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, August 28, 2014

YOU WON'T HAVE NIXON TO KICK AROUND ANYMORE

Within two years he lost one of the closest presidential elections in history and then went on to get trounced in the race for governor of California. 

No politician could come back from two consecutive crushing defeats.  A lucrative law practice awaited the former vice president who once rescued his career during his famous Checkers speech by bragging that his wife didn't have a fur coat, but a good Republican cloth coat. 

Thus on November 7, 1962, an angry, petulant, and rumored to be drink Richard Milhous Nixon gave an infamous press conference in which he said the following:

I leave you gentleman now. You will now write it; you will interpret it; that's your right. But as I leave you I want you to know.... just think how much you're going to be missing. You don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference, and I hope that what I have said today will at least make television, radio, the press recognize that they have a right and a responsibility, if they're against a candidate give him the shaft, but also recognize if they give him the shaft, put one lonely reporter on the campaign who'll report what the candidate says now and then. Thank you, gentlemen, and good day.



It was Nixon's first, but not his last farewell speech.

Nixon would retire from politics only to stage a remarkable comeback as the "New Nixon" won the presidency in 1968, and then again in a landslide in 1972, only to lose it all - his presidency and his public life- two years later.  Nixon showed that while there are third acts in American politics, there are no fourth acts. 

Judge Elect Stephen Milan lost two elections for judge before winning yesterday. 
Conversely, Judge Fleur Lobree lost her second election in a row, despite being considered a good, hard working, and conscientious judge. 

There may not be any fourth acts in American or Miami politics,  but there is more to life and a career than a political job.  

The sun will rise and the sun will set and life goes on. 

There was a poor lawyer who after some modest success lost three close elections in a row. 
And then in 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. 

See You In Court. 



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ELECTION CENTRAL 2014 - PRIMARY RESULTS


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ELECTION CENTRAL 2014  
PRIMARY RESULTS 

With a turnout of just over 14%, Miami-Dade voters elected six new Judges to the bench on Tuesday.  There were a total of eight contested elections, with Incumbent judges facing opposition in four of those contests.
 
The only sitting Judge who was returned to the bench is Circuit Court Judge Rodney Smith.  Smith had no problem defeating challenger Christian Carrazana, a personal injury and insurance lawyer.  The race was controversial because, for the first time in a judicial campaign, an outside corporation, United Auto Insurance Company, set up an ECO and funded it with nearly $346,000, (spending in excess of $313,000), in order to sway the vote in Smith's direction.  It worked.


Incumbent County Court Judge Jacqueline Schwartz, who has been on the bench for twelve years, failed in her bid to win outright in a three way race and must now face challenger Frank Bocanegra in a November runoff.  Bocanegra, a lawyer for the past six years, is a former law enforcement officer with the MDPD and former Miami Lakes Town Manager.
 
Circuit Judge Fleur Lobree lost, again.  She also lost a County Court race in 2012.  Lobree was defeated by criminal defense lawyer Mavel Ruiz.  After eight years on the County Court bench, Judge Nuria Saenz will join Lobree in the private sector as she was defeated by personal injury & PIP attorney Victoria Ferrer.
 
There will be at least six new Judges on the bench come January of 2015.  Stephen Millan, an attorney with experience in the areas of criminal defense, immigration and bankruptcy handily beat Traffic Magistrate and criminal defense lawyer Thomas Cobitz.  Millan had previously lost two judicial contests: in  2006 (County Court) and 2008 (Circuit Court).
 
Alberto Milian, a criminal defense practitioner, who had previously lost two campaigns to State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, (2000 and 2004), easily defeated marital and family practice attorney Mary Gomez.
 
Attorney Martin Zilber battled Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts all night for an open Circuit Court seat.  At seven pm, Fonts, who specializes in criminal defense and immigration matters, held a commanding 12% lead; by eight pm, the lead was down to 4 points.  It dropped to two points by nine pm.  And by ten pm, Zilber had grabbed the lead by a mere 423 votes.  Zilber, a mediator and insurance defense lawyer, held on and defeated Rodriguez Fonts by just over 2,400 votes.
 
In one of the nastiest races in recent memory, Assistant Miami City Attorney Veronica Diaz, better known for getting free Ultra tickets, sending business to her boyfriend's law firm, and having an Ethics complaint filed against her, easily defeated former School Board member and State Legislator Renier Diaz de la Portilla.  Diaz de la Portilla, not to be outdone by Veronica Diaz, had an election complaint filed against him, by Veronica Diaz' campaign.  He has been a member of The Florida Bar for only seven years, and had barely practiced any law during that time, but he has been a mediator for roughly three years.
 
For all of the election results, please take a look at the final numbers below.
 

WE CAN NOW CALL
THE FINAL TWO RACES
ZILBER WINS
SCHWARTZ IN A RUN-OFF

Only two races really worth watching:

With 100% of the precincts counted, Zilber defeats Rodriguez-Fonts by 2,314 votes.  No recount.

Zilber                     76,973  50.8%
Rodriguez Fonts  74,659   49.2%

Judge Schwartz fails in her bid to win outright and must now face attorney Frank Bocanegra in a November runoff.  She fell 893 votes short of the 50% plus one number.

Two incumbent Judges, Lobree and Saenz, getting trounced.  Lobree losing 54%-46%; Saenz losing 64%; - 36%

We can safely call (before the Miami Herald) the other six races.  Come January 2015 you can welcome five new judges (along with Judge Rodney Smith) to the bench:

Stephen Millan
Alberto Milian
Mavel Ruiz
Veronica Diaz
Victoria Ferrer

CIRCUIT COURT

GROUP 16 

Thomas Cobitz - 35%    52,006
Stephen Millan - 65%    98,422

GROUP 26

Judge Rodney Smith  - 63%    96,172
Christian Carrazana  - 37%    56,909

GROUP 27

Mary Gomez         -      42%     66,199
Alberto Milian      -      58%     90,858

GROUP 58 

Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts   -  49.2%    74,659
Martin Zilber                   -  50.8%    76,973

GROUP 67

Judge Fleur Lobree       -    46%    67,573
Mavel Ruiz                     -    54%    80,752

GROUP 70

Veronica Diaz                         -   57%    87,629
Renier Diaz de la Portilla      -   43%    66,973

COUNTY COURT

GROUP 19

Judge Jacqueline Schwartz   -   49.42%    75,615
Frank Bocanegra                    -   31.08%    47,559
Rachel Dooley                         -   19.50%    29,840

GROUP 36

Judge Nuria Saenz                 -   36%     54,050
Victoria Ferrer                       -   64%     94,789


CAPTAIN OUT .....
Captain4Justice@gmail.com

ELECTION DAY - VOTE



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

V O T E




For the past two weeks, many of you have participated in our democracy by mailing in your Absentee Ballots or by going to the polls during Early Voting.  Today is your last chance to exercise your right to VOTE.

Some STATS:

There are 1,286,905 registered voters in Miami-Dade County.  Voter turnout is expected to be under 20%.

The latest reported numbers of people that have already cast their vote: 83,787 absentee ballots have been returned to the Elections Department of the 213,202 absentee ballots that were mailed. 

Over a period of 14 days of Early Voting: 29,194 additional voters pulled the lever at the polls. 

That means a total of 112,981 people have already voted.

Compared to 2012's primary election, the absentee ballots and early voting numbers are about the same.  In 2012, the totals were about 105,000.  In 2012, on election day, only 93,000 additional voters showed up to vote. 

By seven pm tonight, or shortly thereafter, we could have eight new Judges in Miami-Dade County.  Seven elections will be decided today; only the County Court race between Incumbent Judge Jacqueline Schwartz and her opponents, Rachel Dooley and Frank Bocanegra, could result in a runoff.  A runoff would take place if none of the three candidates garners a majority of the vote; and the runoff would happen on the November general election ballot.

Stay tuned for our live-blogging of the election results.  We'll leave it to Rumpole to decide whether he wants to take down the screening on the Comments section for the night.

Good luck to all the candidates.


CIRCUIT COURT

GROUP 16 (Leon Firtel retiring)

Thomas Cobitz v. Stephen Millan

GROUP 26

Judge Rodney Smith v. Christian Carrazana


GROUP 27 (Ron Dresnick retiring)

Mary Gomez v. Alberto Milian


GROUP 58 (Marc Schumacher retiring)

Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts v. Martin Zilber


GROUP 67

Judge Fleur Lobree v. Mavel Ruiz


GROUP 70 (Sandy Karlan retiring)

Veronica Diaz v. Renier Diaz de la Portilla


COUNTY COURT

GROUP 19

Judge Jacqueline Schwartz v. Rachel Dooley v. Frank Bocanegra


GROUP 36

Judge Nuria Saenz v. Victoria Ferrer


CAPTAIN OUT .....
Captain4Justice@gmail.com


Update: Thank you El Capitan for a great post. Coming soon (after the election results, breakdowns and analysis: "FACDL LISTSERV: A Right to Privacy? Anyone see a penumbra?"

Monday, August 25, 2014

WEAR V. CATALANO ADV CATALANO V. WEAR

Scene: Modern day Miami. 

Dramatis Personae: Maritza Alvarez-Shapiro, Nancy Wear, Michael Catalano. 

FACDL LISTSERV, Saturday, August 23, 2014. 

The story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed, because it's just too damn fun and juicy. 

Like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, an unlikely event that started the first world war, the War between Michael Catalano and Nancy Wear started with an innocent comment, by Maritza Alvarez-Shapiro, politely asking people to vote for Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts. Oscar is a good guy, an REGJB regular. For what's it worth, we're going to vote for him.  He will make a foin foin judge (It's an Irish sort of day for us.) 

Enter Nancy Wear. Bon Vivant. Raconteur.  FACDL LISTSERVE gadfly. Scourge of condo boards. Enemy, apparently, of one Michael Catalano- DUI maven, defender of disgraced judges, no fan of Ms Wear. 

Wear fired the first shot. In response to Ms. Alvarez-Shapiro's endorsement of ORF, gladly seconded by Jackie Woodward,  Nancy Wear wrote this:

Nancy Wear




to Jackiefacdl-miamiMaritza
What?  Michael Catalano has not landed on both of you for expressing your thoughtful opinions?  Wow! I guess it is only me he publicly attacks!!

Well, you knew Michael Catalano was not going to take that shot across his bow lying down. He fired back. And what we love the most is that after he warned Nancy Wear to keep the email private, she immediately forwarded it to the FACDL, claiming she did so without reading the email. 

Bravo! It's a move that would make Benjamin Netanyahu proud. Never negotiate a threat. Call the large bet. Be Doyle Brunson, move your chips all in.  

Nancy Wear



Unread.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michael A Catalano <mcatalanolaw@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Aug 23, 2014 at 4:34 PM
Subject: FW: FACDL-Miami Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts for Circuit Court Judge
To: Nancy Wear <ncwear@gmail.com>

Nancy, this is JUST FOR YOU. Do not forward it. If you do, you do so at your own peril.

Everyone is sick of your crap. If you slander me one more time, I am going to do something about it.

I put up with your posts about Public Defenders being over paid and underwored. Boy was everyone wondering what planet you came from when you did that one....

I put up with your stupid insults to me during the Trauth/Llamas litigation when you told me I should have hired you to handle it and you would have gotten attorney's fees on the first round at the 3rd DCA. Nancy, I made that decision NOT to seek fees to make sure we won.... and we did. I ran that by some real appellate lawyers who agreed with my decision.  I did that for the sake of everyone's clients. Thousands of clients got their DL's back as a  result of my litigation.  I made the decision on purpose and you told me I was stupid for not knowing that I had to ask for fees separately at the DCA. I was really pissed about that dumb and rude comment but, I said nothing.

I put up with you demanding to be a speaker on seminars where you are don't even practice that kind of law.  You demanded to be on an ethics panel for the Masters of DUI seminar and you said your expertise was having handled ONE ethics complaint.  We pick speakers who are experts. You don't even do DUI cases and you still demanded and complained when we did not take you up on your offer to be a speaker.

I put up with you bitching and complaining that CLE's don't have enough women speakers and causing the volunteer organizers all kinds of aggravation.  You did that on the Federal Criminal Law seminar.  You even wrote to the Bar newspaper complaining. Do you have any idea how rude that was to the people involved?

I put up with you telling everyone how smart you are because you beat your condo association... as if we care.

Now, I am not putting up with your crap anymore.

Your recent stupid attempt to impress FACDL with your opinion on the candidates could have resulted in Rachel getting an ethics and JQC complaint if anyone thought she endorsed or approved of YOU sending out her campaign stuff with your discussion about other candidates. I sent my note to FACDL before I spoke with Rachel so that she can show that she didn't have anything to do with what you sent. Do you have any idea how many candidates and their friends get ethics complaints during elections?  Thanks to you, she may have had to spend lots of money defending your stupid mistake.  Thanks to me, she has a defense. It's called the Nancy Wear is stupid defense.

So, do us all a favor and stop posting on FACDL.

As for me, shut up and stop talking about me. I am really sick of it.

This is your only warning.

Mike Catalano


There you have it. A hot, boring Saturday afternoon turned on its head. Arch Duke Ferdinand was killed on a warm Sunday in Saraevjo, June 28, 1914. 

See You In Court. 



Sunday, August 24, 2014

FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL

It's that time of year again, when a Cleveland Brown's fan turns to thoughts of playoffs and that elusive Super Bowl. Why are we picking on the Browns? Because they are our sleeper this year. Forget the Manzel mania. Brian Hoyer is the QB to lead them to the promised land. The Browns have talent, a tough defense and a very very underrated QB in Hoyer. 

It's also that time of year that REGJB regulars put their money where their mouth is about their Football prowess in winning the coveted SURVIVOR  Pool title and the Fantasy Football title, two services that we provide, much against our philosophy, free of charge as an altruistic service to our fellow man and woman. 


SURVIVOR POOL: Hop in, the water is cool. The rules are simply, but devious.  Just pick one winner outright every week. Once you pick that team, you cannot pick that team again for the rest of the year. Sounds easy.....

To register to play, write your name and email address on the back of a hundred dollar bill and mail it to..... (that's an old joke from the Car Talk guys)

To register to play, send an email to FBpool12@gmail.com  and in the subject line write: LABJD&D  - which means- and you don't have to write this: "lawyers against broward judges drinking & driving."

FANTASY FOOTBALL. 
We have confirmed players so far, David O Markus with a K, Judge De La O(ver), Rumpole, Mike "The Commish" Greico,  and Rumpole. We are sure Richard Baron will confirm shortly. David Ovalle is ducking us like the San Diego Chicken. 


David Ovalle? 

If you got an invite/email from the league, RESPOND. If you want to play, or played last year and changed your email, send us an email (any of our emails) and we will add you.
We have plenty of room, so join up and play against your favourite judge, lawyer, but unfortunately, not your favourite media star. 

COMING MONDAY: FACDL LISTSERV: IT'S WAR!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

PACs

UPDATE: We have the video of Ferguson Officer Go F Yourself, which is how the fine, upstanding, well trained peace officer identified himself while pointing a semi-automatic rifle at an unarmed protestor while telling him- in a clear attempt to defuse the situation- that he would "fucking kill you."

No folks, this isn't the Ukraine, China, or Gaza. This is America 2014. 



PAC=Political Action Committee. 

PACs came into existence in the 1980's in response to changes in campaign finance laws. PACs are able to campaign for candidates they endorse, and spend almost unlimited amounts of money to promote a candidate. It is what is known as a "loophole."

Politicians like Senators, candidates for congress, Presidents, and Mayors, benefit from the activities of PACs who promote issues the politician is aligned with. So some yahoo Billy-Bob-For Congress campaign in Texas can be endorsed by the NRA and run for congress under a platform requiring all school age children to wear firearms while attending school. Yee-haw!

But what happens when say MAAD not only endorses a judicial candidate, but it's PAC spends $100,000.00 on billboard and direct mail for a judge in a judicial campaign? What happens when a DUI or DUI Manslaughter comes before this judge after s/he wins the election?  Do we want that in our judicial campaigns and do we want judges who feel beholden to industries based on PAC support?

PAC donations have become an issue in our current judicial campaigns, as an insurance company that litigates and defends a lot of PIP suits has formed a PAC and spent money on behalf of sitting judges running for re-election. And make no mistake about it: PIP litigation is a multi-millon dollar legal industry in Florida. For decades the plaintiffs bar has donated generously to support judges and judicial candidates. Now the insurance industry is fighting back. 

Is the only solution to remove elections from the judiciary? 

We're not willing to go that far, the memory of some truly awful judges being defeated for re-election too fresh in our mind to endorse a system that makes our robe wearers even more arrogant than most of them already are. 

What say you? 

See You In Court. 

UPDATE: VIDEO OF OFFICER GO F YOURSELF. 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

VOTE FOR JUDGE RODNEY SMITH

Before we begin, Monroe County State Attorney Cathy Vogel says we were mistaken and she wasn't the ASA in the murder case we referenced in the prior post.  To that end, we have edited the post to remove any reference to her. 

Long time and careful blog readers know we average about a mistake a year. If our memory was faulty, and we have no reason to not believe Ms. Vogel, we apologize. 

And there's our mistake for 2014. 

KEEP RODNEY SMITH JUDGE. 

We are going to endorse only one candidate in one race this year: Judge Rodney Smith. 
He is a self made man.
He is a Miami native who came from a poor family and made his way through college and law school with scholarships and hard work. 
Upon becoming a lawyer, he immediately gave back to his community by becoming a prosecutor.  From the prosecutor's office, he applied for and became a judge. For a talented lawyer, that means removing at least one digit from the monthly paycheck. 

For our community to not just survive but thrive, we need more people like Rodney Smith becoming lawyers, and we need more lawyers like Rodney Smith becoming judges. 

We are lucky to have Judge Smith as a judge, and there is NO GOOD reason for any lawyer to have targeted Judge Smith. 

Vote for Judge Smith. He has earned your vote. He certainly has earned ours. 

See you in court. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

INFORMATION AND DISINFORMATION

In preparation for the battle of Midway, Admiral Nimitz had a decision to make: did his intelligence code-breakers successfully break the Japanese code and correctly discern that Midway was Japanese Admiral Yamamoto's next target? If Nimitz was correct, he could use his three remaining carriers (Halsey's Enterprise and Hornet- Fletcher's severely damaged Yorktown, nearly sunk in the battle of the Coral Sea was pressed into service and ended up playing a significant role in sinking the Japanese fleet at Midway) to ambush Yamamoto and give the Japanese their first significant naval defeat. 
However, to ambush Yamamoto, Nimitz had to leave both Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States virtually undefended. Yamamoto was betting Nimitz couldn't do that, and thus felt secure that his carriers were safe from attack. If Nimitz's intelligence was wrong and Yamamoto attacked Hawaii again or California, there were no US Carriers to stop the Japanese. 

Yamamoto had his own problems to contend with. In an era before satellites and primitive radar, he had to locate Halsey's and Fletcher's carrier groups. Yamamoto needed to know where the US Carriers were so he could send the bombers from his carriers properly armed to attach either the hardened shelters on Midway or the US Carriers. 

Nimitz was right, Yamamoto was wrong, and the Japanese lost all four of their carriers that day: the Akagi, the Kaga, the Soryu, and later -from the Yorktown and Enterprise bombers, the Hiryu. 
The Japanese would never be on the naval offensive again in the war. 

Intelligence- the ability to discern the enemy's moves and disguise your own attack and defense, has been the sine qua non of military strategy ever since Sun Tzu wrote his classic "The Art of War."

These concerns play an important part in criminal defense and modern trial strategy.  A good prosecutor spends time wondering what the defense will be. A good defense attorney (should) spend time disguising his or her defense. Sending the prosecution off on irrelevant tangents can be a valuable way to get the state to waste time and resources while allowing the defense to attack the prosecution in areas not well defended. 

Defense attorney Stan Blake did that about two decades ago when he successfully defended a murder case. The prosecutor  brought her new fangled DNA testimony to a trial only to learn that the defense was self defense. The prosecutor  spent an enormous and un-needed amount of time proving the identity of the defendant, while Blake attacked the weak spot of the prosecution. The verdict was a not guilty. 

In a lengthy trial we had last year, the prosecution intended to introduce a long deposition of our client in a civil fraud case that turned into a criminal prosecution. We knew the prosecution was expecting us to object to the introduction of the depo, and we fostered that belief by objecting to their reference to it during opening statement. We also knew that the statement was clearly an admission against interest and we couldn't keep it out. We thus spent months pulling it apart line by line, and using every good answer by our client during our cross examination of their witness. Their witness was not prepared for a detailed examination of the depo line by line, and we turned a perceived weakness into a strong point of the defense, highlighting portions of the depo during our closing. 

When you approach a trial, how much time do you spend on figuring out what the prosecution is going to say and how much time do you spend on figuring out what the prosecution thinks your defense will be?  If you can get the prosecution to incorrectly assume and prepare for a defense you will not be using, you are half way home to a not guilty. 

As Sun Tzu said, "All warfare is based on deception."

See you in court. Maybe....

Friday, August 15, 2014

AMERICA 2014: THE MORE THINGS CHANGE....


FERGUSON, MISSOURI, 2014. 
LEFT: FERGUSON MISSOURI, 2014. RIGHT: BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, 1963




LEFT: FERGUSON, MISSOURI, 2014. RIGHT: ALABAMA HIGHWAY PATROL,  BIRMINGHAM, 1963.




FERGUSON, MISSOURI, 2014



TIANANMEN, SQUARE, CHINA, 1989.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

WHAT DAVID OVALLE MISSED WHILE IN FEDERAL COURT

(the following is a dramatization and has not been approved by the FDA and is not intended to diagnosis any medical conditions.) 

Here's a brief wrap up of the daily events at the REGJB this week that David Ovalle missed while over at the college of cardinals in federal court, sipping black coffee in a clean and sterile glass enclosed monolith of convictions and prison sentences:

-Alex Michaels and  Michael Von Zamft were seen peacefully having lunch together until Alex mistakenly squirted a packet of ketchup on MVZ, causing a ruckus that had to be broken up by two bailiffs, one of them a middle aged woman. 

-Judge Will Thomas denied all continuances for all cases set in his division, even in cases where defendants hadn't been arrested yet. For more and real Judge Thomas rumors, see below. *

-Judge Milt Hirsch issued a forty page ruling criticizing Marbury v. Madison and Pennoyer v. Neff, written entirely in iambic pentameter, fully footnoted in Sandskrit, with citations only to the Iliad and the third federalist paper. 

-Judge Brennan granted a bond, but quickly realized what she had done and reversed herself. 

-Judge Rodriguez-Chomat stayed awake during a voir dire. 

-A symposium entitled "Representing Broward Judges charged with DUI and other crimes" was held in courtroom 4-1 over lunch on Tuesday for 2 CLE credits and was well attended by lawyers looking to expand their practices. 

-The escalator between five and six briefly started working before an emergency response team of Miami Dade Building technicians swarmed in and jammed it up with gum and paper clips. 

It's our humble courthouse, and we love it. 

Now to some real news and rumors: 
Just what was being discussed at this high-level judicial pow-wow convened by Judge Thomas with several other Judges in attendance where Thomas wanted the other Judges to continue a slew of cases? Rumor has it that whatever his ultimate goal was, at least one judge refused to play nice and did not agree to continue her cases. Thomas is scheduled to rotate to civil in the coming new year (As Jack Nicholson as the Joker said "wait until they get a load of me") and he was trying to close out or try some monster case, but alas the best laid plans of mice and men.....





See You In Court. 

No truth to the rumor that tickets will be sold to his first motion calendar in civil, but still, there won't be a better show around as civil lawyers get "the treatment"


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

TOP TEN REASONS


Top ten reasons why David Ovalle didn't like federal court:

10) Brand new courthouse lacks the charm and filth of the REGIB;

9) It is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to pass through security and there are no long lines to wait to get in;

8) They serve good black coffee;

7) He was often confused considering the recent proliferation of state court judges appointed to the federal bench;

6) The lawyers are polite and the trials proceed in a professional manner;

5) There are no JOA's (rule 29's);

4) The use of 404(b) evidence makes even the simplest cases a confusing mish-mash of multiple incidents, some charged, some not;

3) There are no broken elevators or escalators; 

2) Everyone is convicted and sentenced to prison; 

And the number one reason David Ovalle didn't like covering a case in federal court this week:

NO TWEETING IN COURT. 

WELCOME BACK





DOWN GOES BIEBER

Justin Bieber, who is famous for something that we admittedly know little about, will plead guilty today to careless driving, as a reduced charge from DUI, and resisting arrest without violence. 

Famed Miami misdemeanor attorney Roy Black represents Bieber. The case is before Judge Altfield. 

Despite the media horde, Bieber will will not be present because the rules allow for a plea in absentia (literally "I'm busy") in misdemeanor cases. 

In other, less important news, a deal for the peaceful transfer of political power seems to have been worked out in Iraq. 

See you in court. 

Coming soon: check your mail, the gloves have come off in one judicial race with one candidate going completely negative in a large mailing. 


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

YOU BREAK IT -YOU OWN IT

First some good-local-REGJB news: Marie Mato has been named Prosecutor of The Year by the League of Prosecutors. Mato has tried some of the biggest cases of the year, including convictions in one of the men who killed Sean Taylor, and the recent case before Judge Pooler where the defendant was convicted of killing his wife decades ago and throwing her body into the ocean where it was never recovered. 
Mato is considered by the defense bar as a straight shooter and very good lawyer and this is an honor richly deserved. 
The League of Prosecutors is having an awards dinner in September at, we kid you not, Jungle Island. Go figure. 

YOU BREAK IT -YOU OWN IT:
When George W Bush was considering the invasion of Iraq in an illogical response to the Afghanistan based Al Queda's attack on NYC, secretary of State Collin Powell, who had been down this road before with Bush's father- George H W Bush, the 41st President of the U.S.  Powell told Bush 43 to be careful- "You break it, you own it."

We broke Iraq. We left the country after more than a decade of war in the hands of  Shia Prime Minister Maliki  who set out to punish Iraq's Sunni minority that held power for so long under Saddam Hussein.  Maliki ignored US entreaties to form a unity government, and the result is that ISIS has been able to unify Sunni arabs in Syria and Iraq  in trying to form a Muslim Caliphate state in the region. ISIS is employing brutal tactics, executing all non-sunni muslims and christians that it finds in its path- including beheading children. 

What is the US's responsibility in this civil war, a war we arguably created? Do we just stand by while innocent ethic minorities are slaughtered in a planned genocide? Would we tolerate a re-newed attempt to wipe out Jews in Europe, or white christians in Africa? 

We are not fooled by the news out of Iraq earlier this week.  Can the ISIS offensive against the Kurds in Northern Iraq really have been stalled because a few F-18's took out the equivalent of a machine gun on a Toyota Tundra? No. This is a long, dirty war, and the genocide against innocent civilians mandates that the civilized world and the United Nations put "boots on the ground" and stop this slaughter. 

We broke Iraq. And we didn't fix it when we left. There is the blood of children on our collective hands. 

Meanwhile, Nato confirms that over 40,000 Russian troops have massed on the Ukraine boarder. Russia will invade Ukraine. Guaranteed. Putin is waiting for an incident, one which he will manufacture if necessary. It is a play taken straight from Hitler's playbook when he invaded Poland and later Russia. And Putin will act when the world's attention is sufficiently riveted on the events in Iraq or the Ebola problem in Africa or re-newed fighting in Gaza. Sell your stocks, and short the market. 

See you in court. 





Monday, August 11, 2014

EVERY LIFE MATTERS

BREAKING: ROBIN WILLIAMS DEAD
Apparent suicide. 
Comedians are the saddest people. 

We received this comment:



Just another angry black man said...
Last month a minister named Kenneth Johnson was killed during a robbery attempt in Liberty City.
Yesterday a rabbi was killed during a robbery attempt in NMB.
NMB's response: here. 

Do you recall hearing about MDPD or MPD increasing police presence in Liberty City when Rev. Johnson lost his life?

You didn't because it did not happen. When the power structure in this town devalues the value of the lives of its black citizens, don't be surprised if its black citizens de-value the worth of all life.

The death of Rev. Johnson is no more or less tragic than the death of Rabbi Raskin. But you would not conclude that from the reaction from the news media and Jewish community. Ask ourselves if you even bothered to put down your coffee when you read about Rev. Johnson in the paper last month. WHY NOT? The death of Rabbi Raskin while tragic may ultimately serve to save more lives if it makes the power structure provide ALL communities with the law enforcement needed.
Sunday, August 10, 2014 2:34:00 PM


Rumpole says: consider that violent crime is endemic in Liberty City and not in the Jewish Community of North Miami Beach. Thus, the murder of the Rabbi was a rare event, while, tragically, the murder of Reverend Johnson was not. 

The first way to fix this is to make the murder of Reverend Johnson a media event. If the media and community draw a line and say "NO MORE" then the police and politicians should respond to the pressure. All it takes is one person refusing to ride in the back of the bus. It's called a tipping point. 

See you in court. 



Friday, August 08, 2014

WE'RE GOING.....

UPDATE: FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE II
DRAFT SET FOR SUNDAY, AUGUST 24TH, 7:15 PM.
Yes, this is the league that David Ovalle was too scared to join last year. This is the league that saw hot shot federal trial lawyers humbled by injured running backs and gimpy wide receivers. This is the league that even confounded yours truly, despite our genius drafting of the best player in the league-Peyton Manning. 

Last year we had twelve players, two divisions of six. We can expand to 15 (three divisions of five) 18 (three divisions of six) or twenty (four divisions of five). If you want in, and are not "ascared" like some Charger loving journalists, shoot us an email and in twenty five words or less tell us why DOM can't draft as well as he can try a case. 



TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET


We returned from a long weekend/short trip-  this past Monday        ( client meetings in NYC and Boston, weekend at the Cape) and despite having to immediately plunge into a trial with evidentiary motions on Monday due to the complete stupidity and ignorance  of a black robe wearing, gavel banging, never made a dollar in private practice and never tried a case so-I-don’t-understand-why-you-are-upset-at-me-setting-this-trial-the day-you-return-from-vacation….,  here’s what we saw whilst perusing the headlines:

More death and destruction in Gaza, with the US unable to influence either party to agree to a ceasefire until they were ready;

Russian troops massing on the Ukraine boarder; Russia/Putin impervious to US-European sanctions, the US unable to influence Putin and Russia;

Ebola Virus breaking out in Africa; the US and World Health Organization seemingly unable to restrain the virus despite a burgeoning effort of money and expert doctors being thrown at the problem.

The Fed is going to raise interest rates, probably in January, but study closely the guidance they give at the September FMOC.

Last night President Obama authorized the use of airstrikes in an Iraq, which is a nation now in name only. After 13 years of war and US blood and treasury, we end up with a fractured country more divided than ever between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. And all the President’s officers and all the President’s F-22 strikes won’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

The stock market bull is running hard, but shows disconcerting signs of wheezing and weakening at uncontrollable events like Russia-Ukraine-Gaza- Africa.

It’s a brand new world folks, and it is seemingly teetering on the brink of disaster everywhere you look.

So Rumpole advises,

1) Buy land in the interior of the United States. Wyoming, Montana, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Western North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan. And make sure that land has….water. Lots of fresh water. Just ask the people in California about that.

2) If you’re in stocks, go to cash (sell into this "rising market", don't panic sell).  If you want to play the market buy the SQQQ ‘s and short the Nasdaq.

3) Buy gold. Buy this stock: GLD which is a Gold ETF.  Short Groupon (Coup), or sell the calls and buy the puts, which we have done from August through November.

This market is headed for a correction folks, and the more it staggers in August and September, the more an October correction (or worse) looks highly likely.
(As we're writing this, CNBC just reported that McDonalds missed it's number big time. The stock is down.)

And please, do your homework and do NOT invest on our (expert) word alone.

Sit tight and hope for the best and prepare for the worst. The US economy is improving, but slowly and fitfully, and there are a lot of underlying significant issues that could plunge us quickly back into a recession and a rough bear market.

Hang tight. See You In Court.