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Monday, August 07, 2017

REMEMBERING AN REGJB LEGEND

He was a US Marine. 
He fought in Korea at the infamous and hellish Chosin Reservoir battle against the Chinese in the brutal korean winter of 1950. 
He was a prolific author of pulp-fiction short stories. 
He knew his way around a bar and a courtroom and he had clients lining up top hire him. No checks please. Just cash. 
Every client was "a poor innocent child" upon which disaster had fallen. 
If he liked you, he added "darling" to your name when he saw you. 
Clients with multiple arrests while on bond were, to him, "a clear pattern of police harassment." 
His arms were often splayed out as he pled his case.
He tried at least a case a week for probably forty years, maybe more.  
He was an REGJB original and his likes will not again be seen in our building. 
He died today, August 7, in 2007 and it doesn't seem like he has been gone ten years. 
Rest in peace old friend Sy Gaer.

Here's the link to the great article about Sy by the former herald ace Susannah Nesmith. It's worth a second read. 




24 comments:

Carmen Vizcaino said...

I remember the morning his secretary picked him up on the courthouse steps because he was not feeling well. It was a Friday. Myself and a few others copied his cases from his little note pad so we could cover them for him.(he would not let the notebook go). I stood in Judge Schlesinger's courtroom covering for him and reset his cases. I thought, what if he never comes back? He didn't. It was a sad day. A legend was gone and REG has not been the same since. R.I.P. Sy.

- Carmen M. Vizcaino

Anonymous said...

I asked him once if he wanted to be carried out of that damn building one day.

He said yes and turns out he was.

Good guy.

Anonymous said...

I loved his line-liners.

One of my favorites was
"That's not a plea offer your honor, that's a declaration of war."

Please share your favorites.

He always called me "kiddo". Does that mean he liked me?

Anonymous said...

I was with PSD in the early seventies and Sy was on the other side a number of times. Needless to say we butted heads on occasion, but he always struck me as a squared away guy advocating for his client. Now I know why as we were both in the green machine although at different times. Semper Fi and RIP

Anonymous said...

I miss Sy every damn day I am in that building. (and I am a prosecutor). He was the best. Often imitated, never duplicated.

Anonymous said...

I had the honor and privilege of watching Sy in action the last couple years before he passed when I interned for the PDs office. Without knowing anything, I knew he was someone to watch and to learn from. I've always wished I could have seen more from him, but I'm thankful to say I've seen Sy Gaer in action.

Phil R said...

In closing argument on a drug trafficking case he called me "A sarcastical, cynical, ensnaring, fact-facturing prosecutor."
I wore it as a badge of honor and bought him a drink that night at the Alibi.

Anonymous said...

DJ Esquire needs Sy. Any truth he hired Lurvy?

CLOSING ARGUMENT said...

"This poor child, a city commissioner yes, but a veritable babe in the woods in the deep shark infested waters of politics and political fund raising had no idea what he was getting into when he cast his hat into the ring for mayor of Miami Beach. Mistakes? Yes. Criminal intent? No. Never. Look at him ladies and gentlemen of the jury. What you see is an honest politician fed to the wolves of political gamesmanship. They tore at his honest flesh like The Merchant Of Venice until there was nothing left but his simple dignity. Find him not guilty and send this honest man back to the citizens of Miami Beach who need him so desperately."

Judge: Thank You Mr. Gaer. Does the state wish to make a rebuttal argument?

Anonymous said...

Phil Darling.

Philip Maniatty said...

When I was beginning my career as an ASA in the 1970's, I had a trial against Sy before Judge Ellen Morphonios. Before the Florida Supreme Court told her she had to, Judge Morphonios refused to preside over jury selection (..."come get me when you've got a jury"...). Of course, with no judge present, Sy ran over me like a steam roller! Being the great sport that he was, he also bought me a drink in the Alibi lounge after the trial (not guilty)was over.

Anonymous said...

The honor of memories should go to true trial lawyers in the past. Like Rex Ryland, Phil Carlton, Bob Haggard, Tom Duff,Richard Sharpstein, Henry Carr, Marvin Emory,Al Sepe,Jerry Mosca,Maxine Cohen, and others. Not for someone who shot from the hip and didn't prepare cases.

Juan Gonzalez said...

I learned something every time I saw him or spoke to him. Most importantly, is that it's OK to be a hard working criminal defense attorney and enjoy yourself at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I became a lawyer thanks to Sy. Was interning with a lawyer (Marco Loffredo) while in undergrad and saw Sy one day at the courthouse. Followed him everyday for the summer (1989) and was mesmerized by the palm pointed to the heavens. Loved that he made the whole courtroom laugh while very effectively representing his clients. He never noticed me following. I told him that story many years later while trying a case against him. He told me to get a life (with that very charming grin).

Anonymous said...

Heard a story about Sy years ago. Appeared before new Judge Will Thomas for arraignment BLEO. "Mr. Gear, just because it's the first time up for trial, don't assume I'm giving you a continuance." Sy to client: you ready? Went to trial right then. No depo's. Not guilty. Loved the way he went to the front of the line to call his case. Nobody dared complain. He owned RGB. RIP.

Steven Bustamante said...

He was a special guy. Semper Fi, brother.

David I. Gilbert said...

Sy was very special. As a young prosecutor he gave you fits because you just didn't know how to handle him and didn't always understand where he was coming from. He was the functional equivalent of a knuckleball pitcher. As time went by you learned to appreciate the very special person he was. Of greatest importance; his word was his bond. He never told you anything in the hallway that he didn't follow up with in Court. I miss him, and a great many lawyers don't know what they're missing.

Anonymous said...

I remember when he defended a killer of German Tourist in the 1990's and someone from the German Media said "mr gaer how can you defend this killers"

to which he said "even the Nazi's had lawyers at nuremberg"

Anonymous said...

You are a troll

Anonymous said...

David Stern

Anonymous said...

Paul Mendelson

Anonymous said...

4:20 p.m. you are so wrong. Sy had a god given talent. He could read facts, read people, and knew how to fool his adversaries to think he was a fool. I saw Sy surprise many who under estimated him. 4:20, think what you will, but do not disparage that which you obviously do not understand or appreciate.

Anonymous said...

Aww. What are the odds, I check in to the Justice Building Blog after a few years, and this post is what I see?
I'll always miss Sy, and I'll always be happy that he let me follow him around for weeks on end - so long that bailiffs would see me coming in a courtroom and ask "you looking for Sy?" Many times I was, because he wouldn't even agree to meet me in the morning - I had to wander the building to find him every day so I could follow him around. Another attorney asked him at one point, while I was still following him around, "Sy, how did you get the Herald to do a profile on you?" That attorney was clearly envious. Sy would have none of it and told him "I just can't shake her." Unlike some attorneys, he never wanted a story about himself in the Herald. But he did finally give in, inviting me to the inner sanctum of the shag-carpeted-walls office. I also saw him fire a client in the hallway when he suspected that client was not only lying to him but was probably trying to intimidate a witness. Sy didn't understand the cell phone convo the client had with somebody in Spanish, but I did. And Sy was right - something shady was going on there. Based on pure instincts, Sy would have none of it.
He was a good man who really did understand a jury better than anyone I've ever seen in front of one. And to the lone hater, I've spent more time in courtrooms than most attorneys, probably including you. I suspect Sharpstein spent more time in courtrooms than you have, and he agreed with me - Sy's talent was impressive. You can prepare all you want, and if you faced Sy, you could still be overwhelmed by a legal mind that was always one step ahead of you.

Hope everyone's well. I'm at the Ethic Commission now.
Susannah

Anonymous said...

2:08 p.m. as late as the 1990's, Morphonios still refused to preside over jury selection, she just sat in the bench and did nothing.