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, September 30, 2013

E IS FOR EASY

To start off your Monday with a smile, we present our second installment of "Texts From a Lawyer" (changed from Sunday's title "Texts from a solo-practitioner".  Our enterprising reader explains that "Lenny" is a solo-practitioner and Zoe is his sarcastic secretary. 


E IS FOR EASY AND E-FILING
For those of us who venture into Fed land and/or handle appeals, E-Filing is now old hat and we wonder how did we ever get along without it? 

And last week Broward went "ALL-E"- and word is that if you dare walk up to the clerk's office with a piece of paper the deputies will draw down on you, take you to the ground, confiscate your paper and jail you like a dirty dog. 

And in Miami-Dade? All is as it ever was. Our E-Motto is "last in the state and damn proud of it."  The Supreme Court granted the Dade clerk's motion for a continuance and we won't have E-filing until February, 2014, or until the Federal Government re-opens after the shut down, whichever comes last. 

The scene: A law office in Two Egg Florida (Which is a real town in our state btw). 

Jake (putting some straw between his teeth while removing his straw hat and straightening his seersucker suit) :"Hey Billy-Bob, you hear dem boys down Miami way still don't have E-filing?"

Billy-Bob: (sitting at a computer in his overalls) "Why in dagnation can't them yankees in Miami get their E-filing set? Must be some commie agents from Castro done infiltrated their clerk's office." 

Jake: "You file that writ of coram nobis with the supreme court?"
Bill-Bob: (typing on a computer screen) "Doing it as we speak big hoss."

In Miami, we're still licking stamps. 

See You In Court. 




Sunday, September 29, 2013

NFL WEEK 4 2013 & TEXTS FROM A LAWYER

We have a new feature from a contributing reader: see below.

It's week four in the NFL and in our survivor pool 17 players remain out of an original 32. This has been a very competitive year. This week, while we considered the home Titans over the Jets, the Colts on the road against the Jags (the most popular pick in the blog pool) we like the home town Saints on MNF to hand our Dolphins the first loss of their promising season. 



For those of you looking for a little more fun this Sunday,  Over 46 in Cowboys at Chargers (WIN), lay the 3 1/2 on the Titans against the J...E...T.....S,  (WIN)  and lay the 2 1/2 on the Falcons at home against the evil Cheaters.   And for our upset special this week, we're riding those never say die Browns  They marched into Minnesota last weekend having traded away their best player, and beat the Vikes and we were the only ones to give you that win last week. This week, the Browns are at home and we like them to upset the Bengals (BIG BIG WIN). 

Based on the texts from a cat we posted on Friday, an enterprising reader has put together something that might be fun and if suceeds will be a semi-regular feature: "Texts From a Solo-Practitioner". According to "Lenny" , the texts will mostly feature exchanges between himself and his sarcastic secretary-Zoe. Here is the first installment:





Friday, September 27, 2013

THE ACCIDENTAL JUROR

It happens more that you might suspect. An excluded  juror with the same or similar surname to an accepted juror sits on the panel hearing the case. Sometimes the mistake is realized after a few moments. More troublesome is when the mistake is realized during opening statements or in this case, after the verdict.  The defendant was convicted but when the mistake was brought to his attention, Judge Will Thomas did not shed a tear or waste a moment in declaring a mistrial. The Herald story by Ovalle is here. 

Your Friday afternoon moment to laugh: Texts from A Cat. 
Read it. You will laugh. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

PETITION FOR THOMAS & BENCH AND BAR MIXER TONIGHT

This Judge Thomas contretemps will not fade away. If Judge Thomas makes it on the federal bench we certainly hope that he remembers that his community- the lawyers of Miami Dade, united around his cause. 

Here is a petition you can sign on line asking Senator Rubio to send Judge Thomas to the senate judiciary committee for a hearing. 

The JAA Broward blog reported that longtime Dade ASA Abbe Rifkin has had her name sent to Governor Scott (R-Hates poor, uninsured people)  for a seat on the Broward County Court bench.

BENCH AND BAR MIXER TONIGHT 6PM. 
Tobacco Road- which is an establishment in downtown Miami of which we are informed serves alcoholic beverages of various types and food. Personally, we are of the firm belief that alcohol and judges do not mix, lest we mutter something truthful that will hurt us in our next hearing. But fair minded people of  honest intentions and hearty spirit are hopeful that this soiree will promote good will toward men and those who wear robes, so while we will not be present, you might give it a whirl. 

Don't look now but your Miami Dolphins are 3-0 heading into a Monday night showdown in the Big Easy against the 3-0  Saints.  And undefeated MNF showdown involving the Dolphins- it's been a long time since the Dolphins were in a showcase game like this with a legitimate chance to win. 

See You In Court. 






Tuesday, September 24, 2013

JUDGE ALAN SCHWARTZ RETIRES

(We update our thoughts on Will Thomas and race and sex below.) 




His legacy as a giant among the Miami legal community will last decades beyond the dates on his opinions. He could be brutal in oral argument, scoffing at arguments he disagreed with, asking questions that made attorneys tremble at the podium, and occasionally turning his back when he had enough of the tom-foolery. Love him or hate him (and many attorneys over the course of a career felt both feelings, often intensely) Alan Schwartz leaves a legacy as one of the great appellate judges of our time. 

Here is the 3rd DCA's announcement of Judge Schwartz's retirement: 


It is with equal parts gratitude and regret that the Court announces the retirement of Alan R. Schwartz as a senior judge of the Third District Court of Appeal when his current term of senior service ends on September 30, 2013.
Judge Schwartz has served ably and with great distinction on this Court for more than thirty-five years, twenty-three of them as the Chief Judge of this Court. During his tenure on the court, he has authored more than 2000 opinions.
After his retirement as an active judge in 2004, Judge Schwartz continued to serve as a senior judge, both at the Third District Court of Appeal and on the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County. He has served as a visiting judge in every District Court of Appeal in Florida. Judge Schwartz’ devotion to this Court, to the rule of law, and to the highest principles of the judicial branch, cannot be questioned.
The Judges at the Third District Court of Appeal will dearly miss the daily guidance, advice and humor of our friend and colleague. He has taught us much and his lasting legacy on this Court will never be forgotten. 

Personally, after a very rough start before Judge Schwartz decades ago, we ended up with a winning record in the cases we had before him. But beyond that, we ended up, we think,  with a measure of respect, which we would sometimes see in the glint of his eyes, as he recognized us either at the 3rd DCA or when he would handle a calendar at the REGJB. And to think that at one moment our advocacy on a point of law had earned the respect of Judge Schwartz, was as big an honor that we as a litigator could receive from the bench. 

Godspeed Judge Schwartz. 

JUDGE THOMAS (continued)

Senator Rubio stomped on Judge Will Thomas's reputation recently. Herald columnist Fred Grimm stomped on Senator Rubio right back, picking up the mantle and defending Judge Will Thomas. Grimm's column  is here. 

The NY Times reports on the contretemps here. 

Here's a thought that keeps occurring to us. When Judges Thornton and Bloom had their applications to the District Court forwarded to the White House, no one said that "white, straight, jewish judges" made the cut from the JNC.  (FYI- We have no idea of Judge Thornton's religion. He could be a Druid for all we know, and that's the point.) They were just two judges. Shouldn't Will Thomas get the same respect? Vote him up or down because he works lawyers hard, is opinionated, has courage, and is sometimes a bit of a loud mouth. But his race and his private sexual choices really don't matter at all. Or aren't we as evolved in 2013 that we thought we were? 

See You In Court. 



Monday, September 23, 2013

PROGNOSIS NEGATIVE

Prognosis Negative! That can be the only conclusion when evaluating the chances of REGJB Judge Will Thomas's chances of ever getting a confirmation vote on his nomination as a United States Court District Court Judge after reading the DBR's summary of a statement from Senator Marco Rubio (Pluto-R) on why he has withheld permission from the senate to vote on Thomas's nomination:

"The nomination of Judge Thomas has also been thoroughly reviewed, and Senator Rubio has determined that Thomas's record on the state court raises serious concerns about his fitness for a lifetime federal appointment... Those concerns include questions about his judicial temperament and his willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences, particularly in the two high-profile cases."

Rubio's office mentioned the case of Michele Traverso, who killed a cyclist in a hit-and-run accident on the Rickenbacker Causeway while driving on a suspended license. Thomas sentenced Traverso in January to less than a year in jail. 

Also noted was the death sentence imposed in January on Joel Lebron for the notorious 2002 gang rape and murder of 18-year-old Ana Maria Angel, who was kidnapped along with her boyfriend while walking on Miami Beach. Thomas wept as he recalled the brutality of the crime before handing down the sentence.


Senator Rubio is upset with a judge who....judges? Who is human and who has feelings and who issues sentences he believes are appropriate where his definition of appropriate is not always the maximum? 
Apparently so. 
H/T to South Florida Lawyers who speculated on Friday whether other, "extraneous" factors might have something to do with the hold on Thomas's nomination. 
This much appears to be certain: unless the White House is willing to go to battle for Thomas and expend political capital and make his nomination a small part of a larger political deal (something that is normally almost unheard of in district court nominations) Thomas's dream nomination appears on life support at best. Prognosis: Negative!

Football picks: If you followed our picks on Sunday, you were able to impress your friends with picking the Cleveland Browns over the Minnesota Vikings- which just might be the upset of the season so far, as well as the JETS over the Bills and the Colts over the 49'ers. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

WEEK THREE NFL 2013

WE CALLED IT!Blogger Rumpole said...




If I really had guts I'd pick the Texans over the Ravens at Baltimore in the survival pool. And don't be shocked if the never say die Cleveland Browns pulls out the shocking upset of the week in Minnesota.


Sunday, September 22, 2013 12:58:00 PM
 Delete 

We wanted to post the survivor pool picks as early as possible as most players are choosing Seattle over Jacksonville. Currently we have selected the Broncos over the Raiders, but that could change before 1pm. 

UPDATED SURVIVOR POOL: NOTE ONE MAJOR CHANGE- Plea D emailed us and said the week was boring and changed their pick from Seahawks to....Vikings. The rest as they say, is history and so is Plea D from this year's Survivor Pool. David O Markus (he picked the Seahawks- we checked the emails) and Dan Lurvey  (he responded by picking the Broncos tomorrow night) have yet to make their picks as of Sunday night at 7:45 PM. They are down to choosing from Bears/Steelers or Raiders/Broncos. 






Our picks: Take the JAGs +16 in Seattle. Heavy rain keeps it close. Take the Colts +10 1/2 on the road in San Fran. We like the Giants +2 1/2 against the Panthers who stink, the J...E...T....S.. -2 at home over the Bills - we love the Jets  D, and the Pack +1 on the road in Cincy against the Bengals who just aren't as good as people think  they are. 

Coming Monday: Prognosis Negative!



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

YOUR TWO NEW FEDERAL JUDGES

UPDATED: A little REGJB/Blog/Fed trivia:
Name the last federal court judge in the southern district to have originally started his/her career as a county court judge.

The Federal JNC (Motto "the really really good JNC") has nominated four individuals for two open Federal Judge positions in the Southern District of Florida. And the surprising news is that all four nominees are State Court Judges. The nominees are:

Beth Bloom
Darrin Gayles
Peter Lopez
John Thornton

All REGJB criminal court judges or alumni. 

Once nominated, the two judges can look forward to a complete FBI investigation, an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and then becoming a political football, kicked back and forth between the Republicans and Democrats while their careers twist in political limbo. Some nominees become part of political deals and are approved, while other nominees become the line in the sand drawn by a senator out to prove a point. 

To Judges Thornton, Gayles, Bloom and Lopez:

The Good News: You've been nominated to be a federal judge. 
The Bad News: You've been nominated to be a federal judge. 
Sincerely, your favourite blogger. 

See You In Court. 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

PERAMBULATION

David Ovalle and the Herald have the home surveillance video from the Facebook murder. It doesn't show the shooting but purports to show muzzle flashes. Ovalle also writes about the victim's diary entitled "The Mind of an Insane Woman" in which she discuses her desire to rip her husband's eyes out for looking at other women, worries about zombies (don't we all?) and details the ups and downs of her relationship. The article with the video is here.  (Not thrilled with the suspect's choice of clothing, post shooting, in which he dons a jacket with the phrase "Writers Rock" on the back. Not cool for us writers.)

David Markus will be monitoring the Federal JNC which will send up four names for two open spots. A 1 in 2 chance at a lifetime gig- not bad odds. 

If your perambulating per chance in downtown Miami Wednesday morning around 10:30, head over to federal court (the corner of SW 3rd Street and NW 1st Avenue to be exact) and check out the press conference by the NAACP, The Wilkie Ferguson Bar Association,  The Haitian Lawyers Association, The Black Women Lawyer's Association (and one very happy hot-dog vendor) as they discuss the delays in the nominations of Judges Will Thomas and Brian Davis to the federal bench in Florida. (H/T to South Florida Lawyers for the heads up on the presser.) 

The NY Times  editorial board admirably wrote in favor of making the ban on life in prison sentences for juveniles retroactive. 

See You In Court. 



Monday, September 16, 2013

LAW SCHOOL

The NY Times has been covering the debate over the proposal to drop the third year of law school in exchange for a paid fellowship. President Obama is in favor of the proposal. We're not.
We've often noticed the disparity between how doctors are trained and how lawyers are trained. After four years of medical school, students who graduate are matched with hospitals as residents  where they practice and expand on their skills in pressurized hospital settings for two to three years. Once their residency is over, specialists begin fellowships that can last another 3-6 years. The result is a well trained doctor able to competently handle human lives. Do the math- a well trained surgeon with a six year fellowship trains for almost ten years after leaving medical school. 

What is the equivalent in the law? Some law students clerk for judges for two years, which can be expanded to four years if they follow their initial clerkship with an appellate clerkship. Otherwise, the anvil of a three year stint in the local prosecutor or PDs office is all the additional training a select few lawyers receive. The rest go to work for law firms that have varying degrees of training programs, and frighteningly, some just put up a website and twitter handle (the 2013 equivalent of hanging out a shingle).
 Law schools already churn out lawyers, the effects of which are price pressures for services in the marketplace. But you get what you pay for. And from our lofty perspective, the sight of poor families squeezing out a few dollars in the mistaken belief that a "private lawyer" will do a better job than a public defender results in lawyers who are nothing more than plea mills- incapable by lack of training in trying a case, and unable financially (based on ridiculously low fees) to afford to do anything more than plea out their client. 

We need less lawyers and better training, and a two year law school provides neither. 

DUI MANSLAUGHTER
Are their any more difficult cases to handle as a defense attorney than DUI manslaughters? Your clients are often not your typical criminal clients. They are often individuals who are otherwise law abiding and having made the fatal mistake of driving after drinking, are facing life altering prison sentences. Last Friday Judge Bronwyn Miller sentenced one such defendant to twelve years in prison. Central to the sentencing hearing was the defense's argument that similar cases in the REGJB have resulted in sentences of three to four years. 

We don't criticize Judge Miller's sentence (the prosecution, typically, was asking for twenty years).  Every case is different and what we want are experienced judges who are able to evaluate each case on its own merits, and not afraid to give 
sentences  less than the state and the grieving family want when the situation merits it. What we worry about is that this series of high publicity cases will prompt the Florida Legislature to again raise the minimum mandatory prison sentence for these crimes from four years to something ridiculous. All minimum mandatory sentences accomplish is the  transfer of power for sentencing to  the usually least experienced individual in the courtroom (the prosecutor) from the usually most experienced person in the courtroom (The judge). 

These difficult cases help highlight our concern that minimum mandatories are destroying the traditional concepts of american jurisprudence, where an independent and empowered judiciary are central to our constitutional concepts of due process and fundamental fairness. 

See You In Court. 




Sunday, September 15, 2013

NFL WEEK TWO 2013

If you took a peek in the comments early Thursday evening we posted a comment that we liked the J...E...T....S  and while they didn't win, the cheaters didn't cover and if you took Gang Green +10, you made some Genos. Don't look now but skinny Rex has a big, fast, young defense that brings it,  and a rookie QB with some upside. 

Lots of people like the Fins on the road at Indy, but we don't simply because of this: they are fairly even teams distinguished by one team having a superior QB (Colts) and one team having a QB that the book hasn't been written on yet. Tannehill might be good or very good, but all we know from week one is that he couldn't get the ball to his 60 million dollar man Wallace. Take Indy with the much better QB  and lay the very reasonable 3. 

The Redskins/RGIII showed us this last week: preseason matters. A tough loss at home is followed by a road trip to Cheesehead land. We don't see it. 52nd Street Irving called us about this one:Take the Pack-9 and see our teaser below. 

TEASER OF THE WEEK: Teasers allow you to move points with reduced odds on a multi-team bet. We use the odds 52nd Street posts at his book in Vegas and they're pretty standard. For a two team 6 point teaser- 11:10. 

The Line in San Diego at Philly is Eagles -7.5. The Line in Redskins at Packers is Green Bay -9. We're going to pick the home team favourites and tease each line down 6 points. Laying 1100 to win a 1000 we now have the Eagles -1.5 and the Packers -3.  For fun only. 

Fantasy Football: We're 1-0 and heading into week two we're playing Danger 11 whose QB Brady scored a very pedestrian 13 points for him Thursday night.  Our QB-Peyton Manning- gets 13 points in warmups (he torched the league for 55.9 points last week.) But the injury bug bit Peyton's Place (our team) hard this week, and we lost a RB and TE to injury, forcing us to go to the waivers where the pickings were slim and we nabbed Steeler RB Jonathan Dwyer who wasn't even on a team last Sunday.  Right now we're debating Raven WR Marlon Brown vs. Steeler WR Antonio Brown. But for the fact that the Steelers have no O, this would be a no-brainer but we think Flacco and the Ravens are going to light up the Browns this week, so we're still up in the air. 

SUICIDE POOL
Get your picks in. There is no clear favourite this week as there was last week with Indy over Oakland. 



See You In Court Monday. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

CLOSED FOR REPENTANCE


















Closed for repentance and redemption. 
Please check back Sunday. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE

There's an oft repeated sarcastic joke that the best judges go to civil court because in criminal court  they deal with life and death but in civil court they deal with important things like money. 

It's a warped view of the judiciary, but one apparently heartily endorsed by Pam Biondi, Florida's Attorney General who successfully asked Governor Scott to postpone the execution of Marshall Lee Gore because (we couldn't make this up if we tried) the date of the execution conflicted with Biondi's kick-off campaign re-election fundraiser. 

Has any other public official in Florida taken such a candidly heartless view of human life and more crudely put their personal interests above their obligations as a public official? 
And how does Scott and Biondi's voracious support of bills designed to speed up execution dates square with their decision to delay an execution to raise money? 
The Tampa Bay Times article is here. 

We cannot thing of a more self centered, truly disgusting act that any public official in Florida has done in the last few decades. Biondi's lack of judgment (and Scott's for that matter) give us a clear window into their dark souls: They care more about being re-elected than solemnly discharging the awesome responsibility of overseeing executions in Florida. If these two money grubbers care so little about when Gore is executed,  just how much confidence do we have in Scott and Biondi's consideration and denial of Gore's petition for clemency prepared so ably by our own Todd Scher? If they will play bingo with Gore's  execution date, did they really consider clemency? And while we are against the death penalty, we wonder how the relatives of Gore's victim's feel about the delay in Gore's execution? 

The whole sordid mess is disgusting. 

COMING UP NEXT: LET THE YOGA COME TO YOU. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

JUDGE AMY KARAN HAS PASSED AWAY

UPDATE: Funeral arrangements for Judge Karan: A celebration of her life is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday at Eternal Light Memorial Chapel, 18840 W. Dixie Hwy. in Northeast Miami-Dade. Burial follows at Beth David cemetery, 3201 NW 72nd Ave. in Hollywood
The Herald obit is here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/10/3618366/miami-dade-judge-amy-karan-dies.html#storylink=cpy


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
Judge Amy Karan lost a tough but valiant fight with Parkinson's Disease. Judge Karan was the Administrative Judge of the Domestic Violence Division and she was widely respected for the way she led that Division. 

In January of 2010, Rumpole wrote a lead on this Blog that read:

Word reaches us today that Judge Amy Karan has resigned from the bench effective January 31, 2010.

Many of you know Judge Karan has been battling Parkinson's disease and she needs to spend more time working on her health.

This is a tremendous loss to the Bench and to our community.

We can only hope and pray that her condition stabilizes. Judge Karan is bravely fighting this terrible disease. She needs our support and prayers at this difficult moment in time.

Godspeed Judge Karan.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family today. 

Cap Out .....


Rumpole says: A beautiful person, inside and out, Judge Karan inspired those who knew her with her battle for her life. She can't be replaced. She can only be fondly remembered. We will post details on the funeral as we receive them. 

A SIMPLE HAMBURGER

Not much law today. We'll catch up later in the week. 

 The first weekend of football 2013 is almost in the books. In the suicide pool we had some first week losses.  DC super lawyer (who always plays) Cary Clennon, @draculawyer Fake Alex Michaels, 52nd Street Irwin (our bookie in Vegas), Shumie's Revenge, and Robin Faber all picked poorly.  One of these will receive a Rumpole "First Out 2013 Suicide Pool" Hat which they need to take a picture of themselves wearing and then email to us. It was part of the non-binding contact they agreed to when they played. 
Everyone else survived. 

In the Fantasy Football league there were a few blow outs (Peyton's Place-our team- 119.3 over Team Fi Man 63.9, and we still have our RBs playing Monday),  but the closest battle heading into Monday is BeatnDRap 104.25 vs. NoProbableCause 108.4.  BDR still has  one player active Monday night versus zero for NPC.  If Texan WR Andre Johnson can put up 50 yds in catches (1 point per ten yds of catches) or score a TD, BDR will squeak out a win. 

Blue Jasmine: 
We've been sitting on this film for a few weeks now, letting the awesome impact of Cate Blanchett's powerful performance  sink in. Now we're ready to write about it. Blue Jasmine is vintage Woody Allen:  a main character (Blanchett as Jasmine), a superb universe of supporting characters who spin in and out of Blanchett's orbit, and a simple story taken from the headlines.   There's a powerful genius to this simplicity. 
Imagine Allen sitting down and thinking: " I want to do something about the Madoff scandal. Hmmm... I'll do from the wife's perspective (Blanchette). And....she has a sister. But her sister is poor. She's poor because.....they were both adopted so they're entirely different in looks and character and drive. And....hmmm... her sister and her working class husband come into some money for once in their life and also become victims. And.....the wife loses everything when the Madoff character (Baldwin) gets caught and the wife (Blanchette) is forced to go live with her sister and two kids in a dilapidated apartment in San Francisco. Yes... this could work." 
Throw in some plot twists- some foreseen, some not, and you have your standard 100 minute Woody movie. It's like eating a perfectly cooked hamburger. No special effects. No steak. But it's so damn perfectly done that you can't help loving every single bite (scene). And lets just put this to rest now: Blanchette wins the Academy Award or the Oscars are a fraud. She is stunning. Amazing. Powerful. She carries scenes with devastating impact fueled by Xanax and vodka and thousand yard stares and sweat stained thousand dollar dresses from her forgone society days and nights. She dissects her life with sad yet comedic impact to her sisters stunned six and 8 year old boys in a classic diner scene, and gets ambushed by an Allen script twist when all seems finally resolved. Blanchette is the moral voice of success in the first decade of the 21st Century: why settle? Why not live a meaningful and luxurious live? And yet there is a cruel twist to her morality, fueled by her all too human frailties. Along the way, as Blanchette lifts and carries this movie, we get yet another Woody take on love and sex and infidelity.  Andrew Dice Clay is working class great  as one of the victims of the fraud, and Louis C.K. is a charming...well, we can't spoil the subplots of the movie here. 

Woody Allen famously said 80% of success is just showing up.* He writes. He scripts. He casts. He films. He edits. He makes these wonderful 100 minute movies by showing up  every two years with a few characters who have a few simple stories. Allen shows up and serves up the most wonderfully cooked simplistically done, but ethically and philosophically challenging movies possible. (We'll continue to rave about Crimes and Misdemeanors where the good man Rabbi goes blind before his daughter's wedding, while the bad-adulterous-murderous main character gets away with it all in the end.)  Nothing fancy. Just a simple movie  done better than anyone else ever could. 

Go see it and eat a hamburger afterwards. 

See you in court. 

* The phrase has been repeated several times and reprinted in various forms in hundreds of places. Allen acknowledges saying "80% of life is just showing up" but in subsequent interviews he equates "life" with success. In explaining the quote in 2008 to the  website The Collider , he expounded thatI made the statement years ago which is often quoted that 80 percent of life is showing up. People used to always say to me that they wanted to write a play, they wanted to write a movie, they wanted to write a novel, and the couple of people that did it were 80 percent of the way to having something happen. All the other people struck out without ever getting that pack. They couldn’t do it, that’s why they don’t accomplish a thing, they don’t do the thing, so once you do it, if you actually write your film script, or write your novel, you are more than half way towards something good happening. So that I was say my biggest life lesson that has worked. All others have failed me."

Friday, September 06, 2013

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

Non-Football-Karma-update below. 

Here is the preliminary updated and possibly final suicide pool picks for week one. You can still enter by emailing us at FBpoo12@gmail.com


FANTASY FOOTBALL HIGHLIGHTS
We had our draft earlier in the week and the class is beginning to show. Our draft included these players: QB: Peyton Manning; RBs Alfred Morris and Arian Foster; Wrs: Wes Welker and Antonio Brown; TE: Jared Cook; Kicker: Matt Prater; Def: Steelers and our sleeper rookie RB Shane Vereen at the flex spot (no known relation to former State Attorney candidate Rod Vereen) . The league scores 4 points per throwing TD and 1 point per 20 throwing or reception yards. With Manning lighting up the Ravens for 469 yards and 7 TDs, 2 to our WR Welker, and our kicker with 7 extra points, we head into full Sunday action with a very comfortable 81.6 points and our RBs haven't even taken the field yet. We are playing "Team Fiman" who is going to need a lot of Luck with Luck at QB, Martin at RB, and WRs Lance Moore, Cecil Shorts, Pierre Garcon, and TEs Jason Witten and Jimmy Graham, K Dan Bailey and Da Bears as his Def.

DOM currently has the "arrrgh" award for drafting sleeper Denver TE Julius Thomas but not starting him and losing that stellar two TD, 23 point FF performance. Better luck next week.

PICKS:
Remember our tried and true formula: In the first few weeks the public has not caught up to the trends of the new year and tend to bet based on last year's performances.

Cardinals at Rams: We like the over 42. We like the Chiefs as a road favorite (-4) over the dysfunctional Jaguars. Lay the 3 with the Bucs on the road over the J....E....T....S... and hold your nose and lay the 10 on the cheaters over the Bills. So in review, we are picking against three home dogs, which in the real world is a good way to go broke quick.

Enjoy your weekend. 

KARMA:
Rochus Misch, the bodyguard of Adolph Hitler, and the last survivor of the bunker where Hitler committed suicide on April 30th, 1946,  1945 ending the third reich, died in Berlin on Thursday. He was 96. To the end, Misch spoke glowingly of the man he termed "the boss".  If that was the end of the story, his death would be a footnote to the sordid history of nazi Germany. 
But the universe works in strange ways. 
Misch and his wife Gerda who died in 1997 had a daughter: Brigitta Jacob-Engelken, who learned from her maternal grandmother that her mother (married to Hitler's bodyguard) was Jewish. If that was the end of the story, the irony would notable. But Misch's daughter grew up to be an architect. She became estranged from her father and spent time on an Israeli kibbutz. Her specialty in her work in Germany is restoring local synagogues. 

Karma. Life finds a way, despite the darkness of evil. 







Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A HYPOTHETICAL

Court is closed Thursday. Why? 

A Job Well Done goes out to ace PD David Sisselman who pried a 12 year sentence out of Judge Rodriguez-Chomat in the widely reported  case involving a hate crime assault in Hialeah by a Hispanic man against two stranded African American motorists. Sisselman started the defense by convincing the jury to convict the defendant of the lesser included offense of aggravated assault (down from attempted murder) and followed that up with a thorough effort at sentencing that included the expert opinion of FIU African American scholar Marvin Dunn that the defendant was not a racist. 
A sentence of 12 years when the max was 60 and the prosecution typically asked for 30? Well done Mr. Sisselman, well done indeed. 
Ovalle's coverage in the Herald is here. 

A Hypothetical: You may have seen this on the FACDL listserv. We have changed the names to protect those involved. You may be surprised at our take: 

Client charged with an  exportation of  firearms charge.  The defense was that the client had not taken a substantial step to committing the attempt. The guidelines for this charge are 46 months where someone has no priors.  After plea negotiations the parties agree to a Rule 11(c)(3) plea wanting to guarantee the sentence. The client was willing to take it in order to avoid the chance of losing and getting 5 years after trial.  Prosecutor agreed to the plea, however the judge would not accept the 11(c)(3) plea.  AUSA told defense that if client pled he would continue to recommend six months.  Defense declined the offer.  As soon as the judge took the bench to begin trial, the government moved to dismiss the Indictment. 

Query: was the prosecutor's last minute attempt to get the defendant to take a plea to six months done in bad faith, knowing that if the defendant rejected the plea the prosecutor was going to dismiss the charges?

Rumpole, surprisingly says "NO." Why? Because there is a difference between the ability to prove a case at any particular moment and proof sufficient to prosecute the defendant. For instance, a prosecutor may have a confession and DNA and if the lab loses the DNA and the cop who took the confession is indicted, the prosecutor still has a good faith belief in the proof of guilt. The prosecutor cannot lie and announce ready for trial when that is not the case. Nor should the prosecutor insinuate off the record in private discussions that s/he is going to try the case when they are not. But as long as they believe the evidence shows guilt, they have a right to attempt to salvage a plea even if other circumstances dictate that they cannot proceed to trial. 

See You In Court, where the last time a prosecutor bluffed us, Zybigniew Brzezinski was National Security Director. 




Tuesday, September 03, 2013

SUMMER IS OVER

We're back. You're back. The judges are all back.  Everyone is tanned, rested and ready to try cases. That probably explains all the frowns in the courthouse on Tuesday. Nobody likes the first day back from vacation. Mix in the end of summer, and it's a Grande day at Starbucks. 

Don't forget to be nice to all those well dressed new lawyers at the PD and SAO offices, scurrying around, scared to death, trying to look professional. We were all there.  Once.  ...a long time ago...in a galaxy far far away.....

THE DEA HAS BEEN LISTENING: You thought the NSA was up to no good? The NY Times reports here that the DEA makes the NSA look like a bunch of pikers:

For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency's  hotly disputed collection of phone call logs.

The Hemisphere Project, a partnership between federal and local drug officials and AT&T that has not previously been reported, involves an extremely close association between the government and the telecommunications giant.
The government pays AT&T to place its employees in drug-fighting units around the country. Those employees sit alongside DEA  agents and local detectives and supply them with the phone data from as far back as 1987.

You think you've had a long, hot summer? Judge Will Thomas continues to twist in the wind while Florida Senator Marco Rubio keeps a hold on his nomination, preventing a vote by the Judiciary committee to send Judge Thomas to the floor of the senate for confirmation.  As we all know, Senator Rubio doesn't have to explain his hold, nor does he ever have to lift it. 
Judge Safyie moves to full administrative duties as head honcho for the Criminal Division of the 11th Judicial Circuit (Motto: "proudly continuing cases, going to judicial conferences, and vesting pensions since Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was a governor." )
New Judge Robert Luck tries his hand at trying cases and takes over Safyie's division. Luck comes from the Feds...and mostly they have made good judges (Trawick, Prescott, Barzee, Thomas, etc.)
(Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward- the man who started the mess.
We had our fantasy football draft Monday night. It was a lot of fun and a success. We will keep you updated on the standings. 
Welcome back. See you in court.