Thursday, January 09, 2014

Who's Running For Judge in 2014



On Tuesday, August 26, 2014, voters will go to the polls for the Primary Election of 2014.  Judges in contested elections will be on the ballot that day.  If a Run-Off is needed, that will take place on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

This election cycle, 47 judicial groups are up for election; 38 in the Circuit Court and 9 in the County Court.

The deadline to file your papers and run for office is Friday, May 2, 2014.

Currently, of the 38 Circuit Court Groups, there are three contested elections.  Of the other 35 Groups, 29 Incumbents have filed to run again while six sitting Judges have not yet filed their papers.

In the County Court, all nine Incumbents have filed for re-election and one of those Incumbents currently faces opposition.



Judge Leon Firtel is retiring.  Three candidates have filed.  They include:

Thomas Cobitz
*24 years Florida Bar; criminal defense practice

Renier Diaz de la Portilla
*6 years FB; Miami-Dade School Board 8 years; Florida House Legislator 2 years, 2000-2002; (ran again in 2012 and lost); Mediator;

Stephen Millan
*22 years FB; criminal defense practice; ran unsuccessfully in the past for Judge; 2006 lost to Karen Mills Francis in a County Court race; 2008 lost in a run-off to Yvonne Colodny in a three way race for a seat on the Circuit Court; (Pat Kopco was eliminated in the primary)


Judge Ronald Dresnick is retiring.  Two candidates have filed.  They include:

Mary Gomez
*18 years FB; marital & family practice

Albert Milian
*26 years FB; criminal defense practice; ran unsuccessfully for State Attorney in the past.  2000 lost to KF Rundle; 2004 lost to KF Rundle after defeating Leslie Rothenberg in the Republican primary; Gary Rosenberg also lost in the general election as he ran as an IND.


Judge Marc "SHU" Schumacher is retiring.  Three candidates have filed.  They include:

Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts
*13 years FB; criminal defense & immigration practice

Mavel Ruiz
*17 years FB; criminal defense practice

Martin Zilber
*25 years FB; Mediator; Councilman in Coconut Grove; Public Health Trust Member; In House Counsel to transportation companies; insurance defense; corporate & real estate

*If we have made any errors in the bios, I am sure our fine readers will point them out and correct us.

The following Incumbent Judges have not yet filed their papers for re-election:

Rosa Figarola
Eric Hendon
Cristina Miranda
Orlando Prescott
Bernard Shapiro
Dava Tunis

We have spoken with all six judges, and all have indicated that they intend to file their papers to seek re-election in 2014.

The following Incumbent Judges have filed and currently have no opposition:

Jerald Bagley
Beatrice Butchko
Marcia Caballero
Jeri Beth Cohen
Yvonne Colodny
Jorge Cueto
Abby Cynamon
Reemberto Diaz
Spencer Eig
Ariana Fajardo
Alan Fine
Stacy Glick
Richard Hersch
Jacqueline Hogan Scola
Sandy Karlan
Norma Lindsey
Fleur Lobree
Peter Lopez
Celeste Hardee Muir
Thomas Rebull
Jose Rodriguez
Maria Sampedro-Iglesia
Migna Sanchez-Llorens
Victoria Sigler
Rodney Smith
Daryl Trawick
Diane Ward
Sarah Zabel
Angelica Zayas



Incumbent Judge Jacqueline Schwartz has an opponent.  Attorney Rachel Dooley has filed to run against her. 

*Ms. Dooley has been a member of The Florida Bar for 16 years and handles criminal defense and family matters.

The following Incumbent Judges have filed and currently have no opposition:

William Altfield
Donald Cannava
Betty Capote
Jason Dimitris
Carlos Guzman
Spencer Multack
Rodolfo Ruiz II
Nuria Saenz

CAPTAIN OUT .........


Joe Frederick said...

Worked with Rachel Dooley at the SAO and was her law partner for almost 7 years before I moved out of state. She will be a great judge and loves mentoring younger attorneys. She knows the law and will treat everyone fairly. She is the best choice in that race.

Separated at Birth? said...

Steve Millan and Tony Soto - you never see them together. Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

I want to run against Scola. She is too pushy and demanding. She doesn't seem to care less what we say.

I hope nobody runs against Lobree. She's a nice person and very bright.

Anonymous said...

Some of these are traffic hearing officers....has Leifman made them resign yet?????????

Anonymous said...

Several incumbents need to be challenged. Particularly new judges that got appointed - let the voters have a say

Anonymous said...

The state of our judiciary is horrendous and only seems to be getting worse. God help us all!

old guy said...

Some of the names of those who have already filed are scary as can be.

It would be hard to call them 'worse' [with one looney exception], but they are not an improvement. When did the title JUDGE mean only that they could not earn a living in court, or were too lazy to work, or - even worse - want to retire early with a title and a great pension?

I like ALMOST every person who has announced, but would hate to argue a complicated motion before them.

What a shameful list!

Anonymous said...

Someone else should hop into the schwartz race......she needs more opposition than just dooley!

Lobree will get opposition again- how many hyphenated names will challenge her this time?

Bernard Shapiro will have opposition as well.

Big question- will any have the balls to challenge Multack?

Anonymous said...

Anyone but Zilber. He is a nightmare. The exact opposite of what you would expect from a judge, but he's lining up endorsements from prominent lawyers all over town. Anyone know more about his prospective opponents?

Anonymous said...

Hey Cap. What's the deal with Shapiro? Isn't he aged out. Retiring.

Give Steve Millan credit. There's a guy who really wants to be a judge.

I agree that Dooley would do a fine job. Alberto Milian on the other hand, how lose a cannon would he be on the bench

De la Portilla is going to be tough. He has run so many campaigns and his family name is big. But he's only been a lawyer for like six years.

Got to be a lot more candidates getting into races in the next four months

Rumpole said...

Anybody notice the Knicks SPANKING your miami heat last night?

Anonymous said...

Rump, I imagine you wearing the finest Hickey Freeman suits, eating at the best Houstons and Outback steakhouses, and boogying down to the hottest Donna Summer hits at Biscayne Babys.


Rumpole said...

Not completely false.

Anonymous said...

Is governor Scott a heartless cold ass?

You read and decide. Take note of the last paragraph.


Anonymous said...

Oscar Rodriguez Fonts is a former PD. He is partners with Maritza Alvarez.

Lots of posts on FACDL for fundraisers for him.

Don't know Mavel Ruiz.

Real Heat fan said...

Rump. Your blog is more informative than either the fish wrap Herald or the DBR when it comes to the elections and El Capitan's coverage but you're still a loser when it comes to your Heat hating.

They will be there in June while the Knicks will be watching from their sofas.

Anonymous said...

Rump, you are a typical new Yorker, big talking smack, then when the heat win everything, the trap gets shut until you again have some minor thing to talk shit about. I love it of your work, but on the heat you really come across ridiculous

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen Jackie schwartz in court????? How are there not like 5 opponents already???? I would vote for Peter camacho over her.....just sayin.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see who files against Hendon LOL

Anonymous said...

How many jury trials has renier diaz de la portilla done? Any? Can someone list them? Has he ever even tried a case in traffic court? He is a mediator now? I'm confused.....someone clarify, please.

Anonymous said...

How many times has Zilber lost already? That will be a very tough race for him!

Anonymous said...

Al Milian would be a rather vindictive and dangerous judge. His history of punching lawyers and insulting jurors tell a tale of a guy with a really bad temper who has no business being a judge.

I hope the voters get this one right.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to give props to FACDL. They are sometimes joked upon by Rumpole. For the past five years, that organization has grown leaps and bounds in their membership and in their delivery of quality services to its membership.

Ever since they set up the liasons to the SAO and Corrections and the Clerk and the Chief Judge and others, those groups have been very responsive to the Board and the leaders of FACDL.

This week alone they posted on the issue of Arthur Hearings and their communications with the SAO. They posted on the issue of BOT and their communications with Joe Mansfield.

They have a seminar this month on county court traffic and DUI issues and a luncheon with two judges (they have the seminars and luncheons every month).

They put together the program for the badges at GJB and they have the Listserv so you can communicate with all of the members with one click (including Rumpole).

If you are a young attorney who is not yet a member of FACDL Miami, you really should consider joining. Its more than worth the $75.

Thanks EP and the Board for your hard work so far this past year.

Anonymous said...

I got $500 for anyone who runs against Judge Rebull . . . ANYONE!

Rumpole said...

Al has spent the last decade or close to it being one hell of a criminal defense attorney. I think he will be a great judge. Who among us doesn't have a moment in their life they wish they had back? Unlike 95% of judges, Al has stood in a trial lawyers shoes. He knows our issues. I am very happy to vote for him and support him.

Anonymous said...

There should be a line of people filing to run against Tunis. She is as bad anyone who has judged in this circuit. I agree with you you on Al Milian, I found him to be fair and honest as a prosecutor and his battles with Miller and Newman prove him to be a first class defense attorney.

Anonymous said...


I want to make this clear. Al Milian has never said a bad word to me but, I have watched him for years and I must say this:

You don't know Al Milian.

Did you watch any of that murder trail he did with Bill Matthewman. Bill was great. Everyone thought Al was a jerk and a bully.

Bill won that case.

About him growing up....

Do you know anyone who has personally punched opposing counsel? Do you know anyone who lost a case and told the press the jury was "lobotomized zombies and morons?" Do you know anyone who was arrested for DUI and told the police they would "find out who I am?" Besides from Alex Michaels, do you know anyone who has had such trouble with the Bar and judges for his super offensive behavior? Really, do you?

Do you want that kind of a guy sitting on the bench?

Al may have matured but, he is far from judge material.

Anonymous said...


You really think Al Milian will be a great judge?

This is what the Sun Sentinel said years ago about Al:

Prosecutor Rebuked


July 2, 1993|Staff reports

An assistant state attorney in Broward County has been rebuked for calling jurors ``lobotomized zombies.``

The 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach issued sharply worded opinions condemning prosecutor Alberto Milian for deplorable conduct in two cases last year.

In one case, the appellate court cited Milian`s crude language during a trial in which a Hollywood woman was convicted of assaulting three police officers. She has been granted a new trial. Milian had called defense attorneys ``poor excuses for human beings.``

In the other case, the judges upheld a misdemeanor conviction for a man who shot his girlfriend in the leg. After jurors delivered a guilty verdict on lesser charges, Milian called them ``lobotomized zombies`` and ``buffoons.``

Anonymous said...

How can you support a guy who said to the press that he does not believe in the jury system?
That was Al Milian.

Hmmmm now he wants to be a judge.

He only ran for State Attorney so that the police union he worked for could get the SAO to stop prosecuting cops for the crimes they committed.

Me no fan of big Al or the police union.

Anonymous said...


Al Milian has had , like, 1000 moments in his life that he should regret. Effective lawyer/bad person is not a recipe for good judge

Anonymous said...

I see Rebull getting an opponent

Who is Nuria Saenz???

If only Fred Seraphin was up in 2014! That one will have several in that race in 2016

Robert luck is up in 2016- that one will have opposition

Anonymous said...

Why does Jackie schwartz have pictures with judge Cuesta on her campaign website? That should be looked into.

We should all send checks to Rachel Dooley

Anonymous said...

Dava Tunis should be opposed. Her name on a ballot is an easy one to defeat.

Anonymous said...

If Al Milian becomes a judge it will be like getting back that jerk judge years ago who pointed the gun in evidence at the Defendant's mom and said..."how would you feel if someone did this to you?"

That judge has Henry Ferro. Now practicing law far away, thank God.

Anonymous said...

How many times a day can Tunis say...."I don't mean to be rude but...."

She really needs an opponent.

Anonymous said...

List of people who really need to go:
Scola (not Bob, the Federal Judge)

Rumpole said...

That report was 21 years ago. Let me say that again: TWENTY ONE YEARS AGO.

Have you changed in 21 years? Matured? Gotten a better perspective on life, your career, what we do?

From the time Al began coming to the REGJB, I have spoken with him, seen him work as a lawyer, and I've seen a man who is nice, decent, friendly to prosecutors and other defense attorneys, and who is a hell of a trial lawyer. I have no hesitation in seeing him become a judge.

As to the question of any other attorneys coming to blows, I can think of two instances: I am not going to mention names because they are not involved in this. But several years ago a very well respected prosecutor who is now a federal PD and an equally well respected criminal defense attorney who is now retired came to blows during a murder case. Each of them apologized afterwards.

And many many years ago a young lawyer lost a jury trial to me and I went to shake his hand after the verdict and he cursed at me, and took a swing. I can't say that we've ever been friends since then, but I long ago forgave him for his act. And he has a good reputation since then and I take the incident as an aberration.

That's my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Mavel Ruiz started out as a PD under Brummer, then when private criminal defense many years ago. I think Ms. Ruiz has also worked for the Regional Counsel & has trial experience.


The Captain only recalls one election where Zilber may have run, and lost.

Maybe someone has that information.

Cap Out ...

Anonymous said...

I think david young should come back

Anonymous said...

Lurvey for judge. He's cute.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rumpole about Al Milian. Hes a good guy and a good lawyer.

cysco kid

Anonymous said...

Getting away from the negative for a moment, Eric Hendon is a gem. He is quietly becoming as fine a judge as has ever sat on a dade county bench.

Anonymous said...

David Young? He was a disaster on the bench. Should have / could have been removed by the JQC before he left to go on TV. Very very bad.

Anonymous said...

why was david young a disaster? I thought he was a good judge

Anonymous said...

William johnson should come back

Anonymous said...

The Photo of Cuesta on Schwartz' website was posted by her without Cuesta's knowledge or permission.It is to be removed forthwith pursuant to Cuesta's instruction.It was an outrageous and unauthorized use by her. Funny thing is that she and Judge Cuesta are not even close .We can't begin to understand her thought process on this and many of us are dismayed and angered by her actions.

Fins Fan said...

Hello Bill Cowher. In your interview today with Bill Belichek you called him the greatest coach in NFL history.

Did you forget about Don Shula?

First 19 years coaching, Shula had winning % of .711 and went 2-2 in SBs

First 19 years coaching, Belichek had winning % of .658 and went 3-2 in SBs.


Anonymous said...


Al is still a bully. He will always be a bully. You may like him but, he has been rather pushy with a bunch of us and it is very difficult to forgive those comments about witnesses, jurors, and US the scumbag defense lawyers. His comments about us were horrible and unforgivable forever.

Did you see how he practiced for the police union. He was as much of a "thug" as John Rivera. They don't believe police should ever be prosecuted no matter what they do.

Now, you want him to be a judge?

Sorry, may of us disagree and wish Al would just practice law and make money. He has a good personality for a defense lawyer but, judge NO.

Anonymous said...

Shula's biggest advantage in the head-to-head with Belichek is that nobody ever had any reason to call Shula a cheater.

Anonymous said...

I googled Al Milian and find he called all defense lawyers maggots.

I have a problem with that even more than his punching out his opposing counsel in the hallway.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the comment on Judge Dava Tunis. She gives a fair trial. She leans toward the defense in trial rulings & does the best jury selection I've seen. Anyone who tried a case with her have that experience?

Anonymous said...

Tunis doesn't suffer fools. But, she treats the lawyers who prepare their cases and act as professionals very well. She's an ex-PD who strives to be fair and knows the law. I've always liked her.


Anonymous said...

I wonder how many negative Al Milian comments were posted at the behest of Bronwyn Miller who Bill Matthewman and Al Milian exposed as an agent of the prosecution. She and her cohorts have huge axes to grind for many ,many reasons.

Anonymous said...

1138 pm thus exposes the problem with many of Al's friends (I had a problem with Al early in my career, but he apologized and I've had no problems since. Like Rump, I believe people can change and haven't had enough exposure to Al in the last 10 years to comment on him).

The scorched earth politics of some of Al's friends is insane. 1138's post is a typical attempt at deflection. Not cool and, frankly, very transparent.

1138, if you want to defend Al (as some are), than do so. You don't need to drag others into the mud to make a point. I really doubt that Judge Miller cares enough about what happens on this blog to get others to write posts about Al.


Anonymous said...

You have to be crazy to think Judge B Miller would blog about Al. She cares less.

Truth be told, Al is a big bully and an average lawyer. It's his past that is so troubling.

Personally, I have problems with his campaigns for State Attorney. He was simply a puppet for the police union, nothing more.

He has no business being a judge. End of story.

Anonymous said...

Whoever said Butchko has to go is out of their mind. She is amazing. Bright, funny, effective, kind.

Anonymous said...

Multack is ripe for the picking.

Anonymous said...

Ever seen Betty B go crazy in court? I have.

Anonymous said...

Schwartz removed the pics of judge Cuesta off of her website pretty fast after the comment on here!! Lololol

Anonymous said...

I have been in front of Scwartz in the past. What a nightmare and she actually was pretty nasty to attorneys and defendants. At least she was consistent. Who is her opponent and were do I send that person's campaign a check?

Anonymous said...

As for Jackie Schwartz- she has to be one of the meanest judges that I have ever been in front of in my opinion....I almost feel like she is auditioning to be Judge Judy's replacement.. sit in on one of her dockets at Hialeah branch court...if only she was as nice as Humberto, her bailiff.

How is there only one opponent in that race? Someone else better hop in that race in case Dooley switches out.

Anonymous said...

What's the complaint on Multack?

Anonymous said...

Multack is arrogant- he should have to win an election- not just get a posh appointment from our wonderful governor- a female with a hyphenated name may file against him

Anonymous said...

I have been in front of Multack many times, although not in the past 6 months. I always saw him do the right thing without exception. I never saw arrogance. Has he changed recently?

Anonymous said...

LOL Hi CUESTA.. doesnt take a genius to figure out that you read and comment anonymously....come forth.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is not Cuesta...maybe it is just lawyers that think Jackie Schwartz is a horrible judge....ok genius?

Anonymous said...

I've tried cases against Multack when he was a prosecutor and before him as as Judge and found him to be excellent in all phases. He is honest, hardworking and efficient. His knowledge of the law is superb and he treats everyone fairly. He is one of the best young Judges in the district. Sometimes intelligence and efficiency can be misconstrued as arrogance but he seems to be more interested in working hard than in schmoozing.

Anonymous said...

Judge Jacqueline Schwartz who presides in and for the Miami Dade County Court at the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida has ruled ROUTINELY,UNJUSTIFIABLY, AND PARTIALLY.Judge Schwartz seems to have a gender bias. It is understandable that as a matter of liability, one would grant injunctions to protect against genuine acts of violence. However, Judge Schwartz stated that it was “okay” for a Petitioner to selectively choose her boundaries concerning the order of protection. Sadly, the Petitioner has been agitating the Respondent for several months.

Anonymous said...

Jacqueline Schwartz needs the JQC to review her. She is clearly incompetent and professionally unfit to be an attorney, much less a Judge. Rachel is a great person and a terrific candidate, but frankly a first year ASA or PD would be much more competent than Jacqueline Schwartz. I wish Judge Schwartz all the best in her future endeavors, as long as she stays out of the courtroom.

Anonymous said...

Jackie Shwartz - incompetent and possibly mentally unfit. She talks to herself in court. Can't seem to keep a bailiff either for an extended period of time. Will never clarify a ruling because she really doesn't know the law or the rules of evidence or procedure. She will bark at you if challenged. Thats what incompetent people do when challenged.

Oscar Rodriguez-Font - Candidate- Nice guy, but not a good lawyer. Has never been a first chair guy. Don't think he's ever first chaired a case. Even while he was a PD. Really. He's Maritza Alvarez's assistant for lack of a better term. He's always been wanting an elected position. He craves that type of vindication and recognition. Kinda feel sorry for him. I think he has low self esteem and he will take it out on someone if on the bench. Not judge material.

Bronwyn Miller - Sad to say, she will always be a prosecutor and never a true judge. She is too smart to mess it up though.

Should be a rule that you shouldn't be allowed to be a judge unless you have first chaired a minimum of 10 cases. Is that too much to ask of a judge? If you can't try one, how do can you preside over one?