WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Thursday, October 13, 2016

WELCOME SAO C,22LASS 2016

UPDATE: Sandra Jaggard's  memorial service will be on Saturday October 22, 2016 at 2pm at Stanfill Funeral Home, 10545, South Dixie Highway, Pinecrest. 

We will give you one, simple piece of advice.



Don't do anything stupid to get on the blog. Don't snapchat your guilty verdict, or facebook your cross, or tweet about a motion to suppress or Instagram the first autopsy photo you see. 

Here's some more small stuff: 

You will make your name and your mark by being fair, decent, honest and a person of your word. Being "tough" at this point in your career means merely you have no life experience or perspective. 

Perhaps you laugh at that. 
Maybe you would like to talk to a prior "tough" Division Chief who had little sympathy for defendants until they got arrested for their own DUI and lost their career?

Most defense attorneys are not jerks. Some are. Because a defense attorney lies to you, attacks you improperly in court, or is demeaning, does not mean the next one is a jerk and will treat you badly. 

Treat everyone- lawyers and defendants- as a unique individual. Not all cops, witnesses and victims are telling the truth. Not all of them are liars either. Sometimes they are honestly mistaken. 

Find the good people in your office. They will be easy to spot. Frank Ledee. David Gilbert. Reid Ruben. Warren Eth. Bill McGee. Many others we are forgetting. The ones who you see Judges acknowledging when they walk into court. The ones who are cordial and friendly with the defense bar and the Pds. When you see one of these people, watch what they do. Volunteer to help on a case even if it means just copying and scanning (we used to say stapling but then millennials scoffed at us). 

Update: A reader made an excellent comment/complaint.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
A little Trumpian chauvinism coming out in Rump. The only good people at the State you mention are all men?!? How about Marie Mato, Isis Perez, Alejandra Lopez, Abbe Rifkin? You can do better than that Rump.

Friday, October 14, 2016 7:10:00 AM
 

Look for the plaques of Sy Gaer and Richard Sharpstein in the courthouse and read about them and then ask others about them. Look for the picture of Judge Edward Cowart and ask some old timers about him. Google Ellen Morphonious and ask old time prosecutors about working with Janet Reno. 

Here's a Sy Gaer story- about 15 years ago we were in trial in a pretty big drug case that we realized was well beyond the young ASA's ability. About the third day of trial the ASA surprised us and pulled off a pretty nifty trick in court during closing. Later, when the jury was out, we asked them how they thought of it. They smiled: "I saw Sy at the bar last night. I was  pretty depressed. He bought me a drink and asked me about the case. That was his idea."
We couldn't help but laugh that Sy, who beat on prosecutors for over forty years took pity on a young kid and helped them out. He did things like that all the time. 

Most of all, make the most of this experience. It may well be the most fun you will have as a lawyer. 

Enjoy the ride. We will see you in court. 

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well we finally know Warren writes the blog. He's a good guy but give him some time.

Anonymous said...

Nice that the SAO hired one, maybe two, black males.

Anonymous said...

Former ASA here

My advice:

Read the Rules of Prcedure. Youd be surprised how many prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges dont know them. Oh yeah, and the evidence code.

Try cases in front of different judges and try difficult cases. Dont worry about your trial stats. You dont learn much from winning a .15 dui guilty verdict. But youll learn lots from a refusal acquittal.

When the senior attorneys in the felony division are in trial, go watch them. Dont watch other county attorneys, no matter how good you think they are.

Dont break your three year commitmemnt. Your word is your bond. Dont ever mislead the court because no case is worth your reputation.

REAL FORMER JUDGE said...

Not much diversity in the photo RUMPOLE. There are future Judges in that group. There are even a couple that will be fired.

What an honor to be hired as a prosecutor in this office.

Always be humble and polite. Always keep your word. Be reasonable. Make smart choices. No errors. Reach for the stars and pay your dues.

This is the time to work hard. You know NOTHING from law school. Believe me. Even if graduated at the top of your class. You have no wisdom yet. You have no life experience at this point.

You are responsible for JUSTICE. Not just winning.

I'm telling you that the reputation and friends that you make your first year will bless you forever. If you are dishonest or pompous, that will be your reputation forever.

Most of all -- enjoy every moment. This may be the best time of your life.

Anonymous said...

A little Trumpian chauvinism coming out in Rump. The only good people at the State you mention are all men?!? How about Marie Mato, Isis Perez, Alejandra Lopez, Abbe Rifkin? You can do better than that Rump.

Steve Bustamante said...

Nice Sy story.

I remember being the kid at the Alibi in the presence of Sy and Ed O'Donnell. Tempus fugit.

Anonymous said...

Excellent display of diversity by that office.....NOT!!!

You forgot to mention, throw the "trial manual" in the garbage. It contains outdated law and makes look like a fool. Do some research, use your brain, yes you have one.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


VOTE FOR THE BLOG. I noticed this morning that the Blog was in the top eight in criminal blogs. With a strong push we can get into the top five. VOTE.

https://www.theexpertinstitute.com/legal-blog/justice-building-blog/

And props to 7:10 AM. I thought exactly the same thing when I read your list.

Cap Out .....

Scott Saul said...

Be ready to learn, no matter how talented you think you are, you're just a newbie kid out of school so be humble, be fair ( but always tow the State's line, don't succumb to personal favors, always return calls and emails, recognize that there is a great disparity among the judges,don't get upset over what occurs in court, it's not personal and treat the victims/witnesses like gold since you are their connection into the system

earl rogers said...

Sy used to call the Alibi Lounge his "law library."

Anonymous said...

Bustasuiti

Anonymous said...

I rarely practice in Miami anymore, but a few years ago I had a case with one of the "good people" from the SAO you mention. This person was a C at the time, and we had a firearm case together. Not only was the prosecutor 100% wrong about the law, the ASA was a sarcastic prick about it. The judge smacked the ASA down, and I haven't dealt with this person since. I did, however, remember what a tool this person was.

This was several years ago, and from reading this, it sounds like the ASA is now a respected member of the SAO. The lesson here is this: until I read this post, this prosecutor's name was etched in my brain as an incompetent a-hole. One misstep in a young career will lead others to think poorly of you for years, so be mindful of your reputation when dealing people. Especially when you likely have no idea what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

Young prosecutors do the following: review Florida law weekly 1 hour per month, do not boast or try to humiliate defense attorneys because you will have other cases with them and their peers ( many of whom are former prosecutors), you are only as good as your last case, watch what you say about the judges you practice before and finally, during my 3 years as an ASA the people who tried to screw me the most, hurt me with vicious Machiavellian office tactics, and be downright nasty were my co-prosecutors. Watch what you say and who you confide in.
If you are good, or downright superior word will travel throughout the Justice Center like a brushfire. The more modest and ethical you are about your wins the faster the brushfire travels.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rumpole: How about a list of the ten defense attorneys that any young prosecutor should absolutely fear if they are up against them? and how about the asa veterans say who was their toughest opponent?

Anonymous said...

A bunch of losers joining the SAO because they cannot get a job in private practice so they settle for making less than a plumber. 45k a year. pretty sad.

Anonymous said...

12:57 a.m. said "There are future Judges in that group. There are even a couple that will be fired." As the last election proved. you can be fired by the SAO and be elected judge.

Anonymous said...

Florida Supreme Court again finds uncosntitutional the death penalty statute and requires unanimous juries to impose it.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article108231392.html

Anonymous said...

10/14/2016's Fla. S. Ct. death penalty decisions:

http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2016/sc12-1947.pdf

http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2016/sc16-547.pdf

Anonymous said...

Lou's of trumping rump; you did not name one African American to look up to? Only whites and Hispanic. If you don't menti N someone from every erhnic group, you are a racist. What about a Pacific Islander? A scotch Romanian?

Anonymous said...

1:47....Sounds like Reid Rueben. vastly overrated.

Anonymous said...

Another thing for a young prosecutor or PD to do is after you try a bench or jury trial, ask the Judge to give you a critique and gain insight from the experience of the Judge. Ask what did I do well and where can I improve.

I started my practice at the Justice Building and I remember my conversations with Judge Piniero, Judge Shumacher, Judge Colby and Judge Silverman. They all taught me how to try a jury trial.

Those Judge - young lawyer relationships shaped my career and I miss those Judges, but those friendships will last forever.

Anonymous said...

Young prosecutors....avoid the trialmaster.

Anonymous said...

No, that ASA is still a class A asshole. He has just advanced thorough the office so we have to deal with him far less often.

Anonymous said...

1:47 - if you didn't realize that the C prosecutor who came across as cocky could become a an excellent advocate, then you are not nearly as smart as you think you are. You seem to be just as arrogant (dare I say a "sarcastic prick"?), and how many years have YOU been practicing law? PD's and ASA's learn by experience.

Anonymous said...

David Gilbert is the absolute worst. True believer on TRAFFIC cases. Doesn't let his line prosecutors make appropriate deals. Wants everything to go through him because he thinks he knows better.

Anonymous said...

904.........There's a reason why line prosecutors need authority to do certain things. I know you, like every other young lawyer, think line prosecutors have the knowledge, judgment, and perspective to make good decisions in every case they handle, but they don't (and, no, I'm not exempting myself. I thought the same thing in my 20's and early 30's).

David Gilbert DOES know better. Anyone who has been around him for any significant length of time knows that he knows more about traffic enforcement than anyone and ALWAYS does what he thinks is right (I've seen him drop plenty of prosecutions). Most of us never had a problem with David interfering in our cases, largely because he's incredibly supportive of prosecutors who do their job properly.

Someday, when you've had a little more experience you'll realize I'm right.

PS----you capitalize TRAFFIC as if those cases are meaningless. Obviously, you've never had a loved one killed in a crash.

Anonymous said...

Never ask a judge for a critique. They have no idea what makes a good trial lawyer. Ask the jurors.

Anonymous said...

Warren Eth? Warren, while very bright, was immature while in division. Refusing to accept a ruling that went against him, he'd get red in the face and argue and argue. Very little appreciation of the big picture and very combative about details. Bookish and with a high IQ, he nonetheless failed to realize that lawyering isnt a contest of IQ. Nor is everything a fight.

He has settled in nicely in Narcotics because every case that comes his way involves a long investigation, usually with a CI, and videotaped drug busts. Like an AUSA he gets cases that are almost never triable for the defense. This puts him right where he wants to be -- holding all the power and leverage. 90% of the time you end up simply asking for his mercy for your guy, who fell to a 3 month investigation with a cooperating former friend, and who sold a million pounds of coke on video and then confessed.

What happens next? Your guy goes on a contract that is boilerplate and which signs away his life.

Not much lawyering happens with Warren.

When he does have to litigate, he apes Milt Hirsch with 10 page responses that could have been said in 3, replete with too-clever footnotes. (In one I saw he referred to a video game).

He's never rude. Id welcome the chance to drink a beer with him. And as a tax payer I think he makes a great prosecutor of drug offenses, insofar as he won't countenance illegality.
ccerta
But I would list a few dozen ASAs as more humane, approachable, wise, and better litigators than Mr. Eth. Certainly if I were trying to find mentors for newbies.

Anonymous said...

Four black males, two black females, and based on looks alone (not accounting for mixed race families), a ton of latinos. It appears that minorities are the majority of this class.

Anonymous said...

Judge Pi├▒eiro's daughter is in this SAO class

Anonymous said...

Is the Donald suddenly trolling the justice blog too?

Anonymous said...

3 african americans, great job kfr, you go girl.

Anonymous said...

No Pacific Islanders. Racist regime

No Longer JAFI said...

It's sad that so many only judge diversity based on skin tone, not the number of nationalities and backgrounds represented.

Anonymous said...

is it just me but it looks like about 50 new prosecutors,. kfr, pd, judges you have been an abomination because you have never tried to get at the root of the problem. kfr, have you ever gotten together with pd and judges and tried to make truancy more important than possession of cannabis, to going after parents whose kids quit schools as teens and then do armed robberies. your 20 years as state attorney has been an abject failure. go get em, 50 new naive change the world prosectors who want to incarcerate the poor and mentally ill . how about rounding up all the bank felons from wells fargo in miami setting up fake accounts instead of poor minorities for a change?

Anonymous said...

Listen to staff, be polite & don't be arrogant. They've been there longer than anyone else & can be your best friends or a neutral observer watching you crash & burn. And for God's sake introduce yourself before you make demands of them...

Anonymous said...

8:32--who are the better prosecutors?