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, December 31, 2017

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

We asked all our bloggers to give us their new year's resolutions. First up, our newest member, long a contributor in the comments section: 

BTDT:
1.  To be the father and man my child(ren) think(s) I am.
2.  To better appreciate my family, friends, and job.
3.  To try to be more more patient.
4.  To be less judgmental.
5.  To help fix that which I can.
6.  To learn something new and do it right.
7.  To have more fun!
8.  To get more sleep!
[Rumpole adds, "to get two more resolutions for 2018 to make it an even ten like the rest of the world"].


Next up, our rookie of the year, guaranteed to light up the comments section no matter what she says. She's been the subject of endless speculation, (not to mention a few emails from robed readers with complaints or speculations) the effervescent, but sometimes accused of being effluent, but always energetic- the woman, the myth, the legend (in her own mind for the time being)....

MillennialMe:

10. Eat more fish and do #meatlessMondays all year;
9. Learn to bake gluten free;
8. Take an art class, once a week for a month;
7. Save 5% of my salary and fund my IRA;
6. Text less;
5. Turn off my phone an hour before bed and read;
4. Buy more books (see #5);
3. Yoga 4x a week (no exceptions for work, trials, etc.) so I can lose those five pounds (sigh);
2. Learn to meditate and then do it everyday;
1. Fill out that "Big Sister" application and be a Big Sister! 

The Original contributor to the blog, the blogger who keeps track of all things election and judicial appointment related, and our go-to guy in a pinch:

El Capitan:

Good evening and thanks for letting me be a part of the Blog for the past 12 years.  Here is my list - hope it's not too late:

New Year’s Resolutions are always easy to write down but so much tougher to follow through with. In the past year I have attended too many funerals of friends and colleagues. With that in mind, I resolve to:

1. Work less.
2. Say thank you more often.
3. Say I love you more often.
4. Stop sweating the little things.
5. Travel even more; (that one finally began in 2017 and I definitely need to take this to the next level).
6. Keep working out at the gym and do so more often; (another one that began in 2017 and I have surprised myself with my commitment and plan on taking this to the next level as well).
7. Use the word "dope" in a blog post; (a friendly dig at our young new blogger Millennial Me)
8. Stop sweating the little things; (by far my toughest one as it’s my worst habit and I need to be reminded at least twice to cut back on this habit).
9. Research our family ancestry; (this one comes from my daughter who encouraged me to do so).
10. Pick up the phone more often and make phone calls to old friends - instead of the quick and easy text.
Cap Out .....


And finally, your humble, award-winning blogger. After much introspection, reflection, and struggle to find any areas of improvement in what is already a life well lived and a blog (exceptionally) well run...we offer this:

Rumpole:

10. Be nicer to co-counsel;
9. Clear emails before end of year (did you know if you clear all your emails on Gmail there is a GIF of someone sitting in a beach chair with the words "you're all done" ?)
8. Gym, yoga, or biking every day (El Capitan is right);
7. Do all our Do-lingo App German assignments; 
6. Cook more healthy soups in our Instapot;
5. Go sugar free (no sweeteners other than xylitol, which is all natural and made from tree bark);
4. 8 hours of sleep a night (BTDT is right);
3. Less texting and emails on the phone (MM is right);
2. Recognize now and live in the moment;
1. [this resolution had been removed by the moderator of the blog]

If you want to see a fascinating discussion, look at the prior blog post comments. Meanwhile, it's been a good 2017 and we are looking forward to 2018. There are cases to be won; prosecutors to be crushed; Judges to be mocked, fees to be collected, wines to be drunk, clients to be saved, and blog posts to be written. 
HAPPY NEW YEAR ONE AND ALL.

H. RUMPOLE, ESQ. 
Blog Proprietor. 







Thursday, December 28, 2017

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2018: COUNTY COURT


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2018 .................
 
COUNTY COURT

Currently, there are 25 County Court seats up for election. Of those 25 seats, six judges are retiring at the end of their term; and at least 18 of the other 19 will be running for reelection. The only undecided incumbent, Judge Andrew Hague.

We have been communicating with Judge Hague and he has told us that he is still examining all options, including: running for reelection, retiring early and throwing his seat to the JNC and Governor Scott, and serving out through the end of his current term.
 
OPEN SEATS

GROUP 2: (Judge Mary Jo Francis retiring):

Jeffrey Cynamon
Jacqueline Woodward (switched from County Group 43)

GROUP 18: (Judge Deborah White-Labora retiring):

Laura Cruz (first filed in Circuit and then switched to County)
Mike Mirabal (switched from County Group 33)

GROUP 32: (Judge Caryn Canner Schwartz retiring):

Rosy Aponte (first filed in Circuit and then switched to County)
Chris Pracitto

GROUP 33: (Judge Teretha Thomas Lundy retiring):

Olanike Adebayo
Madelin Diaz
Eleane Sosa-Bruzon

GROUP 40: (Judge Don Cohn retiring):

Michael Barket
Elena Ortega-Tauler

GROUP 43: (Judge Joseph Davis, Jr retiring):

Milena Abreu
Steven Paulson

 
INCUMBENTS SEEKING REELECTION:

Judge Michelle Alvarez Barakat
Judge Gina Beovides (appointed to fill Judge Charles Johnson’s seat)
Judge Alexander Spicola Bokor (appointed to fill Judge Jacqueline Schwartz’s seat)
Judge Tanya Brinkley
Judge Dawn Denaro
Judge Robin Faber
Judge Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer
Judge Diana Gonzalez-Whyte
Judge Hague *** Undecided as of this post ***
Judge Lawrence King
Judge Shelley Kravitz
Judge Luise Krieger-Martin
Judge Myriam Lehr
Judge Steve Leifman
Judge Patricia Marino-Pedraza
Judge Maria Ortiz
Judge Sam Slom
Judge Linda Singer Stein
Judge Andrea Ricker Wolfson
 

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

BAD HAIR CUT

We couldn't let this pass...how many of us have a client like this? 

Khaled A. Shabani, 46, was arrested after he snipped a 22-year-old customer’s ear, Madison police said.
Police spokesman Joel DeSpain said officers arrested Shabani on suspicion of mayhem and disorderly conduct while armed.
DeSpain said the victim told officers the hairstylist told him to stop fidgeting and moving his head before nicking his ear Friday.
According to The Wisconsin State Journal, DeSpain said the hairstylist then ran the clipper with the shortest attachment down the middle of the customer’s head, “leaving him looking a bit like Larry from ‘The Three Stooges.’”
DeSpain said Shabani told officers it was an accident.




This, was an accident? The "Larry from the Three Stooges" comment is hysterical. 

From Occupied America, where a man cannot even retreat to the sanctity of his barbershop anymore, Fight The Power!

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2018: CIRCUIT COURT


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2018 .................

On August 28, 2018, voters in Miami-Dade County head to the polls for the "Primary" election of Judges in our County. The more important date for our readers to watch though is May 4, 2018, the deadline for qualifying to run for Circuit and County Court.***

CIRCUIT COURT

Currently, there are 24 Circuit Court seats up for election. Of those 24 seats, four judges are retiring at the end of their term; the other 20 will be running for reelection. In fact, already 19 of the 20 have filed with only Judge Hanzman needing to file his paperwork. We communicated directly with Judge Hanzman and he intends to file in the next couple of weeks. 

OPEN SEATS:

GROUP 14: (Judge Cindy Lederman retiring):

Renee Gordon

GROUP 25: (Judge Dennis Murphy retiring):

Yery Marrero

GROUP 31: (Judge Maria Korvick retiring):

Carlos Lopez 

GROUP 79: (Judge Antonio Marin retiring):

Luis Perez-Medina
Joseph David  ("Joey-D") Perkins*


INCUMBENTS SEEKING REELECTION:

Judge Antonio Arzola
Judge Miguel de la O
Judge Victoria del Pino (appointed to fill Judge Blake’s seat)
Judge Maria Espinosa Dennis
Judge Jason Dimitris (appointed to fill Judge Brennan’s seat)
Judge Pedro Echarte
Judge Jose Fernandez
Judge Mindy Glazer
Judge Michael Hanzman
Judge Charles Johnson (appointed to fill Judge Sigler’s seat)
Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez
Judge Browyn Miller
Judge David Miller
Judge Teresa Pooler
Judge Maria de Jesus Santovenia
Judge Valerie Manno Schurr
Judge Lourdes Simon (appointed to fill Judge Luck’s seat)
Judge Ellen Sue Venzer
Judge Maria Verde
Judge Lisa Walsh

***Coming up tomorrow: County Court Judicial Election 2018.


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

* Previous editions of this blog post incorrectly identified the candidate as David Perkins. His correct name is Joseph David Perkins, which will ensure he is not confused with long-time REGJB Irregular David Peckins. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

SO, YOU WANT TO BE A CIRCUIT/COUNTY COURT JUDGE .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS ⚖:
(MM - check out the emoji; that's supposed to be the scales of justice. You are no longer "the only blogger in the history of the Justice Building Blog to use an emoji").

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

CIRCUIT COURT

The Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) for the 11th Circuit has completed their interviews for the candidates wishing to replace retired Judge Rosa Rodriguez. The six names sent to Governor Scott include:

Judge William Altfield
Judge Tanya Brinkley
Judge Carlos Guzman
Ayana Harris
Judge Spencer Multack
Judge Andrea Wolfson

Governor Scott is expect to name our newest Circuit Court Judge by no later than January 27, 2018.

COUNTY COURT

The JNC has also completed their interviews to replace Judge Ivonne Cuesta and Judge Laura Ann Stuzin. They were both recently elevated to the Circuit Court. The 12 names that have been sent to Governor Scott are:

Milena Abreu (current candidate for County Court Judge)
Ramiro Areces
Karl Brown
Laura Cruz (current candidate for County Court Judge)
Raul Cuervo
Christina DiRaimondo
Peter Heller
Elijah Levitt
Jonathan Meltz
Julie Harris
Luis Perez-Medina (current candidate for Circuit Court Judge)
Natalie Rico

Governor Scott will name the two replacements by no later than February 13, 2017.

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

Monday, December 25, 2017

WHY WE BLOG

It started on November 16 2005. Our "Welcome Post":
We seek comments, rumors, and stories on any and all Miami Justice Building habituates, Judges, Prosecutors, Attorneys, and defendants. While we (the royal we) will not be libelous, and we will not pick on those not able to defend themselves [ insert your favorite judge here] , we love a good story about a Judge or lawyer putting his or her foot in their mouth. A juicy rumor that is not too harmful will also be posted.

Three thousand, four hundred and nineteen (always spell out all numbers in a brief, as per the Blue Book) posts later, here we are. 
It's good-nee important- to see where you started to guess where you're going. 

In looking back, our worst moments were reporting on the deaths of friends and colleagues; admittedly something that we never planned for. Judge Manny Crespo was, we recall, the first death we reported on. Our absolute worst moment was our untimely announcement of the terribly unfortunate death of our friend Judge Rob Pinero, before he had in fact passed away. We made up for it slightly by remembering that "he wasn't a good man, he was a great man" and in fact his Rabbi used those words (quoting us, much to our astonishment) at the funeral. 

Our best moments are those that celebrate the victories of our friends and colleagues (prosecutors and defense attorneys alike), and we do not deny that we relish catching one of those who wears a robe acting a bit pompous, and then reporting on it. 

Where we go from here really depends on where you-our reader-takes us. Blogging can be easy, or there can be those days when we haven't blogged all week, it's 10 PM, we are in trial, a brief is due Friday and we just have no idea what to say. This doesn't happen often, but it happens enough to make us realize that after fifteen (15!) years, we are no longer that young, muck-raking blogger, turning the Miami legal establishment upside down. 

Having done this for fifteen years, we realize (and hope) that there is some young public defender or prosecutor, or law student, who will be the next Rumpole. We cannot do this forever. Chateaus in Switzerland and beach houses in Big Sur await. Someone will emerge who has the same love of the history and reverence for the characters that daily create the tapestry of the greatest courthouse in the world: The Richard E Gerstein Justice Building. 

See You In Court.




Saturday, December 23, 2017

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

One does not criticize a sitting federal judge without repercussions...even a blogger of world-wide renown.... thus we received this...


Rump, you got your facts wrong. Way wrong. We represented the defendants. Judge Bloom did not express displeasure at the sentence. Judge Bloom did not suggest that it was too lenient. Judge Bloom did not take the plea reluctantly. This was a very difficult case and Judge Bloom was always completely professional, fair, respectful, patient, thoughtful, impartial, cordial and just. Bill Barzee Marc Seitles Sabrina Puglisi

First of all we did not get "our" facts wrong. We posted the summary of emails to us. We are rarely wrong. However, there is another side to this story in particualar and perhaps the Judge in general. 

We report...you decide...(or does someone else already use that?)

DOM AIRS GRIEVANCES FOR FESTIVUS 
Click Here...and we agree with them.

From Occupied America where Truth is more than you make it, Fight The Power. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

IS THE BLOOM OFF THE ROSE?

It starts as a mumble, progresses to a grumble, and eventually the complaints reach our ears and eyes and email in-box.

So just wondering which federal judge, former state court judge, is not making friends with the lawyers by rejecting pleas and complaining about the leniency of pleas and suggested sentences? This difficult attitude culminated Tuesday in the Judge, on a one year recommended sentence by both parties for a young woman, after expressing displeasure at the sentence, eventually accepting the sentence,  and then rejected the agreement and request from both sides not to take the defendant into custody, ruling that "The Holidays are no reason to allow a surrender at a later date" or words to that effect. BAH! Humbug. 

So now, on a relatively low sentence, the defendant was taken to FDC and will be housed there until sent to a facility for a few months, and then released. It's more expensive for the taxpayers, and it's more punitive than either party wanted. And that's okay- Judges are required to make decisions that sometimes no one agrees with. But this is- we are told- not an isolated incident. 

So what's going on with a judge who took the bench with great promise? 
Why the difficult demeanor and harsh treatment of defendants?
Is the Bloom off the rose? That would be very sad and disappointing. 

From Occupied America, where the new tax cuts benefit us by a saving of about $13,000.00 a year, but it's still a bad bill, Fight The Power.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

THE BEST LEGAL BOOKS

Following up on MM's nice post on the best legal movies, we submit our post on the best legal books. These are books either by lawyers, or about lawyers, more so then about specific legal cases. So for example, we will not consider A Civil Action. Or any of the publications about the OJ case. 

Number one: For us, there is no question that the biography about Edward Bennett Williams, entitled "The Man To See" is the best legal biography we have ever read. Period. End of discussion. If you're searching for a last minute legal gift for the trial lawyer in your life, order this from Amazon. 

Number two: Lee Bailey's "The Defense Never Rests" is the reason why we became a lawyer. It's the classic book by a defense attorney about his career by one of the very best who ever sat at the table for the defense 

Number Three: "The Art of Cross Examination" by Francis L. Wellman is the classic book on the tool of a trial lawyer's craft. It is also the reason why we became a lawyer. 

Number Four: "Win Your Case" by Gerry Spence. Perhaps the best defense lawyer ever, writes about his method for winning cases. Every young PD should read this book. Twice. 

Number Five: Any biography of Lincoln that covers his legal career. The law meant a great deal to our sixteenth and greatest President. His third and last law partner- William Herndon was quoted as saying that Lincoln knew little about the rules of evidence or pleadings, and cared even less for them. Lincoln was motivated by justice and saw the law, and used the law, as a means to an end. He also used the law for much needed income at a time in his life when he was still struggling financially. 

Any decent trial lawyer carries with her a few dozen Lincoln Legal Quotes that can be fired off at the appropriate time during an argument. Just ask one of the Judges in the REGJB whose chambers is on the second floor. He will be happy to expound upon the value of a good Lincoln quote.

REGJB NEWS:  Email reports from a few lawyers that a large contingent of jurors were gathered at 9AM this morning for a case in Judge Victoria Diaz's Tinkler-Mendez's court room. Anyone know what's going on? Late in the year for a trial, but the defense has to love an Xmas verdict. UPDATE: A reader writes in that "the entire fourth floor is being over-run with jurors."

From occupied America, where the new tax bill gives a child credit of $75 to families earning less than $14,000.00 a year, and $4,000.00 to families earning more than $400,000.00 a year, because fair is fair, right? Fight the Power!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

THE BEST LEGAL MOVIES

Happy Sunday! It's your favorite Girl Blogger under 30 Millennial Me! 👩 Still the only blogger in the history the justice building blog to us an emoji. And that record won't be broken any time soon we are guessing.

We've been reading Rumpole since law school and we know that come holiday season he likes to do best of lists. We thought about doing best local restaurants (Eating House or Dirt on South Beach or Milos for seafood), or best books (but Rumpole has already done that) so we settled on Best Legal Movies. 


1. The Verdict with Paul Newman. 
First, there are Newman's icy cold blue eyes....😍but the story is great. Alcoholic lawyer, down on his luck, has only one case- a med mal case and  goes up against the Archdiocese of Boston and the biggest law firm in Boston with a crooked Judge sitting on the case ruling against him. 
But the movie has some of the best lines ever:  
When discussing the only expert witness the plaintiff has (A 74 year old, Black, retired doctor who is not board certified) Newman's partner in the trial, his old law professor, whispers to Newman at beginning of the trial: "So all we have is the witch doctor? Yes. Well, look at it this way, it's refreshing every time a doctor takes the stand who isn't a Jew." - you have to take the movie in the context of the times- 1982).
When discussing the lawyer for the other side and Newman says "he's a good man" his professor responds "He's the prince of fucking darkness. He'll have witnesses testifying he saw her (Newman's client is in a vegetative state) water-skiing in Marblehead last weekend." 
And of course, when Newman is sandbagged in court, afterwards his professor tells him "You forgot the first rule I taught you in law school -Don't ask a question you don't know the answer to." 
Newman fights with the Judge "You're a bag man for the boys downtown", and fights with his own alcoholic demons all while the defense has planted a spy in his camp- but a surprise witness at the end turns the table and the good guys win. I just love this movie. 

2. To Kill A Mockingbird: A classic. The reason many lawyers say they became lawyers. Although I don't like lawyers who name their kid "Atticus". It's too much. But every lawyer should watch this movie once a year. 

3. A Few Good Men. 
"You can't handle the truth!" Nicholson. Cruise. Enough said. 

4. 12 Angry Men: Henry Fonda leads an all star cast. I love watching a young Jack Klugman as the only Jew on the jury stand up to the racist juror in the jury room. 

5. My Cousin Vinny: Opening statement "Everything that guy just said was bullshit!" "I'm done wit dis witness..." "The youts...what's a yout?" Classic stuff. 

6. Judgment At Nuremberg: Spencer Tracey as the American Judge in Germany displaying a very human conscience in judging Nazis including Nazi Judges who were "Just following orders".  Another must watch movie for law students.

7. The Caine Mutiny: Humphrey Bogart and who ate the strawberries??

8. A Civil Action: The Book was way better than the movie.

9. Miracle on 34th Street: Santa Claus is real!

10: You pick it.....


Now I know I missed some. I googled this and admittedly I have never seen "Witness for the Prosecution" or that Al Pacino movie where he is screaming "I'm out of order? You're out of order!" so the list isn't complete. But it's pretty good and I think the only real arguable point is why I didn't put Mockingbird first. I didn't because while it's a more powerful movie with a major sociological point for the times, the Verdict is just more fun to watch on a Saturday night when I've got nothing going on. A pint of Hagen Dazs Mint Chocolate Chip, my cat curled up beside me on my couch...it's not a bad way to spend an evening. 

Enjoy. 




Friday, December 15, 2017

SO YOU WANT TO BE A US DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

Senator Kennedy: Ever tried a case?
Matthew Peterson (nominated to the US District Court for DC): No
SK: Any trial state or federal? 
MP: Nope
SK: ever argued a motion ?
MP: No
SK : In state court or federal court? 
MP: Nope
SK: Do you know what a motion in limine?
MP: Hmmm...no

SK: Ever read the federal rules of evidence?
MP: Law school...

Think we're kidding on this Trump nomination to the  US district court?









There was a time when the best and brightest were nominated to US District Courts. 
Judges like Judge Ed Davis and William Hoevler and Stanley Marcus and Jack Weinstein in the EDNY and Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District and, closer to home, Judges Federico Moreno, Bob Scola, Beth Bloom, Marcia Cooke and Kathleen Williams to name a few. 

But they aren't Trump judges. They took the bench with experience. Can you imagine appearing before Judge Moreno at one of his legendary calendar calls where he tosses lawyers intellectually aside as if they were a mere bag of shells not knowing what a motion in limine is, or having never argued any motion in court? 

Matthew Peterson sitting on the same bench as Chief Judge Beryl Howell? Having the same title as legendary Judge Jack Weinstein? 

It makes us sick. 

From Occupied America, Fight the Power of stupid judicial appointments of unqualified judges. 



Thursday, December 14, 2017

COULD CARDONA HAVE BEEN WON?

Three separate juries over almost thirty years have convicted Ana Cardona of aggravated child abuse and first degree murder. In each trial Cardona was represented by experienced criminal defense attorneys. So the question is: Could a defense be constructed to get a jury to acquit Cardona? 
Probably not. But possibly so (how's that for equivocating?). 

NO, THE CASE COULD NOT BE WON:
1)The facts were horrible. 
2) The pictures of Lazaro were extremely disturbing.
3) As Reid Rubin pointed out- a three year old child doesn't weight 18 pounds overnight. It takes years of sustained abuse and neglect for a child to become so malnourished. 
4) Cardona gave a statement which undermined her defense.
5) Cardona was pictured at Disney World after Lazaro's death. "You go to Disney World when you win an NBA championship, not when your child was murdered."
6) It is very very hard under the best of circumstances to obtain an acquittal in a case where a child has been murdered. 

YES, THE CASE COULD BE WON:
1)There was another person who may well have struck the fatal blow.
2)Thus the murder of Lazaro was an independent act Cardona had nothing to do with.
3) Cardona was 19 years old; the father of Lazaro had recently died and she had been evicted and was homeless with three children and had no where to go.
4) A story about a homeless teen-age woman, a single mother of three children who was desperate, scared, and unable to provide for her children could have been told in a much more effective manner.
5)The defense could have thrown a hail-mary and called Olivia Gonzalez- who the defense blamed for killing Lazaro- to the witness stand.
6)The great criminal defense attorney Gerry Spence might have been able to win the case, but not too many others could have pulled it off. 

No matter what you think about this case, remember that the defense was tasked with defending one of the most notorious defendants charged with one of the most notorious and heart-breaking murders in recent South Florida history. This was never going to be an easy case. Monday morning quarter-backing is easy; putting on your trial suit every day and going to court and fighting for a client with very little jury appeal is harder than it looks and sounds. 

From Occupied America, Fight the Power!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

CARDONA JURY OUT /VERDICT

8:00 pm VERDICT: GUILTY AS CHARGED FIRST DEGREE MURDER AND AGGRAVATED CHILD ABUSE 
CARDONA HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON

Thus ends (for the moment) this tragic case which has consumed South Florida for almost thirty years.

And let us never forget at the heart of this, was a small, innocent child, who was abused, who suffered, and who rarely knew the happiness and joy every child should know.
May Lazaro rest in peace. 

______________________________________________________

Judge De La O charged the jury Wednesday afternoon, and they were sent out to deliberate at 4:20 PM. 

As of 6:40 or so, as per @davidovalle305 the jury has asked to work tonight, which means Judge De La O is buying them dinner. 

David Ovalle thinks there will be a verdict tonight. Rumpole says tomorrow. 
Jury had one question about the definition of aggravated child abuse if it meant a history of abuse, which Reid Rubin clearly proved with his picture of the emaciated body of the child, or if it meant the striking of a fatal blow- the proof of which is less clear. 
The jury also wanted the late Dr. Hyma's testimony, which they cannot have. They can have it read back to them. 

Stay tuned.

CARDONA CLOSINGS II

Update: MM is at closings...

This is MM blogging from closings through Rumpole who is posting...follow me on Twitter @millennialme786

Yermish comes out for the defense....slower than a snail. He apologizes for his voice...he mentions he doesn't have three hours of voice...he introduces a PD appellate lawyer at the table...he mentions the Magna Carta (the Magna Carta???) and then tells the jury they have listened to the evidence and have every right to be angry at Ana Cardona...

First...I am disappointed in the defense. They should have come out firing and they did not. Second, it's a snooze fest closing and I'm not the only one saying it.

Third...about ten minutes into hemming and hawing Yermish finally gets to the defense of his client that Cardona was a 19 year old uneducated single mother. These are the points he should have opened with (as per my trial ad profs). 

CARDONA CLOSINGS TODAY

UPDATE from MM: Yermish comes out for the defense....slower than a snail. He apologizes for his voice...he mentions he doesn't have three hours of voice...he introduces a PD appellate lawyer at the table...he mentions the Magna Carta (the Magna Carta???) and then tells the jury they have listened to the evidence and have every right to be angry at Ana Cardona...

First...I am disappointed in the defense. They should have come out firing and they did not. Second, it's a snooze fest closing and I'm not the only one saying it.

Rumpole says: We are having technical difficulties with the font for this post. We are going to move to a new post. Sorry for the inconvenience. 



Update from MM: "She fled with her lover and left him with only the tape on his diaper and his lollipops T-shirt...There is no gray area...she is responsible...Oliva and her are two of a kind...Lazaro died because his mother didn't love him...she didn't care...she wanted him to die...Lazaro died ladies and gentlemen because she killed him...he was starved and tortured and murdered and she is responsible...hold her responsible to the fullest extent of the law...Find her guilty of first degree murder and child abuse." 

A powerful closing from Reid Rubin. I am also struck by just how tiny Cardona looks framed between her two large male defense attorneys. Its a startling contrast. 


Lunch break now...Pizza for the jurors (no pineapple- a clear indication that they are a conservative, law abiding jury.) 

1PM for defense closings. 


Update from Millennial Me: Reid doing a good job hammering the principals instruction so that if the jury has any doubt that Cardona actually killed her child, the jury can find her guilty. He is also patiently explaining to the jury why the lesser do not apply. 


Update: From Millennial Me.  David Ovalle broke the story that the jury told the judge they do NOT, repeat DO NOT want pineapple on their pizza for lunch. What a reporter that guy is! 


Schedule: State's closing; Lunch (pizza -no pineapple); Defense closing.
 


"Reid is doing a very thorough job on closing. He is hammering Cardona's statement to the police."


MM also wants everyone to know they can now follow her on Twitter @Millennialme786 

Closing arguments are taking place as we write this in the Cardona case. 

First up: Reid Ruben for the state. Don't miss it. He's the best they have. 

Then the defense, and we're guessing rebuttal after lunch. 


Millenial Me will be sending us updates and we will post as we have time. 


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

OY VEY

Roy Moore's wife wants you to know she knows Jews. She likes Jews. Some of her best friends are Jews and they even have a .....(steady now) A JEW LAWYER (gasp!!!)




In response the only thing that comes to mind is that we know Judges. Some of our friends are Judges. We have even had a drink with a ....judge.

From Donald Trump and Roy Moore's Occupied America, where they even know some black fellas and some jews, Fight the Power!

Monday, December 11, 2017

CARDONA TAKES THE STAND!

Hey, it's the girl-blogger, and wow was today amazing in court! Ana Cardona testified and it was as tension filled a courtroom drama as you're ever going to see. 

"You've had 27 years to come up with your story" shot Reid Ruben at Ana Maria Cardona, and thus began a memorable cross examination of one of the most notorious defendants in recent Miami-Dade History. 

Earlier in the day Cardona finished her direct testimony under the patient questioning of PD Manny Alvarez.  She finished her testimony in dramatic fashion- nearly screaming and twice saying that "Olivia Gonzalez Mendoza" killed her son in response to Manny's last question if she killed her son. 

Cardona took the stand Monday morning to a courtroom packed with prosecutors, PDs and Judges. The tension was thick when Cardona took the stand and took the jury through her life history, coming from Mariel, Cuba, and her three children.  Cardona testified she was homeless after Lazaro's father died and she was evicted,  and Olivia Gonzalez-the woman the defense blames as the killer- forced her into a sexual relationship in exchange for housing and food. This trial has all the makings of a tragic movie. 

Cardona became unhinged as she testified, forcing Judge De La O to call sidebar after sidebar and once he instructed the interpreter to interrupt Cardona because the interpreter couldn't keep up with all she was saying. Also- some unusual moments where Judge De La O had to correct the interpreter's translation of Cardona's testimony in Spanish. I've never seen that before in my admittedly limited trial experience, but I know the Judges watching are all admiring the way De La O is handling this very challenging moment. Cardona speaks Spanish so fast that interpreters are cycling in and out because she is tiring them out. Unbelievable. 

It was clear to most of us in gallery that Reid Ruben was going to have a tough time because  Cardona was mostly uncontrollable, and that's what in fact happened. 
Reid Ruben went hard at Cardona, mocking her claim that "Olivia killed my son" and asked her if she wanted to tell the jury that again? So Cardona did- crying out "Olivia Gonzalez killed my son."

Cardona also shouted out to Ruben that he could call Olivia Gonzalez to court and ask her himself. Point to Cardona on that one. I've been wondering about that and some of the other lawyers told me that Olivia Gonzalez is out of prison and in Miami and that for some reason neither side wants to call her. Weird. It seems to me that the defense should have called her, but maybe they want her to be the boogey-man in the jurors eyes. The jurors are going to hold the fact that Olivia Gonzalez was not called against somebody and I think Cardona put the prosecution on the defensive on that one.  

At times Mr. Ruben shouted at Cardona and she shouted back at him and both the interpreter and court reporter became flustered and add to that the defense team on their feet objecting, and this was courtroom theatrics at their best and De La O did a wonderful job keeping control. 

Cardona managed to claim she turned down a plea offer and that she'd been to death row several times and that she even volunteered to go. All of these exchanges caused Judge De La O to interrupt and call for sidebars to regain control of the testimony. 

It was a dramatic move to call Cardona to the witness stand, but if you think about it- the PDs made the right move. Cardona is no longer facing the death penalty and she really has nothing to lose. But this was a move Reid Ruben was ready for, He had her taped statement ready to go, as well as pictures of Cardona with Olivia Gonzalez in Orlando, smiling, after the murder. Reid Ruben even had medical records showing Cardona was using cocaine when she gave birth to her son Lazaro. This is one prepared dude. 

I don't think this case is a slam dunk. But it's going to very very hard for jurors to vote not guilty because of the tragedy of this case. The late Dr. Hyma, a Dade ME, had his testimony read back in court today and it was very very disturbing. This was a child that was abused before he was killed.

Thanks for letting the girl blog Rumpole. 
Millennial Me. 









Sunday, December 10, 2017

HO HO HO

Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada just named a woman to Canada's Supreme Court. 
Is it me, or do the Justices all look like Santa Claus? I mean, if you're Canada, and you're closer to the North Pole than the US, do you really want to dress your judges in Red Robes with white trim? Ho Ho Ho. 🎅


I'm going to miss Judge Ortiz. Rumpole reported Saturday that she has left the REGJB. She is such a class act. Always calm. Always knowledgeable and very fair.  Rumpole is loath to praise judges, but I am not and Judge Ortiz is a great one.

That new legal movie with Denzel Washington is a hot mess. It has no structure and its discombobulating. Skip it. 

Everyone is buzzing about whether or not Cardona will testify. I can't wait and I'll be lurking around the courtroom. And I won't miss closings for sure. But if Cardona testifies, I don't think she will be as easy to cross as people think, even for a great lawyer like Mr. Reid Ruben. 

Sometimes I really get into the mood for Italian food and then Miami disappoints. In New York or Chicago or Boston it seems like there's a good place every block or so. But in Miami we have to drive to a Carrabbas or something ridiculous and it stinks. And all of those places on Lincoln Road seem like rip-off joints. I hate walking down the street and being hustled by some woman in way- too-tight revealing clothes to walk into a restaurant. What are they thinking? Are they thinking that guys will eat there because they somehow believe that if they eat their the girl at the door will go out with them? Really?

Here's my analysis on Senator Franken.
The democratic senators think Roy Moore will win in Alabama. 
The democratic senators do not want to seat Roy Moore and if he is seated they want to immediately have him investigated and removed. 
In order to attack Moore, the democratic senators had to put their house in order and that meant they couldn't have Franken around at all. 
So Franken had to resign all because the democrats think Roy Moore will win. 
Sad. Franken had his faults but he was a good senator. 

I just watched the Ben Bradlee documentary this weekend. 
JFK while president had an affair with Bradlee's sister in law and also made a pass at Bradlee's first wife. 
Would the same democratic senators who forced Franken out have tried to impeach JFK?
Mary Pinchot Meyer was the woman JFK had an affair with. Her story is fascinating. She was married to a CIA officer. She was a serious artist. There is a JFK love letter to her, written on White House stationary that was kept by Evelyn Lincoln- Kennedy's secretary and auctioned a few years ago for $89,000.00. 
Pinchot-Meyer was murdered while she was walking one day. A man was arrested for the murder and tried and found not guilty. 
Her story is replete with late night rendezvous' with the President, and powerful CIA officers and an unsolved murder. 

I am literally starving myself half the time to make up for the extra calories I am eating at these holiday parties which now seem to be happening every day. I'm not sure it's worth it, but I don't want to deal with the depression of not fitting into my tight jeans. 

I am so caught up in this Cardona trial opera but I think it's proper that we all remind ourselves that an innocent little boy was killed and that is the real tragedy here. 

Was anyone else offended that Rumpole called me "the chick" in his poll?
LOL- he did it after checking with me because he wanted to see if people would raise a fuss and no one did. 😜

Rumpole is dope. 👍




Saturday, December 09, 2017

CARDONA TO WRAP UP AND JUDGES ON THE MOVE

The Cardona case moved along  this past week, with a read back of the late Dr. Hyma's testimony as the medical examiner on the case. Up Monday: Dr Death herself: Chief ME Emma Lew will also testify. It's worth a look for a young lawyer, so stop on by. The appearance of the ME on the stand often heralds the ending of the prosecution's case. Insiders mumble that the state may rest on Tuesday. The Defense could rest the following day, and uhho....closings Thursday and the much feared "Friday Verdict" that long time and careful readers of the blog know is one of the things Rumpole says the good defense lawyer should avoid at all costs. 

COMINGS AND GOINGS
Very quietly Judge Maria Ortiz, a long time fixture of DUIs and other misdemeanors on the Fifth Floor has left the REGJB replaced by veteran Judge Wendell Graham, who - and this is a rough guess, hasn't sat in the REGJB since the turn of the century or so. 

Judge Steven Millan will be a last minute addition to circuit movement, heading to Dependency. 


Judge Milton Hirsch gets a dream assignment, appointed to the Circuit Appellate division as an associate administrative judge along with Judge Monica Gordo.  If you find yourself appealing a county court case, your cites better be right, Blue Book Bristol Fashion, and you'd be wise to bone up on your classics, Shakespeare of course, decisions from the DC Circuit cira 1880's, Disraeli's thoughts on the common law, and of course, the Federalist Papers.  Familiarity with Locke wouldn't hurt either. There's a new sheriff in town and he thrives on brilliant legal obscure thoughts. Have fun. 

From occupied America, where any action on impure thoughts will bite you in your butt (except if you hold the highest office in the land) Fight The Power!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The President Can/ Cannot Be Charged With Obstruction

Here's a first: A blogger debate. 
Millennial Me will defend the position the president  committed obstruction of justice. Rumpole, as an intellectual exercise will take the other side. 
Rumpole goes first*:
R: The President is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. Therefore, what he tells the FBI to do or not do, must be legal. Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus. When Trump fired Comey, he was within his rights to do so for reasons he does not need to explain since as President he is vested with power and knowledge of events that others do not have. As such, the courts cannot sit in judgment of his actions. 

MM: Nixon was going to be impeached for obstruction of justice based on his actions with the tapes and the firing of the special prosecutor. A president is not above the law. If he violates the law and then tries to hide his violation, he commits a crime. 

R: MM, being young and inexperienced has made my point. Nixon was going to be impeached- which is something that the Constitution provides for. Nixon was not going to be indicted for his actions in Wategate, which occurred before MM was born. Indeed, in the indictments that were issued in Watergate, Nixon was referred to as an "Unindicted co-conspirator".  Article I, section three of the  constitution specifically provides for removal of a President. Removal is by  impeachment, not indictment. The lack of direction by the Constitution provides, within the penumbra if you will- an implicit grant of immunity to a president for a criminal prosecution.  This is confirmed because Article I, section three goes on to state that the president, once impeached "shall be liable and subject to indictment, trial judgement, and punishment, according to law." This of course means that unless impeached, a President cannot be charged with a crime. 
If a President was indicted, and a Judge found that by virtue of Air Force One he was a risk of flight, and denied bail, then the President might have to run a war from a jail cell if we were attacked. This is ridiculous proposition. 
MM should try reading the Constitution instead of watching a video on Netflix or You Tube. 

MM: I get the last word. Rumpole is a bit old and perhaps his better days are behind him. The Constitution does not provide the President with immunity for crimes. Which is why the Constitution provides for removal for office for committing a crime, because a criminal prosecution or conviction doesn't otherwise provide for removal. And how could a president be investigated and removed for committing a crime if he can obstruct justice willy-nilly and stop the investigation? Just because the prosecutor didn't indict Nixon doesn't mean he couldn't have.  Under Rumpole's view the President could shoot someone in broad daylight, and unless he was impeached he could not be charged with a crime. And if the president had a large political majority, it is possible his party would not impeach him. We have a president, not a an emperor or king. The president in a democratic county cannot be above the law. End of discussion. 

Rumpole inquires: Who won? Take our poll. 

*Emails were exchanged between the bloggers so each blogger had the ability to review and respond to the other's argument. 

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

CARDONA CASE PLODDING ALONG

UPDATE: We are taking a lot of flack in the prior post for characterizing the prosecutor's opening as "with her voice quaking with emotion."
Blog comments call us sexist and also defend the prosecutor's opening, implying we were criticizing her opening. 
We did not intend to do either. You can review her opening here

A comment about her being emotional, in a case that is very emotional (the abusive death of a child) is fair, based on how she presented her opening- which in our opinion (which we never stated previously) was well done and professional. 

But we are open to a discussion on the matter- especially in this climate. Have we reached the point where we can only call a male lawyer's opening/closing "emotional" and that if we call a female lawyer's presentation "emotional" then we are sexist? We hope not. 

The Cardona case plods along, with lots of read backs of testimony with witnesses who are no longer available. 
Not a pleasant situation for either side to be in. 

On a different note, the Federalist Society (Motto: "We like Ayn Rand, we just don't read her philosophical writings because they are too complicated")  had a meeting/soiree last night (Tuesday), and every wanna be Federal Judge was present. Lawyers and Judges who have been nominated and Lawyers and Judges who want to be nominated. 

How soon until the litmus test for becoming a federal judge is whether they supported Roy Moore for Senate in Alabama? 

On that issue, when he was Judge Moore (a different shame for the legal community of Alabama) Moore wrote a screed in 2006 arguing that Representative Keith Ellison, a Muslim, who took the oath of office with his hand on the Koran, should not be seated and allowed to serve. 

So as we sit here today:
Harass Women: Qualified to serve. 
Date Women under 18, and as young as 14 while an adult male: Qualified to serve. 

Be A Religious Muslim: Not Qualified to serve. 

Welcome to Donald Trump and Roy Moore's America, 2017, which is why we end every blog post with a plea to Fight the Power. 



Monday, December 04, 2017

OPENING STATEMENTS IN CARDONA CASE

Her voice quaking with emotion, ASA Christine Hernandez gave the opening statement for the prosecution today. Hernandez focused on the injuries to the child that was killed, showing the jury pictures of Lazaro's body as it was discovered, abandoned. 

Manny Alvarez countered for the defense, telling the jury that Cardona was not a good mother and that the jury would not like her, but that Cardona did not kill her child. 

The trial is expected to last through at least next week. 

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Top 60

Anuj Agarwal agarwal.anuj@feedspot.com

Dec 2 (1 day ago)


to me
Hi JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG Team,
My name is Anuj Agarwal. I'm Founder of Feedspot.

I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 60 Criminal Justice Blogs  on the web.


I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 60 Criminal Justice Blogs  on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

Also, you have the honor of displaying the following badge on your blog. Use the below code to display this badge proudly on your blog.

https://blog.feedspot.com/criminal_justice_blogs/" title="Criminal Justice blogs">https://blog.feedspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/criminal_justice_216px.png?x59787
" >


​Best,
Anuj






howardroark21@gmail.com

9:24 AM (0 minutes ago)
to Anuj
top sixty doesn't cut it. 

Call me when people open their eyes and realize we are top five. Actually top, but we'll grudgingly accept top five. 

Otherwise remove us from the list.

Plus there is no blog team. It's just me, a superior writer, along with an unusual person who runs around in blue tights and a red cape who calls himself Captain Justice and some 20 something millennial spoiled brat
Yours etc., 

HR