Tuesday, July 26, 2011


FEDERAL NOMINATIONS: DOM breaks the news that two State Court Judges: Jerald Bagely and John Thornton are among the four nominees sent to the President for the District Court of the Southern District of Florida. Federal Magistrates John O'Sullivan (former AUSA) and Robin Rosenbaum are the other two nominees. FYI: This is not the first time Judge Bagely has been nominated.

In 1978 Manuel Valle shot and killed Coral Gables Police Officer Louis Pena.
Valle was arrested a short time later. 24 days after his arrest he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by Judge Ellen Morphonious.

24 days from crime to being condemned was just a little too fast for the Justice system, and his conviction and sentence was reversed.

33 years later Valle is still alive and, as the Herald reports, the Florida Supreme Court has stayed his execution date of August 2, 2011 so a Miami Dade Judge can conduct a sentencing hearing on whether the new three drug cocktail used for lethal injections is painful.

We are no fans of the death penalty, but there is something about holding a hearing on whether a drug cocktail designed to stop a person's heart and kill them is painful that just seems a bit too much. The system is clearly broken.

24 days was way to fast. But 33 years of legal maneuvering seems more than a bit disrespectful to the memory of Officer Pena and his family. It's cases like these that the public latches on to and causes them to believe this is typical of the justice system. Nothing about Manuel Valle's case has been typical. But enough is enough. It's time for this case to end.

REGJB Trivia: Valle was sentenced to death by a Judge who was a former PD and an avowed opponent of the death penalty. That Judge made his opposition to the death penalty well known at the time he pronounced sentence. Name that Judge. (Note: Judge Morphonious's first trial and sentence 24 days after the shooting was obviously overturned. There was a new trial and a new sentencing phase and Valle was sentenced to death. That death sentence (but not the guilty verdict) was overturned and a third sentencing hearing was conducted by a different Judge.)

Manuel Valle, the bell tolls for thee.



Anonymous said...

I believe that judge was Norman Gerstein.

Rumpole said...

Hi...uhhh Intern here again. There's a special message from Rumpole below, but first the first comment is correct. Norman Gerstein is the correct answer.

A special message from Rumpole:

Emails have been pouring in with people seeking my advice on what to do with their investments as we stumble towards a debt headline.

First- People- I am anonymous. WHy take serious advice from me?

Second: Making a decision now about investments, while we are days away from a default, is like running out to home depot when the hurricane is in the Gulfstream and just hours away. TOO LATE.

Money demands respect. The time to make decisions about this issue was in January or February, not July 26. My guess is that if you own stocks and sell in the next few days you will be selling into weakness and will not get a good price. A great idea six months ago was to buy some gold stocks and park some money in precious medals as hedge while also buying some market or Spyder Puts in event of an overall crash next week. A few months ago those options were well priced. Today they are not.

At this point, sell into whatever strength you can find and otherwise put aside enough cash for essentials and batten down the hatches and ride out the storm. Good luck.
Rumoole (on Holiday)

Former Judge said...

Since the Federal JNC just picked 4 names - I predict this seat will go to Judge Bagley. He has been nominated more times than any other nominee in the history of the Southern District and Sen. Nelson is in a tough reelection campaign this coming year. He desperately needs the African American community to come out and vote in Miami. Judge Moreno will be doing everything he can for his close friend Judge Thornton - as will Hector Lombana in retribution for Judge Bagley taking him out of a Tobacco case last week for "conflict of interest" reasons. The Federal Magistrates nominated don't have political juice in the White House to get it done.

Hence, welcome to the Southern District Judge Bagley - -- better get confirmed before the Senate goes Republican!

Sitcom Writer said...

Anybody up for a second scene of "Miami Cigar? Check yesterday's post for my hilarious opening scene to what is sure to be next year's new smash hit comedy.

Anonymous said...

Von Zamft was Valles attorney.

Anonymous said...

Von Zamft was Valle's trial attorney when he was a PD.

the trialmaster. said...

Thronton is coming to civil. He is a great judge. It would be sorry to lose him to the feds.

Alfred said...

There is no way Rumpole has an intern covering his blog for him. Realize that if he did, some young kid would know the identity that many others his senior have placed large wagers on discovering. The secret is too dangerous. To entrust such knowledge to an intern would place Rumpole in jeopardy, and put an intern in the cat birds seat. This would be an untenable situation.

This would be akin to Batman telling some cadet at the Gotham Police Academy he is actually Bruce Wayne. (I think that is actually the plot of Police Academy XVII.) If Rumpole were to let an intern in on his true crime fighting identity, he would surely have to cut that loose thread at the end of the internship, one way or another.

Wham! Bang! Zappo!

abe laeser said...

Von Zamft was NOT the trial attorney.

It was Edith Georgie, Elliot Sherker, and Karen Gottlieb -- of the Office of the Public Defender.

I know - I was there; with Joe Rosenbaum and Penny Brill.

Anonymous said...

10:29 may be right, but, for those of you who don't know Magistrate Rosenbaum, she'd be the best choice. She's smart as hell, works hard, knows the law and has a great temperment. Here's hoping that talent is more important than politics!


Anonymous said...

Hey former judge: I got something to tell you. NOT MORE THAN ONE. That is the number of voters who will let Bagley's nomination affect their vote for Nelson.

old guy said...

First trial was Adorno + Yoss v. Lenny Rosenberg.

Actually, it was Lady Ellen trying to beat the Zangara speedy trial to execution record.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole - I think an excellent discussion could be had regarding the so-called state hack attorney. It seems like there is always some wannabe federal big shot using the term "state hack" in a derogatory manner. But no one ever talks about the many federal hacks out there who do nothing more than debriefings and quick pleas.

It seems like these wannabe federal big shots think that just because they do federal cases they can't be hacks. Well I beg to differ. There are state hacks and federal hacks. Bottom line is that the criminal defense attorneys worth any salt can handle both state and federal court and get results.

Mr. Chief Justice-Designate Milton Hirsch said...

When is Ginsburg, Kennedy or Scalia finally going to retire so I can take my rightful seat as MR. CHIEF JUSTICE MILTON HIRSCH. This Circuit seat is getting a bit boring.

Anonymous said...

It was VZ.George was not even in the PD office in 1978. The Abed one has lost it. I am talking about the first trial. Not the appeals or retrials.

Anonymous said...

Is this Valle cat the guy who shot the trooper on the 836 expressway just west of the then toll both? Maybe I got my cop killers mixed up..

Michael Von Zamft said...

I never represented Valle.

Anonymous said...

Bagley is a Republican. Or at least he acts like one on from the bench.

Fake Von Zamft said...

I am not now, nor have I ever been a criminal defense attorney.

Anonymous said...

attorney at first trial was David Goodhart http://books.google.com/books?id=vES5x_cN4-sC&pg=PA139&lpg=PA139&dq=manuel+valle+attorney&source=bl&ots=UpWu_lA0os&sig=mTVRySmRE0lS0sBN7n-cdql5sNc&hl=en&ei=IZMwTtejMInL0QHcnbyGAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDMQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=manuel%20valle%20attorney&f=false

Anonymous said...

Its too bad the Abed one and the other prosecutors failed to realize that 24 days between arrest and trial would result in a reversal. This delayed the final result probably by 5 years for the appeal and retrial. What a waste of taxpayers funds.Lady Ellen should have gone to jail for her shenigans on the bench.