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

Monday, April 09, 2012

GRAND JURIES ARE WHERE POLITICAL CASES GO TO DIE

BREAKING: Long time Circuit Court judge Scott Silverman resigned today. The Captain broke the  news in the comments section. 


The old wise guy phrase our clients used to say when planning a sit down was:  "if you're indicted, you're invited".  George Zimmerman will not be invited because the State Attorney investigating the case has said that she will not be convening a grand jury, so he will not be indicted.  


What does this mean? Second degree murder or manslaughter. Our thoughts are manslaughter, but we admittedly know very little about this case.  Odds are it will probably be a second. First is clearly a reach. Monday night on CNN's Piers Morgan show  Roy Black opined "In Florida the grand jury is where political cases go to die." Mr. Black further agreed with Professor Dershowitz, who was also on the show, that the news is not good for Zimmerman and the lack of a grand jury  probably means he will be charged. 


Meanwhile George Zimmerman has launched his own website to raise funds for a defense. This case is spinning out of control and the publicity will not be good for either side. 


RODERICK VEREEN: Ace criminal defense lawyer, started out in the Federal PDs office  US Attorneys Office (as pointed out to us by an alert reader) , of late has a private practice and handles the Jimmy Ryce cases for RC3 is seriously considering  running against State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle. This is a tough one. Fernandez-Rundle has done an admirable job. Her job is not an easy one and she negotiates between daily land mines of varied political interests and police departments that range from very competent to criminally incompetent. And yet Rod Vereen is a great lawyer and would bring a great new perspective to the job. We as citizens of Miami can be proud that two distinguished candidates are vying to serve. Rod has until April 20, 2012 to make his decision. You cannot yet email him at "runRodrun"dot com, but that piece of political advice (it would be a great email address) comes free of charge. 


What's the first thing you would change if you became Dade State Attorney? For us the answer is simple- we would prohibit a prosecutor from saying in open court "I need to go speak to a supervisor." You hire a lawyer, you pay a lawyer, let them be a lawyer. 


VIVA FIDEL! Query: If you're the Hispanic manager of the Miami Marlins and your team has a brand spanking new ballpark, what's the very worst way to drum up local support for your team? Praise Fidel Castro. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen did just that this past weekend. 


ICEBERG! Did the once in a thousand years alignment of the sun, moon and earth, which caused unusual high tides, help sink the Titanic? Maybe. 

HEALTH CARE: As we speak Nino Scalia is dismissively waving a high court hand and muttering "health care smelth care" and Clarence Thomas is nodding enthusiastically while saying nothing. 
But did you know that the SCOTUS Blog reports that between 1832 and 1956 in at least three quarters of the presidential elections a supreme court justice tried to wangle a presidential or vice presidential nomination?



44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rod Vereen started his career as a federal prosecutor Rump. First in northern Florida and then he worked in Miami. If I were the State Attorney, the first thing I would get rid of is career criminal. Let the division chiefs decide what cases are worth guidelines and what cases are not. Have a supervisory board hear appeals from defense attorneys to override a DC when appropriate. But for the most part, the buck should stop with the DCs. Second thing I would get rid off is all the damn specialized units in that office. Have those stiffs in division try the cases for Christs sake.

Rumpole said...

Thank you. I have updated the blog. well, that's my mistake for 2012.

Anonymous said...

Do not run Rod. You will not beat a Hispanic who is doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

As my friend Judge Moreno frequently said about the SAO "Too many chiefs, not enough indians." Truer words were never spoke and he never was called insensitive by the Miccosukee's for the comment.

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

JUDGE SILVERMAN RESIGNS .....

I was mostly out last week and failed to report that Judge Silverman has sent his resignation letter to the Governor.

Silverman has been on the bench for 22 years, eight in County Court and the past 14 in Circuit. For the past eight years he has been the Circuit's Historian as named by the Chief Judge.

He has been offered a job with the new mediation company opening up on Brickell, JAMS, the same company that 3rd DCA Judge Ramirez left for.

Good luck to Judge Silverman.

Cap Out ....

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ELECTION CENTRAL .....

Ten working days left in the qualifying period and only one candidate in an open seat is unopposed.

Tanya Brinkley in County Court Group 28 still does not have an opponent. Can she survive another ten days and get elected without opposition?

Tick Tock .....

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

How about making real public corruption cases instead of prosecuting a couple of underlings for stealing computers.

Anonymous said...

Rod was the first African American Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Northern District of Florida. I think he was also an ASA in Tallahassee.

Anonymous said...

First thing I would do as State Attorney is close shop on the felony screening unit and let the pit prosecutors prefile their own cases.

Anonymous said...

He was the first African American AUSA in Tally.

Anonymous said...

As Shakespeare said,

"First, kill all the lawyers."

Or something like that.

Juniper said...

I ran across your blog while doing some inane search on "Rumpole" my favorite lawyer of all time. So what if he was a fictional character. I've really enjoyed looking through some of your posts. By the way, I'm a lawyer of the "Rumpole and the Children of the Devil," type on the side of the parents and have done criminal defense. By the way, I think its uniformly true that "I need to talk to a supervisor," means "I must go borrow my er, parts from the jar on the boss's desk."

Anonymous said...

Fernandez Rundle sucks. Always has.

DS sez: said...

How about 2 C ASAs in Felony divisions . 200 plus cases to prosecute are too many to do justice on. Helps Defense Attys but not good for the Public. Pull 21 ASAs from Special Divisions and make DCs the Smartest and Best ASAs not just another step for those who stay.
DS

Rumpole said...

I am very pleased with these contributions and ideas. It would be good for Kathy or Rod or anyone else interested in the SAO to read this and open a discussion.

Change is the price of survival.

Anonymous said...

Letting the division ASAs prefile their own 2nd and 3rd degree felonies would be an incredibly inefficient use of the SAO office's time, money and manpower. For all of their faults, the felony screening unit does an overall good, if thankless, job. I used to work there long ago.
And compare that unit to the felony intake units in other counties. In Miami, your client's issues and contentions are at least heard.

mikal said...

Mr. Rumpole,

Although I don't practice criminal law, the policies and procedures of the State Attorney's Office effect all of us.

I think that this is a great forum for discussing ideas related to the State Attorney's Office, and it would be great if Ms. Rundle and Mr. Vereen would put their opinions in writing. I don't think it will happen but it can't hurt to try.

Judge Silverman resigned? Wow. I liked Judge Silverman the few times I appeared before him. Best of luck to him in his new endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Rod would make an outstanding State Attorney and would revitalize and inspire that office. That's just one reason he will never win.

The simple fact is that KFR is unassailable. As long as she wants the job, she will have the job, supported by the vote collecting machines she has always protected. Can you wonder why the absentee ballot marketplace continues to thrive in Dade County?

The consultant cabals, los boleteros, commedores managers, and the devil's brigade of corrupt politicians who operate comfortably untroubled by the SAO will ensure their tame watchdog stays in "power."

Anonymous said...

Where's my post about a Miami-Dade Circuit Judge who was reversed by the 3 DCA for openly considering the Defendant's failure to testify as an enhancing factor at sentencing?

"American Minority" said...

To understand America,you have to understand the Civil War. What Abraham Lincoln was up against, still exist till this day.It is my belief, and a fact that he lost his life for this same reason. Who wants to speak, or think about the truth.

The spirit and the mentality of the Dread Scott Decision, still exist as well. I had dinner with my High School English Teacher, who is my friend as well.I asked him and his his wife, who was also my American Government/Economics teacher, if there son was walking home 7pm from the store, and a grown armed stranger approached him,would he feel as if the stranger had a right to stop and question him, as the participants on the JBB had implied?
My white friend paused, and replied. "I would not want anyone other than a Law enforcement officer to stop my son at all, much less a stranger."

I wish he read this blog and the anonymous, cowardly comments, that suggested,"He had every right to stop him and question him." Really, And kill him?
~How about if it was your 17yr old?~
Then again, this is the same country that deemed some of it's citizens three fifths human, and ultimately went to war with in istself to try and uphold that belief.

Anonymous said...

I definitely believe it is time for rundle to go, her top prosecutors are afraid of some tough cases, I have knowledge of murder cases being nolle prossed. This office has been run by women for 30 years, rundle was reno's hand picked successor. term limits are now necessary for state and pd, 8 years, why should they be treated than other elected officials?

Anonymous said...

Bring back Harold Solomon for another run at for SAO. I would also support Ed Carhardt.

Anonymous said...

diddn't ozzie say VIVA chavez at one time? past behavior. all of a sudden, ozzie said he was thinking in Spanish and it came out wrong in English. Love Fidel Castro? If you're saying it, it means you're thinking it. Respect Fidel Castro? same thing. Rosetta Stone offers a discount to learn to speak English. I don't buy the apology. I don't really care about that half-assed apology. What he really thinks came out of this mouth. It's that simple. But not to worry, ozzie, Miami will forget your stupid comments by next month and IT'S BASEBALL TIME, BABY.

Anonymous said...

10 days into April already and MANY judicial candidates have not filed their first quarter campaign finance reports -- or at least the Division of Elections hasn't posted them yet. (Should you get to be a judge if you cannot even file your report on time?)

For those that are posted, plenty to see. Some candidates are going all in with huge personal loans. A couple have already reached or passed the $300,000 mark for total fundraising.

I feel good knowing that Bob, Armando, and Hector are deciding who'll be on the bench, and that people can also buy their way on. God knows I don't want anyone serving as a judge who isn't rich, connected and sold out to the established powers.

Barrister of Ballentrae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barrister of Ballentrae said...

A Question about Deterrence


Punishment through the Criminal Law has multiple purposes. Retribution or Punishment. Rehabilitation or Restoring the Victim through Restitution. Protection by Separating an Offender from Society.

In Theory the threat of Future , Severe , Unpleasant Punishment, Even Death , will make a potential offender think twice and not commit the crime; In short Punishment will Deter criminal actions due to the fear of Punishment.

I have talked to thousands of clients over the last few decades. All , after the fact ,are worried about the time they could be sentenced to.

Some gave a thought of getting caught prior to committing the crime. They planned a get - away ( a friend waiting outside with the engine running) or even covered their face with a bandana.

In the 1980s , The guys getting square grouper thought a run off shore was worth a possible 3 year min/man. But they factored in the hundred runs they would make before getting busted , if caught.

They came in on holiday weekends knowing the authorities to be so busy with weekend sailors they could not do safety checks on the charter fishing boats. Or they were Shrimpers on the SW coast whose whole town economy ran off the trade. For them, they didn’t think they would get caught so the stiff punishments were no deterrence.,

I have yet to meet a Defendant that fully thought through the possible consequences of their acts and found the Time worth the risk of the Crime. None are like Prometheus, thinking before acting. None have been Deterred to commit a crime by the possibility they will be incarcerated. They never gave it a thought in most instances, Prior to Their Illegal Acts.

So I seriously ask theses question wanting comments on them:
Have you Defense Attorneys run into clients that actually think about the consequences Before Acting.
Are Stiff Sentences or Minimum Mandatory’s Truly Deterrents ?
The Barrister

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ with your characterization of KFR's work. I worked there - and from day #1 was amazed at the attitude, lack of intelligence and poor judgment of many (NOT ALL) of the so called "more experienced" lawyers. To be fair, there were some very good ASAs who cared and believed in doing the right thing - but that was the exception.

Anonymous said...

Memo to Judges who notice me at 9 and roll in at 10. Stop asking me for donations.

Anonymous said...

I would have Lorna Solomon fire Don Horn and walk him out the building only to find her things waiting there for her as well and the door locked behind her.

Anonymous said...

Rod Vereen has no chance of beating KFR. She's has big money and power at her fingertips. And he has no chance of beating Barb Jordan who sits on the County Commission. Rod knows he wants to be in politics he's just not sure where.

Anonymous said...

Boy has the mess with foreclosures run many a circuit judge out of the courthouse and into a mediation firm.

Used to be judges worked for years to get finally to the general jurisdictin division. Now they hate being there.

Anonymous said...

Dear 11:38am

1. Reports aren't due until today. No one is late yet.

2. Bob, Hector and Armando have all backed losing candidates in the past. They don't decide who gets to be a Judge, the voters do.

3. Folks on this blog need to make up their mind. If a candidate is successful in their law practice, and can finance a race, what is wrong with that? Don't most of you complaint that folks are running for judicial seats because they can't make it as real lawyers?

Anonymous said...

Memo to judges who show up late and then bitch when we are not ready for trial:

Don't ask me for money either.

Anonymous said...

Am Minority-

Every time you write, you further convince me of your complete inability to grasp even a simple concept.

Private citizens are not prohibited from speaking to or even questioning other private citizens.

You and your high school home economics professor can opine that no one should be allowed to speak to other people. But for gods sake, think about what you are suggesting before putting it in writing.

No one has suggested that people should be able to shoot and kill anyone without provocation or justification. Nearly every person who has posted on the blog has agreed, that had the roles been reversed, the black guy would be in custody. (The true injustice.)

But the bottom line is you were not there, you don't know what happened, and just because an otherwise good kid is dead, does not mean that a crime was committed. We all want the police to investigate before making arrests. And the state should file cases that can be proven in court, not just to quiet the masses.

But please keep posting, I can always use the laughs.

Top 50

Anonymous said...

Notice to ALL Judges: Stop asking me for donations. (or having your 'campaign manager' do it, cuz we know you can't, wink wink)

I made a vow last time around and I'm sticking to it.
You're not getting any of my money. I think it's wrong to donate to Judges I practice in front of and those I don't practice in front of I don't know enough about to know if I support you.
Sorry.
I think there should be campaign limits for judicial campaigns. If we can limit your speech, we should be able to limit your money.
I hope poster above was joking about $300k but I know s/he probably wasn't.
That's disgusting.
I wouldn't go to a job interview and hand the interviewer money to get a job.

Anonymous said...

I also worked at the SAO and openly criticized much of what I saw. Still, I appreciated the opportunities the office provided. Years later, I now recognize that KFR has done a very good job given the indefensible lack of funding (the PD suffers from the same problem).

While both offices house far too many slackers (you get what you pay for, unfortunately), they each have MANY talented and hard working lawyers making far less than they could make in the private sector (and a fraction of what they deserve). To those lawyers, and the senior attorneys/managers who have stuck it out year after year, I say thank you.

Until we gave the SA and PD the resources they need to do things properly, we can't expect significant improvement regardless of who is in charge. KFR and CM both deserve to stay.

I like Rod and hope he runs for something else.

BTDT

PS----to those of you bitching and moaning about how "unreasonable" Miami prosecutors are, take some cases out of the county and see what's happening elsewhere. When a large group of critics say that the office is too soft and another large group says that they're too hard it means that they're doing what they should be.

Anonymous said...

Judge Silverman is a mensch (on and off the bench). His leaving is one more sign that the legislature needs to start funding the judiciary appropriately............there aren't a lot of top flight lawyers who are willing to give up hundreds of thousands of dollars to be a judge.

BTDT

If I Were King said...

Suggestions for SAO:

1. Train the new ASA's and then let them make decisions. You won't keep the good ones if you never let them make their own decisions and you won't let anyone develop if you don't let them make their own decisions.

2. Too many walls and too much isolation at the SAO. Create general work spaces for the attorneys, like trading desks at a brokerage firm. More the SAO her/himself out of the guilded penthouse and onto the floor with the assistants (think Michael Bloomberg).

3. Create a large subsidized lunch area where attorneys can grab a meal and share ideas.

4. Close the county court building and move everyone over to the main building. It is too isolating keeping the new prosecutors elsewhere for the first year of their legal lives and most of that building is storage space anyway.

5. Automate. Less paper and more use of technology. Have ASA's bring their laptops to work so they can login to a SAO net.

6. Get rid of the dead weight. You know who they are; they have been in the office forever yet they do almost nothing.

More tomorrow ...

Anonymous said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again..........the comments about Lorna and Don are grossly unfair. The reality is that they deal with difficult employment situations all the time and do so fairly and professionally.

They are in an impossible situation. They can't defend themselves (ie. explain why the discipline prosecutors or other employees who do things they shouldn't) because it could create civil liability and would be unethical.


When I was at the SAO, I saw several people disciplined. I didn't like every decision, but they were carefully thought through and fair. If you don't like what their doing, follow the damn rules. They don't mess with anyone who doesn't do something stupid to start with.

BTDT

"American Minority" said...

To: Anonymous Asshole.You remind me of a bully.Instead of trying to unsuccessfully belittle me with your frustration, of me not "grasping" your bias, inaccurate, and condescending remarks, think t before you discourse in your expatiated comments.

You describe aggravated stalking as "speaking to someone."The more you post, you remind me of what Sean Hannity. Once and for all cut the Top 50 crap George W. Bush is a Yale Alumni and I'm pretty sure the University isn't that proud of that fact.Hell he cant he even endorse a presidential candidate for god sakes.So please already excellence, and reputation needs no Declaration.

Better yet do me and you a favor, I'll act like you don't exist and render me likewise.

Anonymous said...

Am Min-

Do you even read your own comments?

ADHD medications are readily available. Perhaps a prescription would keep your thoughts and writing more focused and on point. It may help you to form a cogent sentence.

By the way, George Bush is on the Yale Alumni page. His picture is right above the picture of Bill Clinton. So maybe they are just a little proud.

T50

Anonymous said...

Don Horn is second in command in that office BECAUSE, he earned it! Who the heck are any of you to sit in judgement. The staff in the office follow rules of procedure like everyone else does. Nothing is a panacea but get off your high horses and fix it rather than bitch about it. You run for office if you have the balls to do it. All you haters couldn't do it now could you so you will just sit back and hate on the ones that have the courage to do it.

Fake Alex Michaels said...

I run for State Attorney. I do one simple thing--stop deees BULLSHEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I saw this post while searching for information on Roderick Vereen.

As a non-attorney citizen, I'm interested in voting for almost anyone but Kathy Rundle.

From your perspective she's done a good job - but I'm afraid you haven't talked lately to any of the county or FDLE public corruption investigators.

Rundle spends her day covering the butt of every well-connected corrupt politician and lobbyist in the South Florida. The cops are fed up.

Guess you haven't talked with any of our illustrious elected officials lately either. They just laugh at a suggestion that Rundle would allow a serious investigation of their antics.

Rundle is a disgrace.