BREAKING: A COMPROMISE VERDICT IN SEAN TAYLOR TRIAL: The jury found Eric Rivera guilty of second degree murder WITHOUT A FIREARM and Guilty of Burglary with a Battery WITH A FIREARM. The practical affect of this on the sentencing of the defendant is nil. As a juvenile at the time of the crime he was not eligible for either the death penalty or life in prison. But having been convicted of a life felony (armed burglary with a battery) the judge can issue a very lengthy sentence which is what the prosecution was seeking. (+40 years?)
Congratulations to ASA Reid Ruben who handled this case from its inception, and was assisted at trial with Ray Arojo and Penny Brill. Well done. The family of Sean Taylor must be gratified to finally have some closure in the case, although they might naturally feel somewhat confused or disturbed by the fact that the evidence and theory of the case was that Rivera was the shooter, and as to the murder charge, the jury did not make that finding.
Very quietly last week we published our 2,500th blog post.
It has been an extremely gratifying endeavor to be allowed to write for our friends and colleagues and be a voice for a courthouse and a profession that has taken up more than half our life.
We have tried to be fair and we have tried to be conscious that in this age of Google and internet searches, seemingly innocuous comments on a small blog can have far ranging consequences.
For those of you who click in every few days, thank you for reading. For those of you who take it a step further and write a comment or two every now and then, thank you for participating, because it is your voice that in every way makes this blog of the life and times of the lawyers and judges and bailiffs and JAs and court reporters and correctional officers and cases and clients of Richard E Gerstein Justice Building a successful one.
Deliberations continue today in State v. Eric Rivera. Rivera is accused of being the triggerman in the deadly home invasion The burglary and murder of football star Sean Taylor. The jury threw commentators into a tizzy on Friday by asking about the differences in terms that constitute manslaughter and second degree murder. Earlier in the day Friday the defense had turned down the opportunity to request a mistrial when a West Statute book was located in the jury room.
The first Monday in November begins a three week dash until the Thanksgiving holiday which is then followed by the December holidays, which means if you have a case to be tried, now is the time until next year.
On Friday we received this request from Judge Wolfson about the death of long time bailiff Tony Escobar.
Dear Rumpole - please post as soon as possible.
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of my devoted bailiff and dear friend Francisco "Tony" Escobar on October 30, 2013 after a battle with cancer. Tony served as my bailiff for the last 3+ years, and prior to that with Judges Norman Gerstein and Judy Kreeger. In total, Tony served nearly 28 years in our court system. There will be a Celebration of Life in honor of Francisco “Tony” Escobar on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 6:30 P.M. at Miami Lakes Baptist Church located at 6250 Miami Lakes Drive East, Miami Lakes, FL 33014. Tony’s favorite color was red, so please feel free to wear red in his honor.
In addition, please feel free to forward this information, as Tony impacted the lives of generations of people in the legal community.
If you have any questions, please call Janet Samper at (786) 412-0974.
See you in court.