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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

AN ETHICAL LOOPHOLE

Miami Dade Judicial races bring out the......best? nah.  Brightest? Hardly. 

But a lawyer with an ethics probe or two? 
Take a number, get in line, pay your entrance fee and jump in the race. 

You wanna dance, you gotta pay the band. 
You wanna run for judge, you gotta pay the man. 
(taken from Rocky Balboa, Rocky.)



Benefited from a loophole.

And that brings us to Veronica Diaz, age 36,  Assistant City Attorney, legal experience about ten years, life experience less than four score.  Clerked for which Justice of the Supreme Court? Circuit Court? District Court? Dunno. 




Authored which winning appellate  briefs before the 3rd DCA? 11th Circuit? Can't find any. 
Tried how many jury trials?  Not really sure. 

But she's newsworthy all right. 

Hustles cases from the City Attorneys Office and The City of Miami (Motto: "we're shocked! Shocked! to find fraud in our city") 
to her BF's law firm: "Dewey, Cheatdecity, & Howe". At least that's the allegations. And as even an experienced and wise litigator like Ms. Diaz can tell you: innocent until proven.....hmmm..oh, yeah, guilty. Or as we say in Miami: Cupable. 

The sordid mess is reported in the Herald here. 


What the city didn't know at the time — and which nobody appears to have disclosed — [Horvat] was required to transfer its entire fee to the law firm run by Diaz's live-in boyfriend, Alvarez, under the terms of Horvat's employment arrangement with Alvarez Carbonell,” investigator Lawrence Lebowitz wrote.
The requirement was triggered, according to the investigator, because Alvarez brought the work to Horvat.
The no-bid contracts with Horvat didn’t violate any purchasing laws, because unlike other city departments the Miami City Attorney’s Office contracts with attorneys without a bidding requirement or any kind of rotating contract system. But Lebowitz wrote that “the appearance of impropriety is strong.”
“The only reason a complaint is not being filed under the anti-Nepotism provisions of the county code is because ‘fiancé’ or ‘long-term, live-in boyfriend’ are not included in the definitions of what constitutes an ‘immediate family’ member,” he wrote. (Rumpole notes: this is what you call a classic legal loophole.)

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/18/4243400/ethics-probe-assistant-miami-city.html#storylink=cpy



Ms. Diaz might not have all the credentials one would hope for in a potential jurist given the power of life or death over a defendant, but she's got life experience. That's what being under investigation does to you. It gives you experience and perspective. 

See You Monday. 

Oh yeah, there's another investigation- she likes to rock out to electronic dance music at Ultra for free, which is otro problema for the candidate, since she accepted two free weekend VIP passes valued at $1,500.00 while negotiating with the Ultra producers on behalf of the City. 

Leaked copies of a separate, ongoing audit show that Diaz is also currently under scrutiny for her receipt of two free VIP tickets from the Ultra music festival — a practice that isn’t uncommon among public Miami-Dade officials.


Ok, that's all for now because it's almost dinner time and we have to go buy dinner for the prosecutors handling our client's case Monday. No problem with that, right Ms. Diaz?

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/18/4243400/ethics-probe-assistant-miami-city.html#storylink=cpy

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

In the past, the potential candidates were either accomplished, experienced lawyers or star/go getters out of governmental offices.

Today, most of these candidates are simply vying for the highest paying job they have yet to see.

It doesn't surprise me that so many have impropriety issues since they have neither of the aforementioned attributes. They've hustled in the legal field and will continue to hustle into the judicial one.

It's not hard to be a judge (at least compared to the private sector) since you get tutored by the judicial conference, mentored by more experienced ones and for the most part, they call balls and strikes. I've found that even the un-experienced lawyers develop into fine jurists.

There is no doubt some sick politics involved in the very political appointment process but I think the balancing out election process has mutated into races based upon ethnicity, subterfuge and unadulterated bullshit.

As a lawyer, it's easy to deal with these wannabees that become a "someone" yet I really feel bad for the poor clients and litigants.

Anonymous said...

Does it surprise anyone that ethically challenged former judge Anna Pando works at Alvarez Carbonell?

Anonymous said...

7:34 pm has it right but, I have issues with some of the new "wanna bees." Take judge Luck for example. Nice guy with zero State ct experience and more worried about looking tough than he is about being fair. He goes out of his way to push us all around. I have found him simply not to care about the defense side but, puts on a show like he does. Thats what you get from Federal prosecutors.

Wanna bees can be a pain too.

Anonymous said...

The increasingly typical Dade County judge is an underemployed, inexperienced, marginally competent young lawyer who ideally has an Hispanic name, first, middle or surname. Accept this reality for it is indeed a reality.

Anonymous said...

Annie Pando, Vanessa Brito, Ben Alvarez, Zaida Nuñez, Hector Lombana, Ruby Feria and Bob Levy are the rumored campaign dream team.

Legit campaign team that makes your point 7:34 pm. Though these rachet individuals keep getting on campaign teams and as campaign treasurers. It is our own doing because we say nothing to our jurists who also have them on their campaign teams. As we all know campaign donation refunds are currently being mailed. Some judges kept close to $0.75 on the dollar to pay these cronies and some even family. We must blame ourselves for our current situation. Go over campaign expenditure reports and treasurer appointments to see the problem.

“A person educated in mind and not in morals is a menace to society”

Anonymous said...

This posting is so politically driven, it’s ridiculous. Ms. Diaz’s boss, The City Attorney, sends a small legal matter work to Ms. Diaz’s boyfriend’s firm because the City could not handle it. Said lawyer handles it efficiently and for a low fee and now it’s an ethical issue. Are you kidding me? Where is the ethical violation? I know… THERE ISN’T ONE!!! That is why the Ethics Commission ruled that no violation occurred.
This story and investigation was concocted by Ms. Diaz’s opponent for Judge, Renier Diaz de la Portilla. Mr. de la Portilla has no legal experience whatsoever and is only running on his family’s name and hunger for power. They have influenced Tallahassee for years. Now the de la Portilla clan want to influence the Circuit Bench. I agree that Ms. Diaz isn’t the most qualified candidate we have ever seen. But then again neither are Martin Zilber, Mary Gomez or Mavel Ruiz. And all of them are more qualified than Renier Diaz de la Portilla, who has NEVER practiced law.

Anonymous said...

Veronica Diaz has 12 years of real legal experience. Renier has none. Veronica works at the City Attorney's office making $100k per year & has a positive net worth in the six digits. Renier made $36k last year & his net worth is NEGATIVE $180k. Veronica has no political biases. Renier is a right-wing zealot, who tried to preclude First Lady Michelle Obama because she's an African-American Democrat.
Veronica graduated with Honors from UF law & was immediately sworn in. Renier barely graduated from Nova & only got into the Bar, after there years of trying, because of his brothers.
Veronica will make an excellent Judge. Renier is clearly not fit for the bench and is just looking for a job that pays more than $35k per year.
This is why Renier & his brothers are trying to smear Veronica Diaz. The DLPs know they can't win on the merits. So they are trying to destroy this young woman's career. The JQC should stop inexperienced hacks like Renier from running.

Anonymous said...

Don't donate to judicial campaigns!
If you want a particular jurist, be responsible for telling 10-20 non-attorneys and make sure they go vote.
$ is just going to line pockets and litter streets.

Anonymous said...

How is Mavel Ruiz not experienced? She has been a lawyer for 17 years, at the PD, in private practice for years and then for regional? She has tried over 40 jury trials most of them serious life felonies including murders. She has done both government work and private practice. That's not experience? You have kids 5 years out of law school running for judge! DLP has never even practiced law!!!

Claude Erskine-Brown said...

If DS added Hernandez to.his last name he could get elected, without an Hispanic surname or lots of money, how can qualified Attorneys stand a chance in elections?
But without political & downtown Bug firm connections how do you get out of the JNC, not to mention how do you get the Governor to appoint you?

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

GOV. SCOTT APPOINTS NEW MEMBERS TO JNC .....

Gov. Scott appointed new members to the 3rd DCA's JNC and the 11th Judicial Circuit's JNC:

To the Third District JNC:

Harout Samra of DLA Piper

Jeffrey Bass of Shubin & Bass

Juan Enjamio of Hunton & Williams


To the Miami-Dade JNC:

Robert Fernandez of Roig, Tutan, Rosenberg, Martin, Stoller, Zumpano & Bellido

Hans Ottinot, the Sunny Isles Beach City Attorney

Luis E. Suarez of Boies, Schiller & Flexner

Cap Out .....
Captain4Jusitce@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Veronica's campaign is a Democrat campaign driven by Vanessa Brito. She is speaking about LGBT issues because they feel dems will not vote for DLP. Though DLP has those endorsements.

Regardless they all meet the requirements to run. Those who recruited them are the issues. Let's face it. Ethics are low from the recruiters folks! If LeBron has taught us anything, he taught us to hate the agent and not the player.

Anonymous said...

She can't seem to get out of her own way. Or is she just a pathological liar?
http://www.politicalcortadito.com/2014/07/20/veronica-diaz-lied-not-endorsed-by-mayor-tomas-regalado/

Anonymous said...

for the record Hector Lombana is NOT backing Veronica Diaz.....But rather Renier Diaz de La Portilla

Anonymous said...

"The increasingly typical Dade County judge is an underemployed, inexperienced, marginally competent young lawyer who ideally has an Hispanic name, first, middle or surname. Accept this reality for it is indeed a reality."

so run. Put your name in. never mind, just type things here.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't anyone talking about the Ben issue?

Anonymous said...

Title: Veronica Diaz lied: Not endorsed by Mayor Tomas Regalado -Which is found at: http://www.politicalcortadito.com/2014/07/20/veronica-diaz-lied-not-endorsed-by-mayor-tomas-regalado/#sthash.um3sqwuF.dpuf

To quote:

"She certainly shouldn’t be lying about an endorsement from Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.

A photo posted to her Instagram account July 9th shows Diaz pally-wally with the mayor at some city event and the headline: 'City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado endorses Veronica Diaz for circuit court judge.'

Not so fast.

Regalado told Ladra Sunday that he had not and would not endorse anyone in that race, where Diaz is running against former State Rep. and School Board Member Renier Diaz de la Portilla.

'I am not participating in that race,' Regalado told me in a telephone interview. 'I have not signed any document of support. Officially, I have preferred not to get involved in that race.'"

So we have:
1. "Ms. Diaz’s boss, The City Attorney, sends a small legal matter work to Ms. Diaz’s boyfriend’s firm because the City could not handle it."
2. Scoring Ultra music festival tickets for herself.
3. Lying about Tomas Regalado's endorsement.

Stick a fork in this one, she's done.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts straight, Captain! Julie Bru has advised the Herald that during her tenure as Miami City Attorney, she had the exclusive authority to select and engage outside counsel. Ms. Bru, not Veronica Diaz, referred a real estate matter in 2012 to the Alvarez Carbonell Firm. She advised the Herald in writing that they performed legal services timely and at a reduced fee, to the benefit of the City of Miami. Ms. Bru confirmed in her email to the Herald that Veronica Diaz did not hire any outside counsel whatsoever, because nobody other than Ms. Bru had the authority to engage outside counsel.
The Herald and DLP got caught in a lie. The Herald will retract – but not the DLPs.

Anonymous said...

Awesome. Dirty Miami politics playbook being brought into the judicial election world.

Anonymous said...

Que arroz con mango!!

Anonymous said...

I love this part. This is the part when the candidates anonymously comment on the blog. Stick a fork in this one? I think not. First off Diaz de la Portilla is a zero. He has no business being a Circuit Court judge. Moreover, Dade County is 55 percent democratic. Veronica Diaz is a Democrat which gives her a major advantage. I like to bet and I always make the right picks- im betting on the cuban democrat who happens to be a kinda cute.

Anonymous said...

Incorrect Hector. Stop lying. You recruited her

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


to 10:48 am .....

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

HUH?????? ME?????? COULDN'T BE????

Not sure what it is you are writing about when you stated:

"Get your facts straight, Captain".

I posted on the Governor's appointments to the JNC.

Rumpole posted about Candidate Veronica Diaz. And I believe he was just quoting from the Herald article.

I will only accept criticism when I deserve it. And this is one of those few times when I don't.

Cap Out .....
Captain4Justice@gmail.com

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

From the DBR and their story about the Ethics Commission's investigation of Candidate Veronica Diaz

Miami Assistant City Attorney and judicial candidate Veronica Diaz tells voters on her website she has served the city with "integrity, diligence and humanity."

But the candidate just missed a bullet when the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust found she funneled work to an attorney paid by her fiance's firm.

"This is one of those difficult situations where the appearance of impropriety is strong but the fact pattern isn't specifically covered under the anti-nepotism statutes or the Miami-Dade conflict of interest or code of ethics ordinance," commission investigator Lawrence Lebowitz wrote in a closeout report released Thursday.

The investigation was sparked by an anonymous complaint, and the investigation opened May 16, 2013.

"I am satisfied with the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission conclusion finding no violation to this inquiry, which was based on a frivolous complaint," Diaz said. She noted the reports shows she fully cooperated with the inquiry.

You can read the entire story here:

http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/id=1202663946363/Ethics-Commission-Finds-Appearance-Of-Impropriety-By-Judicial-Candidate#ixzz388Lt8TYQ


Now I posted about Veronica Diaz' Ethics Commission investigation. So, now you can criticize me.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

Those big firm guys appointed to JNC see alot of 73 West Flagler..what a %^Ck&^% joke!!

Anonymous said...

Captain, do any of our local 11th Circuit JNC members have Criminal law experience?

Anonymous said...

Then you get people like me who will end up voting for Diaz because I absolutely refuse to vote for any member of the DLP family.

DS said...

Hector Lombana & Bob Levy* are good guys. Know them both. Don't hate them for supporting those you may oppose. Work, donate to the candidates you support.

* disclaimer: Bob was active in my Dads campaign.I have worked w him many times on campaigns.

Anonymous said...

3 strikes again for Veronica. #1 she is NOT a Democrat. #2 she is NOT Cuban. #3 I agree, she looked cute in her mini-skirt at Ultra, only problem is a wanna be judge should not be partying at Ultra.

Anonymous said...

"This is the part when the candidates anonymously comment on the blog."

10:19 a.m. here.

I'm not a candidate, nor do I have a dog in this fight. In fact, you will observe I have not made a single comment supporting RDLP. I don't know that person from Adam, and honestly don't care if RDLP wins.

You on the other hand, keep posting negative comments to negatively portray RDLP and positive comments to sway people in favor of Veronica Diaz.

Perhaps it is you who should give it a rest. "[C]uban democrat who happens to be a kinda cute" - really? Pathetic the way you political whoremongers write this spinmaster drivel.

"This is one of those difficult situations where the appearance of impropriety is strong but the fact pattern isn't specifically covered under the anti-nepotism statutes or the Miami-Dade conflict of interest or code of ethics ordinance..." Appearance of impropriety in simple English means, "This stinks"! It does not mean she was cleared because there was nothing to it.

Anonymous said...

She was cleared because "fiancee" or "live-in boyfriend" are not defined in the county nepotism ordinbce as "immediate family members".

FACDL Listserve Leaker said...

I'd say this race is a microcosm of the universe of all that's wrong with judicial elections here, but it's worse than that, since it has the added special sauce of party politics.

An inexperienced, too-young, ethically dubious baby lawyer with no private practice experience, running on her name and her miniskirt

or

The least accomplished member of a pure-bred family of political hacks, with even less legal experience and an ideological ax to grind.

That is one lousy choice, and you know it in you hearts.

(I do so hope they both show up for the CABA luncheon and are asked the obvious questions.)

Anonymous said...

She looks dumb and inexperienced as a post.

Anonymous said...


Now Renier DLP has gotten every single endorsement. Including the crown jewel of local endorsements-M.H.
V.Diaz actually lost an endorsement this week she "claimed" to have, that of Miami Mayor Regaldo (2nd link). Oh, V. Diaz does have one endorsement: That of Ultra Festival (listed on her website).
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/22/4249643/the-heraldrecommends.html

http://www.politicalcortadito.com/2014/07/20/veronica-diaz-lied-not-endorsed-by-mayor-tomas-regalado/

Seth Sklarey said...

Problems like this race present, such as lack of experience, appearance of ethical improprieties, etc. Could easily be solved with a "none of the above" bubble on the ballot. If none of the above wins, the election for tht race should be re-voted, not appointed by the Governor in a horrible political process. Oh, and what is the horrible political process to getcappounted to the JNC? Whose ass do you have to kiss? Who do you have to pay? Who do you have to contribute to? Who do you have to know? What party do you have to belong to. Note also that the AFL-CIO decided not to endorse in this race because the choice was Devil or deep blue sea, but couldn't figure which candidate deserved which title.

Anonymous said...

Seth, your AFL may have issued a non-endorsement, but Firefighters Local AFL-CIO endorsed DLP, as well as United Faculty of Miami-Dade, FOP, PBA, Puerto Rican Bar, and many ex-judges and respected lawyers. Say hi Bob.

Hope you are well.