Wednesday, September 07, 2011


UPDATE: Here's the Herald article on the 3rd firing. While it is technically illegal to consume alcoholic beverages in a State building, 1) RC rented offices from a private landlord in a building not owned by the state. 2) This smells rotten.


No, that is not a replay of a famous Bill Barzee opening statement, which set the legal community in NYC on fire earlier this year (see the article here).

Instead, that was the statement made three separate times over the last two days to three attorneys who were fired from the Regional Counsel's Office.

Here's what we know: Three lawyers were fired. Two of them were, as the Herald reported on Wednesday morning, counsel for a capital murder case re-trial. One lawyer had filed papers seeking appointment to replace the current Regional Counsel (Motto:"The Me Nobody Knows").

Here's what we don't know: Why they were fired.

Here's what everyone needs to keep in mind: We are dealing with people's livelihoods and professional reputations. Everyone needs to tread carefully and not make accusations that cannot be supported. This will eventually all come out in the wash, and we will not be a part of savaging someone's reputation for the sake of a few sensational headlines.

Everyone calm down and keep their head about them, although others around them may be losing theirs and blaming it on you.... (See, Kipling, Rudyard, If)

See You In Court.


Anonymous said...

Seems like Mr. George likes to fire everyone.

Maybe Mayor Regalado will use him to finally fire the Chief of Police? Hell, he's fired everyone else.

Anonymous said...

When George got the job people were suing to undue the statutory authority which created the counsel's office and there was a fight over who should provide him office space. He got the job because noone wanted it and he literally no criminal law experience. Now 4 years later 16 people will be interviewed Oct.14th for 3 names to be sent to the governor to select someone to run the office for 4 years. In my opinion it is primarily a criminal defense office and should go to someone who have worked in the Miami court system and is respected. Gene Zenobi was respected by judges, the state, pd's office, gave training and shared his experience. For the most part he was not one to engage in the vitrolity endemic in the criminal trial bar and this blog. I doubt at this stage of his career he suddenly suffered an ethical lapse which be the only basis for firing him because he renders diligent and competent representation. So that begs the question what is the state of this office after 4 years- are the judges happy with the attorney who practice before them? are the clients happy or are there ceaseless bar complaints and judges demanding attorneys be transferred out of their division and backlogged dockets? what are the facts? not the partisan bitterness, what IS THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS OF THE CONFLICT OFFICE IN THE 3RD DCA AFTER 4 YEARS UNDER THE HELM OF Joseph George? That is a prerequisite to convincing the public that these firings are unjustified and he should not get another 4 years.the onion peeler

"American Minority" said...

There is definitely something wrong with that situation.Would anyone be willing to share details on how to request Brady info. of a "Substantial Assistance Agreement" on a C.I. whos sched. to testify, ande also who has been previously convicted on over twelve 1st deg.felony charges and receieved 16 months prison time?

fake Joe George said...

AttentionL Please be advised of the following:

To: All Attorneys Regional Counsel, Third Region, second, division, ninth prefect, 17th arrondissement.

From: Fake Joe P George


After careful consultation with Assistant State Attorney Don Horn, all attorneys at this office are now fired. Please carefully read the following for a breakdown of the applicable reasons. NOTE- more than one reason may apply to you.

9 attorneys were filed for boogie oogey oogeing until they just can't boogie no more.

16 attorney were fired for violating article 2, section 5, paragraph 11 of the 1926 version of the Wisconsin State Constitution.

3 attorneys were fired in the belief that once fired, they would lie about being fired. So I fired them toot sweet.

7 Attorneys were fired for showing up for work early too many times in a week.

5 Attorneys were fired for not knowing all the verses and stanzas of Swanee River.

3 Attorneys were fired for not knowing where the Swanee River is.

16 Attorneys were fired for having an opinion I disagreed with over the debt ceiling debate this summer.

4 Attorneys were fired for purchasing a big gulp at 7-11 in violation of office policy which clearly states that attorneys shall not imbibe soft drinks that contain more than 600 calories in one sitting.

1 Attorney was fired for running up a big bill at Au Bon Pain.

2 Attorneys were fired for ordering pizza with pepperoni in direct violation of my orders for office pizza.

Until I announce otherwise, I shall handle all divisions, all cases, in all courtrooms, and I am certain that I shall do a better job and more efficiently serve the people of the state of Florida than the louts I have hired, and now fired.

Thats is all.

Anonymous said...

Gene Zenobi is a very experienced, very talented criminal defense attorney who holds himself to the highest ethical and professional standards. He is respected and highly thought of by ASAs, his colleagues in the defense bar and judges. The same can be said for Kelli Peterson. That's all I'm going to say.

Mr. Justice Milton HIrsch said...

7:59's comment is way out of line. This is a serious blog that discusses serious issues. There is no room for the farcical type of comment that 7:59 typifies, embodies and so forth.

Fake Judge Faber said...

I agree. I have a load of community service on my desk that needs to be done if someone thinks they have the time for frivolous activities.

Anonymous said...


Way too long.

You should have quit after "You are Fired"

It wasn't funny even at that point, but at least it would have been short.

Anonymous said...

moderator, delete that last comment

Rumpole said...

No matter how well intentioned, I will not publish a comment that mentions an individual's family, children, etc. I know you were being supportive, but it just rubs me the wrong way to bring innocent people into the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Memo to Joe George from an RC3 attorney - your little power trip is bad for the clients, bad for your staff, bad for you and will end in your demise shortly. Most of us already had very little regard for your intellect, legal abilities and personality. But now you get mean spirited and fire a working mother of three who is the heart and guts of the office. Now you've gone too far.

Memo to all Circuit Court Judges - if you are as shocked as we are, I suggest you call Mr. George and make sure he fully understands your feelings on these unjust firings.

Memo to RC3 Clients - the RC3 administration's agenda has been made abundantly clear - we only care about ourselves not our clients.

Memo to the Private Defense Bar - please please keep asking questions and demanding answers from Mr. George.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else find it appalling that the crowd at the Repub debate cheered when they talked about how many people were executed in Texas under Perry?
It made me sick that people were cheering for the death penalty.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr. George finally figured out that Gene and Kelly were really serious in their desire to give their clients charged w/ 1st degree Murder a great defense and that upset him that those murders would actually get a good defense instead of being found guilty and getting death like Mr. George knows those guilty scum ( in his mind ) deserve?

Anonymous said...

How can we show our support for Zenobi and Kellie while hoping for an ouster of George. Shocking that a guy who couldn't try a speeding ticket was actually in charge of a large criminal defense firm.

Were it not for some very good lawyers around him, George would have run that office into the ground 31/2 years ago

NED STARK said...

George Joe is playing the game of thrones. And remember, in the game of thrones, win or die!

Anonymous said...

Drinking on the job is the reason he says. But, wait. After hours glass of wine to toast a birthday. How dare they!

Hmmmmm. Remember those holiday PD parties they used to have on the 8th floor? Guess they all should have been fired.

Anonymous said...

Geno was In essence running against his boss.

It reminds us of the time when Brummer fired Lonny.
He sued and won.

Anonymous said...

Go Bears....

Anonymous said...

Anyone knows what Florida statute supposedly prohibits drinking alcohol in a state building?

Anonymous said...

An after hours glass of wine in a building that is not only private, but where there are private offices upstairs owned by the Medical Association, where these individuals were toasting after hours?

Hmm... smells like sour grapes from Mr. George. Perhaps these grapes will make a good Cabernet to use to toast Mr. Zenobi when he replaces Mr. George as regional counsel.

fake Joe George said...

TO: All my minions

RE: This morning Herald's article:

What Mr. Ovalle conveniently "forgot" to include in his article is that the lawyers who have been fired WERE EATING CHICKEN AND FISH while imbibing red wine. It has always been my strict policy to serve red wine with red meat only, especially a Cabernet which was the wine in question.

There can be no question that so called attorneys who are ignorant enough to consume a red wine with fish and chicken do not meet the extraordinary high standards of the lawyers of the office of Regional Counsel, which admittedly for the moment only myself and my henchman now qualify.

Anonymous said...

11:34 pm, maybe that's the reason why Texas is getting so many fires. Not only does God does not like the killing pf human life but, sending so many people up there for judgment also increases his audit and God has no back-up judge.

Anonymous said...


Nope. Swing and a miss. Again

Not funny, and everyone knows it is perfectly acceptable to have red wine with chicken or fish. As long as the wine compliments the meal, the color does not dictate.

The simple guideline that red wine is for meat, and white is for fish and poultry is the starting point. It is not a bright line rule.

At any rate, what we should all be focusing on is that three good people, good attorneys, are out of a job. I am sure they will all land on their feet because they are skilled at what they do.

If they were wrongfully terminated, they are all smart enough to take the appropriate action.

Fake Joe George said...

That's it 12:45. I've had alls I can stands of you and I can't stands no more.

You're fired!

You have exactly two minutes and ten seconds to pack your things and get off this blog. Or else. Or I'll...I'll ...I'll give you a big pinch. Why you knuckle head. I'll clonk your head like Moe did to Curly and Larry.

yuck yuck yuck.

Anonymous said...

En vino veritas!!!!

Rumpole said...

Best comment so far.











smoke em if you got em, and if you don't, come buy em from us!

smokE EM IF YOU GOT EM said...

Uhh...that's 6pm, but if you come before, no worries mate.

Anonymous said...


See, now that is funny!

Anonymous said...

Many good, experienced, dedicated attorneys have put their names in for appointment to head of regional counsel.

Here is my question-

Who has the right experience to run such an office? I know many of the attorneys on the list previously published on this blog. I have no question about their ability to defend a case. But unless I misunderstand the structure of that office, the head regional counsel does not handle specific cases.

The position is that of an administrator, no? It would seem the ideal candidate would not only be an accomplished attorney, but must also be somewhat of a politician and a lobbyist, and have the experience of overseeing a rather sizeable organization.

Running a successful small/sole practioner defense firm is one thing, a large office in this context is very different.

So, back to that question. Who is best to do that? It may not be the one who is the best or most successful criminal defense practice.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the compliment Rumpole.

Anonymous at Thursday, September 08, 2011 1:36:00 PM

Anonymous said...

On the night Gene Zenobi becomes the next regional counsel he should celebrate with Joe George's head on a silver platter with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

Anonymous said...

Drinking in the office? I plead guilty. Around 8 each night, I pour myself a small glass of single malt scotch. I take small sips. I think about my first girlfriend and wonder what she is doing. I look at the picture of my children and parents on my credenza. They are grown and my parents are getting very old. I call my children to see how their day went. I thumb through some old Playboy magazines from the 60's I bought on e bay. Sounds like a cliche, but things really were simpler back then. I finish my scotch, put on my suit jacket, and go home to walk my dog. My 30 minutes of Heaven in the office. That bottle of scotch costs me $50.00. But it sure beats the hell out of paying some shrink $300 an hour to figure out what is wrong with me. And to think someone got fired for this? I don't get it any more.

CAPTAIN said...

The Captain Reports:

OCCCRC .....

As the first major news source to break the news on the midweek massacre that took place at OCCCRC and the first major news source to bring you the names of the applicants;

Several of you have been asking for the names of those applicants, so here is my post from July 29 when I first broke the news of who will be interviewing for the job of Regional Counsel.





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

Cap Out ....

the trialmaster said...

Janet Reno never tried a jury trial or did litigation before she became State Attorney. Some positions call for an administrator, not a kick ass trial attorney.

Joe Klock said...

Janet Reno was a litigation partner at Steel hector & Davis from the time she left Dick Gerstein's office until she returned two years later after his death. Janet knew who to litigate a case, how to manage a case, and how to manage lawyers and clients. I agree that she was a good administrator, but she was a good litigator too.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Trial master, some positions require an administrator with at least an ounce of integrity and two brain cells to rub together. Not an "administrator" that puts his own ego before the obligation he has to the clients he has been entrusted to represent. A good administrator would have put the needs of the client facing the death penalty before his petty need for revenge. Mr. George is no Janet Reno, and to make such a comparison is an insult to a truly dedicated public servant.

Anonymous said...

The irony is the one person best qualified to be regional counsel is….(drumroll, por favor)

Carlos J. Martinez!

Anonymous said...

an appropriate penalty for what the 3 fired attorney did is to be told not to do it again. if some jerk in the office with an agenda continues to complain and threatens to go public, go to bar, sao public corruption unit etc. I would give them a $100 fine and donate the money to one of the 3 homeless shelters within a half mile of the counsel's office. HEY JOE; at your interview on Oct. 14th be prepared to justify firing two respected attorneys and I am sure the 4 women on the panel will love the fact that you fired a single mother of 3. Joe- you have absolutely NO CHANCE of getting another 4 years. use up your vacation and sick days because you are done, toast!

Anonymous said...

Why couldn't they create a "shadow" office of the public defender's office housed in their offices and supervised by them, to handle such conflicts? Couldn't they "build a wall" like the U.S. Attorney's Office often does?

Anonymous said...

There were many other lawyers who were given several warnings while at RC3 before being fired. They were not doing their jobs and were given several opportunities to turn things around before being let go. This is not the case with the three fired lawyers. It is quite obvious that this wine drinking is an excuse used by Joe George to fire Gene Zenobi, and unfortunately Kellie Peterson and Rene Palomino got stuck in the cross fire of revenge. Why Joe George thinks his motives aren't obvious is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Is that really Joe Klock?

Richard Gerstein died in 1992. Reno took over the SAO from him in 1978.