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, November 29, 2017

MATT LAUER....DUDE!

Hey, it's me! Millennial Me. 󠁟🙆🙆
We worked it out! Rumpole's letting me blog! He's not as grouchy as he pretends to be. (And he's never used an emoji on the blog and I'm the first because I'm a millennial and he's not). 

Matt Lauer...Dude! Really? 2 million a month and you have to harass women?
And what's the deal with all these guys just taking it out? They expose themselves and then what? Do they expect the woman to get all goggled eyed and just swoon at the sight of it? I don't get it. How is exposing yourself erotic? 

Shout out to Jeff DeSousa, PD appeals, who just won Knight v State. Knight filed a 3.800 motion to correct sentence. He was sentenced to life in prison on an information that alleged simple robbery. The court denied the motion to correct sentence and DeSousa took it home on appeal. Knight gets a new sentence. 15 max. Big win. 

Meanwhile, big loss for immigration people in Jules v. State, where waiting until you face deportation/removal  to file a 3.850 is a very very bad idea according to Judge Emas, even where the defendant was not informed of the immigrations consequences of taking a plea. 

I'll take Pilates, Soul Cycle, Equinox and Cross-Fit over Orange Theory any day of the week. 

I like Whats-App for texting, but I hate it when people call me on it. Just dial my digits regular style, will ya? 

The black/white thing of Misha Nonoo is for me. Big time. Just can't afford it for now. 

Wanna chat? Email me: Millennialme786@gmail.com 


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ANA CARDONA BABY LOLLIPOPS

Jury selection started Monday for the third re-trial of Ana Cardona in the infamous "baby lollipops" case. The case has that name because the victim, an infant, was found with a lollipops T-shirt. 

The original Judge: David Tobin. Courtroom 4-6.  
Case Number 90-40892.
The original prosecution team: headed by Catherine Vogel, of late the State Attorney for Monroe County.
The original defense team: Ron Gainor and Andy Kassier. 
Original jury vote for death: 8-4.
Sentenced to death April 1, 1992. Cardona became the fifth woman sentenced to death in Florida. 


The original defense team of Andy Kassier and Ron Gainor 
Co-defendant Olivia Gonzalez, who pled guilty in a plea deal with the prosecution, was sentenced to forty years. 

Appellate counsel: Lee ("let em go free") Weissenborn. 

The second Judge: Reemberto Diaz
The second prosecution team: headed by Susan Dannelly and Kathleen Paulter.
The second defense team: headed by Edith Georgi and Lisbeth Boots. 
Second jury's vote for death: 7-5.
Sentenced to death June 10, 2010. 
Edith Georgi and the defense team react to the second death sentence. Cardona is hugging her lawyer Teresa Enriquez
The Third Judge" Miguel De La O(utta here after this case)
The third defense team: headed by Steve Yermish
The third prosecution headed by Reid Ruben.
The death penalty has been waived.

Cardona maintains she did not kill her son. There is a confession from a woman named Pi (really) which has never been presented to a jury because the police don't believe the confession matches their version of the case. Pi has since recanted her putative confession. 



Monday, November 27, 2017

CYBER MONDAY

Today is Cyber Monday. 
And as opposed to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Something Sunday, that means exactly what? 

Can you buy something today you couldn't yesterday or Saturday or Friday? Is it significantly cheaper? 

Color us uninterested. 

DOM and his federal blog is back, turkey eaten, late night pumpkin pie runs to the fridge over. And he is wondering about who will be our new US attorney as well as a comment on the applications for a whole mess of federal judge spots, and finally some Fourth Amendment analysis on cell phones. 

Why all the fuss about cell phones and privacy? We're sure they're mentioned somewhere in the federalist papers for purposes of original intention analysis. Perhaps it was Federalist 14 where Madison was anonymously texting Jefferson. 

There has got to be some middle ground between rigid originalism and the finding of a right to privacy in the "penumbra" of the Constitution as was done in Griswald v. Connecticut. 

Finding a right in a penumbra is scary and the epitome of liberal-activism. 
Not finding a solution to issues like cell phones and Instagram because they aren't in the original text is equally wrong. 

Oh wait, check out the archives of Ben Franklin's Instagram. Never mind. 

From Occupied America, where the worst of the Trump presidency is his reshaping the judiciary (he has nominated a 36 year old  lawyer who never tried a case to the  federal district court), fight the power. 


Sunday, November 26, 2017

MILLENNIAL ME

Rumpole: A new voice emerged over the Thanksgiving holiday. A reader who claims to be a young woman who works in the REGJB. 

We haven't reached an agreement on her unfettered access to the blog, but for the moment, call it on a temporary basis, we are letting her blog. Her nom du blog is Millennial Me.  #letthegirlblog indeed. 

#LETTHEGIRLBLOG
YEA! It's me. Millennial Me. A blogger. Wait until Mom and Dad read this! 

It's Sunday, which means lets keep this light. I have definite thoughts on lots of issues that affect us all. But for today let me say this:

It won't be pretty in Foxborough for our home town eleven. The Patriots are going to beat our Dolphins like a Revolutionary snare drum. 

I don't watch a lot of television, (as a true millennial I have cut the cable cord and just watch my shows on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. But mostly I read and listen to podcasts) but here are the top five shows of all time: 

5) M*A*S*H
4) The Wire
3) Sopranos
2) Mad Men
1) Breaking Bad

Belongs in the top five but couldn't be squeezed in: All In The Family and The Walking Dead. Both ground breaking in their own right. 

Marvel vs. D.C?  D.C wins. Batman. Superman. Wonder woman. Flash. Arrow. 
I do love Spiderman and that's Marvel. But D.C wins.
(Yes, I am a nerd). 

Reading about the solution to Fermat's last theorem is an all weekend affair that will keep anyone who loves a good math mystery interested. Check out the books by Simon Singh and Amir Aczel. 

I recently went to Amoeba music in Berkeley, California and it was a life-changing experience. I'm going to soon become all about the vinyl. Although on a State salary, I need to move slowly. 

I feel like there will be pressure for me to talk about being a single girl in Miami. But I wonder if I was male would people be interested in my looks and dating life? 

When I arrived in Miami I tried, I really tried to get by without a car. Bus service sucked. The metrorail doesn't cover this town at all- like for example Aventura (the Mall (dreamy heart signs that I want Rumpole to put in) ) and Uber/Lyft at 20 bucks a day is more expensive than a car. So I gave in and bought a nice used one.  But the lack of public transportation makes Miami much less attractive than Boston, NY, or Chicago. My guess is my next stop is a law firm in Boston in another two years. 

iPhone X. iPhone 8. A thousand bucks!! I wish. (If mom and dad are reading, and christmas is coming...please?? I can go halfsies). 

Want to chat? Give me ideas to blog about? Millennialme786@gmail. 

Until then....#letthegirlblog

Oh.. and thank you Rumpole the great one. You were my true hero until we exchanged testy emails. But even after your crankiness I still, kinda like you. (Kiss on the cheek). 
MM. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

THE MAYFLOWER COMPACT

On November 11, 1620, off the coast of Cape Cod, forty-one passengers of the Mayflower signed what is now known as the Mayflower Compact.  Some passengers of the Mayflower were fleeing religious persecution; others were adventurers and tradesmen looking for a new life in a new land. 

This was the first document, signed by individuals on these shores, that provided for the creation of a government, among the people, by the consent of the governed, to organize a society under "just and equal laws." A small and humble beginning to what eventually became a nation founded under the philosophy that all people are created equal, and that they have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Compact states, inter alia: 

...do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

These people, who we now call Pilgrims, endured a difficult journey through the rough Atlantic ocean winter waters, and landed in an new land, where they faced deprivations, starvation, and attack by native Americans. 

Yet in the face of all these obstacles, they not only survived, they prospered, and their sons and daughters, and their grandsons and granddaughters, founded a nation that twice saved the world from tyranny; that  put a human being on the moon, and has always been the last, best hope for freedom and peace on this planet.

As we gather with family and friends and give thanks for our freedom and prosperity, let us spend a moment and remember it all began with a small group of people who risked their lives so that they would be free to worship as they pleased. 

Happy Thanksgiving. 

H. Rumpole. Esq., Blog Proprietor. 



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

" I CAN'T AFFORD A LAWYER ANYHOW "

The second DCA issued a nice decision in Noh v. State in which the court found that in response to the Miranda warnings, the defendant's statement " I can't afford a lawyer anyhow" without any further response by the officer that the court would appoint a lawyer for free, was sufficient to render the warnings null and void, and resulted in a new trial for Noh. 

Congrats to Ivy Ginsberg for the win. 

The opinion is below. 



Noh Reversal by Rumpole21 on Scribd

Monday, November 20, 2017

WHEN WILL THE OTHER SHOE DROP?

Hollywood. Congress. Liberal Senators and even TED talks conferences for goodness sakes... have all been roiled by accusations by women of unwanted sexual advances by men. 

When will the shoe drop here?

Take one powerful and experienced lawyer. Give them power (robes). Add dozens of not powerful and inexperienced lawyers, court reporters, and the like. Mix. KABOOM!
It's happened before. Many many many times. 
Who amongst us has not heard the whispers of the Judge with the young PD or ASA? Or the older lawyer with the law-school intern. 

The last few months have been eye openers. 

Here is our question: What procedures are now in place for a young ASA or PD or any of the courtroom personnel to make a complaint against an older, powerful lawyer?  Other than emailing us (and we have gotten those emails which we treat in the strictest confidence and destroy upon reading), where can someone in the legal system turn when an unwanted advance is made? 

From Occupied America, where the most powerful man in the world liked to "grab them" (meaning women)  in a region not suitable for discussion on a family blog, fight the power. 









Wednesday, November 15, 2017

BILL SUROWIEC HAS PASSED AWAY

Please see the update below: 

Former long time assistant public defender Bill Surowiec, who had since retired, passed away this week.  This is sad news.

Bill was a part of the fabric of the REGJB for many many years. He was a fixture and a friendly face that we would see many mornings. And he was a very good defense attorney.

We are sure there a million great stories about him, so please post them in the comments section.

Update: Two former REGJB judges who went on to have their own uniquely successful careers have written wonderful memories about Bill and these should be read by everyone. 
First up, former county court judge, circuit judge, US District Court Judge, US Chief District Court Judge, and appellate court nominee (that was not acted on  when GHW Bush lost to WJ Clinton in 1992) Federico Moreno: 

Bill tried a death penalty case involving 6 first degree murders before me. The first time it was a hung jury; the second time the defendant was convicted of 4 murders, acquitted of 2, sentenced to death, but reversed by the Florida Supreme Court; the third time after I left to federal court, the defendant was acquitted of all counts. Bill was not only a great lawyer, but a wonderful human being, always adding humor at the appropriate time without demeaning anyone. He was loved by jurors, prosecutors, judges, judicial assistants, bailiffs and correction officers, an accomplishment that few can claim. My condolences to his widow Lynn, a former secretary for Judge Alan Gold and now to appellate judge Stanley Marcus. God rest his soul. Fred Moreno

Next up is former County Court Judge, Former Circuit Court Judge, and REGJB regular Ted Mastos:
Anonymous Theodore Mastos said...
I join in the comments made by Lennie Glick about Bill. He was always good for a laugh in an otherwise dreary building.

Back in the day when I was a circuit judge, Katie Pooler was my division chief and Bill was her boyfriend and later husband. Katie, always ready for a party, would get Bill to make his world famous chili. He made two types: regular and industrial strength. We would gather in my chambers and it was hysterical to see people breaking out in sweat with tears running down their cheeks while eating Bill's chili. Those were great times when things were a lot more casual than they are now. Bill was a friend and a great lawyer. God how I hate these years in my life when I am going to more funerals and wakes than I ever imagined. Rest in peace old buddy.
We think Ted Mastos has mentioned an important point: Bill and Ted were from an era when Miami was a smaller town. The courthouse was smaller. The community of lawyers was smaller. Everyone knew each other, and things were much more informal.  People worked hard and then gathered in chambers, or at the Marine Bar, or at someone's home, and socialized. There was a friendlier attitude in courtrooms and among the lawyers and judges. It's probably gone forever, and we are losing the generation of lawyers and judges who made the Miami criminal justice legal community special. It's an era that is gone, and the memories are fading- held by a select group of people who were lucky enough to experience it. 

Well said Judge Moreno and Ted Mastos. Thank you for contributing your memories. 







Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A NEW ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE FOR CRIMINAL

Update. Tomorrow: Miranda and money and the 2nd DCA. A surprising result. 

With the departure of Judge De La O, the hot topic over coffee and pastelitos at the El-Chapo Cafe  was who would be the new administrative judge? 

Now we can answer the question. But first, an update on new judge assignments:

Judge John Schlesinger will be taking over for Judge Hanzman- division 19.  Chambers will be room 415, Courtroom will be 4-5.
(Fun fact: You can rearrange the letters in both judges names to create the word "henchmen" or "chasms" to name a few words). 


Judge Eric Hendon will be taking over for Judge  Richard Hersch-division 4.  Chambers will be room 413,  Courtroom will be 4-7.
("drench cord")

Judge Lisa Walsh will be taking over for administrative Judge De la O- division 15.  Chambers will be in room 228, Courtroom will be 2-10. (whales, hallowed and hashed). 

Judge Jorge Cueto will be taking over for Judge Pooler- division 13.  Chambers will be in cuarto  212, Courtroom will be 2-4.
(Ocelot, coupled, and recoup). 

 Changing chambers.... because every judge wants a better chambers. 

Judge Del Pino  Division 16 will be moving to  the seventh floor. Chambers will be in room 712, courtroom 7-3.

Judge Charlie Johnson  Division 9 will be moving to the fourth floor. Chambers will be in room  424, courtroom  4-3.

AND NOW, YOUR NEW CRIMINAL COURTS DIVISION ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE....

No, Judge David Young is not making an "Ali like" return to the ring or the REGJB. And no, neither Judge Blake nor Firtel are being lured out of retirement for one more REJGB go-around. 

Your new Administrative judge, a former ASA, an all around good guy and a very good judge, is none other than Judge Charlie Johnson!

So here are a few changes that could be made to make everyone's life at the REGJB easier:

1. A Starbucks on the first floor. 
2. A Prime 112 replacing Au Bon Pain. Call it "Prime 1350". Has a nice ring to it. 
3. Replace the dial up modem powering the Wifi with something more modern like from the late 1990s. 
4. A-forms...dare we say it... almost too much to dream for...but A forms scanned and on line. 
5. Valet parking.
6. A Fed-Ex Kinkos replacing the clerk's office on the second floor.
7. Not punishing defendants who go to trial and lose....okay okay, maybe be are asking too much. But the Prime 1350 and the Starbucks will be nice. 

From Occupied America, fight the power. 




Thursday, November 09, 2017

RUMPOLE CALLS OUT THE FEDS

There was a rare contretemps between what has otherwise been a prolonged period of peace between the best legal blog in Florida, and Mr. Markus's federal blog. 
On Thursday we commented (negatively) on the the SDFLA blog  that the new federal magistrate's 25 trials in five years as an AUSA was nothing to brag about. 
Mr. Markus's federal hackles were raised, and the debate is on. 

Rumpole says that federal prosecutors are spoiled. All the rules are in their favor. 404(b) evidence, no matter how flimsy, comes in ( AUSA: "Um, the defendant may have once considered selling cocaine." Court: "Motion to admit granted.")  The defendant is punished for testifying. And federal agents sit in court and watch all the testimony; holding the quaking hands of the AUSAs when things get rough. 

State court prosecutors get thrown into the fire. Bad cops, tough cases, depositions by sneaky defense attorneys- ASAs try 25 cases a year. 

Give us a five year ASA who's tried a hundred cases- dozens of which had serious issues- and held her own, over some Ivy League tower Fed who spent her time in the office shooting fish in the barrel by trying Illegal Re-entry after deportation cases. 

Rebuttal?



RECAP

It was a very nice turn out last night in the swanky Brickell Village area as hoi poloi mingled and discussed the issues of the day at the REGJB. 

Judges Gordo, administrative honcho De La O, Richard Hersch, (blog comments fav) Zilber, Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts, Jason Demitreoleas (sorry for the spelling) Tinkler-Mendez, among others showed the flag for the bench. 

And now, we've had our fill of socializing with those who wear robes for another year. 

Everyone's fav fed blogger has a few posts covering federal rabbits, and the selection of Lauren Louis (wife of ace criminal defense attorney Dore Louis we think) as the new magistrate. 

And lest you forget that the smartest POTUS with the self proclaimed best memory and highest IQ is in Asia, here is, word for word, the toast of the self proclaimed best and smartest President ever at the dinner with the South Korean President:

Together, our nations remind the world of the boundless potential of societies that choose freedom over tyranny, and who set the free. And we will free, and we will sacrifice, and we will hope, and we will make things beautiful, especially the aspirations of your people.

He had us at "and who set the free."

From Occupied America, with the world's most eloquent president, set the free, make aspirations beautiful,  and fight the power. 



Tuesday, November 07, 2017

BENCH AND BAR

Here's the latest updates on judicial movements:

Cuesta for Colodny (3-4)
Schlessinger for Hanzman
Hendon for Hersch
Walsh for De La O
Cueto for Pooler 

NB: All trades are not final until approved by the commissioner's office. 

Why not join some of the judges who don't want to go, and help them drown their sorrows at a Bench/Bar Mixer? 

Here's a gem from family court:


Q. Are you married?
A. No, I'm divorced.
Q. And what did your husband do before you divorced him?
A. A lot of things I didn't know about.


From Occupied America, go drink with a Judge and Fight the Power.



Monday, November 06, 2017

BATTERY ON A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER

Miami style....



 Does the A-form say "an impaired woman was being escorted out and she took a swing at an officer and in a display of professional law enforcement technique she was punched unconscious by a law enforcement officer?"

We doubt it. 

For all our black-robed readers who often deny motions by ruling "why would the police lie?", take another look at the video. For all those cases where clients said the officers beat them up but the prosecutors and judges didn't believe them... take another look at the video. 

From Occupied America, where police beat up citizens, fight the power. 


Friday, November 03, 2017

WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE?

A couple of things are on our busy mind: 

First: And with apologies to everyone's favourite federal blogger for entering his milieu,  why does FDC need to know the license plate of our car and the make and model when we fill out that form to see a client at FDC? Sometimes we take Uber. Sometimes we park on a lot on Flagler, do some business with our civil brethren, and then walk a few blocks over.  How far away does our car need to be before that information is not important enough for the feds to require it on the form to enter the facility? 

We are old enough to remember when most federal clients were held at the facility by Metro-zoo and you had to drive and park in the lot. But with a facility downtown served by Uber and Metro-rail (btw- the former Chief Judge, Federico Moreno, has been a proponent of taking Metro-rail to court ever since its inception), why do they still require this information? 

Second: We can email the facility to see our clients. Why can't we fill out the forms in our office and email them as well? 

It's hard enough to be a lawyer without all this nonsense. 

Third: As we approach Thanksgiving, just how many trial weeks are left in the year? Figure next week and the week after. The week of Thanksgiving (the 20th is out). Then the following week and the weeks of December 4 and 11. So that's a total of five real trial weeks left in the year. 

And while we are on the subject of it, now is a good time to remember Rumpole's first rule of trial: never ever ever allow a trial to be set the first week of the year. That's when Judges and Prosecutors- who have spent the holidays ruminating on the defendants who got away- put their plan and resolutions to be tough on crime and defendants who go to trial into effect. 

From Occupied America, fight the power. 



Wednesday, November 01, 2017

HERRERA HAMMERED

Attorney Jose Herrera, who was once the counsel for the Miccosukee tribe, but has since lost that plum job with his disingenuous handling of a case, that for a time unfairly besmirched the reputation of two fine lawyers,  (see our coverage in 2013 of that contretemps here) has been found GUILTY by Judge Tunis, who was the appointed Bar Referee.

Sanctions come next. It won't be pretty.