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, May 07, 2015

VOX POPULI

First, Tom Brady and the NE Cheaters are cheaters, they always have been cheaters, and always will be cheaters. There. We feel better. 

SEXISM. 

The issue of sexism has been raised on this blog, with the accusations hurled at your faithful blogger that we are complicit in promoting the sexist views of at least one, and perhaps more commentators who refer to certain judges as "little girls" and the like. 

The criticism, which we have received in the form of comments and private emails from distinguished individuals whom we respect, basically goes something like this: you wouldn't print a comment calling an African American judge a racist word, or a Jewish or Latin judge a racist word, but why do you print comments demeaning females? 

Fair point. 

We will respond, but we first aver that our position is subject to being changed by the comments we receive in this post. 

First, lets review the blog rules. We will not publish comments personally demeaning an individual or talking about their private life, unless their actions directly relate to their job. If a comment says so and so looks ugly or fat or doesn't bathe, we don't print those comments.  If a comment  says so and so is cheating on their spouse, we won't print that comment. If a Judge  is arrested for DUI, or any crime, we would print that. If a  Judge is accused of misconduct of any sort with a member of their staff or a lawyer that appears before them, or with a litigant (and believe us, the stories of judges sleeping with defendants in the 1970's and 1980's are numerous and legendary) we will print that. 

Racism. 
Racism, like sexism, is repugnant. If someone commented that an African American Judge couldn't perform their job because of their heritage and race, we would probably print it, confident that the response would show the idiocy of the comment. Indeed, Judge Marcia Cooke recently published on her Facebook page an incident where she was mistaken for a servant or cleaning woman in the parking lot of her condo. The result was a discussion about stereotypes which we think helped address an age old problem.  Nobody criticized Cooke for raising the issue, as was her right to do. 

When we print a comment from someone about young female judges,  in which the comment calls them "little girls", lots of people get upset. 

Our view is: fight back. Respond to the neanderthal-thinking comment and let those types of ideas be discussed in the market place.  We think that if we impose our morality on this blog, then we don't serve the community. We disagree with comments that call judges "little girls". And therefore those that criticize us have no problem with our censorship, confident that our views are their views. 

 But what if our views are not your views? What if we were racist or sexist?
You probably would stop reading. The market place would work. 

We see the other side. The people who frequent this blog want to read and comment about issues and not have their sensibilities offended by stupid and sexist comments which take away from the pleasure of contributing to a discussion. 

We hear you. We just want you to consider that you are setting a dangerous precedent by putting such power of censorship in our hands. What if we decide we don't like your particular ideas and won't print those? 

Now we want to hear from you. For the purposes of this post, we will not publish comments seeking to inflame readers. Meaning we won't publish more "little girl" comments. You can address the "little girl" issue, but for this post at least, you can't engage in that type of name calling. 

See You In Court.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

You state:

"If someone commented that an African American Judge couldn't perform their job because of their heritage and race, we would probably print it, confident that the response would show the idiocy of the comment."

Although "little girls" certainly implies gender-based incompetence, your hypothetical comment is not comparable to that epithet. A comparable comment about black judges would be "little black boys" or "little black girls." Would you routinely publish comments like that? How about comments using even worse racial epithets?

If comments such as those routinely appeared on this blog, you would injure and alienate your black readers, and thoroughly discredit your blog. I cannot believe you abdicate all control of the tone of your blog to marketplace forces.

I understand that you are struggling with this issue. On some fundamental level, you fail to appreciate the impact of your commenters' misogyny on the women in our community who read your blog. We have alerted you to the problem created by your publication of hateful comments. You respond that it's our job to solve the problem you've created. You admit to curating comments to spare people from undue injury. So this is a job you have already taken on. Please do it.

Anonymous said...

The comment, little girls, is inelegant and stupid. However, the issue of lawyers with less than 15 years of experience ascending to the bench is an issue that is fair comment. Being a judge requires knowledge of the law, wisdom, experience, and good sense. A 35 year-old former PD or ASA generally does not have those as we well know at RGB. Perhaps, we should be working to solve that problem and then we would not hear about little boys or little girls because they would be out learning how to be lawyer and people before they assume the serious role as a judge.

Anonymous said...

Such total bullshit, Rump. Did you just write your post to see how many times you could include "little girl" at one sitting to continue offending us?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for coming around and realizing that anti-woman comments can be as degrading and disgusting as other types of prejudices. Sexism can be an ugly undercurrent. Recently, I tried to explain to a colleague why a case of mine had not settled. I won summary judgment on liability, but no settlement. The experts agree on causation, but no settlement. Despite that my opposing counsel likely does not know it about himself, it is obvious to me that he still cannot see me as an equal. I watch him grapple when he believes I win hearings "because I'm lucky" and cannot bring himself to realize I may be a good lawyer. Since I'm so often underestimated as a lawyer due to my gender, I usually get a kick when someone is so blindsided. After a while, the kick wears off.

Just so you know, the reason why I know it is gender bias is because it is the same underlying feeling that some LGBT folk understand when the other side has a hidden prejudice, and certainly anyone of color has known the feeling. "Most" people in our community are not prejudiced on purpose. Like when I explain to my neighbor (and he is shocked) that the "nice" couple from Alabama in-between our homes is not social with either of us because we are too Jewish-Cuban-Mexican-Different-LGBT for them.

WE KNOW when people use a prejudice against us. We can't prove it, but we know it. Those who do it deny it, because it is hidden, even to themselves. What happened to Judge Cooke mortified me -- like I wanted to puke.

Calling out the gender bias when it occurs, does in fact, help.

Treating it the same as other types of gross and disturbing biases really helps.

I've been an avid reader of the blog, and appreciate the time and effort put into it. There is so much insight here for those who read it.

A few years ago, a Circuit Judge mentioned to me some of the gender biased comments that were made under one of the stories here. Since then, I made sure that I was one of the people who called it out when I saw it (albeit anonymous).

So, thank you for seeing gender bias for what it is.

In the future, when women take over, we will spare your life. :) *wink*

John Morrison said...

Horace,

The comments that certain judges are juvenile in their actions may be, and regrettably often is, well-founded. I do not find such antics more prevalent among either either "girls" or "boys," however.

And I'm not sure why the "girls" should have to fight back (in your words). As you candidly state, you do not require other groups to fight back when they are disparaged based on characteristics that have to do with birth rather than behavior. And what would fighting back accomplish besides distracting from what should be the real focus--the behavior.

I would respectfully suggest that you exclude such comments--it lowers the quality of the blog and distracts from the important function that it serves.

Anonymous said...

First, is a writer calling a judge a "little girl" expressing an idea? No one should have an issue with legitimate criticism about how a lawyer became a judge or how she or he is acting as a judge. But, in my view, the term "little girl" is a demeaning personal attack and not the expression of an idea.

Second, as to your marketplace of idea defense, how does the anonymity of the "little girl" posters impact your thesis? I would tend to agree with you if the posters were signing their names to their posts, then the marketplace could handle the issue. But, of course, the posters are too cowardly to sign their names.

Just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Political correctness is non-sensical hypocrisy that undermines free thought and chills free and frank speech.

Why even bother with the politically-correct self-appointed censors? Just say whatever you want and, if someone gets offended, they can say whatever they want in the comment sections and let the debate keep runnung.

Free speech should never fall victim to censorship no matter how well-intended the censor is, or pretends to be, or how noble are their reasons for attempting censorship.

Rumpole said...

I think I realize the seriousness of the issue. I get how upset people are and demeaning the comments are.
We are headed towards banning words here. Is everyone OK with that? I'd rather defeat bad ideas than ban words. But I am willing to go alone with the voice of the people

Rumpole said...

That should be "go along"

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with censorship.
But there have to be ways (like response comments) to let people know we don't agree with them

I used to think it was okay to let people freely speak their mind - that it was better for us to see what people truly thought and we could address those issues.

However, often giving people the platform to espouse their views gives them legitimacy and if there is no way to express our outrage over their comments then others might think these views are okay.

Recently on Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer called out his guest as being a spokesbigot for a hate group (FRC). He told people watching that there were lots of people opposed to even allowing the man to speak. Without this 'warning' I think there are lots of people who would have looked at this guy and seen him a a reputable and acceptable voice in the debate.

On a blog like this we are able to respond and call out the idiotic comments.
On this blog I don't think Rumpole allowing unpopular ideas gives these comments legitimacy. I actually think it might benefit us to realize that there are still small narrow minded people who hold backward beliefs and if we respond and let them know why we disagree it may end up better than simply silencing them.

Steve Bustamante said...

Marketplace of ideas?

That's for grownups.

We have all become little boys and girls. So, forget it.

Anonymous said...

8:45 I agree with the content of what you wrote referring to fact we need better judges with qualities you mentioned. However, at the end you make reference to fact that we then wouldn't be hearing about little boys or little girls.

But we don't hear about little boys. That's the sexism issue.

Polish Proverb said...

"Not my circus, not my monkeys."

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous @ Thursday, May 07, 2015 9:26:00 AM (clearly a woman):

Leave your name next time. Stop complaining. It's getting old. Frankly, I fell asleep reading your essay/comment. You come off as insufferable. You're clearly too busy complaining about petty shit to take over anything.

Anonymous said...

Breaking!

Miccosukee tribe fires Bernardo Roman III as its lawyer and requires police escort off the reservation!

Stay tune!

Anonymous said...

The "little girl" categorization is [unfortunately ] fair since the job of State judge has definitely been relegated to an abundance of judges that do not need their judicial salaries, are young in age, exploit what ethnicity helps most for the elections , lack in life and professional experiences and other issues distinguishable by the female gender.

Btw, the bunch has never been devalued more than the appointment of extreme neophtye Nina DiPietro

Gotta call a spade a spade

Secret Judge said...

To 11:29AM in the previous post. Congrats! You got 4 out of 5 right. Yes, I am narcissistic. Blame it on the fact that those of the opposite sex have always found me exceedingly attractive. I admit also, to feeling smarter than I really am. I also agree that I should have the final word on every topic. I admit to being average at best. Greatness as a Judge is defined as Gerry Wetherington, Gerry Kogan, Lenore Nesbitt and Ed Cowart. I am not qualified to even carry their papers, but I do show up every day, an generally on time, and am sensitive to private lawyers trying to make a living. However, I am NOT bitter. I am so very thankful for my judicial career. Have had a blast and met so many wonderful people. I do indeed feel rather fortunate to have lasted this long. It must be noted that you attacked me, rather than the opinions I presented. You on the other hand, plead all your clients guilty because you lack the skill and courage to go to trial. As to Mr. Rumpole's post, I abhor censorship of ANY kind and suggest those myopic politically correct folk allow the exchange of ideas to be published whether you approve of them or not. Too slippery a slope you are contemplating. One final comment, I would be more concerned with what prompts some lawyers to make the offensive comments as opposed to those comments being printed. PRINT EVERYTHING. That is the essence of our Bill of Rights.

The Professor said...

The truth of the matter is that to some of us many of the judges taking the bench are "little girls" and little boys". That may be a function of our age or the fact that many of them we knew as "little boys" and "little girls". Both of my children are very close to or over 30 years old.

I still refer to my daughter as "little girl" when I speak to her. I think this because, even though she is married and ready to start a family, she is in many ways still young and inexperienced in life. This is the case with many of the judges (boys and girls) who take the bench. They have a law degree. BIG DEAL!! They have little experience in the law and little, if any, real life experience. Yet, they feel qualified to judge the actions and lives of others.

We have a Constitutional Revision Commission coming in a couple of years. It is time to raise the bar (so to speak). Minimum age of 45 with 15 years in the Florida Bar. That does not protect us from the "comeback job" syndrome we have seen in the past, but at least the issue of true experience may effect voter's and JNC decisions.

I agree that age and experience are not the end all and be all, but it is a start to a return to sanity.

What say you Bob Levy, Susan Fried, Armando Gutierrez (just to name a few), scum of elections who have brought this scourge upon our bench, all for the sake of lining your pockets?

Anonymous said...

Professor,
Agreed that rules need to change and judges need more experience. But once again a comment doesn't acknowledge that using the term little girls is demeaning and sexist.
You refer to "little boys" in your comment at 2:02. But when criticism of male judges is made in these comments, that term isn't used.
A judge that threw a fax machine was referred to as "childish." Gender wasn't mentioned. But a female judge that does something stupid is a "little girl." Sexist.

Anonymous said...

Little girls refers to a class of judges who have ascended to the bench in recent years in spite of their age and perceived lack of experience. In the blog it is always meant to be derogatory. My problem is that a bunch of judges in that class have turned out to be fantastic (Sayfie) and some of the ones who appear to have more experience have turned out to be terrible(Llorens). I get offended when the term includes the fantastic ones. Idiots don't have the ability to tell one from the other. The 'professor' doesn't know shit.

Secret Judge said...

12:29 PM was NOT written by me. but someone pretending to be me. i would NOT use the word c--- s----- in a public forum, but it may well be appropriate to describe the impostor.

Anonymous said...

I would like every Jewish man who abhors "censorship" of sexist comments to imagine how he would feel if the comments section was routinely laced with epithets about Jews -- "dirty," "thieving," "dishonest," "sleazy," "gawdy," "big-nosed," loud-mouthed."

So you're starting your day, you've got your coffee in your hand, you've finished NYT, WaPo, the Herald, now you're down to your blogs. You look at Talking Points Memo, HuffPo. Next your local lawyer blogs, because you're nursing your second cup now. Let's see if Rumpole's written something interesting, if so let's see what the other readers think.

Then WHAM! Sleazy, thieving, gawdy, big-nosed, loud-mouthed, almost every fucking day someone evokes the worst stereotypes about you in a blog your colleagues see about the place you go to work.

How would you handle that?


(posted by a Jewish woman)

Anonymous said...

Rump, could it be possible that some judges (or cohorts) compliment themselves and attack other judges? It’s so junior high. So exciting

Rumpole said...

I removed the fake comment secret judge. Why don't you get an email account and then you will be verified.

Juniper said...

I don't like sexist remarks. However, don't you dare censor your blog. Forums for free speech are fast becoming rarer than hens' teeth.

Anonymous said...

Is this a joke? I can't tell.

The judges in question happen to have lady parts. The criticism of these judges is not that they have lady parts, or that by virtue of their lady parts they are bad at their jobs. The criticism is that they act like petulant little children who lack the experience demanded by their position. That isn't sexist; it's descriptive.

I can think of at least one new(er) judge who happens to be male, and who happens to be younger, and who I suspect many people don't like (or at least didn't used to like much - has that cooled off lately, btw?). If we started calling him a petulant little manchild/boy, he might object to the petulant part, but I rather doubt he would come in here ranting about sexism because we compared him to a juvenile male of the species. (I also sense he has thick skin. No pun intended.)

As one of my favorite judges is fond of saying, in court, and on the record, "Put on your big girl panties." (Hey is that sexist?)

When did we become so sensitive?

The Professor said...

2:32 - You are correct as to the thoughts and statements on the blog. But I do think of some of the "men" who have ascended as "little boys".

3:56 - I would debate whether Nushin Sayfie is a fantastic judge. She has made a number of silly mistakes and missteps.

But, what would you call young. Ms. Sayfie came to the bench with at least some legal experience at the ripe old age of 39 with more than 10 years experience as a lawyer, not to mention life as a wife and mother. She also was practicing at the time of her appointment. Being the wife of a major fundraiser and political hack for the Republican Party is not a qualification for judicial office.

Despite your thought that age and experience makes no difference, I still think 39 is too young to be a judge. If you read my comment you would note that age and experience are not the be all or end all, but they are a starting point to return sanity to the elections and appointment process.

For someone who does not know shit, I sure know the difference between maturity and immaturity, and you clearly do not have the former and suffer from the the latter.

Anonymous said...

To 8:58 - are you fucking kidding me? First, you've inserted "petulant" into the description. That was not the point the offending posters were making. Try reading, it's good for you. Second, are you really comparing "little boy" vs. "little girl." Have men been the subject of historical discrimination in this area? No such luck with that argument.

Anonymous said...

12:04:00 PM I used "little girls," because with the exception of Judge Ruiz, who seems to be doing a good job and who was merit selected, the youngest and most inexperienced judges are female, thus "little girls." It is not gender-demeaning, it is a fact

Anonymous said...

10:46 pm, they are not "little girls." They are women. If they are young, they are young women. If they are in their mid-thirties, they are not young.

You would never refer to a male judge in his mid-thirties as a "little boy."

Anonymous said...

Can we use the term "Mommy bench"?

Anonymous said...

I know you think you know but you don't. The fact that you "profess" to know proves you are an idiot and a douchebag.

Anonymous said...

Mommy bench is derogatory too

Anonymous said...

"Professor"

The hack is you. You're one of these old crotchety hacks who have never been into a dry cleaner and are still angry when you lose a dwls fee because, even after a few decades of practice, your monthly nut is in jeopardy. Stop. Please, for the love of g-d, stop.

The Professor said...

1:53 - Thanks for the input, Justin.

Anonymous said...

I am a young female attorney. I am competent and hard working. I am surrounded by men who take me less seriously than my male counterparts. I am called bossy when I take charge and my male colleagues are called leaders. In trial, I wear a fake wedding ring, straighten my naturally wild curls, spend time thinking about how to get the men on my jury to see me as the intelligent, capable woman I am.
Each time I see a comment describing a female as a "little girl", it reminds me that it doesn't matter how hard I work or care about my cases, because I, too, am a young woman and here at REG, will be judged as such not just by jurors, but people I work with every day. It sometimes makes me want to throw in the towel and let them win. This blog would never allow the n-word to describe a group of black judges. Hate speech is not protected speech. If the comments serve no purpose other than to inflame readers and silence an important voice - that of the young females, then it should not be allowed.

The Professor said...

5:24 - Old, maybe. Crotchety, at times. Never been to a dry cleaners, well my monthly bills would belie that. I have never, and do not want to represent clients in DUI cases. I refer them out because the money is not worth the aggravation of dealing with junior judges and holier-than-thou young prosecutors. I have enough to do without it. I have no "monthly nut" that threatens a comfortable lifestyle earned after decades of practice and investment.

Stop - never. I keep going because of people like you and your inability to have a civil discourse. But I repeat, thanks for the input, Justin.

Anonymous said...

Don't mention my real name you nasty prick. I am respectful enough to point out your substantial inadequacy without letting most of the readers know your true identity. The readers can deduce your Id because few people are as inane.

The Professor said...

Calling out someone as hypocritical, incapable of civil discourse and intolerant of an opposing point of view as you is always the right thing. Notice the difference between us, I respect your right to say what you want, and you disrespect yourself with the inability to refrain from angry, curse-filled rants.

Have a good day. Live long and prosper.