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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

LET THEM EAT VACA FRITA

UPDATE: TOTAL AND WE MEAN TOTAL MADNESS IN BROWARD.
Judge Seidman, a county court judge known for carrying a concealed firearm under his robes in court, and currently facing almost as many challengers for his county court seat as Judge Adrien in Dade, is heading to Tallahassee in order to file on Friday against sitting Circuit Judge Susan Lebow. EXCEPT- the rumor is that Seidman is only saying that to protect Leebow and court the many many criminal defense attorneys that support her. This theory suggests that at 11:59 Seidman will file in some other race, thus protecting Leebow, and earning donations from her supporters. Read the full scoop on Broward Beat Blog by Buddy Nevins here.


Veteran and ace criminal defense attorney Jack Blumenfeld thought he had seen it all until a few weeks ago. Then he did exactly the right thing- he went to his computer and sent us this email:


Rumpole, I had a situation the other day while trying to depose a Spanish speaking State witness. As I have always done, when the witness arrived I called the interpreter's office, only to be told that they no longer are allowed to do that in PCAC cases. They said, and Pat Gladstone of the AOC General Counsel's office confirmed, that the responsibility to pay lies with JAC. I spoke with Stephen Presnell of JAC and he also confirmed the procedure.

I had advised Judge Soto about this and she asked me to email her when I had determined the procedure. Here is the email I sent her which explains what I found out. Perhaps you could post some notice so that others won't be in the situation I was:



Dear Judge Soto, as you will recall, I advised you that I had an issue with obtaining a Spanish language interpreter for a deposition in a case in which I was Court Appointed. You asked me to determine the policy and to report to you.

I was told by the official court interpreter's office that they would no longer supply interpreters for PCAC defense depositions. This was confirmed in a conversation with Pat Gladstone of the General Counsel's Office of the A.O.C. She told me that since JAC had no cost sharing agreement with the AOC in the 11th Circuit, we could not utilize AOC compensated interpreters. She said that the responsibility for paying was with JAC.

Today, I had a conversation with Stephen Presnell, General Counsel for the JAC. He confirmed what Ms. Gladstone told me. He said that the PCAC attorney will have to obtain a court order approving the utilization of a private interpreter, which order should reflect that the interpreter may bill at the same rate as the rate which the AOC has contracted for the official court interpreters. (Neither he nor I know what that is) He said that the order should also provide a maximum figure, although, he acknowledged, that figure was subject to revision retroactively, if the deposition took longer than anticipated.

I can envision a significant increase in hearings for what should be automatic. I wonder if there is some way the court could provide for leave to retain interpreters for depositions in the appointment order, much as we now do with respect to court reporter services. Perhaps the SAO could also advise, in their discovery response, whether any witness is non English speaking...




Judge Soto responded:


From: Soto, Bertila

Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2010 4:05 PM
To: Jack Blumenfeld
Subject: RE: PCAC counsel-Interpreting services

Jack,

I had spoken to Pat with reference to your interest in this matter. She told me exactly what you just wrote me. I think the defense bar should be made aware of the change. I was told this only started happening in September of 2009. Pat is going to ask JAC to clear the confusion up on their website and then I will send an email through the wheel and FACDL with the link. Sorry about the mix up.

Judge Bertila Soto


Rumpole says: With some due respect to Judge Soto- what crucial error did she make that veteran attorney Jack Blumenfeld didn't? Soto emailed the FACDL (motto: just pay your dues and shut up") while Blumenfeld went to Rumpole. Jack knows who holds the power of the press for the REGJB.


18 comments:

fake BTDT said...

You don't mess with Jack B because he'll lay a cross examination on your witnesses that will have them wishing their mammas never met their papas.

(And you don't mess with Rumpole because you don't pick a fight with a guy who buys his ink by the barrel, or gigabyte in this day and age.)

Anonymous said...

kudos to the obscure quote from Jaws 9:09

Anonymous said...

11:41 a.m., such quote by 9:09 a.m. is most appropriate in a blog that's written by sharks, for sharks and is about sharks.

Rumpole said...

SHARK? I'm more like a snake in the grass, quietly waiting, ready to strike.

grrrrrr said...

You're better off pulling meat out of a pitbulls mouth than trying to pull one over on Jack The Man Blumenfeld.

Anonymous said...

How about Peter Adrien singing "we be jammin" last night at Tobacco road. And no one joined in with him. Kinda sad when your colleagues isolate you like that.

CAPTAIN said...

The Captain Reports:

BREAKING NEWS .....

Charlie Crist will run as an independent.

Cap Out....

Anonymous said...

RUMPOLE- hows your OCD holding up these days?

Rumpole said...

So so.... Still in a fix because I started eating breakfast at 5:46 am on October 18,2009, and I've been stuck ever since. I'm still fixated on the temperature but I'm able to keep it out of my blog writing, although I do record it in a diary every day.

Lunch is a little better and I've been able to substitute a Thai restaurant into the regular mix and I don't feel compelled to eat at any time, especially if breakfast went ok, but dinner is a nightmare, with a complicated mix of brown rice, seitan, broccoli, onions and avocado that I eat 4 nights a week, a specific time depending on the night (don't ask). I just drink juice and vegetables that I squeeze on Monday nights because my appetite is shot, and I'm stuck on whole wheat pasta plain with avocado and a salad on Friday nights since February 4, 2010.

Some nights I have to make two servings of the brown rice mix so I can hit the time for the next night on the head.

Basically the only day and night I don't have a ritual that I am stuck in is Saturday, but I still feel compelled to wake up early and eat.

Sundays are the worst, because I fret so much about the coming week that I have six rituals involving food, time, exercise, baths, and sleep that basically drive me crazy.

I think I have cured myself of needing to enter the courthouse at a specific time, but sometimes I find myself driving slowly if I think I'm going to get to the court earlier than usual. It's a difficult habit to break.

But thanks for asking. Basically outside of court I'm a mess.

Anonymous said...

Correction - Rumpole's Best Friend will appear on the 7-PM NBC 6 News.

Anonymous said...

PS---I love that there's a fake BTDT (and a BTDT2). HAHA.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

If the rumors about Seidman are true, it would would be unethical, at best. I'd love to see the Bar and/or the AG investigate this one.

I can't stand the current electoral process which I believe violates the candidates First Amendment rights by preventing them from saying anything of substance, violates the public's right to vote by denying them of any chance to determine who they want to support in a meaningful way, and allows for (if not downright encourages) unscrupulous candidates to essentially extort donations from attorneys.

Unfortunately, I don't think an appointment process would be better. I'd like to see a hybrid system that allows the public to be involved and permits judges to actually talk about party affiliation/political views and perspectives. Maybe then the public could make informed decisions (GASP! Crazy, I know).

BTDT

PS---no, I don't support Lebow. In fact, I'd love to see someone (competent, fair and ethical) run against her. I have way too may relatives and friends in Broward and spend too much time their to support a judge who has so little regard for public safety.

Anonymous said...

Morale is so low at the PDs that they couldn't put together a quorum for their office picnic this year! Very impressive, Charlie!

Anonymous said...

Is that why we got the ominous e-mail yesterday that the picnic was cancelled? And yet, the 5th floor sits deaf to the yells from the pits.

Anonymous said...

9:24----blaming Carlos for the morale problem is like blaming Obama for the deficit. Yes, he contributed, but it exists because of a long line of malfeasance. I think Carlos has done a decent job under the circumstances.

The hard truth is that the legislature has all but destroyed the PDO and SAO by underpaying attorneys and staff for decades, forcing furloughs and hiring freezes when the economy tanks (ie. freezing pitifully low salaries and increasing burdens), and treating the offices with little respect (I still can't understand why everyone is so quick to fund cops [whom I've always suppported], but so unwilling to fund prosecutors. We need competent prosecutors to minimize the likelihood that innocents may be punished and maximize the chances for the guilty to be adjudicated and sentenced as such). I don't support unnecessarily big government, but do think we need to provide the basic services properly (ie. public safety, legal counsel for indigents, etc.).

Carlos is a great guy doing his best. The circumstances/context largely are not of his making and are beyond his control. He's attempted to alleviate the problem using strategies most of us endorsed (ie. hammering the lack of staff, the overwhelming caseloads, regional counsel, etc.). It's easy to criticize them in hindsight; but, I didn't see anyone advising against them when he first put them into play.

Cut Carlos a break and place the blame where it really belongs......the state leadership. If we do that and start supporting Carlos (and opposing legislators who can't see the forest for the trees), maybe we'll actually get something done.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Be on the lookout next year for the Law Firm of McWhorter & Seff, P.A.

Anonymous said...

BTDT

You are a tight ass half wit establishment pussy. I really hate people like you. To rest the blame on the legislature and not Bennett and now Carlos who idols Bennett is to show your disconnect with the spirit of a once great office. When I worked at the office we had 230 lawyers and a huge budget!! Cut the older dead weight lawyers like Rory Stein and his lap dogs(melnick, henry, and bobby aaron) who have a combined iq of 250. Yet they are kept on merely left to covet their future pensions. Its like a welfare state for tired old lazy left wing lawyers. David Weed is still on the books for Gods sake! Skill is not rewarded with pay raises but envied and hated upon. The spirit of the office has been dead for the last 6 to 8 years.

Anonymous said...

11:24---obviously your anger and hatred toward Carlos and the current administration is blinding you.

The first thing I said was, that the morale problem exists because of a "long line of malfeasance." How can you possible interpret that to mean that I supported Brummer or the folks who ran his office? (I didn't.......I thought he was useless during at least the last 10 years).

I also said that I believe that Carlos, despite doing a "decent" job, contributed to the probem.

My point, which apparently wasn't clear to you, is not that the office is functioning well; it's obviously not. It's that the legislature has made Carlos (and Kathy's) job next to impossible during the past few years.

The emotional, heated, over the top comments and fighting don't help. If people want things to get better, they need to tone down the rhetoric, get involved, and help improve things. The name-calling, etc. may make you feel better, but accomplishes nothing.

BTDT

PS----I DO, however, find it amusing that you'd call a guy who, in successive posts, bashed the way we elect judges, hammered the legislature, and pointed out the long line of malfeasance at the PDO an "establishment" guy. I also find it sad that you can "hate" someone you don't even know simply because you disagree with their view that Carlos is doing a "decent" job. Really, it's pathetic. None of this is personal and there's no reason for you to make or take it that way.