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, September 24, 2012

WHO WE ARE

By now the new ASAs and PDs have learned the ins and outs of life in Miami while working at the REGJB. They've seen courtrooms, read an A-form or 50, poured over discovery, found the best and cheapest happy hours,  and generally taken the first steps to fulfilling their career dreams. 

This can be a great life mirable dictu.  Some small percentage of you- perhaps 2 or 3 in your ASA or PD class of 30 or so might stay 10-20 years. Or you might leave your respective office and build a private practice, like we did. 

So what is this blog business? 

Tough to say really. 

When we first got to the REGJB, many times we felt as a young lawyer that there was no where to turn. One judge was, to put it bluntly, drunk most afternoons. Another dozen or so were cranky and cantankerous and more judges than not enjoyed being mean and difficult to young lawyers because they could. We once saw a Judge refuse to sign an order, which the lawyer had prepared because the judge ruled against them and wanted to take an appeal. The lawyer showed it to the judge to sign: "Its wrong, I won't sign it." "Can you tell me what to change?" "No." The lawyer went through a dozen drafts. The judge refused each one. The lawyer would not give up. S/he brought the problem to the chief judge of the criminal division. A week later the order came back signed, with the title "The Honorable" stricken out. The chief judge told the lawyer the judge didn't think it appropriate to sign an order calling themselves  honorable. Of course this was just a face saving excuse by an old, cranky judge who had done something wrong and didn't want to sign the order allowing them to be appealed. 

The practice of law used to be like that in Miami. There was a time when water fountains and bathrooms in the courthouses said "No Jews or Blacks". Up through the 1980's there were plenty of older male judges who preyed on young female lawyers.  And worst of all,  some judges, defense attorneys, and bail bondsmen entered into alliances where justice was for sale. 

There's not a lot of blatant wrongs being perpetrated these days. No overt signs of racism or sexism. Bribes  (hopefully) are a thing of the past. But that does not mean we don't have our problems. If a prosecutor or a judge threatens your client with a stiff sentence if s/he elects to go to trial and loses (what we commonly call the "trial tax") or if a defense attorney tells a prosecutor one thing and then does another, we want to know about it. 

This blog, in its highest sense of purpose, is here to give  those who have legitimate complaints a place to air them without fear of retribution.  And, when a tragedy strikes our close knit community; when we lose a judge or a lawyer who has touched our lives, this is a place to gather and shed some tears, and reminisce.  So, young lawyer or old lawyer, please pitch in. The blog is not a place to call people names- ugly and hurtful comments are something we do our best not to air. But if you want to contribute, with tips, information, or witty comments, were are here, listening, grateful for your continued support. 

That is who we are. 

See You In Court. 

32 comments:

DS said...

Up until the late 1990s the Justice Building still had the double Bathrooms on each floor , that our Courthouse was designed with. The signs were gone but the west side smaller ones were for the "colored" . I remember the signs as a kid at the Main Courthouse 73 W Flagler and in buses .

Fake Josh Gradinger said...

Lets Go Seahwaks !

South Florida Lawyers said...

Beloved Miami Beach icon Arthur Godfrey ran a fancy hotel in Bal Harbour that boasted "Nice views, no Jews"!

CAPTAIN said...


The Captain Reports:

Little Mike Horner just couldn't manage to sit in the corner ....

Another Republican leader bites the dust:

State Rep. Mike Horner, R-Kissimmee, is ending his campaign for re-election after being named as a client in a racketeering and prostitution-related case.

Horner has not been charged or arrested in the case, according to a law enforcement source who is knowledgeable about the investigation. Horner was named on a client list in a case against Mark Risner, who's accused of running a brothel out of an east Orange County home.

Risner was arrested in August and formally charged earlier this month. He faces 13 charges, including five felony charges. Risner did not respond to a call seeking comment.

Horner released a statement Monday morning saying that he was ending his re-election bid.

"I deeply regret decisions I made that are causing my family unjustifiable pain and embarrassment …," Horner said in the statement. "My family still deserves better from me, as do all my friends, supporters and constituents."

Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show this is Risner's first arrest in Florida. He is scheduled to be in court next month.

Horner, 44, is a 2-term member of the State House and president of the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce. He wa in the midst of a re-election campaign against Democrat Eileen Game in District 42, a race he was expected to win easily.

Horner is married with a young son. He served in the Florida Army National Guard.

News of his involvement in the case came as a shock in Osceola County, where Horner has received numerous awards for community involvement.

"I'm stunned," said Jim Cook a member of the Osceola County Republican Executive Committee. "I know Mike Horner really well, he's a nice guy."

Local Republican parties will have five days to call a meeting and nominate a replacement candidate.

Horner's name will remain on the ballot. By state law, if a new name is submitted after the results of the primary are certified, the ballots cannot be changed.

That means that any replacement candidate would have to run under Horner's name.

Horner was seen as a rising star in state GOP circles. Along with Rep. Jason Brodeur of Sanford and Chris Dorworth of Lake Mary, he set up Citizens for an Enterprising Democracy, a fundraising organization which contributes to Republican candidates and causes around the state. Dorworth is slated to become speaker of the Florida House in 2014.

House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, issued a statement supporting Horner's decision.

"I believe he made the right decision," Weatherford said in the statement. "It is in the best interest of our state and his family. As elected officials, we are held to a high standard and no member of the Florida House is above that standard."

Courtesy Orlando Sun Sentinnel.

Cap Out ....




Rumpole said...

Today is a good day. Truth. Grace. Understanding. Acceptance. Hopefully those things will find Mike Horner. Today is not a good day for him or his family. Republicans should accept that they are no different from the rest of us. Just because they pray more out loud doesn't mean they are holier than anyone else. Even the mighty can fall. Everyone makes mistakes. There is no shame in that. The shame is in not learning from them and making yourself a better person tomorrow.

Speaking of mistakes- I ain't made no mistake in picking the PACK tonight fake Josh Gradinger. This ain't my first rodeo. I've gone several weeks mano-a-mano and I do not intend to lose. Good luck my friend.

Anonymous said...

To the new attorneys, the uninitiated, and those who are thinking about getting into law school:

Being a lawyer can be fun and most of the time it is a rewarding job (don't let Rumpole or others tell you that this is a noble profession, because with 12 law schools in Florida and more wanting in, it has become a job) as long as you don't lose perspective.

On many days though, you'd be much better off running a porn website, taking a bit of Shumie Time, or talking to those clowns who own the cigar shop on Red Rd. in bfe about opening up a brothel out there in no-man's land.

Seriously, the best things for the new attorneys to remember are: do not get drunk and think it is cute if your friends take pics of you barfing so they can post them on FB; subscribe to BT's twitter feed; do not commit crimes after you are admitted to the bar; your boss is probably not as smart and eager as you are, though he or she once was; whoever signs your paychecks is usually right; your employer or employees are not your friends - you are a means to an end; AND KIDS PAY ATTENTION HERE, WAKE UP - never ever ever have sexual relations with the judge presiding over a murder case that you are prosecuting.

Mike Horner - you sir, are a putz.

Rumpole said...

Looking for you comment? Couldn't post it. Yes, I remember the judge you mentioned and he was often drunk in court. I remember all the others, including the asshole who smoked crack in his chambers. He's doing like 20 now, right? Let him rot in prison. We don't need to mention his name either.. But some of the others are dead and these are peoples memories and reputations. You will have to re-write it and remove the names of the judges. Good stories from the old days. Harold Solomon was such a mensch. But I cannot allow the comment as it was written old boy. sorry. But I know you at least meant no harm.

Rumpole said...

I would like lots of regulars to post advice to the neewbies and wannabes about how to behave as a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

You got it Rumpolioum-

Newbies: Be honest in your dealings with other lawyers and the court. Don't lie to anyone.

Don't cheat clients. Don't charge more than the case is worth.

Don't hit on witnesses, clients or other lawyers. It is never ever ever worth it.

Work harder on each case then it requires. That means that the other side will never outwork you.

Treat everyone the way you would want your mom treated.

If being a lawyer doesn't make you happy, quit and find something that will make you happy.

Anonymous said...

Never take litigation personally. Practice good sportsmanship. Lose with dignity, win with grace. Look up the answer to a legal question before you ask. Read the FLORIDA LAW WEEKLY.

mikal said...

1. Do not try to out shout a judge even if you are right.

2. Be very courteous and kind to the court staff and the courthouse employees.

3. If you need a mentor, get a mentor.

4. Try to work out a balance between work and family life.

5. Just because you are a lawyer and your spouse isn't does not mean that you are the boss of the house.

6. As in life, know when to stop arguing with opposing counsel.

7. Try not to take things personally if a judge rules against you or opposing counsel starts name calling.

8. Men, do not ever think that because opposing counsel is a woman that she is not as smart as you. Chances are she is smarter than you and will out work you.

9. Do good.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed the recent spate of photographs and videos showing our President sharing a beer or other adult beverage with average Americans? Maybe this is the Obama campaign's clever and insidious way of reminding voters that our President could be a teetotaling, non-smoking Mormom, who will be unable to share a cup of coffee, let alone a beer, with anybody. What is going to happen when President Romney meets with his counterparts in Britain, France, and Germany (anybody see those videos of Angela Merkle guzzling a big stein of beer at a recent Oktoberfest?)--our closest allies--and is unwilling to share a toast with them? Maybe that is why Romney chose an Irishman to fill out the Republican ticket: Paul Ryan will become America's designated drinker.

Anonymous said...

If you get a chance to bang another ASAs wife - do it - you will regret not doing it years later when he is a judge and being an asshole.

If you get a chance to sleep with a PD - do it - they tend to be fun.

If you get a chance to hang out with an ASA whose initials may or may not be GL - do NOT do it - find another place to go.

If you get a chance to hook up with a secretary - do NOT do it.

If you are a woman - under no circumstances should you ever, ever, ever date or marry a cop - they will treat you like shit and cheat on you.

Fake Josh Gradinger said...

Listen Rump.

I am Canadian and was surprised to see a 100 yard field and no rouge in the NFL.

But, that doesn't mean I dont know how to pick 'em!

If we have to go mano y mano, me and fake granoff will meet you at the pickle barrel.

Go Seattle!

CAPTAIN said...


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

1. I was told when I was a young intern that the most important person to know is the JA (Judicial Assistant/Secretary) of the Judge.

2. The most important asset you have and carry around with you every day is not your brain, it is your reputation. It only takes one stupid decision to ruin it and it could take your entire career to earn it back.

3. Argue like hell in court, respectfully and forcefully. We use the word zealously a lot. But as soon as you walk out of the courtroom or complete your argument, walk over to your opponent and shake their hand or thank them.

Being polite and professional and friendly goes a long way to establish that reputation and will help your current client and your future clients as well.

4. Don't be greedy. Charge a fair fee for a fair amount of work. Being fair will get you lots more future business than being greedy.

5. Most of your cases will not come from advertising or Facebook, but from one of two categories:

a. The majority of your cases will come from former client referrals, therefore (see number 4 above).

b. A good amount of clients will come from attorney referrals. Make friends with attorneys who do not practice criminal defense work. Those attorneys have family members and clients who will need your services.

6. Join a local voluntary bar association. Why? Because it is good to give back to your profession and you will also meet attorneys in other fields (see 5b).

You can join the DCBA, CABA, FAWL, FACDL, or many other fine voluntary bar organizations. And don't just join, but volunteer and get involved in a project or activity. The Happy Hours are a great way to meet other attorneys, meet Judges off the bench, etc.

7. When you approach the podium, don't assume that this is Cheers (the bar) and that "everybody knows your name". Instead, call out the page number, say your name, and then your client's name.

Example: Good morning your Honor. Page 10 of your calendar. Horace Rumpole on behalf of Captain Justice.

Do this every time you speak in court. The court reporter will thank you for it, the Judge will thank you for it, your opponent will thank you for it.

Cap Out .....

CAPTAIN said...


what happened to your twitter feeds posted on the front page

DS said...

To our new Brothers and Sisters at The Metro - Justice Building

DO NOT LIE

DO NOT DENIGRATE PEOPLE.

Everyday YOUR reputation is on the line. NO one case ,nor defendant or Client is worth your reputation.

The Justice Building is big but the regulars WILL GET TO KNOW YOU.

ONCE thought of as a ahit its hard to rebound.

Treat ALL with fairness and common courtesy, especially the other- side

BE HONEST.

Yes you can play your cards close to the vest but never mislead a Judge or lie in court.

Be Honest w/ the State or Defendant's ATTY.

Not saying something about your case or theory or evidence to the otherside isnt lying , unless you led them to beleive you would or would not object and then do so.

READ FLW - REGULARLY. Even if you are a few weeks behind Keep reading. It will educate you.

Read the rag called The Herald
( Miami Herald.com ) AND THE COMMENTS on crime, corruption and politics articles.

Those commenters are your potential jurors. The Stories are things you can use to make arguments and in selecting jurors.

ASAs PLEASE, Dont ask potential jurors about not following the laws. Almost ALL WILL convict IF you get close to proving your case. You insult them with that question.

And No more questions about its wet outside.

KNOW Your Theory of your case and think of ways to ask about that Theory.

TAKE A CAB. If you have been at happy hour or had 2 drinks Take a Cab. The Taxi fee is less than a DUI and losing your job.

Read THIS BLOG

one last thing
Dont LIE

DS

"American Minority" said...

D.S., I kinda like that advice, that commenter on "the rag" named "sinbad sailor" is a cynical,pessimistic individual. He almost always ends his comments with "I wish they'd let me on one of those juries". Which leads me to believe he is mentally disqualified from serving.

~AM~

Rumpole said...

Really looking forward to MNF tonight. Need the Pack to come through for me. 5-6 hrs sleep last night, so I'm a bit tired but the game will keep me up. (Yawn) Go Pack....

"American Minority" said...

Capt., tip of the hat {-}/{.

Anonymous said...

TO ALL NEW LAWYERS!! Listen to the staff. They've been there while you were potty training and will be there long after you realize you made a poor career choice!

Anonymous said...

All this advice and no one even said the obvious - GO TO TRIAL AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. You don't really know what you're doing as a trial lawyer until you've completed around 20 jury trials. So hop to it.

Anonymous said...

Never ever think you know it all. You don't and you never will. The moment you stop learning, you lose.

Anonymous said...

1. do not lie no case is worth it.
2. dont personally attack the other attorney. whatever side you are on jurors find it distasteful

3. be yourself--just cause you see your colleague do something in voir dire like be funny it may not work for you if you are not funny.
4. as an asa dont be afraid to stand up to a judge on a plea, if you always give in they will abuse you and never respect you. dont fall into the trap of "i want to keep my credibility".
5. Flip side, dont argue over cases that no one cares about as an asa.
6. girls never ever marry a cop. fuck them as much as you want but they will be fucking three other chicks at the same time.
7. as a PD dont be afraid to go to trial. when asa's sense you wont go to trial they will abuse the shit out of you.

Anonymous said...

Up until this moment I had no clue that the double set of restrooms was racial...and I've been in that building since Reno/Yoss.

FYI for the newbies...they were where the waterfountains and Coke machines are now.

Wordy McWorderson said...

Tip to the new lawyers... Don't ever write COMES NOW at the start of a pleading or say "May it please the Court". Bad habits that must be broken.

CAPTAIN said...


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

SUICIDE ... NOT THE NAME OF THE POOL THAT 33 PLAYERS PARTICIPATED IN OVER THE PAST THREE WEEKS....

Rather, it is the name of what every fan in the NFL committed after watching the last of 16 games this weekend and seeeing another group of referees make watching football a miserable experience.

Congrats to Fake Josh Gradinger who wins the Suicide Pool this year in the shortest amount of weeks (3) in the history of the pool.

Rumpole goes out with the Packers loss, if you can call it that, and that left one man standing.

Gradinger joins previous winners:

Rumpole - 9 weeks
Cary Clemon - 7 weeks
Rick Freedman - 15 weeks
Miguel de la Over - 8 weeks
Michael Feiler - 9 weeks

See you in 2013.

Cap Out .....

"American Minority" said...

I once met an attorney that thought he knew it all and he did not. I liked his confidence, however his attitude stinked. That's what made me become interested in Law. I read Roy Black's Book and he said "he weighs heavily as to whether the prospective client will participate in his own pretrial defense prep before he considers filing a N.O.A. That speaks for it self.

One good indicator of a bad attorney is an attorney who will not listen to his or her client.

Last but not least, as the late great Johnnie L. Cochran said, "Preparation,Preparation,Preparation. If you are lazy you will be known as a mediocre attorney. If you outwork your adversary you will be a "Good Lawyer". Anyone can be an attorney, but it takes a exceptional, diligent, individual to become a "Great Lawyer". You'll notice the bottom feeders, from the movers and shakers rather quickly. Be careful there are a lot of arrogant attorneys here who's reputation far exceeds their capabilities. Your Ivy League degree means nothing after the first year you'd better had exhibit, competence and astute litigation skills(.)
~AM~

CAPTAIN said...

In my first year of tackle football the coaches taught me one thing when I played CB. If the play was a Hail Mary, do one thing and one thing only. Knock the ball to the ground.

All the DB on the Packers has to do is knock the shit out of that ball forward batting it back toward the goal. And the game is over. Hell, he could have caught it and while going to the ground, he could have let it roll off to the left and hit the ground as he was hitting the ground.

But he wanted the stat. He wanted the INT. Well guess what. It cost his team the game.

Yeah. The refs blew the call. But it never had to come to that if the DB does what he has been told to do for the past fifteen years of playing football.

Cap Out ...

Dear Abie said...

I don't practice in Miami, but concur in the advice to female prosecutors about banging cops-Don't! Why?
1. It doesn't show you're hot-average cop would screw a snake if someone held its head.
2. This never ends well-all their friends will know everything.
3. The world does not need any more bitter 40-50 year old career ASA's who take out their anger at their cop "exes" on the world instead of looking in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

American Minority -

"stinked"?

Anonymous said...

DS
Your 6:42 P.M. comment is very nicely put. Thanks for the advice.