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, AND THE POPE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Saturday, August 31, 2019

BROWARD OPENS COURT FOR TUESDAY

Broward County powers that be (not a group of people we ever want to meet) have announced Court will be OPEN Tuesday.  Their reasoning is "once a hurricane turns, it NEVER turns back." 
Yeah, right. 

Miami-Dade has stated they are still worried about tropical disturbance Andrew and haven't made a decision yet. Plus they also cited the uncertainty of the Gulf War. 

Stay tuned. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT TOMORROW 5PM.  A few spaces are left. 

"Dewey beats Truman" it is not. 

But here is the crack 11th Judicial Circuit, right on top of things, sending an alert Friday evening, 6:30 pm.



Wait!  What is coming? When? How did I miss this? 

(h/t an amused public employee) 





Thursday, August 29, 2019

NEW CIRCUIT JUDGES

Call them the "Hurricane Dorian Class" of new circuit judges. And they are, in no particular order....

GINA BEOVIDES 

LAURA SHEARON-CRUZ

MARLENE FERNANDEZ-KARAVESTOS

AND WILLIAM ALTFIELD. 

We know two of the four new judges. We have long advocated for Judge Altfield to be promoted from county court to circuit court, based mostly on his stellar career as a prosecutor in Miami. 
We also know Judge Shearon-Cruz, whose rise from county to circuit court was much quicker. 

We wish all of these judges well. And we leave them with our standard blog warning. 

Do your best. 
And don't do anything stupid that lands you on the blog. 

PS. Hurricane wise, Channel 7 says we are doomed. 




PSS  As per Judge Sayfie (Motto: "A good administrative Judge would make a GREAT chief judge")  weekend bond hearings are currently set to proceed as scheduled. If you're a judge and given B/H's for Saturday or Sunday, well...read between the lines and work on your people skills. If you're an attorney, charge for transportation by water vessel. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

HURRICANE SEASON

UPDATE: Hurricane D (any resemblance to any sitting federal judge in the Southern District of Florida is purely unintentional) is now a Cat 1 on the way to Cat 3 (for what these terms mean in relation to your impending demise, read below) because it missed the mountains on the Island of Hispaniola. It now looks like it could strike Daytona Beach or northward. For those of you excessively fond of cheesy beach front bars serving beer, wings and sweet tea, sorry. 
Also, we have included our Hurricane supply list, which every prepared citizen should have. See below.

August means Hurricane season. It also means the influx of a brand new set of assistant public defenders and assistant state attorneys, many of them from places like Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, where hurricanes are as understood as arroz con pollo. So because we are where young lawyers turn when they have questions, we herewith present Rumpole's Everything You Wanted to Know About Hurricanes but were Afraid to ask.

What is a Hurricane?  A hurricane is a cyclonic tropical storm that forms in the Atlantic Ocean usually between June and Novermber. It is characterized by a low barametric pressure and a cyclonic action that forms an eye. 

Can You Use Nuclear Weapons to stop a Hurricane Forming? 
Only if you are North Korea and the hurricane forms over South Korea. Otherwise, this is a moronic question that an idiot that lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue recently asked and answered during the Eisenhower administration. 

What is the Saffir-Simpson Scale?  It is a method of characterizing the strength of hurricanes from 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest. It is also utilized with the Cone-Of Death and Channel 7 (see below). 

What is the Cone-of-Death?  In the mid-1980's Home Depot needed a way to induce panic buying of plywood and bottles of water. At that same time Channel 7 in Miami needed to boost ratings during hurricane season. It was like Martin meeting Lewis. 
Out of the needs of many the Cone-of-Death was born. The Cone is a totally unscientific way of predicting where a hurricane will be within the next few days. Anyone within the Cone-of-Death needs to panic and they need to panic NOW. In conjunction with the Cone-of Death is the Modified Saffir-Simpson scale as applied by Channel Seven in Miami: 

Cat              Possible Outcome

One             Possible death. Go immediately and buy 200 gallons                         of water 

Two           Probable death that can only be avoided by standing 
                  in line to buy sixteen sheets of plywood. 

Three        Near certain death. Buying a hundred flashlights 
                            and accompanying batteries may help. 

Four          You're dead and you just don't know it. If you have a                           moment scurry over to someone standing in line to buy                     wood and tell them Andrew was worse. 

Five           Total Protonic Reversal. Try to imagine all life as you   
                   know it stopping and instantaneously every     
                   molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. 
                    Standing in line to buy wood and water and batteries                         will make you feel braver when facing Total Protonic                        Reversal. 

Rumpole's Hurricane Supply List:

1 Candle. 
2 Bottles of Rum.
1 Flashlight. 
2 Bottles of CasaAmigos Tequila which is absolutely the most smooth tequila we have ever imbibed. 
2 Extra packs of batteries for the flashlight. One lighter for the candle. 
1 Battery Operated Radio.
1 Bottle of Bullet Bourbon.
1 pack of energy bars.
A few apples and bananas and some bags of chips. 
Ice, Ice and more ice. 
A jug of water. Some grapes. 
1 Edition of Ehrhardt's Evidence. When the power is out and you cannot sleep in the heat, this will put you out. Better than Ambien. Safer too. Judges obviously will not be reading such nonsense so for them we recommend the collected letters of President Trump, Vol.I, or Mike Pence's new book: "Moral Courage. How to stand up for your Principles and never compromise even when offered the second most powerful office in the world." (Really). 
1 Roll Toilet paper. 
1 Novel: The Picture of Dorian Gray, for obviously ironic reasons.
One Magic Marker (black) to write on the boards covering your windows "F U Dorian" or words to that effect. Also "send help" or "We are not Puerto Rico, don't abandon us." You get the idea. 




Sunday, August 25, 2019

SURVIVOR

It's that time of year again. The sky gets a deep blue. Cones-of-death appear on channel seven. Home depot sells enough wood to negatively affect the Amazon (which is burning out of control, and which Republican Preachers who run the EPA and various government science offices tell us is completely normal and prayer will quench the devil's fires. It has NOTHING to do with global warming. It's a Smokey-the-Bear- "Only you can prevent Amazon fires" moment) and hope springs eternal with Dolphin Quarterbacks named Ira or Ernie. 

RUMPOLE'S JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG'S AWARD WINNING, EARTH SHAKING, JUSTIFYING, DEATH-DEFYING, 
FOOTBALL SURVIVOR POOL. ( (c) Justice Building Blog 2019 all rights reserved). 

To play: Send an email to Howardroark21@gmail.com (yes a new email address for the football pool) and write in the body of the email: 
1) who you want as chief Judge; OR 2) Cueto's order- yea or nay; OR 3) (for you robed readers who cannot opine in public on issues 1 or 2) Dolphins over/under five wins for the year. 
That's it! You're in. Then every Sunday before the 1pm Kickoff send in your pick. Pick one team every week to win outright. Once you pick that team you cannot use them for the rest of the year. No point spreads. 
New this year: ONE PASS. One week you can pass and not make a pick and survive.  Use it once, and use it wisely. Want a second pass? During some weeks we will post a challenge to pick the exact score total of the MNF game. Nail the total, get a second PASS. 
Enjoy. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL:
12 TEAMS- 9 PLAYERS SO FAR. Shoot us an email if you want in and think you can defeat last year's champion who was...hmmm...oh yeah- Rumpole!


Friday, August 23, 2019

AUGUST IS THE HOTTEST MONTH

Couple of things on our plate. 
The first is that if it's August, then the REGB is populated by well dressed, fresh-faced, eager new lawyers from the SAO and the PDs wandering around, wide-eyed, ready to make their mark in the criminal justice system. We welcome them and will have more to say shortly on these pages that your supervisors have explicitly told you that you are now allowed to read at work (while they do it). 




OIL AND WATER DO NOT MIX 
Neither do criminal defense attorneys and police officers, especially in the morning whilst scrambling for parking. Then the powers that be separated the two factions under the "separate but equal parking doctrine" that has yet to be overruled by Brown v Board of Parking
But there are cracks in the plan, and police cruisers have been spotted in the segregated section of the parking lot.  We're getting a flood of emails and pictures. Attorneys are up in arms, which is never a good thing, although most of them do not practice civil law, so the lid is still on the volcano, but not for long. 
Heed our warning. This will not end well. 




"But it's an ill wind blaws naebody gude"
Rob Roy, Sir Walter Scott. 

B MINUS FOR CREATIVENESS 








Wednesday, August 21, 2019

REVENGE OF THE JEDI TRIBE

Civil law. Gotta love it. Cases do not die. They just get appealed and re-litigated. 
Just when you thought the Miccosukee/Lewis Tein contretemps was over, comes your friendly neighborhood 3rd DCA, reversing the order of the trial court which denied attorneys fees. 
So now L&T, which no longer exists, is on the hook for much wampum. 
Note that L&T bringing in the big guns at Colson Hicks did little to save the day on appeal. 


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

SCATTERED LIGHT


The doldrums of August shall not dissuade the courier of the Constitutional Calendar from the swift completion of his appointed rounds. (Go to 421 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan, and look up). Because we are not alone in disliking ado, we present this edition of Judge Hirsch's Constitutional Calendar without further of the subtance no one likes. 

On August 21, 1790, George Washington wrote a letter to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island.  The quality of Washington’s prose reminds us how much we have lost in American public discourse.  More importantly, his obviously heartfelt expressions of religious tolerance make clear that America, unlike the principal nations of Europe, really meant to be that place in which every man might “sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”  I am not ashamed to say that, as an American Jew, I cannot read this letter without a tear coming to my eye.  Here’s the letter:



Gentlemen:



While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.



The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.



If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.



The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.



It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.



It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.



May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.



May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.



G. Washington


Sunday, August 18, 2019

CUETO'S REPORT BASHES BAR

When dog bites man, there is no headline. 
But when Judge Bites the Florida Bar, there is. 

Long rumored, much discussed, and the subject of a torrent of emails and comments to publish the Mueller Cueto report,  we present it for your review.  Have at it. 

The Florida Bar (motto "We'll get you my pretty and your little  dog too"). 
doesn't look good here.  Attorney Ramon Rodriguez vindicated in the Lewis/Tein/Miccosukee mess which has resulted in disbarment for other lawyers.  




Friday, August 16, 2019

FIVE MIAMI DADE JUDGES CHARGED BY JQC .......


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

THE JQC VS. FIVE MIAMI DADE JUDGES .....

Intrepid Miami Herald reporter David Ovalle, recently returned from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, breaks the story.

The JQC filed formal charges against five Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judges, including: (the FSC Docket can be found here).

Judge Cindy Lederman (Retired), represented by James Blecke
Judge Rosa Figarola, represented by David Rothman
Judge Marcia Caballero, represented by Joseph DeMaria
Judge Teresa Pooler, represented by Andrew Berman
Judge Mavel Ruiz, represented by Brian Tannebaum

All five judges were, at the time of the allegations, assigned to the Unified Children’s Court. According to the factual findings of the JQC:

"The Florida Department of Children and Families ("DCF") routinely contracts with private companies to administer its programs throughout the state. In some instances, these contracts are worth millions of dollars." ... "In March of 2018, DCF initiated a competitive procurement process to award the contract to become the "Lead Agency for Community Based-Care for the Southern Region of Florida-Dade and Monroe Counties" ("Lead Agency")." ... "The competitive procurement process used to select a Lead Agency, known as an Invitation to Negotiate ("ITN"), requires companies to submit proposals to DCF who then selects which company should receive the contract." ...

"The contract was potentially worth upwards of $500 million dollars, over five years."

"In March 2018, when DCF began the ITN process, a non-profit business called Our Kids of Miami-Dade and Monroe, Inc ("Our Kids, Inc.") held the contract, and had served as Lead Agency for the last several years. Only two companies participated in the ITN: Our Kids, Inc, and Citrus Health Network, Inc (also a non-profit corporation)."

The JQC learned that, the five charged judges (along with Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia and GM Steven Lieberman), signed a letter authored by Judge Lederman, written to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF), suggesting or implying that Our Kids, Inc. "is the favored provider of the 11th Judicial Circuit, and that the court will work only with Our Kids, Inc.".

Judge Sampedro-Iglesia resigned on April 28, 2019 and was not part of the JQC inquiry.  GM Steve Lieberman was not part of the inquiry as the JQC has no enforcement authority over General Magistrates.

The JQC and all five judges have filed a Stipulation with the Florida Supreme Court where all of the judges have admitted to the violations charged by the JQC. While there are several Canons charged, (the Investigative Panel determined that probable cause existed that the Respondents had violated Canons 1, 2A, 2B, 4A(1), 4A(2), 4A(5), and 4A(6) the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct.), the gist of the violations is that the judges were advocating for one vendor (Our Kids, Inc) over another and using the prestige of their positions to do so.

The FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF DISCIPLINE (which can be found here) stated the recommended penalty for all five judges as follows:

"The Commission therefore finds and recommends that the interests of justice will be well served by a written public reprimand of the Respondents by publication of an opinion."

Now it is up to the Florida Supreme Court to decide whether to accept the Findings and Recommendations filed by the JQC.

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

RUMPOLE ADDS THIS COMMENT RECEIVED WHICH IS RELEVANT:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Let's not go nuts here. This appears to have been a well meaning "whoops" moment. The judges are humans too.

"the Commission believes it is important to note [in] its findings that the Respondents[] were not motivated by any corrupt intent or design. The Commission believes that the intent was to protect the interest of the children and families served by DCF."

See page 8 of the Findings and Recommendations of Discipline. https://efactssc-public.flcourts.org/casedocuments/2019/1377/2019-1377_miscdoc_354669_findings202620recommendation.pdf






Thursday, August 15, 2019

MURDER MYSTERY AND POLITICAL INTRIGUE

Jeffrey Epstein Murder Mystery: The plot thickens. No conspiracy theorists we, but a Rumpolian look at the evidence yields the following: 1) Mr. Epstein was taken off of suicide watch two weeks before his death when his attorneys told officials at MDC that the injuries to his neck resulted from being attacked by a murderous thug (former police officer) cell mate; 2) Epstein's last cell mate was removed from his cell a day before his death. In violation of procedure, he was left alone in his cell; 3) The corrections officers did not check on Epstein  for hours before his death. Two of three officers on duty were not actual corrections officers but other employees trained to fill in when needed; 4) The day before his death Epstein was reported to be in good spirits and telling his lawyers he felt the 2nd Circuit would order his release and that his double jeopardy motion would be granted. He told his lawyers he was looking forward to seeing them the next day; 
AND NOW THIS: 
The NY Times reports today here  that the Medical Examiner has currently listed Epstein's death as "unclassified" AND that the hyoid bone in Epstein was fractured. Long time and careful readers of the blog know that in his younger days Rumpole liked nothing more than a good murder and developed a bit of expertise in the manner and method of untimely deaths. While Hyoid bones are known to fracture in suicide hangings, especially in individuals over sixty, they are almost always fratured when death is caused by strangulation. Indeed the fracture of the Hyoid bone is a signature event in a strangulation (something a young medical examiner was forced to admit during an uncomfortable hour under the cross examination by your blogger many years ago in a successful murder defense in a galaxy far far away).

Former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara tweeted shortly after Epstein's death that there should be a full video of Epstein killing himself. He should know. To date there has been no discussion of the video. Does it exist? Have people, including the ME seen it? If the ME has seen it, there would be no reason not to classify the death as a suicide. 

Rest assured that Rumpole is taking a second and harder look at Mr. Epstein's demise. 

JUDGE FABER NEW ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE FOR CRIMINAL COUNTY COURT
That white smoke you saw in the hallways of the REGJB recently wasn't some santeria ritual. It was the signal that the Judges had decided that Judge Robin Faber, long head of the jail division of county court, a blog reader and blog Fantasy Football participant, will don the scarlet robes (not really, but they do it in England and should do it here) and take over as head honcho of the criminal county court judges. Talk about a thankless job! And he has big shoes to fill with Judge Sam Slom retiring on Halloween. 

JUDGES VIE FOR CHIEF JUDGE SPOT
For reasons not entirely clear yet, Judge Soto will not be up for chief judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit (Motto: "Call us Dade-County, not Miami or Miamahh por favor") when her terms expires in about a year (the timing is also not clear yet). To be clear, we did NOT say she is retiiring from the bench, only that she cannot (or has decided not to)  stand for another term as Chief Judge. 

Two candidates have thrown their electronic hats into the ring via email: Judge Nushin Sayfie, currently chief Judge of the felony criminal dvision, and Judge Scott Bernstein, recently honoured with a judicial award. 
Predictably the fault line has appeared between criminal and civil. 
You think the democratic presidential nomination is hotly contested? To quote Ronald Wilson Reagan "You ain't seen nothing yet!". 
Judges Sayfie and Bernstein are both excellant choices. Well respected and quite able, each will be able to lead our gagle of Judges into the future.  We have more experience with Judge Sayfie who we have seen lead the criminal court judges through thick and thin, and a few scandals that she was on top of and handled admirably. We can always use a voice at the top that understands the trials and tribulations of an REGJB lawyer. However, that is not a blog endorsement. There is a lot of time between now and the election, and a week is a lifetime in politics. 

JUDGE SINGHAL NOMINATED TO FEDERAL BENCH
Mr Markus' federal blog, which has uncomfortably been dabling recently in state court toipics, broke the story yesterday that Judge Raag Singhal, who serves in Broward, has been nominated by POTUS to an open spot on the Southern District Of Florida. The nomination has long been rumored and is well deserved. 



Wednesday, August 14, 2019

IN MEMORIAM: JEFFREY EPSTEIN


The suicide death of Jeffrey Epstein disappointingly brought out the worst in our criminal defense brethren.  Social media was full of “good riddance” posts. We expect that from the unenlightened, uneducated deplorables who sit around swilling beer, scratching, and cursing life’s unfairness. Also from Republicans.

But we do not expect such expressions from dedicated criminal defense attorneys. So we rise, once again, pushing, pulling, prodding and treading where only the brave dare perambulate. 


We wonder whether Epstein's death will highlight the deplorable conditions  the government holds  defendants pre-trial. Mr. Epstein literally could not survive his incarceration while awaiting trial. How could he and his lawyers be expected to prepare for trial? 

Most federal cases are extensively investigated before indictment, generating tens of thousands of documents. It’s nearly impossible to master these docs in the comforts of a penthouse office (some atop garages across from federal court). It is nearly impossible to discern the key to freedom cleverly tucked  into  the pile of refuse, whilst confined in jail.

But we have bigger fish to filet. 


Mr. Epstein unrepentantly supported his belief in sex with young women, many still juveniles. He was recently quoted in a newspaper interview from a year ago comparing such laws to prior prohibitions on sodomy and same sex relationships.

Mr. Epstein’s views were repugnant, ill-advised, selfish, self-deluding, harmful to others, and downright wrong. He was by all accounts a sexual predator who used his wealth to prey on vulnerable young girls. That is why he needed strong, hard, unbending defense, in life and in death. To defend Jeffrey Epstein is to defend an Al Qaeda Jihadist,  Nazis who want to march in Skokie. Illinois,  and all those who hold views that the majority deem repugnant.

Who could defend enemy occupying soldiers wrongfully killing Americans on American soil? John Adams, future president of the United States. 


Our strength is not in the easy cases. The Constitution is built on the steel girders of the hard cases; the defense of the un-defendable- the Jeffrey Epsteins of the world. The Constitution is strongest when turned loose to defend those accused of the darkest of deeds.


All criminal defense attorneys proudly recall the first “how can you defend that person?” moment at a family meal or a party. And yet, when Mr. Epstein killed himself in despair, criminal defense attorneys from across the United States piled on, trashing Epstein, celebrating his death, murmuring conspiracy theories. 


Epstein’s death is a missed opportunity. We have a chance to highlight to the world the horrific conditions under which our clients are incarcerated. Federal detention centers are designed to force pleas.  The abatoir system of indictment and pleas undermine our most cherished and important right- to force the government to prove its case. We already labour under the (wink*wink) no trial tax system, where prosecutors in the blink of a “no” go from recommending one year to twenty, and judges follow along, trying to keep a straight face while denying that the defendant was punished for going to trial and losing. 

And yet in the face of this trial tax, a few brave souls solider on, forcing the government to trial, fighting for their client, and often winning. But sometimes the unbearable burden of pre-trial incarceration proves to be too much. 


Inhumane pre-trial incarceration is the real lesson of Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide. The #metoo movement has nothing to do with how this case ended. All victims have the right to be heard, listened to, respected, and believed when the evidence is credible. And this includes the victims of incarceration in the Gulag United States. 


No one else is brave enough to say this, so we will: rest in peace Mr. Epstein, the legal system failed you. The government has your blood on its hands, and we are sorry.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

JUSTICE STEVENS RETROSPECTIVE

Two interesting articles on Justice Stevens. 

In this Atlantic article by the late Justice, Justice Stevens writes that  Justice Scalia's  majority opinion in the Second Amendment case Heller was "The Worst Decision of My Tenure."  The article is here.
Justice Stevens write eloquently on the tragedies of firearms in our society and his belief that a constitutional amendment is desperately needed to overrule Heller and it's effects on firearms and shooting tragedies  in the United States. 

In this recent Op Ed piece, Law Professor Barry McDonald gives a well reasoned (real) conservative analysis of why Judges who don't have a judicial philosophy, may be nice people who want to do the right thing, but who represent a danger to the Constitution and the rule of law. The argument, boiled down to its essence, is that you do not want a judge who makes decisions based on their personal view of what is right. What a judge appointed by Donald Trump thinks is right may be vastly different then what a judge appointed by Jimmy Carter thinks is right, and both of those judges may have a different view of what is right then, say, a judge appointed by a President George Wallace- to give an extreme example. 
What you want are judge's who have a consistent and coherent judicial philosophy because in the end, a consistent philosophy withstands the vagaries of trendy ideals, beliefs, and views. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

SAO GETTING HIGH

Update: Fantasy Football league forming now. Click link below.

Two news stories were faithfully reported by the Miami Herald (Motto: "Not failing; not fake") recently. 

The first was that State Attorney and Public Defender salaries are seeing a well-needed raise to a starting salary of $50,000.00. Both offices are raising corresponding salaries so that new employees are not earning more than veteran prosecutors. Both offices, but the SAO in particular, have seen a flight to civil as well over a hundred prosecutors have left within the past year to accept offers in the world of summary judgment, interrogatories, five minute motion calendars, and defending those most vulnerable amongst us- the poor, weak, helpless insurance companies who without the dedicated work of thousands of lawyers, would see their financial throats ripped out by the wolves of the plaintiffs bar. 

We rarely agree with our learned prosecutorial friends (see below), but we strongly support their public service and their receiving a more than simply adequate salary. 

Mary-Jane Daze: 
The current intrepid leader of the Dade SAO saw fit for a recent bit of braggadocio in announcing that her office will be scaling back on its prosecution of possession of marijuana cases. Apparently the dark maze of cannabis oil legislation has made it more difficult to determine from scent alone whether a substance is legal or not. So forthwith, county court prosecutors will need (gasp!) an actual lab report before proceeding down the prosecutorial mary-jane-lane.  (Sometimes our ability to turn a phrase even makes us smile). 

To quote from Godfather two: "And the rent stays the same!"

This is not enough. This is not nearly enough. It's almost 2020. President Trump's enlightened second term is seemingly months away. We are still prosecuting marijuana cases? Does the State Attorney have ANY idea what a simple "w/h, cc" does to a young person when they go out into the digital world where background checks occur on apps on phones and try to 1- get a job; 2- rent an apartment; 3- get credit; etc, etc? 

Misdemeanor records make life very hard. 
Ahh, but the esteemed State Attorney says "But Rumpole, it's the law."
So were laws against interracial dating, replies Rumpole. So were laws banning homosexuality. 
We need leaders Madam State Attorney. Get in front of the curve. Hold a press conference, Force Tallahassee. Refuse to have your office follow laws from the 19th century anymore.
 And well done with the raises. 

Fantasy Football
Is coming. Who won last year? What genius manager made all the right moves and outwitted and outlasted a veritable super-star galaxy of FF players? 
Oh yes, you're reading his words as we speak. 
Follow these pages carefully in the next few days for sign-up instructions. 

Click this link to play
SIGN UP NOW - currently ten teams but we can go to 12 or 14 depending on demand. 




Sunday, August 11, 2019

GLOBAL WARMING

Tens of millions of years ago the dinosaurs saw a slightly smaller, slightly dimmer sun in their sky. 
As out sun consumes it's finite source of fuel it will get slightly larger, slightly brighter and slightly closer to the earth. 
This will cause the earth to heat up. The oceans will start to accelerate their evaporation, putting more vapor in the atmosphere, accelerating the greenhouse gas effect (unless you're a Republican and do not believe in greenhouse gasses, at which point you can just say "whew it's hotter than Hillary's email server tossed into a fire") , which will cause surface temperatures to rise even more, which will increase the cycle until all liquid on earth is gone (except for a few cans of Materva which are indestructible). 

The atmosphere will disintergrate and the earth will be a scortched wasteland, much like parts of current day New Jersey. 




This is our future. We are doomed. 
Have a nice day. 

Thursday, August 08, 2019

RUMPOLE SAVES THE WORLD

Let's see what is going on that needs our attention.
Item: July was the hottest month on record from the time humans have been recording temperatures.
Item: India has taken a bold, aggressive move to remove any protective status from the disputed Kashmir region of the border with Pakistan. All communications have been cut off.  Soldiers have been mobilized and a conflict with its nuclear armed neighbor Pakistan seems likely.
Item: Protestors continue to increase their activity in Hong Kong, challenging direct rule from China and setting up the most serious threat to the Communist Party since Tienamen Square.
Item: There were two White Nationalist shootings within the US within twenty-four hours. In the last years places of worship in Pittsburgh, San Diego, and South Carolina were attached by gun-wielding, white young men who are terrorists. 1,300 people were killed in the US since January 1 of this year in mass shootings. 

In the absence of any real leadership in Washington, we boldly step into the void. Rolling up our proverbial sleeves, we get down to work:


Domestic Terrorism: 
We have some experience with hate speech on our own blog. It is shocking what a truly anonymous platform for speech will bring out in otherwise decent people. On a daily basis we receive and do not publish multiple comments spewing vicious hate against other lawyers/judges/REGJB figures. "So and so is fat and ugly and dumb"; "this one cheats on his wife"; "that one steals from her clients".   The anonymity of the platform touches a dark spot in the human psyche. It frees the id to release the anger which rises from the jealousy and frustration from the less successful among us. 

We therefore are not surprised that uneducated, unsuccessful and mariginalzed white males who are failures turn to the internet to release their anger and frustration against a world they cannot compete in. They hate immigrants not because of the poor wretched souls fleeing gang violence in Central America that flood the Texas borders. They hate the prior generation of immigrants who worked their way up from menial jobs to become shop and business owners. They resent having to buy items from stores run by immigrants, and they become furious when they are hired and work at menial jobs supervised by more talented people of color. Somehwere in their upbringing they lost the message this country guarantees only the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of success; not success. The right wing message of "American Exceptionalism" peverted their ideas and ideals. 
We are exceptional not because a generation of men and women saved Europe twice in the last century. We are exceptional because we tried. These disaffected and failing white males refuse to try; they think they owed because of what their fathers did. They are wrong. 
Now for the first time in history we have an instantaneous method of communication that allows smarter hate filled  terrorists in the US to manipulate white male loners into doing their deeds. Just like jihadists who use social media to get disaffected young men to strap on bombs and below themselves up in crowded markets. 

This is nothing less than a challenege to the first amendment. Do we monitor and suppress hate filled speech that can trigger a disaffected young white man from taking an automatic rifle to a shopping mall to kill immigrant shoppers or to a  temple to kill  Jews or Muslims worshiping?  Or do we stand fast and not let the thin edge of a large wedge of government approval of speech take hold? 

We now know words kill. When some misguided misanthrope calls developing countries "shitholes" and decries their people as "swarms" and "hordes", the less intelligent and disaffected respond. They did so in Germany in 1930-1940, and they are doing so now as the president is one who used those terms.

Are our strengths in tolerance? As Dr. King said :"Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can drive out darkness." 
Or do we allow talk of "money grubbing jews"; "shifty, lazy negroes"; "sick homosexuals"; and "hordes of dirty breeding immigrants"?

We've regulated obscenity in the past. But do we really want politicians who support our president regulating our speech now? They could shut down the Washington Post or NY Times, or even this blog on the basis of condemning these widely read outlets as "fake news". 

India: Send George W Bush to Pakistan. Barak Obama to India, and William Clinton to mediate between the two sides. 

Global Warming. Plant a million trees a day across the world for two years. Follow the Paris accords. Shut down coal plants and build a new generation of nuclear power plants. Wind turbines...wind turbines..wind turbines. 

China: Let the process play out and report on the protestors and the  government's effort to silence them. 

We can solve the easy problems. But an unregulated internet spewing hateful ideas that spur on disaffected, barely literate white males to get guns and start shooting may well be the problem of our generation. How do we regulate hate speech with the First Amendment. Who decides? 

And the Dolphins defy logic. They just keep getting worse. Not even we can fix them. 







Wednesday, August 07, 2019

SENIOR JUDGE MARTIN SHAPIRO HAS PASSED AWAY .......



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

SAD NEWS .....

Senior Judge Martin Shapiro has passed away.

Judge Shapiro was a Double Gator. A Miami Beach High School graduate, Shapiro received his undergraduate degree from UF in 1958 and his JD in 1961. He then practiced primarily real estate law for the next 39 years.

Judge Shapiro served as a Commissioner for the Town of Bay Harbor Islands from 1979-1985. In 1985 he was elected Mayor and he served four years in that position. In 1989, he moved to Miami Beach and he immediately ran for office and was elected as a Commissioner in Miami Beach in 1989.  He went on to serve five terms until 1999.

Judge Shapiro was elected to the bench in 2000 when he defeated Nancy Pollack by 364 votes (out of 170,000 ballots cast) in one of the closest judicial elections in Miami-Dade County history. He retired from the bench at the completion of his term in 2006 and he has been serving as a Senior Judge ever since his retirement.

Captain Out .......
Captain4Justice@gmail.com


Tuesday, August 06, 2019

BLOOD AND GUTS

DUI defense is a dirty business, You need to get into the blood and urine and have a familiarity of body fluids and the presence or absence of alcohol. 
Alcohol we can handle. The rest of the business is why we prefer a good fraud case, especially with refreshers. 
But word comes from the Dean of DUI mavens that a change is afoot. A bloody bad change as it were. And for those of you that undertake such a defense, it could be the difference between prison or not. So be advised and read below. 





As of August 1, 2019, the rules for obtaining the “litigation package” from the Miami-Dade toxicology lab for all blood and urine test documents has changed. Now, instead of making the request directly to the laboratory, you need to request these documents from the State Attorney’s Office. The SAO website has been changed to reflect this new policy and it no longer requests that you request these documents directly from the laboratory.



While I disagree with the changing of this long standing procedure that had worked so well since the days when the building we toil in was called the Metropolitan Justice building, I have been assured by the “powers that be” a.k.a. “those who shall not be named and definitely will not be questioned” that this is their new policy, period. If the prosecution rejects your request for said documents, you are left to the filing and arguing a motion to compel before the presiding judge.



Finally, I implore you all not to neglect to request these important documents, even if the prosecution has imposed such a policy. Several years ago, I requested and received such a “litigation package” and I immediately knew that something with the tests results was just not right.



After consultation with two noted experts, I brought the lab technician in for his deposition. I introduced him to my two experts, who I had brought in for the deposition, one of whom had set up that lab and the other who had written the book on the detection of drugs in blood samples. I then proceeded to slide the litigation packet across the conference table and stated, “rather than go through the usual preliminary questions, I will get right to the point. I do not see cocaine in your test results. Dr. B has reviewed the paperwork and he does not see any indication that cocaine is present. Dr. C has reviewed the paperwork and he does not see any indication that cocaine is present. Can you please show us all how cocaine was present in Ms. ___’s blood test results, and in the amount you reported?”



After several minutes and some hemming and hawing, he stated, very quietly at first, “there is no cocaine.” After I had him repeat that there was no cocaine present, I ask him what he had reported as being cocaine (and which the lab director had signed off as being cocaine. “Machine noise.” Yes, machine noise!



That was the difference between 10 ½ years in prison (the bottom of the guidelines and the plea that her previous attorney had advised her to accept) and freedom.



Need I say anything more?

No you do not. There is a reason why lawyers specialize in such fields, and you sir are it. Well done. Well done indeed. 

Saturday, August 03, 2019

DOUBLE JEOPARDY

The Constitution prohibits being placed in jeopardy for the same crime twice....except if the feds want to get you. Then all bets are off.  It is the scourge of criminal practitioners. You can win a gun case in state court, which we often do, and then be visiting your client in FDC a week later wherein s/he is indicted and facing a 15 yr min man. That will teach you to go to trial and win. 

In any event, now it's time for guns, poker, a murder or two, the gallows, and a saloon...all things that bring to mind the scholarly author of The Constitutional Calendar...as well as some novels now available on Amazon. Enjoy.


Today’s Constitutional Calendar item concerns double jeopardy – the Fifth Amendment principle that no “person [shall] be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”  A well-recognized, if oft-criticized, exception to the rule is that of “dual sovereignty” – the notion that a defendant may be prosecuted by, for example, both a state and the federal government for the same misconduct, if the misconduct constitutes a crime under both sovereign’s laws.  See, e.g., Gamble v. United States, ___ U.S. ___ (June 17, 2019).

On August 2, 1876, Wild Bill Hickok, a legend of the old west, was playing poker in Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, when John “Broken Nose Jack” McCall came up and shot him from behind, killing him in cold blood.  (At the time, Wild Bill was holding two pair, black aces and black eights, referred to ever since among poker players as a “dead man’s hand.”  We never did learn what his fifth card was.)  
McCall claimed that he shot Hickok to avenge his brother, whom Hickok had killed in Abilene.  (There was a Lew McCall who was shot by a lawman in Abilene, but whether that McCall was Broken Nose Jack’s brother, and whether Wild Bill was the lawman who shot him, are two other things we never did learn.)

Deadwood was considered “Indian Territory” – not governed by the federal or any other authority.  An ad hoc “jury” of some local miners and businessmen was convened, and McCall was acquitted.  The Black Hills Pioneer editorialized, “Should it ever be our misfortune to kill a man ... we would simply ask that our trial may take place in some of the mining camps of these hills.”  McCall fled to the  Wyoming Territory, where he repeatedly bragged about killing Hickok in a fair gunfight. But Wyoming authorities refused to recognize the result of McCall's acquittal on the grounds that the court in Deadwood had no legal jurisdiction. Because Deadwood was not under a legally constituted law enforcement or court system, officials argued that McCall could be tried for murder again. Agreeing, the federal court in Yankton, Dakota Territory, declared that double jeopardy did not apply, and ordered a retrial.

McCall was convicted in federal court and hanged.  A few years later the cemetery in which he had been buried was relocated.  McCall’s body, when exhumed, was found still to have the noose around his neck.
I’m told that the killing of Hickok and the capture of McCall is reenacted every summer evening except Mondays at the Masonic Temple in Deadwood.

Friday, August 02, 2019

LIFE ADVICE

A law student wrote Justice Gorsuch for advice. 
Here is his response. 



He forgot to include to avoid drunken high school parties. Oh wait...that's not disqualifying for the Supreme Court.