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 30, 2015

A PEBBLE IN MY SHOE

Under the Headline "Lawyer-Judge Rift to Front in Judicial Race" comes this DBR article about an upcoming election, a lawyer, a judge, and a prior complex construction lawsuit about which we readily admit we know nothing, and do not want to know anything about. Or as we say in criminal court everyday: "Civil law is for &^%##$^&()*^#'s". 

A well-funded family law attorney backed by judicial kingmaker Hector Lombana is challenging first-term Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jason Bloch, who has the backing of some prominent Miami lawyers.
Miami attorney Marcia Del Rey has filed to run against Bloch, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott in November 2014.
Del Rey of the Law Offices of Marcia Del Rey has never run for judge before but has already raised more than twice as much money as Bloch—$108,450 to his $50,548.
...
Lombana of Gamba Lombana & Herrera in Coral Gables has set up a Facebook page titled Defeat Jason Bloch.
"He does not have the character and fitness to be a judge," said Lombana, who has strong ties to unions capable of delivering large bloc of votes.
Bloch and Lombana tangled several years ago when they were opposing counsel on a case. Bloch was an assistant county attorney on a complex construction case, and Lombana was brought in at the end of the case by the plaintiff.
Lombana said Bloch "made misrepresentations of law and fact to an unrepresented party." Lombana claimed Bloch said he was entitled to a lodestar multiplier on attorney fees when county attorneys are not.
"Any lawyer who knowingly makes misrepresentations is incapable of being judge," Lombana said.
In a statement, Block said: "Mr. Lombana previously brought these allegations before the Judicial Nominating Commission for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida. The Commission obviously rejected them as meritless. As is the case with all candidates seeking appointment to the bench, the Commission thoroughly vetted and evaluated my qualifications and character, and proceeded to nominate me to the governor, who ultimately appointed me to the circuit court bench."
Lombana insisted he does not have a personal vendetta against Bloch. However, Lombana was so distressed about his experience with Bloch that he urged the Miami-Dade Judicial Nominating Commission not to name Bloch as a finalist for a judicial opening.
"In my 37 years as a lawyer, I have never written a letter such as this, but now duty compels me," he stated in the September 2014 letter. "It is my sincere opinion that Mr. Bloch is unfit to preside as a judge in any matter. It is my considered opinion that Jason Bloch believes that the legal system is a process to be 'gamed' and manipulated. It is my opinion that he has no personal commitment to the integrity of truth and justice."

Targeting?

On his Facebook page announcing Scott's selection of Bloch, Lombana called the choice "an abomination" and added, "2016 is just around the corner."
"He's going around telling people the reason I am helping his opponent is because I lost a case to him when the issue is his character and fitness," Lombana said. "If I was angry at everyone I lost a cast against, I'd have a lot of people I was angry at."
....
Bloch's supporters say they feel he is being targeted by Lombana.
"Judge Bloch was my opposing counsel in a matter he handled for the county prior to being appointed by Governor Scott," Lopez-Castro said. "My personal opinion was he represented the county very well, so it was a gain for the bench but a loss for the county.
"When I heard that Judge Bloch was being targeted before he even took the bench, I offered my support. As a former Cuban American Bar Association president, I have dedicated a good part of my career to protecting the integrity of the judicial election process. I believe I am doing that by supporting a respected incumbent judge."
Josefsberg said he, too, was disturbed by "the circumstances of why someone is running" against Bloch.
"I'm supporting him because many people, including many sitting judges, have said he is a wonderful person and a wonderful judge, and I don't like bullying tactics," he said.

Rumpole notes: As much as we respect Bob Josefsberg, and he is one of the greatest lawyers in this country, we don't think this amounts to "bullying tactics." A lawyer has a right, if not an obligation, to bring concerns about a judge to the forefront of an election, and it takes courage to do so. 

That being said, we take no position on this contretemps, because we don't know the details and we have yet to argue a case before Judge Bloch, as circumstances out of town have kept us quite busy and away from our beloved REGJB. 

Comments will be strictly moderated in that we will not in any way allow any ad hominem attacks. Make your comments thoughtful and intelligent (which unfortunately excludes the judiciary, but so be it).*

See You in Court. 

* We can take cheap shots, you can't. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

AND THEN A HERO COMES ALONG , PART II

THIS IS THE CITY, Miami, Florida. Home to over a million residents. Citizens enjoy access to a  variety of golf courses, pristine beaches, fishing and diving and water-skiing. You can get authentic Cuban cuisine on Calle Ocho, or hobnob with models and superstar chefs on South Beach. 

Sometimes people act up at the criminal courthouse. When they do, I go into action. 
I write a blog. 

The story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed. 

It was Monday, October 26, 2015. It was cloudy in Miami. There had been days of scattered showers. We were contemplating a third glass of wine over a late seafood lunch, when suddenly, our twitter feed erupted. 

A prosecutor had been pick pocketed. There had been a chase. Then an arrest. 

David Ovalle at the Miami Herald had the story here. 

ASA Chiaka Ihekwaba and defense attorney Jose Herrera were on the escalator leaving the courthouse when someone bumped into Ihekwaba. She felt her purse. Her Iphone was gone! A chase ensued . 

"Stop thief" shouted Ihekwaba. Immediately twenty-five people walking outside the courthouse, including three defense attorneys, froze in their tracks. 

Herrera joined the chase ( a moved frowned upon by the FACDL. His membership is "being reviewed" an unnamed spokesperson for the group said). The suspect raced outside and into the arms of Miami Beach Police Officer Kevin Milan, who being outside of his jurisdiction, effectuated a citizens arrest. One Dachel Gonzalez, aged thirty-two, (R) and supporting Donald Trump,  was taken into custody. 

Investigators arrived on the scene. They had questions. "What was the escalator doing working during a Monday, one wondered? What was a police officer doing at the REGJB another pondered? Why did the suspect immediately use the phone to log onto facebook and unfriend Kathy Rundle?"

The cell phone was recovered. But it is evidence in a criminal case. 

In a month the case will be arraigned. In a few months a trial will be set. And then continued. And then continued again. 

At some point we will have the results of this case. 

The story you have just read is true. No names were changed, although a few were probably spelled incorrectly. 

See you in court. 



Monday, October 26, 2015

AND THEN A HERO COMES ALONG

Smothered in cheese.....


At the REGJB, Miami's Finest Food truck saves the day.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

NFL WEEK SEVEN 2015

Survivor pool. Final two!!


ALLAN KAISER
BRONCOS
CARDINALS
SEAHAWKS
PACKERS
DEFLATORS 
BENGALS 
BILLS








THE REN
DEFLATORS
STEELERS
BRONCOS
JETS
FALCONS
SEAHAWKS 
JAGUARS 



In the last two weeks Phil R dropped out when the Ravens tanked to the Browns in week Five, and Adam T lost last week with a pick of the sinking Bills. 

This week the Ren goes for it all choosing Jax who are playing the Bills in London. We will get a winner today. 

Lets see if the Fins are for real +4 at home over the Texans. 

The Cardinals -8.5 at home over the Ravens who make have packed it in this season. 

And we like over 47 Raiders and Chargers. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

AND NOW A MESSAGE FROM JUDGE HIRSCH


Through intermediaries, we were provided this missive from Judge Hirsch about Baseball and The Cubs

Starting last night, and continuing this morning, well-intentioned friends have gone out of their way to express their condolences to me, as if I had had a death in the family.  I try to show appreciation for their support, but I explain to them that we really had a wonderful baseball season: my Cubs played 162 games, 81 of them in beautiful Wrigley Field; we won almost 100 of them; and we came in second in all the rest.  The ivy was green, the sky was blue, and as long as we kept the rally alive in the bottom of the ninth, the game was never over.


I reproduce below the soliloquy I consider a close second to Hamlet's middle soliloquy. Surely it was written with Wrigley Field in mind.  May it tide you over till next spring training.  And until then, remember: WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR!

"People will come, Ray.  They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom.  They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it.  They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past.  Of course, we don't mind if you look around, you'll say.  It's only $20 per person.  They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.

"And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon.  They'll find they have reserved seats  somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes.  And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters.  The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces.

"People will come, Ray.  One constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.  America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers.  It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again.  But baseball has marked the time.  This field; this game; it's a part of our past, Ray.  It reminds us of all that once was good and could be again.  Oh ... people will come Ray.  People will most definitely come."


Governor Scott Appointment ..... IT'S ABOUT TIME


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

HOLY SARCOPHAGUS, BATMAN .........

Rick Scott surprises us again, with another great appointment.  This time it is a four year appointment to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit's Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC).

And who did Governor Scott appoint?  Criminal defense attorney:

                                          ROBERTO "BOB" PARDO


Congratulations to Bob.  A well deserved honor and great news to know that the JNC finally has a criminal defense practitioner to weigh in on nominees to the Circuit and County Court bench here in Miami-Dade County.

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


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

DEAR JUDGE ....PLEASE FOLLOW THE LAW

The following sign is posted on a door to a courtroom.




Dear Judge:

There are lots of things you can do by virtue of your job as a circuit court judge. You can (in no particular order of importance- and BTW the following is not directed at any particular judge...if the robe fits...)
Deny motions without reading them; have your JA refuse to put motions on calendar without lawyers first faxing them to you (although you don't read them); start court whenever you want; show up late; finish court whenever you want; make juries stay until midnight in a misguided effort to show everyone how hard you work; lecture lawyers from the bench about how you tried every case you had within sixty days of inception (in other words, lie); brag about how you are on the short list for an appointment to a higher court (ditto); and otherwise feel that you and only you stand between the rule of law and anarchy.

Here's what you must do: follow the law.

Which means here's what you can't do:
Have your bailiff close your courtroom to anyone at anytime without proper notice to the media and a hearing on an issue;
tell people how to dress when they come to court (wearing a shirt that says "fuck you" has been held to be an expression of free speech under the First Amendment - which is part of the Constitution, which is a legal document that defines the ....oh never mind it's a bit complicated.)

You also CANNOT take personal property of people, without following Florida's Forfeiture Statute (and it's not entirely clear a member of the judiciary can be a "seizing agency" under the statute. ).  Which means that in order to seize the personal property of an individual, there must be an allegation that the property was used to violate Florida's contraband laws; see, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 932.703 (West)


(1)(a) Any contraband article, vessel, motor vehicle, aircraft, other personal property, or real property used in violation of any provision of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, or in, upon, or by means of which any violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act has taken or is taking place, may be seized and shall be forfeited subject to the provisions of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.

Contraband is defined as, inter alia: 
5. Any personal property, including, but not limited to, any vessel, aircraft, item, object, tool, substance, device, weapon, machine, vehicle of any kind, money, securities, books, records, research, negotiable instruments, or currency, which was used or was attempted to be used as an instrumentality in the commission of, or in aiding or abetting in the commission of, any felony, whether or not comprising an element of the felony, or which is acquired by proceeds obtained as a result of a violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.
Fla. Stat. Ann. § 932.701 (West)y 

So, oh wise robed one, pray tell what felony is the person who brings a cell phone into your courtroom, and listens to something on the cellphone with earphones, or takes a picture or video recording of court proceedings, committing? 

We will save you research (which is where you open a book and read a case and ....never mind, it's complicated)- THERE IS NO FELONY THAT ANYONE IS COMMITTING WHEN THEY LISTEN TO HEADPHONES IN YOUR COURTROOM OR VIDEO OR PHOTOGRAPH THE PROCEEDINGS. 
We often see a representative of the media taking footage of a proceeding. David Ovalle (Miami Herald/San Diego Chargers) has been known to whip out a camera and take a few shots. We don't see your bailiff wresting David to the ground or taking away his camera. There are no exceptions for the media (nor being a fan of a losing football team) that confers upon Mr. Ovalle an exception not available to us, our client, our client's girlfriend or aunt or friend. 

Sorry. We know this offends your sense of dignity. We know you believe yourself to be mostly all powerful. But you are not. We are a nation of rules and laws. We are a State of rules and laws. And to quote the last part of the standard jury instruction in criminal cases, "no one of us  has the right to violate those laws." 

So take the damn sign down. 

Now, no one is telling you that you don't have the right to remove individuals (not a class of people) from your courtroom for being disruptive or disturbing. Of course you can. People must be quiet so you can make the important decisions you make. And you have contempt powers for people who do not follow the lawful rules of the court. But if we choose to sit quietly in the back of your courtroom and video your wise decisions during arraignments, ("deny bond, set the case for trial"- truly awe inspiring stuff) while quietly listening to NWA on a pair of headsets, there really isn't a damn thing you can do about it. 

See you in court, where quite frankly our tastes run move to Gilbert and Sullivan (The Mikado and HMS Pinafore, not really Pirates) than NWA. And sorry, we're a bit cranky, but not having any coffee in the morning in court will do that to a blogger. 



Monday, October 19, 2015

NO SOUP FOR YOU

Time was you could handle your court calendar, take a break, get a pastellito and a shot of Cuban coffee or a cafe con leche and then jump back into action at the REGJB. 

That was before "Miami Dade County Internal Services Department" (motto: "controlling your access to food throughout the County since 1974") got into the act. 

Now? Nada. 
Your Government at work. 




From: Smith, Tara C. (ISD)
Sent: Friday, October 16, 2015 1:04 PM
To: Rumpole, Soto, Bertila; Sayfie, Nushin; Slom, Samuel
Cc: Lonergan, Sandy; Obama, Barak, Woolley-Larrea, Mary; Garcia, Amy; Bravo, Carmen; Gonzalez, Lourdes; Martinez, Rick; Silva, Juan C. (ISD); Galan, Jose A. (ISD); Therilus, Theresa (ISD); Regula, Pamela (ISD), Putin, Vladimir; Trump, Donald.
Subject: RE: REGB Food Service - Information about Empowered Youth/Vibe 305 Food Truck

We have been able to confirm at least one food truck for Monday and Tuesday, and are working on others. We have a good contact for food truck opportunities that is helping us get the word out. They know that those days are your busiest but we are seeking others to be available every day.

Attached is a list of nearby restaurants that we will be distributing Monday – we have verified the hours and delivery options available with each.

The Snack Bar in Room 120 is ready, the vendor is getting organized today and will be open for business on Monday.  We will continue staying on top of the buildout so we can get you your restaurant back in business as soon as possible!

Tara C. Smith, Director
Miami-Dade County Internal Services Department
111 NW 1st Street, Suite 2100, Miami
305-375-1135    

Connect With Us on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

Rumpole ponders: 
1) Why is Miami-Dade County Internal Services on Instagram? What pictures could they possibly have that we need to see? 
"Here are the curtains we installed in the ante-room of the office of the assistant to the director of the office of Miami-Dade Fax-machines, calculators, inter-office mail,  and modems." ? (Motto: "Proudly connecting Miami-Dade employees with each other since 1965"). 

2) It wasn't  that long ago that Miami-Dade was grumbling about food trucks, the need for special licenses, and police officers were making arrests and prosecutors were threatening to file enhancements (serving  a burger without fries is a serious offense, requiring written permission from two supervisors to waive the minimum mandatory.) 
Now, all of the sudden, its Ms. Cheezious to the rescue. (our favourite food truck. she is the best. We have her cell so we can order ahead.). 

3) Read the email carefully. "Build out"; efforts by Miami-Dade to get the job done quickly.  Prediction: There will be no Food-service replacing Au Bon Pain in the REGJB before January 1, 2016, and February is probably a better bet. 

Look at the papers they print the felony calendars on. 1960's IBM-type computer paper. Lord knows where they even get it anymore. But since Miami-Dade just upgraded the beepers they give their employees, there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

Until then, it might not be a bad idea to start that protein-shake diet you were putting off until after the holidays. 

See you in court. Grouchy without our colada. 

Take our new poll. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

NFL 2015 WEEK 6

Some things are a little more important than sports.

Like friendship; courage; integrity. And Tony Nathan, Judge Ed Newman's bailiff has those attributes as this story about him and his friendship with his old teammate demonstrates.

The Miami Herald article is here.

From the article:
During Nathan’s childhood, the Old South gave grudging way to the New South. He was a boy when Birmingham police turned dogs and fire hoses on student protesters, when Martin Luther King Jr. was jailed for leading sit-ins at lunch counters, when Gov. George Wallace proclaimed “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” and blocked a doorway at the University of Alabama where two black students were trying to enroll.
“Village Creek was the border separating my black neighborhood from a white neighborhood, and if the white kids caught the black kids swimming in their side of the creek, they’d throw rocks at them, and vice versa,” Nathan said. “Birmingham was at the center of the civil rights struggle, but my parents tried to shield us from the ugliness. When we were faced with racism, they were very strict about making us follow the Golden Rule..
“Though I hadn’t set out to be a superstar and still didn’t have that as a life goal, I now felt a new purpose — even a calling — in my role as running back on the Woodlawn High football team, and as part of the healing of the racial tension in our city,” Nathan wrote.
Nathan led Woodlawn on an 11-game winning streak.
“He was like one of the Beatles in football-crazed Alabama,” Greene said. “He wore a tearaway jersey and at the end of games it looked like he’d been ripped to shreds. Spectators would ask him for a piece of it. But even with all that attention he had a coolness about him. He was genuinely modest.
“It was a supernatural time. We’d look in the stands and see whites and blacks hugging each other. We even got two black cheerleaders. Our spirit of brotherhood was spreading.”
In 1974, Woodlawn and Banks High kept winning, putting them on a collision course. Only the winner of their game could advance to the state playoffs.
Gerelds’ son Todd, author of Woodlawn, said what was happening on the football field represented a turning point for Birmingham.
“The desire for change was catching on,” Gerelds said. “Tony was pulled at by blacks who called him an Uncle Tom and whites who didn’t like his stardom. My dad told him he could never please bigots, so be your own man. Tony was a quiet leader who demonstrated trust and love, and students followed his example.”

Rumpole's picks:
Cardinals at Steelers. Could go either way as Pittsburgh west faces Pittsburgh east. But we like the under 45. 
Broncos  - 4.5 in Cleveland. The Browns aren't nearly as good as they appeared last week. 
49er's +4.5 at home over the Ravens. Love a home dog. 
Eagles -3.5 at home over Giants. Ditto. 
Tennessee -2.5 at home over the Fins. A coaching change isn't nearly enough. 
We'll get the pools up as soon as the plane lands and the car takes us home. It's cold in the northeast. 




Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nfl/miami-dolphins/article39634395.html#storylink=cpy




Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nfl/miami-dolphins/article39634395.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, October 15, 2015

AU REVOIR???

BREAKING

UPDATE: CONFIRMED- The ten year run is over. Au Bon Pain is closing down in the REGJB today. They were already out of salads, and coffee. A new mysterious establishment will be opening up in several weeks (read new year? perhaps) as per our sources in the Administrative Judicial chambers.  And no, there is no chance for Cazzolis or The Pickle Barrel returning.

Several unsubstantiated rumors have been circulating that Friday October 16, 2016 will be the LAST DAY of operations for Au Bon Pain.

Bad coffee. Good Cuban coffee. Fair food. Won't get you very far in life these days.

More when we know it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

THE DEATH OF THE DEATH PENALTY?


This exchange before the US Supreme Court yesterday may just have killed Florida's Death Penalty Statute

JUSTICE BREYER:  Suppose that the jury comes  back at the sentencing phase and says, we recommend  life...

 JUSTICE BREYER:  No, we ­­ we have ­­ they  have a page in their opinion, in their brief, you know,  Page 20, where it cites about six Florida cases, which  suggested to me that they thought the answer to that  question as a matter of Florida law was, Yes, the judge  can sentence to death.  

MR. WINSOR:  Yeah.  Let me ­­ let me ­­ 
  JUSTICE BREYER:  Is that so or not so? 

  MR. WINSOR:  Let me be clear:  As a matter  of Florida statutory law, it is permitted.  We  acknowledge that under Ring it would not be permitted in the circumstance where the State is relying on the  recommendation to satisfy the eligibility...

Let us interpret for you:
Justice Breyer wanted to know if Florida permitted a life  override- where a jury recommends life and the judge sentences the defendant to death. Florida law allows such a heinous result. 

Winsor- the attorney arguing for Florida, admitted that such a result was both authorized by Florida law and violated Ring v. Arizona. 

That sound you heard was defendants everywhere in Florida sentenced to death under such a blatantly unconstitutional scheme cheering.  That sound you heard was also bloodthirsty Florida prosecutors weeping in their death cocktails. 

Florida's death penalty statute will be struck down faster than a judge downing free hors-d'oeuvres at a judicial reception.  

You read it here first.

Monday, October 12, 2015

THE SYSTEM FAILED BUJU BANTON

BY DAVID OSCAR MARKUS- Appearing in The Jamaica Gleaner

Last week, the same judge who presided over Buju Banton's two trials and sentenced him to 10 years in prison found that one of the jurors, Terry Wright, committed egregious misconduct and found her guilty of criminal contempt of court for conducting research during jury deliberations in direct contravention of the court's orders.
Despite this extraordinary decision, which would cause any reasonable person to doubt the integrity of the verdict, Buju will get no relief. This is a tragedy because the juror's misconduct sent an innocent man to jail.
With all the talk of the misconduct, many have forgotten that this case is about how a con-artist named Alex Johnson set up a recording artiste named Mark Myrie, who performs as Buju Banton.
Johnson, a career criminal who was paid over US$3.3 million by the government, relentlessly pursued the Grammy-award-winning reggae star with no prior convictions. He vowed never to stop trying to turn Buju into a drug dealer even though his target repeatedly said no.
Using every trick and pressure point he had learnt to use over his lengthy career of crime, Johnson became frustrated that he couldn't get Buju Banton to do anything other than talk. So he tricked Buju into a warehouse of cocaine, telling him that they were going to have some fun on a boat and to discuss how Johnson could help Buju with his music career.

End Of Relationship

Even though Buju realised at that point that Johnson was not for real and broke off contact with him, Buju was arrested two days later after Johnson did a deal (unbeknown to Buju) with Buju's friend, Ian Thomas, while Buju was home in bed across the state.
Buju never invested one penny into the drug deal and was never supposed to make one penny out of it. Alex Johnson, on the other hand, made thousands of dollars from the United States government for getting this deal done.
After hearing these facts, the first jury in Tampa (one of the most conservative jurisdictions in Florida) voted 7-5 for acquittal. In a drug case in Tampa, this is just about unheard of as prosecutors convict over 97 per cent of drug defendants.
Ultimately, the judge declared a mistrial because the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. Even though it was pretty clear that Buju was no drug dealer, the Federal government was undeterred. It proceeded with a second trial against a person with no prior record, a person with no history of involvement with the drug trade, and a person who was not even present when the informant drug dealer sold cocaine to another individual.
It is at this second trial that the juror committed misconduct by conducting Internet research about Buju himself, the jury instructions, and the law. The prosecution argued that the research was harmless, but interviews of the jury after the verdict revealed that the initial vote was 10-2 in favour of acquittal.
One of the two jurors favouring conviction was (you guessed it) Terri Wright. After the tainted jury convicted Buju, the judge was required under the law to sentence him to a minimum mandatory 10 years in federal prison. Ten years! This is more than the big-time supplier of the cocaine received, more than the co-defendant who had a gun received, and more than the purchaser of the cocaine received.

Unfair Punishment


Buju Banton received the highest penalty in the case, by a lot, because he went to trial and fought for his innocence.

Terri Wright, who calls herself a "passionate" juror and wished she could make jury service her profession, didn't just commit misconduct in the jury room. She did so before and afterwards. During voir dire (the part of the trial where jurors "speak the truth" about their background), she told the court that she had only served previously "on a civil case", when, in reality, she had served on seven prior criminal and civil cases.
When all of her misconduct was discovered, she lied under oath about her actions and even produced a fraudulent computer hard drive to the court to be inspected. It gets worse - even after all of this came to light, Terri Wright sat on another jury and did not disclose that she was the subject of a criminal contempt proceeding for her misconduct as a juror.
US District Judge James S. Moody, rightfully outraged that a juror would disregard his instructions, found Wright guilty of criminal contempt and even ordered her to write a report about the cost of Buju's expensive six-day trial.
Although Wright will never get to fulfil her dream of being a professional juror, she will get to move on with her life. She won't have to do one day in jail. Buju, on the other hand, isn't set to be released from federal prison until 2019. Our system failed him.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

NFL 2015 WEEK FIVE

Our apologies for not posting the survivor pools last week. Trials and all that have us preoccupied.
Here are the updated versions:




2015 week five b pool copy from Justicebuilding


And now our picks:

Browns at Ravens: Take the Birds at home -6.5 and under 44, quoth the Raven about the Browns, you will win nevermore. 

49ers at Giants. The Niners stink. In free-fall; disarray. The Gints had a nice win at Buffalo. So revert to the mean. Take the visiting miners +7. The Giants aren't that good. 

The Raiders might, just might beat the Broncos, which they haven't done since forever. Not sure about this, but we like over 44. 

The Chiefs light it up at home over the slumping Bruins. 9 is a lot of points to give, while the over 44 seems nice. But we are going to take a deep breath and give the 9 as well. 

Court is closed Monday, honoring Napoleon Bonaparte Broward's reign as 19th governor of Florida (tis true, you can look it up). Captain, river pilot, sheriff, Governor, proponent of plan to drain the Everglades, thus cementing Broward as the originator of weird, wacky, and thoroughly bad plans for Florida, which is why Broward named themselves after NPB. 




Friday, October 09, 2015

WAKE UP!!!!

Make no mistake about it we are in the midst of a Constitutional crisis of immense proportions.  Not so much in what the Constitution says or means, but whether it will survive as we know it.  You say, "Oh Professor, you are ranting and raving about nothing."  Am I?

A democratic republic struggling to recover from a recession bordering on depression.  A small party of radical politicians came forward, and decided that using the democratic process was the way to power.  They preached nationalism.  Told the people what the problems were, and who was to blame.  Certain ethnic groups, homosexuals, and non-Christians were responsible.  We have to expel these problem makers and purify our beliefs.  Some engaged in revisionist history to support their positions.

Their leaders were bombastic, passionate, loud, exhibited the anger of the rank and file and spoke of greatness and military superiority to an uneducated electorate.  They claimed they could fix it all (never saying exactly how), and all they needed was to have the power to do it.  After reaching less than 35% of the vote, but enough seats in the legislature to stalemate and paralyze the government, the majority, believing they could control these radicals to do their bidding, gave the party the power it wanted.  Appeasement and hubris.

You think I am talking about Washington today.  You would be wrong.  It happened over 80 years ago.  Not here, but in Europe.  We are not supposed to use the "N" word (not that "N" word), or the "H" word, but the parallels are uncanny.  If you don't believe that Carl Rove and his ilk don't study how this can be accomplished, and have taken stock of the human condition you are wrong.

Wake up America.  History does repeat itself

BTW - Ben Carson you are an imbecile.  The "N's" did not take power because the Jews did not have guns.  (And of course a few handguns and rifles would stop the power of tanks, artillery, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.  Do you not know of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising?) Read above.  They took power through the democratic process.  You are not Jewish, you don't know what you are talking about, and don't use my people to justify your idiocy.  You are beyond arrogant.  You are a moron.

I am angry.  Can you tell.


Thursday, October 08, 2015

JUDGES OFF

Brevard Judge John C Murphy, who threatened to beat the ass of an assistant public defender, was suspended by the Florida Supreme Court, which has in fact, beaten the ass of a few APDs in their time, just in a more lawyerly fashion.  The story is here. 

Broward Judge Lynn Rosenthal resigned from the bench today in light of her pending JQC hearing on her DUI charge for erratic driving (not erratic judging.) Kudos to our fellow Broward JAA bloggers who broke the story ahead of the "traditional" media. The Sun Sentinel was kind enough to give the blog credit for breaking the story. 

Rosenthal had a sweet-heart deal worked out with the JQC, but the Florida Supreme Court said "just hold your horses there one cotton-pickin-moment…":

We remand for further proceedings to include a full hearing before the Judicial Qualifications Commission in order to fully develop the facts regarding any misconduct that occurred during the criminal investigation and the Judicial Qualifications Commission investigation, including any destruction of evidence and any false and misleading statements made by Judge Rosenthal, so that the Court, in determining the appropriate sanction, will be apprised of all the facts and circumstances bearing on the violations.

 And of course congratulations to Judge Milton Hirsch and his beloved Cubs, who advanced to the playoffs last night. The Cubs will play the Cardinals. The Mets will play the Dodgers, and the winners of those two series will play each other for the right to play in the world series. Baseball in October. You can't beat it. 

See You In Court. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

CHICAGO CUBS VS. PITTSBURGH PIRATES .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

CUBS WIN, CUBS WIN .........................

On October 21, 2015, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, (over a team from Miami), according to the movie Back To The Future, Part Deux.

If you were a fan of the BTTF trilogy of movies then you remember Marty McFly traveling into the future, to the year 2015, and seeing a hologram that informed him that the Cubs had just won the World Series by sweeping Miami, with Old Terry wishing he had "put some money on the Cubbies."

For those of you not in the know, the last time the Cubs actually won the World Series was 1908. They did appear in the Fall Classic in 1945, but the "Curse of the Billy Goat" ensured that they would not win that World Series or any thereafter. That happened when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Simms was asked to leave a World Series game against the Detroit Tigers at the Cubs' home ballpark of Wrigley Field because his pet goat's odor was bothering other fans. He was outraged and declared, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more". In fact, the Cubs have not won a National League pennant since that incident and they have not won the World Series in 107 years.

In 2003, they did come close to returning to the World Series when the Cubs played our own Florida Marlins in the NLCS. With the Cubs leading 3-2 in the series and 3-0 in the eighth inning of game six, they were only five outs away from returning to the Fall Classic for the first time since 1945. That was until Steve Bartman got in the way of left-fielder Moises Alou, preventing him from catching a foul ball, and what would have been the second out of the inning. The Marlins went on to score eight runs in the inning, winning the game 8-3, and then won game seven, eliminating the Cubs once again from appearing in the World Series. (The Marlins went on to defeat the Yankees in six games to capture the title).

Standing in the way of the Cubbies, tonight, is the team from Pittsburgh. The Pirates, affectionately known as the Bucs, have a much more storied history of winning in October. They have won five WS titles, but they have not been back to the World Series since 1979. They did win two titles in the 70s, first in 1971 and then again in 1979. Their most famous WS victory though came in 1960 when they defeated the perennial powerhouse Yankees in seven games when Bill Mazeroski hit a ninth inning home run, winning the game, 10-9, and winning the Bucs their third WS Championship, and first since 1925.

On Thursday morning, if you are walking through the Gerstein Justice Building, and the Cubbies won the game, don't even think of saying hello to the Justice Building's number one Pirates fan, Phil Reizenstein. On the other hand, if the Bucs do win, then do not, under any circumstances, go anywhere near the courtroom of the number one Cubs fan this side of Chicago, Judge Milton Hirsch.

We invited both of them to add a paragraph describing the love they have for their team. Here is what each had to say:

PHIL REIZENSTEIN

"Being a Pirate fan is something in your blood. My dad was raised in Pittsburgh and I grew up hearing the legend of Mazeroski's home run. (The anniversary of which is next a Tuesday at 336 pm). Then in 1971 I had my own Pirate moment. My team made it to the the world series. My grandfather had tickets and I went to all three home world series games including the first night world series game. This was Roberto Clemente's series where he showed the world that he was among the greats of the game. He hit a home run in game seven and hit safely in all 14 world series games he played it. Then in 1979 we had the year of the city of Champions. The Steelers won their fourth super bowl and Willie Stargell hit a McCuellar hanging curve ball for the winning home run in game seven. The dark years of the 1990's followed when it became impossible for the Bucs to compete financially. Now a resurgence. And with the Pirate's resurgence a middle aged man has found his youth again. Maybe I am being a bit over dramatic. But then, I never fail to cry at the end of Field of Dreams when Kevin Cosner says "wanna have a catch dad?". No matter what happens Wednesday it's been a great season. So as we say in the steel city of Champions "Let's go Bucs!!"

"I am eternally grateful for being a Pirate fan. I'm sure Milt will have a long explanation of how it feels to root for a loser. Unfortunately I predict his misery will continue. Phil."

MILT HIRSCH

"It was 1908, and the Cubs were a dynasty, and Bert Spector was ten years old.
(Give me a minute. I’m staring longingly at what I’ve just written.)


It was 1908, and the Cubs were Tinker to Evers to Chance in the infield, and Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown on the mound. Bert Spector, whom I would come to know half a century later as my great-uncle on my mother’s side, was a kid of ten.

Wrigley Field would not be built for another half-a-dozen years, and the Cubs would not play there for two years after that. The 1908 World Series champions played at the old West Side Ballpark on Paulina Street. There were no professional grounds-crews in those days; armies of eager kids would flock to the ballpark early every morning, each to be handed a large garbage bag and a sharp stick. Any kid who filled his bag with refuse from the playing field and the stands could watch the game from the cheap seats.

Thus it was that my Uncle Bert saw the Chicago Cubs win the 1908 World Series. We haven’t won it since.

Decades passed, and our family grew. At dinners and other gatherings, whenever there was a lull in the conversation, someone – me, my dad, my cousin Marty Katz – would fill the void by asking, "Gee Uncle Bert, tell us about the 1908 World Series." And tell us he would. I recall praying silently, "Please, God, just once more before Uncle Bert dies. Let us win just once more before he dies." At Bert’s funeral, Marty told me he used to pray the same prayer.

There’s an old joke about the Cubs fan who dies and finds himself standing before the Pearly Gates. "Where do you come to us from?" asks St. Peter. "I was in Wrigley Field when I died," says the Cubs fan. St. Peter’s face falls a little. "You may be disappointed here," he explains.

I guess Uncle Bert had a lot of disappointment to deal with. But no more. He’s looking down from his box seat in a ballpark almost as good as Wrigley, and he knows that this is the year.

Tonight’s for you, Uncle Bert. GO CUBS!"
 
Good luck to both the Cubs and the Pirates tonight.

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

Monday, October 05, 2015

A TRIBUTE TO JUDGE GLADSTONE

At Rumpole's request I am posting this tribute to Judge Gladstone as written by the Trial Master:

Many years(decades) ago I was retained to represent a lawyers son who got arrested for trafficking in marijuana in a larger amount that was stored in a vacant house near Palmetto High School. The son was accepted at an ivy league school for college. Although standing was a real concern as well as the rest of the motion to suppress Judge Gladstone granted the motion probably because he realized the vast harm a conviction would carry with this otherwise outstanding student. I believe based on his reputation of looking out for the juveniles he did what he thought was best for the child, not withstanding the harsh law. He was a great Judge and his likes will not be seen again for a very long time, if ever. New Judges assigned to Juvenile rotate out as soon as they can for greener pastures. But Judge Gladstone stayed out of devotion and care.