Friday, July 29, 2011






What a crowd of applicants! And such a diverse group. One lists his home address with the Bar as "United States"; six other candidates live outside of Miami; two are current APD's; two currently work for the OCCCRC; and one candidate has been practicing law since the Johnson administration (as in "All the way with LBJ"). Here are your candidates for the next Director of the Office of Regional Counsel for the Third District:

Gregory T. Brown (1988), no office address
John D. Bruhn (1989), office in Bradenton
Gena Lauren Cohen (2002), pers. injury atty in Sunrise
Roland Falcon (1997), office in Jacksonville
Robert Friedman (1985), APD in Tallahassee
Joseph P. George, Jr. (1994), Incumbent
Ana Gomez-Mallada (1989), office in Lighthouse Point
Steven Grossbard (1973)
Kevin J. Hellmann (1996), APD in Miami
Marie H. Kim (not listed in the Bar)
Abraham Laeser (1973), retired ASA
William Earl Ploss (1978)
Russell A. Shepherd (1992)
Sky E. Smith (1965), that's 46 years practicing law
Shari L. Vrod (1998), OCCCRC in West Palm Beach
Eugene F. Zenobi (1970), OCCCRC in Miami


No changes in non-incumbents that have filed to run in Miami-Dade:

Maria Elena Verde
Miguel de la O
Maria de Jesus Santovenia
Richard Hersch

None have opposition.


Non-Incumbents include:

Ivonne Cuesta (no opposition)

Tanya Brinkley & John Malgoza Rodriguez filed in same race. Rodriguez has thrown down $100,000 of his own money to fund the campaign.


We are two weeks away from the appointment of two new Circuit Court Judges. Candidates that are on the Governor's desk include:

Miguel M. De La O
Rosa C. Figarola
Richard Hersch
Thomas J. Rebull
Alan D. Sackrin
Deborah White-Labora

We are four weeks away from the appointment of two new County Court Judges. Candidates that are on the Governor's desk include:

William Altfield
Tanya Brinkley
Ivonne Cuesta
John Goran
Steven Lieberman
Spencer Multack
Thomas Rebull
Martin Zilber

We are three weeks away from the appointment of a new 3rd DCA Judge. Candidates that are on the Governor's desk include:

Judge Jennifer D. Bailey
Bambi Groff Blum, Esq.
Judge Ivan F. Fernandez
Thomas W. Logue, Esq.
Judge Jose M. Rodriguez
Edwin A. Scales, III, Esq.

Have a great weekend.



Anonymous said...

The rumors are that Brenan will draw a challenger. There is a huspanic female who desire to challenge her, but her heache is going to come from an experainced, well known hispanic, with the political clout and name to give her run.

Anonymous said...

REGARDING REGIONAL COUNSEL APPLICANTS: with all due respect to the distinguished prosecutorial career of Abe Laeser his application to run what is literally a 2nd public defender's office is an insult to the criminal defense bar and the indigent clients the office will represent. I would guess that 90% of what the office does is criminal defense and he has no experience in that area. After retiring after about 30 years of trying to put people in prison for life, seeking and probably obtaining the death penalty, maybe even prosecuting someone who was eventually executed and then applying to run an agency that is to supervise, train, and teach yound inexperience attorneys how to defend clients facing the prospect of prison is a mockery. Would a homicide detective retire and then apply to be head of the Bloods? You may be bored in retirement but you are unfit for this office. Having said all that you probably will be one of the 3 names sent to the governor just on the basis of your prosecutorial achievements.

Anonymous said...

That some incumbents have not yet drawn opposition does not mean that they will not. There are a number of incumbents who are oblivious to the facts of life or the reality of the practice in our current economy. They are fostering discontent among many by their self righteous arrogance. Many new appointees, particularly those having careers as ASA or governmental lawyers, excluding PD’s, think bending the law to favor the State or other governmental interest is the way to stay of the bench. WRONG. There are a couple in the Justice Building and some in Civil who are in for a six-figure awakening a la Newman. Im my opinion Newman learned that you cannot act smog or arrogant on the bench, emulate Judge Roy Bean (“the Hanging Judge”), and he learned to temper his antics. A costly lesson for Newman, who had the money to burn on the campaign. There are others who have the money to burn and believe money alone will save them. Well - these arrogant, condescending, and often bipolar members of the bench fail to appreciate reality. In 2010, virtually eery elected position in the State of Florida and most of the major Municipal and County positions in Miami-Dade are up for election. Just consider the scenario; a judge with an obscure Anglo name and without close ties to the political establishment running against an AV rated Hispanic lawyer, with more than 20 years of experience, and a political insider with close ties to and chits owned by the local political establishment. I am trying to persuade such an Hispanic lawyer to run against a particular judge. I was close with her antics and off the wall rulings during an important hearing this week. A couple of more hearings, and knowing this lawyer, and she has a challenger.

Anonymous said...

Abe Laeser retires. The Miami Herald wrote an article about Abe published April 30, 2009. In it he is quoted as saying that wouldn't be able to devote the "moral energy" required defending the worst criminals. That just about eliminates many of the cases the Office of Regional Counsel handles; habitual felony offenders, violent crimes, appeals of death penalty and life felony cases, Ryce cases. A man who spent 36 years putting people in jail is unfit to defend those charged with felonies when he is so conflicted about the morality of interacting with such people. Rumpole, where is your objectivity. The man hates defendants and vigorously tried to incarcerate them for 36 years and you do not critique his application to run a criminal defense office. shame on you!

Anonymous said...


Spell check for gods sake!

Anonymous said...

Abe will actually do a good job. Much better then Carlos Martinez does at the PDO. Lets be real people. True belivers make average litigators. Abe is no true believer. He is a ruthless trial lawyer. I say give him a shot.

All the best,

A big baller

Fake former judge said...

Abe as a defense attorney is almost as big a shock as Kenny Weisman as a greenhorn on the Time Bandit in Alaska next season. Good luck to both!

Anonymous said...

I hope the Abed one gets the job. He will Plead em all. Get these scumbags off the street. He will put more of them in jail then he did as a proscuter. Plead em at arrignment, cuts costs, save the state money. GO Abe.

Anonymous said...

Yo rumpie, when are you going to evaluate the regional applicants, who they are, what is their experience, etc.?

Anonymous said...

Betty Butchko is up for re-election in 2010. Who is running against her?

Anonymous said...

I don't particularly like Abe, but give the man his due. He was a GREAT and ethical prosecutor. If he believes he can reconcile his beliefs with the position, I say give him a shot if it doesn't go to Zenobi (whom I really like and think would do an even better job).

None of the others are even close to Abe or Gene IMO.


Secret Judge said...

Laeser is horribly unqualified for this position. It borders on being a cruel joke being perpetrated on the defense bar. Shame on the defense lawyers for not being more vocal in their opposition to a man who has zero compassion for anyone.

Anonymous said...

We can all keep bitching about Abe Laeser applying to be the head of Regional Counsel but it ain't gonna matter. I will guarantee it right now - he will be appointed by Rick Scott.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday tomorrow (Sunday July 31) to Harry Potter- an English Wizard of some renown, and Phil Reizenstein, a legal Wizard of local renown.

Kissimmee Kid said...

10:02:00 AM, 10:45:00 AM;

This area is for lawyers. You do not belong here, go away!

Lawyers are paid to argue cases. Lawyers who argue cases for murderers do not encourage murder, nor are they on the murdering team. Defense lawyers are as sickened by brutal crimes as anyone. In fact, as anyone who has been in a courtroom will tell you, a judge with years of defense experience is far more likely to launch a defendant as a former prosecutor.

Who better to run a defense firm than a former prosecutor. Who knows the tricks and strategy of prosecution better than a prosecutor? If you can’t argue, convincingly, either side of a case, you are not a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Laeser takes over at OCC

Hires David Rank as senior trial counsel

Herb Walker is recruitment officer and Capitol Defense.

Gail Levine will head the Mental Health defense section.

Things are gonna get weird.

Anonymous said...

Why can't Abe do a great job as ROC? Lots of good defense lawyers are former prosecutors or cops. Abe would even make a greater effort to prove wrong those who think he can't be a tough defense attorney.

Real Former Judge said...

I think Abe is awesome and will be great.

Joe Klock said...

I have had the privilege of working with Abe Laeser on three cases. He is one of the brightest lawyers I have ever met during my career and is a pleasure to work with. His preparation for a deposition, trial, client interview, you name it, is outstanding. His analysis is without equal.
When he is representing a client who is or may be guilty, he works his ass off for them because he is, first and foremost, a man of amazing ethics. When he is representing someone who is innocent, he brings a wealth of experience not easy to match to help make the right decision, so that an innocent person who is going to be convicted is not burned worse than he or she has to be and if there is any way to do it, he or she goes free.
If the people of Miami-Dade County ended up with Abe as Regional Counsel, those clients will have the best at the top and a person who will only have working for him hard-working, bright, and dedicated people. And, those who work for him will see the boss in court. Furthermore, he is respected to the tens at the SAO office, and that counts as well.
I hope to God the Governor picks him, and I do not mean any disrespect to the incumbent, who I do not know. But, I cannot think of many who can match the package that Abe has to offer. Joe Klock

Anonymous said...

Say want you want about Abe, but remember two things about him. One, he is one of the top trial lawyers ever to set foot in the REGJB. Second, his ethics are unquestioned, and he is committed to doing the right thing. While he may be personally repulsed by what his clients are accused of doing, he would fight like hell for them, only tempering his zeal to comply with all ethical and professional rules. I have no doubt that he would make a fine Regional Counsel.

Don't forget that over half of the defense bar are former ASAs.

Rumpole said...

4:20 pm. Never. I care not a wit about an office that by all appearances is a boil on the butt of the law.

Anonymous said...

If the Abe who wrote the Cassie Anthony Jury was Right article is RCA than that Abe is a good choice

Anonymous said...

I dont agree with her all the time, but I think Judge Brennan is a fair and GOOD Judge after observing her in court for awhile. She does question the state and follow all the State's requests.

Anonymous said...

May I please ask the name of the case where Judge Jerald Bagley removed an attorney for conflict of interest?

Thanks, XXOO

Anonymous said...

For the first time I agree with Rump who the he'll caresabout the RRC?

Anonymous said...

whoever btdt is you have no clue. you say noone else comes close to zenobi or laeser. One of the attorneys who has applied was routinely assigned the most difficult non-capital cases for years in the gerstein justice bldg. , was nominated for the against all odds award and by the facdl miami chapter on several occasions for recognition and has been called by some the best trial lawyer in the state and is feared by the sao's of the state so get your facts straight. now try to figure out who it is.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Eugene Zenobi for Regional Counsel. As a death penalty lawyer for 25 years Mr. Zenobi deserves to be put in charge of an office he helped cause the formation of by silently, under the radar, and in a competent and ethical manner, vigorously defendeding the oppressed without seeking the limelight. He benefitted financially by the flaws in the system which require death penalty qualification to be appointed a 1st degree murder case. then the state will waive the death penalty 90% of the time but he keeps the case which takes 4 years to resolve and runs up fees at $120 or $80 per hour, 3 and 4 times what other "wheel" attorneys were paid. The financial abuses of this system led to the creation of the Jac and now office of regional conflict counsel. both of those offices put dozens of lawyers off the scrolls and no longer able to get court appointed work. so I say good for you geno, run the office that your 1/4 million dollar payday death penalty cases paid you while the real defense bar handled dozens of cases per year, helping countless people for a pittance of what you made representing a 1/2 dozen cases a year, going to court once every 3 months to ask for a continuance. Hey geno, How Much Money Have you been paid in death penalty fees in the last 20 years when the rest of us were getting $1500 for an armed robbery or attempted murder. /s/ former wheel attorney.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Bill Ploss get fired from Regional?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Laeser? Yes. Can I have a moment to talk about some of my cases? sure. ok thanks, case 1- 15 year old shoots a rival drug dealer- abe: try to get a plea of 25 years, case 2: man pushes pregnant girlfriend after she throws a knife at him; try to get 15 years,. case 3; fight in bar , my client claims self defense. take 2 depos and try to get 10 years. now lets get some lunch.

Anonymous said...

RUMPOLE: Breaking news!!!! . Ploss, Laeser, Zenobi, Smith and Grossbard all missed their interviews at the Regional Counsel's Office. They all shared a bottle of denture cleaner at their AARP meeting which was past he expiration date and all got sick and hopitalized. I guess the the gov will have to appoint someone under 65.

Anonymous said...

Butchco in 2010?

Anonymous said...

Abe used to teach at the SAO and told us over and over he would never do anything in law other than prosecute.

Oh well.....

Anonymous said...

Why does anyone care who runs that office?

The guy who is there now has not so much as poked his head in the REG in his entire tenure. No one knew who he was when he took the job, and that hasn't changes a lick.

Anyway, the governor has appointed former prosecutors to nearly every other position that has opened, expect him to do the same here. There is still playback for his not being indicted in his company's fraud case, so he has to keep appointing former ASAs to everything.

It's also a little insurance for his future crimes.

Anonymous said...

330you nailed it. him and the rest of the death penalty bar killed it with all their bullshit mitigation evidence,milking cases for years when everyone knew that state would waive.

i also see obi wan zenobi in trial and for all his gray hair he aint that great

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

2:36............several of the candidtates are qualified and I know who the vast majority are. Just because I don't think any of the others would do as good of a job as Abe or Gene doesn't mean I don't know who they are or think they're morons. Get over yourself; people can disagree with you about matters of opinion without being clueless.


PS----Last I checked, no one is "feared" by any of the decent ASAs. In fact, most LIKE the challenge and experience against llitigating against the best lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Has Abe ever represented an indigent accused?

Anonymous said...

Zenobi hasn't had a creative legal moment in a courtroom since 1978. He's too busy pretending he's Don Corleone. Even Scott, as dumb as he is, won't appoint this has been to such an important post. Zenobi is just looking for a cushy retirement job. The poor guy has to be at least 70.

Anonymous said...

What happened in 1978?

Anonymous said...

allt his talk re abe is bullshit. the guy was a great asa and if he took this job he will excel at it just as he did as an asa. the guy is honest as the day is long and will fight hard for that office.

anyone who thinks Zenobi would be better doesnt know his work ethic or trial skills

Anonymous said...

Miguel de la O will have three chances to become a Circuit Court Judge. Currently has his name is on two short list before the Governor, and if those do not pan out he will have another shot at the ballot box in 2012.

Get used to the name Your Honor when addressing Judge De La O..

Joe Klock said...

9:37 : Yes Abe has. Joe Klock

W. Clermont said...

Many fine qualified names on the list. Zenobi would do a terrific job, and has been behind the scenes giving of himself to the effort. I like Abe too, and contrary to popular belief he has taught defense-oriented trial skills to budding Assistant Regional Counsel and Assistant Public Defenders's too - so the comment about him not being able to do that is way off. As for the not having the moral energy, everyone acknowledges he is a top notch lawyer. The hallmark of a great lawyer is the ability to defend any client, not just the causes you like.

Anonymous said...

Anyone but Joe George. anyone

Anonymous said...