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

Monday, December 28, 2015

WHERE DO YOU WANT THE BLOG TO GO 2016?

It's been many of years and thousands of posts (this is number 3006 we believe)
since we burst on to the scene at the end of the year in November, 2005.

"Won't last until the end of the Heat season" said once local blogger confidently.
"Flash in the pan" said others.
We've been sued, threatened, subpoenaed, cajoled, enticed (women used to send us provocative pictures to meet them in a bar- but we've read too many cold war spy novels to fall for a honey-trap) ignored, and finally accepted.

So where do we go from here?
A few things are sacrosanct. Bashing Broweird. Insulting the intelligence and work ethic of those who wear black robes at work, not including those at Hogwarts.

But some things are up in the air. 

2016 is a presidential election year.
Should we comment on that?
Should we comment on Miami social issues like books and restaurants and the arts and theater (we are an expert in most of those areas)?
Should we write more humor?
More or less contributors?

How about an ASA? Or would s/he get fired? Shouldn't Ms. Rundle authorize someone from her office to contribute and give us their perspective? They would have carte blanche and their postings would be unedited.
That would be nice.

Should we go back to analyzing 3rd DCA decisions released on Wednesdays?

Should we adhere to the maxim  that if it's not broke, don't fix it?

Post your thoughts. We can start with everyone's favourite commentator "zzzzzzzzzzz" and get that one out of the way and go from there.

Not sure how much we are going to be around with internet access spotty on Tristan da Cunha, until January 3, but keep checking in. We have interns who will be clearing the comments.

See You In Court. See You Next Year.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

OBAMA SUCKER PUNCHES CITIZENS UNITED

The Daily Beast and PoliticusUSA have advanced stories about the President's State of the Union Address next month.  Although there will be the usual line drawing in the sand, and the political attempt to differentiate the Democratic agenda from the non-agenda of the Republicans, there will be a very significant announcement regarding campaign financing and SCOTUS' decision in Citizens United.

According to these two sources, Obama intends to announce an executive order requiring anyone who obtains a government contract to disclose all political contributions (including Super PACs) made thereafter.  No bidder will be required to disclose contributions until after the bidding process to keep it non-political.  The justification for this action is the idea of full transparency to avoid contributions made after the fact for favors granted or influence asserted in the awarding of the contract.  The real reason - to undercut the decision in Citizens United.

Who does this hurt?  Let's start with the Koch brothers, who live off of government contracts.  The order would apply not only to the corporation that obtains the contract, but all subsidiaries or otherwise related corporations.  That would include the corporation or individual, which owns the contracting corporation, but all of that corporation's subsidiaries or owner's other businesses.  This won't stop the Kochs and their like from making their contributions, but it will expose them, just as Citizens United allows them to hide, thereby disclosing the kind of corruption so angering the public.

Just a little side fun.  Rush Limbaugh has a government contract.  He is paid for his daily male bovine feces to be broadcast to the troops on the Armed Forces Network.  I wonder to whom he will be making contributions.

Who does this help?  Why Hilary Clinton, of course.  Bernie Sander's biggest issue is, and has been, Citizens United.  With this now being a non-issue for 2016, and Hilary pledging to leave the executive order in place when she takes office, Bernie really has nothing left to differentiate himself from her.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE BROWARD EDITION

UPDATE BELOW After many years of dealing with a system, where in my opinion, the concept of human dignity, and the responsibility of the prosecutor to protect the innocent from wrongful conviction are essentially ignored, I have decided that I need to take a stand. As many of you already know, I am running for Broward County State Attorney. I officially filed on December 4, 2015, and I am currently working on the infrastructure of the campaign. Part of what motivates me is what I have learned about the four individuals who served decades in prison, only to be deemed subsequently exonerated, and the fact that the Innocence Project called for the independent investigation of this office as a result. I am hopeful that 2015 will mark the beginning of the revolution of the criminal justice system on a national level. I believe that we can bring justice "North of the Border," and put an end to my need to rant on this listserve. I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and a happy and productive new year. I am hopeful that at the end of 2016, there will be much to celebrate. 

 Sincerely- Teresa Williams


IN THE DARK LORD SATZ'S OFFICE:

HRSAOF*: Sir, we've analyzed the rebel's campaign. There is a slight chance of success. 

Dark Lord Satz (DLS): 

In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances of success.  If I win this election, my grip on the empire of Broward will be complete. 

HRSAOF: As you wish, my lord. 


 (raising a black-gloved hand and slowly making a fist): But there is one thing. Bring me this blogger. This Rumpole. I will crush him like Anthony Caravella. 

HRSAOF: But my lord, Caravella was rescued by the rebel alliance in 2010. 

  That is of little concern. I kept that innocent man in prison for 26 years. That will be a good start for this impertinent flea in Dade-County.  Bring him to me....and I will crush him and the entire Rebel Alliance.

HRSAOF: Why bother about him, my lord? He doesn't even come to Broward County.

  He insulted my mother. 

HRSAOF: My lord, he called you a son-of-a-wookie.

  Which means my mother was a Wookie. My mother was a saint. A saint. There won't be any books written about my mother, but she was a saint. 

HRSAOF: My lord, now you are quoting Nixon again when he made his farewell remarks to the white house staff the day he resigned. 

 Nixon was a saint as well. The best president we've ever had. Johnson taped people. Kennedy bugged the oval office. But Nixon was forced to resign. 
Why ? Why? 

HRSAOF: He lied to the nation about Watergate my lord...

  Never mind all that...just bring me this blogger from Miami. 

Next....Episode V: 
The Empire Strikes Back....

    "If you only knew the power of the dark side of the force in Broward..." 

* High Ranking State Attorney Office Flunky 


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! HILARY GETS SCHLONGED!

Is there anything more disgusting than a politician referring to a woman candidate losing an election to a man than to say that she got "schlonged"?   Or to describe what someone does in a bathroom as "disgusting"? Adolph Trump strikes again.  Is there anything this man won't say to offend everyone?

I am starting to believe it is part of his strategy.  Offend everyone and you will gain supporters, because everyone hates someone, and "the insulter of my enemy is my friend."

You know what is really disgusting?   Only 50% of Americans think Trump would be an embarrassment as President.  Only 50%.  It is hard to imagine that number being less than 80%.  Can you imagine him in a room with Angela Merkel. 

Trump:  So were your parents Nazis?  I like Nazis.  They have been very nice to me and helped me get elected.

Merkel:  We never discussed it.  If they were, it was clear they were ashamed.

Trump:  Why be ashamed?  Hitler did good things.  He made up his mind to get things done and he did.  He built the autobahn.  He rearmed Germany and made Germany "great again".  He got rid of those nasty civil rights.  He had his thugs beat up any opposition.  He deported anyone he did not like.  He ruled by decree and executive order.  He made Germans proud to be Germans again.  So what is wrong with all of that?  

Merkel:  Well, we are ashamed of all he did in our name, and we have outlawed the Nazi Party.  We are a free and open society now.  

Trump:  So in other words you schlonged Hitler?  

Merkel:  What is this "schlonged"? 

Trump:  Well it is sad that you don't know.  I guess that answers a lot of questions about you.

Okay, so this is a very little (not far) fetched, but then again they said that about things we saw in Star Trek, and look at us now.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1- BLAST-OFF .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

HOLY -HIT ........

Those were the words uttered by my five year old nephew tonight on witnessing history.

Here are the words you need to know:

SPACEX
ORBCOMM 2
Satellites
Engine Chill
Strongback Retract
Vehicle Startup
LIFTOFF
Max Q
Boostback Burn
LANDING
Deploy
ELON MUSK

If you have thirty minutes today, then this YouTube video is must watch TV.

If you grew up in the 60s/70s then you know the feeling of witnessing something "out of this world"; well Elon Musk has brought back that feeling tonight.

Enjoy!!!




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

Monday, December 21, 2015

AT WAPO TACO SALT IS A FOUR LETTER WORD

The Justice building is heading into a two week slowdown. No trials, and no ability to schedule anything. Call any chambers and you get a "we are only doing arraignments and the backup judge won't let us put anything on calendar."
"But the prosecutor and I have agreed to dismiss the case and the client is in custody."
"I can give you Friday January 8, 2016."
"How would you like to spend an additional nineteen days in jail for nothing?"  Click. 

Anyway, We thought we'd post some restaurant reviews we wrote during the year, mostly for ourselves, but with the possibility we would put them on the blog.

Wapo Taco is a new entry into the Miami Mexican market. It's on Ponce in the Gables, a few blocks off of Miracle Mile and a few doors down from Anthony's Coal fired pizza (the best in Miami) and the legendary Cantons.

We ate there twice. Once was enough. The first unsettling thing that occurs is there is a manager at the door. Call him senior Friendly. He wants to shake your hand. We refused. Both times. He was offended. We  explained to him that if he shakes the hands of every patron that walks in, and they serve chips and salsa that you eat with your hands, then he was doing a disservice to all of his customers. It only takes one customer with a cold to infect the entire place.  Even washing our hands, which we do before sitting down, wouldn't erase the thought of some sneezy dofus wandering in and rubbing his hand across his dripping nose before shaking Senior Friendly's hand.

We sit down. The first time we ate alone. The second time we went with two colleagues from out of town who had young associates with them. The decor is plastic orange and green. Something out of a Stanley Kubrick movie about a Midwestern dinner circa 2040. It was vaguely unsettling. And then we tried to eat.

"No chicken" one of the associates noted. And indeed, the menu is devoid of pollo but for an appetizer of fried taquitos. This is strictly a steak and pork taco joint. No enchiladas. One quesadilla. No salad. Just tacos. Corn tacos. Filled to the brim with gut busting gluten.

One appetizer we tried was the Chicarron de queso.  A side of guacamole was promised. What arrived was a monstrous yellow cone, allegedly fried Gouda cheese, and a small dollop of guacamole. Salty beyond edible. And that was the guacamole. The cone, which breaks or rather crumbles into small pieces was also inedible. At Rosa Mexicana at Mary Brickell Village or Lincoln Road they make the guacamole table side. At Wapo Taco, they run it through a salt mine before bringing a sad small dollop out in a dented metal cup. Unlike Rosa Mexicana, the guacamole is not the star of the meal. It's an afterthought. And that should get Wapo taco thinking, when an authentic Mexican dish is so poorly and cavalierly treated.

Our companions had the most expensive item on the menu- the fifteen dollar premium rib-eye tacos, an order of the carnitas tacos, and the cochinita. Salty, more salty, and saltiest.

The waiter brought the rib-eye tacos, and said something like "key lime pie?"  That's what we heard thrice, because the ambient noise level is best described as "Miami-airport runway-ish." We couldn't accept the dish right away because far from being a rib-eye, or anything approximating a rib-eye, it was a mound of meat slices on a greyish looking taco, with cubes of avocado unhappily thrown on top. The meat was poor quality, and every third or fourth slice had a fatty vein in it.
The carnitas tacos, which are advertised as pork belly and shoulder are similarly disappointing. The pork shoulder is just an excuse for poor tough meat. Pork belly, far from the crispy, flavorful slices of meat that can be found in high-scale Asian eateries and gastro-pubs, were just chunks of fatty meat.

Cochinita tacos- do we really have to at this point? Bad. Salty. Inedible.  The side dishes of rice (sticky, salty, mushy) and Cowboy beans (like their name sake, the Dallas Cowboys, they disappoint) are best skipped.

Senior Friendly came by twice more to introduce himself as the manager and attempt to shake our hands. He assured us earnestly that he was available to do anything necessary to make our meal pleasurable. Except cook it without a mound of salt.

At the end of the meal a different manager came by and asked about the meal and the food.
We looked at the yellow cone sitting on the plate, looking for all the world like it was an oil funnel misplaced from the local garage. We saw the mounds of uneaten meat, guacamole pushed about, and perhaps eight out of ten uneaten tacos on our companions plates. What could we say?

"In all honestly it was awful" we said.
"Really? How so?"
"It was salty to the point of being inedible and the cuts of meat were all poor quality."
"You mean you didn't like it?"
"No. And we are not asking you to adjust the bill. Just give us the check and some more cold water to deal with the salt and we will be on our way."
He skulked away, and glared at us from across the room.

In the great movie Stand and Deliver, Edward James Olmos plays a math teacher who inspires inner city kids in LA to take and pass the Calculus advanced placement test. In one scene he visits the restaurant that one of his student's works in that her parents own. He gets into a dispute with his student's father, and as her father leaves, he whispers to his wife "he puts too much salt into the salsa to sell more beer."

Wapo Taco really wants to welcome you to their restaurant. They really want it to be a pleasurable experience. They train their staff to be friendly to the point of obsequiousness, which is bothersome.  They do everything they can, except cook edible meat, which they over salt, and stuff into salty tacos, with salty salsa, salty guacamole, and just extra salt. Stand and Deliver? Sit and drink the salt away.

In Miami you can have great Mexican food (including chicken tacos or burritos or quesadillas) at Taco Rico. You can go a bit upscale at Rosa Mexicano. You can get authentic Mexican dishes like tongue and beef cheeks at Jacalito Taqueria Mexicana on West Flagler.

Or you can waste your time and money at Wapo Taco.
Zero stars. Don't go.

Coming next: our favorite Miami Restaurant where the food is always great.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

NFL STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS EDITION

Star Wars, that ultimate oedipal story of good, evil, fathers and sons, returns, with JJ Abrams now in control of the story and the franchise. 

The good news: The franchise is in good hands. Abrams brings us a story almost forty years in the making. The movie holds true to the original movie with a good versus evil fight; a new alien bar scene; a fight against desperate odds with heroes new and old; and a family conflict exposed (it's not what you think, but it's so obvious it made us smirk).

The Bad News: There's almost nothing original in the new movie. It's almost- almost- a remake. There's even a brief debate on the record for making the Kessel run, with the same error- discussing the time in parsecs
which every Star Wars aficionado knows is a measure of distance and not time. Abrams brings the goof back into the new movie for old-times sake. 

Arizona at Philly:  The Force is strong in Philadelphia. Rocky. Cheese steaks. Liberty Bell.  Always strongly consider the home dog.Especially in Philadelphia in December. Eagles +4.5.  Over 47 seems a nice bet. 

Bengals at San Fran. Wheels off the Millennium Falcon  in Cincy? Bengals hostage of Jabba the Hutt? 49'ers another home dog. In Tatooine this is a rout. In San Fran a close game.  San Fran +4.5. 

Green Bay at Oakland. Oakland, where for years Raider fans wore Darth Vader masks and reveled in the dark side of the force (Al Davis), is another home dog -3.5. Consider picking the Raiders +165 on the money line. Rodgers vs. Carr. "Luke, I am your father". (Which every Star Wars fan knows Vader never said- the original scene and line are below). 






(If you don't want to watch the scene, Luke tells Vader that Obi Wan told him (hearsay but admissible not for the truth of the matter but for it's effect on Luke- part of the res gesti of The Force you might say) that Vader killed his father. Vader responds "No. I am your father." And that line goes down as perhaps- along with "play it again Sam"- as the most misquoted movie line of all time.)


Friday, December 18, 2015

IN DEFENSE OF MARTIN SHKRELI

Martin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical  entrepreneur was arrested yesterday and social media erupted in a flurry of cheers that the man who gained recent fame for buying pharmaceutical companies and raising the prices of older drugs, was finally arrested for his crimes of using his wealth to hurt the public good.

Of course there is no crime of using one's wealth for hurting the public good, but most people think there should be, and Shkreli should be the first defendant. 

Shkreli was arrested for allegations having nothing to do with raising the prices of drugs he owned. The charges were that Shkreli committed fraud by using money raised in one hedge fund to pay off loses in a prior hedge fund. 

But what we want to examine is the scoundrel who had the audacity to raise the prices of something he owned that people needed. How dare he! 

Ownership of private property must always be sacrificed to the public good. We all agree on  that, right? 

For instance if you develop  a new app, or a web site, or even if you're a lawyer who writes a really good motion after weeks of research that others need, then you should be forced to give up your property- your work- if others really really need it. Or at least be forced to sell it to others at what some other committee- call it the "committee on fair prices for what people really really need" decides what the fair price should be. That's only fair, right? No one man or woman or company should be able to charge what they want for something if society (whomever that is) decides that others really really need it. 

This is the American way, right? 
It's in our constitution, correct? 
"From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs." We think it's in the first or second amendment. 

Let's say you do thousands of hours of work and find a perfect piece of property and negotiate a really good price. And a few weeks later the "committee on fair prices for what people really really need" decides that the people really really need a park, or a hospital or a reeducation center on that property. Then it's only right that although you bought the property with your own money and took the risk, that you should be forced to sell it to help others. Right? Wealth shouldn't entitle you to keep for yourself something others want and really really need, right? 

It's the same with Mr. Shkreli's decision to raise the prices of drugs of companies he bought. He took the risk. He spent his own money. Others could have done that. But he did. They didn't. But because people really really need the drugs, he had no right- none! to raise the prices of the drugs he owned. His ownership- his right to his private property must fall to the needs of society. Right? There oughta be a law. 

Mr. Shkreli should be arrested and prosecuted for raising the prices of a product he owns because other people really really need it. 

The concept we are expounding upon is called Altruist-Collectivist Ethics. And it has a foundation in law and government. So long as the law is the law of the Soviet Union, or China, or Cuba, or Nazi Germany, where private property rights were outlawed or severely restricted and all rights had to be weighed against the needs of the people. And the needs of the people were decided by a "people's committee", or a "Fuhrer" or someone named Castro. 

Yeah- go after Shkreli for raising prices. So long as you drape yourself in a communist or nationalist-socialist flag. 

Or if you want a rational explanation of rights and why property rights are the foundation of all rights, read this. 

See You In Court. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

WHEN YOU STRIKE AT THE KING ...

When we last left Brevard County Judge John Murphy, he had invited an assistant public defender into the hallway, where he gave him a good old thrashing. 

The JQC recommended a suspension, a hefty fine, 50 community service hours, and anger management. Or a punishment to that effect. 

Au contraire said our Supreme Court. In a per curiam opinion, they tossed him out of office. 

The video showed Judge Murphy’s verbal altercation with assistant public defender Andrew Weinstock after Mr. Weinstock refused to waive speedy trial for his client. Judge Murphy stated, “You know if I had a rock, I would throw it at your [sic] right now. Stop pissing me off. Just sit down.” When Weinstock refused to sit down, asserting his right to stand and represent his clients, Judge Murphy responded, shouting: “I said sit down. If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your ass.” The two men left the courtroom and met in the hall. 

Then true to his word, and following Rumpole's fourth rule of litigation ("never make a threat you are not prepared to carry out") the good judge did in fact, beat his ass.

Removal is proper when clear and convincing evidence is presented that the judge has engaged in “conduct . . . demonstrating a present unfitness to hold office.” Art. V, § 12(c)(1), Fla. Const.; see also In re Albritton, 940 So. 2d 1083, 1088 (Fla. 2006). “Malafides, scienter or moral turpitude on the part of a justice or judge” is not necessary for removal from office. Art. V, § 12(c)(1), Fla. Const. 

Rumpole notes: hmmmm... we always thought mala fides was a prerequisite. Learn something new every blog post. 
We think we have a better class of PDs here. There are several who could have taken this punk judge no problem. You don't mess with the 305 PDs. 

"When you strike at the king, you must kill him." Ralph W. Emerson. 

DOWN GOES FRAZIER....DOWN GOES FRAZIER....DOWN GOES FRAZIER!!!!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

DAVID WAKSMAN HAS PASSED AWAY

UPDATE: Funeral Information:
Thursday, at Noon, Star of David, 7701 Bailey Road, North Fort Lauderdale. 

His family will be sitting shiva afterwards. As some alert readers have pointed out, David was- and always will be- a law enforcement officer. As such, we cannot print his home address. Such information, we are sure, will be available at the funeral. 


David Waksman was an ordinary guy. You wouldn't give him a second thought walking down the hallways of the REGJB. He was a New Yorker. And Ex-cop who walked a beat in the Bronx. 

He was an ordinary guy. Right up until the time he walked into a court room.  Then he was extraordinary. 

David was part of a golden era of prosecutors in this town. Working for State Attorney Janet Reno and the extraordinary talent she had in her major crimes unit, David was one of the best. He handled the difficult cases. When a police officer was murdered or when a serial killer was arrested- and in one extraordinary series of cases- a former police officer who was a serial killer- David was the prosecutor people turned to- a master in the courtroom. 

He gave Miami the best he had, prosecuting difficult cases, training young prosecutors and teaching them that a lawyer's word was his or her  bond. When David told you something, you didn't need to follow it up with a letter (or email). He brought honor to his office, our courthouse, and our State. And when it was all over, he quietly walked away to a retirement cut way too short by his untimely death. 

David Waksman was in every regard extraordinary. 
May he rest in peace. 

PHIL DAVIS RULE 3 UPDATES

From our man/woman in court:
MORE UPDATES :
On cross Barrar admits that " if there was any witness who would testify that it was OK to bill $20/ hour when actually paying only $10/ hour or that it was OK to bill the County for reimbursement for workers who didn't even exist, I would have called them"

Tibbett, Davis' Rule 3 attorney is questioning Barrar , Davis' trial attorney if Barrar should have called a Miami-Dade County supervisor as a witness. Barrar replied based on this County supervisor's memo,  the memo made clear that it was unacceptable under the County Reimbursement Grant to bill the County $20/ hour for the workers Davis' program found jobs fot and paid the workers only $10 an hour

Trial Attorney Barrar counters the question by Rule 3 Defense Attorney Tibbett why Barrar didn't call the programs Tax Accountant.   Barrar said he didn't want the CPA to testify that it was not acceptable or even fraudulent to bill the County for reimbursement under the grant for payment of $20 an hour per worker,  when Davis's program was actually paying only $10 an hour to the workers.
Jimmy Olsen


There are 3 Broward ASAs in court today Executive Assignment to handle the Davis matter. After an hour and a half, the ASAs have spoken less than 30 words, all evidentiary objections.But, the State is about to cross BarrarJimmy Olsen


We have yet to hear anything about how Judge Butchko launched Davis at sentencing due to extraneous issues like Court Broom and how Davis embarrassed the Courts and the system, so gave Davis a Twenty year sentence when Davis scored Non- State.
Jimmy Olsen



Update one: 
Phil Davis was in Court this morning, wearing a Red Jumpsuit, thin and  looking old in his spectacles .
Last Friday, December 11th, he did fire his appointed counsel, Brett Del Gaizo.
This morning, Daniel Tibbit  made an appearance on Mr. Davis's post conviction matters.
Jimmy Olsen


Update Two: 
Daniel Tibbit moves for a continuance, having just been retained on the case. 
Judge M. Hirsch denied the motion to continue.
Original trial counsel, R. Barrar is now on the stand. 
Jimmy Olsen


Updates three and four: 
NEWS. FLASH.
On the stand , Davis' trial attorney, Robert  Barrar, denies messing up in his preparation and trial in the Davis Organized Fraud & Money Laundering case.


Davis attempts to hand documents to his attorney, who waives the documents away and Tibbet tells Davis I handle this and talk with you later.
Jimmy Olsen


On the stand, former trial attorney, Robert Barrar, stated that Phil ( Davis) knew the trial strategy, new the theory of Defense, knew what the evidence was and who the witnesses were and what the witnesses were going to testify to, including possible defense witnesses. Barrar stated " Phil ran the show"
Jimmy Olsen

JNC SENDS SIX NAMES TO GOVERNOR SCOTT .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

AND YOUR NEXT COUNTY COURT JUDGE WILL BE .....

The Eleventh Judicial Circuit's JNC met late into the night on Monday.  Just think about that.  They could have been watching the Fins lose another game, this time to the Giants on Monday Night Football.

With the ascension of Judge Charlie Johnson to the Circuit Court, that opened up a spot on the County Court bench.  There were a total of 23 applicants for the job.  The JNC narrowed the list of applicants to 16 and interviewed each of those attorneys on Monday afternoon.

The following names have been sent to Governor Scott for his consideration:

Ramiro Areces; ***UPDATED***  A reader informs us that we are mistaken.  The Ramiro Areces that made it out of Committee was the son, Ramiro C. Areces, who has been a member of The Florida Bar for just seven years.  His father is an Immigration attorney with 28 years of experience.

Gina Beovides; Legal Aid attorney with nine years of experience; (last nominated in March of 2015 for an open County Court seat)

Alexander Spicola Bokor; Assistant County Attorney since 2008; a ten year member of The Florida Bar he previously worked for Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton; (last nominated in March of 2015 for an open County Court seat)

Karl S.H. Brown; a General Magistrate currently assigned to Family, he was assigned to the Child Support Division before that; (last nominated in March of 2015 for an open County Court seat)

Joseph Mansfield; Assistant State Attorney; (last nominated in March of 2015 for an open County Court seat)

Julie Nelson; currently works for ROIG Lawyers handling insurance defense cases; started as a law clerk for Judge Hoeveler; then began her career as an ASA; twenty year member of The Florida Bar

Two names missing from the final cut included John Wylie who was qualified to be sent to the Governor's desk five months ago for an open Circuit Court seat and Jonathan Meltz who also made it to the Governor's desk nine months ago for an open County Court seat.

But, there are several new members on the JNC and you just never know what they may do next.

Those they did not make the final cut:

Elijah A. Levitt
Griska Mena Rodriguez
Luis Perez-Medina
Paul Aiello
Norman Powell
Peter S. Heller
Gordon C. Murray, Sr.
John W. Wylie (nominated for Circuit Court in July 2015)
Jonathan Meltz (nominated for County Court in March 2015)
David Alschuler


The Governor has 60 days to decide on whom our next County Court Judge will be.

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



Monday, December 14, 2015

JURY, JURY, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' JURY

Adolph Trump strikes again.  Is there no one to whom he will not pander?  In obtaining a police union endorsement he has made it clear that he will issue an Executive Order that all "cop killers" get the death penalty.  Really?  Who needs judges or juries?  "If you kill a cop, you get the death penalty, automatically."

Think I'm kidding?   Watch here .  Tell me again that this man is not dangerous.  Tell me again that he respects the Constitution.  Don't even attempt to tell me that he can't get away with it, because this guy thinks he can.  Tell me all that again, and I will tell you are deaf and blind and most of all, dumb (as in lacking intelligence).

EVEN MORE AND MORE EVIDENCE OF THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION

UPDATE: Davis to go it alone? 
When we last embattled and imprisoned former Dade County circuit judge Phil Davis, his appeal was affirmed and he was serving a lengthy prison sentence. 
Davis filed a rule 3. He has a hearing before Milt Hirsch  tomorrow. Rumor- and this is a rumor- has it that he has canned his counsel and will be going it alone tomorrow, ignoring that adage that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. 

But then, Davis never did make wise decisions on his behalf. 

With apologies to Roy Black, but here is even more evidence of the decline of Western Civilization:

Item One: A Miami lawyer was arrested recently for bringing a loaded firearm into Disney World.
This is what he was imagining: 
Orlando Sun Sentinel: LAWYER SAVES CIVILIZATION 
"An alert Miami lawyer saved the world today when he intercepted a rogue band of ISIS warriors who had snuck over the boarder in a small vessel painted "Trump's Yacht". Once in the United States, the ISIS fighters rendezvoused  at Frontier Land before heading to the famous It's A Small World ride. 'I saw a muslim looking man carrying a small device. He looked out of place on the It's a Small World Ride. I was suspicious. I said to myself:  'self, that looks like a small thermo-nuclear weapon'.  I withdrew my firearm and ordered him to halt. He said "Allah ahkabar" and attempted to detonate the device but first I shot his hand away and then I shot him and his accomplices dead. Asked why he brought a loaded gun into a Disney World theme park, the lawyer said "I thought something like this could happen, so I wanted to be ready." Disney announced that the lawyer and his family would be the guests of honor for the next two days and would lead the 5PM parade through the park."

Here's what really happened- some idiot brought a loaded gun into a Disney Theme park and was arrested. He happened to be a Miami lawyer. Here's the channel ten video on the arrest. 

Item Two: Major League Baseball continued the lifetime ban on the major league baseball all time hit leader -Pete Rose- because Rose admitted he was still gambling on baseball.

Item Three: Florida Supreme Court to Judge Jacqueline Schwartz: F-You Too! (warning- not safe for work. Contains an expletive not deleted.) 
A judicial public reprimand occurs when the Florida Supreme Court summons a robe wearer to Tallahassee and dresses them down in public for their actions. 

Judge Jacqueline Schwartz received such a reprimand last week for her actions when she confronted a store owner who had a sign of her opponent displayed. We'd like to think the encounter occurred something like this: 

JS "Pardon me good sir. May I have a moment of your time?"

Store Owner: "Why of course. May I recommend the cauliflower. It's on sale today and quite fresh."

JS: "Thank you. I'm sure it's delightful, however I am not interested in cruciferous  vegetables at this moment."

SO: "How may I be of assistance to you madam?"

JS: "This sign you have displayed. Are you aware this distinguished fellow is running for the judicial seat I currently occupy?"

SO: "Why no, I was not aware of that. However my support for your opponent is, I am afraid to say, quite firm."

JS: "Quite indeed. Would you consider taking it down as I am patron of your fine establishment?"

SO: "Alas I cannot do that."

JS: "Go fuck yourself."

And thus ended another uniquely Miami moment, destined to remain infamous in the annals of judicial election history. Here is one of our many prior posts on the F-You and the horse you rode in on case. Here is another one. 

Anyone trying cases these two weeks? 

See You In Court. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

NFL 2015 FURTHER EVIDENCE OF THE DECLINE OF CIVILIZATION EDITION

Our colleague Roy Black often starts his Facebook posts bemoaning further evidence of the decline of Western Civilization. Usually it is a new idea from Donald Trump: banning cabbage (causes flatulence),  registering people who download Timothy Leary books or Beowulf (weirdos) , outlawing Newark, New Jersey (have you been there? A wasteland).  Today it was something different.

Mr. Black was concerned that the obituary of a successful doctor, surgeon and medical researcher contained, at the end, a request that donations be made to a particular football scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh. Black found this troubling. 

We respond.

First, people from Pittsburgh are different. They talk funny, "youins" and eat weird things (french fries smashed into sandwiches) and they have a fierce civic pride that is expressed in their support for their sport teams.

Second, our admiration for sports figures knows neither bounds, nor is grounded in reason. Many sports heroes don't deserve our support. 

Joe Jackson betrayed his sport-baseball. Babe Ruth was a drunken glutton. Ty Cobb a racist. Pete Rose bet on the games he managed. 

OJ Simpson beat his wife, and then killed her. Rae Carruth killed his pregnant girlfriend. Adrian Peterson beat his young son with a weapon and stuffed leaves and dirt into his mouth to stop him from screaming. Ben Roethlisberger was accused of raping two different women on two different occasions. Both Peterson and Roethlisberger will play today, their fans cheering their athletic exploits. 

The fact is that beyond the citizens of United States, the citizens  Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia worship their soccer (football) teams and athletes, although many of the athletes, in their personal life, are not worthy of worship. Many are ignorant thugs. 

Who is more important to the planet- a striker, a goalie, a quarterback, a home-run hitter, or the group of scientists that will invent the machine to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere and cool the planet? Who gets more money and admiration?

Sports at their best remind us of our own accomplishments in youth. The day we hit one out. The coach who brought the best out in us and taught us we can do more than we ever imagined. The team of underdogs that came together and beat the favorite. The 69 Mets. The 1980 US Hockey Team. Persistence and perseverance when all seems lost- any Cubs team in the last 100 years. Perfection- the 1972 Dolphins. 

Sports has a place. Today's Washington Post has a story on the young Marco Rubio, and the solace he found in the Dolphins as a young boy and teenager when his world collapsed when his older's sister's husband was arrested in a notorious Miami drug trafficking case. Mr. Black will remember the case: he represented the ringleader Mario Tabraue in one of the first big federal cocaine cowboy prosecutions. 

Any teacher is worth more to society than any power forward or guard. But no teacher earns what Dwayne Wade makes. Any ER doctor saves more lives in a week than a starting pitcher does in a lifetime. Any assistant public defender struggling under a staggering caseload helps more people than Justin Beiber (another Black client), yet no PD will earn in a lifetime of public service what Bieber earns in a year. 

Mr. Black's concern is hardly startling new news. It has always been this way, and probably always will. The Bill Gates and the Steve Jobs of the world will get their due for changing the world and will become wealthy beyond all means. So will the wall street trader who decodes the scam of bundled mortgages and sells the market short. Jobs and Gates changed the world. The trader made billions for himself and his company. 

And so it goes. 

The Washington Post breathlessly reported today that North Korea's all girl band Moranbong left China in a hurried huff, hours before a concert was scheduled to begin a goodwill tour. 

The performers of Moranbong were personally chosen by Kim Jong Un himself. 

More evidence of the decline of Eastern Civilization. 
Mr. Black can rest comfortably, knowing it's not just Western Civilization in peril.

See You In Court tomorrow. 

Oh... our picks for today:

Cheaters -3 in Houston. Enough is enough. 

Green Bay - 5 over Cowpokes. Ditto. 

Tennessee +6 over J....E....T...S... Jets Jets Jets. 

Giants over Fins, pick em, Monday Night. 

Russia -29 over Turkey. A "Gulf Of Tonkin" just occurred between a Russian destroyer and a Turkish vessel. Putin is spoiling for a fight and knows Obama won't intercede. 




Friday, December 11, 2015

MORE E-FILING PROBLEMS

As we have previously pointed out, each circuit's clerk's office apparently creates the list of documents you can label your document when you e-file it. 

Dade County has been sorely lacking in creating appropriate labels. 

Here is what you cannot properly label when e-filing a motion in Dade County:

A Stand Your Ground Motion To Dismiss based on Immunity. 

Here, however is what you can file: 
"MOTION FOR EXPIRATION OF SPEEDY TRIAL."

Now, as we all know, there is a "Notice" Of Expiration of Speedy Trial. And there is a "Motion to dismiss" based on the expiration of speedy trial. But as far as we know, Rule 3.191 does not contain any authority to move for expiration of speedy trial. 
Such a motion is a non-sequitur. 

Just who is writing these labels? And when will they graduate high-school? 

It is apparently too much to ask for a lawyer or someone with legal training and knowledge of the criminal justice system to actually write labels for motions that are regularly filed. 

See You In Court. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

SCALIA IS EMBARASSING

Justice Antonin Scalia has embarrassed himself, SCOTUS and the legal profession as a whole.  He owes the public, not only an apology, but an explanation (which hopefully in his opinion he will write) as to how a member of the Court can publicly announce such a racist view as he did yesterday.

Scalia said:  "There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less - - slower track school where they do well.  One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the University of Texas."

Scalia was referencing with apparent approval a brief filed by Richard Sander, who has written about the "mismatched theory".  "Students with an interest in science who are admitted to a very competitive school via a large preference attend to drop of the sciences at a much higher rate than do otherwise similar students who attend somewhat less competitive programs, the brief said.  Competition appears to be major factor in the lo rate at which African-American students become scientists, despite high levels of interest in the sciences."

Doesn't this make it more understandable that African-Americans can not trust or believe in the judicial system?  It is apparent that Scalia has affirmed the belief of  African-Americans in the United States that the system does not operate equally for them, in that they are not viewed the same as white Americans.  What could be worse for a minority or ethnic group than to have member of the highest court in the land marginalize that group's intelligence, abilities and potential.

Protesters, focus your attention on someone like this.  Demand Scalia resign.  You have the power to destroy his ability to be an effective voice for the court, or even the dissent, despite the tacit approval of Justice Clarence (the silent man) Thomas.

BTW - I have not seen any comment or disapproval coming from Ted Cruz on this, even though such a comment is despicable and "lawless".

WE REMOVED A POST

For the first time in approaching three thousand posts, we removed a post for content. The post was put up by a blog contributor that has made a good contribution to this blog over the years. But in the end this is our blog, and we are responsible for the content and we did not agree with the facts of the post and it was demeaning to attorneys and clients and more importantly, the next of kin in a tragic case.

There are a myriad of factors that go into a settlement of a criminal case or a decision to go to trial. 

The facts of a case are usually, but not always paramount.  A client can be reasonable or unreasonable. A next of kin can be forgiving, or unreasonable. The client can have insurance or funds to assist the next of kin in their loss. A client can have a superb lawyer, or an expensive lawyer who stinks. 

The tenor of the post we removed was that in the two DUI manslaughter cases that we wrote about, one client essentially paid off the next of kin to get a better result. 

We do not know that to be true.  A financial settlement may have occurred, but that does not mean a priori (sorry for the judges that are reading this to use a Latin phrase) that the case was settled for a lesser prison term because of the settlement. Such a statement is demeaning to the court, the lawyers, the client, and most importantly, the next of kin of the deceased. 

Under these conditions we could not let the post stay up. It is entirely proper to speculate among the myriad of reasons why a case was settled. But we will not allow these pages to be used to compound a tragedy and demean- of all people-  the family of an innocent victim who was killed. 

That's our decision. If you don't like it, too bad. 

See You In Court. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

TWENTY-TWO AND TWO

Twenty-two and two. Those were the sentences handed down in the REGJB this week on two disparate  DUI manslaughter cases.

The veintidos  sentence was meted out by Judge De La O on this horrifying DUI crash that took the lives of two people: The link to the video is here. 

And then before Judge Ward, a 22 year old college student was sentenced to two years in prison, followed by house-arrest and probation for killing a cyclist on Key Biscayne. The judge accepted a negotiated plea between the state and defense in which the next of kin had approved the deal and the waiver of the four year minimum mandatory.

What to make of these cases?

We often decry the existence of  minimum mandatory sentences and the desire of uniformity in sentencing. No two cases are alike. No two defendants are alike. And yet we rail against min man sentences and the sentencing guidelines with the full understanding that two similarly situated defendants might well receive vastly different sentences based on the luck of the draw- the judge assigned to the case.

At the end of the day, we'd rather take our chances with a judge then have all the power of a minimum mandatory vested in a prosecutor a year out of law school.

Apropos of nothing... nothing looks worse than that stupid Moby-Dick movie.

See You In Court.



Monday, December 07, 2015

THE DOORS ARE LOCKED- NO MUSLIMS ALLOWED (EVEN IF YOU ARE AN AMERICAN CITIZEN)

Adolph Trump has now proposed a total ban on allowing Muslims into the United States, and that includes American citizens trying to return from overseas (including members of our military who are Muslim).  What is it about the Constitution of which this guy either is ignorant or willing to ignore.  He already wants to keep Hispanics out.  Who's next?  Jews?  Chinese?  Will he advocate sending all African-Americans back to Africa?

To understand the narcissism of this egomaniacally dangerous man, all you have to do is review the speeches of Hitler in the 1930's.  Nationalism, xenophobia, feelings of persecution, scapegoating ethnicities, the registration of ethnicities he finds objectionable, religious tests for citizenship and the desire to militarily dominate the world.  Will we require loyalty oaths to him before you can vote?

Rise up America.   See Trump for what he is, and what he will be.  The entire Republican field, with the exception of Kasich and Bush, are weak sisters and fear mongers.  Never has our Republic been under assault like this.  It is not the enemy from without, but the enemy from within, we should fear.

As Cicero said in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (and more appropriately applied here as a quote being used by Edward R. Morrow in his famous broadcast attacking Sen. Joe McCarthy), "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

DECEMBER 7 A DATE WHICH WILL LIVE IN INFAMY



Monday morning in the REGJB, December 7, 2015.
Escalator from 1 to 2 not working.

An Infamy.

Also we remember Pearl Harbor today.
For those of you who are judges and prosecutors and PDS born in the 1980's (which is another infamy in its own right)
this was the day in 1941 the Japanese, without provocation, bombed our Naval Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Luckily, (although some have argued intentionally) our carrier fleet was at sea. Although we lost several great battleships including the USS Arizona, the USS Tennessee, the USS West Virginia, the USS California, the USS Maryland, and the USS Oklahoma- the aircraft carriers Lexington, Saratoga, and Enterprise were at sea and were not harmed and were all that stood between Hawaii, the West Coast of the United States, and a Japanese invasion.

The use of those carriers and the brilliant tactics of Admirals Halsey, King, Spruance, Nimitz, and Fletcher- names you should know as American Heroes- but which you probably don't- arguably helped save Western Civilization as we know it today.

The sneak attack on Pearl Harbor  gave the United States reason to enter what would become known as World War II.
Somehow from 1941 to 1945 we were able to defeat the armed empires of two nations, expel the Germans from almost all of Europe and expel the Japanese from almost all of the island chains in the Pacific, but in 14 years we can't eliminate a straggly band of murderous terrorists from the Middle East.

Anyway. you can pick up your Cafe Lattes from Starbucks now and have another sip and grumble at your wi-fi reception while perusing Tinder-  knowing your freedom was secured by the greatest generation. And perhaps in your spare time, you might consider reading a book or two about it.

See you in court.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

NFL 2015 GUN EDITION

In honor of the NY Times putting an editorial on gun violence on the front page- the Times hasn't put an editorial on the front page since 1920- we present our NFL picks in firearm fashion, noting that there are more guns than people in the US. Indeed the second amendment states "There must be more guns than people in the country." 

And lets not forget the famous statement of George Washington as he crossed the Potomac river on Christmas Eve to save the Capital  from marauding Muslims hordes: "They'll get my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead hands." 

And of course the bible, which states "And thou shall go forth and multiply and all the lands and all the seas shall belong to your people so long as they shall each keep a firearm in their homes for the days of their lives, for on this day I say unto you 'guns don't kill people, people who don't believe in the lord kill people.' And you shall go forth and shoot all your enemies dead. Thus sayeth the lord." 
JimBob II:14-18. 

This is a sport that employs the Shotgun and Pistol formations. Star quarterbacks are said to "have a rifle" for an arm, and they "gun the ball" to their receivers. The key player on special teams who runs down the field to make the tackle is the "gunner".  High scoring games are a "shootout" and mistakes are characterized as "shooting himself in the foot.

With the biblical and constitutional foundation  for firearms firmly in place, we make our picks: 

Ravens at Fins.  No shootout here, but the Fins bounce back. Miami -3.5. 

Cowpokes at Skins. In the 1970's Coach Landry revitalized the long gone "shotgun" formation with Roger Staubach. For a while, they were the only team using the formation. We also remember the "Flex" defense which was brilliant and should be revived. But the current pokes can't hold a candle to those Cowboys. They have a pop-gun offense. Skins -3.5. 

Broncos at Chargers. Dangerous game for Denver. Bolts will keep it close. But we like the over 43.5. 






Thursday, December 03, 2015

NEW MASS SHOOTING

There was a new mass shooting yesterday in California.

The Headline of the NY Daily News says it all about the climate in the US and how we are handling these problems. We would add that the NRA is not fixing this problem either. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

CAMPAIGN 2016 ..... NEW FILING IN CIRCUIT COURT


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

UPDATED:

Your next County Court Judge .....

The JNC has met and narrowed the list of applicants for our next County Court Judge.  We posted on November 25th the names of the 23 applicants which you can find here.

The JNC will be interviewing 16 of those applicants on December 14th:

2:00 p.m. Elijah A. Levitt
2:15 p.m. Griska Mena Rodriguez
2:30 p.m. Karl S.H. Brown
2:45 p.m. Luis Perez-Medina
3:15 p.m. Alexander Spicola Bokor
3:30 p.m. Paul Aiello
3:45 p.m. Gina Beovides
4:00 p.m. Joseph J. Mansfield
4:30 p.m. Ramiro C. Areces
4:45 p.m. Norman Powell
5:00 p.m. Julie H. Nelson
5:10 p.m. Peter S. Heller
5:35 p.m. Gordon C. Murray, Sr.
5:45 p.m. John W. Wylie
5:55 p.m. Jonathan Meltz
6:05 p.m. David Alschuler
 


ELECTION CENTRAL 2016 ....... UPDATE

The number of candidates running for Judge will be growing by one sometime this afternoon when attorney Antonio G. Jimenez's papers are filed with the Division of Elections in Tallahassee.  Jimenez will be running, at least for now, in Group 34, an open seat due to the retirement of Judge Gill Freeman.

Mr. Jimenez has been a member of The Florida Bar for nine years.  He served in the U.S. Navy for five years, went to law school at Stetson and then joined the Miami-Dade SAO.  He spent two years there gaining trial experience before going private.  He has been in private practice for the past seven years.  He has two web sites: duimiami.com and jimenezlegal.com.  He is a member of the Florida Traffic Court Rules Committee.

The races are beginning to get very crowded and we still have five months until the filing deadline of May 6, 2016.

There are currently four contested races in Circuit Court:

Group 9: 

Incumbent Jason Bloch v. Marcia Del Rey

Group 34:  (open seat)

Renee Gordon v. Denise Martinez-Scanziani v. Luis Perez-Medina v. Antonio G. Jimenez

Group 52: (open seat; Judge Michael Genden retiring)

Jodie Breece v. Elena Ortega-Tauler v. Raul A. Perez-Ceballos v. Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts

Group 66:

Incumbent Robert Luck v. Yolly Roberson

Also, Group 39 is an open seat due to the retirement of Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat.  Currently David Young is the only candidate that has filed for that open seat.

There is currently one contested race in County Court:

Group 5:

Incumbent Judge Fred Seraphin has not filed yet, but presumably he will do so.  He already has opposition in Milena Abreu.

Group 7:

Incumbent Judge Ed Newman v. Lizzet Martinez

NORTH OF THE BORDER .......

Yet another Broward Judge is in hot water.  This time it is Judge John Patrick Contini, Circuit Court Judge in the Criminal Division.  What did the Honorable Judge do?  Well, it appears he sent a private email, on his personal email account, to an Assistant Public Defender that regularly appeared before him.  Judge Contini had obtained a well written Downward Departure Sentencing Order from a Judge in Palm Beach County.  Contini thought that it would be a great idea for the APD to read it and adopt it to his cases, where appropriate.  The email was circulated around the PD's office and one APD sent the email to an ASA, and well, you can write the rest of the story for yourself.

Suffice it to say that State Attorney Mike Satz moved for Judge Contini to remove himself from a whole bunch of criminal cases; the judge denied the motion; the issue went up to the 4th DCA, and Contini, to add fuel to the fire, decided to spit in the face of the pit ASAs on several occasions subsequent to the issue going to the 4th.  The JQC report called this conduct by Judge Contini, "discourteous, impatient, and undignified conduct."

Here is "one" of the worst parts of the JQC Report:

"During the course of the State's appeal, a stay was placed on hundreds of cases in your Division.  As a result, many of the cases before your division were effectively frozen, and defendants who were incarcerated had to remain behind bars because you were unable to make any rulings or determinations in their case."

Contini is charged with violating no less than 16 different Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

You can read the entire 71 page JQC's Notice of Formal Charges Report here:
 

CAPTAIN OUT .......
Captain4Justice@gamil.com