Friday, June 09, 2017


The Miami legal community lost two very different lawyers this week. 
Naphtali Wacks was murdered by a reckless driver who rammed his car into the back of Wacks' car as he drove to work. 

We can't help but think that Naphtali woke up like he did any other day, performed his morning ablutions, got into his car, and drove to work, not realizing that his days were numbered. Of course there is the denial of this tragedy. "If he had only lingered over his coffee five minutes longer...If he hadn't made that light on the way to causeway he would have been delayed five minutes and wouldn't have crossed paths with the man who killed him."

But fate had other plans, and Naphtali's life crossed paths literally with a man who had literal regard for human life, and Naphtali lost his life in a senseless tragic accident. 

Friday morning came work that civil super-star lawyer Ervin Gonzalez had committed suicide. Mr. Gonzalez is the second high profile lawyer in Miami to take his own life recently. It seems like only yesterday when Richard Sharpstein made that same, tragic decision. 
It was just a few weeks ago that Attorney Ken White died suddenly of a cardiac event.

Some lived and wanted to die. Some died, wanting to live. 
And life for us plods on. 

All of these men had much to live for. And yet they are gone. Forever. Death brooks no appeals. There is no waiver. The judgment is final and eternal and irreversible. 

We get up every day and yet some of us are living our last day and don't know it. 

What we take for granted has a fragility that we mask behind our daily denial of the inevitable. 

There is no real end to this dark billet-doux. Just the musings of an older, rumpled, exceptional trial lawyer, who on this rainy day, is a bit morose about life and its fragility. 

From Occupied America....Affirm Life.  


DMD said...

Irving??? How about Ervin ???? BDE !! DMD

Anonymous said...

Ervin Rump Ervin - come on man!!!

Anonymous said...

Ervin, not Irving.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget the young federal prosecutor who also died violently a few weeks ago, possibly by suicide also. Dark days....

DMD said...

Ervin Gonzalez !!! DMD

Anonymous said...


A great lawyer and nice person. He had the demons and left us too soon. Remember Kenny?

Anonymous said...

Sadly Apropos to Sharpstein and Gonzalez:

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Anonymous said...

Why is Judge Martin Zilber writing on EVERYONE's Facebook page that he was best friends with Ervin Gonzalez?

Anonymous said...

The sad part is we will write our grieving thoughts for 3 days -- and then nothing more will ever be said again.

Life has no value after death. The meaning and purpose of life is to achieve HAPPINESS without further suffering.

Poor Ervin. He strived for perfection his entire life. The rigidity, discipline, sacrifice, always giving leads one to be emotionally exhausted. You get to a point where you are depressed and anxious and you can't take it anymore. There is no escape except DEATH.

Ervin's life was 99% people asking for help, asking for his guidance and draining him. He never talked about his own frailties because people are too selfish just talking about their own issues. Selfish. Narcissistic. No empathy. How do you think Ervin handled all he did.

God bless you my friend. I care. My heart is broken.

Anonymous said...

I know so many hard working attorneys who never take a vacation. Then, they're gone.
That's why I take tons of time off and enjoy life. It could be over today.

Anonymous said...

*Ervin Gonzalez RIP

Mark Seiden said...

I lost a good friend Thursday evening and our community lost a legal giant. Ervin and I met years ago when he first started practicing during a federal criminal matter. We really got to know each other during the Eller Media civil trial (AKA the infamous "bus shelter" electrocution case). While I got my butt kicked in the civil trial (after having won the criminal case), we became friends and would have regular lunches at his favorite Cafe Abbracci. We stayed in touch after I retired and moved to Northeast Florida. In fact, a few months before he died, we had discussed he and Janice coming up for a visit.

I found him to be an intelligent, articulate and completely ethical adversary. Most of all, he was a good person who cared about people and understood the human condition. He was not only the best civil lawyer I ever met, but one of the finest human beings I will ever know.

Ervin will be sorely missed. I pray that he will rest in peace.

Mark Seiden

Anonymous said...

Why the heck do you not post or monitor to allow discussion for the entire weekend. Every weekend. Please allow RUMPOLE.

Anonymous said...

Martin Zilber - lighten up on all your hundreds of Facebook posts that you and Ervin were "best friends ". You are trying too hard to work the "transference" of sadness to your notoriety and validation. Too much. Not necessary.

the trialmaster said...

It is always hard to understand how anyone, especially top notch lawyers commit suicide. Some of the lawyers I recall doing this include Kurt Marmar, Jerry Mosca, Alvin (the warlock) Goodman and now Ervin Gonzalez. I might have overlooked some.

Anonymous said...

As a ministerial person who deals with hundreds of attorneys every day, Ervin Gonzalez was one of those gentleman who treated everyone with respect and kindness and did it when no one was watching. You can tell a lot about the fiber of a human being that way.
My condolences to his family and friends.

Anonymous said...

1:20:00 PM: Guess how much his "best friend" contributed to his judicial campaign?

Anonymous said...

"Life is short, shorter for some than for others" Gus McCray in Lonesome Dove. May they both Rest In Peace.

Anonymous said...

It's a very stressful job and sometimes it gets to the best of us

Anonymous said...

Poor Richard Sharpstein and Ervin Gonzalez.

Two of the Greatest lawyers and human beings.

Both married to wives named Janice.

Both always there to be good friends.

Why oh why RUMPOLE could they not seek out resources to heal their sufferings? I am heartbroken and confused. I can't and don't understand. Can you enlighten us??

Anonymous said...

From Ervin Gonzalez wife, Janice Gonzalez posted on FB today:

Dear Friends - As you all know by now...I have lost the love of my life. This is a post that I NEVER thought I would be making. Those who know me, understand my pain and the depth of my loss. But you also know that I am strong. Not by choice or because I possess any special human ability. I am strong because of my faith in a loving, intercessory, Living God. He is my Strength. He has always said to me, "Janice, take care of everyone else. I will take care of you." I have tried to live by that motto and the overwhelming love, support and kindness that I have received from all of you during this very difficult time is proof of that and that God is real. That He takes care of His people and that each of us are participants in that action.

I have not been on Facebook, or checked messages or texts yet, but the number of unread messages let's me know that I am loved. I promise that I will read and respond to each message, and each post as soon as I am ready to do that. I wanted to come out of "hiding" to let everyone know that I am ok and that my greatest desire right now is to have each and every one of you join me in celebrating the Life of one the most AMAZING, SELFLESS, KINDEST, and LOVING people on this Earth...Ervin.

On Monday June 12th, we will be having a viewing from 7-9pm at Vior Funeral Home 291 NW 37 Ave, Miami, FL 33125. On Tuesday, June 13th, we will have a Mass at 10AM at St. Theresa Church of the Little Flower 2711 Indian Mound Trail, Coral Gables. Following the Mass, be will have the burial at Graceland Memorial Park North - 4420 SW 8th St, Miami, FL, followed by a reception at The Biltmore Hotel. I know that not everyone can make each one, but I wanted everyone to know that if you can only make one, it's OK. I know that Ervin was truly loved and that he impacted the lives of many. I am not the only one who lost someone special. Many of you are grieving as well, so please, know that I appreciate you, your love, your personal pain, and your friendship and I would be truly honored to hear about your stories and what Ervin meant to you, so please join me in celebrating the Life of this VERY special man....Ervin A. Gonzalez....the love of my life. May God bless you all with His Love & Peace.

Anonymous said...

National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 available 24/7

Anonymous said...

Trialmaster comment at 5:00pm:

Add another top notch attorney to your list. Richard Sharpstein also belongs to the super elite of the profession. Another incredible attorney. May all have the peace now that they could not find before.

Anonymous said...

11:02am. How much??

Anonymous said...

I've actually seriously attempted suicide 3 times since I was admitted to the bar in 2006. And I can honestly say that the Florida Bar is a contributing factor to lawyers deaths. The Florida Bar chooses to punish lawyers suffering from mental illness rather than assist them. It places you in an adversarial relationship with your medical team. Being a lawyer with even the smallest bit of history of depression or subatance abuse in Florida is a death sentence. I blame the Florida Bar for the suicides. M

Anonymous said...


Steven Bustamante said...

One never knows when the scythe is coming. Any day above ground is a good day. Try to remember that and celebrate it.

Anonymous said...

Republicans playing baseball with their kids watching get ambushed by a liberal fanatic. Everyone should chill politically. What a horrific event.

Anonymous said...

Shocking to read this about Sam Konell. Known the man over 20 years. I always respected him for all the effort he put into helping those with these debilitating mental health issues. Never imagined he would be lining his pockets as well. Horrible way to end a career.

Anonymous said...

2:26 - You have only been a lawyer for 11 years. There is a whole world out there that has nothing to do with the practice of law. Don't let this career push you to do something unfortunate. Find a different career. Find happiness. Find peace in your life not death.

Anonymous said...

Tuesday 2:26 - I completely agree with you. If you have a mental illness, you have to report it to the bar. And they will make you pay for it (literally and figuratively). They interfere with your relationship with your psychiatrist and make it so that you cannot be honest for fear of being reported. If you self-report a problem, they send you to Lawyer's Assistance - which is a total scam. I've been going to FLA for years and it is just a way for the bar to waste your time and make more money off of suffering lawyers.Lawyers with depression need support, not scrutiny. There is a reason why lawyers are number one in substance abuse and suicide. It is because we cannot seek treatment without reprisal from the bar.