THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
DAY THREE QUALIFYING WEEK:
(For any hot breaking tips that you wish to share, please consider emailing us at Captain4Justice@gmail.com . Your personal information will be kept confidential).
BREAKING NEWS .....
Welcome CAROL "JODI" BREECE* to all the fun. County Court Group 10 just grew by one candidate. Attorney Breece joins the race with Incumbent Judge Ana Maria Pando and Challenger Diana Gonzalez. This makes our first three person race and that means a possible primary in August, followed by a runoff in November. Some might think that Pando may not survive the JQC and the Florida Supreme Court this time around. Maybe Breece was thinking, if that were to happen, Gonzalez would win in a walk-over. Well, not anymore.
*Attorney Jodi Breece has been a member of The Florida Bar for more than 21 years. She is Board Certified in Criminal Trial for the past 13 years.
Let's begin today, hump day, with an analysis of the race between incumbent Judge David Miller versus his potential* opponent attorney Mauricio Padilla. We say potential because Mr. Padilla still needs to slap down $5,687.12 of his hard earned money in order to qualify to run for this seat. Why is that important? We'll tell you in just a moment.
First, David Miller. Born in 1953, he earned his BS from the University of Florida in 1975, and his JD from Nova in 1978. He was in private practice for 22 years, from 1978-2000. We believe he spent his time in the civil arena handling insurance defense matters at the Stephens, Lynn law firm. He did appellate work and trial work. In 2000, he spent his hard earned money and ran for Judge against GJB regulars David Peckins and Arthur "Artie" Spiegel (who just filed to run in County Court against Judge Andrea Wolfson).
In the Primary, 32% of Miami-Dade voters turned out and gave Miller 77,700 votes (44%). Peckins joined him in the run-off with 30%. Spiegel missed out with 26% of the vote.
In the General Election, in November of 2000, (can you say Bush v. Gore), 72% of Miami-Dade voters went to the polls and gave Miller a resounding victory; 245,765 (64%) to Peckins 140,934 (36%). In 2006, Miller was unopposed and reelected to a new six year term.
Miller has been on the bench for more than 11 years and he has made some enemies and also earned the wide support of his colleagues. He had a rough beginning when he was assigned to criminal court. Some of our readers have said that he was happy with the moniker "Maximum Miller" and according to the way Rumpole tells it:
"He took the bench and came to the REGJB bragging that he wanted to be known as "Maximum Miller". What kind of human being tries to build a reputation by sentencing people to as long a jail term as possible? What kind of person violates the constitution he is sworn to uphold by punishing people who exercise their right to a jury trial? Not a very nice one in our opinion. Outside of divine intervention, we will vote for anyone other than Judge Miller. He has earned our enmity."
Then he left the GJB and moved over to Civil. There is where he felt most comfortable and earned a reputation as the hardest working judge on the bench who just happens to also have a brilliant legal mind to boot. Says one of our loyal readers in response to Horace:
"While he may have once been "Maximum," he has grown tremendously during his years on the bench. I've seen him in criminal and civil, and first of all, I echo the Cap's comments about his work ethic. Miller works harder and is more accessible than anyone in the robe. In the criminal arena, I think the Dennis incident -- which was all her, BTW -- was an epiphany for him. He thinks hard about everything he does, insignificant or not, and he's not afraid to stick it to the state when they have it coming, even when there might be political ramifications. In fact, among the robed ones, his nickname changed from "Maximum" to "Mellow."On the civil side, he reads everything, asks great questions, and gives everybody all the time they want to blather on. Nobody is more up on the law. He also rules instead of sitting on things. I have won big and lost big in front of him and I never felt that I got anything less than an absolutely fair and thoughtful decision. Be prepared, punctual and respectful with Miller and you'll get it back in spades."
Now let's talk about what we know so far about attorney and potential challenger Mauricio Padilla.
Mr. Padilla graduated from law school at University of Miami in 2000. He earned his license two years later in May of 2002. His practice concentrates in the areas of matrimonial law, civil litigation and criminal defense.
Now here comes the kicker. Why is the amount of the filing fee important? Because $5,687.12 represents approximately 33% of Mr. Padilla income in 2011. That's right, Mr. Padilla reports earning around $17,000 last year. And, the $5,687.12 also represents more than five times than what Mr. Padilla currently has in the bank. We come to this conclusion because in his Financial Disclosure form, where Padilla is asked to list assets valued at over $1,000, (which includes bank accounts), he lists none. In fact, according to the filing, Mr. Padilla's current net worth is NEGATIVE [$91,752.99].
To be fair to Mr. Padilla, this probably was his first encounter with filing a State Financial Disclosure form and he may have misunderstood what it was asking for in the way of cash assets. We also do not know the man and he may be an attorney who has earned a stellar reputation among his peers over the past nine plus years. We would ask you to post your comments if you know anything about Mr. Padilla.
We have privately emailed Mr. Padilla and asked him several questions about his reasons for running and for choosing Judge Miller as an opponent, as opposed to any of the other 24 incumbents who have no opposition. If he respond, and gives us permission to print what he says, we will print it here.
So now it's back to the exciting news of the day. Who's next? Which incumbent Judges will be spending their summer vacations eating breakfasts in Homestead, Florida City and Goulds, lunches in Little Havana, Allapattah, and Little Haiti, and dinners in Miami Lakes, Carol City and Aventura?
Thank you to our readers for all the positive comments on the coverage and thanks especially to Rumpole for giving me the ability to be top dog for a few days every two years.
CAPTAIN OUT .......