Monday, September 17, 2012

COURTS CLOSED FOR NEW YEAR

Breaking: Mitt Romney secret video where he calls half the US population welfare grubbing tax cheats. Mother Jones video here.

For those of you who celebrate the Jewish New Year- happy new year.  For those of you who don't- happy day off.

What Rumpole is Reading?  Lots of things actually, but isn't that always the case?

Presidential junkies will love "The President's Club" by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. Want to know how presidents treat former presidents? This is the book. Starting when Truman resurrected Hoover, to the unlikely "adoption" of Clinton by the Bush family, this book will surprise those of you who, like us, think we know it all when it comes to the presidency. As a one term president who oversaw the start of the depression,  Hoover was 58 when he was turned out of office. He would live for another 32 years, and was banished into the political wilderness until Harry Truman reached out and asked him in 1947 to help save Europe from starvation. Hoover was an engineer by training and once he overcame the suspicions of a political trick on Truman's part, he dove into the job and saved millions from starvation in post war Europe- just as he had done in WWI as chairman of the Commission for Relief Of Belgium and then head of the US Food agency. Hoover knew how to distribute supplies, perhaps better than any living person. Truman's selection of Hoover was brilliant. Hoover's  decision to distribute the food through schools saved an estimated 3,500,000 German children from starvation and helped in the distribution of 40,000 tons of food starting in April 1947. Truman and Hoover created the President's Club. President Bush 43 would repeat Truman's move and have Bush 41 and Clinton team up to lead efforts in raising money for victims of Hurricane Katrina, and the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Bob Woodward's "The Price Of Politics" continues Woodward's inside reporting on the Obama administration. Remember the budget and debt ceiling crises of 2010-2011?  Woodward reports it in excruciating detail. Finishing the book automatically makes you a budget and policy wonk. Join the club.

David Herbert Donald's "Lincoln" bears re-reading in the run up to the November premier of Spielberg's Lincoln staring Daniel Day Lewis.  Donald's book has become the recent definitive biography of America's greatest president.

Dwight Eisenhower is under going a renaissance of sorts these days, so we decided to start with Stephen Ambrose's "The Supreme Commander" which chronicles Ike's rise to supreme commander in WWII.

There is more to us then presidents and politics and we often peruse the smallest corners of the internet searching for a new writer. We think we've found a  gem in Hugh Howey, who appears to be a self e-publisher. We started with a short story "The Walk Up Nameless Ridge", continued with a teenage coming of age-first love- angst story in "Hurricane"  (superb character development) and are now wadding into Howey's  multi-part apocalyptic series : "Wool".

That should keep you busy for a while.

REQUIEM FOR A PUBLIC DEFENDER
Judging from the comments over the weekend in the "MISTAKES and mistakes" post, morale in the Dade Public Defenders Office is just above morale in the Romney campaign, and just below those "Sarah Palin in 2016" supporters morale. 

Morale in the PDs office is low. Very low.  The biggest complaint beyond the latest firing  seems to be the fostering of an attitude of "Mitigation NOT Litigation".  It's easy to criticize such a motto, but it's harder (impossible really)  to try all of the tens of thousands of cases the PDs office is appointed to handle. Any large office providing legal services to indigent clients in criminal court had better have a bevy of top notch mitigation experts ready to assist  in the myriad of cases the office handles.  Rumors of lots of attorneys preparing to leave are rampant. And we say: "In this economy?" Really? Jobs in the Dade PDs office (and the Dade SAO) are  high coveted and prestigious. Once hired, either office is going to provide the new attorney with a legal education easily worth a million dollars.  

So is moral really that low? Or are our commentators just the outspoken "nattering nabobs of negativism?"  Extra credit: Who first said that alliterative phrase and who wrote it? 

Enjoy your day off in worship or relaxation. 

See you tomorrow in court ready to roll. 


33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Name one big city State PD office where the morale is not low. It's the nature of the business in these times.

Anonymous said...

PDs can try five or six cases as week in juvenile. Easily two or three jury trials a month in county/DV. Felony trials are harder to come by, but if you push a case, you will get a trial or NP. Some C attorneys average one a month.

The low morale isn't, I believe, about lack of trials, or a culture of mitigation. It's about money, plain and simple.

No one expects to get rich as a PD. But they do expect to make a salary commensurate with a professional degree. And it pains to see that how much money you make as a PD is not about performance, only seniority. And seniority is not about performance, its about sticking around.

Anonymous said...

The qoute is attributed to the very intersting, disgraced vice president Spiro Agnew who also introduced the great majority of the country to the term nolo contendere.

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with the PD that was fired for her facebook post but, the compromising of a client , especially for a murder case is bad . I would say that she had to be fired to prevent the tarnishing of the office.

A lawyer cannot condemn a client in a public forum. See what happened to lawyer Petia Dimitrova Knowles for disparaging remarks (SC10-1019. One year suspension)

With 7 years of higher education, you would think a person would know better

Anonymous said...

Yes, morale is very low. We feel that Carlos cares very little about the individual. He is a DICK-tator who now micro-manages all the attorneys. SO morale is very low. Also some of the senior supervisinG attorneys are complete assholes and treat us like shit. We do the best we can for all our clients and yes we signed up for this job and yes it is a great learning experience but some recognition would be nice. And only the people at the top get raises. So yes we really don't care too much for Carlos and really do wish someone had run against him for election. The days we spend preparing for trial on the weekend or after hours at home don't count. For instance you spend all weekend preparing for a trial then for some reason it pleas out or is cancelled, God forbid you go home early despite the fact you actually worked more than 40 hours that week. Or you go to trial and your judge keeps you till 8 or 9pm every night, and God forbid you take a couple of hours off the next day. No, they monitor you coming in, going out. Its big brother. Wish Bennett was back. Those were the days when you fought hard because you not only loved the fight but you also loved your job. Now yes I love the fight, but its just not worth the sacrifice as much when I am not just under paid over worked and society does not appreciate me but my boss also does not appreciate me. That makes it worse, the fact that I feel my own boss does not appreciate me. I expected it from the clients, the victims, etc. but not from my own boss. Carlos has lost touch. Morale is low and he makes you resent your job more and more.

Anonymous said...

Funny how you all seem to know so much about "morale" at the PD's office when none of you work here.

I do. Morale is OK.

Many of us think she should have been given a second chance but, it's hard to argue that her mistake was really bad.

Come walk a mile in my shoes before you tell me that MY feet hurt.

Anonymous said...

Confirmed it was a young "sandy" Blake on Password Plus- circa 1977-79 ish. Babbling about the Gators and law school. Lost two of three "alphabetics" challenges, but won one for 5K and total winnings for three shows was 7300 which was big dinero in those days. To check it out the celebrity guest players were Jack Klugman and Loretta Switt. Pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/16/3006348/judge-hopefuls-spurn-boleteros.html

Anonymous said...

I'm a PD too and I see no real morale problems.

I do hear many bitch about the lack of money and how the people of this fine state could care less about what we do.

3L said...

Any 3L thinking of applying to work at Miami PD should be reading the posts on this blog for the past week.

Anonymous said...

2:18
Don't confuse education with intelligence.

Anonymous said...

It is with great glee that I check in here after being away for a few weeks and find that Alex Stern is gone. He walked around the courthouse convincing young PDs that the proper way to do their jobs was to piss off judges and ASSs. His is such a gigantic ego that he put his own interests before the PDOs clients. Good riddance.

Circle K

Anonymous said...

anyone that is over the moon about Alex Stern leaving are clearly the ones that simply are talentless and not bright enough to keep up with him. He was one of the brightest attorneys that walked through the REGJB. Without him, I fear what will happen to the young PDs in our office. You may not like him, but even ASAs know that if they, their friends or family ever got into trouble, they would want Alex Stern to represent them in a heartbeat.

Anyone who says morale isn't low is lying to themselves to justify why they haven't left yet. I have been at the office through both the Bennett and Carlos administration and it is like night and day. Carlos isn't a leader. He is an embarassing figurehead. He has no idea what being a trial or appellate attorney means. He cares nothing about the quality of representation--only quantities and stats. Morale has been this low for years now. Most of us had our fingers crossed hoping that someone would run against him. Now most of us have our fingers crossed that we land another job ASAP. I'm not waiting 4 years for someone to save this place.

Anonymous said...

I concur, if you had a problem with Alex, its because he probably kicked your ass. He was no-holds-barred for his clients.

And if he lost, he counseled young PDs that the system worked -- the state proved its case.

His knowledge of the statute book alone is amazing.

old guy said...

Spiro Agnew.

One of the few benefits of being an Old Guy.

Anonymous said...

303........you think that Carlos has nothing better to do than monitor attorneys' hours? You actually think he enjoys that?

The reason it's happening is because so many APD's abused the trust put in them to work 40 hours a week. While most PDs do what they're supposed to do and provide good representation, the few bad apples spoil the barrel. I agree the policy is unfortunate, but Carlos has no choice.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

My fellow public defenders:

the time has come for us to return the blog to the rest of the legal community. We have done enough bashing Carlos, defending him, the rest of the 5th floor and everyone else. Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

06:32

Thanks Carlos!

UnNamed PD said...

Bravo 3:03, hear, hear
So True in needs repeating

Carlos cares very little about the individual. He is a DICK-tator who now micro-manages all the attorneys. SO morale is very low. Also some of the senior supervisinG attorneys are complete assholes and treat us like shit. We do the best we can for all our clients and yes we signed up for this job and yes it is a great learning experience but some recognition would be nice. And only the people at the top get raises. So yes we really don't care too much for Carlos and really do wish someone had run against him for election. The days we spend preparing for trial on the weekend or after hours at home don't count. For instance you spend all weekend preparing for a trial then for some reason it pleas out or is cancelled, God forbid you go home early despite the fact you actually worked more than 40 hours that week. Or you go to trial and your judge keeps you till 8 or 9pm every night, and God forbid you take a couple of hours off the next day. No, they monitor you coming in, going out. Its big brother. Wish Bennett was back. Those were the days when you fought hard because you not only loved the fight but you also loved your job. Now yes I love the fight, but its just not worth the sacrifice as much when I am not just under paid over worked and society does not appreciate me but my boss also does not appreciate me. That makes it worse, the fact that I feel my own boss does not appreciate me. I expected it from the clients, the victims, etc. but not from my own boss. Carlos has lost touch. Morale is low and he makes you resent your job more and more.

DS said...

Rump, old chap
Its no secret I'm a Democrat from old time labor democrats. I've run the GOTV for the party in N Dade.
But the Mother Jones story sounds alot worse then the recording sounds. Yes,, He is a rich guy talking to rich guys what do you expect him to be saying? He is not as soft or smooth as Ronnie R but he is alot better then George W.
I am not shocked by this secret tape. Lets see if THE PRES can tie him in knots in the debates.

South Florida Lawyers said...

Disagree DS. In context the recording seems much worse, expressing contempt and disdain for much of America today.

mikal said...

Reading the new book by Errol Morris about the "Fatal Vision" murders. Morris is relentless in his pursuit of the facts from both sides. and having read some of the essays he wrote for the NYT, it will be a fascinating and tough read.

Just ordered the much anticipated photo book, "Redheaded Peckerwood" by Christian Patterson, about the Starkweather / Fugate murders.

Vittoria said...

Yeah, 6:32 and 7:29 are definitely Mr. Martinez. At least, you now know how some people really feel about you at your office.

Rumpole said...

Mikal- I did not know there was a new book about the Jeffrey McDonald- Fatal Vision murders. I remember being enthralled with Joe McGinnisses book at the time it was published.

I vividly remember taking one thing away from the book- and it is admittedly not a scientific or evidentiary conclusion. However, if you recall, McDonald, a Green Beret doctor, claimed that he was awakened when intruders broke into his home and he heard his children screaming for him to help them. And I remember thinking to myself that McDonald was lying. That when you awake a young child and scare them they yell for their mommy and not their daddy. just my thought. I will read the new book.

Anonymous said...

Who is Alice sterns? Yawn

Anonymous said...

Ultimately it is about the next 30 years, not the next 4. And the next President will decide the balance of the Supreme Court for the next 30 years. So you decide, do you want a country where the laws are determined by the Scalia neocons or the Sotomayer progressives?

Anonymous said...

LOL. 632 here. I've been posting on this blog for a long time.......it should be obvious by now that I'm not Carlos. I just don't see things as black and white as some of you do. The PDO is far from perfect, but you can't hammer Carlos for enacting a policy necessitated by the significant number of APDs who we all know are abusing the system.

While most lawyers at the PDO and SAO do their jobs, way too many don't. You'd have to be a fool to not see that. Carlos and Kathy have to deal with that.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I never had the chance to squash Stern. I was trying cases at REG when he was still playing with his Barbie dolls.

Circle K

Anonymous said...

I crushed Stern in trial- twice. She's shady as they come, and has that snarky attitude that the pds train them will work in their clients favor, but you get more Asa's with honey...

Anonymous said...

Another ridiculous DS comment. That recording is terrible and the contempt he feels for 1/2 of our country is palatable.

"American Minority" said...

D.S. apparently you are sweet on Williard and you'll practically eat the guys shit. I somewhat surprised you admitted W. is a complete buffoon.
~A.M.~

DS said...

AM I am a democrat. I vote democratic. I have voted for the Dem parties Pres candidate my entire life. Willard is a duffice, but I am not shocked by his statements. He is what he IS.

Anonymous said...

lawyer cannot condemn a client in a public forum. See what happened to lawyer Petia Dimitrova Knowles for disparaging remarks (SC10-1019. One year suspension)