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

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A PARTIAL WIN

There is nothing funny in the 3rd DCA's decision in Alex Michael's contempt case. While the decision is a partial vindication for Michaels, it leaves standing one contempt conviction for which Judge Miranda will surely seek her pound of flesh by insisting that Michaels finish serving the two day sentence she originally imposed.  Left unsaid in the opinion was the court's scathing commentary during oral argument about a judge that imposed a two day prison sentence on a Friday afternoon and did not allow Michaels to post an appellate bond. 

The more disturbing portion of the 2-1 decision is the court's traducingly gratuitous comment about referring Alex to the Florida Bar. The majority's comment further demeaned an opinion that was persuasively refuted by the dissent of Judge Lagoa. 

So here is the opinion and have at it, but be warned that we will not post vituperative and demeaning comments. 


37 comments:

Anonymous said...

First 3d DCA case to vindicate Miranda warnings in a long time. But Michaels should have remained silent. Next time maybe Von Zamft and Michaels will take it outside, Vinnie Flynn style. That would be a fight worth writing about.

Anonymous said...


You couldn't be more wrong in your post and your gratuitous comments about the opinion. The court was as direct and honest as they could be in their view of the conduct of Mr. Michales and they were far from traducingly gratuitous in their prose. To the contrary, they stuck to the facts, the true and honest facts. The ones you just can't accept about Michaels.

You have a dog in this fight. We get it Horace, but, it's one thing to stand up for your client and do everything within the Rules to win the case. Alex is a great advocate for his clients. But with his Bar license comes with it a responsibility to adhere to some basic principles of civility and respect and decorum. Michaels fails in all of these areas and he has repeatedly shown to the Circuit Court Judges and to the 3rd DCA that he simply does not give a rats ass about the Rules of Professionalism. They simply don't apply to him.

Nothing vituperative in my post. As the movie line said so aptly, "just the facts, jack". Or better said to you Rumpole, "you want the truth; You can't handle the truth. "


MC Waste Services, Inc said...

This is the first time in recent memory time you post an appellate opinion. Thank god for alex michaels, if only for this. More law and less bs. thank you.

Anonymous said...

If there's anything we can do to support Michaels -- attend the resentencing or write letters on his behalf -- please post it here. Thanks.

Rumpole said...

while I disagree with you 11:58, your comment is a fair expression of your opinion. No problem with that and as you can see, it was posted.

My criticism of the majority was with the dicta in HOW they referred him to the bar. They want to refer him to the bar? Fine, make the referral. However the way they did it put pressure on the bar to disbar Alex. It's almost overtly prejudicial and seems designed to guarantee he does not get a fair hearing. That is the major problem I have with the majority. That and the fact that they could not, based on the testimony and record, uphold the hand waving gesture count, so they engaged in appellate yoga to stretch and twist in such a way so that they didn't just cut him free despite the fact that Lagoa's dissent is right on point.

Rumpole said...

Comments calling names and referencing other lawyers supposed conduct have not been published.

Anonymous said...

I don't know attorney Michaels, and I know very little about criminal law or procedure, but the dissent seems to make a whole lot more sense.

Anonymous said...

Please note: Your comments will be censored.

Anonymous said...

Alex should learn the proper southern old woman way to curse..."God bless your heart!" That's never contemptious

Anonymous said...

Deees iss bullsheet.

Anonymous said...

Shepherd's opinion is contemptuous because, while he expresses his personal moral outrage at profanity used by criminal lawyers toward each other during the heat of battle (GASP! THERE'S GAMBLING AT RICK'S!? Frankly, that's better than the incivility that takes place every day in our civil bar) the court cares naught for civil practitioners who routinely make false statements to a tribunal, file knowingly false complaints and engage in fraud on the court in a myraid of ways through discovery and slight of hand, with impunity. Shepherd and our civil trial judges need to WAKE UP and focus on the misconduct in the practice that actually denegrates the system and erodes the rule of law, and do something about it instead of sit idly by with their thumbs up their butts and thus foster true misconduct by unethical lawyers. Lastly, Shepherd has just made the criminal lawyer a martyr, in the criminal bar.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole -
I have to disagree with you on this one. Of course I've "turned up the volume" shall we say in the midst of a heated argument, but this guy crossed the line. And then some. The travesty here is that his client suffered as a result. The focus of that hearing became Michael's behavior - rather than the Client.
Seperately, given the facts & ruling the 3rd was OBLIGATED to refer him to the Bar. Its not uncommon, at least in Palm Beach. I'm just sayin....

Anonymous said...

Lagoa expressed concern with Von Zamfts conduct during the hearing and rightfully called it disruptive and classic contempt. I guess the rules are different for prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

what about von zamft? he skates again?

Anonymous said...

Blogger Rumpole said...
Comments calling names and referencing other lawyers supposed conduct have not been published.

Thursday, April 03, 2014 9:57:00 AM

Guess that doesn't apply to prosecutors either.

Anonymous said...

You da jelly in my jam sandwich.

Rumpole said...

Show me an improper comment about a prosecutor and I will remove it.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to Johnny "Bump-City" Bumphus?

Also what's the deal with the bathrooms on 4?

Anonymous said...

Lagoa vigorously questioned the state at oral argument, and exposed the weakness in the majority opinion, which was result oriented.Don't know Michaels and he clearly has a history, but the contempt charge was weak.

MC Waste Services, Inc said...

http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2014/03/florida-state-judge-balks-at-50-year-proposed-sentence-for-notable-child-porn-downloader-.html PROSECUTOR TRIES TO BAIT JUDGE INTO CRAZY SENTENCE BY PENALIZING DEFENDANT FOR GOING TO TRIAL AND JUDGE WONT FALL FOR IT.

Jeopardy said...

Alex I'll take Miami Lawyers for 800.

Smokes a big cigar. Drives a fast car. Owns a bar.

Anonymous said...

I am no fan of Alex Michaels. That said, this is an awful decision with an awful result. The dissent was on point. Alex was screwed.

Jeopardy said...

Alex, i'll take Miami Lawyers for 800.

Alex Trebeck: and the answer is "smokes a big cigar. Drives a fast car. Owns a bar."

Anonymous said...

Legally, this is not contempt, as Lagoa correctly points out in her dissent. For practical and pragmatic reasons, Shepherd and Wells say it is and have generated bad law to address Alex Michaels legendary rudeness. Hoepfully, the Supremes will reverse and purge this bad decision from the jurisprudence of contempt. I have no dog in this fight and call it as I see it.

Anonymous said...

Who is Kieran Fallon?

Anonymous said...

Who is Shumie!!!

I'll take Miami Judges for a 1,000 Alex

Jeopardy said...

No I'm sorry. Kieran Fallon is incorrect.

Yes. It's shumie.

Miami Judges for a 1,000.

Implicated in a scandal before court broom. He was arrested and tried by a broward judge in the civil court house on flagler on a criminal charge.

Anonymous said...

Who is Howard "Mousey" Gross?

MC Waste Services, Inc said...

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/04/4039857/attorney-says-missing-emails-prove.html PAM BONDI SPECIAL REPORT

Jeopardy said...

Yes. Who is Howie Gross. We also would have accepted "The Mouse" or "Mouse Gross."

Anonymous said...

Alex is aggressive, can be difficult and tests your patience. Von Zamft is the poster child of obnoxious practices which are often right on or slightly over the line, and trains new ASAs in his “unconventional” practices. Miranda, usually as arrogant as the day is long, caters to her former colleagues in the SAO. The three in the same courtroom is a formula for disaster.

From the opinion, Von Zamft’s conduct was no less contemptuous than Alex’s. Miranda should have sanctioned both Alex and Von Zamft. It takes two to tango. The opinion indicates Von Zamft instigated Alex’s reaction. We have all been in tension filled trial where the presiding Judge, with proper judicial temperament, has fined or sanctioned both attorneys equally.

How words no one understands are or can be offensive deifies credulity. How can anyone be offended by words that only the auditor understands.

Miranda is up for election.

We should all attend the hearing and show support for Alex. Whether you are a fan of Alex’s style or not, he is genuine. Alex believes in standing up to the State. The next one to encounter Van Zamft or one of his trainees or suffer the rath of Miranda or any other ill tempered jurist, could be you.

For those who do not recall history, or are too young to remember the Shepherd incident, take a look at this link.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1320&dat=19830426&id=AD9WAAAAIBAJ&sjid=zOkDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2083,3548066

Anonymous said...

Seven witnesses all say they didn't hear Michaels say a curse word nor did they see him mouth an offensive word or phrase. With this evidence, Michaels agrees to testify and admits to mouthing or mumbling F*CK YOU????????? Re-phrase the Contempt Order to state 2 days jail for stupidity.

Alex Michels Fan Club said...

DEEES DECSION EEEESSSS BULLLLLSHEEEEEEEEET

Anonymous said...

Miranda should show proper judicial temperament and vacate the finding and adjudication of contempt. It's the legal and honest thing to do.

Anonymous said...

What none of you understand is the Alex has been adjudicated guilty of contempt. It is referred to the Bar because it is an automatic 30 suspension. Miranda does not need the 2 days to exact the appropriate punishment for his conduct. He had best get his practice in order, the suspension is sure and he has things to do.

As far as I am concerned it has been long coming and long overdue. It is time for the tail to stop wagging the dog. Lawyers will only do what judges will let them get away with. It is time for the judges to take control back and make this system work the way it was designed, fairly and with dignity, not disrespect.

Anonymous said...

8:01, how can you say it is the "legal" thing to do when and appellate court has said her finding was legal?

"Fair"? Who said the law was fair, or that Michaels acted fairly. Oh yeah, fairness is only to benefit defense attorneys, not the the judges, the system and the people of the State of Florida. You want fairness, then want it for everyone.

Anonymous said...


Alex is real, Miranda is not. The third is no longer the court is used to be. SHAME on all of us.