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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

IN THE LONG RUN

"Happiness is as a butterfly,
which, when pursued, is
always beyond our grasp,
but which, if you will sit down
quietly, may alight upon you."

Nathaniel Hawthorne


"All men should try to learn,
before they die, what they are
running from, and to,
and why."

Unknown author, Chinese Fortune Cookie.

Both these sayings are in the start of a wonderful new book, "In the Long Run" by Jim Axelrod, a CBS news correspondent.

Not to ruin the plot, but in 2008, while covering Hilary Clinton's run for the White House, Axelrod feels himself being pushed out of a job at CBS. At the same time a friend emails him Axelrod's father's times in the NYC Marathon when Axelrod's father was 44, 45, and 46. With his father having passed on, and Axelrod not even close to being in shape to run around the block, Axelrod, age 46, decides, on the spur of the moment, to run his first marathon. And for good measure, he decides to beat his father's best time: sub 3:30, which means averaging sub 8 minute miles for all 25 miles.

It's a great read.

Welcome back. We hope your holiday weekend was a great one (even yours angry gurl).
See you in court, our marathoning days having passed us by (we never ran one, and we never will.)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY





UPDATE: If you're reading this Monday night, tune in to AMC and watch perhaps our favourite war movie: Midway.

The battle of Midway is fascinating because it is a Game Theorist's dream: nations acting on incomplete information attempting to maximize their military gains while minimizing their loss over a set period of time.

The battle of Midway occurred just after the battle of the Coral Sea which was at best a draw. However the US carrier Lexington was sunk in the battle, while the Japanese lost two carriers- one light carrier and one large carrier. That left the US with just three carriers to face the Japanese in the Pacific: The Hornet, The Enterprise and the Yorktown and the Yorktown was heavily damaged in the Coral Sea Battle. The carrier Saratoga was already out of action but not sunk and being refitted in San Francisco.

To make matters more intriguing, the US's greatest Admiral (perhaps ever) William "Bull" Halsey, was in the hospital with a bad case of shingles. Halsey choose Admiral Raymond Spruance, who had never commanded a carrier fleet to replace him.

There are fascinating volumes analyzing in detail the shifting fortunes of the battle which lasted over three days. There were attacks, counter attacks, and responses to the counter attacks. When the smoke cleared the Japanese plan to lure the US carriers into a trap had failed and the Japanese had lost four carriers and several other ships. The battle was "a" (not "the") turning point in the Pacific war. The battle has been called "the most stunning and decisive blow in the initial of naval warfare." We recommend Gordon Prange's seminal "Miracle at Midway" for further reading.



Remember that this day and this holiday weekend is about remembering those who have served and given, in the words of President Lincoln "the last full measure of devotion."


Saturday, May 28, 2011

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

OCCCRC ...........

The Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel was established in 2007. As many of you who accept conflict cases know, it changed the way we do business in the State of Florida when it came to the PD announcing a conflict.

In 2007, the Governor appointed the five Regional Counsel positions to run each of the five offices; (the offices encompass the geographic boundaries of each of the five District Courts of Appeal). In the 3rd, Joseph P. George was appointed to a four year term. During the past four years the office has grown and now takes 75% of the conflict cases from the PD's office; the remaining 25% of conflict cases end up with an attorney from the Registry ("the wheel").

In February, the Supreme Court JNC asked for applications for the new four year term to be appointed by Governor Scott. In the 3rd DCA region, the applicants were:

James Ermacora
Joseph P. George
Steven Lieberman

Mr. Ermacora also submitted his application to be considered for the 2nd, 4th and 5th DCA's; I guess he didn't care much for living in Wakulla.

Mr. Lieberman, currently a General Magistrate assigned to the Juvenile Dependency Division, has also submitted his name to the local JNC for consideration to become a County Court Judge and his name was on the desk of the Governor (along with four others) for an open County Court seat until yesterday when Governor Scott chose Dawn Denaro as your new County Court Judge.

Earlier this week, in Tampa, the Florida Supreme Court JNC interviewed the prospective candidates for the five positions of Regional Counsel. Their responsibility is to nominate up to three names and send those names to the Governor. Gov. Scott chooses one name subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

In the 3rd DCA region, the JNC chose to nominate:

NOBODY

Instead, their decision as a Committee was: "To be advertised again in order to see more candidates".

We do not know what went on in the interviews of the three candidates and maybe someone with knowledge of that can provide comments. From what we have heard of the OCCRC office run by Mr. George, like any new office, it experienced growing pains during the first couple of years, and then started to blossom with qualified attorneys handling conflicts throughout the Gerstein Justice Building. I believe that they currently employ Eugene Zenobi and Phil Reizenstein to handle their capital death cases.

So, the question now becomes, if Mr. George is not to be nominated to another four year term - then who?

On a separate note, congratulations to our new County Court Judge, Dawn Denaro. She is 44 years old and has spent her entire legal career with the State Attorney's Office. She takes over for Judge Gayles who was appointed to the Circuit Court.

We hope everyone enjoys their long Memorial Day Weekend. Please remember why we celebrate this weekend and take some time to honor the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in protecting and defending our freedoms.

CAPTAIN OUT .......






Friday, May 27, 2011

GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN

Because you might not be able to stand the heat.

Speaking of the Heat, all you people who keep emailing me every time Wade or Cleveland Jim (Lebron) makes a free throw and asking me "what do you think of the Heat now?" can stop.

The series isn't over until the fat lady sings.

Celebrating a Heat championship now is like congratulating your client after the jury is seated (which we've actually done, but it's a ballsy move and we don't recommend it.)

Lets see if the Heat can beat the Mavs. If they can, they will get all the accolades they deserve. If they don't, it will be a colossal failure. The pressure is on.

DUI DIVERSION
Everything you wanted to know about the SAO's new DUI diversion but you couldn't ask because you don't have Bobby Reiff's cellphone.

Some rules (As per Mr. Reiff's email):

Defendants involved in accidents are not eligible unless the defendant was not at fault for the accident;

All defendants will be required “to sign a ‘Statement of Personal Responsibility’ to be admitted in the program. This statement then could be used against the defendant if he or she is bounced out of the program;

The defendant may not have any prior alcohol related driving history;

They may have no more than one prior, non-violent felony convictions or two prior misdemeanor convictions;

They cannot have completed more than one felony or misdemeanor diversion programs;

There must not have been any minor children in the vehicle at the time;

They cannot have had a suspended driver’s license at the time of the arrest unless the suspension had expired.


The program is not retroactive- meaning you cannot set aside your client's prior plea and get them into the program.

nb: Bobby Reiff is the point man on this, meaning the rules are NOT his. He is merely being kind enough to assist the SAO in disseminating information about THEIR program. Don't bug him if you don't like the rules. Send us an email about the Heat instead.

Back on Track Program Requirements



COURT IS CLOSED MONDAY.
The summer holiday season is upon us.
Take some time and smell the ocean breeze. Barbecue. Drink a beer or two. Take a deep breath. Put down those FLWs and read a book. We recommend "The Wizard Of Lies" although DOM recommended Lucifer's Hammer, which starts really slow if you ask us.

In short- enjoy life this weekend. Work will be here when you return Tuesday.

HR

mcq/gcm


Thursday, May 26, 2011

TAKE A BOW MANNY ALVAREZ


PD Manny Alvarez, last heard about in these pages with his run for Judge (and extremely close loss) wins a big one in the Florida Supreme Court.


Delgado's appeal was denied in the 3rd DCA. He had been sentenced to 30 years for burglary and life for klidnapping. With his win, Manny's client is now not required to spend the rest of his life in prison. From the decision:

However, the question here is whether Delgado committed the additional crime of kidnapping, subjecting him to a sentence of life imprisonment, if he did not know the child was in the backseat before or during his commission of the auto theft, which was the underlying felony used to support his kidnapping conviction. We conclude that because the State failed to produce sufficient evidence demonstrating Delgado‟s awareness of the victim before or during his execution of the underlying felony, critical statutory requirements for the kidnapping offense were not satisfied.


The moral of the story is that great lawyers follow the admonition of Winston Churchil and "never never never give in."


Churchill, in discussing the Battle of Britan in a talk to students at the Harrow school said:

"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. "


Winston Churchill, October 29, 1941.



COURT CLOSED MONDAY. HOW WILL YOU BE SPENDING THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND?



mqc/gcc

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

JAIL HEALTH WARNING

What to write about....what....to...write....about??

Hmmm.....slow news week.

Oh wait. There's this: if you go visit your client in jail you may catch a deadly infection for which there is no cure.

from an email:

The Miami-Dade Corrections Dept has issued an Alert that during the month of May, there have been several cases of MRSA reported at the Metro West Detention Center. MRSA is a resistant form of a Staph Aureus infection. They have recommended that you take extra precautions when visiting clients at Metro West. Recommended precautions include using good hand hygiene, especially upon leaving the facility.

Rumpole says: Recommended precautions include.. NOT GOING! Just a thought.

NEW PRE TRIAL DIVERSION GUIDELINES FROM THE SAO

You can read the full memo below, but as a service we have excerpted the highlights:

1) No one is eligible. Ever.
2) Upon agreement of the prosecution to refer a client to PTI, the client will have to drive to a small undisclosed location in Hialeah, which is actually where the government often hid President Dick Cheney when Bin Laden was alive and not viewing pornography.
3) Upon locating the undisclosed location in Hialeah, the client will be required to wait six hours, or until the clerk in the attorneys room on the 9th floor returns from wherever they disappear to whenever we step up to the window to request a file. Whichever comes first.
4) The client will pay an application fee of $500.00. The fee will be paid in cash, preferably in small bills to "Hector".
5)The application will be reviewed and denied (see rule#1).
6) The attorney must then calendar the case in court and seek a "re-referral" to the program.
7) Review steps 2-6. Rinse. Repeat.

New PTD Procedures (5)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CHILDREN IN JAIL

The following is a letter from The Children's Campaign. It was forwarded to us (indirectly) by our Public Defender: Mr. Martinez.


May 23, 2011

The Honorable Rick Scott
Governor, State of Florida
Plaza Level
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL. 32399

Dear Governor Scott:

On behalf of the members and supporters of The Children’s Campaign, Florida’s most reliable and dependable child advocacy organization, I am registering our strong objection to SB 2112 regarding the detention of children in county jails and we urge you to veto it.

The history of The Children’s Campaign extends back to the time, longer than three decades ago, when children were detained regularly in county jails and lock-ups in Florida. The problems were numerous and often horrific and the State moved in a better child focused direction. We see no good outcomes extending from the policy change to be enacted by SB 2112. More to the point, we foresee many bad results, degrading the care and treatment of children along with the systemic complications emanating from this poorly thought out legislation.

The fact that the bill’s proponents are focused entirely on its purported cost savings and and not its impact on the care and treatment of children “in their best interest” should be a warning sign of serious enough gravity for you to act against it.

While cost is an important consideration, the treatment of children in a civilized society must extend beyond such narrowly focused factors.

For instance, the bill as written does not address consistency of treatment of children across the state. Are we to accept that children will be treated less well in one county than those in another? How is it in the best interest of children to be electronically monitored in a mod devoid of adult interaction as a cost saving option, thereby sacrificing opportunities for positive adult role-modeling at a time when the only adult interaction the child may be experiencing at home is one of abuse and neglect?

We do not agree that detention policy is only about holding a child securely until his or her appearance in front of the judge who decides whether to continue to detain or to release until the adjudicatory phase. Detention of children in Florida for example now extends an average of eleven days. It is an opportunity to infuse other helpful and supportive services as was proven in the Girls Advocacy Project.

Page Two – SB 2112 Veto Request Letter

The innovative GAP service assisted detained girls cope with their many difficulties and prepared them for a better life path. It also exposed histories of trauma and sexual abuse and mental health problems which would go undetected in the non-child focused county jail operations framed by SB 2112.

Further, we are horrified by the prospect that the county jail staff will not train by mandate in how to best treat and counsel children. Worse, the bill allows children to suffer the consequences of being shocked with powerful electronic devices and prodded with batons when non-coercive techniques would be best if employed by knowledgeable staff educated in child responsive strategies.

Recent legal decisions as far up as the United States Supreme Court have validated a child’s brain is not yet fully developed and sentencing of children must be different than that afforded to an adult. Yet, this bill if allowed to become law will subject children to an environment specifically architected and operated for adults and by adults with no background in child management.

Regarding legal issues, the Counties and the State of Florida should prepare themselves for the spate of lawsuits sure to come due to the mistreatment of children by untrained child care staff in county jails. Florida’s reputation will suffer along with its children who are subjected to these bad practices.

This bill was not vetted in public hearings. It was conceived and moved along during the frantic budget process and then agreed to by only two lawmakers in conference committee. The community has been denied the opportunity to speak directly to problems with its theory and implementation.

The framers of the legislation have not taken into account the havoc to be wrought when some counties “opt in” and others “opt out”. The implications for the operations of the Offices of the State Attorneys, Public Defenders and the Department of Juvenile Justice are profound. Children will be detained long distances away from legal counsel and their families, and, in some cases, even hundreds of miles as a result of the real-life operating scenarios to unfold if this bill is implemented. The extent of problems in disproportionate access, transportation, medical care and parental and family involvement have not yet fully come to light because the bill did not receive a proper airing during the legislative session.

With this bill the detention system for children in Florida will be neither state nor county. It will hover somewhere in between and children will experience the worst of both worlds.

We reiterate that the primary motivation for this bill by its sponsors and supporters is a move by the counties to reduce the amount of money they spend on children and, in this case, some of the most vulnerable among our youth population. Balancing county budgets to the detriment of vulnerable children is a bad practice in its own right and should be rejected.

As an alternative, we urge you to direct the Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Wansley Walters, whose appointment and confirmation we supported, to address the current cost of detention to the counties, the past over-billing issues, and to develop a plan for resolving those issues in a manner that will not compromise the care of children by a system which is not uniform and is not child focused. This path will allow sufficient time to address the detention issue fully and transparently in the more appropriate substantive policy committees during the next session of the legislature.

SB 2112 should not go forward. It will make the lives of children worse, not better.

Page Three – SB 2112 Veto Request Letter

Sincerely,
Roy Miller

Roy Miller

President
The Children’s Campaign


Monday, May 23, 2011

JUDGE MICHAEL HANZMAN

Michael Hanzman was appointed today as a Circuit Court Judge to fill the seat vacated by the death of Skip Gross.

Judge Hanzman, you have incredibly big shoes to fill.

Another near miss for a Judge who deserves promotion: Deborah White-Labora. Hopefully Judge White-Labora gets her well deserved promotion shortly.

Meanwhile attorney Richard Hersch returns to a private practice landscape radically changed by the availability of diversion for DUIs.

LOT 26 UPDATE:
It's summer time, and the parking's easy.

Many reports were emailed to us this morning about the stationing of a uniformed City Of Miami Official who was turning away FHP Troopers and officers in vehicles from several other departments. There was plenty of parking today at lot 26 and hopefully it will remain that way.

Query: To whom is thanks deserved on this contretemps?

SOMETHING TO MAKE YOU REALLY DEPRESSED:

The US spends 4 billion dollars a day more than it takes in.

See the article here.

See you in court, where there's always a nice parking spot available now.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

LEGAL ECONOMICS

True or false: The NYC Public Defenders Office is a great place to learn your trade?

A: It's a trick question. Surprisingly NYC doesn't have a PDs office. The Big Apple has a patchwork indigent defense system comprised of a semi-private corporation- Legal Aid- and something called 18-B attorneys which is akin to our private court appointed attorneys.

The NY Times covers this system today. The title links to the article. Some surprising tidbits:

The Lawyer featured in the article earned $68,000.00 from his 18-B work, which constituted 98% of his income. He is a 50 year old attorney who learned his craft in the Prosecutor's Office.

How does an attorney run a practice on that amount of money anywhere, much less in one of the most expensive cities in the world?

NYC spent about 75 million dollars on 18-B attorneys last year. The City is now looking for a "contract system" to cut costs. You've heard the rumors here: One lawyer bids to handle 5,000 cases for a fixed cost and then apportions the work out to attorneys who used get cases from the court, for a reduced fee. The top attorney skims a healthy income for him/herself off the top, while everyone else can barely pay their bills.

Recall the scene of migrant farm workers in camps in dust bowl era California portrayed in John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath, and you sort of get the idea: You pay people just enough so they can't become economically independent, but also so they cannot afford to say no.

The more things change....

The simple fact is that the economic reality of law schools churning out attorneys has created a glut in the market. Most law students who are not in the top ten percent of their class at a top law school cannot secure a job upon graduation. They are reduced to the "contract system" where they receive per diem payment from firms for daily scut work. And they feel lucky to get that. In the last year we've spoken to dozens of law school grads who are working as waiters and cocktail waitresses while looking for work. Our service based economy swamps almost everything else.

Folks, there is a radical change coming to the economics of our chosen livelihood. Indeed, that change has already arrived (Regional Counsel anyone?).

Change is the price of survival.

Either you're in front of the wave on this one, or you drown. Just don't say we didn't warn you to either get some swimming lessons or get out of the ocean.

If you left Miami in 1970 and spent 15 years on an island and returned in 1985, the economics of the legal system would have looked roughly the same. We do not think you will recognize our current economic legal system in 2026.

Just a thought.

See You tomorrow, unless you took our advice from yesterday's post.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

THE END 2.0

More thoughts on THE END

Maybe this isn't s bad thing. To contemplate the inevitable focuses one on the moment.

What do you enjoy about your life right now?

If this was your last year, what would you be doing different? If there was a medical test that gave you the information on when you would die within a reasonable certainty within a few months, how would you live out the remaining years or decades?

The fact is that outside of a tragedy, we pretty much know the date: we can expect to live into our mid to late seventies. With a little luck we can extend that time for another ten or fifteen years.

So knowing what we really don't want to think about, look at your life right now. (we now abandon the royal "we").

This morning I did not get up and exercise like I normally do. I cooked up some tater tots and then fried an egg and put it on top and then smothered that with ketchup. Then I ground some coffee and sat down and continued reading my book on Madoff and just enjoyed a quiet morning. Life is good. Indeed, life is a gift.

The other day I was speaking with someone about our goals. 25 years ago the only thing I wanted to do was be the best trial lawyer I could be. I probably couldn't even name goals 8-10. Today, being a great trial lawyer is not in the top ten. When it is my time, if being a great trial lawyer was all I accomplished (and it is not) I would be very sad.

I have a new goal now. Actually a few. One is a passion. And it requires a lot of work. It takes up most of my precious free time. And the scary thing is after a few years of work, I may fail. The finished product may stink.

But isn't that what life is all about? There are no guarantees. You try and succeed and you reap the rewards (emotional, financial, physical, etc.) You try and fail and you get right back up, dust yourself off, absorb and apply the lessons of the failure, and try again.

I've lived a moderately long time, but not long enough for me. And here's what I have learned: when I look back, it's always the climb that I remember fondly, not the top of the mountain.
I remember the long hours preparing the cross. And then I remember how it worked. I remember the frantic hours late at night re-writing the closing, and then I remember standing before the jury giving it. I rarely remember the verdict or the aftermath.

The world may end today, but probably not. But there is real value every now and then in contemplating the end and deciding to make every day count.

Maybe, just this once, I won't see you in court Monday. Maybe you'll take the day off and spend it in a bookstore, or at the beach, or at a movie, or with your family.

HR.


Friday, May 20, 2011

THE END

(A few quick posts in a row, so make sure to scroll down and check the post from Thursday night on the BBC's expose' on the Miami Jail.)

So this is how it all ends. Not with a bang, but a
webpage by some nut named Harold Camping.

Rumpole revealed?

No. Nothing as earth shaking as that. Merely just the end of the world. A/K/A The Rapture.

"Rapture 2011", "end of the world" etc., are currently the top Google searches as radio shows, billboards and other advertisements promote the belief that Saturday ends it all.

Query: What would Jesus Tweet? Would you friend him on facebook? Can you get into his Linkdin?

What does this mean for you?

1) All you fools predicting the Heat winning the NBA championship? HA! Shows we know more than you. With the world ending, they have no chance. (PS- sorry for those of you who pre-paid for a full championship run of tickets. Refunds could be a hassle.)

2) At least you got to see the final of The Office on Thursday night.

3) No NFL for sure.

4) Those of you dieting? Sorry. Ditto gym rats and those of you with fat IRAs and no balances on your credit cards.

5) Vic Tobin could have waited to make his announcement and gone out on top.

6) You finally got a reservation at Raos for Sunday? Woops.

7) Don't spend money on a full tank of gas today.

8) You graduated from law school and think the job market is bad now? Just wait as all those souls come back. Talk about rush hour congestion.

9) Arnold may have had the right idea about infidelity. Ditto for those foreclosure firms that advised you not to pay your mortgage.

10) And finally, how bad will it be with everything ending and you don't get to know just who Rumpole is?

Stay tuned. If things get rocky Saturday morning, we will give up the ghost so to speak before the internet goes down.

Until then.... REPENT. THE END IS COMING!

m/09~11/qc.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

BBC EXPOSES MIAMI JAIL

Welcome to The Gulag Miami.

The BBC has exposed the Miami jail. The title of the post links to the expose'.

Brutal conditions, "a violent gladiatorial code", "mandatory rec" (being forced to fight for a bed) and "gunning" (masturbation) are all covered in this article about the shameful conditions we force people to live in.

"In some cells inmates boasted that they had a policy of "mandatory rec" for new inmates - meaning any inmate coming into the cell had to fight (or "rec") for a bunk, unless he was known to other inmates in the cell, in which case he might be granted a reprieve."

The entire article is worth a read.


"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

SUMMER READING

UPDATE: TOMORROW: THE END!

The Memorial Day Holiday is on the horizon and it's not too soon to start loading up your Kindle or Nook with beach books.

We're currently reading "The Wizard Of Lies" by Diana Henriques. A book about Bernie Madoff by the NY Times Reporter who covered the case. A compelling read.

DOM meanwhile is reading the classic Sci Fi Thriller Lucifer's Hammer.

We're reading the responsible book. Go figure.


Former Dade PDs Bill Barzee and "Country" Dave Petus are turning a Manhattan Federal Courtroom on its ear by bringing a free swinging "Miami style" defense to a high profile Financial Fraud case. DOM has been on top of this story, but a good article about Bill's opening is here. The trial is expected to last six weeks.

FYI- Bill's sister is departing circuit judge Mary Barzee-Flores. Bill is partners with the judge's husband, Hector Flores, a former ace fed pd who got his own not guiltys last week in a major case.

You can't tell the players without a scorecard.

Finally, it's probably curtains for the nomination of Professor Goodwin Liu to the 9th circuit. Republicans and a few key democrats are lining up against the professor's nomination and that will be enough to fillibuster the vote.

Liu had the audacity to speak out against Justice Alito's nomination to the supreme court:

Liu had said Alito's vision was an America "where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy ... where federal agents may point guns at ordinary citizens during a raid, even after no sign of resistance ... where the FBI may install a camera where you sleep ... where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man, absent ... analysis showing discrimination."


The fact that Alito's opinions bear out his radical philosophy is not enough to overcome the radical right's vengence against anyone who dares to mention that the emperor has no clothes. The AP article via the Herald is here.

See You In Court, reading the old fashioned way- with a book.


mqc

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TOBIN QUITS!!

The Chief Judge of Broward County resigned today effective June 30, 2011.

The Sun Sentinel article is here.

The Pulp coverage is here.

Tobin was one of those "old-boy network" Broward Judges who went out of his way, at least in dealing with us when he first got on the bench about 15 years ago, to treat us rudely and let us know in no uncertain terms that he did not like Miami lawyers coming to Broward County. Our sincere hope is that in private practice he encounters Judges who treat him just as he treated us. Karma.

Tobin will apparently be joining some foreclosure mill. Good luck with that.

Mike Walsh update: DOM reports that the federal trial that Mike Walsh missed a few weeks ago started up today and that Mike was present representing his client. We hope this means Mike is doing better and has things under control. Mike is a talented trial attorney and sometimes (and we have no idea what on earth is going on) that comes at a terrible price for an attorney's personal life.

See You In Court.


mqc




Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TWO NEW BLOGS

Breaking: Defendant pleads guilty to first degree murder one month after the arrest. PD Pat Nally says plea was in client's best interest as it would allow him to escape the death penalty. Defendant is 35 years old and will spend the rest of his life in prison. Herald article here.
Your thoughts on this controversial move?

There are two new blogs that have caught our attention.

One is called Tips For Young Lawyers by civil attorney Frank Ramos. It's thoughtful, well written, and contains nuggets like "when I'm on my death bed I will not be thinking 'I should have billed more hours' " and
"The key to the practice of law is preparation. I would rather go up against an experienced lawyer who is lazy than an inexperienced one who works his butt off." and
"The attorney who was disbarred for misappropriating client funds started years ago by fudging on the little things. Don’t start down that path."

And then there's this rag called "Menage A Law" with the motto "Where great minds come together".

After reading the sniveling tripe on that blog, we are of the opinion that the very best thing those great minds who come together on that blog could do for humanity would be to blow their collective brains out.

corrigendum: Miguel De La O, expert football suicide pool participant and great criminal defense attorney is also a candidate for the circuit court seat of the late Judge Skip Gross. Mr. De La O is one of four names before the governor for appointment to the open seat. We mistakenly left his name out in the last post. We apologize and wish all the candidates well.


Monday, May 16, 2011

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Last week we learned that the former Governor of California had announced that he and his wife Maria Shriver were seperated after 25 years of marrriage. Now we know why. Ten years ago the Terminator fathered a love child with the family maid.

Sort of gives a new twist to "preserving domestic tranquility."

Sigh. Another Republican in a domestic scandal.


The Herald finally reports on the SAO's much discussed (in these pages) new diversion policy for first time DUIs. The article is
here.

The Herald is also covering the impending impeachment of President Clinton.

Interesting to note that ace DUI defense attorney Richard Hersch is in support of the program:

Defense lawyer Richard Hersch called Miami-Dade’s new program a “good thing.”

“The vast majority of first DUIs are people who make stupid mistakes. Turning them into criminals doesn’t make any sense. A good number of them are going to get off because an officer doesn’t show, and evidence falls apart. What happens to those people? They’re not on the radar, and they’re not going to get treatment,” Hersh said


The program is bound to be bad for business for attorneys who concentrate in DUI defense as Mr. Hersch does. Maybe he knows something about his pending application to be nominated to the Circuit Court that we don't?

Mr. Hersch, along with Judge White-Labora and attorney Michael Hanzman all have their applications before the Governor for the late Judge Skip Gross's seat.

Meanwhile, MADD is against the program as it does not mandate a five year prison sentence for anyone who thinks of a beer while driving.

There's always Broward.


See you in court.



FACDL REDUX

Ok everyone, lets take a deep breath. Follow us...Breath in....hold it....out and "ohmmmmmmmmm". Very good.

Now relax and lets take a closer look at the FACDL banquet Saturday night.

The night was not about food. We can all help ourselves and the planet by eating less meat.

The night was about remembering and honoring those of us who do the very tough work of criminal defense. We are the last line of freedom. When we hang it up and give in to the government, no one is left to defend the Constitution. And make no mistake about it, the biggest threats to our freedoms comes not from some disjointed terrorist group. It comes from those group of ignorant citizens who, given the chance, would repeal the bill of rights. And it is not those who don't know any better that we really need to fear. It is those who do know better- and who seek profit and power by inciting the ignorant to attack the rights that make us great.

Saturday night was about remembering and honoring a fallen hero from our midst: Gregg Wenzel. And thanks to Brian Tannebaum, Gregg's memory will endure in Miami long beyond the time when this contretemps fades.

Saturday night was about remembering the great Public Defender Rodney Thaxton. A whole generation of young lawyers have now matured without his guidance. And yet because we have lawyers like Edith Georgi, whose amazing defense of perhaps the indefensible, Rodney's spirit lives on strong.

Saturday night was about remembering a great champion of justice: Judge Roberto Pinero, who left us way too soon. We are all better lawyers and persons for having known Rob Pinero and for having practiced before him. Somehow, we manage to struggle on without his wise guidance.

So now we have all had our say about the bad food, or no food, and the bad acoustics. But lets remember what's important: lets remember Gregg Wenzel, Rondey Thaxton and Judge Rob Pinero.

And now lets go do our jobs as the good lord saw fit to give us the ability to do.

See You In Court.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

FARCDL

FA R CDL- The Florida Association of RUDE Criminal Defense Attorneys- (see below- this is a busy Sunday post...)

First: Our Presidential Candidate roundup:

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will not run for President in 2012.

Current head of the IMF and current possible candidate for President of France, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested in an Air France Plane (first class) at JFK airport minutes before takeoff and is being investigated for the attempted sexual battery of a NYC Chambermaid.
DSK has priors of sort- a sordid affair with a fetching IMF economist a few years before. NY Times coverage here.

We received this email about events at the Saturday night FACDL Banquet and we re-reprint it here in full:

Rumpole I am outraged! Please print this.

At the FACDL Banquet tonight we honored former Assistant Public Defender Gregg Wenzel. The Miami Chapter of the FACDL unanimously agreed to re-name its award to an outstanding young attorney "The Gregg Wenzel Award."

Gregg was an Assistant Public Defender. He left the office and some of us thought he was joining the Peace Corps. In actuality he was a member of the first clandestine training class that graduated from The Farm- the CIA training facility after 9/11. Greg was posted overseas and killed in Ethiopia.

In 2009 Gregg was identified as a CIA officer and his name is among 90 stars on the wall at CIA headquarters. Many of those stars remain nameless as some agents can never be identified.

Thanks to the untiring efforts of his friend Brian Tannebaum, Gregg is not forgotten here in Miami. On Saturday night Gregg's father flew in from New York to attend the banquet and the presentation of the first award named in honor of his fallen son.

Mr. Wenzel was invited to speak about his son. I cannot even adequately explain to you the level or rudeness in that room Saturday night. Judges and defense attorneys loudly chatted and laughed at their tables. As Mr. Wenzel struggled to be heard some Judges and attorneys walked about gesticulating and speaking and laughing to the point where the room was a large roar of voices and sounds.

No respect was given to Gregg and no respect was given to his father who flew a long way at his own expense just to attend our Saturday night banquet.

I was embarrassed to be a member of the FACDL Miami chapter and I will probably resign over this incident.

There wasn't a Judge in that room that would have tolerated a tenth of the level of noise they were making in their own precious courtroom during any day of the week. But for Gregg Wenzel- a true American hero- and his grieving father- NO RESPECT WAS GIVEN. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU.

Thank you Rumpole for giving me my say. Nothing can undo the truly disgusting display of ignorance and rudeness Saturday night, but maybe some of those lunkheads will read this and realize I am speaking about them.

Rumpole says: Your email says it all. Sad.

For some strange reason the link we post to the CIA press release about Gregg Wenzel does not work. But if you google "CIA Gregg Wenzel" the first hit will be the press release about the ceremony honoring him. Please do it.