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, March 05, 2018

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

In 1965 the young English mathematician Roger Penrose devoted himself to the study of black holes, and, in 1965, he proved an important theorem which showed that a gravitational collapse of a large dying star must result in a singularity, where space-time does not exist,  and classical general relativity breaks down. 
A few years later, Penrose collaborated with his Cambridge friend and colleague, Stephen Hawking and they proved that singularities are a ho-hum feature of general relativity and that black holes are not rare events. 

In 1974 Hawking Ali-liked "shocked the world" by showing that something- now called "Hawking radiation" emits from black holes. In other words, all is not lost. Black holes are not completely black, and because they emit energy, the rules of thermodynamics hold they will not last forever. They will expend their energy and disappear.

Hawking radiation is good news for the denizens of the REGJB, specifically those who deign to enter the black hole known as the clerk's office on the 9th floor. 

Cosmology was on our mind when this missive recently crossed our email from the FACDL-Listserv 

Has anyone else reached their wits end with Harvey Ruvin?
If I have to wait in another 30+ minute 9th floor line just to get a document that should be downloadable on line...
When is enough going to be enough?


So cosmologically speaking, if black holes aren't entirely black, and they do not last forever, then an attorney entering our own REGJB black hole has some hope that her entire day is not lost waiting for help:

Clerk: May I help you?
Atty: Sure, I'd like to view a file. 
Clerk: Sure! Write the case number on the paper and I'll be right back.
Atty (panicking) Nooooo....please wait....
Clerk leaves....
Time stands still... (it is relative and inside our 9th floor black hole space-time has ceased to exist as Penrose/Hawking confirmed circa 1970.)
Clerk returns (remember, the black hole is not entirely black)
Clerk: Hi! May I help you? 
Atty: Ummm...I said I wanted a case file....
Clerk: Hang on, I'll be right back...
Atty: Noooooooooooo.........
Rinse. Repeat. 

A few hours later.....
Clerk (returning from post lunch, pre-coffee, snack break)
Here's what I have learned...the file was in court yesterday, which means it's on 8 1/2.
Atty: 8 1/2??
Clerk (rolling eyes) You've read the Harry Potter books right? The train station...platform 9 3/4, duh! Same thing, except we have floor 8 1/2. 
Atty: So I need to be a wizard to see the file?
Clerk: I don't need your attitude madam. Just walk outside, go to the elevator and run as fast as you can to the buttons on the wall. You'll see. 

From Occupied America, where clerk's office tariffs might not be a bad idea, fight the power! (but be nice to the over-worked, under paid clerks or you'll never get your file). 


9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rump:
Just had a client call me with a question about a Broward case. I was able to access his probation violation affidavit on line and get the info I needed in 5 minutes. As much as we justifiably criticize the Broward SAO and Broward judges on this blog, their clerk's office is light years ahead of us.

I hate going to the clerk's office and wasting time standing in line to get a document I should be able to download. Mike and Leida do a good job. It is not their fault that the line is out the door because the clerk is too cheap to have two windows open in the morning.

Does anyone actually know why criminal court documents are not available online?

David S. Markus

Rumpole said...

Dear Mr. Markus, two reasons: first- Begins with an "M", ends with a "Y" and has a "one" in between. Between the budget for fixing the escalators, and the judicial dinning rooms and gyms (joking, I think) there isn't money to transform the clerk's office 286 processors on Compuserv (blasts from the 80's) to 1990's technology. Their dial-up modem service is slow, and many clerks are distracted with their beepers and then want to go home and watch Friends on their VHS.

Also- Miami's streamlined way of making decisions sometimes breaks down. For example, after a simple 35 meetings, 289 memos, and countless phone calls, the clerks office has officially decided to convene a committee to make a recommendation about forming a working group to make a non-binding suggestion about possibly hiring an expert to advise the office on whether to adopt "don't ask- don't tell" as a non-binding official policy.

So sometimes things move a bit slow.

But we have it on good authority that Mr Ruvin recently said that with the coming inauguration of Bill Clinton, there might be some federal money available for upgrading technology. He is excited about vice-president elect Al Gore's plans for re-inventing government. So all hope is not lost.

Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Hawking has jumped the shark. He seems more interested in his personal celebrity than sound science. For example, the recent headlines we're that Hawking has explained what the state of the universe was prior to the big bang. Not so much. Guys should put his brilliant mind to work without regard to their potential for splash!

Rumpole said...

What's your Nobel prize in genius?

Anonymous said...

Rump - During the course of my career, I have visited numerous state courthouses in multiple counties. The Gerstein Building is BY FAR the worst. Other counties have state of the art buildings with fast elevators and gorgeous views. Clearly the courthouse is a source of pride. And most counties, Broward, Monroe, Palm Beach, scan documents online. The A-form I waited 15 minutes for yesterday morning would be accessible and printed in less than one minute.

We need a new building and online clerk's system.

Anonymous said...

Here's an article by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker about Christopher Steele, the origin, methodology and impact of his dossier, and other investigations into its claims. Because The New Yorker employs excellent fact-checkers, and because Mayer's creds are unimpeachable, I thought those of your readers interested in the issue might enjoy the article. It's richly-sourced and balanced.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/03/12/christopher-steele-the-man-behind-the-trump-dossier

Anonymous said...

WENGER OUT!!!

Anonymous said...

The problem isn’t only money (although, according to Mr. Ruben, he needs $50 million that he doesn’t have to go paperless). The other problems/issues to consider:

1. We were the first paperless system in the COUNTRY roughly 15 years ago. Although for county traffic and criminal traffic only, being the first using a paperless system has made it more difficult to transition to a scan and read system like in Broward and Palm Beach.
2. Mr.Ruvin actually tried an e-filing system long before the state did (about 12 years ago). I was a part of the “test” system with some other criminal defense attorneys and, while it never came to fruition, I give him credit for trying.
3. The legislature shifted clerk’s office funding from the state to the county several years ago, making clerk’s offices reliant on the fines and courts that people are required to pay. Let’s face it, we have many people in Miami who can’t afford to pay their fines and costs and that translates,to less dollars for software and hardware improvements. Broward has a wealthier (when compared to Miami) base and Broward judges hit people harder for the fines and costs than Miami judges do.
4. Miami residents won’t approve additional taxes for a new courthouse, civil or criminal. They voted against a courthouse bond issue several years ago and that was before the Marlins stadium fiasco. Other counties have financed their improvements with higher taxes and bond issues. We won’t. Our courthouses suck but we have a great empty baseball stadium.
5. I have been told, but I cannot confirm, that the clerk’s office has a less than optimal agreement with their fines/costs collections agency. I have heard that the collections agency keep 50 cents on every dollar collected. I don’t know if that is the industry standard but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some “political” considerations involved in that contract.

For your consideration ...

Anonymous said...

The collection agencies for the clerk's office are "supposed" to pay the fees in full. The are "supposed" to tack on an extra 40 percent for their "work".