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, March 31, 2011

OPENING DAY- re-run from last year



There's nothing like it in all the world.
Fresh cut grass. Oiled gloves. The smack of a ball on a wooden bat. The sound of cleats padding over a base.

Opening Day for Baseball. Every team is in it. The sights. The sounds. The smells. It's a uniquely American experience.

Baseball is the only major team sport not played with a time clock. It has a rhythm all its own. It moves to its own time. 9 innings.

There's a line in the John Fogerty song Centerfield:

"Just to hit the ball, and touch em all,
a moment in the sun,
its gone and you can tell that one goodbye."

It sums up a lifetime of hope and desire- just to hit the ball and touch em all- a home run. Little boys dream of it- and old men remember warm summer days when they moved with a grace long since gone.


And then finally- the one movie that always makes u cry: A Field Of Dreams. We'll leave it to others to discern just what in that movie touches us so much, but this speech- by James Earl Jones as Terrance Mann to Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella- sums up what Baseball is, and always will be to millions of fans:

Mann: The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Ohhhhhhhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.






Wednesday, March 30, 2011

THE FIGHT IS ON

DOM has all the juicy nasty details about the fight between Roy Black and former US Attorney Alex Acosta over the prosecution and defense of Jeffrey Epstein.

Recipe: Take one hedge fund billionaire with an appetite for underage girls; add one US Attorney who is not going to be pushed around; mix with a talented criminal defense attorney who attracts clients with almost as much money (and less debt) than the USA and mix.

As David points out, the Daily Beast broke the story here.

The Florida Bar's in trouble. Read the Broward JAA blog and "guess who" as a guest columnist.

SELL SELL SELL.
We think Japan is falling behind managing the nuclear crisis. The worst news is yet to come. As such we sent out a Twitter message the other day to our investors who follow our advice to start moving to cash and begin investing in vehicles that will profit from a sharp market downturn. Buying Puts is a wise move (and if you have to ask about what that is, take your money and put it back in the passbook savings account grandma left you.).

We're a bit busy, so that is all for now. We will address the 3rd DCA smack down issued to an REGJB judge the other day when we get a minute to read the opinion.





Monday, March 28, 2011

NEVER MIND

Roy Black blogs about Lozano, below.....

The rains that we warned about yesterday came....at about 9:00 PM Monday night. So if you listened to us and brought your Mac to work, never mind. And sorry. Those
weather vixens are good for many things, but meteorology is not apparently one of them.


A Cobra escaped from the Bronx Zoo over the weekend.

And now that sneaky, slippery snake has been twittering about his (?) adventures on the loose in the big apple. The very funny tweets of @BronxZoosCobra are here. #snakeonthetown.

Bronx Zoo's Cobra
Holding very still in the snake exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. This is gonna be hilarious!

Bronx Zoo's Cobra
If you want to find me, I right in front of the original Ray's Pizza.

Bronx Zoo's Cobra
Dear NYC, Apples and snakes have gone together since the beginning.


WORST?

DOM blogs
that a gaggle of Fed inspectors say the Ft. Lauderdale Federal Courthouse is the worst.

Query: Have they seen the courthouse in West Palm?


"Perjury. Steroids. Mistresses. Cap sizes (expanding). Testicle size (shrinking) "

OK- now you try and Twitter the Barry Bonds Federal trial.

Remember- 140 character limit.


And finally-

Roy Black Blogs about the Lozano case. He claims it almost killed him. We believe him.

If you don't know about the case, read his blog. If you were here for the mayhem, read his blog. It's a great entry.

See You In Court.

Bonus question- quick- who was the trial judge in the Miami Lozano case?



TAKE YOUR MAC TODAY

MONDAY MORNING WEATHER UPDATE: There's a consensus among the scantily clad local weather vixens who grace our morning televisions: massive thunderstorms will be heading down from Tampa to South Florida. Broweird gets it first and then Dade County by mid-afternoon. So bring your Mac to work today- and no we are not talking about the computer.

Your local weather brought to you by your favourite local, legal blog. All part of the service we provide.


Good Monday morning. It was a wonderful spring weekend in South Florida.

We have our final four teams for NCAA College Basketball. Sorry you Gator Fans, but what in the world was that 3 point bomb at the end of regulation? They could have won it if they had the right play called. #badcoaching.

We have now been officially signed up for email alerts about the welfare of Ostriches. Pretty funny who ever did that. #Struthious.

Pretty good victory for Mike Catalano and his client Judge Dale Cohen. The JQC recommendations are here, courtesy of the JAA Broward Blog. #goodlawyering.

Here's the big question for the week: What's the proper way to spell the name of the current leader of Libya?

Speaking of revolutions, who is next? Syria or the DUI attorneys who can't get called out of turn in Judge Hague's courtroom? Both of those situations are reaching the boiling point and unfortunately the good offices of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can only handle one of these flash points.

Can't you just envision NATO intervening on the 6th floor?

Gee, we're old enough to remember walking to court under the watchful eyes of the National Guard when Miami was burning. But that was BS so who cares? (Before Starbucks).

OK readers: what dear Robed reader will do something stupid and make our week?
Place your bets now.

See You In Court.






Friday, March 25, 2011

VERY GOOD SHOWING

UPDATE: TRAWICK SACKS ROBBINS FOR FIVE YEAR LOSS
The long, sad saga of former Oakland Raider center Barrett Robbins has come to a conclusion with a five year prison sentence of the former NFL star for violating his probation for testing positive for cocaine. The Herald has the story here.

We're not criticizing Judge Trawick here, but we are disturbed by the sentence. ASA David Gilbert (another fair and well respected player in this saga) asked for a prison sentence.

It is well known that Robbins is bi-polar. People with mental diseases self medicate with drugs. It just strikes us as wrong that we send mentally ill people to prison. We don't send overweight diabetics who self medicate by eating Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream to prison. But we send mentally ill people to prison all the time. And the quote attributed to Mr. Gilbert that Mr. Robbins deserves prison time because "he is big and quick" and thus presents more of a danger than, lets say a 5 foot 100 pound Miami Dolphin Cheerleader, also strikes us as wrong.

We recognize that Mr. Robbins was given chance after chance and at some point there are no chances left. And that's probably what happened here. It's just sad that we all know Mr. Robbins is mentally ill and prison is the best we can do.

FRIDAY'S SYMPOSIUM: THUS SPOKETH RUMPOLE.

The Symposium organized by Robert Kuntz went very well Friday . It was tough to get a word in edgewise with Brian Tannebaum and DOM hogging the microphone, but kudos to Mr. Kuntz for doing a great job moderating an ill-moderate bunch of egos. It was a very enjoyable experience.

And BTW, this shows that our judiciary needs qualified individuals with the varied life experience Mr. Kuntz, a former journalist, has. We hope he runs/applies again.

Also, follow Robert Kuntz on Twitter @RobertKuntz.

"SOME OF MY BEST IDEAS COME FROM MY CLIENTS."

This is the heading of a new post on Roy Black's new blog. (Roy spoke at the symposium Friday).

It's a good post with a simple but often overlooked practice tip- speak to (not at) your client, and listen (and don't interrupt) when they respond. It's amazing what you will learn.

Have a great weekend. For those of you not writing op-ed pieces on the late Justice Rhenquist, it is a beautiful day (so we hear) in South Florida (as we fly back from LA). Get out and enjoy Florida and we will see you in court Monday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

RUMPOLE TO SPEAK IN PUBLIC!!!

UPDATE: The conference has begun. We will begin our address around 11:15 am. DOM needs a shave and a shoe shine.


FRIDAY IN COURTROOM 4-2 OF THE MIAMI DADE COURTHOUSE, RUMPOLE WILL SPEAK AT THE FOLLOWING SYMPOSIUM.

YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS!

The Eleventh Judicial Circuit Centennial Committee, Joseph H. Serota, Chair, is pleased to present "Ripped from the Headlines: The Vital, Tempestuous and Changing Relationship between the Court and Media."

Symposium Chairs Robert Kuntz and Timothy M. Ravich will present a 3-part, half-day symposium showcasing important trials throughout the history of the Miami-Dade County judiciary and focusing on what the future holds as court cases are actively covered by new and emerging media sources.

  • Part I – A multi-media historical presentation by the 11th Judicial Circuit’s Court Historian Judge Scott J. Silverman. This presentation will focus on the Court’s early relationship with the press, with an emphasis on Giuseppe Zangara’s attempted assassination of President-Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt at Miami’s Bayfront Park in February 1930.

  • Part II - A panel discussion of the William Lozano shooting of Clement Lloyd, Lozano’s trial and re-trial, and the evolving relationship between the media and the Court.

  • Part III – A panel discussion of the role that “new media” plays in the courtroom. The discussion will include blogging, Twitter, email, cameras in the courtroom, and feeding the 24-hour news cycle.

Featured speakers include John Hogan, Mark Seiden, Roy Black, Joseph H. Serota, Bob Levenson, Kendall Coffey, David Markus, Brian Tannenbaum -- and special "appearances" by the writers of the legal “blawgs” The Justice Building Blog and South Florida Lawyer.


We have been assured we will have immunity. We cannot be served at this hearing for any lawsuit or bar complaint. Furthermore, we have been assured of a significant police presence that will protect us from those who wear robes and bear grudges. There will also be a selection of top shelf liquor- gratis for speakers and participants.

Having thus had our concerns sufficiently addressed, we agreed to speak at this soiree.

Our words will simultaneously be Twittered to a rapturous world wide audience.

DOM better bring his A-Game. We're not some star struck AUSA just happy to be gracing the same courtroom with the "King of Cross".

See You In Courtroom 4-2 tomorrow.




Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TWEET!

If you're not following us on Twitter, you're missing all the action. Why just last Sunday as we lay by the pool at some fancy resort, a blistering exchange between all your favourite bloggers (DOM, So Fla and even the Cocaine Princess) took place.

Twitter: It's really more fun then watching Ohio State and Duke roll through the NCAAs.


WHO KNEW?
Below is a partial re-post of the JAA Broward Blog's post on the Broweird SAO's punitive policy of punishing defendants who have lawyers who are audacious enough to act like lawyers and challenge the State's evidence.

So while you read the goings on North Of the Border, fill us in about our dear Dade SAO- Do they withdraw all plea offers when the defense files a motion or seeks to take a depo?
Is there any rational defense to a prosecutor punishing a defendant for hiring an attorney who does their job?

(And before you go nuts, of course limited exceptions are totally understandable. A defendant who insists on having his lawyer depose the child victim of a sexual battery should expect that a reasonable plea offer will be withdrawn if the child is forced to speak about the incident. But there is a world of difference between the victim of a sexual assault and a narcotics detective, right?)

Lawyers fighting drug trafficking cases handled by the Broward SAO's Drug Trafficking Unit (DTU) have been operating under false impressions. It turns out you can file Motions regarding Suppression, Entrapment, Substantial Assistance, and other issues without fear of reprisal by having all below minimum mandatory offers revoked.

By way of background, DTU handles drug cases (mostly involving pills), carrying fifteen and twenty-five year min/mans. They tell you that if you dispute the State's evidence via Motions that don't get granted, you are plain and simply going to trial. Addicts who are in simple possession of maybe twenty-five pain pills are then looking at fifteen years, or twenty-five years for a few additional pills. The jury by law does not get to hear what the potential penalties are, and it is not necessary for the State to prove the addict sold or intended to sell the drugs.

The net effect of the way DTU does business results in predictable outcomes. Defendants are scared out of their minds, since the SAO runs the show even more than usual. Not being satisfied with the legislature taking away most of the judge's discretion, they remove any further possibility of a neutral arbiter's review by banning Motions for judges to consider. Defendants who can't prove their innocence or overcome illegal police activity on the facts alone are often forced to accept convictions along with DTU's standard three year prison sentence on fifteen year min/man cases, or seven years on twenty-five year min/mans. They are branded drug traffickers for the rest of their lives, or, if they're lucky, given convicted attempted drug trafficker status with shorter prison or jail time followed by gobs of probation. They are forced to give up all their rights because of what can only be deemed an Un-American policy that is in direct contradiction of the intent of the framers of the Florida and United States' Constitutions, out of fear of spending fifteen or twenty-five precious years in the slammer.

Of course, as stated above, it turns out there isn't a policy at all. All the lawyers who have been told this by a DTU prosecutor must have misunderstood, including the judges who hear it when it's stated on the record. Yes, even those lawyers DTU Chief
John Gallagher screamed at for going over his head to Chuck Morton orSatz because they didn't like the rules are wrong too.

Can't believe your eyes? Here's part of an email sent to SAO Media Man
Ron Ishoy earlier today:

"(O)n Mr. Satz's policy regarding the Drug Trafficking Unit.

As everyone knows, Mr. Gallagher and his team withdraw all offers if an attorney files a Motion To Suppress, Motions regarding Entrapment defenses, or any other type of Motions questioning the State's case. If Motions are filed, a Defendant has to go to trial facing the mandatory minimum penalty in nearly every case. If no Motions are filed DTU will entertain breakdown offers typically involving reduced prison sanctions.

The question ... is simple: what is Mr. Satz's rationale for the policy?"

The answer came at 4:54 pm:

"The State Attorney's Office has no such blanket policy. Each case is based on its own evidence and unique circumstances."

Again, who knew? Every attorney, judge and Defendant must have misunderstood. You can file Motions in DTU cases without fear of reprisal after all.

Here's what Kevin Kulik had to say after he learned of Ishoy's email, echoing the experience of nearly every single attorney in Broward County for at least a decade:

"If it's true they must have decided that today in a meeting with Mr. Satz personally. I've had ASA's explain that policy to me for years. Every DTU prosecutor has explained that policy to me because the policy was you can't file a Motion."

Rumpole says: It sucks getting caught in a lie Mr. Satz, doesn't it?

Monday, March 21, 2011

A DARK, BLACK, BLOG

Some people have entirely too much time on their hands. Rather than sit down, read a file and write a motion to suppress (with corresponding memorandum of law if it's going to the 3rd Floor of the REGJB) they decide ..."hey, I know what I'll do, I'll write a blog!"

Welcome, Roy Black to the Blog-a-sphere. Black's Law is here.

After the usual pandering to Rumpole to get a shout out, ("Rumpole does a great job..." {yawn}) Mr. Black gets down to the business of writing his blog:
I am writing this to teach myself. No one else. So this will be personal. I find that putting my ideas on paper helps crystallize them. It makes me think and work out ideas. Ideas about trials pop into my head all the time. During the fall semester at the law school I can use them for lecture topics. But outside of that, I have no forum to articulate them. Unless I make the effort to write them down and flush them out, I am afraid they will be lost. So now I have an outlet to discuss them.

Actually this is a very "Howard Roarkian/Ayn Randian" reason for writing: "I do this for myself." No altruist he, we applaud Mr. Black for echoing our reason for blogging: "Because we like it." Not to enrich the world or help "the poor, the ignorant, the simple." See, Phalen v. Virginia, 49 U.S. 8 How. 163, 168 (1850).

But merely to write, for writings sake. (And to poke a Judge now and then.)

Mr. Black notes that there are 60 million blogs "infesting" (good term) the internet and only 3% last "for any appreciable period." We've lasted for over 1800 posts, (this is our 1884th) but we hardly think that's "an appreciable period" considering that baseball's Cal Ripken played in 2,632 straight games over seventeen seasons. So we'll return to this subject sometime in 2022 (longtime and careful readers remember that we started this blog November 16, 2005).

DOM is excited that Mr. Black revealed his "folder method" for cross examination. (Click here, if you must.) The discourse on the relative advantages versus the disadvantages for writing out cross examination questions is useful, but we frown on attempting to devote a few blogged lines to a subject that takes many lifetimes to master.

Still, overall we welcome Mr. Black to blogging. He is an eminently successful lawyer (and a nice guy to boot) and we look forward to his views in forthcoming posts. His discourse on these pages with Mr. Laser on their epic battle in the Alvarez case (Circa 1982) (See, Rumpole, The Case That Made Miami Burn) remains one of our personal favourites.

Mr. Black rapidly approaches that dreaded "Dean of Defense Attorneys" title that signifies the probability that most of one's battles are behind them. (As Bruce Springsteen sang in No Retreat, No Surrender: "The War outside still rages, but you say it ain't ours anymore to win...")

But you ignore the Lion's roar at your own peril. Even the Lion in Winter.

See You In Court, our cross examination's fully written out, fully cross referenced, but without any folders, per se.


Friday, March 18, 2011

FRIDAY NCAA MADNESS

For the record, we have never, ever called anyone "Dude" and have never, ever, filled out an NCAA bracket. Neither of those two states are likely to change although we venture to guess we know more about College Basketball then any other lawyer with +100 jury trials under their belt.


#Struthious could do for our Sesquipedalian Judge what #winning! is doing for Charlie Sheen on Twitter.

Please, enough emails already from those Ostrich lovers among you. We get it, the bird is misunderstood. Enough.

Twitter is monopolizing our time, by the way.

Also, enough with the calls for discipline against ASA Scruggs. He tried a case and lost. Get over it. The case against Michelle Spence-Jones obviously was sufficient enough to justify a finding of probable cause and it even survived a JOA. There is no misconduct here that we see. No case is ever worth a lawyer wrecking their reputation by playing dirty. Right?

As much as we hate to say it, this Japan nuclear crisis proves the point former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld often said: "There are things you know. There are things you don't know. And there are things you don't know you don't know."

However, it seems to us, admittedly in retrospect, that the spent fuel rods, placed in pools out in the open in an earthquake zone should have been seen for the potential disaster that they are turning out to be. It was reasonably foreseeable the plant would be hit by an earthquake. The reactors were designed to withstand an earthquake. But the pools were not, and now they are cracked and suspected of leaking which means even if they can get water on them they can't keep the water in the pool.

Google critical mass if you really want to be scared.

And with that, we bid you adieu. Have a great weekend. The weather is fantastic. And hopefully some good news comes out of Japan soon.

We will be on Twitter all weekend providing you with the information you need. (@justicebuilding).

Coming next week: can you Twitter a closing argument? (ie., under 140 characters?)
Take a DUI case: "No evidence of impairment =Not guilty."

For those of you who are fans of brevity (Judges on the third floor excluded) it's a fun exercise.

Give it a shot and we will post the best ones.

See You In Court.