Friday, April 30, 2010


Dear readers, those of you who are longtime and careful readers of this blog know the deep and abiding affection with which we hold those dear addled souls who happen to wear black robes in Dade County. "Wait long enough" we are often heard to say "and one of them will do something stupid."

Presented for you consideration, one Judge (Circuit, no less) named WIlliam Johnson. A nice enough man it seems, although we have never had occasion to appear before him, or any judge in juvenile court for that matter.

It seems Judge Johnson had the political connections, know how, and wherewithal to get himself APPOINTED as a Circuit Judge. However, it seems that his talents lie in one direction only.
Judge Johnson becomes, to the best of our knowledge, the only Judge in the history of jurisprudence who has been unable to retire.

Early today we (El Capitan and I) reported on Judge Johnson's 11th hour (apparent) retirement from the Circuit Court. Faced with a challenger who filed on the day before the deadline, Judge Johnson, who is nearing retirement age, made what was probably the correct move for him, by retiring (or trying to retire). Once retired, Judge Johnson saved himself the expense and agita of running a campaign, not to mention that by retiring Johnson would be allowed to return as a retired Judge, and retiring now would also allow him to take advantage of the current lucrative retirement policies that may well change in the future.

Well, how hard can it be to retire? Pretty hard if you wear a robe in Dade.

Apparently it is complicated enough that Judge Johnson was unable to do it.
He is now (maybe) a candidate for re-election, as his "wait, forget what I just said/wrote" letter to the election elves was sent today, and you can peruse it here.

But what if Judge Johnson's "retirement" was enough to knock himself out of the race, and is considered a "resignation" and not a "retirement"? Johnson, could well find himself both out of a job, and out of luck.

We wish Judge Johnson well. Indeed, we may vote for him, so long as he promises to stay in Juvenile and not ask to go to civil court where meeting filing deadlines can sort of sometimes be an important thing to do.

See You Monday, when this whole mess begins to play out. What are the odds there is a lawsuit brewing over this out there?


RUMPOLE UPDATE: JOHNSON RETIRES AT 11:59!!!!!!! Rodriguez-Chomat is a judge.
(we told you there would be a surprise.)





These lucky winners have been RE-ELECTED to a six year term on the Circuit Court bench and an annual salary of $145,000. They are:

Group 03 John Schlesinger
Group 10 Scott Bernstein
Group 12 Bertila Soto
Group 20 John Thornton, Jr.
Group 26 Scott Silverman
Group 28 Jennifer Bailey
Group 30 Rosa Rodriguez
Group 32 Barbara Areces
Group 34 Gill Freeman
Group 40 William Thomas
Group 52 Michael Genden
Group 59 Nushin Sayfie
Group 73 Julio Jimenez
Group 74 George Sarduy

Congratulations are in order to Milt Hirsch who has been elected, without opposition. Milt will earn the title Circuit Court Judge on January 3, 2011.

Our contested elections:

Group 39


Judge Johnson withdrew his qualifying papers. Therefore, in a matters of minutes, Rodriguez-Chomat, is now Circuit Court Judge-Elect.

Judge William Johnson drew an opponent, (as we reported here FIRST yesterday). He is Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat. Rodriguez Chomat was born in Havana, Cuba in 1945 and he is 65 years old. If he wins, he will be a one term Judge; (unless they change the age limit). Jorge served in the Florida House, winning a seat in 1994 over Matilde Aguirre. He won 51% of that vote (3,928 to 3,731). He was re-elected to the House in 1996 without opposition.

In the Spring of 1998, while in Tallahassee during the legislative session, Rodriguez-Chomat became famous for picking a fight on the House floor. On April 13, 1998, Chomat scuffled with Rep. Carlos Valdes. Chomat approached Valdes on the House floor, “started insulting him, then grabbed his tie and the scuffle was on”. The debate that led to the fight was over whether to give people vouchers to send their children to private schools. Valdes supported the plan and Chomat opposed it.

That public “Tussle in Tally” may have led to Rodriguez-Chomat losing his House seat as he went down in defeat in the Republican primary in 1998 to Gaston Cantens with Cantens garnering 52% of the vote (2,592 to 2,370).

As I reported yesterday, Rodriguez-Chomat has been a member of The Florida Bar for 35 years.

Judge William Johnson sits in the Juvenile Division. He is 62 years old; so this will be his last term if he is elected. He was a Judge of the Compensation Claims Court for 20 years, from 1977-1997. He was then appointed to the Circuit Court bench by Governor “Walkin” Lawton Chiles. He won a full term in 1998 when he ran unopposed. He was re-elected in 2004, again without opposition. This will be his first contested election.

GROUP 45 This race pits Incumbent Judge Peter Adrien against challenger Samantha Ruiz Cohen.

GROUP 62 This race has two newcomers vying for the six year seat as the result of the retirement of Judge Paul Siegel. Monica Gordo will face Robert Kuntz on August 24, 2010.


These lucky winners have been RE-ELECTED to a six year term on the County Court bench and an annual salary of $137,000. They are:

Group 05 Fred Seraphin
Group 15 Judy Rubenstein
Group 20 Beth Bloom

Group 23 Carroll Kelly
Group 31 Lisa Walsh
Group 34 Rodney Smith
Group 35 Wendell Graham

Our contested elections:

GROUP 07 Incumbent Judge Edward Newman faces challenger Manuel Alvarez

GROUP 11 Incumbent Judge Flora Seff faces challenger Michaelle Gonzalez-Paulson



Lee Jay Seidman pulled an 11:59 am on Sandy and she now has opposition. So, we now have 11 contested Circuit Court races and Sandy will be working the Borscht Belt all summer long (from Century Village in Deerfield to Century Village in Pembroke Pines).

At last count, there are 10 Incumbent Circuit Court Judges that will face opposition. In “Milt Hirsch” fashion, Sandra “Sandy” Perlman gets elected to a Circuit Court seat without opposition when Incumbent Judge Cheryl Aleman disappears and does not file for re-election. Perlman, a PD, had several earlier face-offs with Aleman. First, during a First Degree Murder trial when Perlman moved to recuse her. Second, after Aleman tried to hold Perlman in Contempt of Court. And finally, they squared off before the JQC. Looks like Perlman has won Round Four without throwing a punch. Congrats to Sandy.

Also in Circuit Court, County Judge Lee Jay Seidman has filed today against Circuit Court Judge Susan Lebow. That makes it a three-way race with Jill Rafilovich joining the party.

In County Court, there will be a total of nine contested elections. Five Incumbents face opposition and two of the races have three candidates.





Our first update comes from North of the Border, where, thanks to the JAA Broward Blog, we learned that Judge Lee "six shooter" Seidman has filed against Judge Leebow, making it a 3 person race for Judge Leebow's seat.

And former Judge Jeff Swartz, who was first in against Judge Adrien, is also first out. Here is his withdrawal letter. Judge (for now) Adrien is left to tangle with the formidable Samantha Ruiz-Cohen. If you go by fundraising and contributions from attorneys, its not so surprising to see that Adrien has had almost no support from the legal community. Now why in the world could that be? Here's one thing for certain: Adrien will not slide by on that "Camacho" scam he pulled off against Judge Hank Harnage. Not when running against a candidate with the last name of "Ruiz-Cohen". So now it's down to competency and merit.

Here's the link to the candidates list. You have to scroll towards the bottom to get to the Judges in Dade and Broward. So far, outside of Johnson getting an opponent yesterday and Swartz dropping out, no new surprises, But that can change as quickly as the clock ticks from 11:58 to 11:59.

There's plenty of judges who didn't sleep too well last night, and who are glued to their computer screen and cell phone. While we predict a few more surprises, most will be ok.

We're going to do a little training today, so if you want to see Rumpole in action, we'll be riding our bike on the Key for a bit, then a short swim, back on the bike and off the key. We'll check in again after we've gotten home and showered.

Thursday, April 29, 2010



(Rumpole says: here we go.... PD " It's no Picnic " update, below. )



Judge William Johnson has drawn an opponent. Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat has paid the qualifying fee and is in. He is a member of The Florida Bar for 35 years. General Practice, Solo and Small Firm,,and Real Property, Probate and Trust Law, and Tax. According to his web site, the firm handles legal matters in the following practice areas: Federal Taxation, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate, Personal Injury, Automobile Accidents, Slip and Fall, Family Law, Divorce, Child Support, Probate, Bankruptcy.

ALSO .....Jeffrey Swartz is out. Adrien and Ruiz Cohen are in.



Long hours, low pay, ungrateful clients......and now no PD Picnic.

Yes, it's our sad duty to report that one of the mainstays and traditions of the PDs office- the annual spring picnic, has been canceled, allegedly because of lack of interest.

And why was interest in the picnic lagging? Because, as we have reported before, morale is in the toilet as Silent Charlie's House of Blues.

Now the secretaries are evaluating the attorneys.

There is a pervasive "Stallinist" atmosphere of fear in the hallways. PDs are wondering who is whispering about them; who is trying to curry favour with the big wigs on 5 by whispering behind their backs.

"If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear"

That is the slogan being peddled in the House of Blues.

Kind of like "if you're not guilty, you should have no reason to want a lawyer."

They should know better than that at the House of Blues. For shame.


Ask not for whom the bell tolls (you robed readers)
It tolls for thee....

Nunc lento sonitu dicunt, Morieris.

Friday at noon is the filing deadline for those who want to run for Judge.

Will Milt Hirsch get opposition?
Will Jeff Swartz jump out of the Samantha Ruiz Cohen race? (She's running against Judge Adrien).

Will Manny Alvarez and Judge Ed Newman challenge each other to a weight lifting contest? Whomever throws up the most plates wins.

Will every single lawyer in Broward challenge a sitting Judge?

Will Judge Lee "six shooter" Seidman lose his famous temper in the final minutes as he paces the halls of the clerk's office in Tallahassee?

We have reporters stationed throughout our state. From the wood paneled chambers of Judges, to the back room at Andrews 288 restaurant in Tallahassee,to Cafe Versailles on 8th street, the Justice Building Blog will bring you up to the minute* updates on who has opposition, who doesn't, who's crying, who's laughing, and what deals were struck.

Plus the award winning** political reporting and commentary of the Captain, make this blog the only site to monitor as the clock ticks down to high noon Friday.

(*we may go for an early afternoon bike ride, but as soon as we get back and shower and towel off, we'll let you know what happened. )

(**I think we gave him an award last year for something.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


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


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.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


First- a reminder to go to Tobacco Road tonight, get good and drunk (don't drive home) and tell your favourite Judge just what you think of him or her. Then in the morning start practicing probate.

The Bench/Bar mixer at a Bar is tonight- Tuesday, starting at 5:30 PM.


Say what you want about North of the Border, but they have a sizzling courthouse, sexually speaking.

You have Judges canoodling with Prosecutors (the Gardiner affair) and now you have ASA's affectionately scratching the arm of DUI officers, on video, during an investigation. Click here for the first of what they are calling the "Ride Along Motions to Disqualify" in Broward.

From the motion:

"The video reflects current felony ASA Katya Pisman grabbing and then subtley

scratching Deputy Hager's arm in a manner inconsistent with a purely professional relationship."

In reading the motion, and in particular the "scratching" allegation, we were immediately transferred back to our Constitutional Law class, when the professor, discussing the "appealing to prurient interests" definition of pornography, provided us with a definition of prurient.

We now turn to our faithful blog readers- the Word of the Day Guyz- who answered our email on this subject:

"Heya Rumpole- thanks for the shout out. This is an easy one:

Prurient: Etymology: Latin prurient-, pruriens, present participle of prurire to itch, crave; akin to Latin pruna glowing coal, Sanskrit ploŠĻ£ati he singes, and probably to Latin pruina.

Definitions include: marked by or arousing an immoderate or unwholesome interest or desire; especially : marked by, arousing, or appealing to sexual desire .Uneasy with desire; itching; especially having a lascivious anxiety or propensity; lustful; arousing or appealing to sexual desire."

Call on us anytime.

Word of the Day Guyz. "

Rumpole says: As we suspected and remembered, there is an "itching" component to one who has a prurient interest, and somehow it just fits in the motion's description of the ASA scratching the arm of the deputy in a manner that was "inconsistent" with a purely professional scratching. What exactly is a scratching that would be consistent with a professional relationship? Is it Justice Ginsberg asking Justice Scalia to "scratch my back" during a lull in oral arguments at the Supreme Court?

In any event, it's been forever since a fetching young ASA scratched us in a manner that was anything other than malicious.

See you in court with this itch that we just can't reach......


Monday, April 26, 2010


BREAKING NEWS: NOREIGA GONE. As of 6:30 pm Monday April 26, 2010, US Prisoner Manuel Noriega was on an Air France plane that had left Miami International Airport for Paris. We've exclusively learned that Noreiga ordered the kosher meal and a white chardonnay.





co-present a


for all Judges, DCBA Members, Prospective DCBA Members, Prosecutors, Public Defenders,

Criminal Defense Attorneys and Staff



5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.

Underwritten by and special thanks to:

Pat Dray

William Aaron

Adelstein & Matters

David Alschuler

Hersch & Talisman

Rothman & Associates

Clay Kaeiser

David Kahn

Mark Eiglarsh

Rumpole wonders: Lets cut right to the chase: Does "underwritten by" mean that drinks are free? The answer to this question greatly determines our availability for the event.




The following Circuit Court Judges face election this Fall and have drawn NO opposition:

Group 03 John Schlesinger
Group 10 Scott Bernstein
Group 12 Bertila Soto
Group 20 John Thornton, Jr.
Group 26 Scott Silverman
Group 28 Jennifer Bailey
Group 30 Rosa Rodriguez
Group 32 Barbara Areces
Group 34 Gill Freeman
Group 39 William Johnson
Group 40 William Thomas
Group 52 Michael Genden
Group 59 Nushin Sayfie
Group 73 Julio Jimenez
Group 74 George Sarduy

The following Circuit Court Groups are open/contested:

Group 21 Judy Kreeger ***

Two candidates have filed to run in this election: Miguel de la O and Patricia Kopco. However, Judge Kreeger has recently tendered her resignation letter to Governor Crist and will retire on June 30, 2010. The 11th Circuit JNC has asked applicants to submit their applications for this “open seat”. The deadline for submitting applications is May 10, 2010. Can the Governor take this seat out of the hands of the voters and make the appointment himself? It appears that he can and will attempt to do so. Will de la O or Kopco file suit challenging this move?

Group 41 Milton Hirsch***

Judge Gerald Hubbart is retiring. Milton filed for this seat on October 1, 2008. In the past 19 months, Mr. Hirsch has raised a total of $160,000 and deposited an additional $100,000 of his own money into his campaign account. Will the $260,000 scare off anyone from filing against him? Will Richard Hersch fly solo in his Cessna to Tallahassee and make an 11:59 am filing and by virtue of the "e" in his name, be first on the ballot in a race against "i" ? We will all know the answers to these questions on or before April 30, 2010, the deadline for filing.

Group 45 Peter Adrien, Samantha Ruiz Cohen, Jeffrey Swartz ***

Judge Adrien has filed for re-election to the seat he first won in 2004. He has raised a total of $9,870 for his campaign.

Mrs. Ruiz Cohen and Mr. Swartz each filed exactly one year ago. Ruiz Cohen has had, at last count, attended 432 campaign fundraisers, (that was a joke) and has raised $66,000. She has dropped an additional $112,500 of her own money into the campaign. Swartz has raised a whopping $250 in his one fundraiser, which was attended by one person, Rumpole; (that was also a joke). He has also added $2,160 of his own money to his campaign war chest.

Group 62 Monica Gordo, Robert Kuntz ***

Judge Paul Siegel is retiring. Ms. Gordo filed only one month ago and has raised $2,350 as of the last reporting period. She has also contributed $2,000 of her own money to the campaign. Mr. Kuntz filed 16 months ago and he has raised nearly $55,000. He added $100 of his own money to the campaign coffers.

So, my fellow bloggers, what say you? Which incumbents deserve opposition? Which incumbents will draw opposition? Should Milt Hirsch win without facing an opponent? Will anyone risk running against someone who has over a quarter of a million dollars that he is willing to spend to win a seat that is worth at least $850,000.

We will know the answers to these questions and more by Friday.


Friday, April 23, 2010



Judge Seraphin & Judge Graham have filed their papers TODAY and will be running to retain their current status as County Court Judges.

But first some breaking news from Rumpole:

BROWARD CENTRAL: DOWN GOES GARDINER (no, not that way). The Broward Blog The Juice reports that Judge Gardiner will resign from the bench rather than explain her thousands of texts to her "snookums" otherwise known as former ASA Howard Scheinberg, who happened to be prosecuting a defendant and was seeking the death penalty while he and the Judge were otherwise canoodling and laughing at jurors who couldn't stomach some gruesome crime scene pictures.

If you're someone who values uncaring, sarcastic and snide judges, then you might be saying "what a loss" to the bench and Broward. Otherwise this is a step in the right direction for a County that desperately needs to reshape and rehabilitate the image of its judiciary which right now is one step below that of Tiger Woods and Ben Roethlisberger and perhaps the ruling party of North Korea.



The following County Court Judges face election this Fall and have drawn NO opposition:

Group 15 Judy Rubenstein
Group 20 Beth Bloom
Group 23 Carroll Kelly
Group 31 Lisa Walsh
Group 34 Rodney Smith

The following County Court Groups are open/contested:

Group 05 Fred Seraphin ***

I am not sure how many readers out there know this, but Judge Seraphin has NOT filed to run for re-election. And no one else has filed either. Maybe Judge Adrien will drop out of his race and file for this "open" seat. Trivia: Name the Circuit Court Judge who left office and came back later as a County Court Judge???

Group 07 Edward Newman, Manuel Alvarez ***

Judge Edward Newman has an opponent. Those were my words on this BLOG on March 30, 2010 when I reported that Alvarez had filed to run against the sitting jurist. The same week that Alvarez filed his papers and said “I'll see ya”, Newman responded with an “I’ll raise ya” by dropping $100k of his own money into the campaign. Newman has raised a total of nearly $27,000 and has added $110,000 of his own money to the campaign. Alvarez opened his account with a personal loan of $1,000.

Group 11 Flora Seff, Michaelle Gonzalez-Paulson ***

Judge Flora Seff is attempting to win a full term. She also has opposition. Seff has raised over $41,000 and added $5,500 of her own money to the campaign. Gonzalez-Paulson has raised just over $7,000 and has put down $500 of her own money. The big issue in this campaign, at least as far as the readers of this blog are concerned is experience. Seff has been a member of The Florida Bar for 30 years; Gonzalez Paulson has eight years under her belt. Paulson supporters have made judicial demeanor an issue saying that Seff lacks it when she is on the bench. One side note that The Captain is unclear about: The Florida Bar lists Michaelle as Gonzalez Paulson (no hyphen). Her filing papers with the Elections Commission read Gonzalez-Paulson (with the hyphen). Either way, she would appear before Seff on the ballot. Anyone care to comment on this?

Group35 Wendell Graham ***

I am not sure how many readers out there knew this, but Judge Graham also has NOT filed to run for re-election. And no one else has filed either. Maybe Judge Adrien will drop out of his race and file for this "open" seat too. This is not a misprint. Seraphin & Graham – if you are out there – it’s time to “come on down” and file your papers.

So, my fellow bloggers, what say you? Which incumbents deserve opposition? Which incumbents will draw opposition? Will Seraphin and/or Graham decide to retire, or, file for a Circuit Court seat? And will Judge Adrien decide to run for County Court and abandon his Circuit Court seat?

We will know the answers to these questions and more in just over one week. ***COMING MONDAY - CIRCUIT COURT UPDATE***


Thursday, April 22, 2010


We admit it. We're sort of draftniks. Draft nerds. Whatever term you want.

So for the next few hours we open up the blog to draft discussion. Get on there and chant "TEBOW TEBOW TEBOW" for the next few hours if you like.

The St. Louis Rams are on the clock and in our humble opinion if they draft Sam Bradford they are fools. He is not close to being the best player in the draft and he is not a Matt Ryan or even a Matthew Stafford, which is to say he is not a franchise QB.

Best individual draft pick of all time? Easy.

14th round (and they don't even have 14 rounds any more) in 1961, the Rams select a little known defensive lineman. You now know him as hall of fame D-Lineman Deacon Jones.

Best draft of multiple players by a team in one year? Also easy. Pittsburgh Steelers 1974.
1. Lynn Swann (Hall of Fame WR); 2. Jack Lambert (Hall of Fame LB, one of the top 4 LBs of all time.); 4- John Stallworth (Hall of Fame WR); 5- Mike Webster (Hall of Fame Center. One of the 4 best centers ever to play the game).

Runner up: 1965 Chicago Bears- 1. #3 in the first round- Dick Butkus, Hall of Fame LB and one of the greatest to ever play the game. 1. #4 in the first round- Gayle Sayers, Hall of Fame RB.

See You On ESPN, all weekend long.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The 3rd DCA goes for a stroll this week. Come along.....

In MR v State, the 3rd, along with its resident health enthusiast- Judge Schwartz- affirms the long standing principle that it is just nice sometimes to take a walk, even if you happen to be doing it in an area known for prostitution and even if the person strolling is known to the officer has having engaged in the world's oldest profession in the past.

"The conduct of the appellant juvenile, a sixteen-year-old female, which consisted only of walking down the street in a “high prostitution area” at 9:30 in the evening, did not give rise to the founded or articulable suspicion of unlawful activity necessary to justify the Terry stop effected by the police when, after engaging in a consensual and uneventful conversation, they placed her in their patrol car pending a “record search.” "

We're going to assume that "uneventful conversation" is the type familiar to most men who attempt to strike up a chat with a woman, when the man is seeking one thing, and the woman another. At least that's been our experience way too many times to remember.

"The fact that M.R. was known to one of the officers as having been involved in prostitution on a previous occasion does not affect the issue of whether her conduct at the time of the arrest justified the stop. See Parsons v. State, 825 So. 2d 406 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002); Smith v. State, 592 So. 2d 1206 (Fla. 2d DCA 1992); Johnson v. State, 610 So. 2d 581 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992)."

Judge Langer takes the hit on the reversal, while kudos go out to the PDs office and Lisa M. Pisciotta, Ross C. Paolino and Nicolas Swerdloff as special assistant public defenders.

Meanwhile, in a decision sure to upset all of you Ferris Bueller fans, being late to class is now a crime (if you push a teacher on the way in).

See W.M. v. State,

W.M., who was late for class, pushed aside a teacher who was blocking a doorway to prevent his entry into a classroom, after repeatedly having been denied entry and told to report to the behavior management teacher’s office, was sufficient to survive his motion for dismissal on this charge. See S.D. v. State, 882 So. 2d 447, 448 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004) (“Intent to commit a battery must be determined by the circumstances surrounding the touching or striking of the victim.”); see also Beasely v. State, 774 So. 2d 649, 657 (Fla. 2000) (confirming that on a motion for judgment of acquittal, all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence must be viewed in a light most favorable to the State);

So to summarize, walking is good, but running while being late for class may be bad. Talking is fine (even to a provocative young lass) but putting her in your car after an uneventful conversation is bad, especially if you're a police officer.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Jason Taylor is a Jet. Hard to believe. And the J...E...T....S open the season in Miami.

Trial Tax:

If there is anything that truly chills the Constitution and the Sixth Amendment right to trial it is the so called trial tax.

You know how it goes- the prosecution offers three years probation for a couple of third degree felonies, but your client wants a trial. Then the Judge and the prosecutor go through their well worn act - read: dog and pony show- in which the Judge asks the prosecutor what the maximum penalty is and what the prosecution will seek as a sentence after trial? The prosecutor then solemnly intones that the total possible penalty is 15 years, and suddenly the client with no priors with whom everyone was happy to see sentenced to probation is told that the sentence will be at least ten years and they will be taken into custody immediately after the verdict.

This show so incenses us that we have developed several strategies to deal with it.

How do you, as a criminal practitioner deal with the threats and attack on the right to trial?

And for those of you that wear a robe and read the blog, any defense of this despicable dog and pony show would be appreciated. We promise you a fair hearing and we truly are interested in any well reasoned defense of this procedure.

See you in court, turning down pleas and doing what we do best.

Monday, April 19, 2010


A follow up from our faux pas yesterday: A reader left this enlightening comment:

Kissimmee Kid said...

Man driving down road.
Woman driving up same road.
They pass each other.
The woman yells out the window, PIG!
Man yells out the window, BITCH!
Man rounds next curve.
Man crashes into a HUGE PIG in middle of road and dies.

Thought For the Day:
If men would just listen

Rumpole says: You're asking way too much. You might as well request that we stop and ask for directions as well. Never happen.

ANOTHER DAY.... another sitting judge in Broward gets a challenger. Judge Mary Robinson is next on the hit parade.

This just keeps getting better and better.

Our favourite Federal Blogger wins a civil case, finally.

And speaking of David O Markus, what has him so fired up?
Try calling him a former federal prosecutor to his face and see what happens.

Nobody's talking about Scott Rothstein anymore.

FACDL soiree this Saturday night at the Fountainbleau. We're not invited, as usual.


For those of you who missed it, or missed the several dozen requests in the comments section that we post it, here is the Herald article on the Mariel Boatlift and Assistant Public Defender Ivonne Cuesta, who just happens to have her name before the Governor for a County Court spot.

For those of you who missed the symbolism, therein lies the greatness of this country: From a Cuban refugee to a potential judge - only in America.
Good for you Ms. Cuesta!

Sunday, April 18, 2010



Despite the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland and a constant downpour as we write this Sunday night, court will be open for business Monday morning.


Very quietly Judge John Thornton has been elevated to an Associate Administrative Judge for the criminal division under the Judge Soto Administration. While Judge Thornton lacks judicial seniority, he has been a lawyer labouring in the Justice Building probably from the time Carter was President. That is to say that his has the courthouse and courtroom experience of decades, and the gravitas to handle the job. We think Judge Soto has chosen wisely.

What exactly does an associate administrative judge do anyway? Is s/he the one responsible for putting up the shutters when a hurricane approaches? Is s/he the one responsible for the donuts and coffee at the weekly judges meeting (and do they even have those?).


We're 11 days and counting from the close of the filing period for those of you who want to wear a black robe and all of the sudden become funnier, smarter, and more popular (at least in your own mind.)

UPDATE:- Rumpole backs down)

So far three judges in Dade have opposition; Judges Adrian (135 and counting) Newman (Dade PD Manny Alvarez) and Seff (some lawyer from South Dade with 5.000001 years of experience, or something like that.)

Rumpole says: I realized due to complaints in the comments section that the term I used to characterize Judge Seff's opponent was offensive to women, and that was not what I intended, so I have removed it and I apologize. I still think she should go to Judge Adrien's race, where I would support her.

Meanwhile North of the Border every judge has opposition, even those not up for re-election. Seriously, a record of at least 17 Judges have opposition, the latest being Circuit Judge Elijah Williams. We have been in front of Judge Williams in the past and we cannot think of a Judge more worthy not to have opposition. Besides being outspoken against the prior administration of Judge Ross - who can forget his memorable quote of not wanting to be seen "carrying the white man's water" ?- Judge Williams is just a good judge. Sensible, fair, wise; everything Judges in his community are not known for. And we haven't even gotten to the part where he donates a portion of his salary to certain organizations in the community.

It's total madness in Broward, which is to say SNAFU (which is a GI acronym from WWII which starts- Situation Normal. All F'd Up.)

And it's strangely quiet in Dade. The question is, will it last?

See You In Court, closing our Mac.