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, February 27, 2010

COHEN/BACKMAN BROWEIRD SUMMARY

Ok. lets summarize- because to keep track of those wild and crazy judges north of the border you need a scorecard and a blogger named Rumpole.

Judge Dale Cohen has a massive JQC complaint filed against him after he set out to intimidate a lawyer who had filed a lawsuit to remove Cohen's wife from the judicial ballot in the last election.

During one hearing, Judge Cohen called his wife to testify as a witness. The lawyer objected to being put in an impossible situation to which Judge Dale Cohen responded with this brilliant judicial quip: "You mean if I rule in your favor I don't get dinner tonight?"

Say what you want about Judge Cohen, but he knows where his chickens are roasted.

The Judge is also...how do we say this politely? "Challenged" when it comes to the use of commonly known sayings or aphorisms; to wit he said this twice during the prelude to the hearing, in response to the attorney positing the various problems of cross examining the judge's spouse:

"We'll approach that bridge when we get to it."


Now lets think about this carefully for a moment. There is a bridge in the distance. You walk towards it. The act of walking towards the bridge is in fact the approach to the bridge. When you get to the bridge, you've already approached it. You're now at the bridge. Your choices are to cross the bridge, (and ruin your judicial career) or perhaps a coconut falls from a nearby tree, luckily striking you in the head and knocking some sense into you- at which point you don't cross that bridge (and don't broach the rubicon sending you into professional ruin.) (That last link to "rubicon" was provided for those judges who read this blog, and there are more of you than you all care to admit.)


Thus the saying : "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

(The Florida Bar is sponsoring "Common sense sayings for the Judge in Broward."

3 CLE credits. They're trying to get Milt Hirsch to teach the course.)


The fallout from Marti Levy Cohen running for Judge was that Judge Dijols lost his bid for election (he was appointed and drew two opponents. Levy-Cohen didn't win
either. )

Broward Beat reports that Judge Cohen is shunned at the Broward Courthouse by his colleagues worse than Rumpole walking through the administrative suites at silent Charlie's PD emporium.

(Fun Broweird fact: Marti Levy Cohen announced to run against Judge Pedro Dijols a few weeks after the Cohens invited Dijolis and his wife out for dinner. With friends like these....who needs prosecutors?)

Marti Levy Cohen is again running for Judge.

Her opponent is a young lawyer with the last name of Backman. (uhho...this is about to get really good).

Judge Paul Backman sits on the JQC, which is the organization that filed the complaint and may seek to remove Judge Dale Cohen from office.

The Backman running against Marti Levy Cohen....is Judge Backman's son!

Only in Broweird.

What's so great about this mess is to see the judicial house of Broweird imploding upon itself in a frenzy of bad karma, back stabbing, greed, and general nastiness.

Broward judges are now treating each other the way they've treated lawyers from Dade for years. And that says it all about payback.

We're getting a bag of popcorn and sitting back and reading the Broward Blogs this weekend. You can't get this stuff from the movies.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

WHO AM I?

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.

SOME SAY SOTO


New Chief

Some say Judge (Bertilla) Soto supplants Stan (Blake) as Stan slips the surly bonds of the REGJB and slinks, slips, and slides to the Lawson center courthouse where he will sit in Family court.

Rumour has it that Judge Soto will be our next administrative judge.

A few thoughts:

Shouldn't "Family Court" be called "Ex-Family court"?

Judge Soto appears to be a solid choice. She is knowledgeable, pleasant, runs a good courtroom, gives a fair trial to both sides, and appears to be well respected by her colleagues (which quite frankly isn't something we'd brag about.)

Our inside source told us that Judge Soto got the job as Class President, err.... Administrative Judge by promising less home work and more time at recess if her class mates would vote for her. She also promised to put a soda machine in the lunchroom.




Wednesday, February 24, 2010

JUDGE FLETCHER HAS PASSED AWAY

Judge Fletcher of the 3rd DCA has passed away.


Judge Fletcher was a former Miami County Attorney and the 3rd DCA's resident expert on Land Use issues.

Judge Juan Ramirez, now Chief Judge of the 3rd DCA was quoted by the Herald as saying this:

In matters of land use, ``his expertise went way beyond mine,'' said Ramirez, now the appellate court's chief judge. ``We miss him dearly when we get a complicated land-use case. . .He was a very persuasive colleague.'



Judge Adrien Stands out....
As the only incumbent Judge with two (2) opponents. The DBR article here notes that with 20 of 80 judges standing for election, only three (Adrien, Seff, and Walsh) have opposition, and Adrien is the only Circuit Court Judge with opposition. (Former Judge Jeffrey Swartz and former Prosecutor Samantha Ruiz-Cohen).

We make no bones about our utter disgust with Adrien as a Judge. We believe that in one sense he is the poster child for why there should be Judicial elections. On the other hand, if Judges were appointed for a term of years, renewable by a commission or an approval election, it's highly unlikely Adrien would be a judge to begin with.

Thus the issue of election versus appointment for judges continues to be a thorny one.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

JUDGE BAGELY LOWERS THE HAMMER

On Aventura and its pesky video ticket system. "Unconstitutional"! Says the Judge.


We just have one question after perusing the article?

"Ticket Cricket"?? What the hell is that?


BROWIERD

From the Broward blog comes all sorts of weird stuff about "The Juice Blog" being sued for these posts here and here.

From the JAA Blog:

Clouds in the coffee and lawyers in The Juice? - uh oh. Rumor has it The Juice blog may be sued over this post and this one. . We're told a request for retraction may be en route, after which a lawsuit may follow. Apparently, some pretty powerful feathers have been ruffled, over what people close to the parties swear are false accusations. All we can say is The Juice has it coming, since they really spit in the eye of decent, hardworking bloggers everywhere when they traced IP Addresses for a story. Ironic too, considering they work with the iconic Daily Pulp, whose Bob Norman, like JAABLOG, would go to jail before betraying a commentator's trust (not that we'd even know how to trace an IP Address - heck, we can't even figure outPhotoshop). In any event, we'll be watching this one closely, since it'll be interesting to see if litigation can determine exactly where those comments came from.


Rumpole says: Lets be clear about one thing. A journalist we are not. And outside of attorney/client privilege material, we ain't going to jail for nobody, especially for as something as stupid and insignificant as this blog. More power to the guys running the Broward Blog and Bob Norman, but don't expect us to do much more than buy you a cup of coffee if somehow you get into hot water with our humble blog.


JOES/JUDGE RONALD FRIEDMAN
Memo to Judge Ronald Friedman:

When you go to Joes on a busy Friday/Saturday night and you give your name, stick to Ronald Friedman. It's just so gauche to use "Judge" when trying to impress the Maitre'D and get seated quicker.
And it causes people waiting to frown. Appearance of impropriety and all that.

Just some friendly advice from your neighborhood blogger, who happens to have eyes and ears (and snitches) everywhere.

Monday, February 22, 2010

BYE BYE BLAKE?

The rumor is that Judge Stanford Blake, head honcho at the REGJB is rotating to (Update) Family (not civil as we earlier reported)

No word on who is replacing him. Judge Adrien has been nominated by readers of the blog, but Samantha Ruiz Cohen may have something to say about that. We hear her campaign is going like gangbusters and just about every day we see a different fundraiser for her in our email. Greenberg Traurig is throwing one for her soon, and that's a pretty hefty firm to have on your side. Judge Adrien's days may well be numbered and that, in our humble opinion, is not necessarily a bad thing.

Good move? Bad move? What say you?

Who do you want to see take over the reins as CJ for the REGJB?
("Where have you gone Ralph Person? Our courthouse turns its lonely eyes towards you")


Global warming- the good news: probably less hurricanes.
Global warming the bad news: more powerful hurricanes.
Read all about it in the Herald here.


Friday, February 19, 2010

WHO WAS THAT MASKED MAN?

UPDATE: Fins cornerback Will Allen has been arrested by the Miami Beach Police Department for DUI. Yahoo Sports article here.

UPDATE: The former self described "vicar" of American foreign policy, and perhaps the savior of the American presidency during his tenure as Nixon's chief of staff during the last days of Nixon's presidency, General Alexander M. Haig has passed away.


ZWEIG???!!!

Visitors to felony bond hearing court today may have been a bit startled to see a ghost from the past. Who was that strange fellow sitting on the bench with the long gray pony tail?

Just who was that judge who was later seen in Au Bon Pain peddling a CD (proceeds to charity) with his picture on the front canoodling with a well endowed, much younger Panamanian woman?

Why none other than the man, the myth, the legend.......(and the rock star??)

Rick Margolius!!!!

Can't get enough of Judge Margolius a/k/a "Zweig"? (Don't ask us, we have no idea)

Then go here to his website, where you can see the cover of his new hit CD "Running out of Time", and listen to the title track (we've always been partial to the single "I'm drunk"*) while perusing some very interesting pictures of our hero canoodling with some of his legion of Panamanian female fans (and one picture of Rick with Ray Rodriguez in Vegas)

Retirement seems to agree with Rick Margolius, and yet.....we're like a persistent rash. Some how once the REGJB gets in your blood, you can never get it out. So Margolius returns for some part time judging, and some full time Miami fun.

See you in court, just waiting for a bond hearing for old times sake.



*No kidding. That's actually a song on one of his previous CDs.



UPDATE: He's our favourite current president. He's a biologist with a doctorate in Zoology. He was neither elected nor appointed nor did he seize power in a military coup. And after a few weeks as President the man the NY Times says is a "obscure son of a rural canoe-carver and fisherman" who is a "mild-mannered academic in a black fedora" is drawing rave reviews for his presidency. We are of course speaking of Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria. The NY Times article is here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

3rd DCA ROUNDUP - CIVIL PROCEDURE EDITION

For perhaps the first and last time, we discuss an issue of civil (yuck) procedure.

Murray v. State. For all you civil commitment mavens out there be warned: to preserve a sufficiency of evidence argument on appeal not only must you make a timely motion for a directed verdict, but to preserve the issue you must also make a post verdict motion for entry of a judgment in accordance with the motion for directed verdict. Fla. R. Civ. Proc. 1.480(b). (This is the first and last time you will see us cite to a rule of civil procedure.


Query: What should a defense attorney be allowed to argue in closing? Well for starters, anything the jury is instructed on. Duh!.

Serge Jean v. State. Judge Areces catches a reversal for limiting the closing argument of the defense attorney. If an instruction is given to the jury, counsel must be given an opportunity to address the jury on the matter. In this case in which the client was charged with escape, the defense attempted to argue the issue of lawful custody during closing argument. The court sustained an objection when the defense began to challenge whether or not the defendant was in lawful custody. However, the issue of lawful custody was explained to the jury in instructions. Counsel should be permitted to present all legitimate arguments. In so doing, the trial court must afford counsel wide latitude in presenting the closing argument. However, a trial court abuses its discretion when it fails to afford such latitude to defense counsel and, as a result, counsel is precluded from presenting his or her theory of the case to the jury.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ENOUGH

UPDATE: Ok. Not quite enough on Catalano & Hirsch. We've received multiple reports of an FACDL (Motto: Pay your dues and don't bother us) Meeting last night :

Anonymous said...

Very funny because last night at the FACDL board meeting, Milt used words that had to be looked up. It got a few laughs.

By the way, he sat right next to Mike C and they had no problems with each other.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 8:06:00 AM


Rumpole says: This is welcome news. Both of these men are two of our finest members of the criminal defense bar in Miami.


We've had quite enough of Messrs. Catalano and Hirsch for a while.

Time to move on.

PD Sisselman reports that Lourdes Simon has been tapped by Governor Quisp to be our newest County Court Judge. Congratulations.

Boy has this week been tough.

From the comments:
Anonymous said...

most people who comment on this blog do so with reason and with respect for their fellow man. then there are some of you who just know how to throw insults. In all my time reading this blog, I have never seen Rump insult anyone, just state his point of view. It is really sad that as attorneys some of you just can't express yourself without the low blow insults.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 9:27:00 AM


Rumpole said...

9:27 Am- I am fairly certain I have insulted some Judges along the way.

I know I've tried.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 5:12:00 PM.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

IN PRAISE OF MICHAEL CATALANO

Michael Catalano, much discussed on these pages in the last few days, does not need anyone to defend him. He is quite capable of doing that himself. We however, do feel compelled to praise him.

The facts of this mess are contained in the previous post and the link to the Herald article. In brief, Mr Catalano refused to take part in an attempted fraud upon the court that would have benefited his client. Beyond refusing to participate in the fraud, Mr. Catalano reported the crime and cooperated with the investigation, making controlled phone calls and wearing a wire at one point.


The first thing Mr. Catalano needs to be praised for is his agreement to assist the public defender on a pro bono basis in this extraordinarily difficult case. As pro bono clients go, this is as difficult assignment as one could find- causing the death of three innocent children.

The second thing is that what most commentators on this blog have seem to forgotten (and what Mr. Catalano did not forget) is that we as criminal defense attorneys do not have any special immunity that allows us to not report a crime or not to assist authorities when we witness a crime. (Outside of the unusual circumstance of the attorney learning of a crime through the attorney/client relationship.)

Mr. Catalano (if he is to be believed) was solicited to commit a crime. And not just any crime, but perjury in the form of an affidavit that would perpetrate a fraud on the civil court system. This was a serious crime that strikes at the heart of our legal system.

The easy thing to do would have to been to ignore the solicitation and avoid this mess.

The hard thing to do- and the right thing to do- was to report the crime, which Mr. Catalano did.

For that Mr. Catalano deserves praise on these pages, and elsewhere. Mr. Catalano did the right thing. His payment thus far has been negative publicity and headaches that have not and will not soon end.

For doing the right thing in the face of adversity, Mr. Catalano deserves our praise.

And now a brief word about Milt Hirsch.

Mr. Hirsch, superb defense attorney, and current candidate for Circuit Court judge, was quoted in the Herald as disparaging Mr. Catalano's actions. Mr. Hirsch's words implied that as a defense attorney, Mr. Catalano should have known better than to report a crime and cooperate with authorities. Mr. Hirsch's words implied that Mr. Catalano had somehow violated some oath and requirement of confidentiality.

Nonsense. And Mr. Hirsch should know better. If and when he becomes a Circuit Judge, Mr. Hirsch will be responsible for judging those who are accused of violating the laws of our State. Attorneys have an affirmative duty as officers of the court to not just avoid perpetrating frauds upon the court, but to report such behavior upon learning of it.

Would Judge Milton Hirsch disparage an attorney for outing an attempted fraud upon the court?

Attorney Milton Hirsch can defend his client to the very best of his considerable abilities without disparaging an attorney who has done the right thing. And shame upon Mr. Hirsch for doing otherwise.


This case is a mess. Mr. Catalano didn't create it. He volunteered to represent a client who needed help when no one else would stand with him. Mr. Catalano has acted in the very best traditions of our profession. And along the way Mr. Catalano has been dragged into a mess he didn't create and surely wishes had never occurred.

There was an easy way out for Mr. Catalano, but he didn't take it.

How many of us would have taken the easy way out?

See you in court. Sometimes this job is a lot harder than it seems.



Sunday, February 14, 2010

CATALANO WEARS A WIRE

Update: As soon as this never ending day ends, I will be posting the definitive Rumpolian view on the Catalano contretemps. Stay tuned. You may be surprised.

Update: Catalano's wardrobe criticized by the civil lawyers below.

About a year ago a very tragic case occurred: Gabriel Delrisco was driving a car that hit a mini van and killed three children, ages 10, 7, and 4.

Michael Catalano is a the defense attorney for Derisco.

Catalano complained that civil attorneys for Delrisco offered him a proposition: Have Delrisco say he was drinking at a specific bar in Homestead just before the accident, allowing them to file a lawsuit against the bar, and the family would agree to a lighter sentence.

Catalano went to the SAO, and wore a wire in a least one meeting with Delrisco's attorneys, who are represented by Milt Hirsch. Never at a loss for words, Uncle Miltie had this say:
`Setting aside the unattractive prospect of a criminal defense attorney posing as an undercover informer for the police,'' Hirsch said, ``I have not heard anything from the state attorney's office to suggest there are law enforcement concerns about criminal misconduct on the part of Ariel Furst or [co-counsel] Luis Stabinski.'

Catalano had this to say:

Catalano said he took the unusual step of approaching prosecutors because he wants to ensure that Delrisco, if convicted, gets a fair sentence.

``It's my client, I have to give him my best,'' Catalano said.

Rumpole says: Memo to Catalano: your client is a "he" not an "it", We should all try to humanize our client, especially before juries and in the Herald.


The title to the post links to the Herald story.

The civil lawyer's view of this mess, and a critique of Catalano's sartorial choices in his undercover role is here on the South Florida Lawyer's Blog.



VALENTINE'S DAY





"Love is all you need. "
John Lennon.


A little business on a holiday:

Roy Black has a new case: A billionaire West Palm beach Polo enthusiast blew a stop sign in his Bentley and sent a 23 year old young man who had just graduated college into a canal in the Hyundai he was driving, killing him.



SHARPSTEIN AND SHOHAT WIN A BIG ONE.

Sharpie and Shoat got an unusual acquittal on Friday. Representing former top DEA Agent Tom Raffanello on charges he destroyed documents for former Boss/Billionaire Allen Stanford, whose company had received a federal subpoena, visiting Judge Richard Goldberg issued a Rule 29 acquittal after the jury, in the middle of deliberations, sent out a note asking if they could convict one defendant on the substantive charge while acquitting him on the conspiracy.
The Judge, who had previously called the evidence weak, and had reserved on the JOA motions, apparently had had enough with the jury system and took matters into his own hands, issuing the acquittals for all defendants before the jury had the chance to return a verdict.

This is different from what happened in Broward with Lebow. That case has been generating much of the discussion on the blog these past two weeks. But it is highly unusual for a Judge to issue an acquittal during deliberations- and extraordinarily unusual in light of the jury's note.

Ace Federal Blogger David Markus has continuing coverage of this unfolding story here.

where is rumpole? (we can't resist a good "bake", dude)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

3rd DCA ROUNDUP VALENTINES EDITION

Before we get to our roundup, a quick briefing from the Colonel Of County Court:

The Colonel reports:
Alright, settle down. Just a quick heads up. The last few Mondays have seen a significant increase in traffic in county court. Most courtrooms are overflowing with defendants, witnesses, cops and lawyers. This week we have the perfect storm brewing: A Tuesday trial day with no soundings and a Monday holiday. This Tuesday is going to make most of us wish we were in Baltimore in bikini. It's going to be crowded, rough, and frustrating- and that's just getting into the building. Ok. You've been given a heads up. Act accordingly. And remember- there's gold in dem dere misdemeanors.

Thank you Colonel. Tuesday is shaping up to be a challenging day.

We start off our 3rd DCA review with a decision that candidly surprised us.
Query- what's the maximum non-life prison sentence a defendant can receive for a life felony? We haven't really ever thought about that question, but at first blush we probably would have said 99 years.
Wrong.

As Judge Rothenberg writes in Jordan v. State , the maximum non-life prison sentence a defendant can receive for a life felony is 40 years. So you either get life, 40, or less, and thus Judge Pinero catches a reversal (although it was a negotiated plea) for sentencing a defendant to 60 years for second degree murder with a deadly weapon.

We learn something new every time we write this blog.

Mistrial Mayhem!

In Douglas v. State, the court granted the writ of prohibition against bringing the defendant to trial after a jury was previously sworn and a mistrial was declared over the defenses objection when the DOC would not bring the defendant to court because of a quarantine issue. On the particular facts of the case- kudos to the defense attorney (probably a PD) who continually objected to the court declaring a mistrial without first being given the opportunity to speak with his/her client.
Furthermore, the lesson learned is that the method of having the bailiff chat with the jurors off the record and then report a few of them cannot reconvene a few days later does not rise to the high level of "manifest necessity" required for a re-trial after a mistrial. The opinion doesn't say which judge so blithely declared a mistrial under these circumstances.

And here's some inspiring language: The defendant has a right to have his trial completed by a particular jury of his choosing. Thomason v. State, 620 So. 2d 1234 (Fla. 1993). “Doubt about whether the mistrial is appropriate is resolved ‘in favor of the liberty of the citizen.’ The State must demonstrate ‘manifest necessity’ for the mistrial . . . .” Id. at 1237. “[A] mistrial founded solely upon the convenience of the court and the jury is certainly not manifestly necessary.” Cohens v. Elwell, 600 So. 2d 1224, 1226 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992) (quoting New York v. Michael, 48 N.Y.2d 1 (1979)). The State has a “heavy burden to exhaust less drastic alternatives before declaring a mistrial over the defendant’s objection during a criminal trial . . . .” Torres v. State, 808 So. 2d 234, 235 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001).

SHOW DAVID MARKUS THE MONEY!
Cause he didn't get it or any Valentines love in State v. Nelson. Held: The trial court does not have the authority to tax costs against the State Attorneys Office. Period. Veteran Appellate ASA Joel Rosenblatt gets the win here.

That's a wrap from the 3rd DCA. Be careful on Tuesday- tell your clients to show up early. Have a great long weekend. No more football until August (there's always the combine and then the draft.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A BROWEIRD MURDER CASE

UPDATE- We must say that the comments on the Lebow/Rossman contretemps have been very lively and well thought out. Keep it up. The comments about how the Late Judge Morphonios would have handled the issue are spot on.

UPDATE: Please be advised that the East Coast of the United States, north of Atlanta, to the Canadian boarder is CLOSED until further notice. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Please come back another time.

Last week we wrote about a murder case North Of the Border that ended when the State refused to give an opening statement and then refused to call any witnesses after a jury was sworn.

Here is the transcript in what we call Lebow(the judge) v. Rossman (the prosecutor).

The transcript is 68 pages and it reads like a slow moving train wreck. You know what's going to happen, but as you read it you just can't believe it will happen. But it does.

Who's at fault? It's a very interesting question.


MORE ON BENCH WARRANTS:

The issue is this- a defendant shows up ten or fifteen minutes late on a Monday trial setting. Ignoring the enormous lines in front of the building, the Judge order's the defendant taken into custody. Twenty minutes later the defendant - not wanting to spend time in jail- takes a plea. It's not justice. It's shameful. Prosecutors- whose job it is to seek justice- should refuse to take part in these dog and pony shows. And don't even get us started on the type of person who calls themselves a judge who engages in this shameful behavior.

A reader wrote this comment:

Rump
This court time issue is BS. Why do Judges play gottya if you come to a 8:30 sounding at 8:55. The court is still in session, the SAO, PD or PA are there , the Court the clerks and the reporter are there. Big deal, so you or your client are not there at 8:30 on the Fing dot. No harm- no foul, Likely the court will be on the Bench till 10 or 11 ( sometimes till 12 or 1), so what is lost the Judge has to call it out again. With traffic, lack of mass transit and the line to get in, not to mention parking, to BW or AC some one for being late is not only BS but wrong, legally and morally. It just shows how small and petty a Judge can be to A? - B/W or take someone in for being 15 min. late esspecially when court is still in session. FAIRLY Resolving the case not punishing the tardy is/should be the work at MJB!
D.Sisselman


And on a related issue- the County Court mess- a reader had this to say:

Anonymous said...

After all the talk and bullshit, Sam Slom did not listen again. To save the clerk a few bucks he is spending millions on police overtime and creating an absolute nightmare on Monday mornings.

The solution is to have many of the non DUI misdemeanros on any day but Monday.

Hey, what about afternoon trial calendars? Those damn judges are paid to work 9-5 and many go home at 1: 30 pm after forcing all of us to suffer from 8:00 am - noon on Mondays.

Here's an idea, how about a non jury misdemeanor trial calendar at 2:00 pm on Friday...yes Friday. What you say, no judges are around after noon on Friday? Well remember when Rosemary Barkett was Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court? She used to call judges randomly on Friday afternoons and do a bed check.

We need a new boss in town.