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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

KRIS MAHARAJA CASE

UPDATE: TRIVIA ANSWERS BELOW as most of the correct answers have been published in our popular comments section. 
We think this was the  case Judge Sepe  Judge Gross was presiding over this trial (according to many alert readers) when he was arrested in a bribery case before the Court Broom. Don't know what Court Broom was? See below. 
Anyone have any info on this?

Trivia: Judge Gross's nickname?
THE MOUSE  because he loved all things Mickey Mouse. 

Bonus Trivia: Lawyer who was arrested with Judge Gross?
Harvey Swickle- also acquitted.

Double Bonus Trivia: Who were the defense counsel for Gross and his co-defendant?
Michael Tarre who was phenomenal and never got or gets the credit for being one of the top-notch trial lawyer-defenders of his time.

Tom Scalifini represented Swickle as per an alert reader (who thought his first name was Tim, but is actually Tom. Once we saw the last name we remembered and Mr. Scalifini was and is also a top-notch litigator in his own right . No idea who represented Swickle but Swickle and his son pulled some sort of stunt when the jury returned with a verdict as a way of creating an appellate issue which was never needed.

Triple-I Know as Much as Rumpole Trivia: Who was the Judge and from what county was he from?
Judge Daniel Futch from Broward who pretty much hated Dade, hated Dade lawyers, was a mean and ornery son-of-a gun and who once said to us "how high can you count?" when we inquired what bond he was going to set. 

On the day of the verdict Futch brought a contingent of BSO officers because-as he told the prosecutors- "I brought my own boys because I don't trust them guys from Dade to hold em when I take em in."

Quadruple I'm an REG Nerd Trivia: Name the prosecutor and where was the case tried?


Prosecutors were Dade ASAs Larry LaVecchio and Michael Band. Case was tried in the civil courthouse at 73 Flagler street- possibly in the late Judge Sidney Shapiro's (what a great decent judge he was!) courtroom. 

Thanks for playing and allowing us to reminisce. 

So all we have left is the name of Swickle's attorney at trial. We're stumped. 


Marajahal by Rumpole21 on Scribd

From Rumpapedia ( (C) JBB Productions 2017, all rights reserved):  Court Broom was a judicial scandal in the REGJB where Judges asked unpaid interns to sweep their courtrooms without paying overtime.  Born after a Starbucks appeared on every corner? Ask any lawyer over the age of 40 and they will tell you all the shocking details. 

From Occupied America, Fight the Power. 

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

You mean vacuum right?

Abe Laeser said...

Sure do know about it.
Kastrenakes handled trial. Great job. Lots of evidence.

Sally Weintraub handled many years of post / collateral litigation.
Convictions upheld.

This is a cause celebre because the defendant's family has bucks / clout + has enlisted the British media to claim that all we do in the States is flawed.

Want to tilt at windmills, be my guest, Don Rumpolo de la Miami.

Anonymous said...

Wrong -- This case was not in Sepe's division -- the original judge was Howie Gross and the second judge was Harold Solomon. See Maharaj v. State, 778 So.2d 944 (Fla. 2000) ("Judge Gross, the presiding judge during the first part of Maharaj's trial, was arrested on bribery charges in a separate case."). By the way, Gross's arrest came before any arrests or the events in CourtBroom occurred. It is likely that the Gross arrest gave rise to the later Operation CourtBroom investigation of other judges. Lenny Glick heard the first 3.850, but the Supreme Court reversed because he had been the supervising ASA of the trial ASAs. Then Gerald Bagley heard the 3.850 and vacated the death penalty.

Anonymous said...

It was Judge Gross. These claims were litigated a few years ago before Judge Will Thomas after a week long evidentiary hearing who in a long order found them totally without merit.
Don't waste your money on this bogus claim.

Anonymous said...

One thing I know about the case is that a bunch of new evidence of innocence was presented in a state 3.850 proceeding and Judge Thomas denied after an evidentiary hearing, although issuing a pretty detailed order. On appeal the Third PCA'd. Now the Eleventh Circuit has granted leave to file a successive federal habeas petition and has indicated that they believe the newly discovered evidence claims have potential merit. If defendant ends up getting relief in the federal system its going to be in a detailed order that will make the Third's PCA (remember, PCAs are theoretically reserved for cases where there are no debatable issues and thus no contribution to the combined jurisprudential knowledge that appellate law represents would be made by writing) look pretty absurd. Way too many PCAs in significant criminal cases in the last few years out of the 3rd. The PCA has become a tool for ruling for the State in cases where such could not be justified in a written opinion, and a tool for avoiding Florida Supreme Court review.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't Judge Sepe. Courtbroom was in 1991. This defendant was convicted in 1987!

Anonymous said...

The federal order just said he could file a second habeas petition. It said nothing about its feelings on the merits. It's is bogus

Rumpole said...

Mr Laeser - all I did was re-print an email- I never expressed any opinion on the case. It's a big one that has never been on my radar screen. I don't tilt at windmills pending the alcohol consumed prior to viewing said windmill.

Anonymous said...

Gross's nickname was Mousie.

Jonathan Blecher said...

Howie Gross nickname was "Mousey".

Anonymous said...

Eh. Much ado about nothing. First, while Abe and I don't always see eye to eye, I have no doubts about his integrity and insights and, therefore, no trouble believing him here. Second, Thomas is a legit judge. I have a VERY hard time believing that he'd uphold a bogus conviction.

Never ceases to amaze me how much hoopla a monied party can cause if they retain the "right" lawyer.

BTDT

the trialmaster said...

The defense attorney in the Howard "mousey" Gross was the king of the laid back defense, Michael Tarre. The Judge was from Broward maybe Futch? In closing by Tarre, a pissed off spectator yelled out that Gross was a crook or something like that. The judge stopped the trial and removed that idiot.

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe that Howie Gross scandal was 30 years ago. He and Harvey Swickle finagle d a bribe from a defendant to lower a bond. Only the cops helped set it up, and it was a fake case. Both were acquitted. Swickle was disbarred, never practiced again
Gross got moved to Civil,lasted about two months, then resigned. Said he was bored. Then went into private practice. By then, his black hair had turned snow white. The judge on their case was Sidney Shapiro. Long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Mouse was the nickname for Judge Gross. But I do not know why, does anyone?

Anonymous said...

So, super bonus question....why was Judge Gross called mousey?

Theodore Mastos said...

Howard Gross was the judge in 1987.
His nickname was Mouse.
He was represented by Michael Tarre and acquited by a jury.
Co-defendant was Harvey Swickle.
Dan Futch was brought in from Broward County to try the case.
Not sure who represented Swickle.
Gross was forced to resign, in spite of the acquital, by the JQC.
Gross case had nothing to do with the Court Broom mess in 1991.

Theodore Mastos said...

Prosecutor in the Gross case: Michael Band, who was assisted by Richard Schiffrin.

Anonymous said...

Fed JNC is back up and running: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/id=1202792916404/Meet-the-Attorneys-and-Others-Who-Will-Help-Pick-Federal-Judges-in-Florida?mcode=0&curindex=0&curpage=ALL#

Anonymous said...

Tim Sclafani represented Harvey Swickle.

Real Fake Former Judge said...

HEY What about Ralph Pearson? Tom Scott? Wasn't the S&S the BEST place to eat lunch with judges and How about Gerry Klein playing golf every afternoon and isn't Hanzman the absolute best and who likes eating at Buccioni's in the grove for the best italian and what about all those fed judges who eat at Joes for lunch on Froday? Are they handing the maitre d 50's like the rest of us?

Where's the best pizza in town? And who likes to eat at Tony Chans Water Club and who was fooling around with those perfect 10's and the 4 Ambassadors behind brickell and why are some judges having drinks at the Manderian on thursday nights and who remembers Judge Oppenborn and Judge Lando and how much more annyoing can I be? LOTS actually but I don't shop at Odd Lots but some defense attorneys do and why does everyone go to Casolas for Pizza when it's not the best and who likes that Steak at the chinese place on Ponce?

Whats the dilio on the Greico investigation? Inquiring annoying former judges want to know. No we NEED to know and who remembers JB SPence and who's the best civil litigator in town and is ROn Guarlnick still the best dressed Def attorney in town and what's going on now that Vicki Brennan left the bench and has anyone ever seen a better judge than Ellen Morphonious and wasn't Stan Blake the funniest guy ever and who likes those big double steaks at Cap Grille?

And Rumpole I wait all year for the SURVIVOR POOL AND PLEASE TELL ME WHEN I CAN SIGN UP?

Anonymous said...

What about Cye's Rivergate? Fake Real Former Judge used to love The Place For Steak right? Owned by Hy Ukitel. What about renting a 2 bedroom at Quayside? So close to the Jockey Club and Steve's Pizza! Judge Martin Coe was funnier than Judge Stan Blake. Come on man.

Anonymous said...

Clive Stafford Smith, Maharaj's lawyer, is one of the most brilliant legal minds ever, anywhere. Anyone here wants to up their game, look to him.

He also represented Omar Khadr, the 15-year-old captured in Afghanistan and confined at Guantanamo, who recently received an apology and $10m settlement from Canadian government.

Anonymous said...

Rump. You misstated the name of the defense attorney for Gross. Its Tarre, not Tare. He was the King of the laid back defense. I was lucky enough to give a closing argument right after him in a major federal case many moons ago. He put the jury to sleep. I woke them up. My client was acquitted, his and 6 others were found guilty.

Anonymous said...

I have a request for what I think would be a great column: What are the data on arrest numbers, year over year? Has the volume of felony / misdemeanor cases gone down precipitously as budgets have been cut and jails closed?

Anonymous said...

Rump,

I don't know if you saw that Chuck Edelstein had passed. Obit is here. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/obituaries/article161302983.html

I worked with him one time, years ago when I was a very young attorney. His picture should be in the dictionary under "mensch."

Anonymous said...

Rump, why haven't you written anything about the fact that Judge Murphy's last day in Criminal is next Friday, July 21st? He's going to Civil. We're losing one of our great judges. Judge Tunis will be handling his division for the next 3 months. Anyone want to comment?

Anonymous said...

This is precisely why our criminal justice system sucks. This is a huge waste of time and money. Mr. Davis, I understand the first several years of filings and attempts to mislead the press and the community because this guy has a ton of money (and influence) to pay you to basically stick your neck out and say whatever you need to say but enough is enough already and you may want to try to protect the little reputation you have left in this community and this country. Please don't continue to ask people to take food off their table to support what everyone knows is a disgusting, blatant lie.

Anonymous said...

I have had the pleasure of meeting and briefly working with Clive Stafford Smith when I was representing one of the Outlaw Motorcycle Cub members in a RICO case in Federal Court. At the time he was representing a club member who was on death row in Angola Prison. He is colorful, has an electric brief writing style, thinks out side the box and is an indefatigable advocate.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, Murphy leaves and Tunis there. From best to worse.From kind to nasty. From caring to condesending.

earl rogers said...

Agree with the comment about Clive Stafford Smith. I met him at a death penalty seminar where he was the keynote speaker. I was with his fellow Brit Sydney Smith and we had a memorable discussion. He really didn't seem like the kind of guy who is doing these cases just for the money.

Anonymous said...

Is that actually true about Murphy-that would be a disaster losing him to civil.

Fake Tom SCLAFANI said...

The correct spelling is Tom SCLAFANI. I was a former AUSA from SDNY and also partners with Alvin Entin, Shelly Schwartz and Ron Dion back in the 80's. Offices in NMB.

Seth Sklarey said...

Gene Kubicki was always the best dressed attorney in Miami.
Judge Shelly Schwartz always had the most colorful ties. Judge Lantz had only one lucky tie he always woreewhen campaigning but it didn't help him his last campaign.
Judge Amy Donner was the best dressed female Judge and Morphonious began the colorful robes ( purple).

Anonymous said...

Rump, what are the new judicial assignments in criminal and civil.

Anonymous said...

Who applied for the two open circuit court seats? Also, I'm quite impressed at Real Fake Former Judge's post. Hilarious.

Steven Bustamante said...

Wow. Time travel is possible.

Anonymous said...

Murphy gone. De la O and Hanzman leaving in January. Ruiz not returning. This is all a disaster. All we need is Gordo and Rebull to return in January and it'll be the apocalypse. You'll see pestilence next on the horizon.

Seth Sklarey said...

Give de la O 2 years in Civil then off to Federal Court fa la la.