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

Thursday, December 15, 2011

FEE FIASCO

(spin the judicial wheel of fortune below and find out where your favourite robed reader will be in 2012.)

The story you about to read is true.
The names have been withheld because most of the players are pretty nice guys.

We saw the following on the FACDL Listserv:

I just had the displeasure of arguing what appears to be Judge X's first Makemson hearing in which I was seeking to recover more than the $2,000 cap for a felony appeal. I had 153 hours in this first degree murder (life sentence)/armed robbery case, in which the trial took a month and the record was 5,500 pages. At the statutory rate of $75 per hour, I was asking for $11,475, which compares to a fee of $76,500 from a client paying full freight. (Rumpole can't help but wonder, who is getting $500 simoleons an hour to do an appeal outside of the southern district of NYC?)

Judge X (who apparently just came over to criminal from family court), was swayed by (the ASA)'s shrill arguments that I should not have taken a case with a statutory cap and expected to get much more, and her representation (which was news to me) that the other co-defendants’ appellate attorneys accepted the $2,000 cap for their fees.

Long story short, Judge X awarded $6,000, or $39.22 per hour.
Be warned.

Post script: The trial Judge, who is one of the most respected Judges we have and who otherwise has a reputation for treating all attorneys fairly and with respect issued a sua sponte (Latin meaning literally "woops, I think I can fix that before anyone does anything like appeal me") order reconsidering his prior decision. We think this will turn out just fine for the appellate attorney.

The more important question was what in the name of Sam Hill was the State Attorney's Office doing sticking their nose into a private attorney's fee? This is a dangerous precedent. When a prosecutor starts having some say in how much a court appointed attorney gets paid, it's Katie bar the door for the zealous advocacy on behalf of a client. (nb- two more catch phrases and we will tie the record for one paragraph). We are not aware of any statutory authority that gives an ASA the right to be heard at a fee hearing. If this matter is NOT resolved to the attorney's satisfaction we urge the FACDL to file an amicus brief on the appeal on the issue of whether Ms. Pinocchio ASA gets to put her beak into the middle of a fee hearing.

Speaking of the FACDL, there was an FACDL/PD party today at the PDs office. Don't get too upset, we didn't get invited either. Plus the opportunity to socialize with Brian Tannebaum, Barry Wax, Scott Fingerhut and other former FACDL Miami presidents WITHOUT the benefit of alcohol was just something we found very easy to pass up. And for those of you worried that Joe George might swoop in and become the next Public Defender after firing the entire PDs office, as best we can determine, NO alcohol was present on state property.

What was announced at the Party was the coming Judicial Assignments for the new year. Yes, it's that time of year again when Judges Brown and Soto spin the Judicial Wheel of fortune and click clack click clack lets see where your favourite judge landed.

OUT OF CRIMINAL: Judges Trawick, Cuerto, Zabel. Fair thee well.

IN TO CRIMINAL: Jon Schlessinger (for Trawick) Vickie Sigler (for Cuerto) Will Thomas (for Zabel). Welcome to the party.

Other moves: Firtel leaves division for backup and Manno-Schurr comes to criminal and takes over his division. Tinkler-Mendez leaves division for backup and Samantha Ruiz-Cohen takes over her division.

Judge Rosa Rodriguez leaves backup (Firtel takes over) and goes to ROC around the clock court taking over for Judge Ward. Judge Jackie Scola leaves backup and Tinkler Mendez takes over her spot.

You just know that once the music stops some poor judge will be left standing without a chair and be sent to probate.

See You In Court where you can't tell the players without a program and there's no better place to get your program than right here on your favourite blog.



34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know about what goes on in the criminal courts, but we who toil in the family courts are suffering. We are short judges, senior judges are doing double time, and some of the other judges are hearing their and two other judges' dockets.

It is brutal. It will probably get worse before it gets better.

Anonymous said...

There may not have been alcohol, but there was a Chocolate Fountain and very few rules about what got dipped.

Anonymous said...

bill for 22,000 settle for 11,000... they always cut the bill in half.

CAPTAIN said...

Reprinted, with permission from The Captain.

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

AND YOUR NEXT CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE IS ....

As I predicted, De la O, Hersch, and White-Labora head the list again.

Six names were sent to Governor Scott's office today to replace Judge Scola. The JNC interviewed 15 candidates, including six County Court Judges. (The JNC chose only two of the six County Court Judges).

The nominees are:

Miguel de la O
Richard Hersch
Alan Sackrin
Rodney Smith
Deborah White-Labora
Bonnie Riley

Those not sent up after the interviews include:

Maria de Jesus Santovenia
Lisa Lehner
Vincent Farina
Manuel L. Casabielle
Steven Befera
Gladys Perez
Maria D. Ortiz
Cristina Miranda
Andrew Hague

Cap Out .....

Thursday, December 15, 2011 5:20:00 PM

Anonymous said...

Now we know you WERE at the FACDL party Rumpy!

Rumpole said...

yeah that was me sitting between barry wax and Tannebaum ready to shoot myself.

facdl spy said...

TO 9:58 PM

To the contrary, Wax & H Scott were no shows. Past Prez' Richard Hersch, Kenny Hassett, Rick Freedman, Sabrina Puglisi, and the aformentioned Tannebaum dropped in for the free food - and chocolate fountain.

Anonymous said...

Barry Wax wasn't even there Rump.

Anonymous said...

Please let the governor appoint a man. I really cannot take another woman on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Best investiture of the decade today at noon .... Judge Hanzman. It is going to be amazing!!!

rudolph the red nosed lawyer said...

Wasson The Board Certified Appellate lawyer
submitted a bill for a fee
But Judge X didn't like it
so he cut it from 11 to 3

all of the other lawyers
were angry and upset about the three
so they didn't let poor Judge X
join in any lawyer games

Then one foggy Miami Day
Judge X ruled sua sponte
"Watson I don't like that three
your 11 now seems fine to me"

then all the lawyers loved him
and they shouted out with glee
Judge X because you ruled sua sponte
you'll go down in his-to-ry!!!

D.S. said...

Kudos to Bertie Soto for Blake on a Stick ( or is it Stan on a Stick).
DS

Anonymous said...

Gail. Not your business. File an amicus brief is your so upset. Judge/JAC/ Def Atty. you don't fit in this equation. It's that whole "standing" thing...

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more, Rump, about ASAs involvement in fee issues. When I was an ASA (and I know current ASAs LOVE to hear that), when a fee motion came up on calendar, it was time for me to sit down, take a break, and keep my mouth shut. In one such motion when a retired judge asked for the State's position on the motion, I think I recall answering that it was my belief that the State lacked standing in the matter. Same thing for all those motions by bondsmen to get their fees when a D AC'd.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I just Blaked in my pants.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight.

The judge makes 150k per year (or $75 per hour) based on a 2,000 hour work year.

Gail makes 112k per year as per the State of Florida website (or $56 per hour) based on a 2,000 hour work year.

The appellate lawyer makes $39.22 per hour? How is that fair?

Shame on the judge for approving that ridiculous amount. In the real world (of which ASAs have no clue exist), lawyers for fee hearings in family and civil are regularly awarded 300-400 per hour on a bad day.

If I were the judge, I would have simply asked the ASA that when she agrees to reduce her wage to $39.22 per hour, then I will award her adversary the same. In the meantime, the appellate atty gets the same as the state.

But then again, I'm not a judge, mostly because I dont want a paycut.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if she fought her plastic surgeons bill that hard.

Dr....you are charging me 5k, and the result is only worth $250.00!

Anonymous said...

Where is Judge Trawick going?

Anonymous said...

What was really important to learn at the FACDL lunch was how hard Bertie Soto and Sam Slom worked to get defense lawyers an ID to get into the courthouse.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how the JNC in the midst of their polictical correctness (Rodney Smith to make Ray McGhee happy, Miquel de la O to make CABA happy, Bonnie Riley to make FAWL happy, White-Labora and Richard Hersh to make FACDL happy) makes their agenda so clear. They have discarded truly qualified applicants without interview, or otherwise, because on qualifiations they outshine the members' friends and political allies. How many times do some of these people who "get out of committee" have to be told "no" by the governor, before the JNC will put out other names.

I watch and observe other JNC's and continue to be amazed at the quality of the nominees. How far we have fallen in such a short time. I guess we have "good old Jeb" and his minions to thank for the destruction of what was a truly independent process for that.

For a long time, I supported the appointment process, but I now realize that the JNC process is far more political than elections. And in Miami-Dade that is a sad commentary.

Anonymous said...

3:27, now you realize that the JNC process is more political than the election process?! I thought that it was so obvious that everyone knew that...

Anonymous said...

a short senior judge? its alan schwartz.

Anonymous said...

We loose scola only to have him replaced by one of those 6? Manny is so clearly the best choice and he doesn't even go up? Or Miranda? These people on the JNC are fucking Wack. And Ms. Quitana is leading the charge. What a loon she is... And a horrid repuation. The only good ones on the JNC are Friedin and Kadre.

Anonymous ASA said...

Based off of a 2000 hour work year (even though I work way more), I make $24.00 an hour handling homicides as an "A" ASA.

I guess everyone can stop complaining. I made more an hour in high school as a waiter at TGI Fridays on a good weekend night. I also got to wear more flair to work.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Johnnie hardiman, great choice for the JNC

Anonymous said...

Can those writing above comments at least use spell check. Agendas or not, those nominated are clearly qualified and should not be bashed by a bunch of individuals who hide behind anonymous taglines, before disparaging their colleagues.

Angry Gurl said...

So the firm I am of counsel with had their holiday party at the Epic. In these tough economic times I am certain they spent enough money to pay the salaries of three mid-level employees at the support staff level for a year. That's three families, six to 12 or so people who could have paid their mortgage and car loans and gotten health insurance for what these bloated buffoons blew in an orgy of gluttony in one night.

And believe me when I say gluttony. Women who are so obese that they can no longer perambulate and are forced to travel around on some electric hybrid wheel chair/scooter are sitting in line with piles of potato chips stacked on top of pasta in cream sauce and fried potatoes, friend chicken, and because they want to eat healthy, friend cauliflower and broccoli swimming in a some sweet brown sauce. And because they are so heavy that they can't walk, they have a second plate on their electric chair piled high with sweets, cakes, and of course since this is the holidays- christmas cookies.

And all the while their boss/enablers, who spend thousands every month on private gyms and personal trainers and tanning booths are standing to the side of the line smiling with their $25,000 in dental caps shinning brightly while they and their chic thin trophy wives who are 20 years younger then them encourage this herd of mooing cows to eat more and enjoy their generosity. Its like they're drug dealers getting junkies hooked for free.

Its a disgusting spectacle on so many levels, including fraud. The smiling bosses stand by and encourage their minions to have another glass of champagne. And their secretaries and clerks and their truck driving husbands wearing their only suit which stopped fitting them three years ago, are suitably impressed because the bottle says Moet, and they think they are drinking a $100 glass of champagne when in fact the 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut remains in the back and not available to hoi poloi. Ditto with the "caviar" which is probably fish eggs from some local mercury filled bass plucked from the muck and slime of the Everglades, while the stuff from Russia is kept securely in the partner's dinning room.

And on and on it goes. The fraud, the food, the gluttony, the smiling bosses. I could only take an hour or so and I left sick to my stomach.

Anonymous said...

So aside from that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

George Frobisher said...

Barry Wax wasn't there, but he is funny.

Anonymous said...

asa's objecting to defense fees is a great example of a person "giving a fuck when it aint there turn to give a fuck" as Bunk Moreland used to say on "the wire"

Anonymous said...

AG,

Finally a post I can agree with. If you wish to see gluttony at its best, go to Disney World. Every 10th person is sitting in a motorized chair, eating a turkey leg, drinking a diet soda, eating ice cream, etc. It is even more disgusting to witness this spectacle when it is blistering hot out.

I have absolutely no issue with people eating themselves to death, but I do have a problem paying for it with higher insurance rates.

Anonymous said...

Angry Gu(rl)/(y) said it right this time!

Anonymous said...

If Gail Levine said a fucking word, she should get a Bar complaint for representing someone she does not represent.

Anonymous said...

I remember when the PD party was the can't miss holiday party! Free booze, free food, humping in the parking lot & City of Miami cops looking the other way when our drunk asses drove away! This PC crap sucks!