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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

37 DAYS AND COUNTING

COMING MONDAY:  The calendar turns the page. The first monday of a new month. And not just any month. But October. And you know what that means. (Well, most of our robed readers might not, but they can tune in and learn.) Rumpole gives you the outlook you need to navigate a bumpy new SCT session. 

Congratulations to our suicide pool winner Fake Josh Gradinger.*  

Beautiful weekend ahead. Will we get a little fall weather? 

It must be bad for Mitt Romney, even Fox News has Obama with a 5 point lead. 

US citizens don't have guaranteed access to health care. But Guantanamo detainees do. They just got a new cardiac cath lab. The story is here. 

The 47% Solution:
Political gaffes are rarely recognized for their game changing characteristics when they occur. Ford lecturing Carter that Poland was not under Soviet domination was one such moment in their 1976 debate.  Regan telling Carter "there you go again" during their final debate in 1980 was not a gaffe, but it was a game changer. 

Mitt Romney's arrogant dismissal of almost half the american public on videotape was recognized immediately for the game changing gaffe that it was. From that day forward, the President has opened leads in national polls, and polls in swing states like Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. 

There are two things left that can save Mitt Romney's candidacy. Ok, three things: 
1) The President can tumble off the stage during the first debate next week; 2) The President can confidently state that Germany is not part of NATO; 3) Some international event could upstage the president, the election, and shake the public's confidence in Barak Obama. 

There are 37 days until the presidential election. Those days cannot go fast enough for Barak Obama and his team. But a month is an eternity in politics. 

Lebron Verdict:
If you didn't see our tweet, congratulations to ASA Reid Ruben and Laura Adams and Christine Zahralban for their successful prosecution of Joel Lebron. It's been a ten year long road for the prosecution and the family of the victims. ASA Adams has been with the case from the beginning. 

Enjoy your weekend. 

*Winner during replacement referee season. 












Thursday, September 27, 2012

SURVEY SAYS....

LEBRON CONVICTED ALL COUNTS. JURY VERDICT AT 4:15. PENALTY PHASE BEGINS WEDNESDAY.

UPDATE: Lebron jury started deliberations around 2:30 in Lebron case.  Herald reporter David Ovalle characterized Reid Ruben's closing as "devastating".  Defense attorney Jeff Fink did his best, but the facts here are atrocious. One glimmer for defense: cops lost tape of Lebron's confession. But Lebron's DNA matched dna semen taken from victim. Fink said match was due to lab cross contamination. Very tough road to hoe. Reid showed the silent three minute crime scene tape as proof of premeditation: they marched her down embankment on I-95, through brush, and shot her in the head. Horrible facts. Horrible case. That poor poor girl. May she rest in peace.

Rumpole says: jury will be in before 6:00 pm.

UPDATE: Closings Friday morning State v Joel Lebron. Courtroom 4-2. Herald Reporter David Ovalle said Jury was "absolutely horrified" during 3 minute silent crime scene video of victim Ana Maria Angel.  No surprise there. Horrifying case to be sure. 

Take this survey : SURVEY
it has something to do with court appointments or some such nonsense. 

YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE SURVEY BEFORE SUNDOWN FRIDAY. 
It takes three minutes, but under existing norms you can bill a quarter hour. Have fun. 

Here is part of the email that went around:


COLLEAGUES:
Have you ever handled a Private Court Appointed Counsel (PCAC) criminal conflict case as a member of the PCAC Registry?  Were you at one time a SAPD (Special Assistant Public Defender) back in the day?  Are you considering the possibility of applying to the Registry to add some income to your bottom line, but don't particularly care for the fees being paid by the State of Florida?
Well then, we need your help.  The Office of the State Courts Administrator (OSCA) is required by the 2012 General Appropriations Act to conduct a study of the reasonableness of the current mandated conflict counsel fees in criminal cases (those listed in s. 27.5304, F.S. and the Gen. Appropriations Act) to determine the adequacy and reasonableness of those fees.  This study will be submitted to the Florida Legislature by January 15, 2013.
As part of this required study OSCA has prepared a brief survey to be completed by criminal defense attorneys so they have some standard by which to compare the current rates. They want to hear from both registry and non-registry attorneys for this survey.  So, even if you have no intention of ever joining the PCAC Registry, your participation in this survey is still critically important to OSCA.
This survey will take less than three minutes to complete

If the people who had created this survey had merely contacted us, they would have several thousand responses by now. 

See you in court. It was a lovely day in court on Thursday, wasn't it? 

10 MILLION REASONS TO SAY I'M SORRY

More trouble for lawyers Guy Lewis and Michael Tein as the Herald reported here  on the ten million dollars in fees that the Miccosukee tribe paid their law firm before relations went south. 

In the legal malpractice lawsuit before Judge Rosa Rodriguez, the two embattled lawyers had denied that the tribe had paid them that amount of money. The tribe responded by filing over four hundred checks- copies of the front and back- ouch!- along with the allegation that the two lawyers were kicking back part of their fees to then tribe chairman Billy Cypress. Double ouch!
There's a world of difference between malpractice and kickbacks. The former is a civil issue, the latter is a crime. Triple ouch.  Tis the season for repentance. Now might be the time to come to Jesus. (Sorry to mix religious metaphors so soon after Yom Kippur.)

Trial resumes in the horrible murder case arising out of the abduction of a young couple on south beach near the old Penrods. Joel Lebron is the defendant and accused trigger man. Testimony the other day was that he put a firearm to the head of the young woman and pulled the trigger twice but each time the gun misfired. The young woman begged for her life until the third time Lebron pulled the trigger and the gun fired. Allegations don't get much worse than that. You can follow all the developments with Herald Reporter David Ovalle's twitter feed: @Davidovalle305. 

See You In Court. 




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

FORGIVENESS

BLOG SABBATICAL as we under take 24 hours of prayer, mediation, introspection and repentance. 
s/ The thoroughly unhonorable Horace Rumpole, Esq.
Proprietor. 

Tonight at sundown our Jewish friends and neighbors begin the last twenty four hours of ten days of introspection. The ceremony tonight: Kol Nidre- is actually an ancient  chant of a legal doctrine: the right to break a vow one was forced to take:

"All personal  vows we are likely to make, all personal oaths and pledges we are likely to take between this Yom Kippur and the next Yom Kippur, we publicly renounce. Let them all be relinquished and abandoned, null and void, neither firm nor established. Let our [personal] vows, pledges and oaths be considered neither vows nor pledges nor oaths."

After the Kol Nidre service, Jews embark on a final journey seeking  forgiveness for sins of the past year. They fast for twenty four hours;  they pray for for forgiveness for sins only against the almighty; and they ask first to be inscribed in the book of life and then finally sealed in the book of life for the next year. What a beautiful concept: the book of life.  

Interwoven throughout  Yom Kippur is the credenda that sins one  might have committed  against another in the past year are not forgiven on Yom Kippur. For that you need to address the person you have hurt and ask for forgiveness. 

Isn't that part of what we're all about? Helping people right their wrongs. Prosecutors enforce the law; defense attorneys (at times) help guide their clients to the path of forgiveness and hopefully redemption. 

Of course that  is an idealized concept. The truth is that we know cops and prosecutors often overcharge our clients and defense attorneys often find themselves fighting to protect their  clients in a system that punishes almost every little slight with a prison minimum mandatory sentence. 

But wouldn't it be wonderful if a sense of the next twenty four hours pervaded our work? Where one person says "I'm sorry" and the other person says "I forgive you."

It doesn't have to be a pie in the sky ideal. 

We believe it is tradition on this day for those who follow Yom Kippur to wish the following for their friends and family:

Have an easy fast. 


Monday, September 24, 2012

WHO WE ARE

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

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

So what is this blog business? 

Tough to say really. 

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

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

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

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

That is who we are. 

See You In Court. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

NFL WEEK 3 2012

UPDATE: A mini-bloody Sunday. Saints lose!! Colby out; Plea D out; I-Memon out! Brown out with Colts, Faber out with the Lions. 2 left in winners bracket!
Fake Josh Gradinger has secured his win this week with Da Bears. Rumpole is alive, but his pick-the Pack- plays Monday night. This could be over in week three!

Losers bracket: 8 people made a pick this week- 4 lost so far. We were looking for plus ten. So we're not sure what to do, but if the B Bracket survives, then Rick Freedman, Gale Lewis, Stephen Immasche and Dustin Tischler are out, carrying with them the undistinguished feat of picking losers two weeks in a row. This was clearly not their year. 

UPDATE: Saints shaping up as this week's Cheaters. Everybody loves them....
Beautiful morning as the rain cleared. Went for a morning run for the first time in a while. It was nice. Peaceful. Happy. 

Football pool: If you want to play, in the winners or losers bracket- it is crucial if you DO NOT SEE YOUR PICK in the below chart to email us- with a NEW EMAIL. DO NOT REPLY TO THE PREVIOUS EMAIL STRING. There are now 150 emails in one string and we can no longer go sorting though them hunting for your pick.

The key now is all about trends and regression to the norm. Will the Cowpokes bounce back against Tampa Bay after an embarrassing defeat last week in Seattle?  Are the 49ers for real? Which team is a winner- Cincy or the Redskins? One is going to 2-1.  Atlanta at San Diego- one of these undefeated teams will reveal a weakness and one will roll to 3-0.

UPDATED POOL: with all the winner bracket picks in. Good luck. 

Football Pool 2012 PDF 3
No football picks this week. We've started out horrible so we have decided to take a week off. We said at the beginning we could not devote the time to picks that we have done in recent years, and it shows. 

RUMPOLE'S PLAY LIST:

From time to time we list what were reading. We decided to list what we've been listening too, courteous of Sirius satellite radio, which rocks. 

Foreplay- Boston. 

Aime- Pure Prairie League. We like the name. 
Tiny Dancer-Elton John.
Spirit In the Sky- Norman Greenbaum.
More, More, More-Andrea True Connection.
Only Wanna Be With You- Hootie and the Blowfish. 
Unwell-MatchBox 20
One More Night-Maroon 5
For You- The Boss.
It's Hard to be a Saint in the City- The Boss.
Blinded by the Light-The Boss.

OK. Just a lot of Springsteen. Sometimes he's just what the doctor ordered. 





Princess cards she sends me with her regards 
Barroom eyes shine vacancy, to see her you gotta look hard 
Wounded deep in battle, I stand stuffed like some soldier undaunted 
To her Cheshire smile, I'll stand on file, she's all I ever wanted 
But you let your blue walls get in the way of these facts 
Honey, get your carpetbaggers off my back 
You wouldn't even give me time to cover my tracks 
You said, "Here's your mirror and your ball and jacks" 
But they're not what I came for, and I'm sure you see that too 

I came for you, for you, I came for you 
But you did not need my urgency 
I came for you, for you, I came for you 
But your life was one long emergency 
And your cloud line urges me 
And my electric surges free 

Crawl into my ambulance, your pulse is getting weak 
Reveal yourself all now to me, girl, while you've got the strength to speak 
'Cause they're waiting for you at Bellevue with their oxygen masks 
But I could give it all to you now, if only you could ask 
And don't call for your surgeon, even he says it's too late 
It's not your lungs this time, it's your heart that holds your fate 
Don't give me my money, honey, I don't want it back 
You and your pony face and your Union Jack 
Well, take your local joker and teach him how to act 
I swear I was never that way, even when I really cracked 
Didn't you think I knew that you were born with the power of a locomotive 
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? 
And your Chelsea suicide with no apparent motive 
You could laugh and cry in a single sound 

And your strength is devastating in the face of all these odds 
Remember how I kept you waiting when it was my turn to be the god? 

You were not quite half so proud when I found you broken on the beach 
Remember how I poured salt on your tongue and hung just out of reach 
And the band, they played the homecoming theme as I caressed your cheek 
That ragged, jagged melody, she still clings to me like a leech 
But that medal you wore on your chest always got in the way 
Like a little girl with a trophy so soft to buy her way 
We were both hitchhikers but you had your ear tuned to the roar 
Of some metal-tempered engine on an alien, distant shore 
So you left to find a better reason than the one we were living for 
And it's not that nursery mouth that I came back for 
It's not the way you're stretched out on the floor 
'Cause I've broken all your windows and I've rammed through all your doors 
And who am I to ask you to lick my sores? 
And you should know that's true 

I came for you, for you, I came for you 
But you did not need my urgency 
I came for you, for you, I came for you 
But your life was one long emergency 
And your cloud line urges me 
And my electric surges free 



Friday, September 21, 2012

OIL AND WATER

UPDATE: Blog suicide pool update to be up tonight/early tomorrow hopefully. Working hard this rainy weekend but will find the 90 minutes before 1pm Sunday to get it up. Meanwhile, send in your picks. Good luck. Avoid the Cheaters (hahahahaha.)

Bad mixes: Superman and kryptonite, a judge and the check at lunch, Mitt Romney and compassion and reason, the Tea Party and, well, they don't get along with anyone,  so it was a poor example. Oil and water. 

Cops and defense attorneys. 
And yet because of the forces of nature (and Miami City Hall) cops and defense attorneys have been thrown together in Lot 26 in a parking lot situation almost as explosive as the middle east.  

Exhibit 1 is offered as a compound exhibit of two pictures of one police officer who believes s/he has every right to take up two spaces. The Justice Building Blog irregular who took these snapshots informs us that the offense occurred during a busy morning (Monday?). 


      Would the parking lot enforcement officers who patrol the lot have the wherewithal to have that offending truck towed?

 There's as much a chance of that happening as criminal court judges who don't have a trial going  volunteering to help their overburdened colleagues in civil. Somethings are just against the law of nature. It's not east to get a Friday 2pm tee-time at Riviera. 


SUICIDE POOL: POOL B?

After last Sunday's massacre- 17 down on the Cheaters (boy does that still bring a smile to our face) we proposed a Pool B. A losers bracket. A second chance. Winner of that bracket plays winner of winners bracket. 
  
We will do it if 20 or so of the 24 out in the first two weeks join in. A logistical nightmare for us. But we're altruists. Didn't you read our post the other day? 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

REYES ROCKS...BAR ROLLS...

The Captain broke this, and it is front page stuff:

Two Miami Dade Circuit Court Judges to resign.

Judge Ellen Leesfield and Judge Victoria Platzer have both announced that they will resign their seats around January of 2013.

Both will join former Circuit Court Judge Izzie Reyes at the Reyes Law Firm. Reyes has also confirmed that TV Judge Alex Ferrer will join the firm as well.

Alex will keep his day job on the Judge Alex show. The show tapes for eight weeks a year so he has more than enough time to handle his new gig which will considt of being a private judge at the Reyes Firm where they specialize in mediations and arbitrations, and act as special magistrates and insurance umpires.

In case you have not been keeping count, if you include these two openings with the three current ones, that will mean that Governor Scott will have appointed 21 Judges in his first two years in office in our Circuit alone.

That is a staggering number and one has to look no further than the caseload and resources that Judges are currently facing in 2012and beyond.

An average Circuit Judge in the General Jurisdiction Division is handling over 6,000 cases, the overwhelming majority of which are Foreclosure cases.

Judges are fed up and at the end of their patience level when it comes to their workload. Can you blame them?

What is the answer? We already have 123 Circuit and County Court Judges in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. Will the Legislature provide the money for more Judges in the near-term? Unlikely!



BAR RESULTS IN:

Your favorite law student, who in July was bleary eyed as s/he studied for the bar, and who on Monday was as nervous as a Judge being handed the check for lunch, was either A) ecstatic or 
B) depressed beyond any measure of consolation, as the Bar results for the exam at the end of July were released on Tuesday. To many of you we say: welcome to the party. To those of you who have to buckle it up and try it again in January, we say: Look at South Florida's Guest Blogger: the eighth time was apparently the charm. 

"Never, never, never, never, never surrender."
Winston Churchill. 

AYN, BRUCE AND MITT

Altruistic Collectivist Ethics. The standard Objectivist response to any governmental social program paid for with taxes.

Altruism: Ayn Rand defined Altruism as a  political system/set of beliefs holding  that it is better and proper  to sacrifice one's self for the good of others. 
Collectivism: The political system used to implement altruism as a political philosophy. 
Ethics: Rand defined ethics as a moral code of values used  define an individual's choices in their life. 

When Mitt Romney, in his now infamous put down of 47% of the american public, disparaged those who believed that government owed them food, shelter, health care, internet access, he was speaking the language of Objectivists. He was saying that Obama's belief in the governmental safety net was Altruistic Collectivism, and that altruism and collectivism are Obama's ethics. (Mitt just couldn't say it like that because he's never read Rand's non-fiction Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.) 

Enter Bruce Springsteen and his current hit anthem "We Take Care Of Our Own". The Springsteen song was played at the end of Obama's speech, which marked the end of the 2012 DNC convention. 

What would Ayn Rand say about "We Take Care of Our Own"
She would like it. Ayn Rand loved patriotic songs. 
Rand didn't disparage altruism. Her romanticism was such that she conceived of a heroic love such that one would willingly  lay their life down for another or a treasured ideal. Rand disparaged altruism as a political philosophy in which the state compels its citizens to act altruistically (taxes for food stamps for example), not as a personal choice. 

From Chicago to New Orleans 
From the muscle to the bone 
From the shotgun shack to the Superdome 
We yelled "help" but the cavalry stayed home 
There ain't no-one hearing the bugle blown 
We take care of our own 
We take care of our own 
Wherever this flag's flown 
We take care of our own 


When Springsteen talks about yelling " 'help' but the cavalry stayed home" and  "There ain't no-one hearing the bugle blown" one could say that he is disparaging the government's failure to answer the call of the bugle; the failure of the cavalry- the failure of the army and government to rescue New Orleans and the tragedy of the Superdome.  And yet: "we take care of our own." 

So who is doing the taking care of, if not the government? 
In Springsteen's song, "We" are. Each of us, as Americans are taking care of each other, not because we HAVE to (that would be A.C.E) but because we WANT to- personal choice. 

Personal choice, responsibility, and lending a helping hand.  Mitt Romney sneers those values while menacing the less privileged as he dines with billionaires. Meanwhile Springsteen sings of the glory of a nation pitching in and choosing to help each other because that is what Americans do: we take care of our own. Similar ideals expressed in very different ways. 


Wherever this flag is flown

We take care of our own. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

VOTES FOR SALE

The Herald reported on the "Boleteros" scandal.  What is a Bolerteros? Look under your shoe. That slimy, gummy, runny, disgusting sludge is NOT South Florida Blog's  guest blogger- (click- his identity is revealed!) it's a Bolerteros: a person who sells absentee ballots to candidates for a fee. Pay the money and the Bolerteros writes the candidates name on the ballots s/he has collected. 

So in the last election, according to the Herald and El Herald, which of your favourite judicial candidates used a Bolerteros and who did not? 


USED a Bolerteros:

Judge Don Cohn (won re-election)
Tanya Brinkley (won her election to county court)
Michele Alvarez-Barakat (won her election to county court)

DID NOT USE a Bolerteros:

Maria Verde (won her election for circuit court)
Lourdes Combo (lost her challenge to Judge Cohn)
Enrique Yabor (lost his election to county court to Tanya Brinkley)

We note that in the Herald article Judge Cohn denied using the individual for absentee ballots and claimed he used the indiviual for promotion and other campaign related events.  There is no proof any of the individuals who used  a bolerteros paid them to write their name on absentee ballots. But as we trial lawyers like to say to juries about confidential informations, "When you sleep with dogs, you get fleas."


The Power of Cinema:

Without the "date movie" population growth in the United States might be negative. But movies are also powerful. Movies  have been used as a propaganda tool ever since Leni Riefenstahl produced Triumph of the Will for the Third Reich. 
Currently the middle east is in flames over a cheaply made movie that insults the Prophet Mohammed. Here's our question: what is with these people? In the United States films denying the holocaust are protected speech. Films mocking Moses, Christ, The Pope, The Buddha, et.al., come and go and die in the capitalist market place where taste and quality matter (seemingly). Nobody burns embassies over dumb movies. Nobody dies over a movie in the west. 
So why is the Middle East in flames over a stupid movie? 

 Tomorrow Judge Thomas decides whether or not to start jury selection anew in the Lebron case. Rumors are that he is open to the possibility that recent negative news accounts of the mistrial might make trying to pick a jury now inopportune.  We shall see. 


See you in court.




Monday, September 17, 2012

COURTS CLOSED FOR NEW YEAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That should keep you busy for a while.

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

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

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

Enjoy your day off in worship or relaxation. 

See you tomorrow in court ready to roll. 


Sunday, September 16, 2012

NFL 2012 WEEK TWO

UPDATE: BLOODY SUNDAY: 17 players go down with the cheaters as the Patriots miss a chip shot field goal with 2 seconds left after getting a gift fumble from the Cardinals running back. 
9 players remain in a suicide pool rocked by an historic upset. 

Football Pool 2012 Pdf2



The suicide pool is almost set for week two. Just waiting for picks from Michael Grieco (Cheaters) and Fake Josh Gradinger. If the NE Cheaters lose, it's going to be very lonely in the pool.


Football Pool 2012 Pdf2


Lets see if we can make up for a horrible start to the season last week. Usually we start strong and fade. 

Sorry Fins, but we like the visiting Raider giving a point to the home Fins.  

We like the Falcons at home -3. Denver just ain't that good. 

Under 44 Giants/Bucs.  Under 44.5 KC at Buffalo. And over 41.5 J..E...T...S  at Steelers- although this is close. Go lightly on this one. 

Game of the week: Ravens at Eagles. Just how good are the Ravens? The Eagles can bring it on D.  Should be a good one. 

Enjoy the games, Remember- court is closed Monday. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

MISTAKES AND mistakes

Judge Will Thomas had to declare a mistrial Thursday in the Lebron trial. This case occurred in 2002. It has been to the 3rd DCA and back once and Lebron- accused of being the shooter- has waited while other co-defendants who were severed went to trial before him. 

The facts of the case- a kidnapping, sexual assault and murder are particularly disturbing. It could not have been easy for the mother of Ana Maria Angel, the young woman murdered, to learn of the mis-trial. She has endured more than almost any of us ever will, and has waited a decade for this person to go to trial. Judge Thomas by all accounts handled the mistrial in a professional yet sensitive matter. The mistrial occurred when a detective volunteered information that a co-defendant had gone to trial and been convicted. Mr. Lebron is entitled to a fair trial and the testimony of the detective- not solicited by the prosecutor- would have jeopardized that.   Nobody wants this case to take another decade by being over turned on appeal. Here's hoping that when the trial re-starts next Wednesday it proceeds quickly and cleanly. 

PD/FACEBOOK
We avoided posting on the PD/Facebook fiasco the other day because we didn't want to fan the flames of publicity. The young woman involved made a mistake. People do that. Even lawyers. Sometimes even the best of us make a bad judgment and do something that on retrospect we know to be wrong. That is what occurred here. The PD paid for her mistake with her job. We think that is wrong. By all accounts she was a very good advocate for the clients she represented. Hard working and not afraid to go to trial. The Herald wrote the story, news outlets picked it up- the "Legal Briefs" headline was irresistible to the news media writing about a case where a lawyer posted a picture of her client's silly looking underwear. The news even made it to the London Daily Mail.  Enough is enough.  There isn't a lawyer who has ever tried a case who hasn't in a moment of pressure, frustration, or tiredness, done or said a stupid thing they immediately wished they hadn't. But in 2012 the rise of instantaneous social media connectivity means those mistakes get publicized around the world at the speed of light. We wish the PD well. Based on her excellent reputation before this matter, we would have no qualms about having her sit with us the next time we go to trial. This will pass and she will bounce back. 

FOOTBALL POOL WEEK TWO UPDATED AS OF 2PM-The overwhelmingly popular pick is the NE Cheaters. We hope they get crushed at home by the mighty Arizona Cardinals. 

Football Pool 2012 Pdf2 Enjoy your weekend. COURTS CLOSED MONDAY for the celebration of the Jewish New Year. 

See you in court on Tuesday. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

BEST PIZZA IN MIAMI

BREAKING: MISTRIAL! Judge William Thomas declared a mistrial in the Lebron case this (Thursday) afternoon as a detective apparently made a refence to the trial and conviction of a co-defendant. More on this obviously heartbreaking and frustrating development as it becomes available.
Herald/Ovalle article on mistrial here.
Retrial with jury selection to begin again next Wednesday.



Harry's- in the Design District- has been tagged as one of the "Best New Pizza Places in the US" in this  Huffington Post on line article. 
                         (Chef Michael Schwartz's Trugole  pie)

Your choice? 

REMINDER: Get your suicide pool picks in. Week two starts with Da Bears at Packers Thursday night football tonight. 

PCA'd.
Getting PCA'd after spending a year working on an appeal stinks. A quick check of the 3rd DCA's opinions issued wednesday shows 24 PCAs and ONE written opinion (and in that opinion they wrote to cut off a prisoner's ability to file anymore appeals.) Not a great day at the 3rd DCA for the defense. 

Lebron Murder Trial:
Just follow @davidovalle305 on twitter for updates on the gruesome Lebron murder/kidnapping/sexual battery trial. He is sitting through the entire horrific case.  The hashtag is #AnaMariaAngel. 

See You In Court.