to bring, the more the Steelers spread out their offense, exploiting the larger passing lanes the defense gives up when they blitz.  The Cardinals will closely watch Hines Ward early to see how healthy he is. They will mostly double team Santonio Holmes, the Steelers  WR breakaway threat. And that leaves Steeler wideout Nate Washington as the guy mostly like to break open the game that nobody is talking about. The Steelers like to run Washington deep several times a game and take a shot. That has worked out for them this year, and the Cardinals have a choice to make: shut down the Steeler running game and risk getting beat on the deep ball, or double both wideouts and try to contain Parker. 

The advantage here goes to the Steelers. The Cardinals have been too inconsistent to pick their defense tomorrow. The Steeler QB has played fully up to his potential in the playoffs, avoiding turnovers and throwing the ball with a lot of zip.  The Cardinals need their defense to show up to make a game of it. The Steelers just need to exploit whatever the Cardinals give them, and that's the better position to be in.


Tomorrow: Steeler defense versus the Cardinals offense. 

One betting tip:  As we have already told you, the coin flip will be tails. But what you don't know is that the Cardinals are just about guaranteed to get the ball first. If the Cardinals win the tip, they take the ball. If the Steelers win the tip, they defer to the second half, choosing to put their defense on the field first. If you want to bet the prop who scores first, the Cardinals look like the team to take; if you want to bet the prop which team gets the first turnover or sack, the Steelers are the team to take. 


Thursday, January 29, 2009

THE CLUB

VOTE IN OUR MUSIC POLL. Turn it off or crank it up? You decide. 
Update- 89% say "can it". People people...there's U2. There's The Beach Boys. And if you haven"t listened to Pink's "So What" you're missing a funny tune. 

Spin the "wheel of prison" with a Broward Judge....below.  

And don't forget to check out the hottest new recipe sweeping the nation- THE BACON EXPLOSION. Below.

Details for the funeral of former Dade PD Michael Glickstein:
The funeral will be held graveside at Beth David Memorial Gardens located at 3201 NW 72nd Avenue, Hollywood, Florida; (just north of Sheridan on 72nd which is between the Turnpike and University Drive) at 1:30 PM on Friday, January 30, 2009.


One of the most elite legal clubs to be an alumni of?  Yes, those who practice in Hialeah Branch court are an elite group, as are those who gather for coffee in Au Bon Pain at 7:30 AM. However, when you surpass those elite groups, you ascend to the stratosphere of legal intelligentsia: former AUSAS and United States Attorneys for the Southern District of New York. 

Rudy Giuliani. Springs to mind. But lets get real serious. There was Henry Stimson,  secretary of War during WWII;  former Supreme Court Justices Felix Frankfurter and John Harlan and our personal favourite- Elihu Root who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1912 and was appointed US Attorney by Chester A Arthur. 

The title of the post links to the NY Times article on the Office and who President Obama will appoint to run it. 

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE
Broward SAO asked for eight years on a plea to the court. North of the Border Judge Dale Cohen gave the defendant.....lets play a game:

  THE WHEEL OF PRISON!!!!

8......10.......15.......20.......25.......30. (round and round it goes and where it stops only Judge Cohen knows.)

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ANSWER courtesy of our friends at the Broward Blog. 


Illinois has a new Governor- Pat Quinn. The Illinois legislature convicted Governor Blagojevich of the articles of impeachment and voted unanimously to remove him from office on Thursday. 



We start breaking the Super Bowl down tomorrow with the Arizona Cardinals surprising defense. 

BACON KABOOM!
Planning a Super Bowl Party? Don't forget the hottest recipe sweeping the nation:

5000 calories and 500 grams of fat. And the web has gone so crazy for it, the NY Times has "weighed" in. 

We'll stick with broccoli and tempeh rolled with some brown rice in a sushi roll.

GLASS MORTGAGES. 
This week we all read  that the Wall Street Bonuses were out, and 18 billion later, people are a bit upset. That includes Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd. 

One problem- people who got glass mortgages from Countrywide shouldn't throw stones, as the Wall Street Journal points out here, in a thorough spanking of the Senator.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

3rd DCA ROUNDUP

This from the comments section:

It is with a heavy heart I must report the passing of another colleague. Michael Glickstien passed away this past evening. Many will remember him as an APD here in Dade. He was an engineer, cook, and an avid poker player. Lately he was practicing at the Office of the Public Defender in Broward. He was a good person, he had a big heart, and he was my friend. Funeral services will be held graveside tomorrow at 1:30PM at:
Beth David Memorial Gardens
3201 NW 72nd Ave
Hollywood, FL 33024
(954) 963-2400


COUNTY COURT JUDGES BATTLE FOR PARKING SPOTS.....BELOW. 

Continuing our new year's resolution (Rumpole's motto: Keeping resolutions for at least a month) we return to the 3rd DCA website to see what's new in criminal law.


Smith v. State:  Everything you wanted to know about the standards for objecting to a preemptory challenge, but were afraid to ask. Judge Rothenberg answers those questions and more. But we  like the opinion for the trial judge's  comment about the state of appellate opinions on preemptory challenges:

COURT:  I suppose there is - - anybody qualifies under our present 

great, deeply thought out appellate decisions. 

 

And just who was this trial judge that didn't gave a damn what he said about the 3rd DCA? We won't make you read the opinion. Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? 


It was TOM CARNEY!!!  They don't make judges like him anymore. We miss him and hope he is enjoying his golfing retirement in North Carolina. 


Note to the 3rd DCA Webmaster (again) : you are still putting PCA opinions in the opinions section and not the PCA section. Come on! How hard is it to run the 3rd DCA's website?  Get with the program will ya? 



Well, that's our second edition of 3rd DCA roundup. Stay tuned for more important stuff, like Rumpole's super bowl locks. We've already posted that "Tails" on the coin flip is a done deal. We called it last year, and as you will see, we've done it again. 


PARKING PROBLEMS.... of a different sort. Our robed readers apparently have their own parking problems as Judge Anthony Arzola found out this week as his REGJB parking spot was appropriated by Judge Pooler who,  carrying the mantle of seniority,  arrived for another tour of duty in the Justice Building.  Judge Pooler was apparently assigned Judge Arzola's parking spot and was not pleased when she arrived to find a car in her spot. Learning it was Judge Arzola's vehicle,  she burst into his courtroom this week, bright blue robes flowing, and casually mentioned that perhaps letting the air out of his tires AND keying his car was a bit much. Judge Arzola, who went through his own much discussed "parking wars" with Judge Joe Fernandez last year (it was not unusual for the prankster judges to place items on each others cars, or have building maintenance put objects blocking the other judge's car in) now has a Judge of a different coloured robe to deal with. 


No shrinking violet she, Judge Pooler has arrived back in the REGJB, and she wants everybody to know it. 


More county court stuff- Judge Norma Lindsey to Civil, Judge Fred Seraphin to Judge Lindsey's division, Judge Pooler to Judge Seraphin's division. And so it goes....


I'M GONNA REPORT YOU TO THE BOARD OF BAR OVERSEEERS


Monday it was sentencing ....today it's discovery Federal style.   Plus, State PD takes the oath. See below. 



"I'm gonna report you to the Board of Bar Overseers...  "

That was a line from one of our favourite movies: The Verdict, staring Paul Newman. The Judge played by actor Miles O'Shea yells that line at Newman after their first go around in court during the trial. 


United States District Judge Mark Wolf has used that line, at least twice now, against Federal Prosecutors in Boston for failing to disclose favourable evidence in a  criminal trial to the defense. The Title of the post links to the Boston dot com article. Thanks to the Broward Blog for first posting this article. 

Rumpole rants: Time and time again US Attorneys around the nation are being caught withholding exculpatory evidence. Isn't it about time federal prosecutors be required to conduct "open file discovery" like most of their state counterparts? 

And when is someone going to look at the Jencks Act and say "well, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard." (For those of you state court practitioners, "Jencks" material is stuff like police reports, grand jury testimony, witness statements etc.) 

 In Federal court the defense is entitled to all of that good stuff....AFTER THE WITNESS FINISHES DIRECT TESTIMONY.  Yes, we have literally seen a prosecutor say "no further questions" to the witness and then wheel over a box of stuff and say "Jencks" while the judge says to the defense:  "counsel....cross examination?" 

Now that being said, most Judges will gently or otherwise require the prosecution to disclose Jencks material a few days before trial begins. But that is a courtesy and not a right and as a defense attorney you are left essentially begging for a handout. Not a pleasent position to be in. 

Anybody want to defend the Feds?

OUR NEW STATE PD IS SWORN IN TODAY.  If you haven't gotten your invitation yet, stop checking the mailbox. Yes, a gaggle of Judges and important lawyers will convene today at Miami's Freedom Tower (talk about irony) while a Judge administers the oath. Our new PD will then solemnly swear "I Bennett Brummer do solemnly swear..." 

Ok. Carlos Martinez is taking the oath. Good for him.  But Mr. Brummer,  in these times of fiscal crisis,  remains ensconced on  the payroll as a "consultant" ready to do what he has always done: tell David Weed to run the office and not cause any trouble. 
The more things change....blah blah blah. 



See you in Court, not (like Paul Newman did) asking questions we don't know the answer to. But he still won anyway. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

IGNORING THE LESSONS OF HISTORY

SAD UPDATE: Rabbitt At Rest. Author John Updike passed away today at 76. NY Times Obit here. 

UPDATE. (And at 7:20 am, perhaps the earliest update in our history.) This you gotta read. The Broward blog recounts the long sad tale of a defendant who stood up to the SAO. To make a long story short, after losing a PVH, winning a jury trial on the same charges, and doing 48 months in prison, the SAO waits until the defendant is released from prison before filing a one count misdemeanor battery charge related to the defendant being tased in court during his PVH sentencing. They just don't get the concept of justice in Broward, do they. The blog article is here. 

BTW- how they get away with tasering a defendant whose arms and legs are in chains is beyond me. 

From the discussion on sentencing yesterday, one of our dear readers saw fit to do a bit of research and post this gem: 

From Wilson v. State, 845 So. 2d 142 (Fla. 2003) "[t]he law is clear that any judicially imposed penalty which needlessly discourages assertion of the Fifth Amendment right not to plead guilty and deters the exercise of the Sixth Amendment right to demand a jury trial is patently unconstitutional. 

The case goes on to discuss that it is permissible to be lenient in exchange for a guilty plea, but it is not constitutional to impose a harsher penalty because the accused elected to proceed to trial.  Rumpole thanks the individual who took the time to do the research. 

Today we have the topic of "when government works" on our blogging mind. 

From the Secretary of Transportation's Report to Congress: "Over the past year, the domestic auto industry has experienced sharply reduced sales and profitability, largely indefinite layoffs, and increased market penetration by imports...The shift in consumer preferences towards smaller, more fuel efficient passenger cars and light trucks...appears to be permanent, and the industry will spend massive amounts of money to retool to produce the motor vehicles the public now wants...If this is not accomplished, the long term outlook for the industry is bleak."

That's what we like to see. Government in action. Private industry and government working hand in hand to improve efficiency, which in the long run helps industry remain profitable and that in turns keeps unemployment low.  Isn't this just the way things are supposed to work? Bravo to the Department of Transportation for a job well done!!!!

The date of that report?  1980.  Ouch. 

Say what you want about the auto industry. Just don't let them say they weren't warned. Just don't let them say events of the last year caught them by surprise.  The government told them. They didn't listen.  Sort of like most of our clients. And look where they end up. 

See you in court, grumpy, grouchy, and just overall not in the mood to be f'd with. 

ps. A blast of "cold arctic air" is headed for south florida and will arrive Friday night. Lows in the 40's, highs in the 60's. Bundle up for the weekend. And don't say you weren't warned. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

FIRST SUNDAY

This is the  first Sunday without football since those hot, steamy mornings in September (August if you count pre-season). Some readers consistently send emails throughout the season trying to remind us that this is supposedly a legal blog, and they don't like reading about sports. 

With that in mind we turn our attention to....NBA BASKETBALL!!!!!. HA HA. Just kidding. 

Lets look at a subject most of us try to avoid: SENTENCING. 

With a new batch of judges in the REGJB, attorneys will have to again create a new calculus for each judge when advising a client about how to proceed.   

"Does this judge have a particular known dislike of a particular crime?" an attorney must ask themselves. 

More importantly,  how does the judge handle sentencing? 

Some judges avowedly treat a trial as a gamble. "Win you go home, lose you get slammed." These judges are open and notorious about this "policy" and when the time comes for sentencing they don't really want to hear any arguments for leniency. They essentially let you know in no uncertain terms that you were aware of the rules of the game, you played the game and you lost. 

This attitude is of course abhorrent to the principles of justice and antithetical to just about every principle of being a good judge, including judicial ethics.  However, since many judges adhere to this philosophy, we invite them to put their money where their mouth is and defend it here on the pages of this blog. Anything you write will be published in its entirety.
UPDATE: FIRST RESPONSE BELOW.

We've all been in chambers, "off the record" when the judge has made the implicit or explicit threat about the consequences of an adverse jury verdict. We've all heard about the judges who want to assume the mantle of "maximum" worn so proudly by Judge Ellen Morphonios for so many years in the REGJB. And although we disagreed then and now with Judge Morphonios's philosophy about sentencing, she was one judge who would not shy from the discussion.  Hypocritical she was not.  She also uniformly gave your client about the fairest trial in the building. 

So how about it all you "wannabe Morphonios" robed readers? Who wants to defend the Las Vegas style of trials?  As Rocky said in the beginning of the movie when he was collecting money, "You wanna dance...you gotta  pay the band. You borrow money....you gotta pay the man."


Have at it. 

ps. This is not some liberal plea for more lenient sentencing. Some people do bad things and need to be punished. Society needs to be protected. This is about judges who abandon their responsibilities at sentencing and become human calculators, totaling the highest possible sentence and then imposing it. 


FIRST JUDICIAL RESPONSE?  from the comments section,  copied here in its entirety: 


As a judge, I believe that no one should be sentenced to a large number of years unless they committed a crime that hurt other people, commtitted a violent crime or are repeat offenders of the worst kind. Of course, sentencing requires a consideration and balancing of the four reasons for punishment, i.e., rehabilitation, deterrence, retribution and incapacitation. Sentencing also requires consideration of all the statutory factors.
If a defendant is offered probation before trial and you, as the judge, believe that probation would be a fair sentence, you should sentence the defendant to probation after the trial. I have done that many times. When a judge sentences a repeat offender (a real one, not one who is just technically a repeat offender), that's a different story. The judge gets to see that rehabilitation has not worked so far and no one has been deterred with light sentences. Inadvertently, that judge arrives at a conclusion that a heavy sentence is required to punish the defendant and, more importantly, to incapacitate the defendant. This is especially true of defendants who have already been to prison for a similar crime and continue to victimize other people.
I believe that sentencing is the most difficult thing we do. It is the most troubling aspect of being a judge. Many times I have had a good lawyer and a family convince me to give a lower sentence because they have been honest and realistic. I highly respect all those lawyers who know how to handle moments like that.
I hope we can all use this forum as a respectful sounding-board to discuss matters like this one today. As judges, we do not get much feedback from the lawyers.

Rumpole briefly notes, in response to the last line, it is hard as an attorney to engage a Judge in a conversation about sentencing while respecting the rules of ethics. We of course cannot talk about pending cases we have, and it seems awkward to bring up a past sentence because, at least I feel this way, the Judge has a right to tell me to mind my own business. 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

WE LIVE IN MIAMI BECAUSE.....

Today it's 35 degrees in NYC. 

12 in Detroit. 

-16 in Chi Town (Chicago). 

13  in Denver. 

-5 in KC (barbeque and soup?)

-4 in St. Louis. 

-25!!!! In Bismark.



Shelly Jean Koostz has been arrested and booked for.....failing to return a library book.  ("Booked"  links to the arrest report). The Book? "The Freedom Writers Diary". What irony. 

In a scene reminiscent from Seinfeld,  (click here)  in which Jerry and George are harassed by library investigator "Bookman" for not returning Tropic Of Cancer, Ms. Koostz was harassed and finally arrested and booked for not returning the book valued at $13.95. 

The Defense?  What would you plead? 





Friday, January 23, 2009

3RD DCA ROUNDUP

In our continuing  quest to remain faithful to resolutions bravely made on the ski slopes of California during the heady days of our December vacation, we reluctantly have begun keeping up with the 3rd DCA. As those of you who regularly read appellate opinions know,  "Wednesday is fun day at the 3rd DCA" or the day they release their new opinions. 

Be careful what you ask for: In Jackson v. State this pro se (latin for "ungrateful") defendant, convicted at trial,  was, in the words of senior Judge Schwartz "  so difficult that his 
recalcitrance, antagonism and even personal attacks upon each of a lengthy series  of court-appointed attorneys, all of whom were required to withdraw, rendered it  obvious that he simply would not permit himself to be represented by anyone and  amounted to a binding forfeiture or waiver of that right.


Everyone will be glad to know that in retirement, Judge Schwartz's well thumbed thesaurus is still on his desk. 

Speaking of Thesauruses, in Jenkins v. State,  the 3rd confirmed what we all learned in high school- the prosecution must prove EACH element of the crime. Close enough is not good enough in criminal law.  And Judge Shephard was nice enough to let us know that  " it is apodictic that the State ultimately must prove each element of the  It alleged crime to the satisfaction of the jury and beyond a reasonable doubt."   


In this prosecution sale of cocaine, to the shock and surprise of the prosecution and the trial judge, the court's denial of the motion for Judgement of acquittal was reversed because of this small legal technicality: the prosecution did not and could not prove that the substance the detective saw the defendant sell was cocaine.  Extra points to Judge Shephard for "apodictic". 

Memo to the 3rd DCA webmaster:  half the criminal cases reported under opinions are "PCAs" and since you have a "PCA" section, isn't is apodictic that they belong there?   

So what have we learned today?  1) If you're going to hack someone up with a machete, try and be a bit nicer to your court appointed counsel.  ( Jackson v. State)2) If you're going to prosecute someone for selling a controlled substance, you need to prove it is in fact a controlled substance. (Jenkins v. State)
3) Apodictic is a fun word with many opportunities for use in our daily lives.  

See You In Court, reading the FLWs. 

NY State Governor David Patterson has chosen NY Congresswoman Kirsten Gillbrand to replace Clinton as the next senator from New York. Query: Does County Court Judge Norma Lindesy have a twin sister? 




Wednesday, January 21, 2009

CLINTON CONFIRMED

You should Twitter. We now have a Colombian (<----fixed) Model Twittering with us. Plus the normal accoutrement of Faux Euro-Trash Royalty, CEOs, and assorted ruffians. Sign up here. 


BREAKING NEWS:
CNN  and MSNBC are  reporting this evening at 9:00 pm  (47 degrees in Miami, 43 with the windchill) that although the White House counsel believes the oath administered by CJ John Roberts yesterday was "sufficient" President Obama called the Chief Justice back to the White House today  and re-took the oath "in an abundance of caution."   The title of the post links to an article. 
Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. This is not without precedent. Presidents Coolidge and Arthur did the same thing for the same reason. 


(second time's a charm)


Your new Secretary of State: Hillary Rodham Clinton. 




Can anyone identify this former Justice Building Regular, teeing it up with then President Clinton? 

We highly recommend this month's Vanity Fair, especially the Oral History of the Bush White House. Dozens of participants were interviewed and their answers were listed in the article.  From time to time for the next few days we will post some facts from the article. Here are a few:

In the 8 years Bush served in the White House, he spent over 450 days at his Crawford, Texas ranch, and over 450 days at Camp David. 

Rumpole notes:  For those of you counting, 900 days is 2.465 years. Put another way, Bush spent one out of every 4 days at Crawford or Camp David. 

More from the article: Richard Clarke, Chief White House counter-terrorism Advisor:
"We went into a period in June (2001) where the tempo of intelligence about an impending large-scale attack went up a lot...We told Condi that. She didn't do anything. 

Richard Clarke: That night on 9/11 Rumsfeld came over and the others and the President finally got back, and we had a meeting. And Rumsfeld said  'you know we've got to do Iraq. and everyone looked at him- at least I looked at him and Powell looked at him-like 'what the hell are you talking about?' And he said-I'll never forget this: 'There just aren't enough targets in Afghanistan. We need to bomb something else to prove that we're, you know, big and strong and not going to be pushed around by these kind of attacks.' 

Rumpole says:  And all along you thought Iraq was a failure of intelligence on WMDs? Ha! Iraq was on the table before the fires at the World Trade Center were out.  The WMD issue was manufactured. 

Want further proof:

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, British Ambassador to the UN and later British Special representative in Iraq: When I arrived in NY in July 1998, it was quite clear to me that all of the members of the security council, including the US knew well that there was no current work being done on any kind of nuclear weapons capability in Iraq.  It was therefore, extraordinary to me that later on in this saga there should have been any kind of hint that Iraq had a current capability. ... We were watching the whole time. There was never any proof, never any hard intelligence that they had succeeded in doing that (obtain nuclear base materials like yellow cake). And the American system was entirely aware of this. 

Rumpole:  Well now that we know the president and his advisors always knew Iraq didn't have a WMD capability...what do we do about this enormous fraud perpetrated on us? 

See you in court. 


Bottom of the post update: In what amounts to a "what took you so long" analysis,  the Broward Blog has BANNED former attorney Jack Thompson for violating some deal they had. The post is here. Rumpole takes a deep breath and says  "I told you so". 

INAUGURATION RECAP

Good morning. It's 42 degrees at 7AM and that seems about as low as it will go today.  The temperatures did not reach the low 30's as was warned yesterday. 

THE OATH: The presidential oath of office, without the person's name,  is 37 words. We had two of our  most brilliant public servants standing there (both from Harvard Law School by the way, as I'm sure our favourite federal blogger knows)  and they blew it. Roberts couldn't get it right, and Obama knew it, but he still stumbled over the oath. We have memorized that oath since we were just a kid.  We surmise that Harvard Law school just doesn't cover diction. Perhaps a little refresher course in public speaking is in order?

THE FORMER   PRESIDENTS:
Class will out. GeorgeH. W Bush (41) and Bill Clinton are the closest of friends. You could see it in the way the Bushes (George and Barbara) greeted the Clintons. This friendship, initiated by George Bush 41 with the man who beat him and denied him a second term, is a true indication of the class of this man. Meanwhile, nobody among that exclusive class (former presidents) apparently likes our most beloved ex-president: James Earl Carter. He was clearly snubbed by the Clintons, who didn't appear to even acknowledge his presence. Carter was quite critical of Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, and apparently neither of the Clintons have ever forgiven him. 

OUR TRIVIA QUESTION:  Yesterday we asked about a president who had 8 years between oaths. Many of you answered correctly that Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th President of the US. Cleveland was President in 1884 and 1892. In between, in 1888 he won the popular vote but lost to Republican Benjamin Harrison. And thus, in a strange coincidence, our trivia question provided the answer to Obama's biggest gaffe in his address. He started the address by noting (incorrectly) that he was the 44th American to take the oath. Because of the Cleveland quirk, he is the 43rd American to take the oath, because Cleveland is counted as both the 22nd and 24th president. Perhaps there is a job for us as fact checker in the West Wing? Or perhaps the speech writers should just take a gander as this blog now and then. 

THE ADDRESS:
 President Obama gave a speech for the moment. It was not a campaign speech. It was more reserved. However, as uncomfortable as it may have been with President Cheney and his lackey Bush sitting right there, Obama  made clear his break with past polices of the Cheney-Bush administration. 

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."...

"And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more."...

"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."...


This and more represented a direct repudiation of the Cheney-Bush doctrines that have had such disasterous results. 

Our favourite line:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."

This was a speech that will get better with time.   The measure of this inaugural address is not what the President said, but what he will do, starting today. 

SENATOR KENNEDY UPDATE: The Senator, who fell ill at the post inaugural luncheon, was released from the hospital this morning. 

RACE:
As a nation,  we've put our money where our mouth is. A black man is now President of the United States. Not just any black man- but a man with the middle name of "Hussein".  A man with a Muslim-African  father. A man raised by a single white mother and white grandmother. A man from Illinois with humble beginnings. He descends from no dynasty- political or otherwise.  With a sharp and strong intellect, he managed to get educated at the finest (I'm not choking too much on this sentence) universities. Obama's Presidency is the living embodiment of the American myth- that any child of any origin and the humblest beginnings can rise to become the President. 

Obama as President means- if he can do this-  what can't be done by anyone with intelligence and desire? Intellect and character trump irrational prejudices.  And that's how it should be. 

THE NEW JUSTICE BUILDING LINE-UP. 
Just in time for the Tuesday madness,  there was a new line-up of Judges.  Schlessinger became Sanchez-Llorens- and you needed to go to Areces old courtroom to find it. Areces became Pinero, and you needed to go to Schlessinger's old courtroom to find it.  Scola became Miller.  And so on. In time we will adjust.   

However, more disturbing were the re-appearance of the Tuesday lines. It took an hour for clients to get into the building between 8:30 am and 10:30. It seemed like there were the usual traffic calendars that added to the mess. Have Judges Slom and Blake, still woozy from their Gators national championship, forgot about the problems on Tuesday when we have a Monday off? 

See You In Court with our crib notes on where to go to find our cases. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

FAX MACHINE FIGHT LIVES ON

BAD COLD WEATHER APPROACHING: Temperatures to drop to the mid to upper 30's in South Florida after midnight. National weather service issues "wind chill advisory" for South Florida from 10pm tonight through 9am Wednesday.  It's currently 66 degree in Miami, wind out of the WNW gusting to 25 MPH. You know how we love to report the weather so monitor this site frequently as we report on COLD SNAP 09!!!!!


Update: 55 degrees at 8:25 pm on its way down to the low 30's. 

BREAKING NEWS: Senator Ted Kennedy suffers seizure at post inauguration luncheon. NY Times report here. 
First Course "seafood chowder" chief suspect in collapse. 


ANSWER TO TRIVIA: William Henry Harrison took the oath of office on a cold day in March. Ridiculed for his supposed lack of intellect, he felt compelled to give a two hour inaugural address, outside, without a coat or hat. He caught a cold, it turned to pneumonia, and he died a few months later, the first president to die in Office. His VP John Tyler, was at home allegedly playing marbles when he learned Harrison had died. He went to Washington, where there were no clear rules on succession. Many thought there had to be a new election. His secretary of State, Daniel Webster told Tyler that all executive decisions would be make by vote of the cabinet. Tyler told him to go to hell. Tyler remained president for three plus years. He refused to nominate a VP. The Whigs threw him out of the Whig party a few months after he became president. 

NEXT PRESIDENTIAL TRIVIA QUESTION: THIS PRESIDENT WHO SERVED TWO TERMS  TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE TWICE. THE SECOND OATH OF OFFICE WAS GIVEN EIGHT YEARS AFTER THE FIRST OATH OF OFFICE.  WHO WAS THE PRESIDENT AND WHY THIS STRANGE OCCURRENCE OF OATHS? 





The title of the post links to the "Inside Track" column of the DBR of January 15, 2009 that reports that Judge Maria Dennis's counsel, "Diamond" Joel Hirschorn (anyone remember that nickname from the 70's-80's?) has written Governor Charlie Crist requesting he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Judge David Miller in light of the Dade SAO's  (motto: "we prosecute almost any dumb case, unless it involves a judge") refusal to bring Judge David Miller before a jury of his frustrated fax peers. 


Let's see...what else?  Difficult Tuesday with a Monday off. Hmm..long weekend....won one of two picks on the Football games. Steelers will whup Cardinals in boring Super Bowl....hmm...anything else? 

Oh yeah. Obama sworn in as President today. Texas gets its idiot back.  



Presidential trivia:  from time to time this month we will post some presidential trivia questions in honor of the new president. 

Which president served the shortest term? Which president served his term without a vice president? This one term president was kicked out of his party shortly after assuming office. What relation does this president have to the president who served the shortest term? 

See You In Court. Twittering.   Here's an idea: I will email my name to the first Judge who Twitters us from the Bench!!!!!


Monday, January 19, 2009

WE REMEMBER

Addie Mae Collins
Carole Robertson
 Cynthia Wesley 
Denise McNair

On Sunday September 15, 1963, four members of the klu klux klan (their names are not important) planted 19 sticks of dynamite outside the basement of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.  The Church was the first black church in Birmingham, and was founded in 1873. It was a center of organization of the civil rights movement in Birmingham. 


The names above are of the four young girls who were murdered. 

These children did not die in vain. 

Dr.  King would have been 80 years old on this birthday. He could easily have lived to see the first African-American sworn in as President. 
He did not die in vain. 

DREAM FULFILLED?

THE DREAM:



"I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

FULFILLED?




(the title of the post links to last year's MLK post which has the You Tube video of the "I have a dream" speech.  Any child 7 and over should watch it today. 



Paris Twitters. So does Don Rumsfeld and Chad Pennington and Pat Buchanan. (We're making this up, but it's fun. Twitter!!!!)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY

DO YOU TWITTER? TWITTER ABOUT THE JUSTICE BUILDING AND THE NFL PLAYOFFS HERE ON THE JUSTICE BUILDING TWITTER SITE, COURTESY OF RUMPOLE.


Two great games today. One is a bit easier to pick than the other. 

Eagles at Cardinals. First ever NFC Championship game played in Arizona.  The only reason this game requires any analysis is because the Cardinals are playing at home, in a domed stadium designed to enhanced their trademark wide open offense. But lets face it folks, the Cardinals aren't even in this game if the Carolina Panthers didn't self destruct last week. I watched that Cardinal-Panther game last week and I distinctly remember the look on Cardinal Coach Ken Whisenhut's face- even he couldn't believe how bad the Panthers were playing. 

We bet against the Eagles last week and paid the price. No more. The dome and the turf keep the Cardinals in the game, but take the Eagles and lay the 3 points. Road teams were 3-1 last week, so going with the road team this year is not such a big deal.  Defense wins championships and the Eagles have a dominant defense, while the Cardinals are just lucky to be here. Eagles -3 + 300. 


The Steelers play the Ravens at home and these two teams meet for the third time this year. Third verse, same as the first (two). The Steelers are the team that has most benefited from the bye week. They got healthy when they needed to and they found their running game when they needed to.   This Steeler team is just two years removed from their last super bowl win. They have veterans who have been their and know how to win. Both these teams have great defenses, and we have said before that the Ravens are the hardest hitting defense in the NFL. But the Steelers have the best defense in the NFL and a better and more talented offense then the Ravens.

When the Ravens played the Steelers in September they knocked out three, count em, three Steeler running  backs. Ray Lewis broke the shoulder of the Steeler's first round rookie running back who had shot off his mouth prior to the game. Something about the Ravens brings out the hard hits in every team they face, and that was apparent last week as the Tennessee Titans gave it almost as hard as they got it. As a result the Ravens come out of last week beat up, tired (they haven't had a bye week since week two) and not at their best.  Playing even up the Steelers have beaten the Ravens twice this year. With the Ravens tired and hurting, this game will not be as close as everyone thinks it will be, although Ravens pride and Ray Lewis will keep this game close into the fourth quarter. 

 These two teams are primed to battle this out for years to come. And the Ravens time may well come. But not this year and not in Pittsburgh. Steelers -5 +300. 

We finished last week at 804 Joe Bidens. 
Enjoy tomorrow off, although we will be working.