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

Monday, January 30, 2017

MONDAY NIGHT MASSACRE

Monday evening acting attorney general of the United States- Sally Yates- issued a memorandum to the justice department attorneys not to enforce or defend the President's executive order banning immigration.  Yates believed the order to be illegal. 

On Monday evening, in the face of what will now surely go down in history as The Yates Memo, the 45th POTUS fired Yates. 

Uno problemo....there is no one left in the Justice Department with clearance to see and seek warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court. But that didn't stop 45 from canning Yates and leaving this country blind. 

The President has now appointed  Virginia US Attorney Dana Boente as acting US Attorney General until 45 can get his nominee approved by the Senate. 

On a saturday night in 1972, attorney general Elliot Richardson refused the order of President Richard M. Nixon to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox who was issuing subpoenas to the White House for tapes in his investigation of Watergate. 

Attorney General Richardson resigned rather than follow the illegal order of the President. 
The deputy assistant attorney general of the United States William Ruckelshaus then became acting attorney general and he also refused to fire Archibald Cox, so President Nixon fired him. 

In their confirmation hearings which occurred during the Watergate crisis, both Richardson and Ruckelshaus had given personal assurances to the senate that they would not interfere in Cox's investigation of Nixon. 

Nixon then turned to Robert Bork, who was the solicitor general of the of the United States and Bork fired Cox and we had ourselves a  full blown constitutional crisis as attorneys with a conscious refused to follow an illegal order of the President of the United States. An order that the senate suspected could be issued and in which the lawyers had promised not to follow.

And this episode which played out over a cold October Saturday night in 1973 was called the Saturday Night massacre and it remained a unique part of American history never to be replayed because we would never have a president as unhinged as Nixon was in his final days.....until now. 

From that chaotic night in October, the Nixon presidency had less than 300 days to live. 

Oh for us to be so fortunate now. 
Senate Jeff Sessions is scheduled for a confirmation on Tuesday. 

BREAKING As the Monday night massacre unfolds as we get on our flight from the West coast to FLA, now comes word that POTUS 45 has fired the head of ICE- customs enforcement for the US. 

What if he fires everyone and no one will work for the US government? That's one way to stop a tyrant- peaceful resistance. Refuse to go to work. Fight the power. This is the 60's redux. Gonna have to get out our bellbottoms and tie die shirts. We knew we made the right decision in hanging on to them. 

GIVE ME YOUR TIRED *



Image result for statue of liberty saying

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." *

We say good riddance to Syrians. Who needs them? It's like who needs an apple a day when you have good old American McDonalds?  This country will be better off without any wretched refuse of Syrians polluting our country. What's a Syrian ever done for America?

Consider the disturbing story of Syrian immigrant 
Abdulfattah Jandali.  Just the name tells you-or certainly our president-that he's up to no good. He came to this country in the early 1950's. He settled in Wisconsin, and then, showing just what these type of immigrants do, Jandali got an American woman pregnant before he married her and before he could support a family. Just another worthless immigrant trying to game the system and not being responsible. 

In 1955 Jandali's son was born and he put him up for adoption. An American couple that was childless adopted the baby. They named him Steven. Their last name was ....Jobs. 

Yes. The man who changed the world, who brought us Apple, and then rescued Apple, who brought us the Ipod, the Ipad, the Iphone and changed the way the world shopped, communicated, and viewed books and videos was the son of a Syrian immigrant. 

Who are the next Steve Jobs that the 45th POTUS has banned? What children who may grow-up to solve the problem of global warming are being banned from this country because of where they were born? 

Our loss is Canada's gain, as the PM of Canada has graciously offered to accept all those immigrants banned by a country that now-falsely- has a Statute of Liberty on its shores, no longer to welcome immigrants, but to mock them and turn them away. 

For shame. 

See You In Court.

*Unless you are from Syria or some other countries in the Middle East, are Muslim, and have a funny sounding name. In that case, then GTFU as you are not welcome in this country and never will be while 45 is president. 


Sunday, January 29, 2017

LIBERTY'S LAST DEFENDER

Liberty's last champion is the motto of the FACDL. With all due respect to our colleagues, under the new Trump administration, it is becoming abundantly clear that the last champion of freedom, liberty, and all that the Constitution stands for is and will continue to be.... (this isn't easy for us)

JUDGES. 

The 45th President of the United States banned the entry of refugees into our country from several other countries on Friday. By Friday evening, there was chaos at airports around the nation and around the world. Families with green cards who have gone through a two year process of being vetted and approved were being detained at airports. Individuals who were doctors, scientists, and who had assisted US forces in Iraq were being denied entry and re-entry into the US. 

Thus is the outcome when amateurs dable in US policy and when orders are issued by a tyrant  based on populist whims. 

In stepped the ACLU who filed an emergency lawsuit heard by US District Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of NY.  Judge Donnelly blocked the president's executive order once the government attorneys could not refute that those travelers who had US green cards would not suffer irreparable harm. Minutes later, US District Judge Leonie Brinkema of the District Court in Alexandria, Virginia issued a seven day ban on the removal of any green card holders being detained at Dulles International Airport.  

Lest we forget, Article III of the US Constitution states in part:

Section 1: The Judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

Section 2: The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution... 

Ladies and Gentlemen, readers of this blog, the only thing standing right now between the power of a tyrant and amateurs surrounding the tyrant, and ordinary and decent people, families, and children from being sent back to war torn countries merely because of where they came from and the deity they choose to worship, are a few dedicated lawyers, and the power of Article III judges. 

It's a precarious position to be in. 

On May 13, 1939, the ship St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany carrying 937 Jews who were being persecuted in Germany merely because of their religion. 

The passengers were denied entry into the United States because petty anti-semites in the State Department had no sympathy for their plight. The State Department's formal response included this phrase: "The passengers must await their turn on the immigration waiting list..."  (sound familiar?)

No nation bothered to help the Jews on the St. Louis, and the passengers were returned to a bloodthirsty Third Reich where most of them died in concentration camps. 

This week, the White House issued its annual statement on Holocaust Remembrance day. Shockingly, unlike any other statement issued by any other administration, the statement did not mention Jews. 
This was NOT an oversight. This is the subtle influence of the Alternate Right, and its pandering to white supremacists. This omission cannot be read any other way. This is not because the President is a racist. He is not. But he was elected by racists, and he damn well knows it. 

How is it possible that 77 years later, with all that we have witnessed to what nation states like Syria and Iran and Iraq can do to minorities in their country, that we can turn our backs on good and decent people who are fleeing an almost certain death? 

All we have left is a Constitution and Article III judges who remain the last power against this bigoted tyrant who plays on the prejudices of dimwitted people who voted for him. 

See You In Court, where sometimes lawyers and judges do damn good things and save lives. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

HOW TO GET AN AFORM IN 11TEEN EASY STEPS

Master trial lawyer Jack Blumenfeld asked this question on FACDL:

Could someone please repeat the procedure to get an A Form from the Clerk’s Office?

Thank you

Jack R. Blumenfeld

And this was the response 

  
It was supposed to be for any arrest form, but was recently emailed back that they only do 72 hours.

Rumpole writes: Surely you jest...
Email:
Please send me the a-form for f17-12345
Response: There are four co-defendants A,B,C,D- which one?
Email: B
Response: B what?
Email: B a good clerk and email me the B aform for F17-123456
Response: A forms have no B that's why they are called A
Email: May I please have the A-form for F17-12345B
Response: Have you registered? Do you have a user ID number, password and PIN?
Email: No- how do I get those?
Response: Send a self addressed stamped envelope to Tallahassee, Office of Clerk of the Court: Attention A-Forms, and provide a check for 11.17 to The Clerk of the Court, A forms division. In three weeks you will receive a post card with a temporary PIN. Log in to "Iwantanaform.org" and set up an account. Then when you email this office, provide the PIN, the Password, and the User name.  

Rinse. Repeat. 




Thursday, January 26, 2017

THE 81ST STAR

An ex-CIA operations officer wrote this piece in the NY Times regarding the affront she and other officers felt when our president stood in front of the wall of stars at the CIA honoring those who gave their life for this country. 

The 81st star belongs to Gregg Wenzel, clandestine officer, and former Dade County Assistant Public Defender. We've written about Mr. Wenzel here and here. 

From the NY Times:

When the 81st star was carved into the wall in 2003, the fallen patriot’s name was not added to the accompanying Book of Honor. At the time, his C.I.A. affiliation was classified, as it remained for nearly six more years. I will never forget seeing his family at the ceremony, knowing they could not tell their loved ones the truth about his death. He died with nobody knowing who he was or what he did for our country. But I believe that is how he would have wanted it, because, as the former C.I.A. director Leon E. Panetta said when finally revealing my friend’s name in 2009, “He lived for a purpose greater than himself.”

Gregg Wenzel left his law career to serve his country after Sept. 11, 2001. He died at 33 years old, in Ethiopia, while working tirelessly in pursuit of information needed to help protect this country. I don’t know if he was a liberal or a conservative; I don’t know whom he voted for. I know only that he was dedicated, loyal, adventurous and a jokester. And he welcomed me as a sister when we met overseas, knowing nothing more than that I was a colleague and shared his sense of mission.

Make no mistake about one thing in our day and age: character counts. Character is what you do and how you act when no one is looking. Gregg Wenzel had character, honor, integrity. He believed and lived and died for the credo Duty; Honor; County. 

There are just some people who have not earned the right to even stand before the 81st star, the 80 stars before the 81st, and those that have come and will sadly come in the future. 

See you in court. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

AWARDS

It's that time of year again when the country holds its breath in anticipation of the announcement of two sets of awards: The Academy Awards and the Miami Chapter of the FACDL's awards. See below for details.  (ed. Note. As detailed below the award ceremony is open only to DUES paying members of FACDL. As such we regretfully cannot receive any award nor vote. We are allergic to paying dues. And if nominated we will not accept. If awarded, we shall not appear. )

Dear members,

This serves as a call for nominations for the FACDL-Miami Awards which are presented each year at our annual banquet.  This year's 54th Annual Awards and Installation Gala will take place on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the JW Marriot Marquis in Downtown Miami.  Once again, we will gather to celebrate and honor attorneys and judges whose character and work merits recognition from our criminal defense organization. 

Below are brief descriptions of the criteria for each of the FACDL-Miami awards.  If you know a lawyer(s) or judge deserving of one of these honorable distinctions, please forward me your nomination no later than Tuesday,  February 14, 2017.  Please include a statement why you think such person or group is deserving of the Award and other material you would like the Board to consider.  

RUMPOLE SAYS: Leave your nominations in the comments section and sign your name and we will forward them to the FACDL big-wigs.

THE HONORABLE GERALD KOGAN JUDICIAL DISTINCTION AWARD – This award is presented to a Judge in recognition of an extraordinary career contribution and dedicated service to the improvement of the criminal justice system and for the preservation of constitutional rights.

THE DANIEL S. PEARSON-HARRY W. PREBISH FOUNDERS AWARD – This award is given, when appropriate, in recognition of a lifetime commitment to preserve the constitutional rights of all citizens and for manifesting the very best principles for which FACDL-Miami stands -- an open-hearted devotion to justice, civility, discretion, courage, respect for human dignity and mercy.

THE RODNEY THAXTON “AGAINST ALL ODDS” AWARD – This award is given, when appropriate, to a criminal defense lawyer, who having undertaken a particularly difficult or unpopular client or cause, represents the heart and spirit of criminal defense, and who epitomizes the courage of the criminal defense lawyer to stand apart (and often alone) as Liberty’s Last Champion.
  
THE GREGG WENZEL YOUNG LAWYER’S AWARD - This award is given to a young lawyer who exemplifies hard work in the legal arena and in service to the community.

There will be a vote at our February Board Meeting on the 15th of the month to decide who will be selected for the awards. The meeting is open to the general membership and any member can nominate someone they think is worthy, speak on behalf of their nominee and vote. This is not a closed meeting (no FACDL-Miami meeting is a closed meeting). The meeting will be held at the Federal Public Defenders office in the 15th floor conference room in the Bank of America Building. The address is 150 West Flagler.
  
Brian Kirlew, Esq.

Monday, January 23, 2017

SIZE MATTERS

The honourable United States District Judge Federico Moreno (and REGJB alumunus)  saw fit to comment about our comment about George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States: 


Anonymous Fred Moreno said...
Rumpole, whomever you are, I have only commented once before in your blog when Judge Richard Hickey died. Now, I could not resist complimenting you on the description of President Bush 41 as a real American hero. I forwarded your remarks to former Governor Jeb Bush and he emailed me to "please thank the blogger for the kind words about my dad." FAM


Dear Judge Moreno:
Thank you for reading the blog. 
Your efforts are appreciated. 
As to Jeb Bush, your email is appreciated, but just between us- our former governor knows how we feel about his dad. 

SIZE MATTERS


Apparently, size matters to the 45th president of the United States. Size of the crowds, size of his hands, how many times he has been on the cover of Time magazine. 

When the 45th president of the United States stood in front of the wall of stars and heroes at the CIA and grandiosely and cavalierly spoke about the greatness of his speech and the size of his crowds, and made scant reference to the heroes who died without personal recognition in the service of their country- and one of those stars represents a former Miami Assistant Public Defender who joined the clandestine service- we cringed. Anyone with a sense of history and honor and service and dignity cringed. 

The next four years will be cringe worthy indeed. Buckle up. 
See you in court. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

INAUGURATION PRIMER

The interregnum (what a great word) ends tomorrow as Donald J Trump takes the oath of office and becomes the 45th  president of the United States. 

CJ John Roberts will administer the oath. Query/trivia: who was the last person who was NOT a Chief Justice or Supreme Court Justice to swear in a President?

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas will administer the oath to VP elect Mike Pence. 

Have they done their homework here? The last time Justice Thomas said anything in public was "Supersize that and an order of onion rings as well...yes I'm sure I don't want a coke. Don't ask why please".  

Pence takes the oath first, which means for a few awkward moments Obama will be president, and Pence will be his VP. 

Trivia: Where was the first inauguration held?

Vegas odds: 1,000-1 Trump does not say "baba booey" in his speech. 150-1 someone shouts out "baba booey" loud enough to be heard on television. 

As per tradition, President Obama will get one last ride on his plane. The plane will NOT be called Air Force One when it flies him to California for a holiday. 
Trivia: What is the plane called when the president is not on board? 

GHWB

George Herbert Walker Bush is the 41st President of the United States. He is currently in the hospital. He is the greatest man we have ever known. We worked with Mr. Bush in DC when he was Ronald Wilson Reagan's vice president. Of course we cannot explain the exact details here. But here are a few stories. 

He was and is an inveterate letter writer. He has corresponded on a regular basis with hundreds of regular americans he met throughout his life. He is a war hero, the youngest bomber pilot in the Pacific in WWII at the time he flew his plane. 

In the 1950's Bush and his wife lost their daughter Robin to leukemia. There is a letter from GHWB to his mother about his daughter which we highly reccomend as a poignant example of his humanity. Here is part of what he wrote:

We need a legitimate Christmas angel, one who doesn't have cuffs beneath her dress. You have to be a father to know this,” he wrote. “We need a little one who can kiss without leaving egg or jam or gum. We need a girl. We had one once..... But she is still with us. We need her and yet we have her.”

In 2o13, Bush shaved his head in solidarity with 2 year old Patrick, the son of one of the agents on his secret service detail who was being treated for leukemia and had lost all his hair. He is that type of man. 

Many years after the death of Robin, as VP while running for president, Bush was in Poland and found himself visiting a children's hospital. There was a young child who was ill with Leukemia. Bush didn't know that at the time he picked up (the boy as we remember it) and the boy gave him a hug. Bush asked what was the matter and through interpreters he learned the child had leukemia. The incident was being recorded by reporters. Bush kept a smile and played with the boy for a moment, and then put him down and excused himself. He walked off to a small area where he couldn't be seen and he broke down. One reporter witnessed it and later asked him about it. Bush explained about his daughter. The reporter asked him why he walked away? That showing some emotion in front of the press during a presidential election would have been a great thing for the campaign. Bush gave the reporter a sad smile, shook his head and walked away. 

George Herbert Walker Bush is a great american. He is a real man, with real principles. And unlike the way politics is today with the win at all costs campaigns, there were just some things that were more important to George Bush than winning the presidency. 

We can't say that about the 45th president of the United States. But we do wish him well and hope he is successful. 

See you in court next week.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER JOA

Not quite a JOA, but another Not Guilty for everyone's favourite federal blogger and a damn good criminal defense attorney: 

PRESS RELEASE REGARDING NOT GUILTY VERDICT OF MEDICAL DOCTOR MICHAEL BAHRAMI
      
            After a three day trial, a federal jury unanimously found Dr. Michael Bahrami not guilty today in Federal Court before Judge Cecilia Altonaga.  Dr. Bahrami was charged in a one count indictment with conspiracy to defraud the United States and to accept kickbacks and bribes in exchange for referring patients to home health agencies.  The jury deliberated for less than an hour before finding him not guilty.

Dr. Bahrami fled Iran when he was 17 years old.  He taught himself English working as a bus boy.  He then put himself through medical school and did his internship at Mt. Sinai hospital.  He is 61 years old and has a successful cardiology practice.  He is married with two small children, 7 and 9 years old.  Throughout the trial, the courtroom was packed with his patients who all support him and say he is the best doctor around.  He, his wife, and his patients wept after the trial. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

RIDING A TIGER

THERE IS NEVER A WRONG TIME TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. 


A new President takes office in five days. 
Qi hu nan xia
"When on the tiger's back, it's hard to dismount."
Chinese Proverb.

See You In Court. 

We've made a tidy sum on the November/December Trump rally. What area of Canada should we buy a ranch in? 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

THIS TIME NEXT WEEK

The 45th President of the United States will be in the White House.




Enjoy your day off. 

BTW, We kinda like the Packers with the points today. 

Jai Guru Dev. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

VETERANS COURT KICK-OFF TODAY


New Veterans Court cuts the ribbon TODAY- Friday- Courtroom 4-1 at 11:30. 

Judge Tinkler-Mendez will preside over the new court. 

REGJB Old Timers know that Miami was the First In The Nation to start a Drug Court- trivia- name the late Judge who founded drug court (hint- he was an old motocycle cop before becoming a lawyer). UPDATE- All answers in comments are correct. The great Stanley Goldstein. 

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned from two-decades of war, only to find no parades, and not many people who understand their problems. This is a good start. Well done. 

See you in court. 



Monday, January 09, 2017

SO NOW YOU'RE A JUDGE IN CRIMINAL COURT

So now you're a judge in criminal court. You drew the short straw in the New Year judicial rotation and ended up at the confluence of NW 12th Street and 12th Avenue; just a stone's throw from the Miami River. 
You've decorated your chambers, entered the phone numbers into your cell phone, found your parking spot, frowned at the dearth of good lunch places nearby. 

Now what?  A few helpful hints. 

1. The REGJB opened in 1962 and has been full of judges ever since. It will be full of judges long after you leave. You are not indispensable. Anybody can deny a motion to suppress, deny a continuance, deny an objection, read the jury instruction on reasonable doubt, tally up and impose a maximum sentence, and come down from the bench like Moses off the mountain, robes flowing, and graciously hand jurors a certificate of thanks. You can and will be replaced and life will go on without your brilliant legal insights. So just try and do the best you can for the people who appear in court. 

2. You're the Judge. You make the call. You can call your friends, the administrative judges, or whomever about WHAT an arthur hearing is, but you can't call them to ask what you should do. You wanted the job, you make the call. It's not fair to the parties to have another judge, who didn't hear the evidence, make the decision. 

3. When a lawyer asks for a continuance because they are going away, do not show your ignorance as a trial lawyer by asking when they are coming back and setting the trial for the next day. It takes a lot to get a case ready for trial, and no one wants to spend their vacation worrying about the trial set to begin the day after they come back. 

4. The prosecution is not always right. And when they are wrong, innocent lives are ruined. Never forget that. When the job seems mundane and it's just another boring burglary trial of  GORT/PERP who did it- and you make that call before the case begins- it's time to transfer to family or civil. 

5. No matter how good you were, it's not your case. It's the lawyer's case. Let her try it. 

6. No infant is born to parents who dream of him committing a crime. No child in kindergarten says they want to grow up to be a drug dealer or burglar or thief.  We don't live in a fair world. The universe is indifferent. But behind the veneer of a defendant is a person with hopes and dreams. Most people are redeemable. 

7. Before you sentence someone to prison, go to a prison. The great (and now former) Federal Judge John Gleeson took his staff every year to Danbury prison to see the effect on the people he sentenced. 
We can't think of one judge in Florida who does that on a regular basis. 

8. Don't revel in minimum mandatory sentences. All that means is that the Florida Legislature decided that the 24 year old prosecutor who has been in court all of six months has more wisdom about what should happen to the defendant that you do. Sucks if you really think about it. 

9. One of the very best judges to ever grace the halls of the REGJB- USDC Judge Federico Moreno once sentenced a defendant below the guidelines on a murder (might have been a manslaughter) case AFTER trial. Because that's what the facts called for. Losing a trial does not mean a defendant gets punished for going to trial. Being a tough sentencer does not mean you will work less- although judges have been buying into that faulty thinking for decades now. And do you really want to frighten an innocent person into pleading guilty? Is that why you became a judge? 

10. The only reputation you will develop when you start voir dire at 3, openings at 6, and testimony at 7 is that you're an idiot. Jurors will hate you, and the defendant will not get a fair trial. People will not whisper behind your back "that judge is amazing...s/he tried a case until midnight yesterday." What they will do is repeat what you did with the words "ass"; "jerk"; "idiot"; "big-ego"; "robe-its" and such.  

11. When the job is no longer fun, quit. 

12. Change is the price of survival.

Go forth and do good. Do justice. Be wise. Be fair. Be nice. Read the motions you get. Have fun. 

See you in court.  


Sunday, January 08, 2017

DOLPHINS PLAYOFF GAME TODAY!

It was a good season for our Fins. Maybe it ends today, but they are playing a team they beat handily a few months ago, so....anything can happen in playoff football.

Lots of rumors flying around about who will be US Attorney in the SDFLA... but as of yet, no facts. 

Does the US Attorney resign January 20? Or do they just keep plugging on until Washington acts? 

Ten words Donald Trump WILL Say during his inaugural speech:

10.Taxes
9. Defense
8. Terrorist 
7. America
6. Trade
5. Congress
4. Freedom
3. Oil & Gas
2. Ronald Reagan
1. Donald Trump


Ten Words Trump Will NOT say during his speech:

10. Civil rights
9. Education
8. Global Warming
7. Ecology
6. Arts
5. Love
4. Martin Luther King
3. Intelligence
2. Reason
1. Justice Building Blog

Friday, January 06, 2017

WHO SHOULD BE US ATTORNEY

DOM scooped the Miami media and blogasphere by reporting about Judge Ungaro being in the running to be the next US Attorney for the SDFla. 

Be that as it may, who should the next president pick? 

The US Attorney oversees an office that does much more than file illegal re-entry after deportation cases. 

The Southern District runs from North of West Palm to Key West. One overlooked area of prosecution is the federal protection of Florida's irreplaceable reefs and wetlands. When was the last time you heard of the US Attorneys office bringing an ecological crimes case or investigating such crimes? 

What about forfeitures? The government's avarice in grabbing money and land from citizens is reaching frightening new heights. 

Do we want a US Attorney with a strong civil or criminal background? 

Would a judge- any judge- bring a different perspective?  How about Judge Williams? The former federal PD- what kind of perspective would she bring? 

And while we're on the subject, is it time for a change in State court? 

First weekend of the new year brings the Fins in a road playoff game with a decimated secondary facing a high-powered passing offense. With a back-up QB, this could be a tough game. What does our 2016 NFL Survivor Pool champ Lucy Lew have to say? Maybe she'll give us a tip. 

Enjoy the first of your 52 2017 weekends. For those of you in court this week- fear not. Statistics show that most New Year's resolutions are broken in January. In another week or two the gung-ho attitudes of Judges and ASAs should fade into the dreary workload they shoulder everyday. 

Big snow dump on us here out in Tahoe. Lucky to have power. 


37 days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training (as Judge Hirsch would tell you). 
Image result for baseball player icon
See you in court. 





Wednesday, January 04, 2017

IS IT THE U?

DOM, in a scooping mode, breaks the story that USDJ (and former REGJB Miami Circuit Court Judge) Ursula Ungaro is being considered to be US Attorney!!

We can think of one former Dade Circuit Judge who became US Attorney- the sui generis career of Tom Scott.

Scott was a circuit court judge, a US District Court judge, US Attorney for the Southern District Of Florida, and he also worked the door at Joes for a period of time (not true). 

Of course, considering the soon to be POTUS, the new US attorney could be one of the guys at the door at Joes.... Eddie has taken care of us for the last few years at Joes. He would be a fine choice. 

DOM opined that Ungaro would "whip that office into shape". Cheap shot at the current USAO? 

See you in court. 

YOUNG V.20

(Updated with a hot fed rumor below)
David Young is back on the bench! 

And he is really really excited about it and wants everyone to know how happy he is to be back. 



We've been thinking about other Judges who have voluntarily resigned and then gotten their position back. 

The only name that comes to mind is Judge Joe Farina. He left the bench, returned and then had a good run as chief of criminal court and then Chief Judge. 

FED RUMOR
When compared to our humble REGJB, the feds rumor mill is downright G rated. But then everyone's favourite federal blogger dropped this rumor in his first working day post of 2017 imaginatively entitled "2017!" : 
Speaking of District Judges, there is a rumor going around that one of our own DJs is interested in the new U.S. Attorney slot.  Anyone else hearing this?

Considering DOM spent part of the holidays photo bombing and taking selfies with the President Elect of the United States on Trump's private golf course in Jupiter (belying his image as a defense attorney of the proletariat) , he would appear to know something about this.

This is a juicy one. Any ideas?

See you in court.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

THE 12% SOLUTION

How about some heartwarming and uplifting news to start the new year? 

Sorry, we don't have any. But we have this: 12% of the available federal judge positions are vacant and eligible for President Elect Trump to fill: 

By the time Trump is sworn in on Jan. 20, there will be more than 100 vacant judgeships across the federal courts. Trump can begin to name nominees for those seats once he takes office — the number of vacancies equals about 12 percent of all active federal judgeships, far more than Presidents George W. Bush or Obama had to fill at the start of their presidencies.
It’s an immediate opportunity for Trump to leave a legacy that would last for decades, and one that Republicans don’t want him to squander.
“A very large number of those circuit courts of appeals flipped during the Obama years, and certainly from the conservatives’ perspective it would be nice to flip some or all of those back,” said John Malcolm, director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “That’s going to take time. President Obama had eight years.”

It would be nice if our very own Mary Barzee would be one of those appointments, but don't hold your breath. 

See you in court. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

RUMPOLE RESOLVES

Our New Year's Resolutions

1) To be a better lawyer (if possible).

2) To be a better blogger. ( id.).

3) To be nicer to judges (every resolution list should have at least one unattainable item). For those robed readers who need a little love, here is Chief Justice John Roberts praising our over-worked, under-paid, highly-qualified US District Court judges (we mean most of that. Old habits are hard to break.).

4) To let all our readers know that if there is one book you should read in 2017, it is Bruce Springsteen's autobiography "Born To Run". Simply amazing.

5) More pilates...less sugar...should do the trick.

6) Two words that bring a smile to every funny/social commentator: President Trump.

7) (removed by blog administrator).

Happy New Year one and all.

See you in court, but not Tuesday- because remember the number one rule of Rumpole's rules of the practice of law ( (c) Justice Building Blog 2016-17, all rights reserved): NEVER EVER ...repeat- NEVER EVER let a judge set a trial for the first week of the new year. Never. Schedule elective surgery if necessary. But never let a case be set for the first week of January.

Judges and prosecutors have spent the holidays pondering their careers, and simple subjects that they are (just broke resolution #3) they all arrive at the same conclusion: to try more cases and seek and issue harsher sentences as a way of letting the word go forth that defendants should not be foolish enough to risk a trial in their courtroom.

Time and time again we have seen defendants slammed on simple cases all because their lawyers made the mistake of allowing their case to be set for the first week of January. 
There is also a more personal issue. For those of us that like to ski and travel and enjoy the holidays, having a jury trial set January 2 wipes out the last two weeks of December which much be spent in preparation for the trial. But beyond personal reasons, do not play into the New Years Resolution trap where Judges and prosecutors - unhappy to be back at work- take out their frustrations and fulfill their resolutions on the back of your client.

You've been warned time and time again. Don't complain to us if you haven't listened.

See You In Court.