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 30, 2012

IF YOU'RE SICK...GO TO JAIL.

BREAKING: TheUS Supreme Court granted cert today to decide if Padilla v. Kentucky is retroactive. See below.

CBS News 60 Minutes reported Sunday evening that drug addiction was a disease:
In the battle against addiction, "just say no" is magical thinking, says Dr. Nora Volkow. She's the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and after spending decades studying the brains of addicts, Dr. Volkow has determined that drug addiction is a chronic disease that physically changes the brain. Dr. Volkow has found that even images of an addictive substance, such as alcohol or drugs, can produce a dopamine response in an addict's brain, and some foods can trigger a similar reaction. Morley Safer reports on Volkow's revolutionary research into addiction, as well as on her revolutionary family history.
The segment is here. 


QUERY: Why aren't we prosecuting diabetics for excess sugar consumption? Or people with hypertension for heart disease? Why are we just prosecuting people whose disease is the use and abuse of narcotics? 
And the NY Times reports that Type II diabetes (the type caused by 
obesity)  is now an epidemic in children. Whom do we arrest? 


RETROACTIVITY:
BREAKING: THE COURT GRANTED CERT TODAY.
The big legal question these days is whether the United States Supreme Court's decision in Padilla v. Kentucky is retroactive? 
The Florida Supreme Court (Motto: "Gore Won") is holding oral arguments on the issue in June of this year. 
This week the US Supreme Court will consider a petition for cert in Chaidez v. U.S


The decision on retroactivity has far reaching consequences for many foreign nationals  convicted of a crime. As ICE steps up enforcement and is more frequently removing individuals who have criminal convictions, more people are seeking to have their prior convictions (99% of which resulted from a plea of guilty or no contest) set aside. Padilla, among other things, requires an affirmative duty on the part of defense attorneys to advise their client that a plea might result in their removal from the United Sates. The decision thus  removes the "safe harbor" that prior counsel often sought in testifying that they weren't sure whether or not they provided such advice in a particular case despite testimony about  their general practice of advising clients about removal. Without such affirmative testimony, a prior conviction can be 
vacated. 


Have a good week. See you in court. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

PD SECURITY SNAFU

A kerfuffle broke out the other day at the PDs office. From the FACDL email list serve:
Who is the attorney whose behavior is responsible for the new security policy at the PD office?  Now everyone has to be scanned, empty pockets, bag run through x ray. Nice work.
Lo and behold, the Great OZ, the man who never speaks, from behind the curtain Silent Charlie weighed in:
No need to mediate. The screeners work for the county.
If AOC allows the court id to be used in my office, then no one with the court id will have to go through the magnetometer.
And the final word goes to Betty Llorente, the voice of reason:
I will follow up with AOC on Monday.  Thank you Carlos.


Life in Miami as a criminal defense attorney. And so it goes. 


More bad news on diet soda- because we care (hat tip to long time alert reader Jason Grey):


The average American drinks 216 liters of soda each year....The authors commented that this research was sparked by the observation that diet soda drinking behaviors are often different than regular soda drinking behaviors – women often use diet sodas in an effort to avoid weight gain – either to stave off hunger between meals or as a replacement for calorie-containing beverages. Many women drink over 20 diet sodas per week.
These researchers discovered that parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations rise strongly following diet soda consumption. PTH functions to increase blood calcium concentrations by stimulating bone breakdown, and as a result release calcium from bone.
In the study, women aged 18-40 were given 24 ounces of either diet cola or water on two consecutive days, and urinary calcium content was measured for three hours. Women who drank diet cola did indeed excrete more calcium in their urine compared to women who drank water. ..

There is nothing healthy about diet soda. It is simply water with artificial sweeteners  and other chemical additives, such as phosphoric acid. The safety of artificial sweeteners is questionable, and they provoke the release of insulin and other hormones that regulate blood glucose; their intense sweetness confuses the body, which naturally associates sweet taste with calories – over time, these mixed signals can lead to increased appetite and weight gain. Diet sodas don't just weaken our bones, they are linked to kidney disfunction  and promote obesity; furthermore, in a recent study, older adults who drank diet soda daily had a 43% increased risk of heart attack or stroke compared to those that never drank diet soda.

Enjoy your weekend. 



Friday, April 27, 2012

BIG STICK WRAP UP

The Dolphins blew it again last night. You can scroll down and check out our comprehensive draft coverage. 


DOM covered Judge Ungaro's ruling that drug testing state employees is unconstitutional. Governor Scott promised an appeal. Wait until he learns his AG's office is about two years behind in their briefs. Because of cutbacks there's about 8 lawyers handling appeals for the State. 


South Florida had some soft porn on his blog yesterday and it wasn't even Friday. 


JAABlog has all the Browierd crazy election coverage. 


There have been long lines to get into the REGJB all week. What's going on? 


THE PRESIDENT HAS A BIG STICK

Thursday, April 26, 2012

NFL DRAFT 2012

We're  live blogging the draft right now! 


FINS PICK TANNEHILL. This is a mistake on so many levels that we're just speechless. Without speech. Go Marlins. 


Cheaters trade with Bengals to pick DE Chandler Jones. 


Seahawks trade with Eagles who move from 15 to 12- Hawks get a 4 and 6 and Eagles take Fletcher Cox DE. Nice pick. 


BREAKING- COWBOYS TRADE UP WITH RAMS - Jax took the WR Rams wanted so Cowpokes trade up for Morris Clairborne. Better selection than Jax that's for sure.  Rams get Cowpokes 2nd rd. Heavy price. 


BREAKING: JAX TRADES WITH BUCS TO MOVE UP FROM 7 TO 5-to take WR Blackmon- big mistake. 
Vikes take Matt Kalil as expected. 


BREAKING- BROWNS AND VIKES SWITCH SPOTS- Browns move up to 3 and Vikes down to 4 and Minnesotta gets a 4th, 5th and 7th  round pick. Rumor was Tampa was talking with Vikes to trade up to get RB Trent Richardson who HOF RB Jim Brown today called "ordinary" during a radio interview. 







Wednesday, April 25, 2012

YOUR NEW CIRCUIT JUDGE


UPDATE: We will be live blogging the NFL draft begining about five minutes before the draft. And we know something you don't know about a certain team's 8th pick.
Former  ASA Ariana Fajardo is your new circuit judge.

Judge Fajardo, 41, takes over the seat vacated by the untimely death of Judge Julio Jimenez. 

Big shoes to fill. 


Monday, April 23, 2012

ROCK A ROBIN

You knew this would happen. 
A defense attorney has filed a motion for a new trial because a juror tweeted- not necessarily about the trial, but about the whole REGJB/juror experience. From the view to the food, to the spotty Judge Stan Blake memorial WIFI, we got trashed.  


The juror: Cocaine Cowboys filmaker Billy Corbin. 
The Judge: Jose Fernandez.
The Defense Attorney: Sara Yousef. 
The Herald story by Ovalle- here.
And somehow, because he can't just stick to his side of the city, federal blogger DOM is mixed up in all of this. 


WHO'S  RESPONSIBLE? 








For this mess? 
Monday morning REGJB 9:15 am. 




















The NFL draft is this week. Want to be depressed? 
The Fins passed on Aaron Rogers in 2005 and Matt Ryan in 2008 and we all remember they decided not to sign Drew Brees as a free agent, opting instead to let 82 year old George Blanda have another shot. Or something like that. 

MARGARITA REDUX

We asked retired Circuit Judge Scott Silverman for some words about the late Judge Margarita Esquiroz. Judge Silverman, who by the way took that wonderful picture of Judge Esquiroz, had this to say:


Judge Margarita Esquiroz was a trail blazer.  In 1979, at the age 34, she was appointed a deputy commissioner of the Industrial Court of Claims.  In 1984, Governor Graham appointed her to the circuit court where she proudly served until her untimely retirement in 2010.  She was brave, stoic, and classy.  By nature, she was a good person who always sought to do the right thing.

Judge Esquiroz' seniority in the civil division, gave her the honor of presiding in historic courtroom 6-1.  When the time came to commence its restoration, she found herself bounced from courtroom to the next.  She never complained.  During the yearlong restoration, she was supportive throughout, contributed helpful suggestions, and excitedly anticipated the finished product.  She will always have the distinction of being the first jurist to preside in the fully restored courtroom.

Judge Esquiroz understood the significance of the courtroom and the importance the restoration had in highlighting our circuit's rich history.  She was vigilant in maintaining its historical integrity and in protecting it from any abuse.  She was a friend and a colleague.

When I think of Judge Esquiroz, I always picture her at lunch sitting across the table from Judge Manny Crespo at Diana's (just north of the Dade County Courthouse).  The two were always engaged in animated discussions (Manny much more so than Margarita).  She was always smiling and friendly.   Her ego was in check, and I never heard her utter a bad word about anyone.

I will always cherish these memories.



Thank you Judge Silverman. Wonderful words. 


SILENT CANDIDATES: DAY TWO: Arthur Spiegel and Greer Elaine Wallace have thus far declined our invitation for some free publicity to state publicly and without comment on the front page of this blog why they believe Judge Andrea Ricker-Wolfson deserves to be replac
Their silence is deafening. 


Panthers are one win away from advancing to second round of NHL Playoffs (motto: "Nobody cares, so we try harder.")


Something happened to the Marlins in DC Sunday that could never happen here: rainout. Go see the new stadium. It's around the corner from the REGJB and it is spectacular. 


We're sure the Heat either won or lost. We're sure we don't care. 


Final thought on the Secret Service scandal: Does anyone think this is the first time this ever happened? Seems like these agents knew just where to go.  Just saying...


See you in court. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

SATURDAY RECAP

Ok everyone. Relax. Take a deep breath....and let it out....oooommmmmmm..
Center yourself. Life goes on. 
Our take:
The State Attorney Race: Super reporter David Ovalle (who probably just can't wait until the Washington Post calls) has this article on the State Attorney Race and the implications and insinuations regarding the two entries into the Republican primary. To re-cap: Rod Vereen entered the Democratic primary against Kathy Fernandez-Rundle. When the Republican primary became contested on the final day,  the Democratic primary became closed. 


Here's what the not so smart pros think: Vereen  is African American. Rundle is Hispanic. More African Americans are democrats and more Hispanics are republicans. Thus Rod Vereen has an advantage over Kathy Rundle now that "her base" cannot vote for her in the primary. 


Poppycock! Maybe there will be a day when we stop pigeonholing a person into their race and assuming that they will always vote for their race.  We didn't vote for John McCain. Or is it that we now assume that whites can vote outside of their race, but Hispanics, Asians, African Americans cannot? 


Has Kathy Rundle earned the respect of the African American community enough to merit their vote? You bet. Does Rod Vereen bring both experience and a fresh perspective to the job sufficient to earn him a serious look from all voters and not just all non-hispanic voters? Absolutely. 


To the extent either of these two candidates falls back into old stereotypes and assumptions, we will be watching and not afraid to call them out. 


JUDGE ANDREA RICKER-WOLFSON
There are two candidates who challenged Judge Wolfson. The prevailing view among attorneys from both the defense bar and the SAO is that Judge Wolfson is among the best and brightest and hardest working of the new group of county judges. 


To even begin the conversation about replacing Judge Wolfson on this blog, the two candidates who filed better be prepared to explain to us why they thought this very good Judge should be replaced. And these two candidates would be well advised to not ignore our request. Our blog gets read, and their silence will be more than deafening- it will be defeating. As always, they can write us and be assured we will post their reasoning without edit or comment. 


We're in a feisty mood this rainy Saturday. 
Get your umbrella, find a few good movies, and enjoy the weekend. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

MIGUEL DE LA O HAS NO OPPONENT


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
DAY FOUR 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 BREAKING NEWS .....

AND LAST (WE THINK) BUT NOT LEAST

Incumbent Judge Andrea Wolfson now has two opponents.  Attorney Greer Elaine Wallace has joined the fray in Group 24 along with Attorney Arthur Spiegel.

I'm going to lunch!!!!!!!!!!
--------------------------------------------

WOOOO. WE DID NOT SEE THIS COMING.  INCUMBENT JUDGE PATRICIA MARINO-PEDRAZA HAS AN OPPONENT.

In a last minute move, forced by Rick Yabor's decision to jump into the Group 28 race, Attorney Frank Hernandez jumps out of the race with Tanya Brinkley (and Yabor) and into Group 01 against Incumbent Judge Marino-Pedraza.  This leaves Group 28 with only two candidates, Brinkley and Yabor.
-----------------------------------

Carol "Jodi" Breece, 22 year member of the bar, and Board Certified in Criminal trial will NOT be running in 2012 against Judge Pando and Diana Gonzalez.  She will though be running for CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE IN 2014.  Good luck Jodi in 2014.
-----------------------------------------

Our mole at the Elections Office has just told us a secret.  Incumbents, and especially Judge Charlie Johnson, breathe easier, for a few more minutes.  Enrique "Rick" Yabor has jumped out of the Johnson race and is filing against Tanya Brinkley and Frank Hernandez.  Our first three way race.  Although I try not to show favortism, I'm really happy for Judge "Charlie" Johnson.
---------------------------------------------

Welcome to the party.  State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle just got some uncomforting news.  Not only will Mr. Vereen be facing off against her in August, but two more have joined the race as Write-In candidates.

Attorney Michele Samaroo, ten year attorney, has qualified as a WRITE-IN candidate. 

Attorney Todd Omar Malone, licensed eight years in Florida, but practicing as an attorney for 22 years, with licenses in New York and New Jersey, has NOW qualified as a Write-In candidate.  He was an Assiatant Federal PD in Miami for nine years and also worked for Freidin & Dobrinksy, a PI firm, for a few years, before opening his own firm.

What does this mean?  It means that the Primary in August is now a CLOSED Primary, and only Dems will be permitted to vote in the race between Fernandez & Vereen.  So, who is behind the filings of Samaroo & Malone? We'll let our readers figure that one out.
--------------------------------------------------

We have confirmed that Attorney Mauricio Padilla is IN and has qualified to run against Incumbent Circuit Court Judge David Miller.  Many of you have emailed us to ask the WHY - we'll have that answer in a future post.

Still no final decisions to report on Breece, Yabor, or Wallace.
--------------------------------------------------

BREAKING NEWS ...... (We have been holding our Thursday post out of respect to Judge Esquiroz)

AS YOU MAY HAVE READ IN MY POST EARLIER TODAY:

MIGUEL da la O has no opponent.

Greer Elaine Wallace is OUT of Group 42 of the Circuit Court, Miguel de la O currently has no opposition, and Wallace is looking at a County Court incumbent to file against.

Will de la O become the next Milt Hirsch and win without facing any opposition?

In Circuit Court Group 49, we can confirm that Teresa Pooler is all in against Victor DeYurre.

William Pena Wells is OUT of Group 20, County Court, and will not be running for anything this time around. That leave Incumbent Fleur Lobree and challenger Michelle Barakat.


In County Court Group 24, Arthur "Artie" Spiegel is IN against Judge Wolfson. 

In County Court Group 40, Lourdes Cambo is IN against Judge Cohn.

And Rick Yabor has not made a final decision on whether to run against Judge Charlie Johnson or someone else.

Finally, still no solid word on the intentions of Mr. Padilla and his possible show down with Judge Miller.

So, what do have to look forward to in the final three hours (9a-Noon)? Well, two incumbent County Court Judges will likely have opposition, as Enrique "Rick" Yabor and Greer Elaine Wallace make their decisions known.  Carol "Jodie" Breece has not yet qualified in Group 10 of the County Court against Incumbent Judge Pando and Challenger Diana Gonzalez.

-----------------------------
(The rest of this post was written late Wednesday night).

With just more than 24 hours to go, things are finally starting to fall into place. Here is what we can tell you so far:

CIRCUIT COURT

The week began with 24 incumbent judges without opposition.

As of today, that is still the case. Judge David Miller may be facing off with Attorney Mauricio Padilla if Padilla decides to pay the qualifying fee.

There are four open seats and each one has a contested race. They are:

Robert Coppel v. Maria Verde
Miguel de la O v. Greer Elaine Wallace***
Alex Labora v. Maria Santovenia
Victor de Yurre v. Teresa Pooler***

***Ms. Wallace has not yet paid her qualifying fee. We reached out to her campaign but have not heard back. Ms. Pooler has not paid her qualifying fee. We have been able to confirm that she is in the race and looking forward to the campaign.


COUNTY COURT

The week began with 26 incumbents judges; four facing opposition.

This week we saw two more incumbents draw opposition and one incumbent (Pando) now facing two challengers.

There are two open seats and each one has a contested race.

Ana Maria Pando (I) v. Diana Gonzalez v. Jodi Breece***


Fleur Lobree (I) v. Michele Barakat v. William Wells***

Andrea Wolfson (I) v. Arthur Spiegel***

Ivonne Cuesta v. Jacci Seskin (open seat)

Tanya Brinkley v. Frank Hernandez (open seat)

Teretha Thomas Lundy (I) v. John Rodriguez

Charlie Johnson (I) v. Enrique "Rick" Yabor***

Don Cohn (I) v. Lourdes Cambo

***Ms. Breece has not yet paid her qualifying fee. Mr. Wells has not yet paid his qualifying fee. We have reached out to him with no success. Mr. Spiegel has not yet paid his qualifying fee. Mr. Yabor has not yet paid his qualifying fee. We believe Mr. Yabor is contemplating a switch to another race. He will make his decision today and we will know on Friday who the unlucky incumbent Judge is that draws him as an opponent.

STATE ATTORNEY

And the biggest news of the week was certainly that of criminal defense attorney Roderic Vereen filing against longtime incumbent Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

WHAT ARE YOUR CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES NET WORTH:

Of your 24 incumbent judges, 14 of them have a net worth of at least One Million Dollars. Your Top Four are:

Michael Hanzman - $23,000,000
Victoria Brennan - $9.8 mil
Valerie Manno Schurr - $4.0 mil
Ellen Venzer - $3.9 mil

The other ten incumbents include five with a net worth of under $300,000.

On Friday, we will congratulate the winners and post the final line-ups for contested elections.

Keep those private tips coming.


CAPTAIN OUT ......

Thursday, April 19, 2012

JUDGE MARGARITA ESQUIROZ



A brief respite from the politics that is consuming us all these days.
Here are the funeral arrangements for Judge Esquiroz:

A viewing will be held today, Thursday, April 19, 2012 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church, located at 8725 SW 32 Street, Miami, Florida 33165. A funeral mass will take place immediately following the viewing, commencing at 5:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Cuban American Bar Foundation, Inc. for the benefit of the annual Judge Margarita Esquiroz Scholarship. Checks should be made payable to “CABA Foundation” with “Judge Margarita Esquiroz Scholarship Fund” in the memo section, and mailed to: Vivian de la Cuevas-Diaz, 2 South Biscayne Blvd., Suite 2100, Miami, FL 33131
 
Rumpole says: We have asked others who knew the Judge better than us to write a few words. As soon as we receive them we will post them. But we can say this: for almost as long as we can remember, Judge Margarita Esquiroz was on the bench serving the people of this county. She did it with grace and dignity and a dedication to the law. We know she was well respected by her colleagues and the lawyers who practiced before her. And we know she will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

JUDGE DAVID MILLER VS. ATTORNEY MAURICIO PADILLA



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 .......

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

JUDGE MILLER DRAWS OPPONENT

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
DAY TWO 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 BREAKING NEWS***

INCUMBENT COUNTY COURT JUDGE ANDREA WOLFSON* DRAWS AN OPPONENT .....

In Group 24 of the County Court, attorney Arthur Spiegel* has filed his paperwork and will be challenging Judge Wolfson. Many of you know Arthur as he is a regular at the GJB. He has been practicing in the criminal defense arena for more than 27 years.

This brings the number of Incumbent County Court judges drawing opposition to six (6). We have now confirmed that Judge Pando has paid her $5,371.20 qualifying fee and will run for re-election. Judge Lobree has two possible opponents, Michelle Barakat and William Wells, but neither have qualified yet. Judge Teretha Thomas Lundy has an opponent; (John Rodriguez). As we reported on Monday, Judge Don Cohn has an opponent; (Lourdes Cambo). Finally, Judge Charlie Johnson is waiting to see what attorney Enrique "Rick" Yabor will decide. He has not yet qualified in Judge Johnson's division and our sources are telling us that he may jump to another race.

*Arthur Spiegel has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1985. According to him, he has been involved in nearly 100 jury trials. He handles all types of traffic, misdemeanor and felony cases. He also indicates that he has experience in the PI field as well as representing small businesses in the construction industry.

*Judge Andrea Wolfson was appointed by Governor Charlie Crist to an open County Court seat in May of 2010. This is her first election. She was first assigned to Hialeah Branch Court and is currently in the GJB handling criminal cases. Prior to becoming a Judge she was employed by the State Attorney's Office from 2001-2010.




BREAKING NEWS***



INCUMBENT CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE DAVID MILLER DRAWS OPPONENT .....

OYE VEY!!! We have been advised that words to that effect were uttered this morning when veteran Circuit Court Judge David Miller woke up to the news that attorney MAURICIO PADILLA, an attorney for nine (9) years, has filed to run against Judge Miller. The question that immediately comes to mind is: Why does Padilla choose Miller, when, out of 24 incumbent Circuit Court Judges, Miller has raised more money than anyone else with a total of $140,698 raised as of March 31, 2012.

SAD NEWS TO REPORT .......

Longtime Circuit Court Judge Margarita Esquiroz (1945-2012) has died. We reported back in July of 2010 that "Judge Margarita Esquiroz has announced her retirement from the Circuit Court bench. She was the first female Hispanic Judge in Florida. She was appointed to the bench in 1979 and won her only contested election to the Circuit Court bench in 1984 when she garnered 57% of the vote and beat Eli Breger and Joseph Nazzaro." She retired in September of 2010 due to health issues.

Our prayers go out to her family at this difficult time.

***UPDATE*** Services will be held on Thursday, April 19, 2012. A viewing for Esquiroz will be at 4 p.m. immediately followed by a mass at 5 p.m. Both viewing and mass will be at St. Brendan Catholic Church, 8725 SW 32nd St. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the CABA Judge Margarita Esquiroz Scholarship Fund. Checks should be sent to “CABA Judge Margarita Esquiroz Scholarship Fund” c/o Vivian de la Cuevas-Diaz, 2 South Biscayne Blvd., Suite 2100, Miami, FL 33131.


CAP OUT ..............

Monday, April 16, 2012

RUNDLE & BRINKLEY & COHN HAVE OPPONENTS

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
DAY ONE 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 BREAKING BREAKING NEWS***

KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE HAS AN OPPONENT ......

Yes, it's true. Ms. Rundle has drawn an opponent and his name is Roderick Vereen*. Most of you know Rod as a criminal defense attorney. He has been a member of the Florida Bar for 21 years. He most recently ran, unsuccessfully, for a seat in the United States House of Representatives. Seeing as there was a baseball size team of Democratic candidates in that race, one that Frederica Wilson eventually won, Rod filed as an Independent. In the race to defeat long-time incumbent Rundle, he has filed as a Democrat.

Mr. Vereen better be prepared to spend lots of his own money, or raise it very quickly. Ms. Rundle, not one to take anything for granted, has been hard at work these past six months raising her own campaign funds. As of the March 31, 2012 reporting cycle, she has raised $440,388 (including $26,811 of InKind contributions) from 1475 contributors. That works out to an average of just under $300 for each donator. She has added $48,000 of her own money for a total of $488,388.

Hey Rod, got a half million dollars sitting around anywhere that you would like to kickstart that campaign with?



Now we're really going to have a fun summer!!!!!


*Roderick Vereen was born in Germany and raised in South Florida. He earned a bachelor's in criminology from Florida State University and a law degree from the Southern University Law Center. He served as a former assistant state attorney and later became the first black assistant federal public defender for the northern district of Florida's federal court. He was also an adjunct professor at Florida State University and at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

BREAKING BREAKING NEWS*** -


TONYA BRINKLEY HAS AN OPPONENT .....

In Group 28 of the County Court, Assistant State Attorney Frank A. Hernandez* has filed to run against Ms. Brinkley. You all have been asking for someone to step up and file against Ms. Brinkley, well now you have your opponent. By the way, Mr. Hernandez has been an attorney in Florida for - wait - hold that thought - Six (6), count em, six years. As reported earlier today, Ms. Brinkley is on the leaderboard of two separate financial reporting lists: She has raised a total of $81,418, second only to long-time incumbent County Court Judge Caryn Schwartz. Ms. Brinkley has also thrown down $100,000 of her own money toward the campaign.



*We know very little about Mr. Hernandez. He graduated from Florida Coastal Law School in the Spring of 2005 and was sworn in as an attorney in October of the same year. We assume he has been through the standard rounds: DUI's, Juvenile and now must be somewhere in the Felony Division. Hopefully our loyal readers can shed some light on Mr. Hernandez and his breadth of experience.



BREAKING NEWS*** -


DON COHN HAS AN OPPONENT ......

In Group 40 of the County Court, attorney Lourdes Cambo* has filed to run against incumbent Don Cohn. Judge Cohn has raised a total of $22,500 in campaign contributions and has loaned an additional $21,000 to the campaign. It looks like Judge Cohn will be in for a long hot summer campaign to retain his seat.



* We know very little about attorney Lourdes Cambo. She has been a licensed attorney in Florida for 20 years and specializes in Workers Compensation.

***You can't find this Breaking News in the Daily Business Review. Can't find it in the Herald or the Sun Sentinel. But, you can always turn to Rumpole's Justice Building BLOG for the latest Breaking News on what's going on at our Gerstein Justice Building.

Thanks to all our loyal followers.



Cap Out .......................

TICK TOCK

The deadline for filing for judicial seats and several other elected positions is this Friday. 


Stories are legion of the flights to Tallahassee on the deadline filing day; of scuffles in the hallways and political consultants physically blocking the door to the office where the filings are due. 


How many of our robed readers are sleeping well this week? How many have refilled their Ambien prescription?  Stay tuned as we and El Capitan will be proving up to the minute campaign coverage. 



Coming soon: Bondsman, corrections and dirty attorneys- the open secret that nobody wants to do anything about. 


And a special federal court update: "A Shaygan Shame."


Enjoy the week. See You In Court. 


Saturday, April 14, 2012

THE FRENCH ARE BETTER PARENTS

This NY Time article contends the French are better parents in one important way- the way they teach their children to eat. 


(Yes, Angry Girl, this is for you.)


From the article: 
Our children are three times more likely to be overweight than French children...we lead the world in producing overweight children, but the French have one of the lowest rates of overweight children in the developed world...


The reason lies in how we teach our kids to eat...French parents teach their children to eat like we teach our kids to read: with love, patience and firm persistence they expose their children to a wide variety of tastes, flavors and textures that are the building blocks of a varied, healthy diet. Pediatrician-recommended first foods for French babies are leek soup, endive, spinach and beets (not bland rice cereal — have you ever tasted that stuff)? They teach their children that “good for you foods” taste good (broccoli – yum!), whereas we often do the opposite.
The result is a nation of healthy eaters: 6 million French children sit down every day to school lunches featuring dishes like cauliflower casserole, baked endive, beet salad and broccoli. Vending machines and fast food are banned, and flavored milk is not an option. To introduce kids to a wide variety of foods, no dish can be repeated more than once per month. ...
French children are also trained to think about how to eat. The French won’t ask a child, for example, “Are you full,” but rather “Are you still hungry” — a very different feeling. 
Just in case you were wondering, diets for French children are relatively rare; few of them need it. Nor are they deprived of treats: “food is fun” is the Golden Rule of French eating. 
Moderation, not deprivation — along with viewing food as a source of pleasure, a fun family adventure — is the core of French food culture. 
Rumpole says: What is one of the major problems bedeviling our society? Health care costs. What is the simplest way to control those costs? Stay healthy. What is the number one cause of poor health?Poor eating habits. 
Food for thought: a votre dante' !

Friday, April 13, 2012

FALL FROM GRACE

Jury selection in USA v. John Edwards began on Thursday. The NY Times coverage is here. 

Has there been a more stunning fall from grace than that of John Edwards? He was a vice presidential nominee  for the democratic party when John Kerry beat lost to George Bush in 2004.  He was considered a leading contender in the 2008 presidential race in the democratic primaries. And then his affair was exposed. And as that sordid episode played out on the national stage, his wife Elizabeth  became sick and died.  Now John Edwards will sit in a courtroom and be prosecuted for his lies and his deceit and the campaign laws he is alleged to have violated. There is something tragic about all of this. 


Forgot- but an alert reader reminded us in the comments section: Happy Friday the 13th! 

The George Zimmerman case continues to generate a lot of interest across the country and on this humble blog. There is now a cottage industry of Florida defense attorneys vying to get on television news shows to comment on the case. Of course we have been approached but our answer was easy.  Under no circumstances will we appear on some cheap and tawdry television show and allow ourselves to be revealed in such a pedestrian manner. However a nice radio spot on the BBC would be something we would consider. 

After months of serious negotiations with DOM a deal was stuck and Mr. Markus removed the spam filter from the comments section of his popular blog. That means you can post a comment in moments, rather than the 10-20 minutes it usually took as you tried to decipher those ridiculous letters over and over again until the system kicked you off. Thanks David.  The current topic over there is a big medicare fraud trial. 



14 Days until the NFL draft!  And will we hear these words? "We have a trade. The Miami dolphins and Cleveland Browns have traded spots and Cleveland also gets Miami's second round this year and first round next year. With the 4th pick in the 2012 draft the Miami Dolphins select Ira Schmidlap...punter...West Saskatchewan College...." 



Fun non-legal facts: because you have to have something to talk about on a date other than: "I had this case and you'll never believe what the (client...judge...prosecutor....did/said).blah blah blah.....

The name emerald comes from the Greek 'smaragdos' via the Old French 'esmeralde', and really just means 'green gemstone'.  The Incas and Aztecs of South America regarded the emerald as a holy gemstone. 

Sometimes you find gems in the most unlikely of places. 

Enjoy this beautiful spring weekend. 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

SECOND DEGREE

While we were otherwise occupied Wednesday the story broke that the State Attorney filed charges of second degree murder against George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin. 


Zimmerman surrendered and is in custody. The NY Times coverage is here. 


Thoughts? 


Does this case spell the end of stand your ground in Florida? 


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

AMATEURS

The attorneys handling the George Zimmerman defense are amateurs. They demonstrated as much today when they held a press conference to breathlessly announce that...they will not longer be his lawyers as they have lost touch with their client. 


Zimmerman is out of the State of Florida -  that not will  help at the bond hearing.  Zimmerman is calling news reporters and talking off the record- his latest chat was with Sean Hannity of Fox News (Motto: "Hating Obama 24 hours a day." )
More importantly, it is readily apparent that the defense has not engaged a private investigator, meaning that the witnesses are being interviewed solely by FBI agents and local law enforcement. But worry not, because we all know that those investigators are interested in just the truth. 


It was disgraceful that attorneys would call a press conference to trash their client and complain that he is not listening to them, and then try and squeeze out one more bit of publicity by announcing they are withdrawing. Of course since there is not yet a case, they have not filed a notice of appearance and thus there is nothing to withdraw from. 


George Zimmerman is in a world of trouble. What he needs now more than anything is a well trained defense attorney who can take this case by the reins, control the client,  shut down the 24 hour news cycle  and begin to do the basic work of preparing a defense.  It's a damn shame that the odds are that although Zimmerman needs the very best of our profession, he will likely end up with the very worst. 


Viva Fidel, v2.0. 
The Miami Marlins suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games for Guillen's comments that he "loves" Fidel Castro. 
You know, in any new relationship, the introduction of the "L" word is a big bridge to cross. At times it can shatter a relationship that is not built on steady ground. 
Perhaps if Ozzie had said "I like him a lot. And when I say 'like' I mean 'like like' " , things may have gone a bit better. Just a thought. 


Motorcycles are dangerous:
Bobby Petrino the football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks will be fired after the 51 year old married father of four crashed his motorcycle. 
Oh yeah, there was a fetching 25 year old new female employee of the Arkansas Athletic department on the back of his motorcycle. 
Rumpole's Third Rule of Commuting: Don't drive single women half your age to and from work without any other witnesses in the car. Oh yeah, she was wrapped around his body and bike. No room for witnesses. 


See You In Court. 
Coming Soon: Why are corrections officers on the second floor of the jail  generously calling bail bondsmen for newly arrested clients? Are they just being super nice? 




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?



Saturday, April 07, 2012

HAPPY EASTER

Sunday update: Sad news this Easter Sunday as word reaches us that legendary 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace has passed away at the age of 93. For every season there is a time....




UPDATE: This is the 50th anniversary of the movie version of "To Kill A Mockingbird". The movie was on the USA network with a special introduction by President Obama. 
Query: We can debate the best fictional novel  (this makes our top five and perhaps our top two) and the best movie  (Casablanca?) but isn't the movie version of TKAM the very best screen adaption of a novel that was ever done? 


Sunday is Easter. Friday evening marked the beginning of Passover. 
For those of you who observe either of these holidays, we wish you peace and happiness. 


A few thoughts/questions that we have been pondering (for no particular reason- don't go reading between the lines for nothing) during this religious season:


If you could earn twice as much money from doing a job that does not intellectually challenge you, would you do it? If you earned 200K a year as a trial lawyer utilizing the skills you trained half a life time to earn, and someone offered you 400K to  manage their pizza restaurant chain (please no nasty comments from pizza shop owners. We value what you do.) would you give up what you were born to do for more money? 


If you met some shinning star who lit up your universe, but alas she/he lived in another country, and you have an established life/practice here, what would you do? 


Is it ever ok to lie to the court to protect your client if the court asks an improper  question?


Has a client ever asked you to present testimony you were fairly certain was not true? What did you do?


Is there any scenario where it is proper to violate a court order during trial to help your client win?


At this stage in your career, are you glad you became a lawyer or do you wish you trained for something else?


Do you believe in reincarnation?  If so, why? 


Will the Marlins have a winning season? 


Today and Sunday we will be rooting for Fred Couples to win the Masters. Guys over 50 can compete. 


Enjoy your weekend. Not too much Easter chocolate/Passover macaroons. Everything in moderation, ok? 


See You Monday.