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

Friday, August 02, 2013

VINDICATION

It wasn't that long ago that the world was caving in on Attorneys Guy Lewis and Michael Tein. 
Judge Dresnick was holding contempt hearings into allegations they lied about the source of their fees in the defense of their client in a civil wrongful death case. Bar complaints were in the works. The Herald was giving them as much bad publicity as you will ever see two good attorneys get. And bashing them was easy: they were successful civil lawyers who by all appearances had gotten caught with their fingers in the Miccosukee cookie jar. It's called schadenfreude

The piling on included, regrettably, your blogger and this blog. There have been times that by blogging we have made grievous errors that have hurt people. Mistakenly and prematurely announcing the death of a beloved judge was one such error we will never forget, or forgive ourselves for the pain we caused his family. And believing the Herald's slanted, malicious, and downright erroneous coverage of attorneys Michael Tein and Guy Lewis was another mistake that hurt innocent people. As a criminal defense attorney, we should have known better. 

Then Attorney Paul Calli got involved in the case. And what he did is what we all aspire to as defense attorneys. He undertook the representation of two clients who had almost no friends left. The judge was out to get them. The media was engaging in a very public lynching of their reputations. And the Bar had opened a file. But Calli had one thing on his side: the truth. And luckily for Tein and Lewis they had the right lawyer for this seemingly impossible defense. 

In short order Calli turned the tables. He got his client's stories out. He successfully defended them before Judge Dresnick, exposed the other side's mendacious tactics, and carried the day in civil court. 

This week saw full vindication for attorneys Michael Tein and Guy Lewis as the Florida Bar closed out the complaints with a no probable cause finding and began an investigation into the attorneys for the Miccosukee tribe. The comparison in criminal court is like getting a not guilty and then having the cops arrested for lying. It was a truly remarkable feat of lawyering and one worthy of praise. 

So there you have it. A few lessons learned, two lawyers have their reputations restored, and one damn fine job of lawyering. Not bad. Not bad at all. 

Enjoy this hot summer weekend. Dolphins football starts Sunday.




43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Free Alex Michaels!

Anonymous said...

I agree in general ... the thing is, I have had two separate dealings with these guys, where we were on the same side, and I came away with the belief that they were unethical scum. After many years of practice they are perhaps the only criminal defense lawyers who I just don't trust.

Grey Tesh said...

Rump,
I said it before when everyone was bashing these guys and I'll say it again:

Nobody knows all the facts. I don't know the lawyers personally, but these are merely allegations. Civil allegations. We should build each other up, not tear each other down. Jumping to conclusions without knowing all the facts is dangerous.

Grey Tesh

Anonymous said...

Their reputations have not been fully restored, at least not yet.

The Florida Bar found only that there was no probable cause to believe that they lied under oath regarding the source of their fees.

The lawsuits accusing them of malpractice and fraud are still pending. If they lose there, this victory before the Bar will be an empty one.

I'm not suggesting that they won't prevail in the end, but your haste in declaring them vindicated now is clearly an effort to make up for your haste in declaring them guilty in the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lewis is a personal friend and he's represented me, so I'm not the most objective person to comment. But I've read the coverage in the Herald and their reporting was thinly veiled contempt under the guise of trying to be objective. Somebody there has an axe to grind. I wonder who.

Anonymous said...

Rump: Nice job of cow towing to Calli. What is he getting in return for your agreement to fall on the sword? You are a complete sell out.

Anonymous said...

9:04, you are absolutely correct. Rumpole rushed to judgment on these lawyers in the beginning and now he is rushing to clear their names. Objective reporting is the more prudent way to handle these kind of sensitive matters.

I don't know what happened. The billing of their cases seem very irregular. But I won't jump to conclusions. Paul Calli is one hell of a lawyer though.

Anonymous said...

More sour grapes. Someone with an axe to grind. I think rumpole's observations about the Herald are spot on. Jay Weaver seems out of control. His articles on these guys reflect poorly upon him.

CAPTAIN said...


The Captain Reports:

Well said 9:04 am. I could not have said it better myself.

And Tesh also hits am important point.

If someone stumbled onto this blog without knowing that it is about criminal defense law and read mostly by criminal defense lawyers one would be puzzled. Two things that you can count on when reading this blog:

If one of our own is ever accused of some malfeasance or wrong doing, the criminal defense lawyer readers, the ones who defend the accused, and yell innocent until proven guilty, they are the first ones to convict without any evidence presented in court. They convict in the court if public opinion

And second. God forbid one of us signs a big fee case, or settles a big case, and the fees become public knowledge. Well the wrath of the blog readers will surely rein down upon you. Success equals jealousy when success equals a big fee.

Two sad points, not necessarily about the Blog, but about its readers and about humans in general. We are no better than society in general. I think most of society convicts in the court of public opinion before hearing all the evidence and is jealous when hearing and reading about others making big bucks.

You'd think we would be better than that in our profession. Sadly, we are no better than the garbage truck driver or the school custodian or the handy man at my condo. (In the paraphrased words of Jerry Seinfeld, not that there's anything wrong with any of those jobs).

Sad Rumpole. Maybe you can espouse on those two issues in a future post as to the mindset of your readers when it comes to one of their own being accused of something or one of their own getting paid a big fee. (The story of Lewis & Tein had both of these issues).

Cap Out ...

Anonymous said...

The Miami Herald has unfairly bashed these lawyers without regard to the truth. Why should we EVER hear anything about these attorneys at all ? Why is it the public's business to know anything about complex law suits ? In the opinion of this writer, it smells like an over zealous Herald reporter trying to smear innocent people.

Anonymous said...

Cap,

Well said. There is so much backbiting and hatred that come through on the blog. It undermines my oft stated mantra that the criminal law bar is so much more collegial and civil than the civil bar.

The bigger point is, I think, what if the suits against Lewis Tein are nothing but accusations? What if there is in fact no truth to them? What does that say about the system? About Dresnick ? About the lawyers who may have engaged in such abuse? Is the civil system as broken as our criminal law system? If it comes to pass , as it seems it may, that these suits are political and have no merit, that's like an orchestrated conspiracy by cops and prosecutors to bring a knowingly false prosecution. Will we clamour for justice for our own?

I think the DBR reported that Judge Cooke stayed discovery in the federal case? Does that happen often? What does that mean? Is there an order coming?

Does anyone really believe for a minute that dexter lehitnen and Guy Lewis and Mike Tein were in a conspiracy? I do not. but even if you do, I have not read one thing , even in the Herald, that's supports the lawsuits . Nothing. It's been what, 2 years?

This case, apropos of rumpole's post, looks like a gut check to us all.

Anonymous said...

When and how did Pepe Herrera get caught up in this ? That's a red flag by itself that there is cheating involved. You want to talk about unethical scum? I'm in CABA and that guy makes me want to take a shower every time he is around. Pepe never shuts up - about himself.

Anonymous said...

Cap, jealousy over big fees will never end. That's life. If you make 30,000 a year, anyone who makes 31,000 is rich. And when your day is spent begging for $1500 down, 3 million makes you angry because you're too small to be anything else.

Rumpole said...

Hey 10:26. There's a technical legal reply to you. It might be over your head though. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

CAPTAIN said...



The Captain Reports:

Congrats to State Attorney Investigator on Nomination ...

Amos Rojas Jr., a former longtime law enforcement officer who works as an investigator for the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, has been nominated to serve as the U.S. marshal in South Florida.

Rojas, who was nominated by President Barack Obama on Thursday, is the deputy director of the South Florida Money Laundering Strike Force in the state attorney’s office.

Previously, he spent 24 years with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, retiring as the special agent in charge of the Miami region. Rojas also was a police officer on the Huntsville, Ala., South Miami and Miami-Dade police departments.

A 1983 graduate of the University of Alabama, Rojas must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before he starts his new position as head of the U.S. Marshals Service in the Southern District of Florida.

Obama, in a statement regarding four new U.S. marshal nominees in Florida, Ohio and Texas, said: “These nominees have spent their careers risking their own safety to protect their fellow Americans.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/02/3539841/longtime-south-florida-law-officer.html#storylink=cpy

Cap Out ...

Charles Dickens said...

"Is the civil system as broken as our criminal law system?" No, it is worse. Civil law is a cesspool. The corruption of Equity has infected the Law. The curse of discovery means that no case can be tried to a jury without endless depositions, pointless production and tedious discovery disputes. Civil court is bills, cross-bills, answers, rejoinders, injunctions, affidavits, issues, references to masters, masters' reports, mountains of costly nonsense. Civil Court gives to monied might the means abundantly of wearying out the right, which so exhausts finances, patience, courage, hope, so overthrows the brain and breaks the heart, that there is not an honourable man among its practitioners who would not give—who does not often give—the warning, "Suffer any wrong that can be done you rather than come here!"

Rumpole said...

I keep thinking about my comment. But I have bo desire to change it.

Anonymous said...

Love it, Rump.

mike tyson said...


I would have handled it differently Rump. I would have punched him in the nose.

Anonymous said...

Vindicated? Dresnick hit this guys with a $50,000.00 sanction. The third published an opinion calling them unprofessional. I heard there is still more to come and case is headed back to the third because Dresnick ruled these guys let someone other than the actual client control the case. Vindicated? Wonder what the third will say when it reads the record. Give me a break? It is not over by a long shot. Lets not forget the Nevin Sahipro connection with these guys. Professional? Vindicated? I would not take the odds. These guys were arrogant unethical bullies as prosecutors. They have not changed their spots.

Anonymous said...

Wakey wakey, El Captain, Al Milian has company. Hialeah Divorce lawyer Mary C. Gomez filed against him this week:

http://election.dos.state.fl.us/candidate/CanDetail.asp?account=60687

Nice picture on Avvo. http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/33014-fl-mary-gomez-1240272.html

Bet she's never punched opposing counsel after a trial.

Suany said...

I have know Lewis and Tein for years, and they are the real deal. I can tell you without a doubt that they are the best lawyers out there, period. A lot of ink has been spilled mostly by the scumbag at the Herald who has an unethical journalistic axe to grind against them. The reality is that they rose to prominence quickly in the Miami legal community, because they were very good, and because they won their cases by dogged persistence, creative legal strategies, and plain hard work. The problem is that they caused a lot of envy, and so when the criminals at the Mikosukee Tribe accused them of wrongdoing, it seemed there was no end of green-eyed jerks who jumped on the pile,

The recent decision dismissing the case and then opening an investigation into the Tribe's legal team is fina proof that Lewis and Tein were right all along.

Anyone who has the good fortune of being represented by Lewis and Tein should feel theirselves lucky to have such skilled and ethical lawyers, Their reputations have been singed, and fortunately this will soon be behind them, and they will prevail again as Miami's finest attorneys.

Anonymous said...

When he ws an AUSA. Michael Tein was an unethical attorney

Anonymous said...

Think just saw Lewis at Westside Bagels in Pinecrest. He was smiling from ear to ear. Probably happy to get the bar thing behind him.

Anonymous said...

848 pm is one of the three lawyers now in trouble w the bar and under investigation . Spewing the same rhetoric like the herald . Those 3 lawyers seem like they're in deep trouble w the bar. The tables have turned and they are screwed .

Matt Taibbi said...

Suany,

"Unethical journalistic axe?" All journalism is advocacy journalism. No matter how it's presented, every report by every reporter advances someone's point of view.

Anonymous said...

Perp walk for those three stooges .

Seriously, what they apparently did by passing off trumped up accusations against lawyers sounds like the fla supreme court is going to disbar them.

This case should shock us all, even if we dislike Lewis and Tein .

Anonymous said...

Long time coming for Pepe Herrera. What a weasel.

Anonymous said...

Amy Gomez has a limp 6.7/10 on the AVVO scale.

Anonymous said...

What does it say about judicial elections that Al Millian has a 6.6?

Anonymous said...

AVVO is a joke. Who gives a crap what anyone's AVVO rating is.

Anonymous said...

To Al Milian,

How many other lawyers can say they have punched and beat up defense lawyers?

How many lawyer have called juries labotmized zombies for disagreeing with your bull.

Bill Matthewman got you the not guilty nowithstanding you rude behavior in the murder trial.

You have made your bed.. Good night!

Old Guy said...

Got an email over the weekend from the Ol' Chipper- Chip Beasley. He retired more than 20 years ago to his Dad's spread in Montana to help run the place. Over 10,000 acres. Well, they found oil on it and he's running his own crew. Up to a 100 barrels a day now, and he thinks he can get that to a 1000 a day in five years and keep it there for 25 or so. Oil's around 100/barrel. Do the math. He's loaded. And was a hell of a trial lawyer in his time.

Anonymous said...

Perp walk for tribe lawyer - whoever he is

Anonymous said...

Judges should be respected individuals in our legal community not individuals like Al Millian who are a poor example of what lawyers are. Anyone who has ever dealt with him agrees that he has no business on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who doesn't run around getting colleagues, friends, etc. to bolster their AVVO rating is rated in the 6's (in other words, those who don't use AVVO's services and bolster their numbers get screwed). AVVO is a joke.

Anonymous said...

details! details on hiring a lawyer! who will it be?

Anonymous said...

Nice comment Rump. That's the best you can do? The truth hurts, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Buy Avvo advertising and you'll get a 10 real quick. Just like becoming a Super Lawyer or have the DBR rank you as a Lawyer-God or something else only costs 5k in advertising and plaques.

Just for shits and giggles, I should take the Super Lawyer logo and add it to my email signature.

Anonymous said...

Tannebaum has been an Avid Avvodian for years.

No one self-promotes by bashing self-promoters more than he.

No one uses social media to bash people who use social media more than he.

STFU already Tannebaum.

Suany said...

Matt,

While it is not possible to create a truly balanced account, most journalists who are great practitioners try to maintain the patina of objectivity. The scumbag over at the Miami Herald has clearly passed over the line into muckraking, and has made it personal, which is an abuse of journalistic power. By writing in the Herald, he should hold sacred the trust that the Herald has built over many decades for its high quality reporting. In this case, the coverage of Lewis and Tein has been anything but trustworthy, factual and high quality. The decision over what to report versus what to leave out creates lies by omission. Just take into account that he did not report on this vindication AND that the Indian Tribe's general counsel is being investigated for their false accusations. Why is it that readers of the Herald don't find out about this, but they do learn about every false accusation from the Tribe. This is shameful, and the Herald should sanction its wayward staff or suffer the consequences.

Anonymous said...

You use this blog only to advance your agenda and censor fair comment under the circumstances.you left out the racial and ethnic epithets I used in comments I posted to explain Milian's elevator incident.

You are a hypocrite

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahaha

Fat lil tribe lawyer going to perp waddle