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

Friday, October 02, 2015

MINIMUM MANDATORY SENTENCES .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

MIN MANS ........... CAN'T LIVE WITH THEM ... CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT THEM

More than a few times on this BLOG, our founder, Horace Rumpole, has written on his feelings about minimum mandatory sentences.  You can read those posts here and here and
here and here and here and here and here and even as far back as July 30, 2010 found here.

On Wednesday, Governor Scott and the Florida Cabinet held their quarterly Clemency Meeting in Tallahassee.  The Clemency Board is made up of Governor Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

The Governor and members of the Cabinet collectively are the Clemency Board. Clemency is an act of mercy that absolves the individual upon whom it is bestowed from all or any part of the punishment that the law imposes.

Article IV, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution provides that an executive order granting clemency requires the signature of the Governor and two members of the Florida Cabinet.

So, to be clear, nobody can receive clemency in Florida without the support of the Governor.

For those interested in reading the Rules of Executive Clemency, you can find them here.

On Wednesday, Orville "Lee" Wollard, sought clemency from Rick Scott.  In short order, Gov. Scott denied Wollard's request without the other three members of the Board even having a chance to weigh in on the matter.  Wollard was sentenced to 20 years in prison, under the 10-20-Life law, for committing an Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, (and discharging that Firearm), but hitting nothing more than a wall, in his home.  The case was dubbed the "Warning Shot" case. 

Lee Wollard was a family man who was living with his wife and two teenage daughters in Central Florida.  He worked for Sea World.  He was educated, earning an AA, a BA, and then a Masters degree in Business Management and Organizational Behavior, all the while working full time and attending night school.  On the date of the crime, Wollard's daughter's boyfriend attacked his daughter giving her a black eye.  He then attacked Wollard.  He left the house, only to return and confront Wollard again.  This time Wollard got his gun, and told the boy to leave his home.  The boy punched a hole in the wall and came at Wollard.  At that point Wollard, instead of shooting the boy, fired a warning shot into the wall.  You can read the entire history of the case here.

As for the Clemency case, it was covered by the Tampa Bay Times: "Wollard, 60, of Davenport, a former human resources specialist at Sea World, is almost midway through a 20-year term for firing a warning shot at his teenage daughter's boyfriend at his Polk County home in 2008 after the youth attacked him and tried to tear off his stitches. Under sentencing laws -- since changed by Scott and the Legislature -- the crime of aggravated assault with a firearm carried a minimum mandatory term of 20 years."

The article went on to say: "The Legislature last year cited Wollard's case when it rewrote state law to provide criminal immunity in cases of the threatened use of force. But the law was not retroactive, so it doesn't apply to Wollard's case. Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, said Wednesday that he didn't understand why prosecutor Hill was so adamant about keeping Wollard imprisoned when he had offered him a plea deal of five years felony probation."

Yes, you read that correctly.  The plea offer in the case was Five Years Probation.  But, when Wollard rejected the plea offer and took his chances with the jury, his gamble did not pay off.  They found him Guilty as Charged and the sentencing Judge had no choice - he had to sentence Wollard to the mandatory 20 years in prison.

You can read the entire sad story here. 

Governor Scott had the ability to right a wrong here, but chose instead, the easy way out.  He showed no mercy to Lee Wollard.

ELECTION CENTRAL UPDATE .....

As I reported in the Comments section earlier this week, a new candidate has filed to run for Judge in 2016. He is Luis Perez-Medina. He has been a member of the Florida Bar for nine years. He has filed to run for Circuit Court Judge. He has filed in Group 34, a seat being vacated by the retirement of Judge Gill Freeman. Two other candidates have already filed to run in that Group including Renee Gordon and Denise Martinez-Scanziani.

UPDATED: We apologize for getting Mr. Perez-Medina's name wrong.  FYI, Mr. Perez-Medina was a DC in Cueto, Sigler, and Hendon.  He is currently assigned to the Public Corruption Unit.

Who is Luis Perez-Medina?  If you know anything about this veteran of the State Attorney's Office, please chime in.

Currently there are five contested elections including four in Circuit Court and one race in County Court.  There are also four sitting Circuit Court judges up for reelection in 2016 that have not yet filed indicating their intention to run again.  They include Judge Scott Bernstein, Judge Rosa Rodriguez, Judge Nushin Sayfie, and Judge John Schlesinger.  We have communicated with three of the four judges, all but Rosa Rodriguez, and each of the three judges have told us that they intend to file for reelection.  In County Court, incumbent judges up for reelection in 2016 that have not yet filed include Judges Wendell Graham, Judith Rubenstein, and Fred Seraphin.  Only Judge Graham has confirmed to us his intention to run; we have not yet heard back from the other two judges.

And to take you into the weekend, we leave you with a scene from one of our all-time favorite movies, and one of the classic cross-exams of all time: MAGIC GRITS



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




33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Clemency in Florida is more elusive than unicorns.

The Professor said...

One has to understand that the reason Rick Scott ran for governor was because of the prisons. All of the vendors involved with the privatization of prisons are friends of Scott's. He sees this as his new Columbia Health Care/HCA of the future. By showing that privatization works, he and his friends will attempt to export their product to other states, like he did his hospital system, and suck the government trough, again as he did medicare and medicaid.

If he granted clemency to Wollard, he would have been faced with a large number of other inmates who feel that are in comparable shoes to Wollard. To those who run our prisons, each prisoner is money, each mandatory minimum is calculated to produce a certain amount of annualized income. Prisoners are like parts of something to be produced, and the whole creates the product and the profit.

Shame on the other members of the Clemency Board for not standing up to this profiteer, and calling out for a hearing and a vote. Shame on the Scott for looking at public service as just being a profit making enterprise. Shame on those who see prisoners (people) as being a natural resource to be mined. Shame on the public for being blind to all of this. Lastly, shame on the legislature for not seeing this for what it is and correcting it.

It is possible that I give too much credit to Scott, because, by all accounts, he really is not that smart. It just may be those around him (not necessarily those accountable to the public), who are making the decisions. But, I digress, so "Let's Get Back to Work."

Anonymous said...

Disgusted with Scott and the way he handled this. Just as mad at the elected State Attorney. Thanks Cap for that story. "Were these Magic Beans". Great video.

Anonymous said...


Never heard of this guy Luis Medina. He's running for Circuit Court after nine years as a state attorney. Does he have any other life experiences.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the facdl circle jerk of congratulation the death penalty case:

Is it really a huge "win" when some jackass is convicted of first degree murder and now we taxpayers have the burden of feeding and housing him and taking care of his medical for life???

This is s loss. He is a low life killer who deserves nothing from the society he terrorized. I guess it's a win in the sense that he'll live in a shitty cage eating crap food for life and never being a part of civilized society. I hope his sting is long and painful.

You don't deserve shit after being convicted of murder. They should have dumped his ass in the glades after his endless appeals ran out

Anonymous said...

Luis Perez-Medina is an excellent prosecutor -- level-headed and fair-minded. I dealt with him frequently when he was an A prosecutor and then as a DC. Louis was always willing to listen to my arguments and willing to do the right thing - a trait that is becoming endangered. He's an even- tempered and mature person. Not one of these young kids who think that after 5 years in the Bar they are entitled to be a judge.. I think he'd be an excellent judge.

Anonymous said...

I tried cases with Luis Perez Medina when I was an ASA many years ago. He is a great person and a gentleman. He would make a great judge.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

To the genius at 7:07, I leave you with this quote, from a prosecutor who formerly worked death penalty cases in Louisiana:

"No one should be given the ability to impose a sentence of death in any criminal proceeding. We are simply incapable of devising a system that can fairly and impartially impose a sentence of death because we are all fallible human beings.

The clear reality is that the death penalty is an anathema to any society that purports to call itself civilized. It is an abomination that continues to scar the fibers of this society and it will continue to do so until this barbaric penalty is outlawed. Until then, we will live in a land that condones state assisted revenge and that is not justice in any form or fashion."

The rest of the article is here: http://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/opinion/readers/2015/03/20/lead-prosecutor-offers-apology-in-the-case-of-exonerated-death-row-inmate-glenn-ford/25049063/.

You might want to take a look at this article, and a little thing called the Innocence Project, to understand why the lawyers on the listserve believe this is such a big win, and why nobody should be murdered or "dumped in the glades" because they were convicted of a crime. Your statement shows a stunning lack of awareness for the numerous cases that continue to emerge showing how many individuals are wrongly convicted, and I frankly can't believe somebody with such views is a member of the defense bar. In the words of the Talmud, he who saves a life, saves the world. That is why it's a win.

As for Luis Perez-Medina, I worked with him as an ASA, and have had cases with him while doing defense work. Luis is smart, fair, honest and has a great temperament. As mentioned above, he always tries to do the right thing, and he would be an incredible asset to the bench.

Anonymous said...

I don't get how a jury found this guy guilty. With self defense and stand your ground, amazing how the jury didn't walk this guy. Any idea what happened with that.

Anonymous said...

Professor - great comment.

Anonymous said...

Luis Perez Medina would make an excellent Judge. He has a heart and is not arrogant.
He treats everyone with respect and is willing to listen and give a client a break if he feels it is deserved. He has my vote.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know what capital case 7:07 is talking about, that resulted in life sentence?

Anonymous said...

12:39 - can you please tell us what Perez-Medina has done of significance? I don't remember ever hearing anything about him.

Anonymous said...

Let me weigh in on the debate about the establishment whose name makes everyone crazy these days. Like many craft eateries popping up, they do as much as possible by hand, locally sourced. So something as simple as french fries- organically grown potatoes from Homestead fried in grass fed beef tallow, which as I understand it is the most healthiest and expensive oil to fry in. The fries are hand cut, sort of thick, not uniform in appearance, but satisfyingly crunchy on the outside and a pretty golden brown. Now, they hand make their ketchup!! Where else do you see that? Organic locally grown tomatoes from Homestead farm and organic small Vermont farm apples for apple cidar vinegar are used to make the ketchup. Now you dip your wonderful fry in amazing ketchup and something so simple becomes a gastronomic work of art. Throw in a handcrafted beer or local small batch vodka, take a sip, dip a fry, heaven.

Now can someone tell me why praising such food and attention to detail makes some people so upset?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever heard of the proximity rule with regard to appellate circuits in Florida? State is arguing that where the 3rd hasn't ruled on an issue, the binding effects of other circuits depends upon their locale??? Thus in the 3rd, a decision of the 4th or second districts is more binding on a Miami court, then a decision of the first or fifth districts? The judge says she has heard of this and is inclined to apply it. It just seems goofy to me. The case in the fourth hurts me, a case in the first helps me.

anyone have any idea about this crap?

Anonymous said...

Rumpole. How good are the Deflators this year. This is insane:

The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are playing as if they want to take their frustration over the deflategate controversy out on their opponents. Last week against Jacksonville, the Patriots' possession chart was scary good. It read:

Touchdown.

Field goal.

Field goal.

Touchdown.

Field goal.

Touchdown.

Touchdown.

Touchdown.

Touchdown.

Kneel down to end the game.

Anonymous said...

Judge William Gladstone has passed away. Legend in Miami juvenile court. Nice obit in the Herald.

Secret Judge said...

The gentlemen who run the BLOG print a wonderful and insightful article regarding min. mands and the guys who run that woeful Kendall restaurant see it as an opportunity to plug their pathetic little venue. It is this kind of unfettered greed that turns the public so vehemently against our used to be noble profession. If their joint is so great, why don't they have a favorable review from the Miami Herald or Sun-Sentinel. Why are so many lawyers today concerned only with making money, and nothing but money? Is altruism dead in the legal profession? If the restaurant owners had shown just the smallest bit of class, I might have been tempted to try their fare, but not now.

The Professor said...

1:43 - It is just that "crap." If two DCAs are in conflict with each other, and the district you are in has not ruled on the issue, the trial court may follow either, and the DCA in which you are litigating in will chose which to follow. It surprises me that, if there is a direct conflict, that one court or the other has not certified the question.

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend got Hep B and I think she got it from a toilet seat at Ren (a venue).

Last time I date a girl from Kendall.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


does anyone know what capital case 7:07 is talking about, that resulted in life sentence?

Yes. Name of defendant is Kendrick Silver. He was convicted of murdering a Coral Gables jogger. It was the first murder in CG in four years. Happened in 2007. Gail Levine for the State. Edith Georgi handled phase two for the defense with Steve Yermish handling phase one. Defendant shot and killed jogger Jose Marchese with one shot to the chest during a robbery. His defense was that he unintentionally shot the victim and the shot was only meant to scare the jogger into giving him his cell phone. Right after he was shot, Marchese ran back to his apartment and died in his son's arms. Marchse was 39 years old. The son was 15 years old. He testified in the trial; he is now 23 years old.

Defendant Silver went on a crime spree in 2006 and 2007 with a co-defendant Oneil Pedley. They are accused on killing a 62 year old security guard at Esther's Restaurant in North Miami in December of 2006. Siler will be tried on that case later and the State will seek the death penalty on that case as they did on this case. In May of 2007, Marchese was killed. In June of 2007 Silver and Pedley using pistols and an assault rifle robbed a Delray Beach pizza joint shooting and wounding three people. Both men have been convicted of that crime; Silver got 50 years and Pedley got life. Pedley pled guilty to the North Miami and Coral Gables murders and got another 40 years in prison. He cooperated with the State but they never called him in the jogger's murder trial.

In the jogging case, Marchese was out for an evening jog. Defendants pulled up and asked for directions when Silver jumped out with the gun, swiped Marchese's cell phone and shot him. Siler was caught and confessed.

Cap Out .....

Richard Baron said...

Hey Captain. Judge Rosa Rodriguez is following her last two election cycles and will file as she had done in the past. Count on it.

Anonymous said...

WTF did Perez Medina ever do as an ASA other than have an electable name? Details, please.

Anonymous said...

Great heart and not arrogant- super qualities for kindergarten teacher. But what has Luis Perez Medina done in the courtroom to show he can try cases? Without such proof, he's no better than the many others who have cashed in on their names to grab a seat on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Dance
Dance
Dance
To the Radio

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


The Captain Reports:

to Richard Baron. Tell Judge Rodriguez to read her emails and have the courtesy to respond. She is the only one who managed not to.

to 2:52 pm. Agreed. Great write-up by Howard Cohen of the Miami Herald:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/obituaries/article37458858.html

Miami-Dade circuit judge William Gladstone, children’s advocate, dies at 85

Cap Out ....

Anonymous said...

Richard Baron - Tell Judge Rodriguez, even though it may be 17 years, that some of us have not forgotten. It is time to re- publicize ALL of her transgressions.

Anonymous said...

What exactly are you looking for an ASA to do before running for judge? How about he tried numerous cases and is not a stuck up, arrogant person. That is enough in my book. Stop throwing his name around like he is some city attorney who is betting on a Hispanic name and has never tried a case. Luis Perez Medina will make a great judge and has numerous trials under his belt.

Anonymous said...

Law is Luis Perez Medina's second career, if that helps all those who aren't impressed by the fact that he's worked at the SAO for nearly a decade. He is even-tempered and caring. We'd be lucky to have him on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Luis Perez-Medina was my DC for almost a year when I was with the State. Besides being a smart, thorough, and hard-working man, he is a phenomenal prosecutor who exercises great discretion in his role as an ASA. He will ALWAYS listen to the defense and has the utmost respect for both our criminal justice system and defendants.

Remember, sometimes the best prosecutors are the ones who stay out of the news and that you don't routinely hear about. He will be a great asset to the bench and a wonderful mentor for all young attorneys who appear before him.

Unknown said...

I wish other voters would take the time to research the actions of elected officials pior to attempting to reelect them.

Unknown said...

I wish other voters would take the time to research the actions of elected officials pior to attempting to reelect them.