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, March 21, 2013

A WARNING TO A PROSECUTOR


A LAWYER SHALL NOT.....

(d) engage in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, including to knowingly, or through callous indifference, disparage, humiliate, or discriminate against litigants, jurors, witnesses, court personnel, or other lawyers on any basis, including, but not limited to, on account of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, employment, or physical characteristic;
FL ST BAR Rule 4-8.4

This is a warning. It probably doesn't apply to you, so you can click on over to  Amazon or DOM, or  "court reporters gone wild" or whatever. 

About two weeks ago a jury returned a not guilty verdict in a murder trial before Judge Rodriguez-Chomat, The trial was hard fought and lasted two weeks. 

As the jurors were being discharged by the judge and filing out, the prosecutor loudly stated his intention to try the defendant on a separate, pending felony charge, the existence of which the jury was unaware. The prosecutor said this as a way of expressing his anger with the jurors and to try and let them know they had made a bad decision. 

The prosecutor's conduct was beyond outrageous. It affects the administration of justice. Those jurors are tainted from ever serving again.  

A state attorney's office supervisor needs to speak to this prosecutor. If this is how he handles a loss, one can only wonder what he would do when confronted- as another prosecutor was recently- with turning over exculpatory evidence during a high profile murder trial. That prosecutor acted in the finest traditions and obligations of a prosecutor. 

This prosecutor- sniveling about his loss, decided to try and publicly humiliate and blame jurors who were just making a decision based on the evidence he provided, or failed to provide. 

This prosecutor should take a lesson from  the responsible prosecutor who told the jury this during his closing in the penalty phase of the recently concluded Lebron trial:
"The fault dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves."

 Mindful of our obligations as a blogger, we have not published this prosecutor's name. But it doesn't mean we won't if this matter is not addressed. So for the moment, don't try and post his name in the comments section.  But we warn him and his office, because other rules are at play here and the judge and the defense attorneys might not be as patient as we are:
(a) Reporting Misconduct of Other Lawyers. A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall inform the appropriate professional authority.

FL ST BAR Rule 4-8.3

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rumpole woke up with his panties in a bunch this morning.

Rumpole said...

Rumpole never sleeps. I'm everywhere. I see everything.

Anonymous said...

Calling Don "the hammer" Horn.

Anonymous said...

I agree tha the prosecutor needs to be counseled, but find it amusing that you end your post with a tacit threat to report the incident to the Bar if nothing is done. Threatening to report a lawyer to the Bar if something is not done, or offering to refrain from reporting a lawyer to the Bar if something IS done) are both violations of the rules as well.

BTDT

Rumpole said...

I don't want this kid fired. I don't even want to publicize his name. Everyone makes mistakes. It hurts to lose (so I hear anyway.) Learning from a loss makes a lawyer a better trial lawyer. But this prosecutor's response should be a warning sign. Prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, even above wining a jury trial and this kid apparently doesn't know or respect that. By all accounts this was a principal case in which the defendant was not the shooter and didn't do anything close to the act involved in the killing.

The SAO needs to take a close look and him and make a decision as to whether or not they can continue to trust him with the responsibilities of his office. Or a tragedy will happen with him sooner or later and he will put an innocent person in prison.

Anonymous said...

Be careful of the thought seeds you plant in the garden of your mind. Good thoughts bring forth good fruit; ugly thoughts rot your meat. G. Clinton

Rumpole said...

I agree with how it reads. However my thought and intention is that the judge or defense attorneys could do it. I can't. I didn't see it. But your comment is well taken.

Anonymous said...

This particular prosecutor is known for shady behavior. He is one of about a half dozen in that office right now that are so blatantly unethical it baffles all who come into contact with them. They withhold brady material, coach witnesses to changing their stories on the stand (as if we don't already have them lockedin in deposition)and generally run afoul of all principles of law and ethics.

But this particular prosecutor should be use to losing considering he has done a lot of it over the last few years.

But sadly, they are not alone. Some of them make it onto the bench as well. One judge in particular, who is known in REGJB as being openly hostile to defense attorneys, callously said to a defendant as the jury was walking out the door after an acquittal, one case down and on more to go. So these prosecutors are never reined in. They go on to become judges and some even make it onto the 3rd. It is despicable.

Rumpole said...

I updated the post to change the final language to better reflect that the prosecutor is in jeopardy of the judge or defense attorneys reporting him.

10:20 AM- if you email me the name of the case and I can get a transcript that shows a judge saying that to a defendant in front of the jury- I will name names and pound this judge until a JQC complaint is filed. That is completely unacceptable behavior for a judge and I would never be as patient with a judge engaging in this as I am with a young prosecutor who just needs to get his head straight.

Anonymous said...

One guess who the judge was...

the trialmaster said...

that comment is nothing new. I tried a murder case before then Judge Ira Dibitski. After the jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty, Ira said before they were discharged to the baliff,"when is the defendants next murder case set for trial? so the jurors all could hear. The jurors were deflated and probably could never be a fair juror ever again.

Rumpole said...

I'd love to know who the judge was. I am serious. I won't tolerate that crap. No one should from a judge.

Anonymous said...

Is there any account of this happening from someone who, unlike yourself, was actually there?

Anonymous said...

I've had three prosecutors do that to me over the years. happy to name names. One is now a judge.

Have also had a judge say "you just let go a ...."

Rumpole said...

Yes 12:22. Without handing anyone up, go ask any of the Pds before Rodriguez-Chomat. It was not a PD case but they all know it happened. Or go ask the judge. Or find out which clerk was there for the verdict on the ng murder case two weeks ago. I don't just print stuff. I have three different people on this who separately confirmed to me that it occurred. My guess is even the ASA will admit to it.

Anonymous said...

Rodriguez chomat presides over murder trials? Yikes. He's not even able to properly handle First appearance court it would appear.

Rumpole said...

Not sure I am comfortable with the initials thing when complaining about an ASA/PD. But I will let you post by identfying the division they are in.

Brad said...

Having been an ASA for four years I know how badly a loss like that can hurt. I had one particular attempted rape and murder NG where the vic knew the Def but the PD managed to raise just enough doubt with a far fetched but clever alternate theory. (great job by him) I felt the system and law enforcement had failed the victim, who couldn't understand what happened. When leaving the court I saw a bunch of jurors waiting for the elevator and just barely held back from calling them a bunch of idiots or something else ill-advised. I'm not condoning what the ASA did, but emotions can run very high in such situations. It's not just the loss,(at least it never was to me) but the feeling that the victims depended on you for justice and you let them down; especially those involving violent or sexual crimes. That being said, some serious accusations were made by the comment at 10:20. If anyone has solid exampled I'd like to hear them instead of "a bunch do this all the time".

Anonymous said...

That's nothing. I got a NG in front of Glick (the Father) one time, and right after he told the jurors that they just let a career criminal and repeated felon walk. Real nice. You should have seen their faces drop. It was pretty disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Hey, remember when Al Milian was a Broward ASA? Remember what he said to the press after a not guilty verdict that really pissed him off?

He called the jury "lobotomized zombies and morons." It made national news.

I'm not sure if that is before or after he punched a defense lawyer in the face.

He only got in trouble with the Bar but, the SAO did nothing... well they gave him a raise.

Kathy on the other hand will not be impressed with that stunt and will probably do something.

"Unabridged American Minority" said...

Someone recently stated:

"As much as I appreciate the service that cops and prosecutors provide, I recognize that they're human and know there's good and bad everywhere."

"It will never cease to amaze me that so many on this blog see everything in black and white."

And then I read this,The tape, along with the inconsistent testimony of Miami Detective Jorge Morin, weighed on jurors.
“I think we got a very unanimous feeling that the Miranda [waiver] and testimony of Detective Morin was shady,” said Dunn, who declined to reveal his own vote.

And then I read this,At trial, Escobar’s defense lawyer, Phil Reizenstein, honed in on Morin’s seeming contradictions in testimony over the years, including whether he lied when he previously claimed Escobar had no lawyer.

“I never profess to be perfect in any investigation,” Morin acknowledged from the stand after hours of sparring. “When you’re dealing with investigations, you’re dealing with the human element.”
The strategy worked. Jurors almost immediately asked to hear a read-back of Morin’s testimony, which took more than a day.

And I thought gee whiz BTDT (Bias To Degree Thinking is Abandoned)theory is garbage and doesn't hold up and the jurors saw things in "Black and White" and "Color" and still use common moral sense and didn't buy his "I'm human" malarky speech.

I think this totally debunks your theory once and for all. Your words/theory, TOTALLY DEBUNKED.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole,

If you're not going to post even the initials of those who continually violate the law and ethics, and the credibility and sanctity of the justice system, knowing the Florida Bar will most likely do nothing, then what is the point my good man ?

Call them out, that's the least you can do as a gate keeper of justice.

old guy said...

Long ago, when it was Pollock - Tunkey - Robbins, I watched them try a Burglary/Rape case in front of Sepe. They got an NG.
Sepe made the jury stay to watch his immediate probation violation hearing on a prior rape case. He violated him while the jury watched, gave him 15 years -- then turned to them with a sneer and thanked them for their service.

Anonymous said...

Family coming to town over spring holidays to meet GF. Need a table for 8 for steak. First- Prime112 or Meat Market or Smith and Wolensky or BLT

2nd- who can get me in without waiting two hours. I will pay the mait're d, just need an in.

Rumpole said...

7:05. I have a few thousand readers a day. Any name I post will immediately show up in a google search. So I have a responsibility to not let someone with a grudge smear someone else. For instance, an anonymous post by a disgruntled defendant or his or her family calling a prosecutor unethical is something I strive to avoid. Therefore, I am very cautious about calling someone out. What's the problem with saying something like "the prosecutor before Judge XYZ is not to be trusted because...."? That serves the purpose without me having to run down every rumor, which I cannot do because I am busy picking out a new boat. Even initials bother me, although at the moment I cam not sure exactly why.

Anonymous said...

Brad, this is 10:20.

You are right, those accusations I made are in fact serious. But from the comments that followed, it appears that this issue has occurred many times before. In fact, I dare to say that judges acting in violation of judicial canons and Florida bar rule are more common than attorneys doing the same.

I have not been around a long time. But I can say that most prosecutors, the overwhelming majority of them, are decent and honest people. Sure, there are bad apples. Prosecutors with no perspective who think that their number 1 goal is winning. But then you have prosecutors like Reid Rubin who demonstrate the best qualities we expect from those entrusted with so much power. The same is true for defense attorneys.

But it is the judges, those bad apples who we give so much power to who act the worst. And those who are blatantly disrespectful and who violate the rules and ethics of their office are also in a minority.

Anonymous said...

the best steakhouse in town in Red the Steakhouse South of Fifth.

Anonymous said...

I had wondered whether we would be able to tell when the mantle of Rumpole had been passed to another. I confess myself to be disappointed in the change in tone and approach from my favorite legal blogger. I write not to take issue with your position as I believe that embarrassing a jury with information they weren't allowed to have is just cruelty without purpose and thus inexcusable. However the level of vitriol, the threats, and the lack of detachment in your post and comments are jarring. More so is the complete absence of good humor that characterized this blog's reporting on far more worrying scandals than this one. (New) Rumpole, please strive to a standard higher than that of the spiteful common posters that sometimes litters this blog's comments.

Rumpole said...

Some topics call for humor, some do not. As astounding as this may seem, I cannot be funny all the time (I know, it's hard to accept, but it's true.)

As to the mantle being passed, I asked for help in running the blog and no one stepped up. In my humble opinion, the level of writing has consistently remained superb and the standard by which all written material should be measured. The only thing that has changed, is due to the amount of work I have, I am posting less than usual. Other than that, and perhaps losing a step or two on my outside jumper, I am the same.

Anonymous said...

I am now in my 40s and well into my second decade practicing law. I started off and the SAO. While at one time I did a fair amount of criminal defense, most of my practice is now civil.

The thought of the power I had as a prosecutor--in my mid-20s with no real life experience--now scares the shit out of me (please pardon my language). I, and my colleagues, were young and thought we knew much more than we did. And our supervisors in many cases did not have much more experience than us.

I may not have gotten smarter as I have aged, but I have gotten wiser. While I learned much during my tenure as an ASA, looking back, I had far too much power than was good for me. And the same can be said for many of my pit colleagues.

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:22. Save your money. She will dump you some day after you pay for her boob job. Rob you blind. That dinner you so covet will cost you $1500 +. For $300, you can be entertained by a very quality hooker who will be ten times more honest than the gf you want to show off. Take your relatives to any cheap joint with outdoor seating. The weather at this time of year is all they care about anyway. I just saved you oodles of $ and a lot of future aggravation. Take it from someone who has been there and back.

CAPTAIN said...


To 4:17 PM:

Judge Al Milian .....

Say that one fast, three times, in a row, and see if it sticks.

He filed to run in an open Circuit Court seat for 2014 in Dade. His Treasurer is Hector Lombana.

To DS:

How many jury trials do you have now?

Cap Out .....

Lauri Waldman Ross said...

Alot of the people commenting have very specific stories about improper comments made by judges to jurors. Now, how many of you filed a JQC complaint at the time? The answer is probably none.During the time I was prosecuting jqc complaints I discovered that lawyers were the least likely people to step forward, and almost never wanted to step up and get involved. The heros were other people who worked in the courthouse and were appalled with what they saw. Just saying!

Anonymous said...

Kathy won't do anything about the prosecutors in her office. There have been several mentioned in this blog over the years and she just looks away. As long as they get convictions (at what cost?), she remains in office. Kathy, I say, clean house. There are some prosecutors in the SAO that have been there for years and should retire, or should have been let go years ago (one woman in particular) for improper ethics. Something has to be done.

Anonymous said...

Lauri,

you are absolutely right. We snipe and complain anonymously about the conduct of these judges. But the truth is, we are scared. Not so much of those judges, but of their friends who also wear black robes, their friends who are fellow defense attorneys and prosecutors who will treat us and more importantly, our clients, worst for standing up and saying something. So we complain to Rumpole because he provides the only venue where we feel safe saying what we really believe about them. These judges, some of them, are such bullies on the bench. They are just plain nasty. You talk to Judge Soto or Sayfie about it and they try, I guess, to do the best they can. But these judges don't care. They just continue to bully lawyers and defendants because they can.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Steakhouse questioner,
The best is to go to Lorenzo's in NMB buy their Rib-eyes and cook them at home on the grill / BBQ.
But for steakhouses,
RUTH CHRISS IS THE TOPS.
Its my opinion , but I've cooked over 40,000 steaks, working at night in law school, when I was Senior Night Cook at Steak & Ale, Aventura.

DS

Cap:

Just finished back to back trials.
172 over all -
165 Sworn Juries in Felony cases

Anonymous said...

File a bar complaint?!?

Jews don't turn Jews into the Nazis.

Anonymous said...

I see this thread ending up just like the one dealing with bail bondsmen and kickback to attnys.
"Everybody" knows of this happening, "everyone" has heard the statements made, but yet nothing ever gets done.
Why?
Cuz as hard as we think we work, we don't want to get involved. nobody wants to be known as the snitch. And we wonder why our witnesses don't want to testify.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious Rumpole is at the investiture of Chief Judge Soto. Not a comment has been approved in hours.

Anonymous said...

If one did their homework and asked around what prosecutor they genuinely felt was, uncrupulous, dishonest,unethical and overzealous and malicious. Chances are they would tell you the tall asa in narcotics that resembles "Remy" bka actor Michael Rappaport who played the role in the 1990 movie Higher Learning.

Rumpole said...

Congrats to Judge Soto although the speeches are droning on and on and on and on....

Anonymous said...

I have always known Lenny Glick to be a miserable, sarcastic and cruel judge. He would make comments on the bench which were downright sarcastic and cruel, but he got away with it.

Anonymous said...

You guys complain and grumble yet you voted Kathy back in and refrain from filing Bar complaints and JQC complaints. Kathy is sitting somewhere (broomstick and drink close by) laughing at you all carry on like disgruntled scared little children.