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. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Thursday, October 20, 2011

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

BREAKING NEWS.....

UPDATED: JUDICIAL REASSIGNMENTS ANNOUNCED TODAY. We hear that the GJB will be getting William Thomas, John Schlesinger, Victoria Sigler, Valerie Manno -Schurr and Samatha Ruiz Cohen; and we will be losing Trawick, Hogan-Scola, Cueto, Ward & Zabel in January of 2012.


ELECTION 2012 - CANDIDATE WILLIAM PENA WELLS .....

On October 12, 2011, on the Justice Building BLOG, I reported the following:

And the newest filing has someone challenging newly appointed County Court Judge Fleur Lobree:

Fleur Lobree vs. William Pena Wells. Mr. Wells has been practicing in Florida since 1988. In 2002, he was suspended from the practice of law for three years nunc pro tunc to October of 1998. He petitioned for Reinstatement and was reinstated in 2004. He has a solo practice in NMB.


In the past week, bloggers have posted on Mr. Wells past. Here is what we found:

In October of 1996, Mr. Wells was arrested and charged with two felonies: Two counts of Worthless Check of $150 or more in violation of FS 832.05 (2) under case number F96-33449. Mr. Wells was appointed a PD. The PD filed a conflict an PCAC Philip Horowitz was assigned the case. In March of 1998, the State Nolle Prossed the two charges. They immediately refiled the two charges during that same month. A trial on the two charges took place before Judge Carney in June of 1998. Mr. Wells was found Guilty of both charges by a jury. On August 12, 1998, Mr. Wells was placed on Probation for one year; restitution was reserved. Wells filed an appeal with the 3rd DCA in September of 1998. In January of 2002, the 3rd DCA issued their opinion Affirming the Convictions. The opinion is found at Wells v. State, 807 So.2d 132. 3D98-2706. (I will not explain the basis for the two felony charges as the 3rd DCA lays out the facts of the case in their appellate opinion).

In January of 1992, it also appears that Mr. Wells was arrested in Miami Shores and charged with DUI. Mr. Wells was found Guilty of the DUI on February 26, 1997. See Case number 21404-WD.

I emailed Mr. Wells and asked him if he had anything he would like to say or share with the readers of this BLOG. He wrote back and said (UNEDITED):

Dear Captain Justice:

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss these issues early in the campaign to flesh out the facts and correct the inaccuracies.

I would like to say that it is unfortunate that the campaign is "William Pena Wells" vs. "Fleur Lobree." I hope to reject that notion. Judges run as nonpartisan candidates, held to a higher standard of ethics and campaign practices, and limitations of active campaigning, than most other elected officers in our County. It demeans and cheapens the judicial office to put candidates for judicial service in a head to head horse race. I am running because I am qualified, not because a sitting judge is somehow not qualified.

Judge Lobree was only recently appointed to her seat by Gov. Rick Scott in April of 2011 by the elevation of Judge Bloom to the Circuit Court bench. This election will be the voters first opportunity to have a voice in who sits on the bench to judge them.

I would much rather have a system of election where each candidate runs on merit. So that if there are 10 seats to be elected, the candidates, sitting and aspiring, were listed in alphabetical order and the voters were told to "pick any ten"... This would preserve the dignity of the judicial office and make certain that the best candidates were elected.

But that is not the system we have...

County Court is truly, to borrow the television term, "the people's court" and it is a cornerstone of American democracy that the people have the last word in who sits on the bench. Without an announced candidate, as I am, that right disappears.

As to the DUI, that happened on Super Bowl weekend of 1992. I had consumed a glass or two of wine and by the time the chemical tests were done, the alcohol had metabolized so that I had reached an unacceptable limit. As a result, I accepted a first offender penalty and have learned a valuable lesson -- that I carry with me. I think this makes me a more valuable judge on the bench... Having made a mistake nearly twenty years in the past, and learned from that isolated incident, I can be a more empathetic role model for others.

As to the felony charges, those occurred in 1996, but the judicial process took quite some time to finally conclude and the Florida Bar investigation was held in abeyance while the criminal case was completed. So the dates are misleading and out of context.

Basically, this was a business dispute. I was an attorney for a concert promotion entity, and as part of my compensation, was an officer of the corporation with check signing authority along with several others. The business was to put on a mega concert on the beach at Ocean Drive with musical legend Little Richard among others. Trying to stimulate the local economy, a Miami Beach travel agency was used to coordinate the travel arrangements for the band and performers (nearly 100 tickets in total).

Sadly, the William Morris Agency reported that the inexperienced agent had booked the tickets wrongly. In order to secure the travel on the short notice available, the corporation had to wire William Morris the funds directly and allow them to book the talent's flights. The money (and more since they were last minute changes) was withdrawn from the business account and sent to the Agency. The tickets they had purchased were never used and were returned to them.

Unfortunately, the travel agency decided to deposit the checks anyway, hoping I presume for a windfall. But they were returned by the bank as insufficient funds. The agency filed a complaint with the State Attorney and the fact that the checks were in the several thousand dollar range made it a category of felony. It is not surprising that the State issued a nolle prosse on these charges, realizing the futile nature of them.

The concert did take place and the artists, musicians, and staff did arrive. The Mayor of Miami Beach proclaimed it Little Richard Day. The concert was featured in the Miami Herald.

The State refiled the charges and despite being offered a pretrial plea deal, I refused and sought a trial. I did nothing wrong.

There is no element of fraudulent intent in an insufficient check charge. It is a crime against the banking system and the stream of commerce, paraphrasing the statute, to issue a check which is presented to a bank and returned for insufficient funds.

The jury found me guilty of the charges and the judge reluctantly imposed probation.

Thereafter, I appealed the decision and the Third District affirmed, glossing over the fact that the concert did take place and the funds used to cover the NSF checks were routed to another entity which did the job.

The Florida Bar offered to close the investigation of my conduct with credit for the period of time that I had been suspended while on appeal, I agreed, and I resumed my practice.

The travel agency never requested reimbursement of the funds it was supposedly missing by virtue of these tickets. In fact, in the later civil case I filed against them, they specifically disclaimed any and the case was dismissed as a result. I never paid them a dollar of reimbursement. The travel agency is no longer in business.

I hope this fleshes out the bare facts available in the public record.

If you have any more questions, I will be glad to answer them. My mother, and my Cuban born grandmother, raised me right. They taught me never to do anything I was ashamed of later. I am glad to have the opportunity to talk about this.

Regards
William Pena Wells

CAPTAIN OUT ...........

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just had to sneak that ". . .my Cuban born grandmother" in there.
What was that he said about "cheapening" the race?
He almost had me until that point.
*cheep cheep*

mikal said...

Rumpole,

Thank you for giving Mr. Wells an opportunity to give his side of the story.

Mr. Wells, thank you for having the courage to speak out about what happened.

Good luck.

Rumpole said...

Openess is encouraged. Two sides of the story and all that Jazz.

BNI IS A SCAM said...

BNI is a scam. All attorneys are warned to avoid this cult/scam. They want to get inside your business, violate the the attorney client privilege and get kick backs on your fees. BNI promotes itself as a reputable business referral network. That is not true. They indoctrinate you and slowly wiggle their way inside your business by demandng more fees more bs for profit scam education classes while tracking your deposits and referrals and demanding you provide all members with business.

Upon being solicited for this cult/scam call your local police department and then the attorney general's office of Florida. DO NOT GO TO A MEETING. THEY CAN BE VERY PERSUASIVE promising lots of new cases and fees and using scripted "testimonials" at the end of the meeting to try and trick you into believing they are all thriving. In fact they are all MULTI LEVEL MARKETING SCAMMERS VAMPIRES looking amd needing fresh blood.

CAPTAIN said...

The Captain Reports:

"I don't get no respect, I tell ya" (Dangerfield)

Mikai:

You're welcome.

Captain Out .....

Anonymous said...

Since we seem to be talking about attorneys doing bad things...
Is there a way to report an attorney who I think is commiting malpractice?
I've seen a particular attorney do something a few times, procedurally, that I know is not right.
His clients are getting hurt by this. I can tell it makes his job so much easier and I think he's just being lazy, but I know he's not supposed to be doing it (and I can tell he does too.)
The sad thing is, the judge where he's done this has let him get away with it. Even though at one point the judge asked the attorney a question about it and I could tell the attorney's response didn't sit well with the judge.
I'm not talking about a legal decision (like whether to take a plea) that the attorney may have discussed with the client - or the client knows about.
It's something where I think competent representation would have made a huge difference in the outcome of these clients cases.
I'm sure the clients would be very upset about it (I know at least one of them wasn't there when I saw the attorney do what he did)and have a grounds not only for rule 3, but possibly disciplinary action against the attorney.
I don't really know this guy, say hi in the hall type of thing, so I don't feel comfortable approaching him.
Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wells- what qualifies you to be a judge? Other than being a member of the Florida Bar?

Anonymous said...

Comparing the Third DCA's opinion to Mr. Well's explanation is frightening. Mr. Wells there is an element of fraudulent intent in the crime that you committed and the Third DCA so recognizes in its opinion and concluded that was an issue for the jury and a jury of your peers convicted you. I encourage each of you to read the Third DCA opinion and if you still feel comfortable in voting for Mr. Wells, best of luck to this bench. While I do not know Flora Lobree well, I would never feel comfortable as a litigant in front of Mr. Wells. I expect a judge to have a higher standard of ethics.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with BNI. TOTAL SCAM. Once I went to a meeting and after all the fake smiles and continued applause the phone calls and emails started and the invitations to events ( 20 f'ing dollars for a bad breakfast) the mandatory "training" sessions the visits to my office the requests I switch my phone service, web guys, accountants , office supplies, realtor, insurance, on and on to the BNI MEMBERS with the not so gentle threats I would not make money unless I did what they asked. Life business mafia guys they whittle their way inside your business, trying to get your staff to call them and spy on you if you order pencils from office depot and not their guy. Months later im still getting calls, threats, emails, general harassment.

Stuck in bni said...

Im in BNI and its all true and Im trying to get out without retaliation. They called my doctors office when I went out on medical wanting to be told when I would healthy enough to return to their meeting and pay their exhorbitant fees. Im over 2k in training scams with no end in sight.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rump.....ask him about his position that Florida belongs to Spain (seriously!).

Anonymous said...

A DUI and a convicted felon. Give me a fucking break. That guy has no business being a judge.

Anonymous said...

Some follow up questions for Mr. Wells:

1. Did you provide a breath sample in the DUI case or did you refuse? I don't buy your explanation that you only had a drink or two. If that was true your BAC wouldn't have been even half the legal limit.

2. "The travel agency never requested reimbursement of the funds it was supposedly missing by virtue of these tickets. In fact, in the later civil case I FILED AGAINST THEM, they specifically disclaimed any AND THE CASE WAS DISMISSED AS A RESULT. I never paid them a dollar of reimbursement. The travel agency is no longer in business."

What the heck does this mean? What did you sue them for? This case was dismissed because you owed them nothing? Huh?

Anonymous said...

whats BNI and what does BNI do?
DS

Anonymous said...

All these comments about the BNI being total scams reminds me of time sharing deals.
They invite you in for a "Free Weekend........" You get invited to the resorts by getting offered free lodging to potential buyers in exchange for their attendance.

Warning-- You may be promised "free" airfare to your destination, but when you arrive you find lodging is billed at a higher than normal rate.

Anonymous said...

OK Mr. Wells, I am a busy guy but, did some quick research on you and I know Fleur Lobree and have always liked her. So why run against her?

You say things that need to be looked into.

1. Go to the docket and look it up. F96-33449. Where's the nolle pross? What's with all the strange litigation, motions to recuse and conflicts of interest? What about the violation of probation? Why were you adjudictaed if this was a first time offense, you were an attorney and the judge was "so reluctant" to give you probation? Why so many "restiution" hearings? I see you asked for money to pay costs. So, you, a great lawyer could not afford $300.00 to pay costs and now you want to be a judge?
2. Same with your appeal.3D98-2706 Go look at that too. How come there was all kinds of strange motions and litigation over a simply appeal of a conviction? Looks like you went nuts to me.
3. While we are at it, what about your other appeals at the 3rd DCA. How did you get into those messes? Why did you sue unemployement in 1999? Why did you sue a travel agent and end up on appeal?
4. Let's talk about your appellate experience. I found one case of you being the lawyer at the 4th DCA and it was instantly dismissed. 4D07-4514. At the 3rd DCA most of your cases look like you screwed them up. Hell, in two you didn't even pay the filing fee and the case was dismissed. What great lawyering!

Mr. Wells, did you learn all of your law from being a party instead of the old fashioned way... being the lawyer for the party?


I know many lawyers who have been arrested but, few who became convicted felons over, as you discribe it, a minor misunderstanding. Maybe if the Bar gets its way, all convicted felons like you will simply stay disbarred.

You, sir, are not juge material.

old guy said...

Mr. Wells -- if you are capable of "buying" your own version of the facts while serving on the Bench, I seriously doubt if you have the common sense needed for the job.

Anonymous said...

my cuban grandmother??? Pena wells you are a fuckin criminal hack and the turds who run this shithole will make you judge. congrats, start picking out the furniture for your office at North dade justice center

I was in BNI said...

Here's why BNI is a cult/scam. Like all cults/scams it has a mythology built around a leader/prophet.

1) leader/prophet has something bad happen. In this case he lost his best customer.

2) Leader/prophet has a revelation- get a group of friends together and pass referrals to grow their business! This seems so simple but it takes a genius like the leader/prophet to implement it.

3) Leader/prophet builds a cult of personality. In this case you are told he writes best selling books- not for his own profit- but to help spread "the word". Its puzzling, but even though he did not write the books for profit, you are not given the books but encouraged to buy them. Not buying them can lead to expulsion.

4) The leader/prophet builds a cult of "us against them" philosophy and you are made to feel special to be let in on the inside.

5) The leader/prophet gives you gems to help recruit. You are required to bring in new members and kicked out if you don't. When people (rightfully) balk at meeting at 630 am you are told a secret- if they refuse to come ask them for the name of their competitors who might be interested in growing their business and making lots of money because we have tons of leads for someone in that field. Then you are told with a wink that those words will get them in and help you meet your quota.

6) Only the self appointed elders can meet with the leader/prophet. You are not an elder but if you work hard and donate enough money you may get the chance to join the exalted circle.

7) Your dedication to the cult and the leader/prophet is measured weekly. You have monthly goals of making other money (the MLM part of the scam) and of recruiting others (to move you up the MLM chain). If you fail to meet your goals you are asked to leave the cult.

The whole thing is very troubling and I can't see why intelligent people are sucked in except for the last piece of the cult/scam puzzle- they thrive in hard times and portend to show you the way through the hard times if you just give them time and money.

Anonymous said...

Rump,

do we know yet what divisions the new judges will be assigned to?

Anonymous said...

Do you actually practice law?

"We here that"

Captain try "hear"

Anonymous said...

Would someone file against appointed County Judge Gladys Perez? You will get independent help with the election from countless citizens of Miami Dade County whom have been screwed by this clueless jurist.

Want over 100 instant volunteers for your campaign? Want to be a Judge and breeze through election night to a win? File against Judge Gladys Perez.

CAPTAIN said...

The Captain Reports:

to 8:42 PM

Yes I do know the divisions.

to 6:40 PM

Nolle Prosse entered. Docket entry 98 and 99; March 5, 1998.

to 5:13 PM.

Ask Mikal at 2:19 PM to ask him

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

More Wells:

10-22203-CIV-JORDAN

Get the popcorn and 3-D glasses ready. Read the order with today's date for a summary.

Anonymous said...

Very happy to have John Schlesinger back. One of the top judges in Miami-Dade County, arguably the state. He is tough when he needs to be but very fair. He runs a tight ship in his courtroom and has excellent knowledge of law and procedure. Best trial judge by far. I've been waiting a long time for him to come back to criminal.

mikal said...

Ask me what? All I said was that it was kind of Rumpole to give Mr. Wells an opportunity to say his piece. At least the guy had the guts to open himself up to a savaging by the contributors to this blog. Oh, and he used his real name.

Mr. Wells should also respond to some of the questions that were posed by the anonymous contributors.

Last I checked, Florida does not belong to Spain. But the world is flat.

Anonymous said...

I COMPLETELY agree with the first comment

COMPLETELY

He was doing so well until then, when he exercised poor judgement

like he did with the bad checks (strike one)

and the drinky drinky (two)

then prostituting the cuban thing (YOUR OUT)

so i am going to vote for the unqualified chick

PS - what ever happend to Guillermo "BIll" Pena?

Just sayin'...

FAKE JQC member said...

this lawyer is not qualified to be a judge rumpole ... he is not now or has ever been involved in our nfl suicide pool. really?

mixin metaphors is fun said...

I don't want to mix metaphors but Wells obviously pulled several Lurveys and then a massive Lurvey by running for judge. Shumie time for Wells.

The same for BNI. By letting in lawyers who use this blog, it was a big big Lurvey for BNI. The readers of this blog will filet BNI until there is nothing left but a day old stale donut left over from one of their outrageously expensive breakfasts. Shumie time for BNI for sure.

Anonymous said...

I practice in the civil division almost exclusively. Schlesinger is a big loss. He is one of the top judges in the county. He is smart, practical, and treats litigants with total respect. His staff is always friendly and helpful. Even when I lost in front of him, I felt like I got a fair hearing.

CAPTAIN said...

TO 9:03 PM:

Those were exactly the same words I heard from the Judge on Tuesday during my hearing at the GJB.

Anonymous said...

PS---is Pena Wells hyphenated? I don't know many men who use three names........William Pena Wells. I wonder why he does that? LOL

Anonymous said...

Captain,

can you please share the division assignments?

Anonymous said...

Assassins use three names:
Lee Harvey Oswald
James Earl Ray
Jared Lee Loughner

Anonymous said...

I'm stuck in juvenile for now and I know no one cares about juvie, but we are losing Ruiz-Cohen, Caballero and Cynamon. Anyone know who is coming here?

Anonymous said...

"Pena" won't help you in North Dade, pal. Fleur Lobree will win because people might she is Haitian.

Anonymous said...

You forgot John Wilkes Booth, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, Sarah Jane Moore, and the most famous of them all, Sirhan Sirhan Sirhan.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to Ward and Scola. Going to miss Cueto, Trawick and Zabel.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home William Thomas. You lazy calender attorneys who have not tried cases in years, got your trial suits cleaned because Judge Thomas is coming back.

Anonymous said...

Shuma-palooza Cigar extravaganza tonight!

Eye On Two Guys said...

Technically a Cigar based Shuma-palooza happens on the third thursday and fourth saturday (night) of every month as per the schedule at two guys,

Unless they changed it.

fake john wilkes booth said...

Not all assasins have three word names!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wells needs some professional help that can bring him closer to the promise land.

With that said, does anyone have a number for Juan? I just noticed that Judge Dud Cohn is finally up for reelection.

Maybe we can get a two for one deal and hit up Faber. ;-)

Anonymous said...

The loss of Scola is a big gain for the U.S. Constitution and fairness. She is a miserable, nasty, vindictive, unfair tool of the State.
Losing Cueto and Trawick are big losees. Losing Ward is a big loss sometimes.