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, November 29, 2012

JUDGE CALVIN MAPP HAS PASSED AWAY


 Monica Mapp said...
I am happy to read all of the fond memories everyone has of my grandfather Judge Calvin Mapp. I noticed someone was inquiry on his final arrangements which are as follows:
The Funeral will be held:
Saturday December 8, 2012, 11:00 A.M. at the Historic Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church

Interment: Dade Memorial Park

Viewing
Friday December 7, 2012, 2:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M. at Gregg L Mason Funeral Home
 


Calvin Mapp, a Miami Judge, and the first african-american county court judge in Miami, has passed away. 

Judge Mapp was a fixture in the courthouse for decades before his retirement. Here is a web page listing the first Black police officers in Miami. Judge Mapp is listed as a member of those first officers. 

And here is Judge Mapp  in 1985 square in the middle of a brouhaha between Miami and Los Angeles. Judge Mapp sent a convicted sex offender who was "dumped" in Miami back to Los Angeles. Then Santa Monica  police chief James Keane admitted he had sent the offender to Miami by purchasing him a one way ticket in response to a Fort Lauderdale Judge buying a notorious prostitute a one way ticket to LA as an alternative to a jail sentence. 

What is notable about Judge Mapp's passing is this: We are now just a generation removed from a time when Miami was a segregated town. When there were separate water fountains and bathrooms  for "blacks and jews" and many homes in Miami were sold with restrictive covenants prohibiting the sale of the property to people with jewish or black blood. 

Judge Mapp broke a color line.  His memory stands to remind us that it was not that long ago when there were religious and sex and race lines that had been firmly drawn and needed heroes to step up and break them. 


WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?








To get to an 8am sounding calendar in court,  of course. 









SHAKESPEAREAN DRAMAS

Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.

The Witches, Macbeth, Act I, Scene I




In West Palm Beach, the  drama of fallen judge Ana Gardiner is playing out in a bar hearing. 
Judge Gardiner took the stand yesterday to tearfully recount how she lost everything, including her job as a judge. You will remember that Judge Gardiner engaged in texting with Broward Prosecutor Howard Schienberg while Schienberg was prosecuting a death penalty case before her.  While Gardiner portrayed herself as a remorseful, if not pitiful victim of circumstance, she was far from a caring, compassionate individual- not to say an unbiased judge- while she and Schienberg shared snickers and  laughs over how the gruesome pictures affected members of the jury. 

The Sun Sentinel coverage is here, including this excerpt: "Feeling brutally flayed by a courthouse blog,* in a depressive hole and unable to get out of bed in the morning, Gardiner said she began to be absent from work: 'I couldn't handle continuing to work in that place' she said. 'I've given everything up, including one of the things that I loved the most, which was my job,' she said. 'I lost my job forever. I lost my ability to ever, ever sit as a judge.' "


PANDO'S NEW PROBLEMS
Meanwhile, another former judge has new problems, as  Judge Ana Pando, who lost her seat in an election, and resigned in a fit of pique, has new charges against her, courtesy of the JQC. The charges include  improperly accepting and not disclosing gifts and campaign contributions, and writing bad checks. The WLRN story is here, and here is an excerpt from the JQC complaint: 

From at least June 2010 and continuing during the pendency of these proceedings, you have routinely written worthless checks off of two separate checking accounts maintained by you. Your conduct in writing bad checks is fundamentally dishonest, unethical, and brings disrepute on the judiciary and the legal profession as a whole.

The bard is best read when looking for answers to the unanswerable questions of life:


Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.

Antony, Julius Ceasar, Act III, scene II. 

See You In Court. 


* For once, we were not the courthouse blog doing the brutal  flaying of a Broward Judge, although we enjoyed it immensely. 





Wednesday, November 28, 2012

THEY'RE DANCIN IN THE JURY ROOM

























They're doing something called "Zumba" in the jury pool room this Friday (although on the commonly 
used Gregorian calendar Friday is the 30th, not the 29th. But this is the REGJB, where time is relative, so we digress.) 

Does Judge Joe Fernandez know about this hoe-down? 
Didn't famed Miami filmmaker @Billycorben get in serious hot water (until rescued by everyone's favourite federal blogger) for doing less in the jury room?  Can the Irish STOMP troupe be far behind? 
Zumba? Really? 

Speaking of Twitter, @davidovalle305 took a vacation just when things were getting fun. But have you seen his replacement @annaedge4 and her tweets? She is covering the much discussed trial before Judge Tinkler-Mendez over the death of young Rilya Wilson and the  motion for mistrial because the Dade SAO used a prosecutor who was under a Bar suspension at the time he gave his opening statement. Edgerton's article on the judge denying the motion for mistrial is here. 

David- enjoy your vacation and google Wally Pipp while you have some time on your hands.  

If you missed our post yesterday, there's a full compliment of trial prosecutors back at work in the Rilya Wilson case. They were down to two for a while. 

So there you have it- they're dancing in the jury pool room and tap dancing before Judge Tinkler-Mendez. It's never boring at the REGJB.
See You In Court. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

ROCK-A-ROBIN

UPDATE: And just like that- a few strings pulled, a few CLE credits filled out, and our "now you see him, now you don't" ASA is back in court prosecuting. But is this the end of his troubles with the Bar? Stay tuned.

If you haven't done so already, you should follow us on Twitter @justicebuilding so you can read all the pity comments and ideas that cross our mind throughout the day and evening. 

NO TICKET-NO LAUNDRY; NO BAR LICENSE -NO PROSECUTION: 

Trivia question: Name the high profile murder case where an unlicensed lawyer gave the opening for the prosecution? 
Answer: The current murder case involving the disappearance of Rilya Wilson. Josh Weintraub gave the opening for the prosecution. Uno problemo: the bar suspended Weintraub this summer for failing to complete CLE credits. 
One would imagine the Florida Bar (Motto: "Welcome, now pay your dues") doesn't look kindly upon the practice of law of any sort while ones license is in a state of repose. 
Interesting side note: apparently a Miami Herald reader posted a comment on line,  in Ovalle's coverage of the trial, noting that Weintraub was suspended. Some people have way too much time on their hands. 

After following us on twitter, you should follow Ace Herald Reporter @Davidovalle305 who is currently tweeting the minute by minute events in the trial over the  (alleged) death of young Rilya Wilson as well as the stand your ground motion before Judge Bloom. The Rilya Wilson case, after lengthy voire dire (latin for "boy am I bored") is being tried before Judge Tinkler-Mendez. Michael Matters and Scott Sakin for the defense.  Weintraub and Weintraub, PC and David Gilbert, ASA,  for the state. 

Query: Is this veteran prosecutor Sally Weintraub's last trial? 
Query: When will Josh Weintraub be re-instated?  Has there been a mad dash to secure several hours of CLE tapes? Instead of preparing for closing argument, Mr. Weintraub will apparently be listening to the scintillating "Advanced issues in property deed recording for the solo practitioner" or some such nonsense. 

FYI: This isn't the first time this has happened to a Dade prosecutor in trial in a murder case. 

Rumpole's 6th rule of trials: Assume nothing; challenge everything. The only thing you waive/wave in trial is the American Flag. 

Our finger is on the pulse of our profession: and that's why we note that the number of LSAT registrants is at the lowest since 1999. (Hat tip ATL blog.

AU BON PAIN: OPEN! and bug free? 

See You In Court. 


FUN SIZE

Welcome back from your Thanksgiving  long weekend. If you listened to our advice over the weekend, you stayed out of Walmart, will stay out of Au Bon Pain, and you picked up and read Julian Barnes'  "A Sense of an Ending": a powerful novel with the stunning ending that leaves you feeling blindsided and yet brings you back to the first few pages which, after re-reading along with a few other parts of the novel, has you sheepishly admitting  you should have seen it coming . 

BAD NEWS: The Florida Supreme Court held here that Padilla is NOT retroactive. 
The long awaited decision in Hernandez v. State was issued the day before Thanksgiving, bringing holiday cheer to ICE agents everywhere in Florida, but devastating the hopes of thousands of foreign national  Floridians  struggling to remain in the U.S. 

It continually astounds us how appellate courts twist themselves to avoid making major criminal procedure decisions retroactive. It's as if they have no concern for the the tens of thousands of defendants sitting in prison or having convictions that under todays rules would never stand. 

And that brings us to the dissent, first published on DOM's blog last week, that should be required reading for all new appellate judges. The  dissent by Judge  Hill in Rozier v. U.S.  is so powerful, that we just couldn't help ourselves from repeating the excerpt that DOM first blogged: 


I reluctantly conclude that our court is determined to deny relief to everyconfined habeas petitioner whose sentence has been unlawfully enhanced under either the career offender guideline or the armed career criminal statute.
***
I must confess I am bewildered that both the United States, through itsDepartment of Justice, and this court appear to rejoice when access toconstitutional protection for the correction of admitted and highly prejudicial error is found to be blocked by unmet procedural “safeguards.” On the contrary, I should have thought that the correctionof such error would be celebrated by all sworn to uphold the Constitution. As is inscribed in the office rotunda of the Attorney General of the United States, “The United States wins its point whenever justice is done its citizens in the courts.” Some in the Department of Justice seem to believe that the inscription reads, “Justice is done when the United States wins.”
  Clearly justice is not the intended beneficiary of these procedural safeguards. On the contrary, the safeguards are designed to protect finality. If these new rules require that finality trump justice, then perhaps, as one member of this panel has opined elsewhere, they are unconstitutional. In any event, I cannot join in this elevation of form over substance; of finality over fairness. Due process is the defining virtue of our system of criminal justice. But we should ask ourselves why. Is it because it achieves finality? Or is it because we believe that, more often than not, we will reach a correct result where certain process is due the criminal defendant. The goal is a correct result – not simply the provision of process. To be sure, we do not guarantee a correct result. But where all know the result is error, to adhere to the process as though it were the end goal is unfair in the purest sense of the word.
This is especially true where the petitioner is in federal custody, not state custody. We safeguard finality for state court convictions out of respect for the dual principles of comity and federalism. Neither of these considerations is due the erroneously sentenced federal prisoner. It seems to me that the majority has striven mightily to avoid granting the writ to someone currently deprived of liberty in violation of law. I am weary of our court’s relentless effort to put more and more procedural angels on the head of the habeas pin. At some point, we must concede, as the Seventh Circuit did recently, that common sense and basic fairness require that we correct these unlawfully enhanced sentences. See Narvaez v. United States, 674 F.3d 621 (7th Cir. 2011).


You tell em Judge Hill. You wrote so eloquently what many of us in the field of criminal defense have felt for so long. Well done 
Judge Hill, well done indeed. 

Finally: 





What the hell makes this a fun size? It's small and all it does is make you want to eat three or four more. Nothing fun about that. 

See you in court. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A BLACK MARK




So this is what Thanksgiving has come to: not giving thanks, but fighting with our neighbors to save a few bucks over some cheap item made in China. Disgusting.  The above video is from a Walmart in Georgia.

AU BON PAIN in our stomach: Speaking of black marks and disgusting, an alert reader sent us this link which gives the report on the health violations at Au Bon Pain which serves the REGJB community. It is NOT just a licensing fee issue. Apparently, the county is upset because the cockroaches found residing in the  troubled estaminet were not paying rent.  So far in our poll, the clear winner is bringing back The Pickle Barrel at 49% with keeping ABP at 33%. Nate Silver now puts the chances at a final vote surge for getting rid of ABP at 74.23% based on the release of the health report. 

From the report
Critical. Observed employee engage in food preparation, handle clean equipment or utensils, or touch unwrapped single-service items, without washing hands before putting on gloves. Corrected On Site.
22-23-1  Critical. Observed encrusted, soiled material on slicer.
32-10-1  Critical. Covered waste receptacle not provided in women's bathroom.
32-16-1  Critical. Hand wash sink lacking proper hand drying provisions. mens Corrected On Site.
35A-03-1  Critical. Observed dead roaches on premises. storage room area, kitchen , on floors.
35A-05-1  Critical. Observed roach activity as evidenced by 15+ live roaches found in the kitchen on floor and walls.




What Rumpole is reading: We're going to try and end on a good note. We took a break after the battle of Britain,  and put down for a moment William Manchester and Paul Reid's  Defender of the Realm to pick up Julian Barnes'  "A Sense of an Ending" : a powerful 163 page novel about  a man looking back on his life. The story is compelling and we read the book -cover to cover- on Friday while digesting our thoroughly vegan Thanksgiving day repast. 
From the NY Times book review: What had happened to the energetic boy he used to be, “book-hungry, sex-hungry, meritocratic, anarchistic,” who thought of himself as “being kept in some kind of holding pen, waiting to be released” into an engaged adult life of “passion and danger, ecstasy and despair”...The Sense of an Ending” is a short book, but not a slight one. In it Julian Barnes reveals crystalline truths that have taken a lifetime to harden. He has honed their edges, and polished them to a high gleam."
NB: The novel was recently espied on President Obama's desk in his study in the residence at the White House. For whatever that is worth. 

The weekend is just beginning. It's a nippy 20 where we are. Stay warm, stay out of Walmart et.al.,  stay out of Au Bon Pain, and enjoy the weekend and see you in court on Monday. 



tday/wal/abp/ru-vaca.12910



Thursday, November 22, 2012

THANKSGIVING




By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

THE SORROW AND THE PITY

As suddenly decaffeinated REGJB clerks, lawyers, judges (listed in order of influence and importance) struggle through their day, the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, bringing with it sudden increases of  Tryptophan, making the loss of cafe con leche and cafe cubano from the closure of Au Bon Pain all the more devastating. 

Where is Governor Chris Christie when we need him most in these trying times? 

------Speaking of Au Bon Pain,  look to the left and take our new poll. 

David Ovalle tweets that the juvenile shooter in the tragic school bus shooting on Tuesday has had his case assigned to former ASA Judge Angela Zayas in Juvenile Court. 

Turkey Taken! Cops following trail of gizzards and stuffing. 

SFL has disturbing news for anonymous bloggers. 

We are thankful for.....
Anonymous blogging. 
No hurricanes hit South Florida this year. 
Not the cry baby miami heat. 
That Mitt Romney is pumping his own gas and not surrounded by secret service agents. 
Our continued excellent health. 
That the last volume of William Manchester's superb biography of Winston Churchill was completed with a co-author Paul Reid. Defender Of the Realm is now out and it is beyond great and spellbinding.  Spoiler alert: England wins; Germany loses. 

And last, and least, our loyal readers. Add to the list of what you are thankful for in the comments section; enjoy your holiday and we will see you in court Monday, with a thermos of coffee and pastelitos in our briefcase. 


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW.....

BREAKING: AU BON PAIN CLOSED BY ORDER OF DPR   "TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY."
While we're on the subject of "piling on" (see below) Au Bon Pain's coffee really stinks. It's cheap swill. Can something be done about that while they scrub the floors?  To be fair, an ABP employee has been saying it's merely a failure to pay a licensing fee. It's always about money, isn't it? 
Now if someone could just get a similar order for the entire Broward legal system ...

Birthdays are occasions for us as individuals to mark the passage of time, reflect on our life, celebrate life, and look to the upcoming year to achieve those goals outstanding on our own personal checklist. 
As a nation, we celebrate birthdays in recognition of the outstanding achievement an individual has made to our collective welfare. 

With that in mind, we wish a very happy birthday to an American of distinction and achievement. Her contributions to society and culture cannot be over estimated. 














HAPPY 56TH BIRTHDAY BO DEREK!

Oh yeah, Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States, turns 70 today as well. Happy b-day Joe.

PASS THE SALT: The consensus of  the sous chef's du blog, from the comments yesterday, is that you should brine your bird. 

L'affair du Messrs. Tein and Lewis:
The immediate take away, if not fall out from the DBR article yesterday (linked on yesterday's blog post until we hear from the DBR lawyers) is that attorneys Tein and Lewis may, just may, have been accused of things they did not do. 

We, as criminal defense attorneys, should be as sympathetic as anyone to the storyline that a person or people are accused of wrongdoing by the authorities (Judge Dresnick) after a complaint (by members of the Miccosukee tribe) which is then trumpeted by the media (The Miami Herald) and sounds reasonable, so we believe it (this blog?) despite the fact that not one bit of evidence has been heard. 

We've taken some criticism in private emails for our coverage of this case. Our response has been that we thought that we were merely echoing the coverage of the Herald. Which we were. But perhaps we have been guilty of more. Certainly we admit to this: no great love for civil lawyers (we tend not to like things we don't understand.) And the story of a couple of civil lawyers caught doing what we think all civil lawyers do (over bill, make things more complicated so as to  increase billing hours) proved tempting to say the least. 

To the extent we engaged in piling on, mea culpa. These two lawyers, like our clients and like anyone, are entitled to a full and fair hearing before any final conclusions are reached. We are ever mindful that this humble blog is widely read and that people's reputations are at stake. Before this controversy, Michael Tein and Guy Lewis enjoyed sterling reputations in the legal community. Reputations that were well earned. To that end we pledge to be more discerning in our coverage of this and other cases. We do no wrong by re-printing allegations in the Herald. But we violate our own DNA by jumping to conclusions not supported by the evidence. 

Tein and Lewis have as good a lawyer as there is - Paul Cali*- on their side.  The facts will come out and the final decision will be what it will be. 

See you in court. 


* ok we did it. Now please withdraw those papers. We don't even know where to park for civil court. 






Monday, November 19, 2012

TURKEY WEEK

UPDATE:
LEWIS/TEIN: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.  (cue Darth Vader music):
We're not sure what it means, but apparently it is good news for embattled lawyers Lewis and Tein and their contretemps with the Miccosukee Tribe. South Florida Lawyers has the details here. 
It's a civil matter (read: mess) so it probably has something to do with a debentured bond and a summary judgment/offer of estoppel/interrogatory response something or other.  Defenders of Messrs. Lewis and Tein have repeatedly and loudly said all was not it appeared to be (and as recounted by Judge Dresnick) and they may be right. 

(If anybody can find a free clip of Tom Hagen in Godfather II yelling "The committee owes my client an apology" during the senate investigation of Michael Corleone, we would be much obliged.)


Very quietly,  long time Dade Corrections Officer Ben Moreno retired. Ben was the consummate corrections officer. Respected by clients, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, Ben was the type of civil servant who made this community a better place to live. Many PDs or young defense attorneys got a boost in trial when their client would tell them that "Officer Moreno said you're doing a good job." Ben Moreno was the C/O who took the infamous Joyce Cohen into custody right after the jury returned a guilty verdict and the judge revoked her million dollar bond. 
From the biggest cases to the smallest ones, Corrections Officer Ben Moreno was a steady influence in the REGJB for thirty years. He will be missed, but he has earned his retirement.

Well Done Officer Moreno; Well Done Indeed!

DOM: He doesn't  just win massive federal drug conspiracy cases (as he did last week when he convinced the Feds to drop the case in the face of catching the CI in many many lies.)
He also gets PTI for famous clients before Judge Newman. 
 DOM: He's everywhere you need him to be. 











Judge Ed Newman was delighted to see David Markus and his client Matthew Newton last week.












Although DOM and his client seem to be facing different adversaries in court, things turned out well as a PTI resolution sent all parties happily on their way. 

Here's the big question: Should you brine your bird?

See You In Court. 



Friday, November 16, 2012

TOBACCO ROAD TURNS 100



Happy Birthday to Tobacco Road, the venerable Miami watering hole, scenes of countless celebrations by lawyers and a few commiserations- for which a few cold ones helped ease the pain of an adverse verdict. The bar turns 100 this weekend. 

REGB Trivia question: Which Miami Judge's family had an ownership interest in the bar? 

Manuel Pardo: Remember him? The Sweetwater cop, ex-boy scout, serial killer? Judge Blake denied a stay of execution. Execution date: December 11, 2012. David Ovalle and the Herald report the story here.  ASA David Waksman was the prosecutor. 

Dolphins lose again. At least they won't lose this Sunday. Devon Bess had a very sweet TD catch but it was not enough. Plus two late INTs sealed Tannehill and the Fin's fate.  

There is NOTHING good about what is going in in Gaza. Mark our words, this could get very ugly very quickly.  If you have money in the market, keep in close contact with your broker. 

The movie Lincoln opens today. There was a private screening for POTUS in the white house yesterday afternoon. We couldn't make it. 

For those of you who follow "Biglaw" Cravath named five new partners.  "Of all the words of song and pen, the saddest are these-'it might have been'. "

GOODBYE TWINKIES: 



Tragedy strikes as Hostess Brands, the makers of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread, is shutting down, beset by debt, bankruptcy and bakers on strike. 



Another beautiful weekend coming up, followed by a short week (Thanksgiving). Don't you love this time of year?

See You In Court. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

JUDGE WILL THOMAS GETS FED NOD




Circuit Court Judge Will Thomas was nominated to the federal district court by President Obama. 
An article announcing the nomination is here




The best thing about being nominated for the federal bench?

You get a cool packet of stuff including an 8x11 signed photograph of the current chief judge of the southern district, suitable for framing, a "Honk If You Love the Senate Judiciary Committee" bumper sticker,  and a groupon booklet of deals, including half off your next 16oz frozen yogurt at TCBY. Also, the life time appointment doesn't suck.  Good luck Judge Thomas. 



Dolphins play the Bills tonight. For the up and down Fins, having been thrashed at home on Sunday, now is the time for a bounce back. 

Does anybody remember how Judge Robert Scola handled his calendar when he was in the REGJB? We were thinking about this other day for no particular reason. He scheduled most of his arraignments and motions and miscellaneous items on Friday. His Monday through Thursday calendars were very short and he had plenty of time to try cases. Judge Scola was thinking outside of the box. 

Or how about this: Take a rotating group of county court judges, say one every two weeks,  and have them handle about 500 arraignments a day- arraignments sent from divisions. This would give division judges more time to handle motions and trials. And it would give the judge handling the arraignments more time to talk to lawyers and clients about the case and help arrange an early settlement of those cases that could be settled. It might be a good idea to try it for a month or two and see how it works out. 

What is clear is this: the current system we have is 1970's thinking and it's now 2012.  Change is the price of survival, otherwise we'd still be dancing to disco at Biscayne Baby's, using our Betamax, driving an AMC Pacer, filing pleadings on paper (oh, wait, we still do that)  and typing on an IBM selectric. 

See You In Court. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

IF YOU SEE KAY....

That headline is an old joke....(phonetically it is sounded out at F u c...) you get the idea. 

The Third District says inquiring about IF YOU SEE KAY under your breath in court is not criminal contempt. The opinion is here.  Although the opinion actually says asking the court IF YOU SEE KAY does constitute direct criminal contempt, the court has to actually hear the word. If, as in the case at bar, the court is informed by some well meaning court personnel (snitch) as to what a defendant said, those facts do not constitute direct criminal contempt.


We say: balderdash. The use of the "F word" should be covered by the first amendment. Apparently one can say F-you to the Dolphins, the Marlins, or even (heaven forbid) the saintly Heat players, but saying it to someone wearing a robe constitutes direct criminal contempt. What a bunch of horse hockey. The next thing you know,  judges will be holding jurors in contempt for tweeting during a trial. Whoops, that already happened to @BillyCorben. 


Judging by the comments yesterday, one thing sells blog pages more than a Judge Hirsch post- a 007 controversy. A surprising number of readers believe the latest bond movie is the best bond movie.  We take ours shaken, not stirred. 

Bill Maher wants to know if, after their election defeats, the Republicans can evolve? He notes that it would be helpful for the GOP to first believe in evolution. 
Great observation. 

See You In Court. 




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

HIRSCH TO 3RD DCA: GO AHEAD AND MAKE MY DAY

After a nice long weekend, lets start with a little housekeeping: some criminal court judges will be rotated to civil where they can spend their days delving into discovery motions, motions for sanctions, motions to strike, motion for defaults, and motions to set aside defaults. Civil a/k/a a fetid swamp of nonsense, awaits:

November 5 Administrative Orders Judge Lisa Walsh to Circuit Civil 2/4/13 Judge Norma Lindsey from Juvenile to Circuit Civil 2/4/13 Judge Antonio Arzola to Circuit Civil 1/14/13 Judge Beth Bloom to Circuit Civil 1/4/13. 
(h/t to an alert reader who posted this in the comments section yesterday.)

And lets remember to give a warm REGB "Welcome back" to Judge Norma Lindsey who last left our humble confines as a county court judge. Now she returns wearing the black for circuit court.   Update: We obviously were a bit hung over from the weekend and couldn't read. Lindsey is going to Civil. Oh well. 

Who saw Skyfall this weekend? Thoughts? 

Obama ended up with 332 electoral college votes. Which means if he lost Florida (29) AND Ohio (18) he stills wins the presidency by fifteen  electoral college votes (285).  So much for the sunshine and buckeye states. 

David Petraeus:
Here are our thoughts: if we applied the same standards we now apply to  Petraeus in 1942, then we fight WWII WITHOUT General Eisenhower and President Roosevelt. We do not condone breaking the Seventh Commandment ("Thou shall not commit adultery") but we would like to keep the best leaders in place so we can worship freely. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post has this editorial: Get Petraeus Back to Work. 

Milt Hirsch: 
When Judge Hirsch set a bond on a murder case, the deceased's family reacted (understandably) with outrage. Their conduct was disrespectful to the court, and Judge Hirsch said as much. The state ran crying to the 3rd DCA and Suarez, Cortinas and Fernandez told Hirsch, nicely, to hop off the case:  We therefore grant the petition for writ of prohibition, but being confident that the trial judge will withdraw, we need not formally issue the writ.

Hirsch should make them formally issue the writ. The problem here is that so few judges have the guts to grant a bond in a murder case, that when they do, the world erupts, the family of the deceased runs to the media and curses the court. In these circumstances,  a judge  has a right to say, as Judge Hirsch did here, that the people were acting and speaking in a disrespectful manner. See the Herald article here to see exactly what Judge Hirsch said.

Hirsch should prove a point and make the 3rd DCA issue the writ- we would love him to say something like our headline. 

Welcome back from a long weekend. See you in court. 

Friday, November 09, 2012

KFR REELECTED

In all the election hoopla we neglected to mention that very quietly, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has been re-elected. Ms. Rundle has been state attorney since Janet Reno became Attorney General on March 11, 1993. Ms. Rundle's 19 years in office surpasses Ms. Reno's 15. Ms. Rundle's tenure as State Attorney has not been without controversy. Certainly there is no reader of this blog who practices criminal law who has not at one time or another become frustrated when an Assistant State Attorney announced in court, for the umpteenth time, that they could not offer a more reasonable plea because their supervisor wouldn't let them. But that is the nature of a large prosecutors office. And Ms. Rundle's tenure has also been marked by many successes, often quietly occurring  outside of media coverage. As citizens of Dade County it is in all of our interests that the Dade County State Attorneys Office continues to be professionally run and staffed by dedicated and talented prosecutors. Congratulations Kathy Rundle, and keep up the good work. 

JUDGE ANDREA RICKER WOLFSON. Congratulations are also due to Judge Wolfson. She should never have had even one challenger, much less two, which forced her into an election run-off in November. It is worth noting that Judge Wolfson has admirably performed her duties as a judge while running non-stop for retention (and that means seven days a week) since March 2012. For the last eight months Judge Wolfson and her husband have worked tirelessly for her retention. We as lawyers and citizens of Dade County are all better off for it. We now have a wonderful judge who is hard working, fair, well respected and a Judge who brings respect and credit to the judiciary every day. When you bump into Judge Wolfson she will probably thank you for your support. You should thank her for her dedication. 

Well done Judge Wolfson. Well done indeed. 

Another wonderful weekend on tap and the Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner. Turkey time! Enjoy the weekend and see you in court on Monday. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

REQUIM FOR THE REPUBLICANS

BREAKING: FLORIDA CALLED!: After a lengthy recount, the Florida Department of Elections is now calling the presidential vote for ....George Bush over Al Gore, meaning Bush will be the 43rd president of the United States.

"I didn't leave the democratic party. The democratic party left me."
Ronald Wilson Reagan.

You can cut the number up anyway you want: 93% of African-Americans voted democratic; 71% of Latinos, 66% of women under 30. Any way you slice it, being the party exclusively of older, white, christian conservative americans is not the path to victory today. 

The Republican party has died. It was suicide. Nothing happened to the Republicans. They did it to themselves. Start with the attempt by republican state officials to curtail early voting and institute voter ID laws clearly aimed at suppressing the African American vote. All that did was steel the African American community to vote. And they did. And no matter how long the line, people waited, as if to say "you can't drive me away. I will vote." Creating voting lines of 4,5,6,7 hours long is a severe poll tax to an hourly worker who doesn't get paid while standing in line.  Those lines didn't just happen. They occurred because republican strategists opposed at every turn measures to increase early voting times and days and measures designed to speed up the voting process. They did so in the name of preventing voter fraud. They are ostensibly trying to fix a problem that does not exist. But their real motives are transparent and in the end served only to increase turn out for the president.

The second thing republicans did to themselves was to  actively destroy any reasonable, moderate republican who was capable of working across the isle with their democratic counter-part.  Indiana Senator Richard Luger was just such a republican. First elected to the senate in 1976, he ably represented Indiana for 36 years until the very qualities that made him so successful and valuable to his party- his reasonableness and ability to comprise, was used against him in the primary, where he lost to a Tea-Party ideologue, who was never Luger's equal as a politician. The reason why Indiana has a democratic senator today is because their state party was hi-jacked by narrow minded politicians lacking skill, ability, experience and knowledge. The entire country lost an exceptionally able politician when Senator Luger was beaten by a two-bit single issue hack, whose only claim to fame, and only real political philosophy and ideal was "I won't compromise." Well, he certainly won't have to  compromise, because he lost and nobody will be seeking his vote even for dog catcher. 

Third: The republicans are being driven by talk radio and the audience for talk radio. There's about 100 million votes up for grabs during any presidential election. About 2-3 million people listen to right wing radio during any given week. Those people, those commentators, are not the backbone of the republican party, but that 4-6% of their base is driving the party. Off a cliff. 

Fourth: There is no room in the republican party for anyone but an non-compromising, right wing, religious ideologue. Democrats have liberals, conservative, blue-dog democrats. The tent is open for all. Look at it another way: what chance would a republican governor of a large western state have  of securing the republican presidential nomination if that governor signed two tax increases during his first two years to balance the budget and signed into law the nation's most liberal abortion bill? None. Congratulations, you just prevented Ronald Reagan, Governor of California, the chance to run for president. 

Fifth: Republicans are not true conservatives. True conservatives  keep government out of an individual's life in every way. Real conservatives support a women's  right to chose an abortion or their form of contraception, since it's their body. Real conservatives know government has no right to stop gay people who want to marry. A limited government  has no right to interfere in private choices or regulate social morals. Republicans today are not true conservatives. They are right wing, religious ideologues who have as much desire to poke their noses and impose their morals on the populace as any socialist. The only difference is the type of  morals and religious ideals they want to impose. The morals the republicans want to impose are from a different time and era. The country has evolved; their party hasn't. 

Sixth: Republicans killed themselves when they abandoned their mind. Who would gather more support in a primary today- a christian conservative with a high school education and strong beliefs against global warming, stem cell research and abortion, or a Princeton educated conservative  economist who was an avowed atheist?  Who would you want in the white house making life and death decisions?

The first vote we ever cast was for Ronald Wilson Reagan for president. The last four votes we have cast in presidential elections have been for democratic candidates. We didn't leave the republican party; the party left us. Rest in peace. 

ELECTION RESULTS 2012



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ELECTION CENTRAL 2012 .....

BARACK OBAMA HAS BEEN RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES




At 11:17 PM on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, all five networks, FOX, CNN, CBS, NBC & ABC called the election for Obama.  With five states outstanding, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio & Virginia, it was OHIO that put Obama over the top.  I believe that FOX called it first and all of the other networks were quick to follow within the next 45 seconds.

It is now past midnight though, and Mitt Romney's camp is not prepared to concede.  They do not believe that Ohio is lost and they have not made the "phone call" to the Obama people.  As a result, all the network talking heads are still talking.  They await someone to take a stage, Romney to concede or Obama to claim victory.

There are now three states left to call: Colorado, Florida, and Virginia, (Nevada was just called for Obama a few minutes ago).  I did call Florida at 10:01 PM tonight for Obama after doing a County by County analysis.

With 73% of the popular vote cast, these are the numbers, (you can't make this up):

ROMNEY - 49,028,980
OBAMA - 49,028,645

OTHER ELECTION NEWS:

Judge Andrea Wolfson appears headed to re-election.  With 83% of the votes counted, Wolfson maintains her lead of 53% - 47%.

All three Florida Supreme Court Justices have been retained after each received 68% of the vote.

All but three of the Constitutional Amendments have gone down to defeat.  The only three that will garner the required 60% of the vote are: Number 2: Veterans Homestead Discount; Number 9: Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran Homestead Exemption; and Number 11: Low-Income Seniors Homestead Exemption.

Congrats go out to former ASA Catherine Vogel who will be the next State Attorney in Monroe County.  The 16th Judicial Circuit vote shows Vogel getting 56% of the vote and defeating Mark Kohl.

Say goodbye to State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff in State Senate District 34.  State Senator Maria Sachs defeats Bogdanoff 53% - 47%.

In a closely watched US House seat, incumbent Allan West is trailing challenger Patrick Murphy.  The vote right now is: Murphy 155,365 (50.16%) - West 154,392 (49.84%).  The margin is less than one-half of one percent - meaning that this race is headed for a recount.

In BROWEIRD COUNTY, there were three Judicial races:  former Circuit Court Judge Julio Gonzalez appears headed to defeat against Laura Watson.  Watson leads 51% - 49%.  In County Court races: Olga Levine defeats Robert Nichols 52% - 48% and Incumbent Judge Robert Diaz will retain his seat over challenger Roshawn Banks 59% - 41%.

Congratulation to all of the candidates and bravo to all those who got out and voted today.

We look forward to our next election cycle in 2014.

As always, feel free to email us with any tips at captain4justice@gmail.com.

CAPTAIN OUT .....


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

ELECTION NIGHT 2012

9PM: Mitt takes Kansas, North Dakota, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas (a shocker...not), Wyoming, Mississippi. 

Obama takes Michigan, New Yawk, and New Jersey. 

Colorado and Wisconsin are the two big states in which the polls have closed at 9PM  but whose results cannot be called at 9pm. 

8:35 pm: VIRGINIA SUSPENDS REPORTING OF RESULTS: as thousands of voters still wait in line. Upwards of 70% turnout in Virginia and even higher turn out in the Prince Williams area which is a heavily democratic area. 
CBS News calls Connecticut Senatorial race for Democrat Chris Murphy, who beat Linda McMahon, who spent over 100 million dollars of a wrestling fortune in her quixotic quest to become a senator. 

The Polls have closed at 8pm and Obama takes Connecticut, Delaware, DC (3 Evs), Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts (Mitt's home state), Maine (3 of 4 EVs. Maine allocates its EV votes) Rhode Island. 
Mitt takes Oklahoma, where the wind....never mind.

Florida too close to call. 

The polls have closed at 7pm. The battleground state of Virginia is too close to call. The senate races in Virginia and Indiana are too close to call. Everyone's favourite socialist- Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has been re-elected. Way to go Bernie!

We're changing our prediction to Obama declared the winner on Wednesday at 12:35 Am. First- anyone foolish enough to pick a time before 11:00 PM EST, cannot win, as the polls in California do not close before then, and Obama needs the California electoral votes to put him over the top. If things go really well for the president, he may know he has won before 11:00 pm., but he cannot officially be declared the winner before then. 

We think Obama wins Virginia but Ohio and Pennsylvania will be too close to call for many hours. Just an educated guess.