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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

Update: Sad news. A Broward ASA arrested Friday for committing domestic violence against a Dade ASA- his wife. Nothing pleasant about personal problems being on display in the newspaper. 

The National Football League opens its season next Wednesday. Which means the world famous, award winning, set your-head-a-spinning-, rockin and rollin,  roof raisin, shocking and amazing Justice Building BLOG SUICIDE POOL IS BACK!

The rules are simple: pick one team that will win each week. The spread is not considered. Just pick one winner. BUT, once you use that team, you cannot use that team for the rest of the year. 

Send your picks by email to: fbpool12@gmail.com (the same address as last year). 

Rules: 1) No purchase necessary; 2) the time of your email governs your pick. If you send an email at 12:59:59 on a Sunday for the 1pm game, you're in. If you send it at 1:00:01, you're out for the 1pm game and have to make a pick for the 4pm game or the Monday night game. Remember: there is a full schedule of Thursday night games this year. 3) All decisions of the the blogger are final. 4) By entry into the pool you are agreeing to litigate any matters before the Honorable Judge Juan Ramirez, (Ret.), with his arbitration company, and you will be responsible for all costs. 
5) Emailed picks  sent to our regular email address (Howardroark21) will be replied to with this message :"Hey, idiot? How did you pass the bar? Can't you follow simple rules."  You will also be openly mocked on the blog for being a dope. 

Check you're email in box. If you played last year, you should have an email from fbpool12. Former Judge Jon Colby responded with alacrity. He is the first registered player for 2012.   

Labor Day Weekend is here!
Cold beer; cookouts, and perhaps the best news of all: The Republican Convention is OVAH!

Enjoy your long weekend. 
See you in court. 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NEW ORLEANS SOAKED

Isaac moved slowly over the gulf coast and New Orleans is flooded. Again. Because the large storm moved so slowly, many homeowners said that Isaac caused more damage than Katrina. 

The Republican convention in Tampa. *yawn*. There hasn't been a really good convention since the Republican 1980 convention when Reagan and Ford were negotiating in Michigan for a co-presidency "dream ticket."  That was a great convention to be a delegate at. 

Good News (except for our contentious reader "Angry Girl") A severe  low calorie diet does not lead to a longer life. 

George Zimmerman wins in the 5th DCA on his motion to disqualify the trial judge. Lesson: a judge should not encourage the prosecution to file additional charges:


Although many of the allegations in Zimmerman's motion, standing alone, do not meet the legal sufficiency test, and while this is admittedly a close call, upon careful review we find that the allegations, taken together, meet the threshold test of legal sufficiency. Accordingly, we direct the trial judge to enter an order of disqualification which requests the chief circuit judge to appoint a successor judge.
PETITION GRANTED. 

GEORGE COSTANZA, J,  CONCURS:
The South Florida blogger ably covers the civil decisions of the 3rd DCA, and on Wednesday he specifically covered this decision on a foreclosure fifteen years in the making, and Judge Schwartz's reluctant concurrence. But he failed to report on the final line: "As someone – probably either St. Thomas More or George Costanza – must have said, the law is the law. Notwithstanding the distasteful consequences of applying it in this case, it must be served."

One thing you can say about George Costanza, he was master of his domain. He won a contest. And in another context, Judge Schwartz is clearly the master of his domain (the sharply, smartly worded concurrence/dissent). 

Labor day weekend coming up. August will soon be over, thankfully. 
See You In Court. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

BACK TO THE GRIND

We are eagerly anticipating Tom Wolfe's new novel. Back to Blood, about a certain city that we all call home, is due to be released in October. 
As the weather stayed a lot worse Monday than anyone expected, is there any doubt that closing the state and federal courts was the right decision? 

The new PDs and ASAs have started, welcomed to our little world by tropical storm Isaac that kept them from exploring the wonders of south florida. A word to the wise to our new young friends: South Beach is enticing but it can lure you with tales of fast cars, sexy bodies, and easy fortunes. None of it is true. SOBE is best enjoyed in small doses. 

Now about court. It is as simple as this: Rumpole's First Rule of Being a Lawyer: It will take you a lifetime to earn a good reputation in the REGJB, and just one minute to ruin it
Let your word be your bond.  Be honest in your dealings with other lawyers and judges. When you prep your witnesses, give them one simple instruction: tell the truth. No one wins all their cases. No one case is worth a career or a bad reputation. When judges and lawyers talk about lawyers, they rarely speak about lawyers who never lose, mostly because no lawyer never loses. But they often talk about lawyers who are hard working, well prepared, and honest. Those traits will catch your supervisor's eyes before winning a trial will. 
Get used to losing. It provides a valuable experience. If you don't learn from your losses you will never get better. We lost our first three jury trials. We won our next sixty or so before a lesser came back.  Every case is an opportunity to learn your craft. 

One simple rule about trials. Put in about four or five hours of prep for every hour in court. If you are on the defense side, accept nothing, investigate everything. If the state has an expert, get their prior testimony. Get their college grades. Read their doctoral thesis. Go to the crime scene. Speak to your witnesses. Push and dig and dig and dig until you get the impeachment evidence you need. 
If you're a prosecutor, then you are doing justice. What an awesome and wonderful responsibility to have. But never forget that sometimes doing justice means dismissing a case when every cop and witness and victim is angry at you. Satisfying them is not worth the tragedy of convicting an innocent man or woman. 

So welcome young ASAs and PDs. And when you're down, and you're thinking you will never get the hang of it, and when you least expect it, a grizzled old lawyer may pull you aside in court and whisper in your ear "Kid, you've got talent. Don't give up.
It happened to us. 

See you in court. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

WHEN THE PD SYSTEM BREAKS DOWN

The Nation looks at New Orleans, a city in which the Public Defender system has broken down. 

On April 18, 2011, New Orleans police arrested Clarence Jones, a 41-year-old black man. Clarence contends that he was walking with his cousin Keitha Hyde, running some errands around 11:30 am, when he ducked into an alley to relieve himself. “It was just an empty house, so I went in the backyard out of sight,” he says, talking to me via phone from jail—and when cops turned the corner, he looked guilty. But police contend that Clarence was climbing out a window with pliers in his left hand, apparently scrapping for metal or copper wiring in the gutted building. The cops arrested him and his cousin and took them to the Orleans Parish Prison. On May 13, nearly a month later, Clarence finally appeared before a magistrate in Orleans Parish Criminal Court, who arraigned him on the charge—simple burglary—and set his bail at $10,000 (before raising it four days later to $20,000).

More than sixteen months later, Clarence Jones is still in jail waiting for an attorney to be assigned to represent him. “It’s been hell back here,” he says, explaining that he is living, along with approximately 400 other prisoners, in oversized tents that fill the prison grounds. In the aftermath of Katrina, which flooded huge swaths of the massive Orleans Parish Prison seven years ago, circus-style tents were erected to “temporarily” house the inmates. Today, the tents are still housing prisoners on a patch of barren ground in the middle of the city.


Even worse, the Orleans Parish Prison—already notoriously violent—veered out of control as Jones languished there. Things got so bad that the US Marshals Service pulled its prisoners from the facility in March 2012. Then the Justice Department sent a letter to the New Orleans sheriff in April citing “alarming conditions” in the “violent and dangerous” prison. The detailed list of constitutional violations runs twenty-one pages. Clarence Jones puts it simply: “It’s like we animals. They’re just packing more and more people in. They got us packed to capacity. Lots of us have no attorney. Can’t do nothing but sit back here. We’re just stuck.”...
Clarence is one of 230 people sitting in limbo in the Orleans Parish Prison this summer after a $2 million budget shortfall forced the Orleans Parish public defender’s office to lay off twenty-seven employees, twenty-one of them lawyers. 

Rumpole says: Shocking. Bring on the Limited Registry. 

ISAAC'S AFTERMATH

Monday dawned muggy and rainy in Miami, with the back end of  Isaac's storm bands moving on shore bringing intense rains. This is no weather for school children to be out on the road commuting to school. The decision to close schools and courts was spot on. Better to be safe than sorry. 

THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES:
The struggle for civil rights, in various forms, continues throughout this country, as backward laws are struck down and oppressive societal norms fade in the face of popular cultural movements. Meet our latest hero: New Yorker Moira Johnson, whose courageous fight to give women the right to walk bare chested through New York continues. Her story (and some pics) are reported here at the Daily Beast.  Johnson's brave quest began, like so many of the civil rights struggles, when one day she simply  had enough. In January 2012, Johnson was in yoga studio and she was hot. And like some of her Y chromosome counterparts, she took off her shirt. It was in the greatest traditions of civil rights battles of the past: white and black college students sitting together at lunch counters in the south, or Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat and go to the back of the bus. 
 Bravo! we say. The sharper legal eagles amongst our readers know that the right of women to walk topless in public in the Bare Big Apple was secured in the landmark 1992 case of People v. Santorelli and Schloss.  But as many of us remember, even after the civil rights acts of the 1960's were passed, it took many more years and legal cases before the simple act of voting or using a restroom or sipping from a water fountain in the south was not fraught with racial tension. 


Sometimes heroes emerge from the unlikeliest of places. Enjoy your day off. See you in court tomorrow, ready to roll. 


PS: On a completely "different" subject matter, Tampa's most venerable institutions await the Republican National Convention as per the Miami Herald. Personally, we've found that a nice roll of single dollar bills helps matters when in Tampa. "When in Rome..."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

STATE COURTS CLOSED MONDAY

AND NOW LAST, AND LEAST, MIAMI DADE STATE COURTS HAVE BEEN (apparently reluctantly) ORDERED CLOSED ON MONDAY. 

Federal court is closed. Read below. 

UPDATE: Neil Armstrong has died at age 82 following complications from cardiovascular surgery. 

MIAMI DADE SCHOOLS CLOSED MONDAY. No change on courts. So for all of you parents of school aged children who work in the court system, what can Brown do for you? But because public schools are closed, federal court is closed, as per Judge Moreno's "Inclement Weather Policy." ( (c) Chief Judge Moreno, 2012, all rights reserved. )

UPDATE: Our favourite federal judge (everyone should have one) Jack B. Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York (that's Brooklyn for the few people in Miami who don't come from NY) has ruled that Poker is a game of skill and thus poker rooms cannot be prosecuted under federal anti-gambling laws. From the Agent Orange Case in the early 1980's, to his outspoken opposition to minimum mandatory sentencing schemes, to his handling of the case against mafia crime boss Vinny the Chin (when the oft told joke in the Brooklyn courthouse was that the lord was seeing a psychiatrist because he thought he was Judge Weinstein kept making the rounds)  Jack B. Weinstein is a great, great judge. 

As dawn breaks over Miami Saturday, winds and rain lash our community and power outages are starting to be reported. TS Isaac is approaching Cuba and the Florida straits, where it is expected to strengthen. Hurricane warnings have been posted for the Florida Keys and a tropical storm watch for the east coast of Florida. 

And our 11th Judicial Circuit posted this notice that courts will be open on Monday. And so it goes. UPDATE: This notice states courts will be closed on Monday. The chief judge congratulates the Miami Heat on a well deserved victory and championship. 

Because they're so on top of things, there's also a notice governing the use of beepers in the courthouse. (not really)

A BILLION TO APPLE
This minute by minute coverage of the verdict on the ATL blog is interesting, but it doesn't answer the question we all have after reviewing the billion dollar verdict Apple received Friday night: Siri- did Morrison and Foster and WillmerHale have a contingency fee recovery in their retainer with Apple? 

The Dolphins stink. 4-12 looks about right. Just enough wins to avoid the top three picks in the draft. And so it goes. 

Stay safe and dry. 


Friday, August 24, 2012

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

In Oslo Norway on Friday a court found Anders Breivik sane and guilty for killing 77 people last year in Norway's worst peacetime atrocity. Breivik was sentenced to the maximum- 21 years in prison, although the sentence can be extended at a later date if he is found to be a danger to society. 

The most unusual aspect of this trial was that prosecutors argued that Breivik was insane, not responsible for his crimes, and should be hospitalized, while his defense attorneys argued (probably at their client's insistence) that he was sane. 

Breivik will be incarcerated in isolation in a three room cell, with an exercise area and a laptop computer that does not have access to the internet. 

A few thoughts: First: how would this have been handled in the United States? Predictably, the death penalty would have been sought and no prosecutor who wanted to keep their job would ever have argued that the defendant was insane. 
Secondly, incarceration would inevitably have been for at least life in prison and the defendant would have been left to rot and go insane in a 10 x 10 cell for 23 hours a day.

Killing 77 people makes such extreme punishment easy to mete out.  But perhaps something can be learned from Norway in this case. In the worst imaginable criminal act, their justice system had prosecutors advocating for what they believed to be the truth, not what the public demanded. The sentence handed out will be served by all appearances, in a humane manner. In short, Norway resisted the almost irresistible urge to be dragged down to this killer's brutal mentality and treat him the way he treated others. Norway maintained its dignity in one of its darkest hours. 

The length of the sentence in this case is something handed out on a daily basis by US judges to petty drug dealers with lengthy criminal records. In recent times in the US, only former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was incarcerated in such a humane manner, and that was because international treaties required the United States to treat him better than it treats its own citizens. Of course the United States (federal and state governments) currently incarcerates over 2 million of its citizens, so there isn't much room in overcrowded prisons for humane treatment. 

We don't approve of the sentence in Norway. Nobody would argue that 21 years is sufficient punishment for killing 71 people. But if this is how Norway treats its worst offender, how does it treat the rest of its citizens when laws are violated? 

ISAAC: 5 AM Friday update:


Things are looking good for South Florida. However, we suggest postponing that trip to Key West this weekend. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A HELPING HAND

When you file a petition for cert to the United States Supreme Court, it helps when the NY Times editorializes that the court should take the case. From the NY Times Op Ed Prosecutorial Abuse: 


This case was brought against Dr. Ali Shaygan for allegedly dispensing drugs outside the scope of his medical practice. He was acquitted of all charges in 2009, after a four-week trial and jury deliberations of only three hours.
The trial judge awarded almost $602,000 to cover Dr. Shaygan’s lawyers’ fees and expenses and reprimanded the prosecutors, who had threatened a defense lawyer with a “seismic shift” if he asked the judge to suppress statements obtained from Dr. Shaygan in violation of his rights. When the defense lawyer went ahead with his request, the prosecution, in reprisal, increased the number of charges from 23 to 141. The judge, quite rightly, said the government had not acted in “good faith,” in addition to perpetrating other “conscious and deliberate wrongs.”
Lesson: When you mess with Mr. Markus, his publicity machine reaches into the upper levels of the NY Times. 
UPDATED PROBABILITY CONE: As of 5 am Friday:
We're not out out of the woods yet, but you should postpone  that trip to Key West.




Broward has issued an email alert on the storm:
We are tracking the current storm activity. In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane approaching our area we will make a decision regarding closure. Should Broward come under a tropical storm or hurricane warning, the closure information will be posted on our website at www.17th.flcourts.org 

Judge Peter M. Weinstein
17th Judicial Circuit Court

Our Chief Judge is considering closing courts for the Heat's victory parade.  

You can follow the 11th judicial circuit on twitter @MiamiDadeCourts. Latest Tweet: "Sad to see Dolphin coaching great Don Shula retire." 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

HURRICANE CHECK LIST

UPDATE:  Updated 5 day probability cone posted below. It seems that there is just the slightest jog to the west, as the lure of tens of thousands of Republicans in Tampa is proving irresistible to Isaac. 

August brings a swell of newcomers to the REGJB as the SAO and the PDs ranks increase with the latest law school grads who are more than a little thankful to have a real legal job, and not waiting tables as many of their comrades with newly minted JDs are forced to do: "You should order the ribs tonight and counterclaim on that lawsuit you were served with."
Many of our new lawyers are new to South Florida and may not have experience with hurricanes. We can help. 

Hurricanes are a force of nature, designed by nature to do several things: a hurricane alters the environment that it strikes, creating new land barriers, altering the coast line, creating new estuaries, and  scrubbing clean old land growths, allowing new trees an shrubs a chance to thrive. 
Hurricanes were also clearly designed to boost the stock price of Home Depot and the ratings of channel 7 WSVN in Miami. When a hurricane is formed off the coast of Africa, channel 7 goes into an absolute frenzy, canceling scheduled programming as the station runs endless loops of the aftermath of hurricane Andrew and file footage of desperate people waiting in block long lines to buy a pint of water and a can of cold beans, while other footage shows determined looking people strapping hundreds of sheets of plywood from Home Depot onto the roofs of their  Kias and Porsche Boxsters. 
The lesson to be learned from all this is simple: to survive a hurricane in South Florida you need to 1) watch channel 7; 2) buy all the water you can; 3) buy all the wood at your local home depot.  You will need the wood to build an outhouse in which to sit and listen to channel 7 simulcast on your radio while surveying the splinters of your former home. 

HURRICANE CHECK LIST:
[  ] One radio.  [  ]  Two flashlights.  [ ] One package of C and one package of D batteries. [  ] One can of canned salmon. [ ] One box of Ritz Crackers.  [  ] Two candles and one book of matches. 
 [  ] Four  Six bottles of Tequila. [ ]  One cooler, filled with ice and as many bottles of Michelob Ultra Light as you can jam in there.  
[  ] One 8 x 10 glossy photo of Rick Sanchez.

You may be asking yourself "What should I do?".  You should check the blog  and NOAA Isaac updates frequently. Isaac should be approaching the coast of Florida Sunday. The 11th Judicial Circuit has procedures for notifying litigants and attorneys as to whether court is open. Computer modeling becomes more accurate as the storm nears South Florida. The chief judge will decide on when to issue the order closing courts. As in the past, you can expect that order between several hours and several days after the storm has passed. For instance, if the storm is predicted to hit Miami monday morning, Judge Brown will probably issue the order to close court Monday by the following Thursday. 

The main thing to remember as a storm approaches is to use common sense. Do not touch any downed electrical wires; stock up on plenty of food and water; give yourself extra time when going to the clerks office to  order files, and remember: if the roof is off and the windows are all blown out, then the arraignment calendars in the REGJB will probably be start at 10 instead of 9. 

See you in court... if it's still standing. 

CONE OF DESTRUCTION





Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"WE'RE NO DEWEY..."

ATL covers Greenberg Trauig which has recently taken on the mantle of being an "embattled big firm. What with the sanctions imposed in the Coquina Bank case, and a much discussed shareholders capital call, tough questions about the firm moved CEO Richard Rosenbaum to bluet out "Look, we're not like Dewey" in reference to the recent bankruptcy of Dewey Ballantine. 

Deny something enough...and maybe there's some truth to it. 
Just a thought. 

Boy does the JAA blog hate Judge Diaz in Broward County. It's nonstop anti-Diaz all the time. Judge Diaz is in a run-off election this November. 

The thing that bothers us so much about Representative Akin's 
(R-moron) comments about rape is that we just feel it in our bones that dozens of other right wing-religious candidates/elected politicians feel the same way but are just too smart to say it.  Akin rode a tea party inspired campaign to an upset win in Republican nomination for senator in Missouri. Next up for Akin: "why baseball is a communist/atheist conspiracy to destroy America.

Isaac is coming.  Please go away Isaac. We have work to do. On the other hand, the Republicans are coming to Tampa, and you will be arriving at the same time....and nothing would be better karma than a big global-warming created storm knocking out their little pity party  when they deny global warming even exists.... hmmm...

Don't mess with mother nature. 

See you in court. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

JUDGE STANTON KAPLAN

Broward Judge Stanton Kaplan, a fixture on the Broward Bench since 1966 has passed away at age 76, 
The Sun Sentinel Obituary is here. The JAA Broward blog coverage is here. 
Judge Kaplan retired in 2008 and his son Michael was elected to the circuit bench in Broward in 2002. 

LOSE, FEES, LOSE, FEE, ARBITRATE-LOSE, FEES, APPEAL-LOSE, FEES:
This California Appellate Report blog reports on a whopper of a case. Lawyer gets hired, files suit and loses. Clients hire new lawyer and win on appeal. Lawyer sues for his original attorneys fees and wins but jury finds equal amount for fraud so it zeros out. BUT- clients appeal and win 250K in attorneys fees. Lawyer sues HIS lawyer who counterclaims for....you guessed it- unpaid fees. 
JAMS does the arbitration and awards each side zero, but the lawyers move for....you guessed it-attorneys fees and get....you guessed it- 250K! So lawyer appeals and loses and gets hit with....you guessed it- more attorneys fees. 

So lets summarize: lawyer loses case but clients win on appeal with new lawyers. But lawyer is greedy and sues clients for $44,000.00 and ends up losing over $500,000.00 in attorneys fees paid to attorneys for his original clients and his own attorneys and that does not include the latest award from the court of appeals. 
Talk about wishing you never took the case in the first place. 

Two weeks down in August; two weeks to go. 
See You In Court. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

SATURDAY IN THE PARK

BELATED ELECTION CONGRATS: We have been remiss in not congratulating two REGJB regulars who also won election this past Tuesday. Kionne McGhee, a former ASA and current Regional Counsel attorney won election to the Florida House. Mr. McGhee is a great guy, a fantastic lawyer, and will do us all proud. 

Former Dade ASA Cathy Vogel won a primary against current Monroe County State Attorney Dennis Ward, putting Vogel in the general election against republican Mark Kohl- her former boss. Here is the story: Ward ran again Kohl four years ago and primarily campaigned against wasteful spending, including Vogel's  $140K per year salary as a chief assistant in Kohl's office. When Ward won, Vogel quit and went into private practice. 4 years later Kohl registered in the general election as a republican and Vogel challenged Ward in the democratic primary, campaigning on her experience as a prosecutor in Dade and Monroe. Now it's Vogel vs. Kohl in November.  We endorse Ms. Vogel all the way!


HURRICANE ANDREW 20 YEARS LATER. 
Where were you when Andrew roared though South Miami?
We were holding on for dear life. 
For some reason the City of Homestead (motto: "Don't forget us") is having a celebration. The Herald reports here. 

We've walked to court with the National Guard providing security  as downtown burned in the aftermath of riots; We've lived though floods and storms and even one term judges (Peter Capua anyone? a very nice man btw), but we've never lived through anything like Andrew. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

EXCUSE ME, I ORDERED THE KOSHER MEAL

New Tein/Lewis update below!

The Feds have sued the Florida Department of Corrections for not offering inmates a kosher meal. 
The Herald article is here. Noteworthy is that the State spends a whopping $1.54 per inmate for three meals a day. 

DOM has had continuing and excellent coverage of the Apple patent trial and the troubles Samsung lawyers have had in getting along with the trial judge. That's a picture of her honor scowling from the pages of DOM's blog. 

ATL Legal blog has this story about a top law firm in Chicago, seeking a lawyer as an associate who graduated in the top 10% of their class, willing to work 70+ hours a week. "Salary commensurate with experience, but in the range of $25,000-$35,000.00 /yr."
REALLY? 

25-35K a year for 70 hours a week? Are things that bad out there? 

The Dolphins have released their tailgating rules. That assumes people will be going to the games. 2-14 can't be pretty. 

Your two favourite lawyers- those wacky former feds-yes, we are talking about Guy "give me more" Lewis, and Michael "Billem up" Tein, are in the Herald again here. Seems their former clients, the Miccosukee tribe, has accused them and their former chairman of diverting 4 million dollars in fees from the tribe to their law firm. In exchange, the law firm represented two members of the tribe in a civil law suit resulting in a 1.3 million dollar judgment. As Joe Pesci famously said to Robert De Niro in Raging Bull "When you win you win. When you lose, you still win."  4 million for a traffic accident and they lost. As the song says in the new Miller lite commercial: "How do you like me now?" Not very much. 

Another hot week in August almost done. 
See You In Court. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

JUDGE LOBREE THOUGHTS.....

Anonymous said...
Judge Lobree,

Please know that you have quite a few people in our community who admire and respect you as a jurist. It is a sad day for our County to lose such an immensely talented and ethical jurist. Should you decide not to play this "game" again, please consider applying straight to the Third DCA, upon a vacancy. AFterall, it is only a matter of time before you get there anyway.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 5:33:00 PM





We've always liked this scene from The Hunt for Red October.

Cream with that?  At the Waffle House located in the ironically named "Niceville", Florida, one woman patron poured coffee over the head of another. No arrests were made, nor did the waitress come by afterwards and ask "warm that up for ya?" 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

ELECTION CENTRAL ... PRIMARY RESULTS


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
(captain4justice@gmail.com)


ELECTION CENTRAL ..... AUGUST 14, 2012 .... PRIMARY RESULTS .....

EARLY VOTING NUMBERS & ABSENTEE BALLOTS HAVE NOW BEEN POSTED AND HERE THEY ARE. JUDGES LOBREE AND LUNDY THOMAS MAY NEED TO DUST OFF THEIR RESUMES.

HERE IS YOUR 9:00 PM UPDATE. CLOSEST RACE IS JUDGE PANDO V. GONZALEZ.  JUDGE WOLFSON IS 102 VOTES ABOVE A RUNOFF.  THAT WILL BE THE LATEST ONE TO CALL BY THE END OF THE NIGHT.

HERE IS YOUR 10:00 PM UPDATE.  PERCENTAGES ONLY EXCEPT WHERE CLOSE (NO LINE-THRUS-TAKES TOO LONG).  JUDGE LUNDY THOMAS AND JUDGE COHN ARE BOTH RUNNING BARELY AHEAD AT THE MOMENT.  DON'T HANG UP THAT ROBE JUST YET.

FINAL NUMBERS ARE IN.  CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS WHO APPEAR IN BOLD AND BLUE BELOW.

In January we welcome three new Circuit Court Judges: Verde, Santovenia, & Pooler; and four new County Court Judges: Gonzalez, Barakat, Cuesta & Brinkley.  (All seven, by the way, are women).

Also of Note:

Mike Satz wins primary and faces Rep. Jim Lewis in November.

Our good friend and former Dade ASA Cathy Vogel wins primary beating incumbent State Attorney in Monroe County and faces Rep. Mark Kohl in November. Way too go Cathy!

Jeff Ashton, he of the losing side of the Caylee Lee Anthony trial beats incumbent State Attorney Lawson Lamar and is your new State Attorney.

Dale Ross is still a Judge in Broward.

Julio Gonzalez won 34% of the vote and will be in a run-off with Laurie Wilson who won 27% for Circuit Court seat.  Two other candidates collected the other 39% of the vote.

Judge Diaz in Broward got 49.64% and will be in a runoff with Roshawn Banks (27.94%). Diaz needed 718 more votes to have avoided a run-off.

Judge Terri-Ann Miller was re-elected.

STATE ATTORNEY

Katherine F. Rundle - 60%
Rod Vereen -  40%

CIRCUIT COURT

Judge David Miller -  62%
Mauricio Padilla - 38%

Robert Coppel - 93,227 - 49%
Maria Verde - 98,661 - 51%

Alex Jimenez Labora - 90,027 - 49%
Maria Santovenia -  95,298 - 51%

Victor De Yurre - 43%
Teresa Pooler -  57%

COUNTY COURT

Frank Hernandez - 44%
Judge Patricia Marino-Pedraza - 56%

Diana Gonzalez - 95,523 - 51%
Judge Ana Maria Pando - 92,605 - 49%

Michelle Alvarez Barakat - 71%
Judge Fleur Lobree - 29%

Arthur Spiegel - 46,018 - 24%
Greer Elaine Wallace - 51,720 - 27% (R)
Judge Andrea Wolfson - 90,978 - 48% (R)

Ivonne Cuesta - 67%
Jacci Seskin - 33%

Tanya Brinkley - 61%
Enrique Yabor - 39%

John Rodriguez - 94,685 - 50%
Judge Teretha L. Thomas -  95,943 - 50%

Lourdes Cambo - 90,981 - 49%
Judge Don Cohn - 94,870 - 51%

That is the line-up in Miami-Dade County.  We should have early voting results very soon.  We will keep you updated during the evening.

CAPTAIN OUT .....
(captain4justice@gmail.com)

TODAY IS ELECTION DAY

WE VOTED!
We walked into our polling place and three elderly women addressed us in Spanish. We replied in English, causing the woman who we approached to frown. She carefully checked our voter card and DL and then our name (Horace Rumpole) against her list and handed us a Republican slip.

HR: Wrong slip. I'm a democract.
Poll: Worker: No eess blank on my page so I give you wah I wan.
HR: Look on my voter card. It says Democrat.
Poll: Worker: No says on my list so I can gev you.
HR: Get your supervisor.
Much discussion in Spanish ensues, of which I can follow most including the supervisor telling the woman words to the effect of "I told you not to do this."
Supervisor: I'm sorry. It was a mistake.
HR: Has she done this before?
Supervisor: No.
HR: Then why did you just yell at her and tell her you told her not to do it again?
Supervisor: I didn't say that.
HR: Give me both your names so I can file a complaint.
More discussion in Spanish at which point I am given a form and told I have to fill it out there and return it to the Supervisor. I take the form, fold it and put it in my pocket.
Supervisor: You cannot do that.
HR: Call the police. In the meantime give me a democratic ballot before this gets worse for you.
I get the ballot, vote, and then to the mean stares of several elderly woman, scan my ballot and walk out.
Miami.

Something occurred to us: Why are Republican Governors enacting "voter fraud" laws which will effectively disenfranchise tens if not over a hundred thousand eligible voters from voting (mostly minority voters with less access to IDs) when the demonstrable election fraud for the last decade amounts to less than three hundred votes? Why not enforce the laws on the books? And yet, the same party which wants to enact dozens of laws to deal with a minuscule problem that is almost theoretical (one poll impersonation for every 15 million votes as per this Washington Post article) , shouts the party line that the laws on the books should be enforced when it comes to handguns. Today 8 more children will be shot by handguns. How many elections will be changed by voter fraud? Just a thought.

In no particular order, we like Judge Wolfson, Judge Don Cohn, Kathy Fernandez-Rundle, Robert Copel, Alex Jimenz-Labora, Mauricio Padilla, Michelle Alvarez, Judge Teretha Lundy-Thomas. Best of luck to all. 

Sex and the Single Girl: Helen Gurley Brown passed away yesterday. She certainly showed the world what Brown could do for you. 

Vote!

Monday, August 13, 2012

TOMORROW IS ELECTION DAY

Tomorrow is election day in Miami Dade. In Hialeah, election day has been held for the last sixteen days, and depending upon the number of absentee ballots you filled out, you may well be able to vote at least twice tomorrow.

But for the rest of us, tomorrow is the day to vote in local elections. We have refrained from making any endorsements, but we feel pretty comfortable in saying this:

Judge Andrea Wolfson has done a great job on the bench and there is no rhyme or reason for why she has opposition. She is a good judge who did not deserve any opponents and she should be elected. If you vote in Hialeah, you can vote for her twice! Although we are sure she wouldn't want you to do this. Once is enough.

Kathy Fernandez Rundle merits being retained. Rod Vereen would be a good State Attorney, but his association with nefarious individuals, who this being Miami, are police officers, is disturbing at best.

So go stand in line tomorrow and be a good American and vote for your favorite judge, many of whom have  been at the polling places for the last week or so during early voting, sweating, and cursing the misfortune that brought them an opponent. Don't feel too bad  for them however. Once elected, they'll take it out on you in court.




POLITICS MAKES STRANGE.....

"The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the kid, the calf and yearling with the lion, and a little child shall lead them." Isaiah 11:6. 
Several aspiring bloggers sent us that quote when the news broke last week that the League of Prosecutors would be joining forces with the FACDL to challenge the Limited Registry system. 
This is the LOP's motion to file an Amicus Brief in the case before the 3rd DCA. 

Amended Motion for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief


DOM never surrenders.
You need to check out this post on South Florida Lawyers last week on DOM's petition to the United States Supreme Court to review and reverse the 11th Circuit's very disappointing opinion in the Shaygan case. To refresh your memory, the Feds prosecuted Dr. Shaygan, threatened him and Mr. Markus if they didn't plea, sent snitches to try and get Mr. Markus to improperly get witnesses to change their testimony, and then didn't tell anyone what they did until Mr. Markus uncovered it during cross. Judge Gold hit the roof, sanctioned the prosecutors and the US Attorneys Office and awarded 600K in costs for a frivolous prosecution. Among other things, Dr. Shaygan was innocent, which is why the feds are so peeved off that he was acquitted. As we know, their unofficial motto is  "Anyone can convict the guilty, but it takes a really good prosecutor to....." well, you know the rest. 
The 11th circuit undid most of Gold's order  in a very strange and extremely disappointing opinion. DOM with some Amicus briefs, now seeks the Supremes to remedy the whole situation. 

Final Results: In our informal, unscientific poll: 
State Attorney KFR: 406: 53%
Rod Vereen: 352: 46%

The start of another long, hot week. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

SAVING CONGRESSMAN RYAN

85: Breaking: Saturday Night Davie, Florida: Embattled Dolphin WR Chad Johnson nee Ochocinco was arrested Saturday night after "head butting" his new wife who became irate when she found a receipt for condoms in the WR's car while the couple was returning home from dinner.  Those receipts will kill ya. 

Because we have sources everywhere who never sleep, the Captain scooped  the national media and broke the news last night that Mitt Romney would be picking Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan as his VP nominee.

Ryan is the Republican Party's new Jack Kemp, for whatever that is worth. And it might be worth a lot. Read on Macbeth.

First a bit on timing. The polls were in rapid free fall for Mitt Romney over the last few days.  Obama's campaign gambled that by spending early to negatively define Romney (adopting the Bush playbook versus John Kerry in 2004), the Republican would be forced to spend defensively to rebut the allegations. The strategy has worked. Thus the Romney campaign called an audible, or one could say panicked a bit as the mid week polling data came in late Friday night, and chose the second worst media day of the week: Saturday morning, to make their official announcement. 
Take from the timing what you will, but outside of some favorable news in Colorado, the polling data was alarming. New polls showed Romney behind 4 points in Virginia (NY Times/CBS/ Quinnipiac)  and even the Rasmussen polls, which are somewhat Republican biased, has Obama up two points in Virginia, which not surprisingly, has a below national average unemployment rate of 5.6%. When the issue is not the economy, Romney has no chance.

Next: the rest of our data and analysis is drawn from the 538 blog, which has shown since 2000, that it is THE preeminent political analysis blog on the planet. You call follow 538  here on the NY TImes. 
538 has no demonstrable bias, calling the 2004 election for Bush in the closing days when even the Kerry campaign started calling the senator "Mr. President" when early returns on election day  suggested Kerry was going to win big in Ohio (Bush squeaked out a win in Ohio which gave him the margin of victory in the electoral college). 

The Ryan Factor: Congressman Ryan has the smallest positive impact on Romney's vote of all the potential vice presidential nominees. Ryan's positive impact on Romney votes in Wisconsin and in the national vote was put by 538 at +0.7%, whereas traditionally a vice presidential choice has  a +2.5% positive impact on the candidate in the nationwide vote.  By comparison, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has a positive impact of +27% on her home state voters and +4% on voters in the national election. 

Ryan comes with baggage: his conservative monetary policies, particularly as it relates to social security and medicare/medicaid, open the Romney/Ryan ticket to continued charges that the Republicans don't care about the poor. The choice of Ryan creates, in our opinion (and there is no data analysis by 538 on this at the moment) a negative impact on Romney's chances of winning Florida, with its high population of elderly retirees. But Ryan may have a bigger positive  impact on Wisconsin and to a lesser extent Ohio, although the polling data doesn't yet reflect it, and his choice should bolster Romney's current surge in Colorado, which is currently a battleground state with both campaigns  pouring large amounts of money and time into the state. One caveat: Ryan comes from the monetary neo-con movement, whose young members idolize Ayn Rand. However, Ms. Rand's Objectivist  philosophy, with its total rejection of religion, plays poorly to the Christian Right- which has a solid base in Colorado (especially the Colorado Springs area). In the past Ryan, who at times has enthusiastically embraced certain principles of Rand's philosophy, has been forced to back track when challenged by religious conservatives. 

Unfortunately for Ryan, as Ms. Rand was known to remark about "straddlers", in for a penny, in for a pound. 

538 currently puts the chances of an Obama electoral college victory at 72%, up from 68% in June. It's been a hot, tough summer for Romney. Although the economic news over the summer has been tepid at best, Obama has been able to not only negate the negative impact of the economy on his campaign, but actually increase his lead over Romney by painting him as an out of touch, wealthy, uncaring elitist. Like that picture of John Kerry windsurfing, pictures of Romney on his jet ski over the 4th of July weekend didn't help matters. Small things sometimes win big elections. 

One final thought: the selection of Ryan is Romney's final capitulation to the Republican Right. The moderate wing of the Republican party is now arguably dead and buried. It was last represented in any strength  by George Herbert Walker Bush on economics and social policy (Bush's tax increases, which cost him the election, arguably set the stage for the great economic recovery during the  Clinton adminsitration) and by on foreign affairs by  Brent Scowcroft  (Ford and Bush 41's National Security Advisor and a loud and frequent public critic of Bush 43's invasion of Iraq) and Collin Powell.

The selection of  Paul Ryan now makes him the face of the Republican party for the next thirty years (Ryan is 42).  Perhaps then it was more than just a slip of the tongue when Mitt Romney introduced Paul Ryan at their first official campaign event, televised on all the major cable news networks, as "The Next President of the United States." 
In many ways, Mr. Ryan may well be the next REPUBLICAN President of the United States. 

Game on. 

Thursday, August 09, 2012

...THEN THEY CAME FOR ME.

Remember Susan Estrich? Campaign manager for Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign in 1988? For that matter, remember Michael Dukakis? Governor of Massachusetts. His party's nominee for president. Faded into oblivion. Massachusetts politicians are 0-2 in presidential elections since 1988. Not good news for Mitt. Anyway, Susan Estrich appeared in court for Samsung at a hearing in the Northern District of California in Samsung's battle against Apple. Problem is, Estrich is not admitted to the Northern District of California's Bar.  Ooops. 

With two days left to vote in our thoroughly unscientific poll, and with almost 800 votes, State Attorney Katherine Rundle has held a consistent 55%-45% lead over challenger Rod Vereen. 
Vote early. Vote often. 

Preseason football started Thursday night. Are you ready for some football Dolphin fans?

It takes about five years from the time a murder case is arraigned in Miami until it is tried, pled, or dismissed. In China, it took seven hours for the murder trial of Gu Kailai to begin and end. Gu is accused of killing British business man Neil Heywood in November, 2011. Ms. Gu is the wife of recently disgraced Chinese party leader Bo Xilai.  As the NY Times reports: 
Ms. Gu and her accomplice, Zhang Xiaojun, were deprived of their own legal counsel and forced to accept a government-appointed lawyer. No defense witnesses were produced during the trial. The defendants’ lawyers never had a chance to review the prosecution’s evidence.

Not quite Limited Registry stuff, but give Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature a few more months to catch up to the Chinese system. 
Meanwhile, in a Twilight Zone like twist of fate, Ms. Gu was once a respected lawyer in China who extolled the virtue of the Chinese criminal justice system in a book: 
"she ridiculed the American justice system as doddering and inept. “They can level charges against dogs and a court can even convict a husband of raping his wife,” she wrote.

By contrast, China’s system was straightforward and judicious. “We don’t play with words and we adhere to the principle of ‘based on facts,’ ” she wrote. “You will be arrested, sentenced and executed as long as we determine that you killed someone.”
Guess what Ms. Gu? They determined you killed someone and you will be executed because you live in a country that does not have due process and does not recognize the implicit value of an independent, well compensated attorney who has only your best interests at heart. Sort of like.....Florida? 

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemoller, 1892-1984. 

Another summer weekend on tap. 

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

...AND I APPROVED THIS AD

This political ad for Judge David Miller is just......awful. The voice over is about as bad as we have ever heard.  The sound is bad, the music doesn't fit and the message is obtuse. Yes, we know Judge Miller has the reputation of agreeing to set hearings at unusual hours, but really, most voters will not care about that. Plus, the pull away shot shows him reading, out loud, to .....no one.  Which is sort of weird. Most of have learned to read silently without moving our lips since we were about 8 or so. The penultimate shot of Miller with his wife and dog is a good one,  but that's about it for this amateurish ad.




By contrast, this commercial by Tanya Brinkley is much better. The music is similar which leads us to believe they may have both used the same company to create the commercial, but it is a bit softer. The images that are projected are more compelling and interesting and there is an underlying message of Ms. Brinkley out in the community dealing with people. The voice over is much better and the only complaint here is that the two very close close ups of Ms. Brinkley don't really work. We would have pulled back a bit on both. But over all the commercial works much better.  




We're not endorsing or "not endorsing" anyone here. We're merely drawing upon our vast knowledge, accumulated many years ago, of election advertising.

July was THE hottest month EVER recorded in the United States, since 1895 when  records were first kept. But as Mitt Romney and most republicans will tell you, that proves nothing when it comes to global warming. Indeed Romney was over heard saying "why don't they just turn up the AC in their Escalade or vacation home if they're hot?"

See you in court. Keep cool.  


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

JUST SAY NO

David S Markus, the scourge of the limited registry, took his quixotic fight -via FACDL-  to the 3rd DCA, challenging Joel Brown's administrative order implementing the limited registry ("reasonable doubt at a reasonable price"). 

The 3rd said NO, but it might be a pyretic victory for the dark lord, because while the 3rd denied some of what the petitioner sought, they ordered Judge Brown to respond (gasp!),  which means that his honor will have to A) do some legal research and write a response (ok, stop laughing) or B) Hire a law firm.

The battle continues. "Never never never never never surrender."
Willis Reed, 70 Knicks,  & Winston Churchill, 40 Brits. 


Just say NO

FYI: we might be induced to lower our hourly fee. But someone will have to ask nicely. 
BTW: 80 followers. Thanks.