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, August 26, 2010
We received this comment, and have been scratching our heads as to who the judge is:
(the full comment is on the comments sections of yesterday's post.)
Regarding a Hypothetical Certain Judge: being in a big firm, I have heard comments over the years about his courtroom. I had never had a case assigned to him. About a year ago, a colleague asked me to cover a motion calendar hearing on an unopposed motion before Hypothetical Certain Judge (opposing counsel wouldn’t be there and told me to represent her agreement). ... The morning of the hearing, I asked a new associate if he’d like to come to court with me, ... So I showed the associate how to find our case on the docket and check in with the bailiff. ...The associate and I approached the bench, informed the court that we were submitting an agreed order on a motion and that opposing counsel consented to the entry. Hypothetical Certain Judge noted the docket didn’t have a lot of activity for the past few months (the case was less than a year old). I informed the court that the parties had been engaged in substantive settlement communications over the past few months and we were hoping to wrap the case up in about a month. The judge scowled, and speaking to me like I was a child told me that if he doesn’t see some record activity he’s going to call us all in. Just dripping with condescension is the best way to describe it. I told him that, respectfully, the parties didn’t want to engage in expensive discovery ... With a dismissive flick of his hand, he said, scowling “move this case along.” He entered the order. ...
I was not going to vote Tuesday. Around 4pm I started thinking about the experience I just told you about. I called my significant other and arranged to meet at our polling station after work and left early. We voted for Hypothetical Certain Judge’s opponent.
MR. Hector Lombana wrote in and had this to say:
I have seen many comments on this blog about Manny Alvarez being a CABA candidate.CABA does not endorse candidates,individual CABA members might ,but never the organization.As a matter of fact there were CABA members and Ex Presidents on both sides of this particular election.
BTW Congratulations to Judge Ed Newman on a hard earned victory!
Hector J. Lombana Thursday, August 26, 2010 7:56:00 AM
Rumpole says: A few thoughts:
First, both Judges who lost cannot say they weren't warned. For years attorneys have complained- on this blog-to the chief judges- and amongst each other- about Peter Adrien. Lawyers seeking to assist him scheduled meetings with him. The answer was always the same: "I will run my courtroom my way."
It is no accident that Larry Handfield, an attorney who is nationally known and highly respected in this community, was the treasurer for Adrien's victorious opponent- Samantha Ruiz Cohen.
We know that Mr. Handfield tried (and won- so his actions are not sour grapes) at least one case before Judge Adrien. We suspect he attempted to speak with the Judge at some point after the trial, about his actions, and how he ran his court. We also suspect he was similarly brushed off.
If you think about it, it takes a lot for a well known attorney to actively campaign against a sitting circuit judge. Among many considerations is that you don't want to incur the wrath of other sitting circuit judges. However, in this case, it is well known that not many of his colleagues are ruing his loss.
You reap what you sow, and Mr. Adrien sowed his courtroom with disrespectful treatment of attorneys, clients, witnesses, and courtroom staff (one older court reporter had "an accident" after the judge refused to give him a bathroom break.).
Judge Seff's defeat is a little more complicated. Judge Seff brought to the bench over two decades of not just experience, but the reputation of fairness and honesty as a prosecutor. To be sure, the pages of this blog's comments section were littered with complaints about her courtroom demeanor. So she was warned as well. While we think her defeat has less to do with a few dozen attorney's complaints, and more about the politics of Dade County, there is a message here as well.
There is also a message for Judge Newman, and it has little to do with the now infamous court proceeding against one attorney. One case does not a career or reputation make. And while we endorsed Judge Newman, he would be well advised to look in mirror and ask himself what he can do better. There is more to the undercurrent of belief that he has some problems in how he runs his courtroom than this one case. If he feels his victory here will insulate him from further challenges, he is sadly mistaken. Just ask former Judge Martin Kahn. He was challenged in every election cycle he sat on the bench (wrongfully we believe), and finally he was beaten.
There are lessons for all Judges from this election cycle. We hope they pay more attention to this than the FLW's gathering dust in the corners of their chambers.