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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A NOTE ON PRIVACY

You may have read in the DBR the other day about some Judges who are ill. We have known about some of these Judges being ill for a while now. We have chosen not to write about it in the past. nor will we do so in the future unless and until a particular Judge contacts us and specifically requests that we do so. In this spirit, we have also not published any comments, of which all have been uniformly positive and sending well wishes to those who are ill.

Why?

Two reasons: First, an illness is an intensively private matter and we respect the privacy of the attorney or Judge unless they specifically choose to share their illness with us and our readers. If that does not occur, and it has occurred in the past, then we will respect the privacy of the person who is ill. It is as simple as that, despite the fact that there will be many well wishers who will not get an opportunity to express their feelings to their friend or colleague.

The second reason is a bit more complex.

When you are diagnosed with a series illness, an insidious change can occur unless you are very careful. You walk into a heart institute or a cancer center and you slowly realize the buildings and doctors and nurses exist because of you. The research money and philanthropy that went into creating the specialized center were all done because of the illness you have. And slowly, if you are not careful, the illness comes to define you. This is a dangerous moment. The body follows the mind. What the mind conceives, the body can achieve. To get better, you cannot allow your mind to become the mind of a sick person. And yet your illness fights hard for recognition.

You are no longer the Judge affirmed on appeal, or the lawyer who gave the devastating cross and spectacular closing argument in that big case recently. You meet a friend who has someone with them and you stop to chat and as you walk away you hear your acquaintance saying to their friend "you remember that lawyer I told you who just got got diagnosed with cancer? That was him..." You become the Judge battling cancer, or the lawyer who recently had a serious operation. You lose your identity to the disease. Once that happens, you're almost done.

So we refuse to identify our colleagues who are ill. We choose to continue to interact with Judges and lawyers for the people they are, not the diseases they are battling. And we wish all of our friends and colleagues and even our dear robed readers who may be ill good health in the future and success in remaining who are they are and not becoming their disease.

The body follows the mind. It's a very powerful statement if you follow its implications.

See You In Court.


GOVERNOR SCOTT DOES IT AGAIN!
It pains us to say it, but the Governor has done good again, appointing long time criminal defense attorney Raag Singhal to the Circuit Court in the seat vacated by trader Vic Tobin.



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DANCING WITH 893.13

UPDATE: A little mid-day Rumpolian trivia to brighten up your day: First individual who sends us an email with the name of the last senate confirmed head of ATF from the time ATF was moved from Treasury to DOJ- at which point the head of the agency became a presidential pick with senate confirmation- will get an email from us with an extremely relevant clue to our real identity. The current head of ATF was sacked Tuesday over that screwed up operation on the Mexican boarder in which the ATF let an arsenal of weapons walk, one of which was later used to kill a federal agent.

Don't dally.


First, the important news: Dwayne Wade was NOT picked for the new season of Dancing with the Stars.

Litigation continues in Broward over 893.13 as per the JAA Broward Blog. There's a different Judge in the Middle District (Motto: "Causing confusion over Florida's Drug Laws Just for Fun") who issued this decision that the SAO in Broward says negates Shelton.

"It's Unconstitutional... It's Unconstitutional not..."

You're a private practitioner with a client with a nasty drug case. What to do? Sonny and Cher: The Beat Goes On....

The NFL starts a week from this Thursday. Go to FBPool12 at gmail dot com and sign up and hop in the pool.

Nice not to be cleaning up from a hurricane. Lets keep the good times rolling, so to speak.

Keep those Blog SpyCam pictures coming to Howardroak21 at gmail.


The 11th Circuit issued this strange decision yesterday in the Dr. Shaygan case in which Judge Gold issued public reprimands against the two prosecutors and assessed costs of over 600 thousand dollars against the government.

We vacate both the award of attorney’s fees and costs against the United States and the public reprimands of Cronin and Hoffman, but we deny the request of Cronin and Hoffman that we reassign the case to a different district judge at this stage.


The beat goes on...


See You In Court.

Monday, August 29, 2011

DRUG COURT CHANGES

"Drug court gets under your skin..." And with those words Judge Deborah White-Labora sent out an email last week announcing that come the first of the year she will return to the domestic violence division and leave as the third judge to run the nation's first drug court.

How blessed we have been in Dade County to have Judges Stanley Goldstein, Jeffrey Rosinek, and then Deborah White-Labora run our drug court. Stan Goldstein- former motorcycle cop- the original cop on the beat with a heart- helped found drug court and address a national epidemic. Judge Rosinek brought his unique brand of tough love to the job, and then Judge White-Labora sat during what must have been an explosion in pain killer addictions. Judge White-Labora is also justifiably proud of the new "Veteran Track" in drug court for members of our armed services who present with their own unique problems. Each judge had their ownstyle and each judge fulfilled the unofficial slogan of the court: "drug court works."

A hearty "well done, well done indeed" to Judge White-Labora. We're sure there will be a great send off party in November/December, and we'll post the details when we learn of them.

Breaking news: sit down- this is a stunner: The conditions in the Dade County Jail are unconstitutional!! The Herald shocker is here. Next up: the Herald is running down a tip that it's awfully muggy in Miami in August. Stay tuned.

SUICIDE POOL: Check out Saturday's post and sign up with an email to FBpool12 at gmail dot com.

BLOG SPY CAM:
Two heavy hitters laugh it up in court last week. And catch veteran CO Ben Moreno chuckling in the back ground.

Could this have been the joke?
Ted: How many judges does it take to change a light bulb?
Alex: What do I care how many f*(&^! &%'ing Judges it takes? Ready for trial!

Have a great Monday.

See you in court.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

SUICIDE IS PAINLESS

UPDATE: BTDT is first in on the suicide pool with his pick for week one: The Eagles. (and to celebrate, he has made reservations at the Hotel California.)
Kenny Wesiman and company have registered, as have Former Judge Jon Colby (probably verified as the email contains a private address) Fake Alex Michaels, Fake Freddy Moldovan, and Shumie's Cigar.

PS- the Holland Tunnel is back open in NYC in case you're wondering.

Keep the emails coming (see the new address below) and no need to send your pick until the season starts. We still have one more pre-season scrimmage set, so no rush.


And it brings on many changes.....

Many of you have written, emailed, phoned, used sky writing, lit candles, chanted at Dolphin pre-season games, all to make sure one thing happens: THE BLOG FOOTBALL SUICIDE POOL!

Well, after some thought, we have good news: the suicide pool will run in 2012!

Rules:

1) To enter, send an email to Fbpool12@gmail.com. For legal reasons, this will be the email address you must send your weekly suicide pool picks.

2) Put "Joel Brown makes me frown" in the subject line of the first email. Your first email should be from the email account you will use to send your picks. If you have multiple email addresses, make sure you consistently use one email throughout the year. You will receive an email back confirming your entry.

3) Each week send us an email before the game you wish to pick starts. You must send one pick each week, and pick the winner of that game without the spread. Once you pick a team you may not pick that team for the rest of the year. We know this sounds easy: Packers over Bills, any team over the Bengals, etc. But once you run through the Packers, Saints, Steelers, Patriots and Jets, the game gets interesting fast. And there are those brave players that take a chance on week one, choosing perhaps the Lions or the Jaguars, and if they per chance are successful, they have a strong advantage for the rest of the year.

4) Examples: If you want to pick a team in a Thursday night game, the email must reach out in box before the game starts. If you want to pick a team in the Sunday 1Pm game but get lucky Saturday night and can't get to your computer in time, you can still send in a pick for the 4pm game, the 8pm game or the Monday night game. If you still can't get to your computer before 9PM Monday night because you remain in flagrante delicto, then there are indeed more important things than a dopey suicide pool, and cheers to you!

5) Rumpole remains the final authority on all disputes, but we will endeavor to inform the members of the pool of any disputes and will seek your input before issuing a Solomon like decision in the matter.

6) Fouls: If you mistakenly pick a team you have previously picked, we will endeavor to alert you, as we keep a database of your picks. However, we cannot guarantee this will timely occur. If we do detect a foul and you are eligible to pick a later game (meaning there are teams you have not picked in those later games) you will be allowed to do so. However, this is living on the edge and it is not something we recommend on a continuing basis.

There are some additional juicy details that we are considering, and you will receive those if you send us an email and join the most prestigious legal-blog-football-suicide pool east of the equally prestigious Hialeah courthouse.


Have fun.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

HURRICANE THURSDAY

One day after the anniversary of the day when Hurricane Andrew smacked Miami (August 24, 1992) a large storm churns dangerously near our coast. In anticipation of Irene's (hopefully) near miss, what did the judicial administration of the 11th Circuit do?

( 0 ) ----( 0 )

Nothing except stare straight ahead.

No public discussion of possible courses of action. No dissemination of information on their totally inadequate website as to what citizens who had court hearings on Thursday or Friday could expect. No mention whatsoever of the possibility that courts would have to be closed if the hurricane strayed nearer than expected. Not even a tweet on their insipid twitter feed.

What we got was absolute silence. And that is disgraceful.

At the very least the chief judge should have put some link on the 11th circuit's website stating that the court was watching the forecasts and the public who had cases on Thursday or Friday should check back often so they could see what the court was planning to do as the storm neared. The chief judge could have issued a statement to the effect that if the schools were closed, the courts would be closed. The chief judge could have put a link to the 11th Circuit's Twitter feed so that interested people could have followed the court and received up to date information if the storm's course changed. But lord-forbid that the chief judge actually employ current technology to make our lives easier. Geeze, if he did that with Twitter, the next thing you know we all would be demanding next that he install an electronic filing system and nobody wants anything like that, right?

There are dozens of things our chief judge could have done so that the public would know where to go for information.

Judge Joel Brown did nothing to inform the public about what the court would do in response to Irene's path. Shame on him.


We've been trying to get to posts on the new ASAs and PDs and Judge White-Labora's surprise announcement that she will be leaving drug court in the new year. But this stupid storm has pre-occuppied our thoughts, along with the deafening silence from the chief judge about what he was planning to do.

PS: If you're a robed reader and received some emails about the storm from your chief, spare us your defense of your leader. This is about the total lack of guidance to the public, not emails on whether or not you should cancel your motion calendar.




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

TURN BABY TURN

BROWN HAS HEAD IN SAND? On Thursday morning (according to the very fetching weather woman on Channel 7) there will be a Category 4 hurricane 240 miles off shore of Miami. And what has our Judicial administration done? Nothing. Not a tweet from their twitter account and not a peep on the 11th circuit's web site. Our Chief Judge has his head in the sand.
His silence bespeaks a very leaderless, struthious-like behavior, if you ask us.

What can Brown do for you?




Irene turns/the sea churns/we are spared?


Add the SDFL blog (DOM's place) to the list of weird things (see yesterday's post) happening.
However, this short post on Federalism, the 14th amendment, Judge Hirsch, and the Shelton decision declaring 893.13 unconstitutional, by Professor Bascuas is worth the read.

DSK case dismissed. Isn't it weird that the DA has to ask the court to dismiss the case? Or is Florida weird? Say what you want, but Ben Brafman is a great criminal defense attorney.

We still have our annual address to the new ASAs/PDs to publish. Just as soon as we dodge Irene. Perhaps next Monday. Stay tuned.

See You In Court.

Monday, August 22, 2011

HOLD ON IRENE

UPDATE: THE END OF DAYS? There's a CAT 4 storm steaming towards South Florida; a 5.8 quake struck the Northeast today, shaking courthouses from Washington DC (The White House and the Capital were evacuated and stock markets immediately soared) to Manhattan (where it struck just after the DAs office dismissed charges against DSK, causing the victim to protest that if she was lying, the good lord should strike her down...) and the largest earthquake since 1967 struck Colorado this morning. Judge Hirsch declared 893.13 unconstitutional, Judge Cuerto did not.
A Judge in Broward actually smiled at a colleague from Dade and wished her good morning (before scoffing at her motion and tossing it aside with a curt denial.)

In summary, weird things are happening- except for the denial in Broweird.

"Behold I am coming as a thief... and he gathered them all together in a place called Armageddon... and the Seventh Angel poured forth his bowl into the air, and a voice cried out from Heaven, saying, "It is done!"... "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
The Book of Revelations

The new ASAs and PDs have started and we have a lot to say about that.




But we pre-empt this regularly scheduled blog post for an Irene Update: CLOSE CALL- that is the operative term as it appears Irene will storm through the Bahamas and turn northward, brushing South Florida. The strength of the storm will remain off shore, but we will feel some bad weather and the closeness of the storm will probably necessitate the closing of the courts Thursday or Friday. (Although we posted this Monday night, as of Tuesday morning the forecast confirmed this. Note that as Irene churns off shore South Florida, it will be a Cat 4 monster as it brushes by Broward. One can only hope....Nah, even we're not that mean and callous to wish for disaster on our fellow citizens. Who do we look like, a Judge in Broward? Hardly.)

A very predictable weather pattern called the "Bermuda High" (post your bad jokes in the comments section) is forecast to drift eastward in the eastern atlantic. If that occurs, Irene will have the room to turn northward. If that does not happen, Katie (Pooler) bar the door.

Stay tuned.

Keep safe and dry.

KADAFI DEFEATED

LIBYA TEETERS ON THE EDGE OF FREEDOM!

What Ronald Reagan started when he bombed the dictator's tent, Barak Obama and NATO finished as rebels streamed into Tripoli today on rumors Qaddafi and his regime had fled.

SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

THE PROFESSOR IS IN

Trial lawyer nonpareil, author, philosopher, blogger, oenophile, (amateur) athlete, football tout, and teacher of all that should be taught.

Rumpole the professor is in.

We were perusing the NY Times today, cringing as we read the article on the U of M football/booster scandal when we came across a paragraph that made us cringe for other reasons. What is wrong with the below paragraph? Check back and we'll provide the answer sometime Sunday.

From the Times article about other problems in college sports besides the U/M scandal:

On Wednesday, the University of Central Florida received a formal letter from the N.C.A.A. saying its football and men’s basketball teams were under investigation. Part of U.C.F.’s problem stemmed from Ken Caldwell, a former convict who told coaches he had ties to a sports agent, who used Twitter as way to contact and interact with potential recruits.

The National Hurricane Center (which now requires a disclaimer that they are not associated with the college football team of the same name, and that they have no knowledge of any women named Lexus, April, and Crystal. ) says that Tropical Storm Irene bears watching by residents of South Florida.

Friday, August 19, 2011

893.13 FALLOUT

The reactions to Judge Hirsch's decision holding Florida's drug possession law unconstitutional have been mostly positive. The decision is thoughtful and extremely well reasoned. And why shouldn't Judge Hirsch have a little fun and enjoyment along the way? If he wants to throw in a Mark Twain quote from time to time, why not? Not be overlooked is Judge Hirsch's gracious recognition of the work the prosecutor did, acknowledging the long hours she put in to quickly produce a worthy memorandum in support of her position.

All in all, we've come a long way from Judges tossing motions aside without scarcely glancing at them and asking the attorney to tell them what they want.

For the record, the argument that we can place our hope in the reason and charity of the State Attorneys Office to require mens rea in possession cases when the law does not require it, is pure folly- even struthious, if we can be so bold. We've all known good prosecutors, and not so good prosecutors. And we for one are not willing to trust our client's freedom in the hope we get an experienced and fair prosecutor assigned to the case. One of the great lies in the modern world (besides "the cheque is in the mail") is "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Ask everyone's favourite federal blogger, Mr. Markus with a K how fair certain (former) narcotics prosecutors were with his client when they increased charges after he filed a motion to suppress. We can never allow ourselves to be put in a position where we depend upon the good nature of a prosecutor for justice to be done (it's bad enough our robed readers are in the equation).

Don't quote us, but we're hopeful that South Florida Lawyer's Civil blog's Friday "babe" post will be of one of the hotties who entertained the UM Football players.

DRUG FIELD TEST DEFECTIVE?
Norm Kent via the JAA Broward Blog has everything you wanted to know about why a standard narcotics field test is not what it seems to be.

All that glisters is not gold;
often you have heard that told.
The Merchant Of Venice, (Act II, Scene VII) William Shakespeare.


The West Memphis Three:
Imprisoned since 1993, mostly on the confession of a boarder line mentally retarded man interrogated for 12 hours, three men, one on death row and two serving life in prison may be freed by today. The NY Times article is here.


ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
We are. Football season is upon us and thankfully we have a season now that John Boehner and President Obama agreed to raise the debt ceiling allowing the NFL owners to open their stadiums and charge $14.50 for a beer. Or something like that.

In any event watch these pages as we will soon post the exclusive email address for our Blog Suicide Pool.

THE KING IS DEAD...long live the King! BK sacks it's King mascot.

Finally, this is post 1999. 2k and still going strong after all these years. And you still have no clue...

Enjoy the weekend and drive carefully Monday on your way into court, school's back in session.



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

PUT A FORK IN IT

Put a fork in it, it's done.

What is done? The U Of M football program and Florida's Drug Law.

JUDGE HIRSCH PULLS THE TRIGGER.
As we suspected, Judge Milton Hirsch, in a thoughtful, erudite, and non-struthian opinion, has granted a motion to dismiss possession cases before him, holding Florida's Drug law (893.13 for those of you keeping score at home) Unconstitutional for not requiring the State to prove mens rea and quote Shakespeare in every successful prosecution.


Hirsch orderopen

(in some versions of the blog, depending upon your browser, the order may not be fully seen. Just click the first button on the left- the square with the arrow and it will take you to fullscreen. We regret the inconvenience.)

There's so much in this order, and we have been in court all day and are tired, and quite frankly Milt is best read on a full stomach with plenty of rest and sufficient alcohol at hand (of which we have neither- rest nor drink) , so for the moment, we'll just leave it to you to read the order. Suffice it to say, Judge Hirsch found fit to write this on the first of 24 pages: "As Mark Twain is alleged to have said, 'If I had more time I could have written you a shorter letter.' "

As many will shortly say after clicking on the Scribd link: "Oy."


The U of M:
Check out our twitter feed to the left. We tweeted the link to the Yahoo Sports article that one day will be seen as the first of many nails in the UM Football coffin.
A fantastic piece of investigative/sports journalism, the article sinks the program, not to mention the President of the U, who is pictured proudly holding a $50,000.00 check standing next to the Nevin Shapiro, a UM sanctioned "Booster" whose ponzi scheme funded the check. Shapiro also used his ponzi scheme money to pay for ocean front mansions, a 1.6 million dollar yacht (on which he entertained players and prostitutes) parties at the best night clubs, and loads of prostitutes and cash payments to dozens and dozens and dozens of UM players over the last decade. The trips with the UM basketball coach to Tootsies can't help very much either.

For ten years the booster who proudly bore the nickname "Little Luke" took up the mantle where Uncle Luther Campbell left off, paying for liquor, women, parties, and cash bounties on opposing players like Tim Tebow (Ok- there are a few redeeming things from this scandal.).

We don't see how the U escapes this intact.

See You In Court. Read Uncle Milt's order. It's worth the time.







Monday, August 15, 2011

WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN FEDERAL LAW

Judge Cueto on Federal Law: "Feh". *

Or words to that affect. We reported a week or so ago that a Florida Federal Judge decided that Florida's state drug laws were unconstitutional because the state did away with the issue of intent (mens rea to those who don't sit on a bench). You need to want to possess drugs to violate the law according to the Feds. Duh!

As the Herald reports here, Judge Cueto has denied defense motions based on the Federal case. Judge Hirsch, not to be one to stick his head in the sand ostrich like (anyone remember the "struthious" contretemps? ) has indicted more than a passing interest in the Federal Judge's reasoning. To be continued.


Does the courthouse seem unusually pleasant these last few days? Well, most likely your favourite circuit court Judge is sweating and labouring at the Judicial Conference in.....lets see....was it Newark, New Jersey? No...hmmm...was it at the Holiday Inn in Hialeah? No...oh yeah- Marco Island. But don't let the locale fool you. We're sure they're working hard.


Some middle Florida yahoo attorney got arrested for challenging his GF to a naked sword fight with a real sword. And much to Roy Black's chagrin, he's a UM Law grad. South Florida Lawyers has the story here.

It's hot. We're tired and cranky. Stay out of our way. We mean it.


*Feh is a Yiddish term indicating disapproval or displeasure: Feh, don't touch that dirty thing.


Friday, August 12, 2011

3RD DCA JUDGE IVAN FERNANDEZ

Monday Update: The comments section has some decent comments on the Governor's appointment policy, so we're going to keep this topic up another day (always contingent on the probability of one of our dear robed readers doing something ridiculous at which point we will post it.)

Could not have happened to a nicer person and a better judge. And FYI for those who are closely watching this governor, Judge Fernandez is a former police officer and Prosecutor- not that those prior jobs in any way affected his impartiality and fairness as a Judge; they did not. For those of you counting, in Dade County, the Governor has appointed at least 5 current or former prosecutors since the beginning of the year- six if you count the Broward ASA just appointed to the Dade Bench.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

MAX KOGEN HAS PASSED AWAY

A true REGJB legend. They don't make them like Max Kogen anymore. A great prosecutor. A great defense attorney. Here is more from the Herald Obit:

Professionally, Max rose quickly and prominently as an Assistant State Attorney under George Brautigam and Richard Gerstein to become Chief of the Capital Crimes Division. He then began a notable career as a criminal defense attorney, recognized by his peers as a respected and worthy jurist. Subsequently, he and Gerald Kogan became law partners in Kogen and Kogan, P.A. until Mr. Kogan (no relation) joined the judiciary. In 1983 Max accepted his daughter, Lauren, as his partner in Kogen and Kogen, P.A. Later the firm included his youngest daughter, Cary, as well. Upon retirement in 1991, Max threw himself into his only other passion, greyhound dog racing. For many years he bred and raced greyhounds as Kogen's Kennels. His idea of a social night out was dinner at the track.


Max Kogen....George Brautigam...names you just don't hear much anymore.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NEW CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

AND YOUR NEW CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES ARE .....

Governor Scott announced the appointment of Judge Rosa C. Figarola and Thomas J. Rebull, both of Miami, to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court.

"Judge Figarola, 52, was appointed as a Miami-Dade County Judge in 2001 by Governor Jeb Bush. She has also been a faculty advisor at St. Thomas University School of Law since August 2010. From 1982 to 2000, she was an assistant public defender for the Eleventh Circuit Office of the Public Defender, in the appellate division. She received both her bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Miami.

“With a background as an appellate lawyer and a county judge, Judge Figarola possesses the experience necessary for the circuit and has demonstrated a deep respect for hard work and personal responsibility,” Governor Scott said. “Born in Cuba, she brings with her to the circuit court bench respect and appreciation toward those like her who left behind everything familiar and came to America in search of the freedoms and opportunities our country offers.”

Judge Figarola will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Mary Barzee Flores.

A partner with Broad and Cassel since 2001, Rebull also has been a member of, and currently chairs, the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel since 2003. The panel was created and empowered by voters to conduct independent and impartial oversight of the Miami Police Department. Previously, he practiced with Hector and Harke LLP in 1999. From 1998 to 1999, he was general counsel for Total Quality Management Group Inc. and practiced with Muller Mintz et al from 1997 to 1998. He received his bachelor’s degree from Boston University and his law degree from Washington College of Law.

“During his eight years on the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel, Thomas has had experience in exercising impartiality and fairness which will help him do the same as a circuit judge,” Governor Scott said. “He is hardworking and conscientious and recognizes that the sole and solemn obligation facing a judge is to enforce the rule of law.”

Rebull will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Israel U. Reyes."

4 DOWN AND ONE TO GO .....

That leaves the appointment of a new 3rd DCA Judge. That appointment should take place in the next week.

And, with the appointment of Judge Figarola, that means the revamped JNC will be meeting to nominate 3-6 names to the Governor for the newest open seat on the County Court.

Also, with the appointments of Judge Altfield, Judge Multack, Judge Figarola and Judge Rebull occurring before August 14th, that means all four appointees will have to run for "re-election" in 2012. Had any of them been appointed after August 14th, they would have effectively been able to serve for three years and not have to run until 2014.

CAP OUT .....


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

JUDGE BILL ALTFIELD

Congratulations to Judge Bill Altfield, formerly a public corruptions prosecutor at the Dade State Attorneys Office. Bill ends a distinguished career as a prosecutor that must have spanned at least 25 years. He now begins what we believe will be an equally distinguished career as a Judge in County Court and perhaps beyond.

The Governor has now appointed at least four Dade Prosecutors in the last six months and elevated Judge Brennan, who had a distinguished career as a prosecutor. The Governor also named a Broward Prosecutor to the Dade County Court bench as well today. To paraphrase the Joker, "wait till he gets a load of us" here in Dade.

We have no great love for our Governor but this was one decision he got right.

See You In Court.


mqcx/gk-Altfield


THE BRONX IS UP BUT THE DOW IS DOWN...

Judge Matthew J. Perry of the South Carolina Federal District Court, who was South Carolina's first black federal judge, has passed away. His obituary is here. Working as a litigator for the NAACP, Matthew Perry brought cases that desegregated hospitals, colleges, beaches, golf courses and restaurants. He was a real American hero.

The DOW finished down over 600 points Monday. If you want to know how to make money in the stock market read what we wrote yesterday, but the bottom line is this: do the opposite of everyone else. Not an easy road to hoe, but take our advice and in five to ten years your account will have a very healthy balance.

Here is the New Times article on Federal Inmate Elroy Phillips. Convicted of selling a few rocks of crack, Judge Joan Leonard slammed him with 30 years. Now the case appears to have fallen apart. Who will step up and assist Mr. Phillips?

Tell you what. Some lawyer takes on his case and Rumpole will take you to dinner. Your choice of restaurants. We will order the wine since we know more about that than you.

Want to know what is not funny? The current post on DOM's blog about the swearing in of Judge Kathleen Williams. Either the guest blogger or Judge Moreno thinks they're a comedian. But they're not. Leave the funny stuff to the pros like us por favor.

The problems with "Knock and talk" consent searches very ably explained here by attorney Gary Ostrow on the JAA Broward blog. It would be nice if a lot of attorneys read it. It would be GREAT if a few Judges delay their Tee time a few minutes one afternoon this week and read it.

See you in court.


Monday, August 08, 2011

COURT REPORTER CRISIS?

UPDATE: DOW TANKS: By 1pm Monday the DOW was down 323 points, the NASDAQ down almost a 100 points. All morning long we have been flooded with emails from concerned readers asking us what to do.
Rumpole says: The time to sell has passed. You should have been selling into the strong market this spring and early summer and buying some puts on the Market preparing for the big fall we kept telling you was coming. You want to make money in the stock market? Follow our two simple rules: 1) Buy on weakness; 2) Sell into strength.
In short, do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.

In the week after September 11, 2001, when the markets fell on the attack on our country, we asked our self one simple question: Do we believe in the USA? We decided we did and bought big. Large buys of GE, CISCO, and Home Depot. Some options on Halliburton and Schlumberger- long calls that paid off nicely.

Same question today: Do you believe in America? If you do, start buying. Ford is a good buy here, so is Apple and Home Depot. There are excellent mid-cap energy stocks that have no debt, loads of cash, and are making money. Snap those up now! For smaller investors locate a good mutual fund and you will find this an excellent opportunity to pick up a great fund for cheap. Then sit back, and when the market rebounds, and it will, your portfolio will be up big. However, then comes an even more difficult move- sell on strength. As hard as it is to buy when everyone else is panicking and selling, it is even harder to sell when your stocks are soaring every day. Why? Greed, pure and simple. But as we said, the key to making money in life is determining what the crowd is doing and then doing the opposite. Trust us, it works.


Three felony courtrooms in our beloved REGJB have joined all of the County Court courtrooms and "gone digital" meaning your favourite, reliable, friendly court reporter has been replaced by a technician who listens to the courtroom chatter and tries to make sure the in court contraption is working properly.

Q: What does this mean for court reporters?
A: If you are just asking this question now and you are a court reporter then you had better have your mortgage paid off because you are way behind the curve.

The horse has left the barn.

Replacing well trained professional court reporters with a machine and a tech is simply a money saving move. If you look around lately (the debt ceiling fiasco for instance) governments are not spending more money. Using technology to save money in in vogue.

Put another way: Spring for an extra cup of Starbucks for your favourite court reporter because they are being kicked to the curb in a not too gentle manner.

Spare us your arguments. Yes court reporters do it better (no funny comments please).
Yes there have been and will continue to be technical screw ups and testimony will be lost.
But let us tell you what will NOT happen:
What will NOT happen is that when some technician forgets to boot the blasted machine losing a days worth of testimony, the chief judges and court administrators will come crawling back to the court reporters. That will NOT happen.

Why? Because the savings in money is worth more (to the bureaucrats that be) than the problems of any trial being screwed up.

So get used to electronic transcription. And in 50 or 60 years we will be replacing Judges with robots who, having instantaneous access to 500 years of recorded legal history will be making split second decisions that will do away with the need for appellate courts. All in the name of technology saving money.

No more court reporters in court: a bad thing.
No more judges in court: not a bad thing.

See, everything evens out in the end.

See you in court and remember, that microphone hanging over your head is hot.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

RUMPOLE RETURNS




Rumpole returns on Monday. And not a moment too soon, with a spirited defense of perhaps the best friend a trial lawyer can have in court. We speak of course of those wonderful, professional, fast and accurate COURT REPORTERS! In our absence devious administrators have launched a dastardly attack.

But alas, have no fear...their defender has arrived!

Until then, talk amongst yourselves.

Much thanks to the Colonel, the Captain, a few interns and my English Solicitor friend Tilly for their help in running the blog. Holidays are good. We highly recommend them.


See You In Court On Monday. A bit tanner, a few less worry lines.




Thursday, August 04, 2011

DR SHOPPING TRAFFICKING KAPUT

Still the Colonel coming at ya. (Rumpole, come home, please!)

Alert to state court practitioners: If you have a "Dr. Shopping/trafficking oxy case" it is officially dead courtesy of the 4th DCA. The decision is here.

Thanks to the JAA Broward Blog for alerting me to the story/decision. I am admittedly a little out of my element in these felony cases. As I understand it, the charge of Doctor Shopping/Trafficking arises when the prosecution avers that the client received multiple prescriptions for painkillers from multiple doctors by withholding information from the physicians who write the scripts.

Emily update: Much to the chagrin of Channel 7, Emily was torn apart by the mountains of the DR and has been downgraded to a wave. Put those picnic/boating plans back on for the weekend.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

AWOL

EMILY UPDATE: The Colonel here- Rumpole has emailed that he will not return until the storm has passed. Emily is finally on the move. The tropical storm, which had been stalled for almost 24 hours, has started the move. The good news: Emily will NOT be a hurricane when it nears Miami.
Timing: The storm will be closest to us 8am Saturday. I have seen some models that place Emily far enough way so that we may have a beautiful day Saturday. But bet on some morning winds, rain and thunderstorms Saturday followed by a general clearing Saturday afternoon and a beautiful Sunday.
Courts: Will be open Friday.


***updated below with Judge Scola's ruling on the drugs used for the death penalty.***

Rumpole is still away so I will continue to fill in for him. This is the Colonel of County Court.

Item One: The Jury returned a verdict of second degree murder in the stabbing of the Coral Gables High school student by one of his class mates. A tragedy where everyone suffers. The Herald reports on the aftermath of the verdict here. Sentencing in October. Appeal to follow.

Item Two: David Markus and his federal blog are hopping. Yesterday afternoon the White House nominated Southern District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan to the 11th Circuit. Later in the afternoon (or was it evening?) the senate unanimously confirmed Kathy Williams as your next Federal District Court Judge. Fellow Federal Judge Zloch apparently missed the vote with an unexpected bout of acid indigestion, but everyone else celebrated. Kathy's good fortune is ours as well. This community will benefit from her on the bench. (Zloch tried to tube Williams's nomination by writing letters to the senate complaining about her. Chief Judge Fred Moreno rode to the rescue by writing his own letter and characterizing Zloch's complaint as a "non-issue". This is a win for the good guys and gals.).


Item Three: TS Emily is wobbling off the coast of Hispanola. The forecast has the storm remaining as a Tropical Storm as it approaches South Florida. The forecast also has the storm tracking through the Florida Straits between South Florida and the Bahamas and not making landfall at all. Stay tuned to minute by minute blog coverage of the storm.

Item Four: Judge Scola rules drug is safe enough to kill as the Herald reported here.

In the bass-acwards and macabre world of the death penalty, here was the line-up before Judge Jacqueline Scola in the Manuel Valle case: expert witnesses for the prosecution who testified that the three drug cocktail the state wants to use to kill Mr. Valle is....as hard as this is to believe, "safe". Meanwhile, the defense experts were arguing that the drug cocktail was....dangerous (duh! If used properly it will kill you.). And as strange as it seems, Judge Scola issued a ruling in which she found that the drugs the prosecution want to use are safe enough to kill Mr. Valle.

Folks, this death penalty stuff is a bizarro world where up is down, wrong is right and safe is lethal. You figure it out.


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I'M IN CHARGE


Settle down people. To quote (paraphrase actually) my hero Al Haig, with Rumpole gone, until the Vice President of the Blog (whomever he or she is) returns, constitutionally I am in charge here. So lets get to it:

Item one: Jury starts deliberations today (Tuesday) in the Coral Gables High school case. We can only hope for justice.



Item two: Emily is a tropical storm headed for the Dominican Republic. Some computer tracking has Emily emerging on the other side of the island and gaining some strength and reaching a Cat 1 level as it reaches the South Florida area around 2pm Saturday.

Stay tuned to the blog for breaking weather updates.

Item three: The US will NOT default on its debt.

Item four: Jason Taylor returns to the Fins. That whole time in a green jets uniform is just a bad, distant memory.

Item five: BIG snake. Swallow you whole....a little shakin and down you go.






Monday, August 01, 2011

THE COLONEL REPORTS

Rumpole is still away, or "on holiday" as he so Britishly puts it. I am next up on the duty roster so gather near troops, take a knee and listen up.

Item one: No funny business here. Closing arguments are scheduled Monday in the murder case involving two students at Coral Gables High school. One child is dead and one is on trial for his life. Nothing funny about this. A very tragic case. Alex Michaels for the defense. The news that came out of the trial Friday was the Judge denying the defense request to put character evidence of the deceased into evidence. A verdict should not come down until Tuesday the earliest.

Item two: Kudos to ASA Gary Winston, one of the good guys. He comes off as a real hero in a case the Herald reported here in which Winston nolle prossed an old murder case when the evidence was not what was indicated in the arrest warrant. Phil Reizenstein for the defense also praised Gary Winston in the article. Good job Gary. You acted in the highest tradition of a prosecutor. You did justice.

Item three: As the Captain reported over the weekend, Abe Laeser for the defense? I'm not going to touch that one with a ten foot pole. That has Rumpole written all over it. Let me just say this: as lawyers we are sworn officers of the court. That is a high responsibility that many of us seem to forget. We represent clients and under take causes, but we are officers of the court. Mr. Laeser has never forgotten that and I think we all should not be surprised that he wants to get back into the ring and litigate a little.

Ok, that's all I got until that Anglophile blogger of ours gets back on his horse and starts writing again.

Dismissed.