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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

3rd DCA ROUNDUP

Better late than never, considering the volume of Supreme Court cases we have been reading lately:

Brown v. State: Judge Mark King Leban joins the HALL OF FAME (as opposed to the hall of shame) for conducting an evidentiary hearing on a rule 3 motion, and issuing a decision based on facts that the record supports. Take a bow Judge Leban, well done. (And dare we say dozens of your colleagues hanging in the hall of shame should take note of your thoroughness.) 


Fleuirmond v. State (or- how not to prosecute a case if you  want a snowball's chance in hell of having the conviction hold up on appeal.)

The Defendant was charged with drug trafficking. The court granted the defense's motion in limine to preclude the witnesses from testifying that the case occurred in a "high crime area." But you know these cops and prosecutors. They just love that "high crime area" argument. Totally irrelevant, but it's got "jury appeal". 

As the court of appeals wrote: 

The prosecutor stated that she had so instructed some of the 

officers, but was not sure if all of the officers had been so instructed.  The judge 

then stated, “I don’t want anything, any testimony about high crime area, any 

previous contact with anybody.” The prosecutor replied, “Surely, Judge. 

Understood.” 

 Incredibly, minutes later, one of the members of the police surveillance team 

gratuitously interjected the exact type of testimony that the motion in limine had 

tried to prevent. 


Say what you want about this ASA, but this silver tongued devil was not caught short when the court inquired about why the motion in limine had just been violated:

The prosecutor admitted that she had not 

complied with the court’s order.  When asked why she had disobeyed the court’s 

order, the prosecutor responded, “Judge, I mean, I absolutely -- the only -- you are 

right.”  


Talk about oral advocacy. 


Anyway, this ASA was not done, because she then resorted to imaging facts that she then argued in opening and closing argument. This is generally considered a "no-no" except in Texas and certain parts of Louisiana:


First, the prosecutor told the jury in opening statement that when police 

officers went into the house that had been under surveillance, they found 

Fleurimond attempting to flush drugs down the toilet.  The only place the 

defendant was flushing drugs down any toilet was in the prosecutor’s imagination 

because, during trial, the State presented no such evidence. During closing 

argument, the prosecutor told the jury: 

Now, this is all being radioed. This is not happening in 

split seconds. It’s happening quickly, but time is elapsing. 

And then the police go in and they find Mr. Fleurimond 

in the bathroom flushing the drugs down the toilet. 


Not surprisingly, the defendant will be receiving a new trial. 



SR v. State. A good case explaining the standard for a judgment of acquittal in self defense cases. Basically, when the defense proffers a self defense claim, the state's proof must rebut beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant's claim that s/he acted in self defense. If you have a self defense case going, read this one and print it out for the file. 


State v. Williams. Judge Rothenberg reversed Judge Alan Schwartz who was sitting as a trial judge and who granted an unsworn "sworn" motion to dismiss in which is was alleged that the item used to hit the victim ( a firearm) was not a deadly weapon. Note to Judge Schwartz:  sworn motions must be sworn to and firearms are, um...deadly weapons pretty much by definition. 




THIS IS WHAT AN OPINION SHOULD BE

UPDATE:   BANNED IN BROWARD!!!!

The Broward Blog reports here that their blog, our humble little blog, and even the staid and stuffy Federal Blog run by our favourite federal blogger, David O Markus with a K has been BANNED in the Broward County Courthouse law library computers. Our sites have been blocked. 

Why the nerve of those cretins.....



Concise. To the Point.  Strict constructionist. Recognizing that emotionally the Plaintiffs are damaged, but following the letter of the law, which did not allow them to collect.  

Justice Scalia take note: 
Judge Gillis is at work.

The Justice Building Blog proudly presents to you 

Fisher v. Lowe,  333 N.W 2nd 67 (Mich. App. 1983) ( West Headnotes included)


A wayward Chevy struck a tree
Whose owner sued defendants three.
He sued car's owner, driver, too,
And insurer for what was due
For his oak tree that now may bear
A lasting need for tender care.
The Oakland County Circuit Court,
John N. O'Brian, J., set forth
The judgment that defendants sought,
And quickly an appeal was brought.
Court of Appeals, J. H. Gillis, J.,
Gave thought and then had this to say:
1) There is no liability,
Since No-Fault grants immunity,
2) No jurisdiction can be found
Where process service is unsound;
And thus the judgment, as it's termed
Is due to be, and is
Affirmed.

[1] AUTOMOBILES k251.13
Defendant's Chevy struck a tree,
There was no liability.
The No-Fault Act comes into play,
As owner and the driver say.
Barred by the act's immunity,
No suit in tort will aid the tree.
Although the oak's in disarray,
No court can make defendants pay.

[2] PROCESS k4
No jurisdiction could be found,
Where process service is unsound.
In personam jurisdiction
Was not even legal fiction
Where plaintiff failed to well comply
With rules of court that did apply.

* * *

J. H. GILLIS, Judge.

We thought that we would never see
A suit to compensate a tree.
A suit whose claim in tort is prest,
Upon a mangled tree's behest;
A tree whose battered trunk was prest
Against a Chevy's crumpled crest;
A tree that faces each new day
With bark and limb in disarray;
A tree that may forever bear
A lasting need for tender care.
Flora lovers though we three,
We must affirm the court's decree.

Affirmed.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

STARE DECISIS

Or- "How to over rule precedent in five easy steps and on five dollars a day."
A treatise. By Antonin Scalia. Assoc. Justice. U. S. Supreme Court. 

Our last post dealt with the decision in Montejo v. Louisiana, and our belief that it represented the thin edge of a larger wedge created by Justice Scalia.  A wedge whose ultimate end is not the evisceration of the 6th Amendment right to counsel, but the prophylactic protections of Miranda and the 5th Amendment. 

Montejo overturned Jackson, and to overturn Jackson (and sleep at night) Justice Scalia needed to create some rules of constitutional construction vis a vis the whens, wheres, whys and how-tos in reversing a previous supreme court precedent. 

RULE ONE: A precedent can be reversed if it proves "to be unworkable" 

To the  contrary, the fact that a decision has proved “unworkable” 

is a traditional ground for overruling it.  Payne v. Tennes- 

see, 501 U. S. 808, 827 (1991). 


Well, to the extent that school desegregation has still proven to be difficult if not unworkable in many states and cities, there goes Brown v. Board of Ed. 


RULE TWO: The younger a precedent, the more it is fair game to be reversed. 

Beyond workability, the relevant factors in deciding 

whether to adhere to the principle of stare decisis include 

the antiquity of the precedent....


Korematsu v. US is in, and dare we say it...Roe v Wade stays as is, but Gore v. Bush is still up for grabs. Al may make it to the oval office yet. 


RULE THREE (and now the cat is out of the bag) A decision that is not "well reasoned" may be reversed. 

the relevant factors in deciding  whether to adhere to the principle of stare decisis include 

the antiquity of the precedent, the reliance interests at 

stake, and of course whether the decision was well reasoned. 


We imagine that the six justices who joined in the majority in Jackson believed the opinion was "well reasoned" when it was decided.   Stevens wrote  the opinion joined by Chief Justice Burger who concurred, and White, Brennan, Marshall and Blackburn.  Jackson was no 5-4 squeaker. 

 

But this is  Scalia, who decries jurisprudence by instinct, emotion,  or result (except when his ox is gored).  Beyond Scalia saying the decision was not well reasoned, there is nothing to support his contention. Scalia  rarely if ever cites to the language of Jackson.  And as even Scalia points out, for the last 23 years police and prosecutors have been trained in the holding in Jackson and have managed for the most part to live within it's dictates. Indeed, 6th amendment litigation on this issue can not really be called confused or unworkable. There was what appeared to be a bright line rule, and the lower court decisions are uniformly applications of the rule to the facts of the individual cases before the court. 


How does Scalia attack the reasoning of Jackson? Not by the words of the case. Nor by logic. As we wrote yesterday, it is Scalia the collectivist who is at work here. And despite the protestations of my brother blogger Mr. Markus, Scalia is no friend of the individual when it comes to society and the rights of the accused. 


RULE 3A: Well reasoned means "cost/benefit analysis":

Which brings us to the strength of Jackson’s reasoning. 

When this Court creates a prophylactic rule in order to 

protect a constitutional right, the relevant “reasoning” is 

the weighing of the rule’s benefits against its costs.  

(Rumpole: so "reasoning" doesn't mean logic. It means a cost/benefit analysis. Just where in the federalist papers does this definition of reasoning arise?) 

“The value of any prophylactic rule . . . must be assessed not 

only on the basis of what is gained, but also on the basis of 

what is lost.” Minnick, 498 U. S., at 161 (SCALIA, J., dis- 

senting). We think that the marginal benefits of Jackson 

(viz., the number of confessions obtained coercively that 

are suppressed by its bright-line rule and would otherwise 

have been admitted) are dwarfed by its substantial costs 

(viz., hindering “society’s compelling interest in finding, 

convicting, and punishing those who violate the law.


Note who Scalia cited to: Scalia (in dissent no less). And remember what I wrote yesterday: Scalia wrote Montejo to create rules of construction that will at some later date give him the opportunity to reverse Miranda. 


RULE FOUR: Does the right have other big brothers to protect it? 


Jackson was policy driven, and if that policy is being adequately served through other means, there is no reason  to retain its rule. Miranda and the cases that elaborate 

upon it already guarantee not simply noncoercion in the traditional sense, but what Justice Harlan referred to as “voluntariness with a vengeance,” 384 U. S., at 505 (dis- 

senting opinion).  There is no need to take Jackson’s further step of requiring voluntariness on stilts. 



This is the "don't worry this won't effect you one bit" theory of constitutional law. As Scalia sees it, Jackson addressed a problem: coerced confessions. Since the issue of coerced confessions are adequately covered by Miranda and the 5th amendment, who needs Jackson? Space is at a premium and Jackson was taking up space- so out it goes.

So there you have it- how to overturn precedent in four easy steps. 


One einy, weeiny, teeny tiny problem:


“The philosophy of a living constitution -- which means it doesn’t mean what the people agreed to when they adopted it -- is a very seductive theory. It’s seductive for judges because it empowers them. It’s seductive for law professors because it lets their imaginations run wild.”

Antonin Scalia- speech to the Federalist society, November 25, 2008. 


Rumpole wonders: just where did these four rules for overturning supreme court decisions come from, if not the empowered imagination of a certain Supreme Court Justice?  You certainly can't find those rules in the constitution, or the federalist papers, or in any case I've ever read. 


Don't worry Nino- Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"



Coming next: For Sale: One soul, along with pride and intellectual honesty. Contact Sam Alito. Financing available. 





SUPREME COURT

Update- our favourite federal blogger has temporarily lost his marbles. Go see his blog and see what he says about Scalia. 

With the Supreme Court taking center stage in the news, we present to you a few supreme tidbits: 

Supreme Court Decision Predictor...... It turns out there is a lock solid way to determine which side won and which side lost after oral arguments before the Supreme Court: The side receiving the most questions loses. This predictor has been determined to be correct more than 84% of the time. Almost as good as our football predictions.   The title of the post links to the NY Times story. 


Sotomayor: Chosen because: 1) She's a woman; 2) She's Hispanic; 3) She can easily win confirmation (she was nominated to the district court by George Bush Sr. (The Good Bush) and to the Appeals bench by Clinton); 4) Because she's a Yankee Fan. 5) She's the best and the brightest around.

Pick one or all and let us know. 

The Supreme Court issued a major 6th Amendment decision Tuesday:

Montejo v. Louisiana: When Scalia writes for the majority in a criminal law case, you know it can't be good.  Scalia was hunting, and the scope of the 6th Amendment was squarely within his sights. But he also has bigger prey in mind, as we shall see. 

In Jackson v. Michigan, decided a scant (in Supreme Court time) 23 years ago, the court held that the police cannot initiate interrogation when a suspect has appeared at an arraignment and been assigned counsel. 

Montejo appeared at a preliminary hearing  and stood "mute". Uhho. Never a good idea when Scalia is around.  Montejo was appointed counsel. But those cops- geez they are fast. Before his lawyer could see him, the cops grabbed Montejo, took him out to the scene to locate the murder weapon, and just for good measure,  the cops encouraged Montejo to write a letter of apology to the widow of the deceased. This being Louisiana, Montejo was sentenced to death for poor spelling in the letter, and murder. 

As Scalia winds his way through the analysis of why neither the solutions of the Louisiana Supreme Court nor Montejo are "practical" we note this chilling passage and can see Scalia's lean and hungry look when it comes to .....Miranda???!!!!!:

And when a defendant is read his 

Miranda rights (which include the right to have counsel 

present during interrogation) and agrees to waive those 

rights, that typically does the trick, even though the 

Miranda rights purportedly have their source in the Fifth 

Amendment:...


Rumpole says: "purportedly"???....uhho!! 


 Scalia has Miranda on his mind, and not in a nice way. Although that is fodder for another day, can't you just see Assistant Attorney Generals around the country looking for the right case to bring to Scalia so he can sever Miranda's head and serve it on a silver platter to the right wing?  There's a federal appeals court judgeship waiting for the AG who kills Miranda. 


And here's why this decision affects Miranda. This case is a 6th amendment right to counsel case. Miranda is (purportedly) a 5th amendment case. In this case Scalia writes to strike down the "prophylactic" rule created by Jackson in 6th amendment cases when counsel is appointed. 


And why does this decision threaten Miranda? Here's what Scalia writes: 

We created such a  presumption in Jackson by analogy to a similar prophylac- 

tic rule established to protect the Fifth Amendment based Miranda right to have counsel present at any custodial  interrogation.


See what he's doing? First he strikes down the "prophylactic" protections in a 6th amendment case analogous to Miranda.  Can striking down the "prophylactic" protections in 5th amendments Miranda cases be far behind, especially since in Scalia's view, Miranda merely "purports" to have it's origins and protections in the 5th amendment?   And of course, when Scalia does go after Miranda, what case will he cite as precedent? THIS ONE. 

It's a particular ingenious way of interpreting the constitution and creating reasons to overrule other decisions. Create case law under one amendment to be used to undermine the firmest of constitutional decisions on another amendment. Hardly the acts of a man who tells anyone and everyone that constitutional jurisprudence should be limited to original intention. 



Here, in all its glory, is Scalia's view of the real world of police and defendants:


No  reason exists to assume that a defendant like Montejo, 

who has done nothing at all to express his intentions with 

respect to his Sixth Amendment rights, would not be 

perfectly amenable to speaking with the police without 

having counsel present.  And no reason exists to prohibit 

the police from inquiring. Edwards and Jackson are 

meant to prevent police from badgering defendants into 

changing their minds about their rights, but a defendant 

who never asked for counsel has not yet made up his mind 

in the first instance. 


No reason whatsoever Justice Scalia, except that Montejo is going to die because he remained mute at his preliminary hearing. I don't know about you, but we rarely encounter murder suspects who are versed in the intricacies of 6th amendment case law. 


So for today, in a court still dominated by Scalia and his cohorts when it comes to criminal law, the lesson is silence is NOT golden:


and even if it is reasonable to presume from a defendant’s 

request for counsel that any subsequent waiver of the right 

was coerced, no such presumption can seriously be enter- 

tained when a lawyer was merely “secured” on the defen- 

dant’s behalf, by the State itself, as a matter of course.



Oh. And just in case you still don't believe me when I tell you Scalia and his gang are the farthest thing imaginable from true conservatives, consider this little paragraph about society versus the individual: speculating on the result if the court found that the appointment of an attorney (versus asking for an attorney and getting one) would automatically trigger the "prophylactic" protections ala Miranda that Scalia despises so much, Scalia shows us how much of a collectivist (versus a conservative truly concerned about protecting individuals from government) he is:

That  would have constituted a “shockingly dramatic restructur- 

ing of the balance this Court has traditionally struck 

between the rights of the defendant and those of the larger society


So there you have it. Scalia the great collectivist-always worrying about the rights of "the larger society". Upholding the rights of society versus the individual- doesn't sound like a conservative to me. 


See you in court, whispering to defendants "ASK for a lawyer. Don't just accept one."











Tuesday, May 26, 2009

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

BREAKING NEWS ....... U.S. SUPREME COURT .....

SONIA SOTOMAYOR NOMINATED TO SUPREME COURT

Looks like it's the hispanic female as Pres. B. Obama will announce his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, age 54, to replace David Souter. She is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Sotomayor was born in the Bronx, New York, to Puerto Rican parents. Princeton undergrad & Yale Law School graduating in 1979; after five years as an ADA in New York, she moved on to private practice for seven years. She was nominated on November 27, 1991, by President George H. W. Bush to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. On June 25, 1997, she was nominated by former President Bill Clinton to the seat she now holds.

And, in case you care, she's a fan of the New York Yankees!

CAPTAIN OUT ........

Sunday, May 24, 2009

30 YEARS OF SHAME

Florida marks the 30 year anniversary of the re-institution of the death penalty. The title of the post links to the Herald's article. 

John Spenkelink was executed May 25, 1979 for the kind of murder that now-a-days would not come close to meeting the aggravating factors required for the death penalty.

Since that infamous day Florida has executed 64 individuals. Who really believes not one of them was innocent? 

Do we really believe that there is no level of human brutality that merits death as a retribution? No. Indeed Dade has recently convicted several men for a kidnapping, sexual abuse, and execution of a young woman at roadside that by all accounts was so brutal and so terrifying for the victim that execution seems to be a just punishment. 

But we have a legal system that is so flawed, so unjust, so broken, that under no circumstances can   we look  at ourselves in the mirror and say "you guys got it right. You're so good and so careful, and you spend so much money on making sure the accused has adequate and well trained and well funded defense attorneys, that you can take the absolute power of life and death and put it into the hands of the justice system."

No way.  Dozens of people have been exonerated from death row. That doesn't mean life in prison. That means the system got it wrong. That means the supposedly most carefully prosecuted and scrutinized  cases convicted an innocent man. 

Who are we kidding? 

The justice system doesn't work. 

The death penalty doesn't work. 

And we remain the members of a select club of nations, including  North Korea and Iran and China, that executes its citizens. 

See You in Court. This is a shameful day.




Friday, May 22, 2009

THE PAYOFF

45 years after 3 civil rights workers were brutally slain, Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town synonymous with deep south "justice" and racial hatred, has elected its first African American Mayor. 

The election of Pentecostal Minister James A Young on Tuesday means that James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner did not die in vain.  The title of the post links to the NY Times story. 

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS QUOTE?

In a speech at the National Archives on Thursday, President Obama had this to say when announcing that he was ordering the transfer of one detainee from Guantanamo to the United States for trial: 

“Preventing this detainee from coming to our shores would prevent his trial and conviction,” Mr. Obama said.

We're transferring a prisoner FROM Cuba, TO the United States for a quick "trial and conviction"???
Seems to us  that makes our judicial system no better than say, Cuba's, or Iran's. 

If the President of the United States announces the beginning of a procedure sure to end with a "trial and conviction" is there any hope this guy gets a fair trial? 

We expect better from a guy who touts his experience as a former professor of Constitutional law. Or have they done away with the presumption of innocence at the University of Chicago? 

SHOOTING SNAFU?

First- SILENT CHARLIE - DAY 5. 
By virtue of the comments yesterday, some people have many of the questions we have about what's going on at the PDs office. 


ASA VON ZAMFT BLAMES MEDIA FOR SHOOTING:

This has been on our plate for a while, but we just couldn't get to it. 

In this New Times Story, ASA Michael Von Zamft gives his "personal opinion" that a news broadcast by Emmy Award winning reporter Jim DeFede about a shooting caused a revenge shooting thereafter. 

DeFede responded in his online column here- basically admitting that his interview with the mother of a 16 year old young man, who was tragically killed for what appears to be no reason, caused a drive by shooting of the woman's home in which bullets were sprayed and two more of the woman's children were shot, but not seriously. 

Gang war is out of control in Liberty City. That much is clear. 

Long Weekend coming up.  Another Tuesday after a Monday off. 

What will the lines be like? 

Will Silent Charlie address the questions swirling around his confused office and embattled administration? Until he does, he remains ensconced in his office, Nixon/Bush like, with a small circle of advisors telling him to hold on. 

Rest assured we will bring you those answers, and more, next week on your favourite legal blog. 


Thursday, May 21, 2009

SILENT CHARLIE DAY 4



UPDATE: This comment by a reader says it all:

rump - I think the real horror that needs to be looked into is why PDs who work their butts off (and there are LOTS of them, besides what some of your readers think) haven't gotten raises. This when most of them are carrying ungodly amounts of student loans and live in the 3rd most expensive city in the US!


UPDATE: BLOCKBUSTER INDICTMENT!  A Former Federal and State Prosecutor in New Jersey, and now a prominent criminal defense attorney- Paul Bergrin-has been indicted in federal court on 14 counts of obstruction of justice, witness tampering, murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The charges arise out of accusations that Bergrin orchestrated the murder of witnesses in two cases. High profile NYC defense attorney Gerald Shargel is defending Bergrin. The NY Times article is here. 


We are still wondering about our questions in re:  the 16 PD "Straw attorneys" whose position was budgeted by the Legislature, and whose salaries were paid by us tax payers, but who otherwise don't exist. Is what the PD's office did legal? Do other state  offices do this?  Is this why there's only one person at the clerk's office whenever we need a file? 

And here's a new one- while we were in the shower the other day we started, as is our wont, to do some math. 16 positions- assume on the low side an average starting salary of $30,000.00 per year, that's ..hmm...carry the two....ummm...$480,000.00 Brummers!!!  That's an awful lot of hay to give to the top horses in the barn. 

  And (because we take long showers) we also thought of this: Is this the first time BHB has done this?  We all know that no matter how bad the evidence is against out client, we all like to say "they've never done this before. It was a one time, stupid thing to do."

So has the PD's office been taking money for "straw lawyers" for years? And who got that money? 

You see, without the Susannah Nesmiths and now the Vanessa Blums of the world  (Markus reported Tuesday that the Sun Sentinel canned Blum for budget reasons)  who else is there to ask these questions and "follow the money"?

We'd much rather see Ms. Nesmith or Ms. Blum meeting with a strange and mysterious figure cloaked in a Macintosh and obscured by the shadows of a late night in the Jackson Medical Garage across from the PDs office.   "What is going on over there"? we imagine them saying, fog swirling in the background. 

"Follow the money" would be the whispered reply.  The glow of a cigarette breaking the dark and gloomy midnight hour. 

The problem is that at the rate we're going, this story will be assigned to the obit copy clerk, as there are no real reporters left in Miami to "follow the money" flowing through the strangely silent offices of Carlos Martinez and company. 

SILENT CHARLIE DAY FOUR.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

3rd DCA ROUNDUP

If it's sometime after Wednesday, it's time for our (semi) regular perusal of the opinions emanating from somewhere down south and right near the Fair/Carnival grounds. Location coincidence? We say not. 

Nottage v. State, stands for the proposition not being sure as a juror still means you can find someone guilty for murder. Poor Nottage was tried for murder, kidnapping and a bunch of other charges. The jury sent out a note it was deadlocked. The Judge read them the infamous "Allen Charge." The Jury was still deadlocked. Crafty Judge Jimenez sent them home (rather than reading a second Allen charge) and therein lies the hook upon which the 3rd hung their affirmation of the verdict. While the case law is clear that successive Allen charges are improper to the point of being impermissible,   (the 4th DCA calls giving the Allen charge "crossing the river of no return" Washington v. State, 758 So. 2d 1148, 1154 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000) ) the 3rd DCA has not adopted that per se rule. And the 3rd DCA has never said (and probably will never say) that having the jury go home (and discuss the matter with their family)  after receiving an Allen charge is not error. 

Facts ignored by the 3rd DCA: After sending out a second note indicating the hold out juror wanted to be dismissed, the court called the attorneys back to court. Between the time of the note and the court coming into session, the jurors found the defendant guilty.  And now Nottage gets to spend the rest of his life in prison thinking "if only they had gotten off their asses a bit quicker and gotten back into court...I wouldn't be here."
Nice bit of jurisprudence. We can all be comforted that justice was done with this verdict. 

KW v. State. Judge Rothenberg tosses us a bone. In order to prove first degree petit theft, the state must establish the value of the Res was in excess of $100.00.  Conviction reversed. Quota for year: MET.

Zelaya v. State. Judge Marin joins the wall of shame. Case returned for evidentiary hearing on the rule 3 because (everyone now) the record does not conclusively refute the allegations in the petition.

And Judge Marissa Tinkler Mendez re-joins the wall of shame in Palomares v. State.  Tsk. Tsk. 

And Judge Adrien joins his colleagues on the wall of shame (that's all he needs now) here in Fonte v. State.  
Ps. You can still vote in the Adrien poll for a few more days. 

Kersaint v. State.   Kudos to Joe Klock. Motion to disqualify trial judge GRANTED. 
Facts: Def scored NSPS. Had been in custody for two years. Defense requested PSI. Before PSI was returned, the trial judge : a/k/a "the lord's gift to jurisprudence" opined something to the effect of  "Well, I won't take a CTS plea. And 15 years it too much. I want this guy to get a prison number. I'm thinking of something around four years."

Talk about prejudging a case. Can't you just see this  Judge leaning back in their chair?  Eyes closed. Fingers clasped tightly beneath their chin. Contemplating justice.  Meting out sentence as only s/he can do because they are "TLGTJ".  Sheesh. The 3rd DCA took pains not to list the Judge's name. 

So there it is. Lessons for the day- return to court quickly when the jury wants you.