Monday, January 30, 2012



So, you may be noticing some new faces and some old faces around the building this week. Lots of boxes moving in and moving out. Can't find a Judge?

Welcome back Judge Victoria Sigler. You can find her in courtroom 4-8; she took over Judge Cueto's division.

Welcome back Judge William Thomas. You can find him in courtroom 4-2. He took over Judge Zabel's division.

Welcome back Judge John Schlesinger. You can find him in courtroom 6-4. He took over Judge Trawick's division.

Welcome for the first time Judge Valerie Manno-Schurr. You can find her in courtroom 2-8. She took over Judge Firtel's division. If any of you know anything about Judge Manno-Schurr please share your knowledge with our readers. She comes from Civil. She knows nothing about criminal. She has never sentenced a criminal defendant - ever. (She did shadow Judge Firtel for a few calendars). Provide her with some case law; write a legal memorandum; give her some guidance.

Welcome for the first time (sort of) to Judge Samantha Ruiz-Cohen. You can find her in courtroom 2-4. She takes over Judge Tinkler Mendez' division.

Other moves:

Judge Rosa Rodriguez can now be found in courtroom 3-2. She takes over Judge Ward's ROCourt division.

Judge Tinkler Mendez can now be found in courtroom 7-2. She takes over Judge Scola's Back Up division.

Judge Firtel can now be found in courtroom 4-6. He takes over Judge Rodriguez' Back Up division.


Welcome back to Diana Petitto. She was Judge Pineiro's JA during his years on the bench. After he passed away, she joined Judge Manno Schurr in civil. She re-joins the REGJB family. Please drop by chambers in Room 223 and say hello to Diana. She would love to see all of you.



Rumpole said...

excellent post

Anonymous said...

Schlessinger is only back for a month, then heading to family

Ex Blackjack Dealer said...

In honor of the GOP primary lets look at a day in the life of Joe Conservative:

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good
clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards.

He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe
to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.
All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because
some liberal union workers fought the ir employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled
with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits,
retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s
money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten Mortgage and his below-market federal
student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government
would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dad's; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards.

He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republicans would still be sitting in the dark.)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his
union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe
wouldn’t have to.

After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.)

Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

Anonymous said...

I hope Judge Thomas doesn't start out this year the way he started his first stint at our building when he was picking juries and keeping juries at the building late into the night.

Anonymous said...

VMS is a disaster. Simply, completely awful.

Not knowledgeable. Not inherently bright or quick on the uptake so that she might be able to learn where she lacks the knowledge. But, worse, she does not know what she does not know and lacks the humility (usually born of self-confidence and security)to acknowledge that she does not know when it's pointed out to her.

(Compare her to William Thomas, who came to civil and told the lawyers here when he was unfamiliar with a topic, then asked to be educated, then listened.)

I am personally glad to see her out of the court where I practice. But dismayed that she is going from a court where -- let's face it -- only money is at stake, to a court where liberty interests are in play.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

any word on the appointments?

Anonymous said...

Here is a nice laugh


Anonymous said...

Does that mean whomever the governor appoints will be moving directly into criminal?

Anonymous said...

Judge Thomas makes attorneys work, yet he is criticized for it. He is a welcome addition to the Justice Building where trials are scarce and cases abound.

Anonymous said...


Couldn't agree more with 11:29 am. Have/had her in civil case and she couldn't seem to pull the trigger and make a decision on anything. Don't know what type of work she did in private practice, but it must not have been civil or criminal.

Anonymous said...

Found this on the net about Manno

Let’s make Judge Valerie Manno-Schurr a one-time mistake

"Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Valerie Manno-Schurr is seeking a second term in 2012. Does she deserve to keep her prestigious post?

Judge Manno Schurr has been reversed by the appellate court in 45% of her cases that have been taken up on appeal. A top-tier judge rarely gets reversed.

Here are just six examples of why she should not be re-elected:

#1: A marketing consultant sued a company that later filed for bankruptcy. Judge Manno-Schurr was assigned the lawsuit and granted the insolvent company and other defendants – which were financially healthy — a delay until bankruptcy proceedings were completed. The Third District Court of Appeal quashed her order, saying in its opinion that “the trial court violated a clearly established principle of law and departed from the essential elements of law by indefinitely staying this action.” The appeals court also said, “A stay for an indefinite time frame (through the bankruptcy proceeding), like what happened here, is overbroad and improper.”

#2: Judge Manno-Schurr ruled in favor of a company that sued its insurance company. When the insurance company appealed, the 3rd District Court of Appeal ordered Judge Manno-Schurr to rule in favor of the insurance company on the lawsuit. The court said, “There is no competent evidence on either ground adopted by the trial court to support its conclusion that the appellant insurer provided coverage to the appellee insured for the liability in question.”

#3: When two condominium owners sued their association, saying it had properly failed to notify them of a special meeting, the association argued to Judge Manno-Schurr that its rules required the homeowners first seek arbitration. She disagreed, but the 3rd District Court of Appeal reversed her decision. One appeals court judge added, “Upon remand, the trial court should dismiss the action.”

#4: After a home lender won final judgment on foreclosure and a sale date was set, Judge Manno-Schurr granted a delay. The lender appealed to the 3rd District Court of Appeal and won. The court wrote, that the “trial court abused its discretion in granting continuance of foreclosure sale date.”

#5: UAIC challenged a ruling by a Miami-Dade County court that its outside medical expert had to turn over three years’ worth of reports and consulting payment records. The appeal went before three circuit court judges, including Judge Manno-Schurr, who were acting as an appeals court for county court. They dismissed UAIC’s request to block the order. UAIC appealed to the 3rd District Court of Appeal and won. That court sent the case back to Judge Manno-Schurr and her colleagues “for further consistent proceedings.”

#6: Two people injured in a car crash sued State Farm in Miami-Dade County court, claiming that the insurer didn’t pay all of their bills. The judge ruled in their favor without a trial, and without even a hearing for one of the two people’s cases. State Farm appealed to circuit court, where Judge Manno-Schurr sat as one of three judges. They agreed with the county court judge. State Farm appealed to the 3rd District Court of Appeals. It sent the case back to county court after writing that “we conclude that the circuit court appellate division departed from the essential requirements of the law and deprived State Farm of due process.”

Is this the kind of justice we want handed down from our circuit court? Is Judge Valerie Manno-Schurr deserving of six more years? Or is it time to find someone who will follow the law and who would better serve the people of Miami-Dade County?"

Anonymous said...

This was also found on Judge Manno:

"Could Judge Manno-Schurr have saved the Barahona children?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Nubia Barahona was found dead on Valentine’s Day 2011 in the back of a pick-up truck parked off of I-95 in Palm Beach County. Her nude body was drenched in chemicals. Her 10-year-old twin brother, Victor, was found in the cab with acid burns and taken to the hospital.

Their adoptive parents, Jorge and Carmen Barahona, have been charged with Nubia’s murder and multiple counts of aggravated child abuse and neglect. Who could have prevented this tragedy?

An independent investigation commissioned by the Florida Department of Children and Family Services found that the “collective wisdom of all professionals who played a role in making decisions about the physical and emotional well-being of Victor and Nubia never coalesced into an effective focus.” In other words, everyone failed in their duties.

Among those in charge of the children’s care was Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Valerie Manno-Schurr. She approved the children’s 2009 adoption by the Barahonas, who are now behind bars for the heinous crimes they allegedly committed.

Judge Manno-Schurr denied the children a chance at a safe, normal life when she turned away pleas in 2007 to adopt the twins from their biological uncle and aunt, Isidro and Ana Reyes. Ana is the sister of the father of the twins. They told Judge Manno-Schurr that they could take care of the children, and provided references and financial statements to prove their worthiness.

Yet, Judge Manno-Schurr said no, preferring to keep the siblings in the foster care of the Barahonas. The DCF says that decision was “based on an incorrect assumption by all professionals involved in the case that it would be harmful for children of this age to experience a change in parents.”

When asked why Judge Manno-Schurr didn’t listen to the Reyes couple, their attorney, Steven Grossbard, said, “That is a piece of the puzzle that is not clear to me to this day, and I find it somewhat troubling.”

Miami-Dade voters should feel troubled when they consider whether to re-elect Judge Manno-Schurr. She has a spotty record marked by appeals court reversals and documented mishandling of cases. Can she exercise the kind of judicial wisdom and common sense needed to serve Miami-Dade residents? Do voters want other children’s lives in her hands?

The failure to approve the adoption by loving relatives in Texas wasn’t Judge Manno-Schurr’s only mistake. She also mishandled a 2007 evaluation of the children’s mental health. According to the DCF report, “The delay of more than five months to perform the psychological evaluation ordered by Judge Valerie Manno-Schurr appears inexcusable in light of the fact that it was compelled by the very serious concerns raised by the principal and teacher at the children’s schools about the safety of Nubia and Victor in their foster home.”

Why didn’t Judge Manno-Schurr push for quicker psychological evaluations of the twins? The results could have altered their fates. An evaluation in June 2007 – many years before Nubia was killed and Victor was burned — found that Nubia exhibited signs of depression and suicide. More troubling: She had a “premonition that something terrible was going to happen to her,” according to the DCF report.

Where was Judge Manno-Schurr? Why didn’t she consider the report when evaluating whether the Barahonas were qualified to be foster parents and later adoptive parents?

Given an apparent lack of judgment, does she deserve to continue to handle important cases like this? Is Manno-Schurr the kind of judge Miami-Dade County wants?"

Rumpole said...

ok. Thats enough about judge manno-schurr. If you want to post more create your own blog b

EyeonMilt said...


Anonymous said...

Rump, I thought the posts on VMS were very interesting and a welcomed and persuasive departure from the usual one paragraph diatribes we see. Frankly, I'd like to see more like it (and not just on VMS..........there are plenty of lousy judges [again, most are good] and other problems with the system that warrant this kind of detailed treatment).

So.......thank you to the poster.


Anonymous said...


I heard a track off the new Springsteen ablumn on Sirius this A.M. and it sounded very political and really good. His most recent work has been uneven to say the least but it lookes like he might have found the fire again.

4813 said...

So to recap... VMS stuck it to a condo association (in favor of the condo owners), a couple of insurance companies (in favor of their insureds), and a home lender (in favor of a homeowner). These are all negatives because...?

(And did 2:50 really just try to make me feel bad for evil United Auto? Credibility hit!)

Scott Saul said...

1) It's great to see Diana back in the building. She's one of those old school J.A.s that actually gets to know the lawyers. It's also fun to watch Ted "the husband" as opposed to Ted "the lawyer";

2) Thomas is a great judge. He's demanding but he always tries to do the right thing. Not all of the judges do have the guts to pull the trigger like he consistently does. I don't like working all night but sometimes it beats trying a case at a little bit at a time.

3) A new face starts out in the building with a clean slate.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole censors Manno Schurr comments but allowed relentless critism of Hirsch. One judge is clearly incompetent and the other Rumpole just doesn't like. Guess who is who?

Anonymous said...

welcome back Diana

Anonymous said...

Judge William Thomas cannot join us soon enough where we have some defendants languishing in the county jail without a hearing date or trial for a long bit of time.

Sorry if you don't like the way Judge William Thomas works into the evening. You see he believes in the defendants' right for SPEEDY justice. Isn't it all about them anyway?

Judge William Thomas makes a beautiful record both in jury voir dire and during the trial. And after the verdict, he will take the time to counsel young attorneys, both state and defense, on how to improve. Isn't it all about improving communication and techniques?

So, yeah, if you want to work a half day only and be home by 3:00 o'clock then look for your assignment elsewhere because when Judge William Thomas was in criminal last rotation, he not only trimmed his own case load down but he took over Judge Jose Perez's case load and trimmed it down. Talk about getting your money's worth!!

Anonymous said...

Milton constantly insults people. He's putz and he thinks he is all that. The chickens are coming home to roost.

Rumpole you are way off on the Heat. Put your money where your mouth is.

Rumpole said...

Just how do I censor the Manno-Schurr comments? I received two lengthy comments, posted both of them, and said enough for now. Just how is that censorship?

Although, lets be clear: It's my blog, I can do whatever damn well I please.

Anonymous said...

I hope, for everyone's sake, that 10:26's comments are not proven true. Perhaps the reads the blog, and will be warned. Seems, though, to be receptive to hearing from practitioners. Hope she reads through the criminal rules, at least, to get a feeling for the division.

Anonymous said...

Valerie Manno-Schurr was a plaintiff's PIP lawyer suing auto insurance companies along with her husband Ken Schurr until she took the bench.

Anonymous said...

Will miss Thomas and Sigler in civil. Both are hard-working smart and prepared. Our loss is your gain. And they tried cases here as well.

Anonymous said...

45% percent reversal rate? perhaps she should have her annual review with Newt

Anonymous said...

Dear 4813...
The point is that VMS has a track record of not following the law. There is a reason why case law is out there, it's to be followed if it is binding precedent. 10 bucks says she will continue to do what she wants, when she wants, and this time it will be at the expense of someone's civil liberties.

Fake Ruvin said...

Coming this week: More about electronic filing, or "Joel Brown, Harvey Ruvin, and the revival of the Pony Express."

Hey, Putz what happened?


Bring it on!

Anonymous said...

When is the state of the Shumie? More importantly, WHAT is the state of the Shumie?

Anonymous said...

You don't. Judges are politicians. They run for office. They ask for money to stay in office. Let them be verbally attacked like any other elected official

Fake Tannebaum said...

i'm all over Twitter today telling everyone on twitter how much I hate them, and how much I hate twitter, and how I despise all social media. Check me out on twitter and facebook!
#brianhatestwitter ; #socialmediasucks; #twitterfraudattys; #followme; #mysugarfreelawlicense

Anonymous said...

It seems that Sigler is off to a roaring start. She is being unreasonable and downright rude to the lawyers appearing before her. Rumor has it that she is not happy about being back on the criminal bench and is intent on doing whatever she can to get back to civil. It would appear that her strategy to achieve that goal is to piss off all the lawyers and have complaints lodged about her behavior.

Anonymous said...

to 1:31 - you are a "moron". Get it.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, VMS's reversal rate in cases I have had before her is 66.6%. No kidding.

I think the 3dDCA may have a special in-box for her.

The idea that she will have the interests of crime victims and the lives criminal defendants in her hands is proof that the system is irretrievably broken.

Fake Tannebaum said...

I'm a moron? Have you seen Brian's twitter feed? Oh wait, of course you have. You're Brian. Go pander to your afternoon barrista at your work Starbucks.

Brian Tannebaum said...

Fake Tannebaum,

Listen, I think we need to talk about your parody of me, because as you and I both know, you’ve been trying very hard to get my attention, well, anyone’s attention here, and it hasn’t been working out very well.

First, that anonymous comment you thought was me, well, it wasn’t This, is me.

Hi, how are you?

I think you may be so clouded by your obsession with me that you didn’t stop to think that maybe that anonymous commenter was making fun of me as well. (I do use the word “moron” quite a bit.)

Now listen, between us: Parody is funny because it’s mostly true. If you want to be a successful anonymous parody character here, like Fake Blecher, Fake Ted Mastos (one of my personal favorites) or Fake Kenny Weisman, you have to make fun of things I actually do. For example, Kenny wears fine expensive clothes, eats at great South Beach restaurants and has that exciting Miami Beach life – so making fun of that, well, it’s actually funny.

I don’t go to Starbucks, and while I often make fun of the fact that I have Diabetes, I think maybe others that know, don’t find it funny that you’ve chosen to use that in your parody. I’m cool with it, but I think, you know, people don’t find chronic or terminal diseases that funny.

So stick to the jokes of how I criticize cheesy lawyer marketing, maybe consider making fun of me because I’m a Sommelier. I want you to be successful here in your daily efforts, If you want, call me, we’ll go to lunch (I’ll buy and pretend it’s attorney client privileged) and you can get to know me a bit and maybe you will become the best anonymous parody commenter here. I think Rumpole may give an award for that, suitable for framing in your office lobby (unless you work out of a Starbucks).

Fake Tannebaum said...

I quit and surrendered but I did it on the current post not this one. Suffice to say you told me off and You win and I lose.

Anonymous said...

LOL. The BT bashing is asinine; BT's response is great (at least it sounds like him).

When I was a prosecutor, I actually TRUSTED BT. Can you imagine? It's a wonderful thing when you can trust opposing counsel.

BT has done a lot for our community. He deserves much better than the joker who thinks he's funny is giving.


Fake Ted Mastos said...

Hey! (chomp smack) how do I catch flak over this? ( chomp smack ) I'm just hanging around smoking a cigar andbthe next thing you know (smack smack) I get fragged and dragged into (smack chomp chomp) the middle of this fight (chomp smack).

Anonymous said...

This Manno-Schurr bashing has to be coming from United Automobile Insurance Company's minions. Suing them as a result of their ponzi scheme approach to PIP insurance has made her husband a lot of money.

They fought her election 6 years ago and will do so again. Richard Parillo and his general counsel have set up over 100 corporations to pass contributions through. (Ex: $15,000 to Judy Rubenstein, $15,000 to Ada Pozo and many others.)

They have gone after a number of judges whom they perceive as being "anti-United". They even give a paid day off on election day to any employee who will work the polls with the sign or signs of those judicial candidates they like. (Undeclared in-kind contributions)

In essence they are a PAC for judicial candidates they like.

Fake risivy said...

This is absolutely the funniest thread in a while. brian, ifnyou engineered the whole thing then you are a genius. Lets give props to fake t for a least playing nice and not making nasty and demeaning personal attacks. Brian, your response was off the charts great only to be topped by the greatest retirement speech since lou gherig. Keep it up guys.

Anonymous said...

Judge Sigler is rude and nasty to the attorneys who appear before her and court staff who make the slightest mistake. She speaks in a demeaning manner or "down" to attorneys and enjoys making nasty comments about anyone in the courtroom on the record. She's forgotten one important golden rule: Treat attorneys and staff appearing before you with professionalism and courtesy.