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

Thursday, December 04, 2014

HANDS UP-MIAMI

"HANDS-UP" is becoming this generation's raised fist, although this generation first has to pause a moment and put down their Starbucks Latte and their cell phone and their Go-Pro camera, so the maneuver loses a little bit of its spontaneity.

The gesture is (despite the unloading of accouterments ) a powerful one. It doesn't insult police officers, as many police officers seem to think. It questions what the police do, and just as powerfully, how the court system treats the aftermath. 

Miami has had its share of police shootings, good and bad. And as a credit to former State Attorney Janet Reno, she and her top prosecutors never wavered in prosecuting an officer if the shooting was a criminal act. See our blog post:  "1982 the Case That Made Miami Burn", here. 

"I CAN'T BREATHE!" Yesterday, a Grand Jury in NYC cleared a Police Officer who killed a man. The officer used a banned choke hold. The encounter with the man was over the man selling single cigarettes, which is a crime. But it is not a crime you should be killed for. 
From the NY Times Coverage:
“I can’t breathe,” Eric Garner had gasped after the officer put his neck in a chokehold on a hot July day on Staten Island, a fatal encounter captured on video and viewed by millions of people. On Wednesday, after a grand jurydeclined to indict the officer, the words — and the video — were revived in a wave of despair and fury that rolled as far out as the corridors of Capitol Hill and the streets of Oakland, Calif.

Miami needs to join the outrage over the criminalization of our society. People who have the barest encounters with police officers end up getting arrested for nebulous crimes like resisting arrest without violence, which no matter how you cut it, is basically not doing everything a cop tells you to do when you have an encounter with him or her. The case law is replete with decisions pointing to the "voluntary nature" of encounters between citizens and police officers. Appellate judges, secure in their chambers, write about the citizens unfettered right to tell the police officer NO and to go about their day. These judges would be better served spending an afternoon in misdemeanor jail arraignments as the parade of poor individuals, most of them of color, are paraded in front of a judge on a television, and advised of their rights, while they watch the proceedings through one swollen eye, because they "fell" during the arrest for disorderly conduct, or failure to obey the lawful order of an officer. 

"HANDS-UP MIAMI" isn't about disrespecting the police. It's about the court system disrespecting the citizens of this community. It's about being beaten when arrested, and then coerced into a plea ("all plea offers are REVOKED if the defendant goes to trial.") and then suffering the unimaginable consequences of a simple misdemeanor on your record. You lose the right to drive. You can't rent a decent apartment. And that doesn't really matter, because you can't get a decent job. 

Do we, as lawyers, sworn to up-hold the constitutions of this State and this country, have the guts to protest? Will we all agree to walk into court on Monday, December 22, 2014 and Tuesday December 23, 2014 (albeit light court days) and approach the podium HANDS-UP before addressing the court. (Fed court included!) 
Can we make that simple gesture, in solidarity with all those who march, who are beaten, who are choked and shot and killed? 

Or don't we have the guts to protest? We read about those who crossed the bridge and marched into Selma. Alabama and were beaten bloody by State troopers on "bloody Sunday"- March 7, 1965. That march led to the passage of the civil rights act. No one will be beaten or gassed or set upon by dogs- although a few judges may frown at you. 

HANDS-UP MIAMI. Let the world know we are with you. 

See You In Court. HANDS-UP




45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes let's protest the police using force to subdue criminals who do not surrender. Let the criminals go free!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. Like many of your readers, I'll be out of town those days. Otherwise, I would have joined this protest. Please keep up the good work on this issue. Too many of us may have forgotten the shock we first felt about the sea of black and brown defendants in the "justice" building.

Real Fake Former Judge said...

Count me in Rump!!! However, I will be vacationing at Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, so on 12/22 for dinner I will approach Mario- the maitre'D at Stern Lucerne- perhaps the best restaurant in Europe- HANDS-UP in a show of solidarity with my Miami brethren.

Broward County Judiciary said...

DONT TRY THAT CRAP HERE, LEST YOU DESIRE TO SPEND XMAS IN THE CLINK

Anonymous said...

Instead of glorifying people who are resisting and/or antagonizing the police, perhaps we should encourage people to be more respectful, follow the officers orders, etc. If Garner and Brown had done so, they'd still be here.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Are you fucking serious btdt? We should show respect to people out of fear, not because of mutual respect, but because we don't want to fucking die? You are a gosh darn fascist son of a bitch, and you are no American.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

NORTH OF THE BORDER .....

Judge Gary Cowart is resigning from the County Court. The JNC has met and sent six names to Gov. Scott. Presumably, one of them will be named a County Court Judge, within the next 60 days.

Those names are:

Donald Gelin
Ernest Kollra
Thomas Oates
Abbe Rifkin
Richard Sachs
Steve Zaccor

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

Anonymous said...

When will we know the new judge assignmentd for January, I.e , which new judge going to which division, which courtroom, etc. Thought it would have been published already. Reply, Rumpole?

Anonymous said...

Deadly force should be used only when the cop is in fear of death or great bodily harm not to effectiate an arrest such as Eric Garner's and even worse when a banned technique like a chokehold is used. That cop should have been indicted for manslaughter by culpable negligence or whatever they call the equivalent crime in New York. All of these is conditioning society to obey orders, jump through hoops on command like circus cats, or die. Don't dellude yourself, the U.S. is no longer a free society.

Anonymous said...

At today's FAWL luncheon honoring Milt Hirsch with the Ted Klein Award, SDFla. Judge Marcia Cooke gave the invocation.

She used the phrase, "I can't breathe," or "I cannot breather," at least four times in a brief poetic, oration that rang in terms approaching despair.

Anonymous said...

In 1829 the rule was, "To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective." You'd think some of these, "conservatives" might want to conserve some of the old time rules.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like fun. I can't wait to see the reactions. I'm in.

Kissimmee Kid said...

The best restaurant in the world is Noma, created by Mads Refslund and Rene Redzepi. Nobody dumb enough to be a judge would know that.

Anonymous said...

1142, you misunderstand my point. I have repeatedly posted on the disrespect people have for one another (particularly on the internet). The name calling, baiting, etc. is ridiculous. Your post is a case in point.

Regardless, I don't see how it's remotely acceptable for people to make a hobby out of baiting cops, encouraging others to resist arrest, etc.

Finally, I always find it amazing how people like you can be so judgmental on these issues. The only way things can improve is if people an discuss them in a cool, rationale way. Hopefully, you'll learn that some day.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

How is this homocide different than any of the hundreds of cases where people kill others without intent and still end up in prison? I am reminded of the FAMU band members, college students who observed an old custom of beating the new members as an initiation rite. They didn't intend to kill and noone had ever died in previous initiations but they were convicted for the results of their behavior anyway. The law is supposed to hold people responsible for the reasonable results of their actions, the grand jury decision in New York proves that who you are and who you kill is more important.

Anonymous said...

This whole hands up myth is insane, and now for a group of presumably educated professionals to embrace it and propose some shit show in our courtrooms is even more insane.

Policing in this country -- particularly "comply or die" -- needs to change. Agreed. Cops aren't trained to de-escalate, but to treat people like enemy combatants. Yup. Poor people, especially those of color, get shafted and railroaded by cops all the time. I'm with you there.

We've all seen it. And, at least for me, it has for a very long time made me angry. I presume this is why many of us got into this business.

But our only professional currency is credibility, the facts, and the law. And, none of those comport with this hands up, don't shoot nonsense. Nevermind the irony of a group of criminal defense lawyers implying that a criminal indictment should have been based on something other than the evidence.

I hope you all insist on more for your own clients.

Anonymous said...

Is it even remotely possible that the reason we see so many black and brown faces at arraignment calendar is because people of color commit more crimes? Nah, that must be categorically denied as being racist even if it's true. Every one knows that most crime locally (especially violent crime) is committed by Jews and Chinese people.

Anonymous said...

Where, besides this web site, are the new judge assignments posted? Or do you have to scour the judges directory?

Anonymous said...

I can live with Ferguson because of all the variables I think it is a civil suit not criminal, but NY can be nothing less than manslaughter. I can't imagine what it must feel like to have darker skin and minding your own business walking down the street in America.

Claude Erskine - Browne said...

I say old chao, it is quite uncivilized to choke a man to death over selling a single tobacco cigarette . Truly.

Anonymous said...

Nice win for attorney Richard Gregg today in front of Judge Thomas on a stand your ground on a homicide.

Anonymous said...

Finally, it need not be said, but for others who are reading this missive, I say it: The hands up stunt is based on an utterly false narrative. It expresses a disregard for the legal process and the facts as they were presented to the grand jury. Multiple African American witnesses told the grand jury that Mr. Brown never had his hands up and was in fact charging Officer Wilson after he, Brown, had already tried to get Wilson's gun.

The grand jury evidence is in the public domain. Rumpole can't or won't read.

Rumpole obviously does not even have the courage of his alleged convictions because he hides behind his self-serving anonymity (he has told the media he does this because he is afraid of Bar complaints). Yet he advocates disregard and disrespect for the grand jury system as the Founders knew it and as it is supposed to work.

For example, criminal defense lawyers like Rumpole are the first ones to whine when a prosecutor puts before a grand jury only one side of the facts in order to "indict a ham sandwich." But when a prosecutor, as in Missouri, puts ALL the facts before the grand jury, as he is supposed to do, and lets the grand jury actually decide, then all of a sudden this is "unfair" and "racist" and "rigged," all because Rumpole and the other nihilists and anarchists want to indict a white bread ham sandwich, the facts be damned.

Rumpole is so loosely educated that he apparently does not know that this is precisely how a grand jury is SUPPOSED to work. The grand jury is supposed to be a bullwark against prosecuting the innocent. Rumpole labors under the decades of doing the opposite by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. Janet Reno did this hiding of the evidence from grand juries all the time.

Each of you has a sworn duty to find out, via a subpoena, who this guy is and then prosecute him for his clarion call to all Miami lawyers to disrupt courtrooms and disrespect the law and the Constitution.

But please do this as a grand jury would and should do it, and not as Mr. Rumpole would do it as a race hustler to persecute white police officers.

Regards, Jack Thompson

Anonymous said...

TO 3:48

Police, prosecutors and judges treat people of color more severely than white people. Numerous studies from around the country, show, taking all factors into consideration, that: (1) people of color are disproportionately arrested for drug crimes; (2) people of color are disproportionately subjected to enhanced sentencing; (3) children of color are disproportionately arrested for school conduct; (4) death sentences are disproportionately imposed upon people whose victims are white.

For the most part, I think the police, prosecutors and judges are motivated by unconscious racism, a perception that people of color are more likely to be dangerous. That's why people are angry about Ferguson, Staten Island, Zimmerman's unpunished killing of an unarmed black child in Sanford, Fla.: the killings resulted from an unreasonable race-based perception of danger.

Anonymous said...

The Fake Former Judge and the Kid from Kissimmee are throwing down over New Nordic cuisine vs Swiss cooking. Neither Noma, Stern Luzerne nor Acme in New York have any Michelin stars.

Aquavit a Scandinavian restaurant located at 65 East 55th Street in Manhattan in New York City, does.

What about Ren? Is it a venue?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 3:25 and BTDT.

The EVIDENCE showed that Brown did not have his hands up in a show if surrender. In fact, the EVIDENCE pointed to exactly the opposite. For you, Rumpole, to suggest that professionals - members of the Bar in fact - go into a courtroom and further promote a falsity for dramatic effect is absolutely irresponsible and unprofessional.

If the officer HAD been charged and you were hired as his defense counsel, you would be arguing those facts - the ACTUAL facts. Instead you go with the salacious inaccurate version.

What you propose here is a further extension of fueling this ridiculous fire.

The fact is that there are bad apples in EVERY group. Police, attorneys, judges, plumbers, CEOs..... But there are GOOD APPLES in each group as well.

Regardless, today's society has absolutely lost all respect for others. People are selfish and rude to everyone and they defy authority just because.

Are there bully cops - of course. Are they all like that - no. However, how often is it that a certain group is the one on the surveillance camera caught in a criminal act? THOSE cases aren't harrassment for harrassment's sake.....

The Garner case was wrong. The cop should be prosecuted. The rest of the cases out there were the right result.

And you advocating making a circus out of our courtrooms is a travesty. Please, be the professional that you have always been......

Anonymous said...

This thread reminds me why I've started looking for a new home . . .outside of these contiguous 50 states.

Anonymous said...

Holy BatMoble, Rumpole let a Jack Thompson comment get thru.

Rump, you getting soft in your old age?

Anonymous said...

To 2:11(In my best SNL imitation):

Buh-bye. . .

Anonymous said...

Wacky disbarred Jacky is back, as crazy and ignorant as always. Rumpole shows alot of class publishing his garbage under the 1st amendment. The more wacky writes, demonstrates that Judge Tunis was correct is knocking Wacky out of the bar.

Anonymous said...

When I say Richard, you say Gregg! Richard...

Rumpole said...

There are multiple differences between me and Jack Thimpson. But the largest is that he was prosecuted for his unseemly antics and I have not been. And that drives him to distraction. But I print his swill because the easiest way to discredit him is to let him have his say. He had his say as a lawyer and was disbarred. He can have his say here. In the market place of ideas it's really not a fair fight between him and I. So I relent a bit although many say I do him no favors allowing him to embarass himself. So be it. In some ways he's still a big boy.

Anonymous said...

BTDT is right. without all the rhetoric and bullshit, if garner had just put his hands behind his back he would be breathing today.

not justifying what cops did but chris rock explained it best in his segment titled "how not to get your ass kicked by the police"

it is on you tube and is very funny

Seth Sklarey said...

For years I have been urging that police be prohibited from swearing. It seems that many controversial violent actions by police are accompanied by profanity and my contention is that if this simple rule was followed that much of the unnecessary violence would not happen.


Officer Wilson of Ferguson, Missouri was observed on film using profanity and PINAC website has the video.
Wilson resigned after receiving $500,000 on donations.

The Grand Jury system is flawed. Here in Dade County grand jurors used to be picked from Judge's Chistmas card lists. Often they are manipulated by the State Attorney, and they certainly can be one sided.
They can also be used to kill a weak case.
We need better psychological training for police officers, better psychological training to prevent kids from developing bad attitudes in dealing with police, and better training for everyone to reduce racial and ethnic prejudices.

Using the "N" word is verboten.
Please don't call me cracker or Anglo, and not everyone who speaks Spanish in Miami is Cuban.
Respect for others, especially if they are different would go a long way toward a more pleasant world.

Anonymous said...

Imagine having BTDT as your "defense" attorney

What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, I was certified sane by The Florida Bar. Publishing false assertions that I am mentally ill is actionable libel, libel per se. You've just set yourself up for a subpoena. Thanks! Jack Thompson

Anonymous said...

BTDT and 9:40 would be perfect citizens for any totalitarian society. I have a right to be treated as a free human being and not killed for minor law violations. Garner was not the authority in the situation. The cop is supposed to be the professional. If you are incapable or unwilling to diffuse minor citizen encounters without killing the citizen than you need serious reformation. A few years in prison will do these cops a lot of good.

Rumpole said...

Jack. Poor dimwitted Jack. Shall I publish your last email to me a few months ago begging to surrender ? Apologizing and promising not to email
Me your threatening nonsense? Are you sure you want this ? Aren't their widows for you to defame and dead soldiers families to curse at because they are gay and Internet and you tube sites running Neil Rogers's shows for you to picket and harass? Arent there Judges to impeach because of loyalty oaths ? Your threat of subpoea rings as hollow as when you profusely thanked the Florida Supreme Court for disbarring you because that gave you standing in Federal Court. But that didn't go well and Judge Moreno ended up sending Marshals to your home. Remember all that? You sure you want this fight? Is it because of the golf course incident? You're bored ? Really. Go pray. WWJD? What would Janet Reno do?

The REN (a venue) said...

Who's up for the REN (a venue) charter to Vegas next week? Wooooo hoooo! The Venerian. Let the fun begin. What happens at the REN ( a venue) in Vegas stays at the REN (a venue) in Vegas.

Anonymous said...

Now you've done it. Charters to vegas. Immoral acts planned. Playing right into my hands. I will be in circuit court monday morning with my application for an emergency writ to shut down the REN (a venue) and to seize all asserts and to appoint me as receiver. This REN den of iniquity will finally be shut down. Courtesy of that dumb post. Thank you. Thank you thank you.
Fake wacky thomas.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, please, please PLEASE publish each and every email you have gotten from Jack. It's not fair for you to keep such fun to yourself.

(I love thinking of him, huddled in whatever little room his wife lets him use in the house he can no loner help to pay for, reading your blog, as the glow of his 15-year-old Dell reflects off the yellowed newspaper clippings scotch-taped to the walls. Do you suppose he rubs his hands together like a Bond movie villain and strokes a cat sitting in his lap as he mutters, "subpoena. . . subpoena. . . libel per se . . "?)

Please put me down for an "All Jack, All the Time" channel on your blog. Nothing here is ever as entertaining as JBT posting his rants and threats.

(Utoh. I said he was entertaining. Now will I be getting a subpoena, too?)

Wacky Jesus jacy said...

Just more ammo for the lawsuit. Keep em coming. They may admit me back into the bar by acclimation after this. Ahhahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawaawaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw. Cough wheeze cough.

Anonymous said...

How come so many blacks think it's OK to rob a store and punch a cop in the head? How come so many whites don't have a problem with cops beating the shit out of everyone? How come, I am white and have great difficulty finding probable cause to arrest any of those cops and charge them with a crime? How come so many blacks think all of those cops should have been charged even though we know they all would have been acquitted?
Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

It's a sad day when a call for mutual respect and a comment about the importance and value of courtesy is met with such vitriol.

I'll never understand why it's so hard for some people to understand that one can defend a client or protest government action (or inaction) without being an asshole.

BTDT

Claude Erskine - Browne said...

Each case, each situation is different.
Ferguson was unfortunate, but likely justified by self defense.
New Yourk was simply street cleaning for the local merchants turned into Murder ( or Manslaughter ). Garner was strangled, the purpose was likely not to kill him, But the Banned Choke Hold was not called for and was brutal abuse that is clearly a violation of the law.

Anonymous said...

People who try to artificially limit the meaning of "hands up" protests to the "factual" peculiarities of the Ferguson case (or who counsel cowed compliance at all times - that would be you, BDTD) ignore that police overreaching happens every day in every community and we are tired of it. That it is disproportionately aimed at people of color is only a natural consequence of our sordid history. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/rekha-basu/2014/12/14/video-tells-different-story-ui-arrest/20389271/