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

Monday, August 30, 2010

PRE TRIAL RELEASE FOR THE ROCKET

Retired pitching great Roger Clemens received pre-trial release today in Washington, DC federal court on his charge of perjury before congress. The title of the post links to the NY Times article.

Clemens is defended by Texas great Rusty Hardin.

JUDICIAL CHANGE:
Of the judges listed in the post yesterday by the incomparable El Capitain, Rumpole sees eight new judges and one arrest (what do we know that you don't? )

Attorney Richard Hersch has put his name in for a Circuit Court spot. Say what you want, but remember that beyond being a DUI whiz, Richard has been successful in representing clients in complex federal matters, and is the attorney on the groundbreaking self defense immunity case recently decided by the 3rd DCA and much discussed on this blog. While we remain solidly behind Judge White-Labora, Mr. Hersch will be a great addition to the bench.



TERM LIMITS?

A comment in the prior blog post asked whether anyone would be in favour of 2 term term-limits for judges? Interesting idea. We don't think it flies- but we've often thought that at least in criminal court there should be some form of internship where a sitting judge spends two weeks at the State Attorneys Office and two weeks at the PDs office every few years just to get reacquainted with the process the lawyers go through. Perhaps a stint in legal aid for judges in civil court.

<----------------Check out our new poll on why attorneys want to become a judge.

BROWARD FALL OUT

Not one incumbent lost a judicial race in Broward. However County Judge Lee Seidman who was a last second challenger to the seat Judge Aleman was vacating. He lost. And in an act of hubris, his wife was also a challenger for a judicial seat on the ballot as well. She lost.

DEATH PANELS:

We had our yearly executive physical at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota recently. (Resting heart rate of 61, LVEF of + 80%-which is remarkable. ) We had some spare time so we poked around looking for the "death panels" that Sarah Palin and the other Republicans promised in the face of the passage of health care reform.

We wandered through the administration area, crashed an "m&m" conference (morbidity and mortality conference held to discuss recent deaths in the hospital), had coffee with an orderly named Olaf (really) and generally asked around. Nothing . Nada. Nobody knew of (or would admit-aha) to a group of nefarious doctors parsing out health care with government approval to only those they thought fit to live. Can anybody enlighten us on these panels?

CALLED OUT:

A certain federal blogger with a crush on an certain heiress to a certain hotel chain has challenged out football picks, going so far as to suggest he will be simply betting against every team we pick. We have warned him that should he engage in such a reckless course, he will be back at the Federal PDs office quicker than you can say "Henne to Marshall-touchdown!"
And we have issued a challenge back- currently you can read it only in the comments section of his blog. More on this at another time.

See you in court.


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

SO YOU WANT TO BE A CIRCUIT/COUNTY COURT JUDGE ?????

Qualifying for judicial races in 2012 is still 21 months away but don't be surprised if candidates begin lining up to run for a seat on the County or Circuit Court. There are a large numbers of judges up for reelection in 2012, some of them will be aged out and others will retire, simply deciding not to run for reelection.

Here is the list**:

CIRCUIT COURT

54 Arzola, Antonio
68 Blake, Stanford
66 Brown, Joel
22 Cardonne Ely, Gisela
56 Dennis, Maria Espinosa
29 Echarte, Jr, Pedro P.
13 Fernandez, Jose L.
24 Glazer, Mindy S.
60 Gross, Maynard A
31 Korvick, Maria Marinello
48 Lando, Maxine Cohen
15 Langer, Lester
49 Leban, Mark King
14 Lederman, Cindy S.
61 Leesfield, Ellen
78 Manno Schurr, Valerie R.
79 Marin, Antonio E
80 Mendez, Marisa T.
08 Miller, David C.
25 Murphy, Dennis J.
67 Platzer, Victoria
65 Reyes, Israel U.
47 Rothenberg, Arthur
42 Schwartz, Lawrence A
43 Venzer, Ellen Sue

COUNTY COURT

40 Cohn, Don S.
09 Del Pino, Victoria
04 Faber, Robin
02 Francis, Mary Jo
25 Gayles, Darrin P.
14 Gonzalez-Meyer, Gloria
21 Hague, Andrew S.
41 King, Lawrence D.
08 Kravitz, Shelley J.
06 Krieger-Martin, Luise
29 Lehr, Myriam
12 Leifman, Steve
01 Marino-Pedraza, Patricia
39 Miller, Bronwyn C. ***
26 Ortiz, Maria D.
10 Pando, Ana Maria
37 Perez, Gladys
28 Pooler, Catherine M.
24 Ricker Wolfson, Andrea
27 Schwartz, Sheldon R.
32 Schwartz, Caryn Canner
38 Simon, Lourdes
03 Slom, Samuel Joseph
22 Stein, Linda Singer
33 Thomas, Teretha Lundy
18 White-Labora, Deborah




**I know I may have missed someone, so if there is an error, please don't hesitate to correct it.



***Judge B. Miller will be running as a Circuit Court Judge and her replacement (to be named) will be up for election as a County Court Judge.



Let the campaigning begin!



CAPTAIN OUT .....

Saturday, August 28, 2010

PENULTIMATE WEEKEND


SUNDAY UPDATE:
UHHO....

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Forecasters say Earl has strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane as it barrels toward several islands in the eastern Caribbean.

Meanwhile, the Category 1 Hurricane Danielle was bringing dangerous rip currents to the U.S. East Coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Earl could make landfall over the Northern Leeward Islands as soon as Sunday night.


The first cone of death for this hurricane season. If Mr. Seligman has any influence over hurricane Earl, now is the time for him to exert it. Remember that historically September is the worst month for hurricanes. The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 that hit the Florida Keys comes to mind. This was before they named hurricanes. Andrew and Katrina included, it is considered the most intense hurricane ever to strike the US. 408 people were reported killed, and the winds were reported to be so intense that it stripped away the clothing of people caught in the winds.

COMING MONDAY: THE CAPTAIN REPORTS!!

Good
SUNDAY morning! Here's the blog news you need in this final weekend before the Labor Day Holday is upon us.

Paris Hilton, Federal Blogger David's BFF, and sometime civil litigant before Judge Moreno in the Southern District Of Florida, was arrested for Possession of Cocaine in Las Vegas. The BBC reports here.

The Fins fell 16-6 to the Falcons in their Penultimate pre-season game Friday night.

The UK's Justice Minister- Ken Clarke- has proposed reforms to the UK's criminal justice system that would result in less incarceration and the creation of alternative programs that would work to reduce recidivism. The BBC reports here.

The Florida Legislature has responded to the suggestions by considering a bill that would impose a minimum mandatory prison sentence on any individual convicted of criticizing Florida's minimum mandatory prison sentence schemes.

Better double check those airline tickets to Mexico that you may have for your holiday next week. Mexicana is taking a siesta.

The Tea Party thinks it's being cute by scheduling a rally at the Lincoln Memorial during the weekend of the 47th anniversary of MLK's "I Have Dream Speech."

What the Tea Party organizers have failed to see is that you don't play for the Heat just because you can put on a basketball jersey. They can stand on the same ground; they can make speeches; but they can never take away the profound impact the non-violent struggle for civil rights made in this country in the 1960's.

We have judged many Tea Party candidates by "the content of their character and not the color of the skin" and found them to be wholly lacking.

Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, August 27, 2010

JUDGE JOE DAVIS

Attorney Joe Davis is your new county court judge.

Congratulations!!!

Comments?

Anybody have a link to a pic? We don't have one. People have been requesting one.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

HYPOTHETICALS

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.)

Anonymous said...
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.

See you in court.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

THE MAN IN THE ARENA

From time to time, when friends work hard and suffer defeats, we send them this excerpt from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt, given at the Sorbonne, France on April 23, 1910:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.



To our friends and colleagues Manny Alvarez and Flora Seff, and to Robert Kuntz, who we do not know, but who ran a good and valiant campaign, these words are for you, that you may be comforted by knowing that your place is in the sun- and not with those "timid souls" that Teddy Roosevelt so masterfully scorned. You all shall rise again.

HR.

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

THE WINNERS:

DADE COUNTY

Samantha Ruiz Cohen 121,015 - 70%
Peter Camacho Adrien 51,806 - 30%

Monica Gordo 105,841 - 64%
Robert Kuntz 59,164 - 36%

Edward Newman 88,567 - 53%
Manny Alvarez 80,138 - 47%

Michaelle Gonzalez Paulson 90,941 - 57%
Flora Seff 69,652 - 43%

All in all, as expected, except of course for the Paulson victory. The voters of Dade County have spoken and they have elected an eight (8) year "veteran" attorney over a career prosecutor than has spent 30 years practicing law. Did Flora have that "Loree Schwartz Feiler Fever" and turn off enough attorneys that appeared before her, that that reputation trickled down to the voters in our community? Was the Gonzalez name the primary reason why the voters elected someone with only 1/4 of the experience. And they didn't just barely elect her; this was a 14 point loss for Seff. I have no doubt Judge Seff will land on her feet and find another calling in the law where she can use her experience and talent to improve the practice of law around her.

And, now that Ed Newman has faced a serious opponent and has almost lost, will he change his ways on the 6th floor? Likely not. He believes that he is running the show up there the way it should be run.

Good luck to all the winners.

BROWARD

20 races and not one incumbent lost. Yes, you heard it right. Despite the ravings of the JAABLOG to throw the bums out and to challenge the current structure that has been running the courthouse for so many years, all of the challengers to the incumbents lost. And they lost BIG. The winners garnered 71%, 55%, 58%, 69%, 64%, 65%, 56%, 70%, 71%, 60%, 70%, 67%, 75%, and 70%.

There is one race that will go down to the wire and may result in a recount.

Circuit Judge Carlos Rebollo - 60,166 - 50%
Challenger Bob Nichols - 59,206 - 50%

What happened to the strong ethnic "Jewish" vote that used to carry the day for anyone running in Broward. Either they are all dead, stayed home, or the electorate got much more intelligent in the past few years.

By my count, there were 12 races where an incumbent Judge faced a Jewish challenger. The final tally: Incumbents 12 - Jewish Challengers - 0.

Gillespie beat Parker
Williams beat Schneider
Rodriguez beat Goldstein
Lebow beat Rafilovich
Destry beat Jakovich
Rebello is beating Nichols
McCarthy beat Bernstein
Luzzo beat Levine
Porter beat Seidman
O'Connor beat Sokoloff
Skolnik beat Steinsaltz
Merrigan beat Golburgh
Hurley beat Donoho
Pratt beat Berkowitz Carpenter
Robinson beat Breslow

Congratulations to former APD Sandra "Sandy" Perlman who destroyed County Judge Lee Jay Seidman in an open seat on the Circuit Court. Perlman had filed 18 months before the deadline. Seidman filed 18 minutes before the deadline. The voters chose Perlman 68% to Seidman 32%.

Congrats go out to APD Mindy Solomon as she won an open County Court seat by beating Roshawn Banks, 68% - 32%.

Congrats to Ken Gottlieb (former Hollywood Commiss, former State House Member) as he wins a seat on the People's Court by getting more votes than Steven Schaet, 65% - 35%.

Run-offs in County Court:

John Fry - 41,745
John Howes - 41,311

and

FJ McLawrence - 43,411
Mardi Anne Levey Cohen - 39,824
(Yes, she adds one more name after each election loss)

So, not much change "North of the Border"

See you in Court.

CAPTAIN OUT ......

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

REGJB ELECTION RESULTS 2010

SOMEWHERE TONIGHT, HANK HARNAGE IS SMILING. :)

Stay tuned to our award winning Judicial election night coverage. We will be updating frequently throughout the night.



10:41 PM 713 precincts reporting and 99 left: News: NEWMAN INCREASES HIS LEAD- he's now up by over 6,900 votes. THIS IS OUR LAST UPDATE TONIGHT- WE ARE GOING TO SLEEP.

Former Judge Peter Adrien: 49,656 - it will speak poorly of this county if this person breaks 50,000.

Samantha Ruiz-Cohen: 118,393


Manny Alvarez: 78,590

Ed Newman: 85,488


Monica Gordo: 103,136

Robert Kuntz: 57, 383 (This one is over. Mr. Kuntz cannot win.)


Flora Seff: 67,272

MGP: 88,920 (Sorry to say that this one is over as well. Judge Seff cannot win).


8:25 PM.
Our reader reports:
Early voting and absentees are in. Adrien already behind by 40,000 votes and with only an 8.5% turnout there aren't enough votes out there for him to make up. Welcome to the Circuit bench, Sam.

Rumpole says: There aren't enough votes for Adrien to come from behind. Put a fork in him. He's done. Good riddance. As to the others, especially Newman and Kuntz, we think back to two election cycles ago and Judge Sheldon Schwartz and last election cycle and Judge Stacy Glick. Schwartz was behind until North Dade reported at the end of the night, and he pulled out a squeaker. Glick was behind until the Gables and South Dade reported and then she ran away with it. It is surprising to see Manny Alvarez and Paulson with early and absentee voting strength. But lets wait a bit. No precincts are reporting yet.

Monica is in a similar position but up by only 30,000. Still not enough out there, Bob. Call this one Monica's to lose.

Seff is behind by 15,000 and can make up that difference. She will do well late in the black precints where turnout is heaviest. She can make it up there and this will go down to the wire. Call it a tossup at this point.

Eddie is only 5,000 down and like Seff will do well late. He's going to win pulling away.

SAMPLE BALLOT




HERE'S OUR SAMPLE BALLOT. And yes, we voted for Dan Gelber as well.





Here's a Judge Adrien poll worker slumping down on the job.
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:




V
OTE









It's been called the "greatest play in baseball" and voted as one of the top 100 moments in baseball history. It happened more than 34 years ago, on April 25, 1976, and it involved Rick Monday of the Chicago Cubs. And watching it may remind you why it's so very important to take advantage of the freedoms we all have and of our right to chose our elected officials in a free and democratic way.




Hundreds of thousands of young men and women have given their lives in defense of our country, your freedom, and everyone's right to vote. Last week, Rumpole ran a story on the 70th anniversary of one of Churchill's "finest" moments and it too reminded us how important it is to remember the sacrifices that others have made, for us and our freedom.




If you do nothing else on Tuesday, take a few minutes out of your busy lives, and go down to your local polling place and VOTE.



And Judges, take a line from Judge Lenny Glick's book on Election Day, and let your jury out a few minutes early so they can exercise their rights and vote.




Good luck to all of the candidates.






CAPTAIN OUT
.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

RUMPOLE ENDORSES

GOOOOOOOD MORNING MIAMI!!!

Samantha Ruiz-Cohen over Judge Peter Adrien.

This is a no-brainer. Ms. Ruiz-Cohen is eminently qualified. Mr. Adrien is not. If you read the appellate opinions on the cases Adrien has presided over, what emerges is the picture of a vengeful man not learned in the law. He was reversed for a vindictive sentence of some 30 years and he was reversed for not recusing himself from a case where one party was represented by an attorney who sued him in the last election. These actions do not bespeak an independent jurist who merely works to seek justice. In fact, those cases and others show just the opposite. We remember being in court a few years ago and watching the Judge belittle and yell at an attorney who told him that he served a police officer through the liaison unit in the REGJB. Again and again the Judge told the lawyer that was not the procedure for subpoenaing a police officer for a deposition. He was unrepentant when attorneys from both sides interjected and told him otherwise. In many cases we observed in his division we saw not only an ignorance of the law, but an inability to learn. He also had a nasty penchant for taking people -including in one notorious case- witnesses- into custody for de minimis reasons.

Reporting on the upcoming judicial elections the Herald had this to say on Sunday about Adrien: Elected in 2004, Adrien was ranked worst of all candidates in the Dade County Bar poll, with 55 percent describing him as unqualified. He did not return several calls seeking comment.


Judge Flora Seff over Michaelle Gonzalez-Paulson. This one is also easy. Judge Flora Seff brought to the bench as an attorney over twenty years of trying complex and serious cases. Ms. Gonzalez-Paulson is not even a close second in a comparison of experience and dedication to public service that Judge Seff has shown.

Judge Edward Newman over Manny Alvarez. This one is not so easy. Manny Alvarez brings a tremendous amount of experience to his quest to be a Judge. And there are many many Judges against whom we would have endorsed Mr. Alvarez. But not in this race. Quite simply Judge Newman has done a good job and he does not deserve to be replaced.

Monica Gordo and Robert Kuntz.

No endorsement. Or endorsement of both.

How nice is it to see two qualified individuals run for Judge?

Both candidates bring a different type of experience to their quest for the bench. Ms. Gordo brings the kind of trial experience that being an ace prosecutor produces. But Mr. Kuntz brings a varied life experience including a prior career as a journalist that would serve him well on the bench. We wish them both well, and either way Miami-Dade wins.

Well there you have it. Rumpole's much anticipated judicial endorsements.

Disclosures: we received no money or services in kind from any candidate. The cheese at Mr. Kuntz's fundraiser was better than the stale crackers at Judge Seff's. We once won a whole bunch of money when an aging Ed Newman picked up the blitz late in the game against the Saints allowing the Dolphins to score and cover. Soon to be Judge Hirsch offered us his entire motion bank on disk and an autographed Penguin Classics paperback copy of his previously published book with a new afterward from a distant ancestor of President Warren G. Harding if we removed the post about him this weekend, but we have so far proved immune from his enticements.







Saturday, August 21, 2010

"AN AFFECTIONATE FAREWELL"

Good Saturday morning. Here's what you need to have a spectacular Miami weekend.

Two more weeks before the Labour Day end of summer holiday. Our travel plans have been set for months. It's still not too late to nab that Hampton rental for the weekend.

There's been an election down under. (Doubt Joe Gersten voted .) It's still very tight between the PM's Labour and Opposition. Check the BBC for updates throughout the weekend.

The founder of Wikileaks has been accused of "rape and molestation" in Sweden. His supporters are saying this is payback for his website. As most you know, Sweden has four official levels of suspicion. As best as we can determine, the allegations are emanating from the prosecutors' office making this either very high or the highest level of suspicion.

Get ready to vote this week. We once saw Judge Lenny Glick discharge a jury early. Glick recounted to the jury how he would have never been a Judge without judicial elections and he encouraged them to vote. It was a nice speech and the jury seemed to appreciate it.
REGJB trivia- who did Judge Glick beat for election and what Judge vacated the seat Judge Glick ran for. Judge Stacy Glick is NOT allowed to participate in this trivia game.


Stay clear of NYC or you may bring back a nasty case of bedbugs, which is driving the City batty. More trivia- what is the Yiddish word for "bedbug" and in what prominent 1970's sitcom was the word part of the story line for one episode?


AU REVOIR MILT HIRSCH.

Known as "The Dr. Ruth of the 4th Amendment", renowned for his modesty and Garbo like desire for privacy, Milt Hirsch has resigned from the FACDL in preparation for his assent to the bench.

In typical Milt Hirsch fashion, he sent a simple and humble letter to the FACDL informing them of his pending resignation during which......in a most humble fashion......he compared his upcoming change of careers to.............Lincoln leaving for Washington after he was elected President!!!!

It's a must read and if you close your eyes, you can almost see Milt as the lanky lawyer from Springfield boarding a train to save the Union. (We sure he can and does. Frequently. Although to be fair, when we close our eyes, images of scantily dressed busty interns with whom we are working late always invade our thoughts. Clearly Mr. Hirsch is a better man than we are. )



hirsch

Friday, August 20, 2010

August 20, 1940.

One hot summer seventy years ago, a small Island of free men and women stood firm and alone against the onslaught of the dark forces of tyranny.

Great Britain. August 20, 1940. Winston Churchill addresses the houses of Parliament and the people of Great Britain.

Dunkirk has already fallen. The British army fled France, beaten by a German onslaught the likes of which the world had never seen. The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the United States' entry into the war was still more than 15 months away.

With Europe enslaved, Britain stood alone. On June 18, 1940, Churchill told the nation and the world that the Battle for France was over and The Battle for Britain was about to begin.

In perhaps his most famous speech, Churchill summed up what was at stake:

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say,
This was their finest hour.


In July 1940 Hitler ordered Hermann Goring to send his Luftwaffe against the Royal Air Force. They fought over the skies of Great Britain and London, the peak of the battle occurring August 18, 1940 in what was later called "The Hardest Day". Churchill watched fighter operations on August 16, 17, 18, 1940, and at one point after the end of a battle shooed away his staff saying "Don't talk to me. I have never been so moved."


And so every day and night in the summer of 1940, a few hundred young English pilots soared into the skies over their homeland, facing overwhelming odds and courageously ignoring an average life expectancy of less than 90 days. With perhaps the fate of the free world and civilization as we know it hanging in the balance and on their wings, the Battle Of Britain was fought. The stakes were high. Knowing that a German victory in the air would bring on a full scale invasion of his Island, Churchill again addressed his nation and the world. The full speech is below, it is a shade less than eight minutes, and we strongly urge you to listen to it. He was the greatest man of the 20th Century and one of the very greatest leaders ever seen. And seventy years ago he had this to say:

The great air battle which has been in progress over this Island for the last few weeks has recently attained a high intensity. It is too soon to attempt to assign limits either to its scale or to its duration. We must certainly expect that greater efforts will be made by the enemy than any he has so far put forth....
The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All our hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day…





Thursday, August 19, 2010

JUSTICE IN DA HOUSE

(PD cursing update below)

We have it on good authority that
Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince will in the humble REGJB tomorrow (Friday) addressing a gathering of criminal defense attorneys sponsored by....we think....(can this be possible?) The Regional Counsel's Office???!!
It's some sort of CLE shingding that will be in the big courtroom on the 4th floor.

We also hear Chief Judge Joel Brown will be in attendance. Yipee!!! (Judge Brown, click here for Google Directions to the Criminal Court House.-Update- a reader says this was cheap shot. See our response in the comments section. )

We know she will be in the house....just not sure why. Anyone with more info, please write in.

Fun Justice Quince facts: She was a joint appointment by outgoing Governor "Walkin" Lawton Chiles and in coming Governor Jeb Bush.

She is the only Justice ever to serve on the Florida Supreme Court who has a degree in Zoology.

When Governor Chiles appointed her to the 2nd DCA, she was the first African-American Woman to be appointed to a Florida District Court of Appeal.

And now Justice Quince receives the great distinction and high honour of being the first member of the Florida Supreme Court to address the Regional Counsel's Office, 3rd Region of Miami and parts of Hialeah.

See You In Court, but we already have all the CLE we need.

BREAKING BLOGS NEWS:

The NY Times is reporting that Rocket Roger Clemons will be indicted for perjury for lying about and denying use of steroids.

F-YOU UPDATE:
The PDs are allowed to curse again. Whew...
According to our source, it was all a big f'ing misunderstanding.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

READER'S POLL

It's that time of year again! Long time and careful readers of the blog awoke today knowing that with six days to go in a judicial election is the time we traditionally post our Judicial election polls.

The Polls can be found on the left (<------over there) and as always we ask "who should win" not who will win or even who you are voting for. The poll is meant to be a reflection of our readers' assessment of the ability of the candidate.

We will release our much anticipated endorsements soon.

In other news, as the Captain and the NY Times reported yesterday (there's a sentence you won't see anywhere else in the world) a jury in Chicago convicted Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, of just one count of the twenty four charges the government had leveled at Blago. The jury hung on twenty three other counts and all four charges against his brother and former fundraiser.

The government will re-try the embattled former governor, and this is where the unfairness of the system kicks in. It takes a monumental effort of time and money to fight the most powerful nation on earth to a standstill in court. 99% of citizens don't have the resources to fight a seven year investigation and six plus week trial once. The ability to do it a second time is almost non-existent.

Assuming he government crushes the former governor at a re-trial and he gets a twenty plus year sentence, is that fair?


We're going to take a rare bow and thank those readers who enjoyed our off topic writing yesterday of the late Bobby Thompson's electric ninth inning home run that brought the NY Giants from behind in the last inning and secured them their only pennant whilst playing in NY.

There's just something about the timeless beauty of baseball that makes it so enjoyable to write about.

See You In Court.




Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Shot Heard 'Round the World.

Dateline: October 3, 1951. The Polo Grounds,, New York.

3:58 pm.

Ralph Branca was on the mound for dem bums The Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Dodgers were up 4-2 and it was the bottom of the ninth.

As late as August 11, 1951 the Dodgers had a 13 1/2 game lead. But the Giants went on to win 16 in a row and 37 of their last 44, tying the Dodgers and forcing a three game playoff.

Bobby Thomson was at the plate. And a little known fact was that a rookie nicknamed "The Say Hey Kid" was on deck. Young Willie Mays was about to become a witness to history.

Whitey Lockman was on second, having just stroked a double scoring Alvin Dark and sending Don Mueller to third. Mueller slid awkwardly into the bag and broke his ankle. Clint Hartung was sent in as a pinch runner.

Charlie Dressen, the Dodgers manager, went to his bullpen. Branca got the call over Carl Erskine, despite the fact that Thompson, who was due up next, had blasted a two run shot off of Branca in the first game of the series. Dressen had seen Erskine bounce a few curves while warming up and he didn't think Erskine had his stuff that day.

So there it was-3:58 pm on a crisp autumn day in Coogan's Bluff in Washington Heights New York (right next to Harlem) as two players who knew each other very well faced off for the right to have their team face the Yankees in the World Series.

Thomson dug into the plate and Branca sent the first pitch right over the middle for a called strike.

Hartung danced just a little off of third as Branca hurled a high fastball for what he thought would be a ball, setting up his next pitch, which he planned to be a breaking ball down and away,

Thomson swung, and a few moments later announcer Russ Hodges was screaming "the Giants Win The Pennant!! The Giants Win The Pennant! The Giants Win The Pennant!!!"


Bobby Thomson passed away yesterday. Nicknamed "The Staten Island Scot" because of his Scottish heritage, Thomson will forever be remembered for perhaps the greatest walk off home run in the history of Baseball (although Pirate fans will tell you it was Bill Mazeroski's home run in the bottom of the 9th of the 7th game of the 1960 world series when the underdog Bucs beat the mighty Yankees in Forbes Field, Pittsburgh.)




Monday, August 16, 2010

Before we get to El Capitan: Coming soon- New Rules at Casa Charlie- "but don't say an 'f'ing' thing about it....or else."

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ELECTION CENTRAL 2010 – COUNTY COURT


Good afternoon loyal readers. The polls have been open for one week now and according to Miami-Dade’s Election Chief, voter turnout so far is light. You can exercise your constituitonal right to vote by absentee ballot, or, by showing up at a polling cite between now and Election Day during Early Voting, or, you can wait until Tuesday, August 24, 2010, Election Day.

In Miami-Dade County, voters will cast ballots in four contested judicial elections. Last week, we covered the two Circuit Court races. Today, let’s review the first contested race for County Court.

In the County Court, Group 7, incumbent Judge Edward Newman faces off against challenger Manuel “Manny” Alvarez.

JUDGE EDWARD NEWMAN

He has been a member of The Florida Bar since 1987. He was first elected to the bench in 1994. Those of you old enough to remember will recall that Judge Newman actually attempted to run for Judge in 1992. Only problem: the Florida Constitution says that you must be an attorney for five years before you can qualify to run for Judge; at the time, Newman was not.

Newman, like Circuit Court candidate Robert Kuntz, took up law as a second career. Newman played college football at Duke and was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1973 in the sixth round. He played 12 years with the Fins, went to three Super Bowls, won one (in his rookie season) and made the Pro Bowl four times as an offensive lineman. During his final season as a pro, Newman began taking night classes at the UM law school. He graduated with his law degree three years later.

His entire 16-year career on the bench has been in County Court. And, it seems from reading this blog recently, that our readers either love him or hate him. He certainly has his own way of doing things, and Coral Gables attorney and JNC member Gonzalo Dorta learned that when he appeared before Newman on March 24, 2010 on an LSA case. Although the State eventually Nolle Prossed the case on the day of trial, many of you have already read the transcript of the colloquy that took place between the Judge and Dorta’s two attorneys: Robert Pertierra and Al Milian. (To see the transcript, take a look back at Rumpole's August 4, 2010 post on this blog). To some, Newman's judicial demeanor was unacceptable; to others, it was just Newman being Newman.

Judge Newman has raised $184,000. Of that, $110,000 is his own money. Judge Newman had a good quarter (April 1 - July 16) and raised $40,300. Some of his $500 contributors include: Best & Associates, Leinoff & Lemos, Jaurequi & Jaurequi, Robert Reiff, Simon Steckel, Eric Stupel, Scott Hidnert, Ron Book, and Mark Seiden.

He has spent $91,000 so far, including spending over $51,000 in just the past couple of weeks. Most of that money ($48,000) went to Creative Ideas Advertising (Maritza Gutierrez; yes she is related to Armando), for direct mail, yard signs, palm cards, etc. He has also paid at least two consultants: Armando Gutierrez has been paid $13,000 and Nelson Horta has received $1,000.

NOTABLE EXPENSES: I noticed three very questionable expenses: On July 2, Newman spent $343.35 at Sports Authority for “Miami Dolphin momentos for fundraiser hats and footballs”. On July 4, Newman went back to Sports Authority and spent another $53.60 for the same thing. And on July 9, Newman billed his campaign for $318.32 for a charge at Cubavera for “Guaybera shirts as consideration for player appearance". Now, the way I read that is Newman had to buy some fancy shirts for one or more of his former Fins football players in order to get them to show up at a fundraiser. Is that a permissible expense to charge to your campaign???

You can visit Judge Newman's web site here.


MANUEL “MANNY” ALVAREZ

He has been a member of The Florida Bar since 1986. During his more than 24 years of practicing law, Manny has been an Assistant Public Defender in Miami for almost 20 years. He twice hung out his own shingle: going solo from 1989-1992 and with the law firm of Gonzalez (Silvia-his wife) & Alvarez from 2005-2007. He returned to the PD’s office for his most recent stint in 2007.

During his career at the PD’s office, Alvarez has handled everything from Juvenile cases through capital murder cases. He is currently First Chair Death Qualified. Alvarez is also an accomplished appellate attorney having authored over 800 appeals with over 200 published opinions. He has argued before the Florida Supreme Court eight (8) times.

Recently, the DBR covered a story concerning the 1992 arrest of Alvarez on two charges: Carrying a Concealed Firearm and Violation of DV Restraining Order (F91-18321). The allegations centered around Alvarez’ mother calling police and informing them that Alvarez was at her home in violation of a restraining order she’d obtained against him (91-22003-FC-04*). Alvarez entered a PTI Diversion program, completed it successfully and all charges were dismissed. (*According to the online docket, it appears that the DV Order was dismissed 39 days after it was filed).


Some in our legal community have posed that Dorta, Pertierra, Milian and others urged Alvarez to file against Newman because of the way he handled the Dorta case. Alvarez denies these allegations; although he did file his papers with the Division of Elections to run for Judge on March 30, 2010 just three weeks before the deadline, (and six days after the Dorta hearing).

Alvarez has raised a total of $40,800. Of that, only $1,000 is a loan from Manny. Maximum $500 contributors include: Rob Pertierra, Alberto Milian, Gonzalo Dorta, Gonzalo Dorta PA, Matias Dorta PA, Gamba & Lombana, Rene Sotorrio, and Arnold Trevilla.

Alvarez has spent a total of $17,100 so far. He paid $1,000 to consultant Janell Amador, $1,000 to Stephanie Warnell, and $1,000 to Willing Campaigns, Inc (Julio Perez).

You can visit Alvarez’s web site here.


The Miami Herald has endorsed Judge Newman. Who do our readers and bloggers think should wear the robe? Let's hear from you!


CAPTAIN OUT .....



VOTE EARLY AND OFTEN

Good Monday morning. It's the start of another hot week in the Magic City.

Those new ASAs and Pds should be showing up at any moment. Let's give them a warm REGJB welcome.

President Obama weighed in over the weekend on the controversial Mosque that is being planned for near ground zero in NYC. We think the President is 100% correct. This is a nation founded on religious tolerance in which no religion is favoured over any other despite what the former Governor of Alaska may think.

On the other hand, had we lost a loved one in the WTC, we might think differently. Fundamentally we are at war with terrorists and not with Islam, and we need to remember that.

Everyone's favourite federal blogger, David O Markus with a K returns this week, and we can look forward to his insightful federal tidbits. David is already at it, noting that the Bloggo jury is still out in Chi-town, and Justice Scalia is ok after a spill.

If you didn't peruse our weekend posting, we offer this as a reminder- Dengue fever is running rampant in Browierd and you should avoid going north of the border at all costs.

Early voting has begun, and we have already begun to receive reports of candidates (those enrobed and those who want to be) acting up.

Candidates Beware- we have a team of cell-phone camera spies fanning out at various early voting polls. If you act up, we will make you wish you never took the LSATs.

See you in court.