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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

DIARY OF AN ARABIAN PRESIDENT

Dear Diary: I'm in Arabia! And life is grand. 
Landed after a long flight. (Memo to self- complain about travel times to air force guys. We can speed this up.)

Everyone on the flight was tense. Special prosecutor stuff. I've about had it with that.  I'm the president. And I was on a TV show. I can fire anyone. This Muller guy better watch his step or he's history. 

Anyway, landed here and they have my picture everywhere! On billboards. Buildings. Just like Atlantic City when I had the casinos. Then I got this medal. Gold. Bigger than the one they gave Obama (I checked). 

I got Jared working on this jewish issue. Seems pretty simple. Nothing money and a few buildings can't cure. Basically I said to the King- King, howz about we sell you some F-B52's- the ones Patton used, and build a Trump tower here and you make nice with the jews? In fact, they love to eat. Open a few bar-be-que joints. Not many pig places here in the middle east. Not sure why. Anyway, I'll negotiate the leases. Ten years, 2% escalator, get that Net Yahoo guy in Israel to lean on the owners and keep the rent down and we'll all make some money. 

I'm also going to the Vatican. Wait until the Pope gets a load of Melania! They tell me he's an old guy. Wife probably died a few years ago. I'll have M wear something low cut. It will be great. 

I've decided to fire Spicer. Can't have a member of the greatest presidential people being made fun of every week on saturday night live. The whole country is talking about it and they have such low ratings. But he's gone and I'm going to fire anyone else they make fun of. That will show them. 

I'm still working on firing Paul Ryan. He rubs me the wrong way. And I'm thinking Clint Eastwood for FBI director. A little Dirty Harry for the country. Then I'll say to Paul Ryan ...go ahead punk, you want health care? Well, bring the bill up for a vote. Are you feeling lucky punk? Well, are ya? 

Off to dinner and then maybe we'll fly to North Korea. Should be near by. I can fix things with that nut-job. No, not the nut-job Comey, the other  nut-job, the guy who's the  head of Japanese.  

DJT.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

FACDL DOESN'T LIKE US (FROWNIE FACE)

UPDATE: A possible BIG case is going on in Broweird

There are in our collective history moments when the man meets the opportunity and history is made. Washington at Valley Forge. Eisenhower on June 5, 1944. President Reagan saying "Tear down this wall."

And Daniel Pearson and Harry Prebish forming FACDL Miami. 

At least that's what FACDL would have you believe. 

Everyone loves the blog when we skewer KFR or POTUS 45 or some drunken Judge in Broward. 

But poke a bit of fun at the legal equivalent of Mother Teresa? Oh no. "The Blog is being mean to us. Wa wa wa." 

We came into being mocking those in the criminal justice system who were self-important frauds. And we shall continue to do so. 

FACDL serves an important function. Too many for us to list here. We support their goals and efforts. But memo to the FACDL board- when you're in your meetings and one of you makes a sarcastic mention that what you're discussing will be on the blog the next day- we get five or six emails that night. 

When you form your endless committees to speak to the court committees and the prosecutor committees about the need for more committees? Don't expect to escape our mocking posts. 

Fight the good fight. Your members are indeed liberty's last champion. When no one else will stand in the way of the government who is crushing some individual, it's a criminal defense lawyer who rises to defend the person and the constitution. 

You give awards and a little well deserved recognition to under-paid PDs who struggle every day to get blow-hard judges trying to impress the Federalist Society with their "tough on crime" rulings. Well done. 

Just remember that one of the amendments you defend is the First. 

And when we give you some publicity - "Facdl - motto: dues dues dues" laugh and shake it off and move on. 

Or in the memorable words of Sgt Hulka in Stripes: "Lighten up Francis."

Now go fight for justice and be the heroes you all are-including your former President Brian Kerlow Kirlew who always reads our posts and has done so since he was a young PD. 

From Occupied America, Fight the Power. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

HAROLD FIELDS AND LEE WEISSENBORN HAVE PASSED AWAY

The REGJB community lost two long-time and experienced lawyers in the last week: Harold Fields and Lee Weissenborn. 

Harold Fields was a former Dade Public Defender and a long time fixture around our courthouse, especially in the 1980's and 1990's.  We didn't see much of him lately, but we knew him during a time when he handled a lot of cases and always did so with professionalism, honesty, and decency. He was well respected by all who knew him. 

Lee Weissenborn is more of an enigma to us. We knew Lee as many of our colleagues did, as a hard fighting lawyer who handled a lot of post-conviction cases. And that would be the end of our recollection of him, if it were not for this wonderful article in the Miami Herald detailing his political career as a state representative in the 1960's and a state senator in the 1970's. Lee was a delegate to the famous 1960 Democratic National Convention that nominated JFK. There is a great picture in the Herald article of him with JFK. 

But, as we were shocked to find out, Lee was best known for his crusade to move the State Capital from Tallahassee, which in the 1960's was a backwater southern town filled with southern racism, to Orlando. 

Lee wasn't successful in his attempt, but he did get a lot of institutions in Tallahassee to integrate in response to his criticisms. The political big-wigs were so frightened about Lee's attempt to move the Capital that they appropriated money and built a new State Capital so big that it could never be moved. And then, according to the Herald, the legislators in Tallahassee did this:


Tongue in cheek, a sardonic bronze tribute to Weissenborn for his inadvertent role in motivating the new building was mounted in its lobby and reads:
This plaque is dedicated to Senator Lee Weissenborn, whose valiant effort to move the Capitol to Orlando was the prime motivation for construction of this building.

We knew Lee as an older gentlemen, always with a smile, lugging transcripts around the courthouse, fighting for clients who were convicted and seeking a new trial. Now we learn that in his youth he was a swashbuckling civil rights fighter who wasn't afraid to take on the racist-southern establishment in Tallahassee and who had the admiration of people like JFK. 

Shame on us for not taking the time all those years to sit down and have a cup a coffee with him and find this out. 

These were two good men who spent a good part of their professional lives in our small courthouse fighting for clients,  and they deserve to be remembered. 

From Occupied America, where the president unwittingly (without any wit) compromises intelligence sources in the oval office, Fight The Power!

Coming Tomorrow: Why Brian Kirlew  FACDL hates  doesn't really like us.





Monday, May 15, 2017

FACDL SOIREE RECAP

The Miami chapter of the FACDL met on Saturday night for their annual soiree.*  The Hialeah chapter of the FACDL will be meeting at Pollo Tropical next Saturday for their annual soiree, while the Coral Gables FACDL and Pinecrest FACDL will be meeting at the Four Seasons for their annual soiree in two weeks. 

The Miami FACDL soiree was a great success! Everyone congratulated everyone else on doing a great job. The event was hosted by a retired judge who noted most of the people in the room weren't alive when he joined the FACDL in 1982. He then performed some of his beloved imitations- like George Jessel picking a jury before Judge Ellen Morphonious while Gen X assistant PDS whispered "Who are George Jessel and Judge Morphonious?"

"Jessel worked for Phil Hubbart and Morphonious was the judge who sentenced Mercury Morris" whispered an older PD. 

"But who are Phil Hubbart and Mercury Morris?"

"Bondsmen from the 1970s"

Then the awards were handed out:

The Sy Gaer "I've Tried A Lot Of Cases" award went to the Professor Roy Black who recounted tales of drinking with Ted Kennedy while his clients Magulta and Falcon fixed the jury in federal court. 

The Alex Micalescu Professionalism Award went to that lawyer on Miami Beach who was arrested for stalking his girlfriend by bugging her car and office.

The State PD Pat On The Back award went to a State PD who for a salary of $41.99/week tried a hundred cases to verdict and invented a partial cure for feline leukemia on the weekends. 

The Federal PD Pat On The Back award went to a Federal PD who got Judge Moore to sentence a client to the lower end of the guidelines ....twice! 

And on a serious note, the Justice Kogan award went to REGJB fixture Judge Dennis Murphy who has spent the last 15 years enforcing the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments (as he so eloquently put it) "one motion to suppress at time.

Unfortunately for Judge Murphy, by the time he left the event and got his car, he was informed by text message from President Trump that he was fired. Governor Scott then announced he was committed to appointing judges who respect the constitution, "but not at the cost of having a criminal case dismissed."

And so it goes. 

From Occupied America, where as you read this, next year's State PD Pat On The Back award recipient is finishing raising money for every child in Florida to have a laptop in school while also constructing a hundred "no kill animal shelters" all before heading to court to try another case, Fight The Power!


*Some big-wig from the FACDL didn't  like us calling their event a "soiree"

Saturday, May 13, 2017

DIARY OF A MAD PRESIDENT YOU'RE FIRED EDITION 2.0

Dear Diary...simply put,  the best week ever!!!

Here's how the week went down. Last weekend I was in a bit of a bad mood. And nothing makes me feel better than firing some people. So first Manuelo, who's staff at my golf club in New Jersey brought me two scoops of ice cream for my dessert Saturday night. I have given specific instructions that I am to be give two and one half scoops of ice cream with my dessert. I made that very clear from day one. "Manuelo, you're fired!" Then I had the secret service hustle him out. I felt a little better. 

Sunday morning I saw that little so and so Peter Ryan on the news shows. Thinks he's a big shot being speaker of the congress and all. So I called him up I did. "Petey, you're fired. I'm making changes in the senate." 
"Mr. President" he says, "You can't fire me, I was elected."
"Elected" I sneer. Did you see my inauguration crowds? Bigger than yours and Obama's. "You're fired" then I slammed down the phone and called my chief of staff and told him I fired the speaker of the senate and I wanted him out by Monday and Jared in as speaker. My chief told me I couldn't do it and I admit that made me angry. 

So then I wondered what the vice president was up to? Where was he when I was working all weekend? It was time for a change I decided so I called John McCain. "John" I said, "you're out as vice president." Then I slammed down the phone and told Priebus what I did.  Then he told me I couldn't fire the vice president and then my phone rang and the person said SENATOR John McCain was on the other end. The whole world is going crazy, Diary. People don't even know what jobs they have in my administration. I have a lot  of work ahead for me.  

I have to admit that by Monday morning I was in a really foul mood. I needed to make changes. The guy who cleans the golf carts at the club? OUT. The guy who drives me? OUT.  The guy who replaced Manolo? OUT. But it just didn't feel right. I wanted to fire someone big. Ginsberg at the Supreme Court. But she didn't take my call. Bernie Sanders, but his staff said he was in the garden working. 

And then, out of the blue, I remembered that guy from the FBI. Causing all the trouble with the fake Russian investigation. Wouldn't pledge loyalty to me and Barron and Melania. I called in all my important people. Priebus. Ivanka. Her husband whazhisname. The guy who replaced the guy who replaced Manolo. 

"I've got a big announcement. I'm going to make a change at the FBI. I want a new director. The old one is fired."

Diary, everyone got real happy. They patted me on the back. Told me I was being decisive. A real president. Obama never fired the FBI guy. Neither did Bush or Reagan or Lincoln or Washington. Only me. Which makes me the best president ever. The guy who replaced the guy who replaced Manolo brought me THREE scoops of ice cream. I turned to my chief of staff and in my best presidential voice said "Get Chuck Schumer on the phone. Tell him he's FIRED!"

Then I felt so good I went out and shot a 92 on the front nine. And the best part was the guy who replaced the guy who replaced Manolo gave me a 32. 

Bestest week ever Diary, until next week that is. 

DJT. 


Friday, May 12, 2017

PERSON OF THE WEEK MAY 12, 2017

It was a quiet week at the REGJB this week...at least for us. We almost picked FACDL, Miami Chapter who will be having their annual soiree tomorrow night. Lawyers will gather and hold their cheap chardonnay and tell each each other with wine-induced grins, "for all we do...this chardonnay's for you."

But then this email crossed our desk from FACDL:

Chief Judge Soto is commissioning the creation a back-up county court trial division. The hope is for this division to be operational in January 2018. AOC, along with representatives from the SAO, PDO and FACDL-Miami will participate on a committee to work out the details. One of the primary objectives of this division is to alleviate the backlog in our jail divisions so clients can have their trials quicker. The impact on regular divisions should be minimal. More details will be shared as they become available.

So Judge Soto, for working to alleviate the backlog in the misdemeanor jail division- You are our REGJB Person of the week. 

Take a bow. 

From Occupied America, where as startling as it is people are still in jail for Misdemeanors..Misdemeanors!!, fight the power!

Monday, May 08, 2017

YOUR TIME IS UP

Query: 
Having argued at appellate courts at all levels, why doesn't the Third District Court of Appeals have an electronic timer like other courts? 

Battle of the Coral Sea- 75 years ago this week
Last week the Australian Prime Minister visited the United States and met with POTUS 45. There were many comments about the 75th anniversary of the battle of the Coral Sea which occurred this week. The battle concluded on May 8 with the sinking of the US Carrier Lexington. 

The Battle of the Coral Sea was many things. It was the first major naval engagement of carriers. The first major naval engagement where opposing navies didn't actually see each other during the engagement. Coral Sea was fought strictly with carriers launching naval aviators and attack planes. The Battle of the Coral Sea was also the first major naval engagement between the United States and Japan, coming five months after the disaster at Pearl Harbor. 

The Battle of Coral Sea was many things, but it was NOT the turning point of the Pacific campaign in WWII, although many commentators have recently and mistakenly taken to calling it that.

The turning point in the war would come a month later on June 4 at the Battle of Midway, upon which we will expertly expound more at that time. 

The Battle of Coral Sea was for both sides- at best- a draw. The US struck first, sinking the Japanese light carrier Shoho. The next day the Japanese located and 
sunk the older and slow US carrier Lexington. The US then severely damaged the Japanese carrier Shokaku and in return the Japanese damaged the carrier Yorktown. Both sides then retreated, although the Japanese invasion of Port Moresby, which would have threatened Australia, was defeated. 

The long term strategic effects of the battle favored the United States.  Fleet Admiral Yamamoto was spoiling for a large scale naval battle so as to sink the remaining US carriers which escaped damage at Pearl Harbor.   To that end, Yamamoto created an invasion fleet for the US island Midway hoping to draw out what he believed would be the remaining two US carriers- Enterprise and Hornet. But the Yorktown limped back to Pearl and was turned around in three days (with damages that were thought to require a month of repairs). The Yorktown made a surprise and significant appearance at the Battle Of Midway and contributed to the resounding defeat of the Japanese Navy and loss of four carriers. 

Midway was the turning point in the Pacific War and to a small extent the outcome of the battle of the Coral Sea contributed to that outcome by disguising the presence of the Yorktown and also giving the US naval aviators and Navy the confidence that they could defeat a much more experienced and larger Japanese Navy. 

The battle of Midway was when time ran out on the Imperial Japanese Navy, and when their time ran out- like the litigators at the 3rd DCA- they didn't know it either. 

From Occupied America, Fight the Power!






Friday, May 05, 2017

PERSON OF THE WEEK MAY 5, 2017

Our first person of the week is ....

Our Public Defender Carlos Martinez!!!

As detailed in ace Herald reporter David Ovalle's article this week, Carlos Martinez was in Tallahassee successfully fighting for a pay raise of 6% for his employees after years of drought. 

This success was to the chagrin of Miami SAO Kathy Fernandez-Rundle, who immediately cut short a vacation to complain that prosecutors, who have for years been paid more than PDs, weren't being given a space at the trough. 

From the article:

But the issue of the pay differential between the two sides has long been a politically sensitive issue in South Florida’s criminal-justice community. Florida prosecutors have traditionally earned more money than their counterparts at the public defender’s office.
Martinez said Monday that bill solely addresses the longstanding wage inequity, which he says averages about $4,000 between attorneys on each side.
“It tries to provide parity in salaries between assistant public defenders and assistant state attorneys,” Martinez said.

For fighting the good fight for his dedicated and under-paid  employees, the honour of being our first person of the week is Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos Martinez. 

Honorable Mention: FACDL President Brian Kirlow- nominated by the Captain. 

Second runner up and a favourite of the commentators on the blog this week, for apparently just showing up to work- Judge Hanzman, who is off to a fast start in making a great name for himself, but-to the best of our knowledge- didn't really do anything exceptional this week. 

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN TALLAHASSEE .....

UPDATE: Coming tomorrow: Our first REGJB Blog Person of the week. And it will surprise you. 

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

SINE DIE, ON FRIDAY ......?????

Yes, those words may or may not get uttered on Friday in Tallahassee.  Normally, the end of the legislative session is deemed official with the calling out of those words.  But, as of today, it looks like the budget will not get passed by both chambers by Friday, (the only constitutional requirement the legislature has), and that means the final day of the Spring 2017 legislative session will extend into the weekend or beyond.

Some good news:

SB 118, ADMINISTRATIVE SEALING OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS has passed both chambers and is headed to the Governor's desk.  The bill,  which can be found here sets up a process whereby certain records are sealed once the opportunity for appeals has expired.  Automatic administrative sealing of records of adults and minors charged with felonies or misdemeanors can occur if a State Attorney declines to file charges, all charges were dismissed before trial, or the person charged was found not guilty. 

The bill also covers entities engaged in the business of publishing arrest booking photographs.  It prohibits them from charging a fee to remove the photos.  It provides a mechanism for the requested removal of booking photos.

SB 312, POLICE LINEUP STANDARDS FOR EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION, has passed both chambers and is headed to the Governor's desk.  The bill, which can be read in its entirety here requires law enforcement agencies to use lineup standards to avoid eyewitness mistakes that could lead to wrongful convictions.  Lineups will be required to be conducted by an administrator who does not know the suspect in order to ensure impartiality.  Also, witnesses should be told that suspects may or may not be in a photo or in person lineup and that they are not required to make an identification.

SO, YOU WANT TO BE A JUDGE ..............

3RD DCA

Governor Scott will be naming a replacement for Judge Linda Wells.  He has until May 30th to decide between:

Judge Monica Gordo
Judge Norma S. Lindsey
Judge Bronwyn C. Miller
Oren Rosenthal, Esq.
Judge Daryl E. Trawick
Judge Angelica Zayas


CIRCUIT COURT

The JNC will interview nine applicants on Friday, May 19, to replace Judge Robert Luck:
1:30pm Joseph Mansfield
1:45pm Raul Cuervo
2:00pm Luis Perez-Medina
2:15pm Ayana Harris
2:30pm Judge Spencer Multack
2:40pm Judge Lourdes Simon
2:50pm Judge Andrea Ricker Wolfson
3:00pm Judge Tanya Brinkley
3:10pm Judge Ivonne Cuesta

COUNTY COURT

The JNC, on the same day, will interview 16 applicants to replace Judge Victoria del Pino:
(Three applicants, Mansfield, Cuervo, and Perez-Medina, are being interviewed for both open seats).

9:30 a.m. Julie Harris Nelson
9:45 a.m. Natalie Rico
10:00 a.m. Peter Heller
10:15 a.m. Renatha Francis
10:30 a.m. Denise Martinez-Scanziani
10:45 a.m. Ramiro Christen Areces
11:15 a.m. General Magistrate Karl S.H. Brown
11:30 a.m. Christina Marie DiRaimondo
11:45 a.m. Vivianne Del Rio
NOON General Magistrate Gordon Charles Murray, Jr.
12:15 p.m. Elijah Levitt
1:00pm Steven Paulson
1:15pm Ariel Rodriguez
1:30pm Joseph Mansfield
1:45pm Raul Cuervo
2:00 pm Luis Perez-Medina

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


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

THE RETIRED (AND TIRED) JUDICIARY


What's wrong with the below picture? 


Proudly invites you to
Passing of the Gavel Judicial Lunch
Honoring Retired Members of the
Federal & State Judiciary
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Judicial Networking begins at 11:30 am
Program & Lunch to follow
Opening Remarks by
Judge Edwin A. Scales, III
Judge Tanya Brinkley
Retired Members of the Federal & State Judiciary

Hon. Stanford Blake
Hon. Jason E. Bloch
Hon. James I. Cohn - Senior Status
Hon. Gill S. Freeman
Hon. Michael A. Genden
Hon. Paul C. Huck - Senior Status
Hon. Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat
Hon. Judith Rubenstein
Hon. Jacqueline Schwartz
Hon. Frank A. Shepherd
Hon. Victoria S. Sigler
Hon. Linda Ann Wells
Hon. Victoria Regina Brennan


History:
Here is our history lesson for today, courtesy of POTUS 45

The Civil war began April 21, 1861 with the confederate firing on Fort Sumter. 

Andrew Jackson, POTUS 7, died in June 1845. 
Thus this tweet from our historian in chief:

President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War started, saw it coming and was angry. Would never have let it happen!


Earlier in the day POTUS 45 gave an interview in which he stated that Jackson was "really angry" about the civil war and if he were president it wouldn't have happened. The Tweet which was several hours after the interview, was apparently in response to the rest of the civilized world laughing at the president

Coming Soon: President Woodrow Wilson and the Vietnam war: "He was really really angry about what he saw coming. He would never have let it happen. No Gulf Of Tonkin incident for Wilson!"

From Occupied America, where intelligence matters, Fight the Power!