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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NFL WEEK 8 2010

UPDATE: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN....YOUR 2010 SUICIDE POOL CHAMPION.....
MIGUEL DE LA O(over). CONGRATULATIONS!!

Rocky Balboa said "You wanna dance, you pay the band. You wanna play, you pay the man."
Rumpole says: not so fast to that second line. If you followed us today, you went a stellar 4-0, giving you two bounce back winners, San Diego and our home town Fins, for a plus 200 Henne's. Our season total is now 560, and we won our second straight teaser bet for a plus 550. We are plus 750 for the day, but for the second week in a row, that two team teaser is riding on MNF.

Our season total is now a respectable 17-12-1. DOM and Rumpole both won today, so the totals are 4-3-1 for the erstwhile defender of Reggae stars, and 6-2 for Rumpole.

The man is paying you if you follow us....and that's the way it should be.



Good Sunday Morning.
After Monday Night's disaster, we're done with the Cowpokes and you can put a fork in them because they are done for the season.

Rumpole is 13-12-1 for the season after losing the last part of our IF bet on MNF.
Our winnings for the year as we approach the half way point to the season stand at 360 cupcakes.

The Suicide Pool winds down to two:
Plea D goes with gang green coming off the bye- the J..E..T...S, while Miguel De La Over is going to Kansas City (great bar-b-que) and the surprising Chiefs.


Having done so well on the teaser last week, we're going to do one again.

The troubled Vikes and their troubled QB literally limp into New England to play the cheaters. The over/under is 44, and we're taking the over and teasing that down 6 to 38. The line is somewhere between Cheaters -4 and -6, and Irwin in Vegas says 5 is where it seems to be settling, so we will complete out two bet teaser by taking the Cheaters and teasing that to +1 NE. We'll risk 500 Bundchen's on this bet.

IF we win the teaser (remember they pay 11-10), we'll roll our 550 onto the Colts at home -5 to get revenge over the Texans in the MNF game.

You want a bounce back game? We got one. No, not the Cowpokes. But the Chargers, at home, against the Titans. SD -4 over Tennessee for 100 Rivers.


DOM (3-3-1) v. Rumpole (5-2). Mr. Markus, having obviously perused our blog, goes with the Bolts in SD-4. We like the Fins getting one henne in Cincy. (Miami +1). And how about 100 Newmans on the Fins to win as well.

Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 29, 2010

BOO!





What's more scary in the pending judicial assignments that should take effect in the new year?

Reemberto Diaz to family court.

Leon Firtel to Criminal Court.

Beth Bloom to Circuit Court.

Milton Hirsch a judge.

Venzer to civil.

Ward to acronym court.

Judge Adrien.


Majority Leader John Boehner.


Query: What do you get when you are a convicted mafia hit man (at least 11 kills) who turns on his boss and the family?

7 years CTS!! The NY Times Reports here.




Thursday, October 28, 2010

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

SO, YOU WANT TO BE A CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE?????

*Rump - one correction. Bloom also joins another recent colleague from the County bench, Judge Bronwyn Miller, who was the most recent Judge to move from County to Circuit. *

Judge Friedman has tendered his resignation and 16 have submitted applications
(6 of which are County Court Judges) to the JNC for consideration.

The JNC will conduct interviews and send up to six names to the Governor.

Early Prediction. While most readers will assume that Gayles, Walsh and White-Labora will have the best chance of getting selected, given the fact that all three have been on the short short list the last few times up, watch the name Yolly Roberson very closely.

Roberson was born in Haiti and is both a nurse and a lawyer. She served in the Florida House for the past eight years. She ran, unsuccessfully, for the US House of Representatives in 2010, after she was term limited from the State House. She lost in a nine candidate Democratic primary to State Senator Fredricka Wilson. (Wilson's lone opponent in the general election is the GJB's own Rod Vereen).

What you need to know is that Yolly Roberson was one of the first elected Democrats to publicly voice their support for Senate Candidate Charlie Crist. Don't be shocked if it's Roberson that gets the appointment and that Crist makes it before he leaves office.

Interesting note on this appointment. The choice for the next Circuit Court Judge could be made by Governor Crist (if done before his term expires), by the new Governor (if the names are sent from the JNC after November 3rd), or possibly, both Crist and the Gov. Elect may choose to collaborate on the choice.

There is precedent for this, albeit, it was for a Supreme Court seat. In December of 1998, Gov. Chiles was a lame duck and Gov. Bush was our Gov. Elect. They chose to make a joint selection for the open seat on the Florida Supreme Court and they chose Justice Peggy Quince. Actually, three Governors were involved in the selection. Why? Because after the decision was made by Chiles & Bush, but before Chiles could sign the official Order, he died. So, Governor Buddy McKay actually signed Quince's Commission.

These are the names that applied for Friedman's seat.


William Altfield
Victoria Brennan
Manuel Casabielle
Marie Davidson
Miguel de la O
Joel DeFabio
Dawn Denaro
Rachel Diaz
Rosa Figarola
Darrin Gayles
Alan Greenstein
Yolly Roberson
Alan Sackrin
Rodney Smith
Lisa Walsh
Deborah White-Labora

Finally, for those appellate attorneys out there, Governor Crist will choose between Kevin Emas, Ivan Fernandez, and Edwin Scales as the next Judge on the 3rd DCA. Expect that announcement on either side of Veteran's Day; (November 11 for those without a calendar).


Cap Out ......

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

JUDGE BETH BLOOM TO CIRCUIT

UPDATE: The Heat squeaked out a win last night, and clawed their way back to a respectable 500 winning percentage. How long they can remain in this position of mediocrity is unknown. And we are not optimistic.

So Fla -the civil blog- has the update on the forthcoming Hank Adorno proceedings with the Florida Supreme Court. The Herald reports today that the Supreme Court rejected the Bar's recommendation of a six month vacation for Hank, and has ordered Hank to begin closing up shop and to report to court to show cause why he should not be disbarred.
Query: What do you think the proper punishment is for a lawyer who, to paraphrase the Third DCA, engaged in a scheme to defraud his clients?

Everyone's favourite federal blogger has the update on Apen's attack on Public Defenders. "All they do is represent criminals" is the quote.
Query: is that true?

The Governor promoted county court judge Beth Bloom to circuit court today, and you have more than likely already heard the news as it spread throughout the building with the speed of a judge running for a free buffet dinner.

Bloom joins her recent colleagues on the county bench, Judges Arzola and Fernandez as the latest judge to be promoted. Judge Bloom had the reputation in county court as running a no-nonsense tight courtroom. Bloom is considered to be hard working and knowledgable on the law, and while we supported Judge White-Labora, we have hopes that Judge Bloom will be a fine addition to the circuit bench.

The next semi-official rumor is that Judge Bloom will take over Judge Ward's division as Ward moves to one of those acronym laden divisions where they specialize in robbery cases committed on Wednesdays by defendants born in June. Or something like that.

See you in court. And welcome to the party Judge Bloom.


NEW FED WEBSITE

We're back. DOM broke the news on the new Fed web site for the Southern District. But leave it to those lovable feds- the site rotates through pictures of the various courthouses including the US Attorneys office. Is there some subliminal message about having to talk to the the AUSA before going to court? There's a fun survey you can take with the choice of getting an additional point off your PSI or some coupons for Amazon dot com.

Somebody should call MDPD because the Dolphins were robbed.

We just knew the Heat would lose their first game, and let us be the first to go on record and say the Heat will NOT will the NBA Championship. There's high priced talent, and then there's character. Ask the Texas Rangers and the Yankees about that.

This PD discussion is continuing to percolate. There's a lot of good in having open and healthy debates. But lets not lose sight of the fact that the PDs office is staffed by some incredibly talented and dedicated lawyers. And if we didn't say it before, kudos to Edith Georgi for her defense in the re-trial of the "baby lollipops" case. She defended a woman previously sentenced to death for killing her infant. It doesn't get any tougher than that. And it is because of people like Ms. Georgi and her colleagues at the PDs office, and in fact the defense bar of Miami, that we can feel secure that the Constitution will always be defended.

Obviously we're in a better mood, but that cannot last for long, so lets just quit while we're ahead. Some knucklehead robe wearing blowhard will say or do something blog worthy shortly. You can bet on it.


Monday, October 25, 2010

SHIP OF FOOLS

You wanted more Browierd, you got it. We can't do it justice here. Lets just say no one would hang the moniker "silent" on Broward's outspoken PD. He is standing up for his lawyers and their clients against the bullying if not bizarre conduct of Judge Seidman, who last time we checked, still lost the election and must vacate his chambers by midnight 12/31/2010.

In summary, PD Finklestein asked Chief Judge Tobin to check out his complaints, including an incident where Judge Seidman incarcerated a defendant for leaving the courtroom to use the restroom. You will recall that in past some juveniles, denied the right to use the restroom, voided (fancy way to say pee) in the courtroom. And isn't that really the problem up there in a nutshell: use the bathroom and you go to jail...once in jail, you can't use the bathroom.

Anyway, Finkelstein told Tobin there was a problem. Tobin buried his head in the Sun Sentinel, and Finkelstein called him out on it. Meanwhile in the Dade PD office, Carlos silently checks the number of depos his B level PDs took last week.

WELCOME:
Who was that frenetic lawyer prowling the hallways of the second floor of the Courthouse? Why none other than everyone's favourite federal blogger David O Markus with a K. There was some momentary confusion when David asked about having motions referred to a magistrate, but then he realized he was in the REGIB (Motto: "where judges haven't been reading motions since 1959") and all was forgiven. His visit must have made a big impression on him, because he blogged about it. Say what you want about our building, but at least we can get a cup of coffee after court, which is more than you can say about Fred's house of no caffeine.

SHIP OF FOOLS.
We forgot to mention that some nefarious organization called the League Of Prosecutors gave Judge Stan Blake an award last Friday at the Brickell Bankers Mortgage Fraud Club. Now there's a shock- Judge Blake getting an award. Whadd he get? The "most improved demeanor award?" If ever there was a reason to bring back the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, the League of Prosecutors is it. Speaking of Mr. Markus and Federal Court, talk about your CCE (that's continuing criminal enterprise for you state court denizens.)

Speaking of crimes...we wuz robbed. Did you see the ending to the Fins game?

For being in a place we love, we sure are in a bad mood. Maybe it's because we have to come back.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

NFL 2010 WEEK SEVEN

UPDATE! WHAT A DAY! Rick F and BDTD are out of the suicide pool as the Browns stun the Saints and Miguel De La Over and Plea D were down to the wire as the Ravens squeaked out a win in OT. With two people left, this is a good time for us to announce.....
SUICIDE POOL 2.0!! Week Eight till the end of the season. Anyone game?

Mr. Markus took the Jags +9.5 at KC and lets see....KC won by about 200, so DOM takes a loss while we romp with the Falcons over the Bengals and add 300 to our kitty as well.
Rumpole is 5-2 while DOM is a pedestrian 3-3-1. We we're up 360 for the year and we won our two team teaser, so we're up 600 for the day, but 300 of that is committed to the IF bet on the Cowpokes. Either way we're well in the black for the week, and 13-11-1 for the season.

It's a beautiful day here high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, especially when we're winning.


Suicide pool:
Miguel De La Over and Plea D have taken the Ravens and then nevermore;
Rick Freedman and BTDT march with the Saints.

We're at the Starbucks here in Truckee, on the Donner pass (stop by and see us, the latte is on us!) , and internet is spotty up here at best. We are writing this Saturday night and may not be able to get anything else up for Sunday before evening your time.

Rumpole v. DOM: Falcons -3.5 over Bengals, and put us down for 300 Matt Ryans as well.

FIRST TEASER OF THE SEASON! Remember that teasers pay 11-10 and you get an extra six points per team:

Bucs -3 (teased to +3) over Rams for 200 and...

Philly at Tennessee over 43 (teased to over 37)....laying 330 to win 300. And while we're at it, lets play an IF. IF the teaser, then

Cowpokes -3 over Giants.... so if our teaser wins, then we are laying 300 on the Cowpokes.
We called our favourite guy, known to you readers as 52nd Street Irwin, who currently and permanently makes the lines out in the sands of the desert of Vegas for a legal book, and he said we could actually parlay the teaser bet on the cowpokes but for complicated reasons it's better to play the IF bet.

Next week: IF and REVERSE bets.

Have fun.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

WRAP UP

GOOD SATURDAY MORNING. Lets wrap up the current *contretemps about silent chucky:

There was a time not too long ago when the Dade Public Defenders Office was a wonderful place to work. The lawyers provided superior legal representation and loved their job. No more. Now an atmosphere of fear permeates the building emanating like a bad odor from a stuffed toilet drifting down from the 5th floor.

Why?
Politics and budgets have replaced the best interest of the client.
How so?

Item: It has been made very clear that entering a plea of no contest or guilty for a client at arraignment is against office policy. Indeed some believe that doing so on a regular basis could result in their dismissal. If a client insists on accepting a good plea and getting out of jail there are a series of forms that must be filed and the court must be told it is an un- counseled plea.
Rumpole says: When lawyers are forced to argue against their clients and work against their client's best interests it sucks the life out of their love for their job.

STATS: Like the Wizard of Oz, the silent one sits on the fifth floor behind a curtain and pours over the statistics of his lawyers.
What statistics are they measured against? Wins at trial? Motions granted? Below guideline sentences? Waivers of minimum mandatory sentences? In a word, are they measured against the success they achieve for their clients? NO.

No so much as they are measured against their work load.

How many depos have they taken that week is a very important statistic. Perhaps the most important. Can they dash off to jail to see a client? Not at the expense of taking depos. Jail visits must be arranged way in advance. Being in trial or conferring with a client is all well and good, but not at the expense of taking depos. And their depo load is monitored by supervisors on a weekly basis. Much like the sales of a car salesman, they must make their quota, or else.

Why? Because the Great Wizard must go to Tallahassee and beg for his alms, and to do that he needs statistics that show his minions are working.

What do the politicians want to see? Grist for the mill. They don't care (and perhaps don't even want) to see the PDs win at trial or get great results. What they want to see is the most work done for the money they spent. They want their state lawyers to process a mass of humanity and do it in a manner that shows that their money is being well spent.

And that means depos. Not wins. Not wonderful results that truly change a client's life.

When you impose your will to create stats on public service lawyers who got their law degrees to help people, you suck the pride right out of their work. You turn them from a lawyer racing to court to try a case with a big smile on his or her face to a shuffling stoop shouldered bureaucrat counting the days to 25 years.

What a shame.

Sorry to damper your weekend. Sunday is the first home day game for the Fins this year. Get your suicide pool picks in.

See You Monday.

* Our allegations in this post were taken from weeks of speaking with all sorts of lawyers and email communications with many more. We left out a lot of the even more petty stuff like PDs are no longer allowed to cover for private lawyers at a depo who may have to miss the depo because they are in trial, etc. What a bunch of bs.







Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SAME OLD SONG BUT WITH A DIFFERENT BEAT....

We'll post a last word about the PDs office later in the week.

Lets see....the SAO passed on prosecuting the AUSA Sean Cronin for hopping into a local bar's pool in his skivies. No surprise there.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is the Bench-n-Bar mixer at "Delores but you can call me Chief Judge Brown" next to Brickell Village. No word on whether the Chief will show. Trust us, skip it.

Our favourite federal blogger beat us to the punch and has the video of Delaware senate candidate Christine O'Donnell (Salem, Wicken) not knowing that the concept of the separation of church and state is in the first amendment.

There's a nasty email floating around re: The bar complaint about judge elect Milt Hirsch, and his counsel, and their efforts to beat back the bar complaint without a hearing. Blog worthy?

Same Old Song, but a different beat: Broward lawyers are up in arms and this time it is the PD filing boatloads of motions to recuse on lame...err lame duck Judge Lee Seidman (he was beaten in his attempt to run for a circuit seat while on the county court.) You can check it out on the Broward blog.

Trivia: We can think of two judges in the last 25 years who ran for circuit court from the county bench. Can you name them and where are they today? Hint- the one who won later went to prison.

Kind of busy, so that's all for now. See You In Court (actually we're in court, and loving the wi-fi).

Monday, October 18, 2010

A HOUSE DIVIDED

TUESDAY NIGHT UPDATE: There's a real debate going on in the comments section and we're loathe to get involved, so we're keeping the post up through Thursday. Have at it.

UPDATE: CASA CARLOS:

We want to print a fair representation of the comments. Many, including private emails, have been similar to this:
Anonymous said...

Rumpy,

Please make sure you have your facts right.

I too am a PD and I close cases without depos all the time.

I also have been told that the "rules" you cite are actually guidelines.

Still love ya even tho you hate my boss.

Monday, October 18, 2010 4:24:00 PM


However, there have also been many private emails along the lines of thanking us for shedding light on what they consider to be a serious problem. And then there was these:


Anonymous said...

The house divided started during thr Gabe Martin coup. There has been a spirit of discontent ever since. The office is run by men of little substance.

Monday, October 18, 2010 7:21:00 PM


Anonymous said...

3 lawyers resigned last week. 2 others left the month before.

Monday, October 18, 2010 5:59:00 PM

We report...you decide

First the important stuff: No one went out in the suicide pool, so five remain.

We went 1-1-1 in our picks and were +170 for the day. We are 10-11-1 for the season and plus sixty Rex Ryans (thank you Jets) for the year.

In our head to head duel Rumpole is 4-2 while Markus is 3-2-1.

House of Sadness:

Word filters in on almost a daily basis that Silent Charlie's PD office is wracked by low morale fostered by stringent and absurd rules.

Item: PDs are now (required? encouraged?) to take all depos on all cases before accepting a plea. Evaluations are on depos taken not case load or results or trial skills.

Item: No more "jail days".

Item: A PDs whereabouts are monitored and any PD must be in the office if not in trial or taking depos. No leaving early.

With regard to this last rule, we have no problem with that. The taxpayers pay for the office and they are entitled to a days work for a days pay.

We do have a problem with the rule about depos. More than one PD has written to us about "Gestapo like" (their words, not ours) tactics in reviewing cases and enforcing rules. The office is an unhappy office with people looking over their shoulders and various sects rising up to snipe at others.

It seems that it goes without saying that morale at the PDs office is so bad it approaches the morale of the SAO ( a traditionally difficult place to work since Ms. Fernandle took over)...... or Obama's west wing.

Meanwhile, as always, silent Charlie sits there, silently refusing to speak about his office or his questionable budget and office management practices.

Remember what Abraham Lincoln said in his famous "A house divided" speech: "A house divided will not be refinanced at a good rate and you will not be able to take money out to pay your amex bill...." or something like that.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

NFL WEEK SIX

UPDATE: Lost the KC/Houston game by half a point. Let's push the JETS game to 500 and we'll take the Colts -3 for 400. DOM won his game handily as the Eagles pounded the Falcons. Can't get the metrics to work on the Cowpokes/Vikes game although we like the Vikes.

This week we see the return of Big Ben, the injury (physical and otherwise) to Brett Favre, and the questionable status of opposing Fin QB Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Call this week the week of the QBs.

We're 9-10 and -110 for the season after our come back week last week.

KC at Houston. KC is the type of team we have picked up on in pre-season in the past. We missed this one this year. A QB in his second year in the system. Romeo Crenel is their D coordinator while Charlie Weiss is the O Coordinator. What do they have in common? They were both coordinators under the evil genius/cheater Belichick in the early part of the decade when the Pats began their run. Re-united under the Chiefs they have given the team the coaching to win.

The line is Texans -4.5 and we like the Texans for 300 Schaubs. After building up the Chiefs we pick the Texans? Yup. Regression to the mean. The Texans are not as bad as they looked against the Giants last week, while the Chiefs are playing in their second tough road game in a week.

For the 4 O'clock games we're looking long and hard at the Vikings and the Colts. Check back.

Suicide Pool. And then there were five.

Miguel De La Over and Rick Freedman: riding the return of #7 in Steel town with Roethlisberger and the Steelers. If the Steelers light it up today, you have to consider them a serious Super Bowl contender. We will be watching this game closely as they are in Miami next week.

Plea D and Michael Feiller and BTDT : the big guys....the Giants.

DOM (2-1-1) v. Rumpole (3-2) :
Mr. Marcus has the Eagles -2.5. We were going to make it a real bet and take the visiting Falcons +2.5 but Atlanta does not play well on the road against a tough defense (see, week one, Atlanta at Pittsburgh) so we're going with one of our early season trends and bet against the Broncos and take the J...E...T..S, JETS JETS JETS on the road at Denver. Jets -3 and 300 Santonio Holmes as well.


Friday, October 15, 2010

OUT WITH THE OLD

Judicial rotation for the new year: Venzer, Eig, and Butchko to Civil.....

In with the new..........?????


Don't forget to watch the NBC Dateline's "Blind Justice" premiers tonight. The 2 hour news show is on the Christopher Sutton case. Bruce Fleisher for the defense. Stan Blake presiding. Carin Kahgan for the State.

Have a great weekend. Fins are in Green Bay and the Canes are in trouble.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

UPCOMING EVENTS

BREAKING...Baby Lollipops jury votes 7-5 for death. Final decision up to judge Reemberto Diaz. Name the last Miami Dade judge brave enough to override a jury's recommendation of death. The lawyers in the case are excluded from the contest.


Longtime denizens of the REGJB will remember reporter Bob Gilmartin, who had stints at WT VJ and WSVN in the 1980's. Mr. Gilmartin, who now roams the halls as a big-wig at NBC in NYC, writes to tell us that not only is our humble blog enjoyed by various members of the media in the Big Apple (and who wouldn't enjoy a short jolt of well written humor every day?), but that there is an upcoming 2 hour NBC dateline about the tragic case of Christopher Sutton.

Christopher Sutton was recently convicted of hiring a hitman to kill his mother. Sutton's father, the well known and respected attorney John Sutton was severely injured in the attack and has lost his eyesight.

No funny quips about this tragic case. Just an alert to check out the NBC dateline program this Friday from 9-11 pm. See local attorney Bruce Fleisher fight his heart out for his client. One can only imagine the pain John Sutton suffered in seeing his son prosecuted for killing his wife. John Sutton's class showed when he thanked Bruce for the defense he gave his son. The whole two hours of the show is devoted to the case and is worth a look.

On a lighter note: want to see your favourite judge wiggle out of paying for his or her drinks?
There's an FACDL "Bench and Bar Mixer" at some nefarious establishment with the unlikely name of " Delores, But You Can Call Me Lolita" (1000 S Miami Avenue) next Thursday, October 21, 2010 from 5:00 -7:00 Pm. How they intend on getting the judiciary from leaving their cozy homes and trek back to downtown Miami for this soirée is beyond us.

Take our advice and skip this shing-ding. You probably have something more important to do, like clipping the cat's nails or sorting your paper clips.

As we often tell juries in closing argument in cases where the prosecution has used a snitch: "When you lie down with dogs, don't complain when you get fleas."

See you in court, but not at that ridiculously named bagnio.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WHERE ARE THE JURY TRIALS?

The title of the post links to the Florida Bar ("motto: "Lawyers hating Lawyers") News article about the serious decline in the number of jury trials.

Fact: From 1962 to 2002, federal civil trials decreased by nearly 10 percent, and federal criminal trials experienced an even greater decrease.

Fact: Florida Bar membership will soon pass 100,000 members.

So where are the trials going?

A few thoughts:

First: we make no pretense about understanding civil trials. How or why one would sue (or even serve) a debentured bond is well beyond our limited understanding of torts.

Second: As to criminal law, there is a built in bias to force a resolution of the case.
In Federal Court your client gets the 2-3 point guideline reduction for acceptance of responsibility in any case, and in drug trafficking cases with the ten year minimum mandatory, the safety valve provision can assure a 3-5 year sentence instead of risking a minimum ten year sentence if they go to trial and lose. The one good thing about the safety valve is that it puts the decision to waive the minimum mandatory in the hands of the judge and not the prosecutor.

In state court the incentives are similar. While there is no official acceptance of responsibility reduction in guideline sentences, there are marked differences between the prosecution's offer before trial and after trial. In many cases brave Judges will wade into the plea negotiations to help quickly resolve a case.

There are also similar incentive options available in minimum mandatory cases when the prosecution will often offer to waive the minimum mandatory sentence in exchange for a plea. However, as we have said before, there is no justification for putting the decision to waive a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence in the hands of a twenty five year old prosecutor as opposed to a fifty year old judge who has been practicing law for as long as the prosecutor has been alive.

Here are our thoughts on why criminal jury trials are disappearing in state criminal court:

The first problem starts with over charging by the police and the prosecution.

The woman who gets in a fight with her boyfriend and slaps him before leaving his apartment is just as likely to be charged with burglary with a battery (a non-bondable offense for which the client can receive life in prison) as with simple battery. (Yes, we know about the case law that you can't convict someone for burglary when they were invited in, but tell that to the prosecutors, not us.)

The man who slugs his cousin in a bar fight and then throws a beer bottle at him is as likely to get charged with attempted murder as misdemeanor assault and battery.

The two above examples are taken from cases we've tried. We once actually tried a case of attempted murder and aggravated assault where our client allegedly swung a simple office stapler at his co-worker. Not even the prosecutor could keep a straight face in closing when the jury was smirking at her as she attempted to menacingly wield the stapler and argue it was a "deadly weapon".

When officers overcharge a client and the prosecution files the case, lawyers are put in the position of telling their client that if they reject the plea offer of probation and proceed to trial, the maximum penalty would be 30 years (for a first degree felony) or life in prison ( for a PBL). Many clients understandably don't want to take the risk of putting their life in the hands of a judge.

Why?
Take a look at this case reported on the JAAB Broward blog this week:

Uh oh - Michael Robinson finished up his first felony trial recently, with Shlomi Presser scoring what he thought was a big win for the defense. He won a lesser of Possession of Cocaine, nullifying a Possession of Cocaine with Intent within 1000 Feet of a School charge that carried a three year minimum mandatory prison sanction. The minimum mandatory had been waived by the SAO prior to the trial, on the condition of an eighteen month sentence. In any event, because of the Possession lesser, the defendant no longer scored mandatory prison sanctions (meaning probation was ok), and she didn't have any scoreable priors. The SAO asked for 18-24 months in prison (there was also a cannabis near a school charge), and the defense naturally sought non-prison sanctions. Robinson then proceeded to sentence the defendant to three years, matching the original minimum mandatory penalty. Observers were reportedly shocked, since there were apparently mitigating factors as well. Oh well. What's that they say about defense lawyers who become judges ... ?

When judges do not sentence reasonably or rationally, and when they punish clients for going to trial, even when the proof rises only to a lesser included offense, they grossly and greatly affect the decision a client makes in deciding to go to trial. When a Judge conducts himself in a manner in which he repeats in chambers that he wants to earn the nickname "Maximum...." he forces clients to accept pleas where they otherwise would win or be convicted of less serious charges if he otherwise elected to go to trial.

The question is "where did the jury trials go"?
In criminal court the answer is that the jury trial has been reduced to a quaking and quivering mass of jelly, shaking in a corner, frightened of irrational judges and minimum mandatory prison sentences.

Our response to judges and legislators is simply this: be careful what you ask for in life, because you may get it.

See you in court, turning down plea offers and trying cases.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TUESDAY CHAOS!!!!

Reports are flooding in of chaos at the REGJB this Tuesday morning (after a Monday holiday).

Long lines.

Jammed courtrooms.

Harried Judges.

No parking spaces.

Clients and civilian witnesses stumbling around, shocked by the confusion of a court system in disarray, administered by incompetents.

Bulletins when warranted.

HR.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

SUPREME COURT SPECIALISTS

The NY Times covers the specialty practice of the Supreme Court. The title of the post links to the article.

In 2000, John Roberts now Chief Justice, then a litigator, sneered at the practice of Supreme Court specialists cold calling lawyers who had certiorari granted and offering their assistance:

“If I’m going to have heart bypass surgery, I wouldn’t go to the surgeon who calls me up, I’d look for the guy who’s too busy for that.” Roberts said.

It is now even more common for lawyers to solicit cases accepted for argument.

How is it that we can't just waltz into the jail and offer to represent the accused drug dealer on his 2 million dollar forfeiture case without risking sanctions by the bar, but these snooty Supreme Court hacks get away with whoring themselves out for the glory of doing battle with Judge Scalia?


SUICIDE POOL

A brutal day in the suicide pool with Rumpole (Bills) Nick Basso ( Saints ) Juan Gonzalez (49ers) Cary Clennon (Bengals) DOM (Cowpokes who are now 1-3) all taking a loss. Indeed the only people who won took the Colts, and that game was up for grabs until late in the 4th quarter.

Plea D, Freeman, Miguel De La O, BTDT and Michael Feiler still survive. Mr. Feiler seems like a team of destiny based on his narrow escape a few weeks ago.

NFL WEEK 5 2010

Update: The Dallas game was low hanging fruit, while we squeaked out an over in the Ravens game. We finish the week 2-2 which included a flyer on an upset special for 50 wings on the Bills who jumped out to an early lead, but lost. We also lost the over bet in the Atlanta/Cleveland game, which leaves us up 415 for the week but still in the red 110 for the season. Four winning weeks out of five and still down. This is a tough business.

9-10 for the total of picks for the season. And we won our side bet with Mr. Markus, as the Giants whuped his Texans, while our Ravens/Over pick slipped through.
Rumple 3-2; DOM 2-2-1.

Update: trying to get something going here with the 4 o'clock games. 400 Salads on Tennessee at Dallas over 43. Really sweated out the over in the Ravens game.


Good Sunday Morning.

Today is October 10, 2010, or 10/10/10. What will you be doing this morning at 10:10 am? We will be out for our run.

Special Rumpole quiz: we will email you a private hint for the first five people who email us the digital equivalent of the binary number of today's date.


Suicide Pool:

Cary Clennon: Bengals; Nick Basco: Saints; Juan Gonzalez: 49ers; Plea D, Miguel De La Over, Rick Freeman, and Michael Feiler (who was cheering his Noles yesterday) Colts.
BTDT also picks the Colts. and a word here about BTDT: he sent in his entire picks for the season on week one. He's still alive in week five, and that alone is a remarkable accomplishment.

Rumpole: Ravens ; 52nd Street Irvin: Bills(!!!??). DOM: Cowpokes.

At the moment it appears Clay Kaiser had feet of clay and defaulted last week. No motion to set aside the default, but faker former Judge Colby did file a motion to set aside his pick of the Eagles last week, citing to Blog ex rel Feiler. But the motion was neither timely filed, nor did arrive with the required supporting documents (a one hundred dollar bill, preferably in a stack of the same), so it was denied.

A word about anonymity. Writing a brilliant and funny blog is hard work. And many is the time we have sat in Au Bon Pain and over heard conversations about the blog, and how the lawyers love reading it. And this is entirely true: we once over heard a fetching PD intern say that she thought writers were sexy and did anyone know who wrote the blog?

But there are advantages to anonymity, and this week was one of them.
Can you imagine walking down the hallways this week and hearing people snicker "he lost all his picks last week" and having to deal with snooty federal bloggers who would be crowing "hey, I picked against you last week, bought my wife a new Rolex. Thanks!" and other such claptrap?

First the bad news: We point out that our unofficial picks on teams regressing to the mean did very well. And if we hadn't seen the weather report and bailed on the over in the Cincy/Browns game, we would have won that one. But the man must be paid: we were down 1430 for the week, and start today at -525. We are now 7-8 for the year.

Picks:

Atlanta at Cleveland. While we like the Browns to post a win today, we really like the over 41. This one will get us right back in it. 300 Mangini's over 41.

Denver at Baltimore. Again, we like the Ravens here, but we really like the
over 39 1/2. 400 Flacco's over 39 1/2. And this is our pick with Mr. Markus, while he goes with the Texans -3 over the Giants.

Upset Special: The Jaguars go to Buffalo to play the Bills. The Jags had a big win over the Colts last week, while the Bills are just not as bad as their 0-4 record indicates. This game regresses to the mean. Bills -1 over Jags, 50 Chan Galleys.