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

Friday, January 31, 2020

THE SUN SETS ON THE BRITISH EMPIRE

England leaves the European Union today.  In the long and glorious history of the British, England, and their empire, today is not their finest hour. England leaves a union of European countries that established open trade between the countries, simplified travel and  importation of goods, and the easing of restrictions when a citizen of one country wanted to work in another country. The EU was and is in all respects a recognition that we all inhabit one small planet, breathe the same air, and have the same goals for our families and children. 

There was and is no good reason for England to leave the EU. The rise of xenophobic fears of foreigners, frustration among the poorly educated lower class of stagnant wages, and the feeding of those ignorant and mostly wrong fears by unscrupulous politicians have all led to this highly regrettable moment. 

English industries, trucking, farming, transportation and banking will all suffer. And those who are struggling most will struggle even more. Prices will rise and wages will fall and jobs will become scarcer. 

England has endured tougher times, but none of them of her own making. And most troubling is this- the British Empire will collapse. Scotland will withdraw from the Empire. They have the votes and the reasons to do so. Ireland will soon follow, and then the British will again find themselves alone on their small island. 

We have faith in the British people. They stood alone in the last century's darkest hour. A beacon of courage, democracy and literacy when the dark cloud of German national socialism fell upon the continent. The world owes the British for what they endured and the United States owes them the most, since we sat on the sidelines while Europe fell. 

Perhaps we can cash that chit. Perhaps when this dark cloud of ignorant nationalism lifts,  the great British Lion will open his eyes, shake his great mane, and wonder what he has done. When this occurs it is our fervent hope that their neighbors welcome them back into the EU. 

They have earned the right to make a mistake. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

ENOTIFY HAS ARRIVED

E-NOTIFY IS HERE! We see storm clouds on the horizon....Here is the news release. First concern is that it was apparently issued from a basement in Moscow.
Encouraged by the results of a three-county pilot program, Florida court officials said Wednesday they have launched “e-Notify” statewide.
“The e-Notify project has expanded to support criminal case searches throughout the state,” said Office of State Courts Administrator public information officer Paul Flemming.
Since October, defendants and other interested parties in Orange, Okaloosa, and Nassau counties have been able to receive digital reminders — via text, email, or both — about pending court appearances and other milestones in criminal cases.
Rumpole notes that those are the big three- anything that works in Orange, Okaloosa and Nassau counties must work everywhere else. 
“Nobody can even get to the dentist on time without some sort of text or email,” said Okaloosa Court Clerk JD Peacock III. “That’s just the way the world works these days.”
With all due respect to JD the clerk, we manage to get to the dentist just fine without a text. Try Uber JD. It works better.
E-Notify users are directed to a website where they register for free. In addition to choosing how they are alerted, users also have a choice of when they are alerted — any combination of 14-days, seven-days, or the day before....
“My judges here in Okaloosa County are loving it, they’re all over it,” Peacock said.
Well, as they say on Broadway, How does it play with the Oklaoosa judiciary? Because as the song says, If you can make it in Okaloosa, you can make it anywhere. A Google search reveals that Okaloosa is a Choctaw word meaning "black water, weak wifi"
Judges are urging defendants to register when they issue instructions, Peacock said.
Oh this should be good.  "Sir you are charged with hacking into the Okaloosa National Bank. In order to make sure you return to court, please register at our website."
The system went online in October, but promotion didn’t begin until December. By January 7, some 90 users had registered, and the system had issued 269 email alerts and 337 text reminders.
Well 90 users in a State of 21 million seems like a fair sample...
Some refinements had to be made, including changing the language of the alerts to refer to names instead of case numbers, Flemming said.
Yes, sending alerts in Swedish isn't advisable. 
The system was designed to lower failure-to-appear rates, but court officials soon realized that crime victims, advocates, and others could benefit, too.
...
The system could also be a time-saver for court clerks, Peacock said.
“My office gets calls all day long just from people trying to figure out their court dates,” he said.
Of course they don't answer the phones, so it's no big deal, but they still get the phone calls. 
Court officials are studying ways to expand e-Notify to civil cases, but that could be more complicated because the system is less centralized, Peacock said.
“Technology optimization remains one of our main priorities,” Butterfield said. “Technology enhances our operations, but most importantly, it makes our customers’ lives easier and provides them with more convenient access to our services.”
And here is a message from the Developer:
Мы похороним вас за использование нашей techonoloy янки дурак
My pokhoronim vas za ispol'zovaniye nashey techonoloy yanki durak


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

MYSTERY COURTHOUSE

The other day we traveled to the belly of the beast, otherwise known as 73 West Flagler Street- the Civil Courthouse. Like any good traveler, prior to our sojourn we received inoculations for typhoid, diphtheria, and greed. We perambulated through several floors, thoroughly lost, until a helpful soul informed us that Judges in civil court routinely hold hearings in their chambers!! Thus we entered the belly of the belly of the beast. It was not pleasant. Leave it at that. 

Free from the confines of expensive suits, watches, armies of paralegals and (most importantly) billable hours, we walked about the area, liberally applying hand sanitizer but desperately needing a hot shower. There is a Starbucks on the corner across from civil court. But no respite was to be had in its overpriced confines, as it is populated by the same unpleasant personages as we just escaped from. Plus there are lawyers in there as well. 

Continuing our walk on a fine Miami winter afternoon, we stumbled across this.



What could this courthouse be? Did judges hold hearings inside? Are there jurors and courtrooms and as they say in Latin- "the whole shebang".  We have never heard a lawyer say "I have to get to a trial in Courthouse East later today" or words to that effect. 

Alas one unpleasant experience for the day was more than enough and we stopped to snap a quick picture and then were on our way, lest some expensive suit approach us seeking referrals for closings, or soft-tissue injury cases, or other such arrant nonsense. 

Does anyone know what happens in Courthouse East? 
Is there a Courthouse West? Do they wear cowboy hats and spurs and call women "ma'am'"there? 
Do they talk with a New York or Bahstahn accent in Courthouse East? 

Let's be frank and talk about what everyone is wondering: Is this Legal-Miami's Area 51??

Meanwhile there is this: 


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

EARTHQUAKE

SEE UPDATE- GUESS WHICH COURTHOUSE WAS NOT ORDERED CLOSED??

We have hurricanes. We have droughts and floods and tornados. And now South Florida has an earthquake, centered off of Cuba, causing a possible concern of a Tsunami striking Miami Beach and wiping out an entire half stadium of Super Bowl revelers. 

There is now, in our considered opinion, absolutely, positively no reason not to move to California. Oh wait...State income taxes. Never mind.

Update: The Chief Judge ordered the Civil, Family, and Children's Courthouses CLOSED. 
The REGJB remained OPEN. 

#Criminallawyerslivesmattertoo

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEES .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

AND YOUR NEXT TWO FLORIDA SUPREME COURT JUSTICES .....

Will come from the list below. Nine names were sent to Governor DeSantis last week. Six of the nominees are currently on the bench. Four of the nominees are under age 40. The Governor must choose one of the three names that are residents from the 3rd DCA (noted by the asterisk) while the second is an at-large appointment. The following are the nominees to fill the two vacancies created by the resignations of Justice Barbara Lagoa and Justice Robert Luck:

*John Couriel - (currently with Kobre & Kim). Member of The Florida Bar for 15 years and former AUSA.

Judge Renatha Francis - (County Court 2017 - Rick Scott; Circuit Court Miami-Dade County 2018 - Rick Scott; Circuit Court Palm Beach County 2019 - Ron DeSantis). Member of The Florida Bar for 9 years. *****

Judge Jonathan Gerber - (County Court 2002 - Jeb Bush; Circuit Court Palm Beach County 2004 - Jeb Bush; 4th DCA 2009 - Charlie Crist). Member of The Florida Bar for 26 years and formerly with Shutts and Bowen before taking the bench.

Judge Jamie Grosshans - (County Court Orange County 2017 - Rick Scott; 5th DCA 2018 - Rick Scott). Member of The Florida Bar for 13 years and former ASA.

*Judge Norma Lindsey - (County Court 2006 - Jeb Bush; Circuit Court 2011 - Rick Scott; 3rd DCA 2017 - Rick Scott). Member of The Florida Bar for 26 years and formerly a commercial litigation attorney before taking the bench.

Judge Timothy Osterhaus - (1st DCA 2013 - Rick Scott). Member of The Florida Bar for 21 years and formerly the Solicitor General of Florida.

*Eliot Pedrosa - (formerly with Greenberg Traurig for 19 years as Head of the Litigation Department; currently United States Executive Director Inter-American Development Bank). Member of The Florida Bar for 20 years.

Judge Lori Rowe - (1st DCA 2009 - Charlie Crist); Member of The Florida Bar for 22 years and formerly Florida's Deputy Attorney General.

Meredith Sasso - (5th DCA 2019 - Rick Scott); Member of The Florida Bar for 11 years and formerly Chief Deputy General Counsel to Rick Scott.

 
*****Florida’s Supreme Court has been without a black jurist since 2018, a gap that Gov. Ron DeSantis has been pressured to fill. There are two vacancies on the court, and the Judicial Nominating Commission has offered nine nominees, only one of whom is black. And there’s another problem: That nominee, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Renatha Francis, is technically unqualified. As The Palm Beach Post notes, the Florida Constitution requires justices on the high court be a member of the Florida Bar for 10 years. And Francis has not been a member of the bar — or a lawyer — for 10 years. She graduated from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2010 and was admitted to the bar on Sep. 24 that year. If nominated by Gov. Ron DeSantis, she wouldn’t be able to serve until Sept. 24, 2020.

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

The Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission is extending the deadline for applications to fill the vacancies in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit created by the elevation of Judges Christina DiRaimondo, Robert Watson and Ramiro Areces. The commission requests that interested candidates submit an application for consideration. Applicants must meet the qualifications for county court judges described in Article V, Section 8, of the Florida Constitution. Applicants must submit three copies of their application by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7.

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

Sunday, January 26, 2020

THE NEW JIM CROW

Politicians across the spectrum trumpet the US criminal justice system as the greatest on earth. After a lifetime spent in the courts of this country we have reluctantly arrived at the conclusion: "Far from it!". From wrongful convictions that are not subject to review because of arbitrary time constraints, to the wholesale incarceration of a generation of African American Men (Judges- please read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander The Website is here ) we cannot say our justice system is fair, enlightened and designed to obtain the truth. Just look at how the DOJ incarcerates defendants pre-trial in conditions criticized by Amnesty International to force guilty pleas. 

This week's edition of Judge Hirsch's Constitutional Calendar concerns an incident that occurred in our lifetime. Think about that. Within recent times, a Federal Judge presiding over a civil rights lawsuit sought the indictment, prosecution, and incarceration of two men fighting for their right to register to vote. To Vote! In the United States of America. A supposed democracy. The only decent thing about this incident is that we as country air our dirty laundry. But as Ms. Alexander's book makes painfully clear, we do not learn from our mistakes. 

In a federal civil rights case brought in 1962 against the Registrar of Clarke County, Mississippi, and the State of Mississippi, two black men, Rev. W. G. Goff and Mr. Kendrick, testified that they had attempted to register to vote and been denied.  The trial was presided over by U.S. District Judge W. Harold Cox, a notorious racist, who, at the conclusion of trial, announced from the bench, “I want to hear from the Government about why this court shouldn’t require this Negro, Rev. W. G. Goff, and his companion Kendrick, to show cause why they shouldn’t be bound over to await the action of the grand jury for perjury.” When one of the government attorneys attempted to respond, Judge Cox went on, “I just want these Negroes to know that they can’t come into this court and swear to something as important as that was and is and get by with it.  I don’t care who brings them here ... those two witnesses are completely discredited as far as I’m concerned. ...  I think they are fit subjects for the penitentiary.”

           In due course Judge Cox caused the matter to be referred to the grand jury.  (The federal grand jury in question consisted of 21 men and two women; of the two women, one was the only African-American on the grand jury.)  The grand jury was perfectly willing to follow Judge Cox’s directions and indict for perjury (a 12-person majority being sufficient for indictment), but the United States Attorney, Robert E. Hauberg, refused to prepare or sign indictments.  Judge Cox then “order[ed] and direct[ed Mr. Hauberg] to disregard your instructions from the Department of Justice and to prepare true bills ... as this Grand Jury may direct you to do and to sign those bills ... as the Grand Jury may decide, under penalty of contempt.”  

           Judge Cox then recessed proceedings to afford Mr. Hauberg an opportunity to again confer with higher-ups at the DOJ.  Acting Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach instructed Hauberg not to prepare or sign perjury indictments against Goff or Kendrick, and if necessary to accept an adjudication of contempt.  (Legend has it that Katzenbach told Hauberg that if he – Hauberg – didn’t feel that he could stand up to Cox and take the contempt adjudication, then he – Katzenbach – would be on the next plane to Mississippi and would go to jail in Hauberg’s stead.  I have no idea if there’s a word of truth to that.) When court reconvened, Hauberg very respectfully declined to honor the court’s order and was held in contempt.  Judge Cox also issued an order to Katzenbach citing him to show cause why he should not also be contempted.  The jail sentences were stayed to afford the government a chance to appeal.

           The matter was resolved on January 26, 1965, when the en banc Fifth Circuit issued multiple opinions supporting the proposition that the decision to seek and sign indictments – and, more importantly in this case, the decision not to seek and sign indictments – is consigned exclusively to the executive branch of government and is not subject to judicial review.  United States v. Cox, 342 F. 2d 167 (5th Cir. 1965).  Particularly worth reading is the concurring opinion of the legendary John Minor Wisdom, 342 F. 2d at 185 et. seq.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

FIRST SUPER BOWL UPDATE

We are eight days away from the eyes of the world turning to Miami. Well, actually Miami Gardens (Motto: "Not South Beach. Not Aventura. Not Opa Locka."). A football game will be played here. The surrounding events will make it appear that people are cheering on a group of scientists who are feverishly working to save the world from the new virus from China. Instead, it's something more important. Whether big men can move a football and whether other big men can stop them?

The Greeks had poetry and mathematics. The English- literature. The French had Renaissance and Impressionist artists. We have two hundred and fifty pound men who run like gazelles. They hit each other so hard that by the time they are forty-five they walk with canes and have mental impairment. And this we cheer with jingoistic and religious ferocity. 

And we also place wagers on this historic event. And our readers supplement their meager State salaries with our recommendations. So while we finish our analysis* of the coin flip so we can give you the deadlock best bet,  a proposition bet has crossed our purview that we cannot let pass: 

Whether 49er QB Garoppolo will throw more than 1.5 TD passes?  It pays even money Bet a dollar, win a dollar. Bet a dollar, lose a dollar and ten cents. To win this bet, Garoppolo must throw two TD passes. Yes we realize he only threw 8 passes in the NFC Championship game. And Yes we realize that the 49er Defense is stout. But this will NOT be a low scoring game and Jimmy G is going to have to open it up. Place the bet now (the number will change over the week) that G throws two TDs. 

* Our analysis of the coin flip includes weather, humidity, time, location (slight changes in the gravitational fields of the earth will affect the flight of the coin), barometric pressure which slightly affects the height of the flip and number of rotations of the coin, the actual coin design and whether there are raised surfaces which will affect the drag coefficient, the age of the person flipping the coin, whether he is left handed or right handed (we have discerned a statistical bias based on the hand used to flip the coin), the physical condition of the flipper, and the directional layout of the field (fields that run east-west affect coin flips differently than fields that run north-south). Once we obtain the variables, we run over one million computer simulations and obtain a very accurate prediction on the coin flip. Stay tuned.  


Friday, January 24, 2020

PER CURIAM AND PILLOWCASES

@Davidovalle305 has done a superb job detailing the arrest and prosecution of South Florida's notorious "pillowcase rapist". In the late 1980's, before there was Starbucks and texting and people "beeped" each other, Miami was terrorized by a rapist. Then the investigation died out and life moved on. Last week there was a break in the case and ASA Laura Adams, no stranger she to important prosecutions has been assigned the case. We could not think of a better choice. 

Check out Ovalle's Herald story here. 


DEATH PENALTY REDUX 
Just when you thought it was over, the Florida Supreme Court, in an earth shaking, law making, Supreme Court Cert in waiting per curiam opinion (literally "too embarrassed to sign our names")
receded from their Hurst opinion and decided amongst other things that Florida juries do NOT have to have to unanimously recommend death. 

This is shameful. It ignores all of the US Supreme Court precedent and direct findings that Florida's prior sentencing scheme was unconstitutional. It's mindboggling that with such a serious ruling the opinion here is issued per curiam. Shameful. 

You can read the opinion here and decide if you need to shower afterwards. 

From the decision: 

The [Supreme]  Court ultimately held that “Florida’s sentencing scheme, which required the judge alone to find the existence of an aggravating circumstance, is therefore unconstitutional. 

...

 Nonetheless, this Court on remand concluded that Hurst v. Florida had far greater implications for Florida’s capital sentencing law.  The new rule announced in Hurst v. State was as follows:
[B]efore the trial judge may consider imposing a sentence of death, the jury in a capital case must unanimously and expressly find all the aggravating factors that were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, unanimously find that the aggravating factors are sufficient to impose death, unanimously find that the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors, and unanimously recommend a sentence of death

...

So there we have it. Florida joins the rest of the country requiring a unanimous jury recommendation of death. Something even Texas requires. 

But it just didn't sit well with those gals and fellas in Tallahassee and points north. "Y'all can't let defendants off with some high priced fancy lawyer reasonable doubt argument. Make em prove their innocence and hang em from the nearest tree."  was pretty much the chatter in the legal and lawmaking halls of our great and educated state. 

Well, how do you get this Supreme Court to overrule the last Supreme Court? We mean we cannot have judges legislating lord forbid. They just call balls and strikes. 
Time for some legal yoga. Bend a little this way. Stretch a little that way. Give lip service to stare decisis. Expound on not overruling a recent decision lightly. Take a deep breath and feed the meat to the public that wants executions. The quicker the better. No worries about actual innocence. Don't let jurors get in the way of a good lynching. 

 Last, lest there be any doubt, we hold that our state constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, article I, section 17,5 does not require a unanimous jury recommendation—or any jury recommendation—before a death sentence can be imposed.

These legal conservatives are many many things. Just don't ever argue that they are philosophically consistent. They are not. When their ox is gored they do what is needed to clean up the mess, even if it means legislating from the bench. 




Thursday, January 23, 2020

FREE MICHAEL AVENATTI

You may not like him. Like Icarus he flew too close to the sun and crashed to earth. (for those robed readers who are befuddled by literary and mythology references, click here).  He's a blow-hard and he probably stole money from clients. But as everyone's favourite federal blogger David O Markus writes here in The Hill, Avenatti is being wrongly held at the notorious SHU 10-South at MCC in NYC.

MCC holds about 800 inmates. It was designed for 400. In 10 South it is freezing; the lights are kept on 24 hours a day and when the toilets break, which is often, inmates are given bags to defecate in.  

"If I described these conditions to you—filthy, freezing, no natural light, isolation so extreme that you're punished for speaking through the walls, absurd rules like prisoners not getting to see the newspapers unless they're 30 days old, secrecy so deep that people are force-fed and lawyers can be punished for describing the conditions their clients are experiencing—you'd be forgiven for thinking that this was Iran or Russia," Jeanne Theoharis, a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College, told Gothamist. "But in fact this gulag exists right here in lower Manhattan."

The segregated units are horrifying and inhumane," David Patton, the executive director of Federal Defenders of New York, an organization that provides low cost or free legal help to people charged with federal crimes, told the Times. "If you wanted to intentionally design a place to drive people mad, you'd be hard-pressed to do better."

There is no reason that any defendant being charged in a  non-violent fraud case should be held in such conditions. He does not represent a danger to anyone. For those of you interested, there is a South Florida connection- Avenatti is being represented by Howard and Scott Srebnick in his nNw York criminal case. 

INVENTION OF THE WHEEL

Unless you're a Republican teacher from Kansas, you know that at some point in our history Humans came down from the trees in Africa and became hunter-gathers. We began to work together, domesticated animals, planted seeds, made weapons from stones, invented the wheel, then Twinkies, and then landed on the Moon. Sometime after that we produced Baywatch and the Pet Rock. 

The oldest indirect evidence of wheeled movement was found in the form of miniature clay wheels north of the Black Sea before 4000 B.C.

But "Stable Genius's" disagree. 
Thus our Stable Genius, the President of the United States, said yesterday in Davalos, Switzerland (Motto: "Bringing billionaires together to brag for many years") the following:

'You know, we have to protect Thomas Edison and we have to protect all of these people that - came up with originally the light bulb and-- the wheel.' 

Now we know the President is all about America first and only America first.  He has no desire to protect foreigners. Inhabitants of the Black Sea be dammed. 

So the only conclusion we have is that...Americans invented the wheel! Hooray!

The light bulb. Tang. Nestle's Quick. The silicon chip. Tinder. Chewy.com. And....THE WHEEL. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

ARRANT NONSENSE

We all know that Federal Court is no haven for cell phones. For many years no one could bring a phone into a federal courthouse. Now lawyers can, only after US Marshalls carefully scrutinize a Bar Card and narrow their eyes before grudgingly giving approval for the lawyer and her phone to enter the sacred grounds. One wonders what the Federal Judges are afraid of?  The President can tweet from the Situation Room at the White House, but a juror cannot Snapchat her experiences in a US District Court. So be it. Federal Judges are by their nature a bit....off? Mashugana? Something like that. 

So answer us this- with all the hostility against cell phones, why are the hallways of Federal Courts populated with....Cell Phone Chargers???
Maybe we have read them wrong. Maybe federal judges do have a sense of humor? 

ARRANT ERRORS 
CBS News reported this: 

Washington — "House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, one of seven impeachment managers who will present the chamber's case against President Trump in the Senate trial, called a response to the two articles of impeachment from the president's legal team errant nonsense."
This is why Rumpole needs to be involved in the impeachment process. If for no other reason than the protect the English language. Long time and careful readers of the Blog know that utter and complete nonsense is "Arrant nonsense" not whatever came out of Chairman Nadler's pie hole. 
Errant means to stray from a proper course. So it is etymologically errant to use errant as an adjective modifying the noun nonsense. Arrant works. Errant is an error.
Whew! Being a guardian of the English language in these errant times is challenging. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

MLK 2020

We celebrate the birthday of Dr. King in the fine American tradition of honoring him on a day other than his birthday. If it's good enough for Lincoln and Washington, then it's good enough for Dr. King. 
People will sidle up to the memory of the civil rights leader by endlessly requoting his famous speeches and quotes. Blah blah blah blah "Injustice anywhere is...." . Been there and done that. 
Let's try something new. 

What if we could talk to Dr. King today? If he was somehow able to travel in time before his murder, what would he see and what would we tell him?

Here's the good news Dr. King. You will be gratified to know an African-American man was elected president twice. You need to know Dr. King that we no longer use the term "negro". We now use African-American or Black.  Women routinely run for president and sometimes they get the most votes but don't win (it's a long story). For the most part (we aren't there yet, but it's better) people hire doctors, lawyers, accountants, dentists, chefs, engineers, and mostly people in any profession without regard to race. But there are still only three black head coaches in the NFL. 

We lost the Vietnam war but somehow managed to get stronger, learning the lessons from a bitter defeat. There are more nuclear weapons, but thankfully we haven't used them since WWII. We routinely live in space and launches and splashdowns don't even make the news. Videos of kittens jumping on balls of wool get more attention than a space launch. 

Queen Elizabeth is still on the throne, but her youngest grandson just resigned from The Firm. By the way Harry (as he is called), married a divorced woman of mixed race and that is the least interesting part of the story. 

We make meat from vegetables. Fat is healthy (not being fat, that's still bad. But unbelievably, we learned that eating fat makes you thin. It's harder than it sounds.)  We eat a lot of sushi. The ramen noodles that generations of college students lived on for 69 cents a package now costs twenty bucks a bowl served in fancy restaurants. McDonalds still sells hamburgers for less than a buck. No one smokes cigarettes anymore, but young people do something called vaping. 

Here's the bad news. Your intention in going to Memphis in April of 1968 was to begin the struggle against economic inequality by supporting striking sanitation workers. You were planning a second march on Washington, this time for economic justice. You saw that the real battle for the soul of America was not racial equality, but economic equality. 

We are far away from achieving your goal.

A large percentage of Americans, White, Black, Hispanic and Asian work multiple jobs to support their families. For example, teachers routinely work a second job in a place called Starbucks selling seven dollar cups of coffee or drive what used to be called taxis for something called Uber. The thought of a one or two income household providing a home, food, healthcare, transportation and even the ability to take a vacation now and then never seemed farther away. 

Our upcoming election promises to fracture the country even more. On the right we have Republicans that have little concern for hard working Americans that just cannot make it. Super-corporations skirt the laws of tax and health care by providing jobs just a few hours under what is required for full time benefits.

 On the left we have socialist candidates that want to break up companies that have provided our country with the technological advantages that have allowed us to compete in a global economy. We don't seem to have anyone who can unite us and find common ground. And there is this weird person who runs the Seanate called Mitch McConnell. And there is an even weirder senator named Bernie Sanders who is running for president even though he just had a heart attack. 

The world is over-heating; the oceans are polluted and acidic almost beyond repair and the polar regions are melting which means coastal cities around the world will be flooded. 100 year droughts are routinely followed by 100 year floods and world leaders don't  seem to be able to agree on how to heal our planet. Some politicans flout science and evdience to wild cheers from their constituents. Xenophobia is at a peak. Things look grim. 

Video phones are real, but we don't use them a whole lot. Actually we don't talk to each other very much. We send these electronic messages called texts from phones that we carry around. Walk down the street of any city and 80% of the people are hunched over staring at their electronic devices. It's fun but it's not good. 

The news is on 24 hours a day. You can shop without ever leaving your home. There are thousands of TV channels available. The Rolling Stones are still giving concerts. Really. Yes we have done the math. They are older than Moses but rock and roll hasn't died out yet. We also have something called Rap. Remember that commercial of the Native American with a tear rolling down his eye because someone threw some garbage out of a car? Rap would make him weep uncontrollably.  

We have these really neat things called Uber- Eats, Netflix, Tinder, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and someone called Kim Khardashian.

Every city in the US has a Martin Luther King Street, Avenue, school, or other public property honoring your life and work. And of course we take a day off to celebrate your birthday. But you gave us more than you took and we still owe you more than we recognize. 

You really wouldn't recognize the place. 



Saturday, January 18, 2020

2019 SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL AND IMPEACHMENT

We have four teams vying for the right to go to the Super Bowl here in North Miami, as well as two parties vying this upcoming week to fire the opening shots in the 2020 Presidential Election. 
Football first. The 

Titans versus Chiefs. Here is all Tennessee has done on its improbable run to the AFC Championship Game. They beat the team with the best defense in football in 2019 (The Cheaters of New England) and then beat the team with the best offense in football (The Ravens of Baltimore).  And they beat both teams on the road. What can't they do? Beat the Chiefs in KC. But this game should be close. KC will be without their star rookie Safety Juan Thornhill (torn ACL) and pro-bowl D Lineman Chris Jones (calf) is a game-time decision.  The Titans can run the rock even when teams stack the line to stop the run. That will keep the game close.  In week Ten Tennessee beat the Chiefs at home 35-32. It might not be that close on the road, but it should be within a TD. Tennessee +7. 

Green Bay at San Fran.  In Week 12 San Fran blew out the Pack 37-8 after jumping out to a 23-0 lead.  Second verse, same as the first. The 49'ers have the D stop Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones and anyone else named Aaron or otherwise on Green Bay. 7.5 seems like a lot to give up, but we are not buying into the Packers hype. It's more hope than hype, and their run stops in San Fran on Sunday. San Fran - 7.5.


PELOSI V TRUMP. 
The President travels to the Senate this week to fight impeachment charges on the road, albeit in front of a friendly crowd of Republican Senators.  Coming off a loss in the House where POTUS didn't even show up, the President employs a "spread-defense" with aging superstars Ken Starr, Alan Dersh, along with Pam Bondi and a host of others. Pelosi counters with her handpicked team of members of Congress that no one could have named three months ago. 
Pelosi needs sixty-seven votes and she cannot count on more than fifty. At Trump plus at least seventeen, it's a hard line to turn down. Take the President and the points and look for a quick victory. 


Thursday, January 16, 2020

IMPEACHMENT TRIAL BEGINS

Dateline Washington , DC, The Capitol.  
The third trial of an Impeachment of The President of the United States has begun. The Senate Sergeant at Arms started the proceedings as follows:  "Hear Ye Hear ye Hear ye! All persons are commanded to be keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump, President of the United States."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff then took the podium and read the articles of impeachment to the Senate.  Once done, the members of the House present were dismissed and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Mars) summoned the Chief Justice of the United States to the Senate. The CJ will be sworn in by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate (literally "the oldest guy in the room"). 
Once sworn in, the CJ, pursuant to Article I, section Six of the Constitution, will swear in the members of the Senate, who will swear to do justice, according to what polls best for their re-election chances. Then, in groups of four, the senators will be called to the podium to sign and oath book, which entitles them to receive a groupon for 1/3 off all footlong Subway Subs in the Dayton, Ohio, area during the week of February 3, 2020. Upon signing the oath book, the official Senate Social Media director will record and post on Instagram the act of the Senator signing the oath book and receiving their groupon. 

Rumpole knows, and now you do as well, that there are only two times senators sign an oath book- when they are sworn in as a senator, and when they are sworn in as a juror in an impeachment trial. 

Rumor discounted: There is  no truth to the rumor being floated that as a protest against the impeachment trial, Republican senators have agreed to sign the name "William Jefferson Clinton" and/or "Alfred E Newman" in the oath book. Nor have three senators agreed to sign the names "Moe, Larry, and Curly" but this is  mostly because there was no agreement as to whether Shemp could be substituted for Curly. 

According to schedule, the Senate will then break to take up other important business of the country, including resolutions approving "National Plumbers Day" (October 19); "National Pumpernickel Bagel Day" (June 11) and a resolution approving the posting of the phrase "Don't text while driving or flying" in all Transportation Bureaus of the United States.  

We will continue with our coverage of the senate trial of Donald John Trump as events warrant. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

BABY LOLLIPOPS CASE AFFIRMED BY 3RD DCA

The long sad saga of the prosecution of Ana Cardona, the mother of a three year old boy named Lazaro Figueroa, has come, finally, to a conclusion with the 3rd DCA affirmance of her conviction here
The case began in 1990 with the discovery of Figueroa's body, the child wearing a lollipops t-shirt. Three trials later her conviction and sentence to life in prison was upheld. 

No snappy comments or snide analysis. Just a moment reflecting on the life of an innocent child lost to the foolish stupidity and criminal brutality of people who had no business being responsible for a child. May he rest in peace, robbed of a life he deserved to live. 


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

THE TARGETED KILLING OF ADMIRAL ISOROKU YAMAMOTO ......


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

(Please note that this post is NOT meant as a commentary on the actions by our government in the killing of Qasem Soleimani. Anyone who reads this Blog and knows it’s author is aware that we are sometimes treated to great history lessons about WW II. The history of WW II has always fascinated me as well. So, I wanted to share this Op Ed from the WP).

FROM THE WASHINGTON POST:

BEFORE SOLEIMANI, THERE WAS YAMAMOTO. BUT THE HISTORY IS VERY DIFFERENT.

By Ian W. Toll

Jan. 12, 2020 at 3:40 p.m. EST

Ian W. Toll is the author of a nonfiction trilogy about the Pacific War. The third and final book, "Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945," will be published in July.

The U.S. military’s targeted killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq on Jan. 3 may have been impetuous and destabilizing, as the president’s critics have charged, and it may yet bring ominous consequences in the region. But it was not unprecedented. A famous antecedent occurred during World War II, when U.S. forces targeted a senior Japanese admiral by shooting down his aircraft in the South Pacific. Lately the episode has been mentioned amid the debate over justifications of the Soleimani strike but without much historical context. Some background may be useful.

Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, commander in chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet, was one of his nation’s most prominent military leaders. He had masterminded the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the attempted invasion of Midway, which ended in a disastrous naval defeat in June 1942. Earlier in his career, Yamamoto had studied English at Harvard and served as naval attache in the Japanese Embassy in Washington. Although Americans did not know it at the time, he had argued strongly against starting the war, warning that Japan could not match America’s industrial power.

In early 1943, after a ferocious six-month struggle over Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, the Japanese had pulled their last remaining forces out of the island, acknowledging defeat. In April, Yamamoto ordered a renewed aerial assault on Allied bases throughout the region. For its April 18 conclusion, the admiral planned to visit Japanese troops and air bases in Bougainville and the northern Solomon Islands. A detailed itinerary for his tour of inspection was radioed to Japanese commands throughout the region on April 13.

The signal, encoded in a Japanese naval cipher, was intercepted by several Allied radio listening stations. Within 18 hours, codebreakers in Pearl Harbor and Washington had decrypted and translated its key elements, including the specific information that Yamamoto would travel in a Mitsubishi G4M bomber escorted by six A6M Zero fighters and would arrive in Ballale, an island off southern Bougainville, at 0800 Tokyo time.

Edwin T. Layton, the Pacific Fleet intelligence officer, briefed Adm. Chester Nimitz on the morning of April 14. Studying the wall chart in his office, Nimitz saw that Ballale could be reached by American fighter planes based on Guadalcanal. According to Layton’s later account, Nimitz mulled over the pros and cons, considering both the ethical issues and the wisdom of assassinating Yamamoto.

Layton, who had been slightly acquainted with Yamamoto while serving in Tokyo before the war, argued that the Japanese admiral was the most revered military leader in Japan and that his death would strike a "tremendous blow" at the enemy’s morale. "You know, Admiral Nimitz, it would be just as if they shot you down," he said. "There isn’t anybody to replace you."

Nimitz did not take long to make up his mind. He ordered his South Pacific commander to attempt a fighter interception of Yamamoto’s plane, concluding: "Best of luck and good hunting." Certain early postwar accounts suggested that President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized a "get Yamamoto" operation, but no evidence for this theory appears in the documentary record or in the recollections of those close to the president.

The job was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force’s 339th Fighter Squadron, whose twin-engine Lockheed P-38 Lightnings were the only American fighters with the range for such a mission. As the crow flies, Ballale was 340 miles from the airfield on Guadalcanal, but the American fighters would have to take a circuitous route to evade radar detection.

The round-trip mission would require at least a thousand miles of flying, a distance that lay at the outer limit of the P-38’s range. Precise timing was critical, because they would not have extra fuel to burn while waiting for Yamamoto’s aircraft to arrive. Maj. John W. Mitchell, commander of the 339th, picked 18 P-38 pilots to fly the mission. Four were designated "killers," assigned to shoot down the G4M bomber carrying Yamamoto; the others would fly "top cover" against the escorting Zeros.

Taking off from Guadalcanal at 7:15 a.m., the P-38s flew over the sea at extremely low attitude, less than 30 feet above the wavetops. This allowed them to avoid the radar net and kept them under the visible horizon of Japanese-held islands along the route. The flight arrived at the interception point over southern Bougainville at 9:34. Almost immediately, the inbound Japanese airplanes were seen descending through a thin cumulus layer to the north. The P-38s climbed at maximum speed, throttles to the firewall. The escorting Zeros dived into the melee, but they were too late to break up the attack.

Lt. Rex T. Barber, flying one of the "killer" P-38s, banked sharply to the right and fell in behind Yamamoto’s plane. He fired into the target’s right engine and fuselage. The bomber began trailing flames, rolled over and descended toward the dark green canopy of the jungle hills below. It crashed, with a column of black smoke marking the point of impact.

Japanese search parties took more than a day to find the crash site. Yamamoto’s body was cremated, his ashes flown to Tokyo. Just as Layton had predicted, Yamamoto’s loss was a heavy blow to the morale of the Japanese people. The news was concealed from the public for more than a month. When it was finally announced on May 21, the radio announcer broke into tears, and a Tokyo diarist noted, "There is widespread sentiment of dark foreboding about the future course of the war." A grand state funeral for Yamamoto was held on June 5, with hundreds of thousands lining the funerary route from Hibiya Park to the Tama Cemetery.

Such public mourning may recall recent images from Iran after Soleimani’s death, just as Americans cheering the killing of Yamamoto, the man behind the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, may bring to mind the way they welcomed the death of Soleimani, a man with much innocent blood on his hands. But the context and circumstances of the Soleimani and Yamamoto killings are vastly different. Japan and the United States were in the midst of a savage, all-out war, and Yamamoto, as a combatant, was unquestionably a legitimate target; the United States and Iran are not formally at war — and there is much that we do not yet know about President Trump’s decision to order a drone strike on Soleimani. As for the longer-term consequences of the decision to "get Soleimani," we await the verdict of history.

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

Monday, January 13, 2020

PEARSON V RUNDLE 2.0

So here we are, the first full week of the rest of the career of Miami State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle. 

There is a lot of discussion about whether the career of an assistant state attorney is as fulfilling as it used to be. Those of our readers with gray in their beards and hair, and a shuffle in their step, wax poetic about their careers under Richard E Gerstein and Janet Reno (we just know that at this very moment there is a young pd, asa, and judge saying to themselves 'wait a second, Richard Gerstein was the State Attorney??? I always wondered why they named the building after him.'). 

So we are going to put up a poll. Unscientific. We cannot police it. But we are asking ONLY ASAs to take part in it. 

Your career as a prosecutor is .....
(  ) more rewarding than I expcted
(  ) about as rewarding as I expected 
(  ) less rewarding than I expected, I hate having to ask permission to use the bathroom. 

While the happiness of the employees is not a yardstick by which a office should be evaluated, it is a factor and one that should play a part in the upcoming election. 

Meanwhile, the defense bar can chime in this week on how many times the prosecutors in court say "victim wants the max". 

It's time they pay a price for abandoning their constitutional responsibilities. 




Saturday, January 11, 2020

NFL PLAYOFFS 2019 SEASON

There are four games on the schedule this weekend. Two on Saturday, two on Sunday. For those of you looking to comment on the Pearson v. Rundle State Attorney Race, scroll on down and join the debate on why the State Attorney refuses to seek justice and 100% defers to victims on plea offers and sentencing recommendations. 

Saturdays Games

The intrepid Minnesota Vikings are on the road again. Having shocked the world and defeated the Saints in New Orleans, Minny is in San Fran to face the fearsome 49ers. Nice knowing ya Vikes
The 49ers are all healed up on D- Dee Ford their edge rusher and Jaquiski Tartt (no relation to Donna the writer we assume) at safety are rested and ready to go. With Richard Sherman roaming the secondary,  and Nick Bosa and his line mates pinning their ear backs and going after the QB, we once again don't see much hope for the Vikings winning on the road. Just like last week.  Take San Fran -7  (WIN) and over 44.5. (just missed) We are going to eat our words from last week in which we wrote that "the next time Vikings QB Cousins wins a big game will be the first time." Giving credit where credit is due, Cousins stepped by against the Saints and delivered. Well done, and now this week- what have you done for me lately? Pressure is on. Again. 


Tennessee at Baltimore, The game of the weekend. You like teams that can run the rock? Teams that are well coached on D? Teams with resurgent QB's? Then you have come to the right game. We love Tennessee and their coach and the way they punked the Evil Genius and the Cheaters last week. But The Ravens are the class of the league right now. Is ten points too much to give? Oh this is hard but we are going to say no. Ravens will win, but not by ten. Take the ten and Tenny (BIG WIN) and over 46.6.(small loss). 


Sundays Games 

Texans at KC. Let's play word association. Patrick Mahomes. Tyrann Mathieu. Andy Reid. Win, win and win. Texans are underperformers with outsized talent. This game will not be close. Take KC and give the ten and over 51. (WIN the over was over by mid third quarter)

Seahawks at Packers. Another great game.  The weather  should be cold and clear after a snow storm moves through Saturday night. Could Seattle win this game? Yes, if the first 34 RBs on the roster weren't injured and they are down to getting Franco Harris back into uniform ("wait" you say. "Rumpole, wasn't Franco a Steeler?" "Yes" we reply, "but he finished his career with one year in Seattle", and we know that because we are the professionals here and you readers expect such wit and wisdom.). 
Packers are giving up 4.5, They are home. They have Aaron Rodgers. It is cold out. They have their RB ready to go and it's Packer weather. Green Bay -4.5 under 47. 

Thursday, January 09, 2020

PEARSON v. RUNDLE

Now we are cooking with oil! 
In what was an open secret whispered  brazenly in the  hallways of the REGJB, Melba Pearson, a former ASA, has filed to run for State Attorney against Kathy Fernandez-Rundle. 

WLRN was one of the outlets that broke story here, choosing to run as an unflattering picture of KFR as they could find.  

Fernandez-Rundle, Janet Reno's handpicked successor (something we also hear drives her to distraction) has been State Attorney longer than some of her assistants have been out of diapers. 

Ms. Pearson- if you're listening- and we hope you are, here are some things you can challenge our State Attorney on. 

First and foremost- Why have your prosecutors abandoned their constitutional duties to seek justice when it comes to sentencing, and placed their recommendation solely and completely in the hands of victims???  
Judge: "This is a first offense car burglary. The twenty year old defendant is eligible for PTI"
Prosecutor: "Sorry judge, the victim wants the max five years in prison."  Rinse and repeat. Over and over Rundle and her minions abandon the trust placed in them by the people of Miami-Dade County to make the fair but unpopular decisions that prosecutors are supposed to make. They abandon their duties because Rundle quakes at the political and public relations problems with not kow-towing to a victim in a case. Shame on her. For that alone, she should be replaced. 

Second problem: Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Want to get a copy of discovery? "Sorry judge, I spoke to my chief, who spoke to her chief, who is waiting to speak to his  chief before we can provide the defense with the a-form." 

How many prosecutors does it take to change a light bulb at the SAO?  One- and thirty four supervisors. 

The office is an administrative and bureaucratic nightmare, so designed to prevent independent thinking by a prosecutor. A line prosecutor pretty much has to have their voir dire questions approved before they can ask them. "Sugar in that coffee?" "Hang on, I have to get approval." 

Janet Reno, the two words KFR hates to hear,  trusted her prosecutors to make the correct decisions in court. Ms. Rundle doesn't trust them to sharpen a pencil without supervision and approval. Well, that's not really true. She doesn't trust them to get a pencil to use without approval. Sharpening it is a whole other set of supervisors who have to sign off on it. 

We call on Ms. Pearson to promise to hire smart, independent thinking prosecutors who can be trusted in court to make the dozens of decisions on cases every day, without seeking approval from a line of supervisors that stretches from the REGJB to Joes on Miami Beach, and back. ("Want some stone crabs from Joes for lunch?" "Hang on, I have to get approval.")

We will have more to say on this subject. But for now, to Ms. Pearson: welcome to the party. You have a real chance to be an agent for change.