Thursday, February 25, 2010


UPDATE: Broward incesteral Judicial relations. Below.

It's time again to play.....
WHO AM I? (Give yourself the corresponding points when you correctly guess the identity of our mystery guest).

I am a Circuit Judge. (1000 points)

I refused to grant three motions to recuse myself filed by the same lawyer. (950)

I sent my wife to another courtroom to try and secretly photograph the lawyer using her cell phone. (850)

My wife is running for Judge. (700)

The lawyer moved to recuse me because he was cooperating with another lawyer who filed a lawsuit to remove my wife from the judicial ballot. (675)

Although the motion was facially sufficient- which is all I need to see before recusing myself, I instead (improperly) held an evidentiary hearing. (650)

Before the hearing I had an ex parte conversation with my wife. I then called my wife as a witness and forced the lawyer who moved to recuse me to cross examine her. (600)

I have a JQC complaint filed against me. The JQC has alleged the purpose behind my scheduling the evidentiary hearing was to use the power of the court to intimidate and embarrass the lawyer. (550)

The lawyer then filed another motion to recuse on behalf of another client. (525)

I again held another evidentiary hearing. (500)

At this hearing I forced the lawyer's client to testify. When the lawyer objected and cited to attorney/client privilege, I threatened the lawyer with a Bar complaint. (400)

The JQC alleges that the purpose behind my actions at this hearing was to embarrass the lawyer and advance the political agenda of my wife. (300)

When I answered the JQC complaint filed by the lawyer I said the lawyer was a poor dresser. That is the reason the JQC says I sent my wife to try and surreptitiously take pictures of the lawyer in court. (200)

I am a Judge in Broward.. (duh). (100)

And my name is .................

(here's some more crap this judge did)

11. On November 6, 2009, when the Investigative Panel was expressing its concern that your behavior in the Gibbs matter suggested that you had allowed a marital relationship to influence your conduct or judgment, you failed to disclose to the Panel that you had held an evidentiary hearing on an additional disqualification motion involving Mr. Melnick and your wife in the Butler case. Although not directly related to the merits of the Gibbs motion, the failure to mention the Butler hearing was relevant to the Panel's attempt to ascertain the purpose of your conducting the Gibbs hearing.

12. The Preamble to the Code of Judicial Conduct provides that the Code "is intended to govern conduct of judges and to be binding upon them" and also provides that this Commission should determine "whether there is a pattern of improper activity ...." Your continuing pattern of judicial misconduct indicates a disregard for the Code of Judicial Conduct and constitutes a pattern and practice unbecoming a judicial officer and lacking the dignity appropriate to judicial office, with the effect of bringing the judiciary into disrepute. The foregoing acts violate the Preamble to and Canons 1, 2A, 28, 38(1), 38(2), 38(7) and 3E(1 )(d) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

13. These acts, if they occurred as alleged, would impair the confidence of the citizens of this State and the integrity of the judicial system and in you as a judge; would constitute a violation of the Preamble and Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct; would constitute conduct unbecoming a member of the judiciary; would demonstrate your unfitness to hold the office of judge; and would warrant discipline, including, but not limited to, your removal from office and/or any other appropriate discipline recommended by the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission.

You are hereby notified of your right to file a written answer to the above charges made against you within twenty (20) days of service of this notice upon you.

UPDATE- We came across this comment on a broward blog:

Interesting no one wants to metion that Judge Paul Backman who sits on the JQC prosecuting Cohen has a son who is running against Cohen’s wife for Judge. More interesting is that the victim Steve Melnick didnt file this complaint the JQC on which Judge Backman sits did so himself. Interesting and should be noted.

Rumpole notes: the commentator later clarified the statement to correctly indicate that the JQC filed the complaint, not Backman.


CAPTAIN said...

(reprinted with JNC members names per your request)


On Wednesday, March 10, the JNC will conduct interviews for the open Circuit Court seat of Norman Gerstein. 7 of the 12 that made the cut are currently on the bench in the County Court.

Victoria Brennan
Ofelia Damas-Rodriguez
Marie A. Davidson
Robin Faber
Jose Fernandez
Alan Fine
Robert Galt
Darrin Gayles
Andrew Hague
Browyn Miller
Anita Moss
Deborah White-Labora

Now for those that did not even make the cut:

William Altfield
Kurt Berman
Tanya Brinkley
Melisa Coyle
Marie Davidson
Mario Garcia
Thomas Gorday
Patricia Kopco
Robert Kuntz
Gordon Murray
Margaret Rosenbaum
Angelica Zayas

The JNC encourage you to contact any one of the JNC members with your comments.

Mark A. Romance, Chair
Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission
c/o Richman Greer, P.A.
201 S. Biscayne Blvd.
Suite 1000
Miami, FL 33131

Marlene Quintana (Vice-Chair)
Gonzalo Dorta
Philip Freidin
Manny Kadre
John Kozyak
Rayfield McGhee, Jr.
Andrés Rivero
Daniel W. Schwartz

Cap Out ...

Anonymous said...

Yea, all we need now in Circuit Court is Joe Fernandez, who I think somehow hasn't read 3.220 or 3.191 in a long time. Not a fact, just my opinion.

Shoot The Lawyers said...

The Broward caper proves that fact is stranger than fiction. It is as if the judge woke up one morning and said to himself, "short of committing a felony, what can I do today to become the subject of a JQC complaint?" I don't know this judge but there is something here that is awfully wrong. Maybe he did not take his medication for a few days. Who knows.

Anonymous said...

Hold your horses Mr. Rumpy. There's a whole bunch more to this.
We Broweird lawyers know the true story. Cohen is actaully a very well liked judge and his wife Mardi is an ok person.

Melnick did not file the complaint. Someone else did.

All Mardi did was take a cell phone picture of him to show the JQC that her husband was telling the truth about his truly disgusting attire. (Miamma judges would not put up with it)

All Cohen did was have a hearing to show Melnick that he was not being honest with his recusal motions.

Cohen did not handle this right. He protected his wife and let his emotions get in the way. You watch, the worse he will get is a slap on the wrist.

Trust us up here in the northland, Cohen is far better than a bunch of your worst robbed worriers in the southland.

Anonymous said...

Once again proving that all the whiny anglos who left miami because it is so "corrupt and Latin" are morons. it seems that 2009 and 2010 have proved what all intelligent people have known for years--that Broward is as fucked up and corrupt as Miami.

Anonymous said...

Bring back the best Chief Judge ever, The Honorable Edward Cowart...

Anonymous said...

Judge Dale Cohen

Opps! What's wrong with double dipping the State? said...

So long Rubio. The lead was fun while it lasted, but when you are a Gov. questioning weather to repay money stolen from your best friend AKA Scotty Boy, you are in the wrong NFL game.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like bad blood between the Backman clan and the Cohen clan.

CAPTAIN said...



While many of the regulars were camped out in Courtroom 4-1 today, at the FACDL sponsored Mock Criminal Trial, presided over by our lame duck Administrative Judge Stanford Blake, much was a happening down the hall in Courtroom 4-6.

The case was State of Florida v. Gaston Smith. For the State, Richard Scruggs. For the Defense, Michael Tein and Larry Handfield.

You may recall that, in December, a jury found Rev. Smith Guilty of one count of Grand Theft for stealing from a government grant intended to help build a senior citizens' garden, a website and promotional material for his Friends of MLK nonprofit agency. The Reverend faced up to five years in prison.

Congratulations go out to Judge Betty Butchko, who is much aligned on these blog pages all too often. Judge Butchko listened intently to the more than a dozen speakers on behalf of the Reverend before sentencing him to Five Years of Probation along with 40 hours of Community Service each month during that probation.

No trial tax handed out in this case; much to the surprise of the many Butchko critics who frequent this blog.

Captain Out .....

Anonymous said...

Captain...........while I share your satisfaction that Butchko did not impose a trial tax and your respect for her generally, I am amazed that you chose her decision to NOT jail someone who misused grant monies intended to benefit the community at large. Five years probation in a case like that, where someone abuses the public trust and refuses to accept responsibility for it, is totally inappropriate. Until we start taking graft more seriously, things will never change.


PS---I have known B for a long time. I think she was an excellent prosecutor and a very good judge. In spite of this case, I expect to support her if she draws an opponent when her term is up.

JOA Joe? said...

Big problem with Jose Fernandez.

He has completely forgotten where he came from, forgets that he was a defense lawyer at Essen's DUI mill and he summarily denies motions and blocks strategies he strongly advocated as a lawyer.

Whoever gave him the nickname 'JOA Joe" did it as a cruel joke.

Hides behind a monotone, emotionless demeanor, and gets his dander up if you tell him he's wrong.

He is an example of a problem with some judges...they think they are smarter than they are.

Anonymous said...

Boy am I too sick of Joe Fernandez and boy did he forget where he came from.

He is just terrible and we supported him in the last election but, not in the next one.