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. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM
Monday, January 14, 2013
INAUGURATION - JANUARY 21, 2013 - HUH????
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
MONROE, TAYLOR, HAYES, WILSON, EISENHOWER, REAGAN, and now, OBAMA .....
What do these seven men have in common? (Yes, I know they were all Presidents).
Only six times in our nation's history has the constitutionally mandated date for a Presidential Inauguration fallen on a Sunday. This Sunday, January 20, 2013 will be the seventh time. President Obama will take the oath of office in a private ceremony on Sunday. He will follow that up with a public ceremony on Monday, January 21, 2013 at the Capitol.
Trivia Questions 1 and 2: Who was the first President to take the oath of office on January 20th? And why did our country change the Inauguration date from March 4th to January 20th? Bonus points if you can manage to answer either question without the use of Google or Bing.
WETHERINGTON, RIVKIND, FARINA, BROWN, and now, SOTO .....
50 years ago you could look around the classroom of any 1LW and what you would find were a lot of white males sitting behind their desks. Fast forward to 2012 and 57% of our Circuit and County Court Judges (70 of the 122) in Miami-Dade County are female. The current numbers are:
Circuit Female: 44
Circuit Male: 36
County Female: 26
County Male 16
On Friday, January 11, 2013, Judge Betila Soto became the Chief-Judge Elect. Current Chief Judge Joel Brown, who took over in 2009 and was in his second two year term announced that he would not seek a third term. Judge Soto was the only Judge who filed notice that she was running for the job. Judge Scott Bernstein was considering a challenge, but chose not to run. Judge Soto becomes the first female Chief Judge in our Circuit and will assume the job on July 1, 2013.
Judge Gerald Wetherington served as CJ from 1981-1991.
Judge Leonard Rivkind served for two terms from 91-95
Judge Joe Farina was our longest serving CJ; elected seven times, he served from 1995-2009.
Trivia Question #3: Who preceded Judge Wetherington as Chief Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit?
HEY CAPTAIN, THERE ARE 123 JUDGES IN THE ELEVENTH, NO? ......
Yes, you are correct. And there is currently one open seat in the County Court. Group 17 seat-holder Eric Hendon was elevated to the Circuit Court bench when Judge Joe Farina retired and a total of 22 attorneys have applied for the job including:
David Alschuler, Robert A.Coppel, Michelle Ashby Delancy, Norida Diaz, Jason Emilios Dimitris, Shahrzad Emami, Erica L. Gerstin, Julio Gomez, Pamela M. Gordon, Christopher Green, Scott Janowitz, Oscar Levin, Steve Lieberman, Shirlyon J.McWhorter, Jonathan Meltz, Sandra Miller-Batiste, Andrew A. Ostrow, Melba Pearson, Bruce S Reich, Leslie Sharpe, Joshua B. Spector, Julie Harris Terry
Our early favorite would have to be Jason Dimitris. Who do you think deserves consideration and who does not belong on the list? Be nice.
RATE THAT JUDGE .......
Speaking of appointments, Governor Rick Scott has made a total of 24 judicial appointments in Miami-Dade County in his first 24 months in office: (please post your ratings and reviews of our new judges in the comments section - 5 is our highest rating and 1 is our lowest; the DCBA has their rating system and we have ours; please consider judicial demeanor, legal acumen, etc.):
Fleur Lobree (County)
Ivan Fernandez (3rd DCA)
Thomas Logue (3rd DCA)
Fleur Lobree (Circuit);(no, you are not reading double)
That's 13 males and 11 females in case you are keeping count. The real question is whether they keep count up in Leon County. Interesting to note that, it was only immediately after this BLOG posted an piece about the fact that there was an absence of blacks getting appointed by the Governor, that Governor Scott chose Rodney Smith (June 12, 2012) and Eric Hendon (December 1, 2012) to open Circuit Court seats. Coincidence? See The Captain's post of May 15, 2012.
JUDICIAL ROTATIONS ......
And finally, the list that you have all been waiting for, courtesy of our friends at FACDL. Our annual January rotation is taking place this month and there will be new faces on the bench at the Gerstein Justice Building. Say hello to:
Judge Maria Verde - she takes over for Judge Arzola in Division 5.
Judge Teresa Pooler - she takes over for Judge Bloom in Division 13.
Judge Miguel de la O - he takes over for Judge Walsh in Division 15.
Judge Jeri Beth Cohen - she takes over Drug Court for Judge White-Labora.
Judge Fleur Lobree - she takes over for Judge Firtel in Division 62.
Other changes that you may notice throughout our criminal justice system include:
Judge Lindsey moves from Juvenile to Civil
Judge Maria de Jesus Santovenia moves into Juvenile
Judge Betty Capote has been assigned to Criminal at NDJC
Judge Michele Barakat has been assigned to Criminal at SDJC
Judge Tanya Brinkley has been assigned to Criminal at SDJC
Judge Ivonne Cuesta has been assigned to Criminal at Hialeah
Judge Diana Gonzalez has been assigned to Criminal at GJB
Judge Lawrence King moves from Criminal to Civil at SDJC
Finally, a special congratulations to Judge Deborah White -Labora who leaves her Drug Court assignment after five years. Judge White-Labora took over Drug Court from one of the best judges our Circuit has been blessed to ever have, Judge Jeffrey Rosinek. Rosinek took the Drug Court program to new heights during his tenure and Judge White-Labora did a yeoman's job filing his shoes. Judge White-Labora moves to Domestic Violence at the Lawson Building.
The Captain welcomes all our new judges to the GJB and to our branch courthouses. I'm sure Rumpole will have more introductory comments for each of you.
Trivia Question #4 - DADE COUNTY’S MOST REMARKABLE JURIST, name him .....
UPDATE: Congrats to 2:20 pm who provided the correct answer with the name of Judge Vince Giblin. To read a truly incredible story about one of Dade County's most "infamous" Judge, please see: http://www.browardbar.org/media/pdfs/JudgeGiblinArticle2010.pdf
In my days at college, I had a reputation as a successful skive. But I had nothing on this man. He was a well respected attorney with a brilliant legal mind who at one time represented Public Enemy Number One before serving as a Circuit Court Judge in Miami. While practicing law he was held in Contempt of Court no less than three times and he was acquitted each time. As a Judge he disbarred attorneys for being accused of their affiliation with the communist party. He actually served a term as Judge in a neighboring County earlier in his career despite the objections of the Ku Klux Klan. While on the bench, he was arrested for driving away from the scene of a traffic stop by a Coral Gables motorcycle officer. The Judge was on his way to the courthouse and was late for the bench. Name that Judge. (Judge Silverman is disqualified from answering this one as he is our most noted Historian of the Miami-Dade Historical Society).
CAPTAIN OUT .......