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 22, 2018

AND WE'RE BACK UP AND RUNNING

Two days, nineteen hours, six minutes and thirty-one seconds, by our clock. A mere bag-of-shells shutdown-wise John Boehner and the Republicans of the last decade shut down the government for two days in their sleep. They had real shutdowns. A few weeks of shutting it down. This was a big yawn...like a hurricane that misses us by a country mile. 

Meanwhile, as our new Judges settle into the REGJB, and our president dodges porn-star tryst-tales, how's your New Years Resolutions going? 
Are you robed readers still denying continuances and issuing max sentences in the hopes that the word will spread that you are the "New Morphonious" (for those of you born after  1990, Google it) and defendants will plead guilty out of fear. Because that's the mark of a good, tough judge, right? Scaring defendants into pleas. 
Yeah. 

Meanwhile, our Super-Bowl is set. The Cheaters again, against the Eagles. Guess who we are rooting for? And stay tuned for our, lock-solid, guaranteed pick of the coin flip. We've never missed yet. 

From Occupied, and fully funded (for now), America, Fight The Power of President Stephen Miller. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

AND.....WE'RE DOWN




The great Trump/Republican government shutdown of 2018 has begun. 
The Democrats blame Trump,  Russia , China, Ayn Rand, Trump, Twitter, Global Warming, George Bush, The federalist Society and Justice Gorsuch. 

The Republicans blame Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Jimmy Carter, Chuck Schumer, Barak Obama, North Korea, Chaing Kai-Shek, Julia Child, legalized Marijuana,  and Mister Rogers

We are not affected, for  the moment, by the shutdown and will continue to heroically blog through it all. 

Here are the official positions of each party:

The Republicans aver that the Democrats, sensing weakness, refused to approve a reasonable spending bill until the Republicans and Trump agreed to 1) Let all Mexicans who have criminal records into the United States with fast access to becoming citizens. Mexicans with sex crime priors should receive special treatment; 2) Agreed to a constitutional amendment making Sharia law the co-equal law of the land;3) Agreed to outlaw all restrooms for men and women, and order all public facilities to install only unisex restrooms and transgender rest rooms; 4) Agree to not pay military families until all members of Isis receive food stamps; and finally, to raise taxes on all Americans earning less than one hundred thousand dollars a year 100%. 
This is how the Republicans characterize the position of leading Democrats. 

The Democrats counter that the Republicans would not accept a reasonable deal until the Democrats agreed to 1) Lower taxes to 1% on all Americans making one million dollars a year or more; 2) Outlaw immigration from any country except Israel,  Norway and Russia; 3) Agree to award Vladimir  Putin the Congressional Medal of Honor; 4) Fund a special counsel to investigate special counsel Robert Muller; 4) Arrest Hillary Clinton; 5) Retroactively impeach Bill Clinton and Barak Obama and erase all mentions of their names from the history books and the internet; 6) Impose a ten thousand dollar usage fee for all people earning less than fifty thousand dollars a year who seek health care; and 7) Reinstate Plessy v. Ferguson

This is how the Democrats have characterized the position of the Republican Party and the President.

Naturally, both sides have expressed optimism that a resolution is close.  

And so it goes.....

From Occupied and Shut Down America, Fight the Power.

Friday, January 19, 2018

COUNT DOWN TO SHUT DOWN

The Democratic senate caucus is meeting at 8:30 PM. 
The senate has a vote scheduled at 10:00 PM.

Will the government shut down? 
Do we care?

The Northern District of Texas saw fit to send out an email alerting lawyers that even if the government shuts down, the court will be open Monday and would update lawyers on the possible reduction of services in the coming weeks if the shut down continues. 

The SDFLA? Silent.  But Rumpole knows the court's have a reserve fund that will last about a week to ten days, at which point money to pay clerks and PDs runs out. Stay tuned.

So how will this affect you? 
Social Security? Payments will go out. 
Federal parks, museums, zoos? Abierto! Closed until further notice. 
The Mail? "Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor Gloom Of Trump, shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Air Traffic Controllers? "You're cleared ILS  niner right, contact ground control at 112.5"

Defense, NORAD, etc? Operating as normal.

From Occupied America, where Obama and Boehner aren't the only ones to shut down the government, fight the power!




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

#MAGA ..... ON MONDAY, PRESIDENT TRUMP MADE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

#MAGA ..... ON MONDAY, PRESIDENT TRUMP MADE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN .....

In 1978, Jorge Garcia was born in Mexico.

In 1988, a relative of Jorge Garcia took Jorge, who was ten years old at the time, illegally across the Mexican border and into the United States.

In 2003, at the age of 25, Garcia married Cindy. Then came the birth of his daughter (now 15 years old) and his son (now 12 years old).

For the past 15 years, Garcia has always worked and earned an income to help support his family.  He paid his taxes too.  He has never been arrested, in fact, he has never had so much as a parking ticket.

Garcia has also reported annually to INS/ICE and followed all of their instructions.  He never so much as left town to travel anywhere without first obtaining the permission of ICE.

Garcia does not qualify for DACA.  Of the seven requirements, he was only able to check six of the boxes: He arrived in the US before he turned 16; he continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007; he was present in the US on June 15, 2012; he had no lawful status on June 15, 2012; he obtained his GED; and he was never convicted of a crime.

His only mishap - he was not under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.  He was 33 years old.

So, when “The Donald” came into office exactly one year ago this Saturday, the writing was already on the “wall”.  Trump made it clear from day one, when on June 16, 2015 from Trump Tower in Manhattan, he announced that he was running for President. On that day he targeted Mexico and Mexicans, stating infamously "they're bringing drugs; they're bringing crime; they're rapists; and some, I assume, are good people".

Despite repeated attempts to obtain legal status for Garcia so he could stay in this country, those efforts failed.  In December, ICE agents informed Garcia that his time was up.  They gave him the news - he would have to get on a plane and return to Mexico on Monday, January 15, 2018, Martin Luther King Day.  After spending nearly thirty years in the United States, Garcia would be returned to the country he left when he was only ten years old.

At the airport on Monday, his wife and his two children hugged Garcia and kissed him goodbye, and on the plane he went.  Under the law, the earliest he can apply to be re-admitted to our country is ten years from now. If you have two minutes and three seconds to spare, watch the video here.

On Monday, President Trump Made America Great Again.


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

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

WELCOME BACK FROM MLK WEEKEND 2018

"Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere."
Dr. MLK, Letter From Birmingham Jail. April 16, 1963. 

It occurs to us that if Dr. King were jailed today, he would face daily costs for jail food and use of jail facilities, which is an injustice.

In the spring of 1968,  Dr. King had a rally for economic injustice planned for Washington DC., but first he had a stop in Memphis, Tennessee, planned to support local waste workers (garbage men) who were on strike.  The rest is, sadly history.

Economic injustice, even more than racial injustice, was the big target on King's radar in April, 1968. King realized, well before his time, that it wasn't going to be the color of a person's skin, but size of a person's bank account, that was going, in the long run, to affect a person's ability to survive and thrive in the world. And while there is a correlation between race and economic success, there is also a correlation between economic success and health, happiness, longevity, education...you name it. In other words, economics, more than race, is the great un-equalizer. 

We live in a highly regulated world, where a person's background is available with a few clicks. 
Lots of people get arrested, but people who can afford a private defense are more likely to avoid the petty criminal convictions that still cost a person in society. Case in point: Many years ago we represented a prominent anesthesiologist who, looking to sell his extra U of M football tickets during game day at the stadium, was arrested for some ridiculous violation of a City ordinance for selling without a license, or some such nonsense. Unlike other "ticket scalpers" we were able to get the charges dismissed for our client. The good doctor spent no time in jail, and his/her record remains clean. 

Other, less fortunate souls, would have a conviction, time in jail before they could bond out, court costs, and other potential economic costs that they could  ill afford to pay. 

In other words, when are we going to try to stop balancing the court budget on the backs of the poor who cannot afford to pay exorbitant court costs. The "payment plan" system (in some backwater room on the fifth floor of the REGJB, populated by those nameless, faceless public servants who add grist to the mill of the system) is just a "Christmas Club" for Tallahassee, where poor Floridians make the payments, and the politicians get the gifts.  

“The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”
“The three evils of society,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967. 

SEX AND THE MARRIED PRESIDENT 
In perusing the "President had sex with a porn star" headlines and articles this weekend, we came across this quote about sex and the presidency: "Chronic indiscipline, compulsion, exploitation, the easy betrayal of vows, all suggest something wrong at a deep level-something habitual and beyond control."
It is true the allegations about Trump having sex with a porn star were said to have occurred a year after Trump married the current Mrs. Trump in 2005. 
But this quote was from our conservative friend Bill Bennnett, and his book in 1999 "The Death Of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals." 
Huh. Well how about that? 
The easy betrayal of sacred wedding vows. The chronic indiscipline...all suggest something beyond control. Well, yeah., but...this is 2017, and the president in question is a Republican (well, sort of, not a Bush or Regan or Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt Republican, but still...), so maybe now it's time to just attribute such behavior to "boys will be boys" and not the moral outrage that accompanied the sex life of the last white-democratic President. 
Real American men just grab em by the you-know-what. Morals? Those are for Presidents who claim to be born in Hawaii (but maybe Africa). They aren't for true blue, manly Republican presidents. Right? They don't need morals....or do they?


From Occupied America, Fight the Power!


Monday, January 15, 2018

ONLINE SCHEDULING SYSTEM .... POSTSCRIPT .....



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

UPDATE ON THE ONLINE SCHEDULING SYSTEM .....

I think it goes without saying that Chief Judge Soto and Administrative Judge of the Criminal Court Sayfie have always gone out of their way to respond to our issues and concerns at the GJB. While we may not always like the answer, at least they are honest and forthright.
 
Both Judge Soto and Judge Sayfie responded to our concerns about the Judicial Assistants (JAs) who are less than responsive, as well as the implementation of a Criminal Court Online Scheduling System.

Here is what each Judge had to say:

As the one who often handles complaints about access to a judges calendar I would love an online system. I can certainly discuss it with the COC (this would be largely their show) and our IT team (CITES). I am guessing the big obstacle will be CJIS. And the fact that it is antiquated. And that we must still work through CJIS. Also - while Criminal is theoretically "efiling" the reality is that you, the attorney, are emailing your motions & pleadings to the COC, and the COC prints it out & then puts the paper in the paper file. The judges do not have any electronic access to your "efiled" motion. The system in civil was updated. As was the system in family. We are at the bottom of the list and while a CJIS overhaul has been in the works for over 5 years at least...I believe we will see it when we see a new courthouse. This is a matter of funding, and the county I presume, has not yet been convinced that our inefficient paper based & ancient non-web based computer system is wasting money. For what it is worth Chief Judge Soto & I have been in their faces about it regularly.

In any event, I will speak with CITES and see if there is something simple we can put in place in the meantime. And if there are "frequent flyers" among the JAs or judges who are limiting or denying access, rather than blog about it, please contact me with specific information. I promise you I will take care of it.

Nushin G. Sayfie, Circuit Court Judge
Administrative Judge, Criminal Division

-------

Captain Justice,

Thank you for your email. Online scheduling is something we would like in all our courts. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints and ITD’s timeline for CJIS that may be easier said than done. The last meeting we had with the County a price tag of fifty million dollars to revamp CJIS with a web based solution (I’m not techy but I think that’s the lingo). ITD has been observing and studying each CJIS function to come up with a solution for over 2 years (33 municipalities in addition to all of the stakeholders ie corrections, pd, sao, rcc, probation, etc use CJIS).

Judge Sayfie and I have met with ITD on numerous occasion encouraging a new system, but as expressed above we have not made much progress. I will reach out my trial court administrator and our cites department to see if there is something we can do internally but that may be problematic since most of the setting is done by the clerk’s office.
 
Bertila Soto
Chief Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit
 
-------

You want more funding for our criminal justice system?  Two thoughts: first, in November, vote for the candidates that are more likely to provide money in the state budget for items like CJIS; second, sign the Petition called the Voting Restoration Amendment, aka "Say Yes To Second Chances" which can be found here. 

So, there you have it. It’s all about the moolah and, as it always has been, the criminal justice system comes in dead last when it comes to the State and the County spending $$$$ for our little ole Gerstein Justice Building.

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

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Violence, Protective Injunctions, and M-O-N-E-Y, the Florida Supreme Court weighs in .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

QUERY: Is Florida Statute 784.046, the statute most criminal defense attorneys know as the:  ACTION BY VICTIM OF REPEAT VIOLENCE, SEXUAL VIOLENCE, OR DATING VIOLENCE FOR PROTECTIVE INJUNCTION, a civil proceeding or action?


The Florida Supreme Court weighed in on that question this week in the case of Lopez v Hall. In a 4-3 decision the majority answered YES, and with that answer, opened the floodgates for attorney fees to be obtained against a losing party under certain circumstances in these kinds of cases.

Most of us who dwell in the house of GJB and who have never ventured outside those protective walls to say the courthouse over at 73 West Flagler Street, have never even heard of F.S. 57.105. A favorite tool of our civil brethren, it spells out their favorite five letter word - M-O-N-E-Y.

We have all had that male client walk through our office door telling us that they had just been served with a Temporary Injunction and that the allegations were all false. Sometimes we prepare an all out defense, other times, for strategic reasons, we determine, after hearing all of the facts, that it is simply best to agree to the Injunction rather than fight it. So, we advise the client to accept the terms of the RO without admitting to any of the facts.

In Lopez v. Hall, Nicole Lopez filed a Petition for protection against Sean Hall. She swore out her allegations and received a temporary injunction. Hall, through counsel, filed a Motion, pursuant to 57.105, for attorneys fees claiming that Lopez had perjured herself in her petition. Lopez eventually dropped her action. Hall sought fees in the trial court, but the trial court judge denied the request finding that 57.105 did not apply. The First DCA reversed holding that the awarding of 57.105 attorneys fees did apply. And, the Florida Supreme Court agreed.

So, the next time your hero walks through the door, and says "none of it is true", you will now be able to tell him that not only will you be happy to fight for him, but you may also be able to secure him attorneys fees. F.S. 57.105 does state that:

1. It can be filed by motion of any party

2. On any claim or defense at any time during the civil proceeding or action

3. When the court finds that the losing party or the losing party’s attorney "knew or should have known" that a claim or defense was "not supported by the material facts".

Make sure you read the statute carefully as there are certain other requirements in order to be successful and collect fees. There is a notice provision requiring you to serve the motion on your opponent, and give them 21 days to withdraw or correct a baseless claim or defense, before you can go ahead and file your motion with the court and set it for a hearing.

Former Chief Justice Pariente wrote the dissent and she was joined by the only other female on the court (Justice Quince) as well as the current CJ Labarga. They, along with Howard Simon of the ACLU and other women’s groups are all concerned about the fallout of this opinion as it relates to protecting women from violence.

We expect a bill will be filed very soon in Tallahassee in an attempt to eliminate the 57.105 tool from the war chest of men who wish to scare off women from filing these kinds of restraining orders.

Coming on Monday, another post about M-O-N-E-Y as we hear from two of our favs, Judge Soto and Judge Sayfie..

Happy MLK Weekend. Be smart (take MM’s advice and curl up on the sofa with a good book) and stay off the streets lest you find yourself trapped among hundred of two and three wheeled bikers who have made it a yearly MLK weekend tradition of scaring the bejeezers out of the traveling public.

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


Thursday, January 11, 2018

TRUTH TO SUBS

Update: Rumpole here: Mr. Ovalle, always a good sport, wrote a Herald Article on our opinion in Ovalle v. Publix. 
It's a nice read. 

Gooooood morning MIAMI!.....Beautiful day....long weekend coming....amazing week on the blog. 

Did everyone catch the Twitter explosion with Rumpole when he posted the Appellate Court opinion this week? All of Miami's media-types loved it. Well deserved accolades for Mr. R. 
Follow @justicebuilding.

"Truth to Power." I gotta tell ya something. I hear that phrase all the time. On TV news shows.  On Twitter (@millennialme786, just sayin, check it out), everywhere. Here's the thing...WTF does it mean?  It's not a complete sentence. Truth is a noun. Power is an ephemeral concept. No, ephemeral is not the correct word, but it sounds like it should be. 
 In some ways Power is in the eye of the beholders. Leaders have power until their followers no longer accept it. A supervisor at work has power, until the employee quits.
Like gravity Power cannot be seen or touched. It is hard to measure. Actually you can measure gravity, but not power.

So when people say they want to speak "Truth" to "Power" what power? Where?  I just don't get it. 

Long weekend plans? I suggest going to one of those Everglades national parks we have.  Shark River is my fav.  👩💛Everyone goes in the summer when it's a miserable, sweat-fest slog through stifling heat. Try it out in the winter on a cool, sunny day. Lots going on. You can bring your bike or rent one, or take a tram tour. And it's not expensive. And you can bring a picnic lunch. 

Speaking of lunch, you know who has the best local sandwiches? Publix. Ya. Publix. I kid ya not. It's like, a national phenomenon. (Not sure why I lapsed into Trump-valley speak there. I'll stop now.). Check out Buzzfeed which calls the subs the "best on earth." 
Google Publix subs. There are articles and Facebook  pages and fans devoted to Publix subs. My fav is the veggie. Load it up with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, yellow peppers, hot peppers, sweet peppers (I like peppers, do you think?) a few onions, double avocado, little cheese, some creamy dressing. Yummy. 

Still have the flu or that bad cold going around? Stay home. Order a Publix sub, and get The Woman in The Window, by AJ Flynn. Nice, dark, compelling, fun read. Or The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah (No, it's not the story of my dating life 😜- it's the story of a family in crisis, in Alaska in the 1970's). 

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!  (I planned ahead and got the day off tomorrow, so I'm rockin a really long weekend.)

MM. 





Tuesday, January 09, 2018

PARKING PROBLEMS

Several alert readers sent us pictures regarding the on-going saga of Lot 26 near the REGJB.

Not a lot of spots available for cars that don't have red and blue lights on top of them

And so it goes.



From occupied America, where there are NO parking spots, Fight the power for a space. 



Monday, January 08, 2018

ONLINE SCHEDULING SYSTEM ... COUNTER POINT TO RUMPOLE


THE CAPTAIN RETORTS:

POINT ... COUNTER POINT ...
ON THE ONLINE SCHEDULING SYSTEM ......

My my Horace, a new year may have arrived, but your curmudgeonly (and humerous) style of writing has not changed a bit.

El Capitan, on the other hand, being the intrepid reporter that I have come to be known, took the time to contact a close friend who spends most of his time downtown at the courthouse where the black birds fly overhead.

According to my friend, we’ll call him Seve Nty Three (Nty is his middle name), the Online Scheduling System works wonders in the General Jurisdiction (Civil) Division.

Last week he filed a Motion To Compel Answers to Interrogatories. He asked his paralegal to Efile the Motion and check the Online Calendaring system. She looked online at the Judge’s calendar. The Judge has her five minute calendar every Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 8:45 AM. The Online system lets you choose the next open date, that is at least seven days from the day you are online (so as to give the other side sufficient notice). Once you choose your date, you are sent a confirmation from the Efiling system. At that point, the paralegal generates a Notice of Hearing and files that online so that all parties are aware of the date and time.

If there is an emergency that needs to be heard, then you contact the JA. If it is something more than a routine motion, one that takes 15 minutes or longer, then some of the judges have that information and choices also posted in the Online Calendaring system. With other Judges, you do need to contact the JA.

According to Seve, the system works well.

Maybe the FACDL President can ask the FACDL Liaison to the Circuit Court to set up a meeting with the Administrative Judge and the AOC and the Clerk of Court to see whether that same system can be implemented at the GJB.

CAPTAIN OUT .......

Captain4Justice@gmail.com

 
 

Sunday, January 07, 2018

OVALLE v. PUBLIX

If you have not been following the contretemps of Ace Herald scribe David Ovalle and the express lane at Publix on his twitter account @davidovalle305 then you have been missing a treat. The issue has, at last, through the volunteer efforts of two retired Judges from the Third DCA, and yours truly, been resolved. While we will not ruin the ending, it is our strong advice that if you bump into Ovalle at Publix, you walk the other way. He's a rabble-rouser.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

LIKE...AH....


In this season of startling news, we have some startling news....(steady now)

Our President, is, like, a bimbo Valley Girl Ya ( with no offense to those women who live in the valley outside of LA)

Because, like, we cannot like make this up, like, like...this is what like, he actually, like tweeted, cool...

Donald J. TrumpVerified account @realDonaldTrump 4 hours ago
....Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star.....



From like, Occupied America, like, fight the power. Duh!.

COMING TOMORROW
An Appellate decision in Ovalle v. Publix
If you haven't followed the contretemps of our intrepid Herald Crime dog and his battles with intransigent Publix Cashiers in the express lane, then you've been missing out. 




Thursday, January 04, 2018

JUDGES KRAVITZ AND PHIL BLOOM HAVE PASSED AWAY

UPDATED: Judge Shelly Kravitz and Judge Phil Bloom have both passed away this week. Judge Kravitz was not someone we knew well. Here is the Herald Obit for her.
The Herald obituary mentions that she was Miami's longest serving County Court Judge-25 years and counting, and that her dedication to the election canvassing board, which is in charge of supervising recounts, was legendary.

Retired Circuit Judge Phil Bloom is someone we did know well. Here is the Herald Obit for him.  Judge Bloom was known for his humor and humanity.  As the Herald recounts, Bloom once drove to the backyard of litigants suing over the loud noises from Parrots. Bloom heard nothing and dismissed the case, not before noting that there were more important issues in the world. We knew Judge Bloom as a Judge who when presented with a first time offender, especially a young one, was open to a sentence that gave the defendant a second chance. Judge Bloom was the type of Judge you wanted as a Judge- a man guided by humility, love of humanity, some humor, and a solid knowledge of the law. Judge Bloom was named a legal legend in 2011 by the Miami Court's Historical Society. He was Judge at a time Miami was a different community, and Judges had more leeway to treat criminal defendants. Click on the Obit and read what Judges Moreno and Ward had to say about this remarkable, caring man. 
 

As to Judge Kravitz, We received two remembrances so far, which we list below: 


She was a kind, sweet and fun loving person. She loved her dad and her best friend who more like her child Lenny Kravitz (her dog). She was a great daughter, sister, friend, and judge. For me, she was always there for any question I had. We became friends about six years ago. She always told me she had an connection with us Cubans not only because she married one (her ex husband) but also because she was born in Hialeah. She joked about that often. Lastly she was a true animal lover. Many years ago she became a vegetarian not for the health benefits, but for her love  of animals. She will be truly missed by all, including me.

It's really surreal and horrible. Judge Kravitz had an impressive career and background before and while a judge. She was President of the County Judges for Florida. She was always an effective advocate for the courts. She was an exceptional educator for Florida judges. She held a position on the Canvassing Board for every election for as long as we can remember. Not a task for the faint of heart. When she saw anything wrong or amiss, she would work to fix it. Small case in point -- when she spotted a pedestrian endangerment in front of the civil courthouse, she lobbied the commission to put in a crosswalk and traffic light. If you go to her chambers, there are articles and proclamations adorning every wall (including the bathroom). Someone should review them before they just get taken down and given to family because she should be publicly recognized for all the things she has done. We all struggle with the concept of relevance and just because you did incredible things more than a year ago does not strip your deeds of meaning.  To us, Shelley was the most collegial of judges. She took an interest in all of us. Though a veteran, she treated us all as her equal and friend. Shelley and I shared a love of dogs and could talk about anything together. She was just the most generous and lovable woman. We can't register this as real because it seems so unjust.

From the 11th Judicial Circuit Website:
Throughout her 25 years on the County Court Bench, Judge Kravitz served in the Domestic Violence and Criminal Divisions, and most recently in the Civil Division.
 In addition to her work on the Bench, Judge Kravitz contributed to the legal community through the Conference of County Court Judges, where she served as past president and legislative chair for 15 years. She received the Harvey Ford Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Conference. Judge Kravitz also served as past president of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
 “Judge Kravitz was not only a dedicated judge but a very caring person who devoted her time to this community and to the legal profession through her many years on the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board and her extensive contributions to the Conference of County Court judges. Prior to becoming an attorney and judge, she was a school teacher and she continued to show her love for children by being involved in the court’s educational activities for visiting school groups. She will be greatly missed by all of us here,” said the Honorable Bertila Soto, Chief Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit

Here's what we get from what we are reading: A judge who delighted in her job; who was always ready to help her colleagues, and who worked tirelessly for our community. A woman who loved animals, made friends easily, and was adored by those who knew her. What a tragic loss for our community



Wednesday, January 03, 2018

ARCTIC WEATHER BOMB

An arctic weather mass is moving in through the eastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday. How cold is it?  It's so cold that...

Part of Niagara Falls has frozen;
A Canadian Zoo moved their Penguins inside to make them warm and toasty;
It snowed in parts of Florida on Wednesday;
They're serving Hot Chocolate on Ocean Drive on South Beach.

Query: Does the REGJB have heat? 
Truly, we are not sure. 

Temps in Broward, where their hearts are dark and cold anyway, will dip into the high 20's Wednesday night. In Miami, it will be a tropical 45 degrees. 

This mid-latitude cyclone will under go an explosive cyclogenesis which occurs when the pressure suddenly drops (duh). A cold, Canadian air mass is fueling this, which has caused POTUS 45 to call for a wall with Canada "to stop them from exporting their cold weather." Congress was lukewarm on the funding request, with some Republicans blaming Canada for Mexico and Transgender-bathrooms in schools. 

Meanwhile, Temps will dip Wednesday night to 1 degree in Caribou, Maine, 20 in Bahstan, 26 in NYC, 28 in DC, 19 in Hot-lanta, 36 in Tampa, 1 in Chi-town, and our favourite- minus 11 in Minneapolis.

From Occupied and Cold America,  where Canadian imports are ruining the weather, light a fire, Fight the Power!



THE POWER BEHIND THE THRONE

Everybody knows that the secret to a successful Judge is an efficient and pleasant JA. In past years Broweird was notorious for JA's that refused to calendar cases. Call and ask, and they told you to file a motion. File a motion, and they'd tell you they didn't receive it. Ask to fax it and they'd say they don't have a fax. Hand deliver it, and they'd say they don't calendar cases with motions. It was a no-win situation which was made worse, we suspect, when the JA sniffed out a 305 or 786 area code associated with the lawyer. Just sayin...

Before we post the comment we received yesterday, let us first say that being a JA is a thankless job. The hours are long, the pay is low, and for every efficient attorney who feels like they're getting the run-around, there are plenty of our brethren who have no idea what they are doing, and treat JAs, clerks, bailiffs with disrespect.  A good JA can save your case and your client, and a disgruntled JA can sink you. 
Within the last year, some of the more efficient robed-readers have taken to having their JA email lawyers reminding them about their case set for the following day. In our view, that is above and beyond the call of duty. One of a lawyer's first responsibilities is to learn how to keep an accurate calendar. 

With that in mind,  we print this comment we received yesterday: 

Rumpole,

I am in the office today and I am trying to set matters on calendar that I could not for the past two weeks because judges and staff have been on vacation. Now that I am getting JAs on the phone, I am getting a lot of passive aggressive groans, underhanded complaints, exasperated sighs, and so on...just because I need to put such-and-such on calendar.

I am trying to be pleasant. I am being patient and understanding. I get that this is the first day back and things are a bit hectic. But this attitude is not limited to the day after New Years. Some JAs always treat us like they are doing us a grand favor by putting a matter on calendar. Not all JAs - some are wonderful and nothing but helpful. But a good number are nasty on the phone, and that's uncalled for.

So Rump - I call on you, to advise a solution to the constant kerfuffle between defense attorneys and their staff and the judicial assistants. Could we perhaps move to an online scheduling system for criminal so that JAs don't have to manually set our dates? I would love to hear a JAs perspective - what can we do to make your jobs easier?

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, January 02, 2018 11:21:00


Rumpole replies: 
We absolutely cannot have an online scheduling system. This is what would occur:

1) 10:25 AM: Upon trying to log on, your password will not be accepted. So you click "forgot password" and enter your email. 
2) 10:45 AM: You still have not received the email link to update your password. 
3) 10:46 AM: You go through the reset password routine again. 
4) 10:51 AM: A "reset your password" email arrives. However, when you click on it, it has expired because you did it twice. 
5) 11:22 AM: Another email to reset your password arrives and you click on it. 
6) 11:26 AM: Your password is too long- rejected. 
7) 11:27 AM: Your password is too short-rejected. 
This is called the "Goldilocks Password Paradox" from which there is little hope of being saved. 
8) 11:35 You call the IT help line and are promptly disconnected.
9) 11:40 You call the IT help line and are placed on hold. "You are second in line. Approximate hold time is one hour, forty-seven minutes."
10) A martini at lunch is looking better and better.
11) By 2:00 PM all issues are resolved and you log on to the system. You have an emergency bond motion that you need to get heard on the Thursday or Friday before a holiday weekend.
12) 2:25 PM: The calendar system reveals that the first available date is in seven weeks. 
13) 2:45 PM: You call the JA and leave a message. 
14) 3:35 PM: The bailiff calls you back and tells you that to schedule a hearing, you need to use the on-line system. You explain that it is an emergency hearing. The bailiff replies that the JA and Judge are on vacation and Judge XYZ is covering. 
15) 3:42 PM:You call XYZ chambers and the JA tells you to use the on-line system. You explain the emergency and the JA responds that the Judge on vacation left instructions for nothing to be calendared in their absence other than an emergency. You explain (again) that it is an emergency. The JA tells you to call the chief Administrative Judge. 
16) 3:54 PM: You call the Chief Administrative Judge and leave a message. 
17) At 4:12 PM the bailiff calls you back to tell you the JA and the Judge are gone for the day. 

Should we go on? 

From Occupied America, Day three, year two, fight the power!. 




Tuesday, January 02, 2018

ONE DOWN

363 days to go. 
Welcome to 2018.  Don't forget that when you write a check or fill out a certificate of service. 2018. Not 2017. And no more Happy New Years please. We've have had quite enough of those.

If you are a long-time and careful reader, then you have followed our advice and you are reading this post from the comfort and safety of your home, vacation home, or hotel suite. You have been smart enough to not allow a judge to set your case for trial for the first week of the year.

This is because, as we have warned our readers for the last decade and a half, the very worst time to have your case set for trial is the first week of the year. Judges and prosecutors have spent the last few weeks pondering 2017 and lo and behold, they have determined that their problems all stem from being too lenient and not trying enough cases. Thus opportunity meets timing, and the result is some of the most massive, severe sentences being handed out at the end of the week, that you will ever see. 
"That will show them" the judge will say to herself, fully ignorant of the implications of the Sixth Amendment right to trial and the case law against vindictive sentences. "The word will go out, and people will start pleading guilty." Because that's what we want right? To do away with trials and the right to confront and cross examine witnesses and accusers.  

So if you are a learned reader of this blog, then sometime starting in late October or November, you began making excuses for why your case could not be set on January 2 or January 8, 2018.

And if you did not learn your lesson, then you get what you deserve tomorrow when the judge denies your continuance, and the prosecutor offers you a plea above the guidelines.

From Occupied America, year two of the occupation, Fight The Power.