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

Thursday, April 30, 2020

WEB BOOK MARKS AND TIK TOK

The world is changing faster than even the best of us (not including Rumpole) can keep up with it. Thus the news that a UM Professor was fired after he shared his screen during a Zoom class and some obnoxious twerp college student shared a screen shot showing that Professor Moriarty had a book mark on his web browser for "Busty College Girls".  The Tik-Tok went  viral here (there is a phrase that would be virtually unrecognized in the 1960's, 70's, 80's, & 90's) and UM canned the prof. 

Query: If the book mark was for "proportionally shaped college girls", would Moriarty have been fired? Or "College girls between 5'4 and 5'8 and 120-140 pounds"?  You get the idea. Pornography is banned at places of higher learning. 

So we began to wonder what are on other people's book marks? And here are our purely unscientific and unsupported guesses:

DOM- Everyone's favourite federal blogger is easy: "StarWars"; "Miami StarWars"; "Harvard StarWars fan club"; "1977 Senate Committee Notes on 1956 Money Laundering"; and "Great Criminal Defense Closing Arguments of the 1950's". 

Judges Sayfie and Soto...amongst other tabs might be  one of the various "WhoisRumpole" websites;

Those State Attorney Laptops they have in court: "VictimswantMax"; "The Fun Of Saying No"; "the subtle exclusion of certain jurors"; and "Linkedin legal jobs";

Various Judges of Miami: "Mediator and Arbitrator certification courses"; (notably absent- Westlaw or Lexis). 

Should the professor have been fired? Or are Professors people too, with the same foibles and desires as any other person? 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

JUDGE FABER ZOOMS ALONG

County Court is not going away, and Judge Faber is on top of it all. Here is his latest missive. 

From Judge Faber:


I hope this email finds you and your families in good health and safe from this coronavirus. 

On June 1st our courthouse closures are scheduled to end and how REG will change regarding schedules is being determined now.  I wanted to take an opportunity to share with you what we in County Criminal have been doing and will do going forward:

Non-Criminal Traffic Court – Zoom calendars are scheduled to begin in May for attorneys.  It will be subsequently opened for Pro Se Defendants as the kinks are worked out.  By June 1st there will be no need for Defendants in these cases to appear at REG unless they want to.  This will help tamp down crowds that might otherwise be asked to attend.

(ODR) Online Dispute Resolution – Miami-Dade County is the first county in the State to open ODR.  Any citizen who has proof of compliance for a non-criminal charge of lack of insurance, lack of registration or lack of a driver’s license, can go online and provide that proof.  Once accepted the case will be dismissed.  Those persons will not have to appear at REG ever.

(JDP) Jail Diversion Project – closed to new entrants because of the emergency, cases are still managed and weekly Staffings have been set up to review these cases.  Our RAC (see below) provides an avenue to address these matters in court at a special set hearing.  Very few persons need to be at REG for these hearings and remote access is encouraged.

First Appearance/Bond Hearings (5-3 REG) – These video-feed hearings from TGK are conducted daily, at 9 AM and then again at 1 PM.  This Courtroom cannot be easily Zoom-equipped because of the video-feed equipment, but covering judges have been using their personal computers/IPads to arrange Zoom Meetings upon request to provide remote access and that is being recorded as if the person was physically present.  Attorneys may attend via Zoom or in-person.  Any review of bond status for detained inmates for misdemeanor cases, or other emergency matters brought to our attention for an in-custody Defendant, is heard at 12 Noon in this Courtroom with the Defendant appearing through the direct video-feed from TGK or a Zoom appearance set-up by Corrections.  Very few persons need to be at REG for these hearings and remote access is encouraged.

(RAC) Remote Access Courtroom (5-2 REG) – This courtroom is open daily and is properly Zoom-equipped with a proprietary Zoom address (Meeting ID# 976 1199 8760).  Any pending out-of-custody case can be calendared through the division judges for a hearing on a motion, to divert the case, or to enter a plea, at a Zoom hearing scheduled in the RAC.  If necessary a contested evidentiary hearing can be special set in an afternoon calendar.  Very few persons need to be at REG for these hearings and remote access is encouraged.

Moving forward, there are a number of things being worked on and considered regarding opening up our Court in the County Criminal Division:
  1.  A review by the State of pending criminal arraignments and pre-trial conferences - The State has been very willing in this crisis to do internal reviews of their pending cases to ensure they are weeding out cases that would be dismissed anyway and are using the Administrative Order process to do so.  This will help tamp down crowds that might otherwise be asked to attend.
  2. All Misdemeanor courtrooms at REG (2-11, 4-9, 4-10, 5-1, 5-2, 5-7, 6-5, 6-6, 6-7, and 6-8, with the exception of 5-3) have been Zoom-equiped, meaning a separate monitor for Zoom attendance is installed and ready.  Zoom training for judges and staff is ongoing.  Notices are being modified.  We anticipate every hearing through Arraignment being Zoomed so persons may appear remotely rather than by appearing in-person at REG.  This will help tamp down crowds that might otherwise be asked to attend.
  3. Post-Arraignment hearings that do not require the presence of the Defendant (e.g.: Soundings on DUI cases) are likely also to be Zoomed.  This will help tamp down crowds that might otherwise be asked to attend.
  4. Jury Trials being specially set and coordinated to ensure a minimum of people are impacted and social distancing can occur in the hallways and waiting areas.
  5. Publicity about what changes are coming and getting the word out to a public scared to return when we do open up is on everyone’s minds.  We believe that as people read that they have options to in-person appearances and are told of them through media and by word-of-mouth, Zoom attendance will grow quickly on our dockets when in-person presence is not required.

There will always be a need for face-to-face court (e.g.: some people just don’t have access to online efforts, trials, etc.) so re-considering how to hold Court in this time (when what our traditional model has been that everyone appears personally) has been a struggle.  I think we all agree there are no easy ways out of this pandemic that can kill you.  All of us know people who have been infected, sadly some who have died.  We must open in a way in the criminal divisions that keeps people and staff safe, one that respects due process and victim’s rights, and one that fosters respect for the institution itself.

I am confident we will re-open our Courts safely in the days ahead.

Robin Faber
Administrative Judge
County Court, Criminal Division
Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building
1351 NW 12th Street, Room 513
Miami, Florida 33125

HOW TO REOPEN THE COURTS

The Courts, and by that we mean those who run them, have been quiet on re-opening. Much like a sealed motion filed by the prosecution, we do not know what is going on. 

Here are some problems our intrepid robe wearers will need to address and settle: 
El Chapo CafĂ©- Open?  Social distancing? Let's say we get everything else in place, it's a Monday at lunchtime, people are streaming downstairs to eat. How are the hungry masses accommodated? 

Courtrooms. It is not our current judges' fault that our beloved REGJB was built circa 1960. Some courtrooms are downright tiny germ-spreading factories. Think about the ones in the back hallways. In Corona-world we cannot have people standing in those narrow hallways waiting to come in to court. Even the regular sized courtrooms have bench seats that crowd people together. None of this works 2020 Corona-world. 

SOLUTION#1- Close the small courtrooms in the back hallways and use the courtrooms on the first floor now being used for traffic calendars.  It brings less people deeper into the building. Misdemeanor participants can enter, walk right into the courtroom on the first floor,  and leave without using an elevator or escalator. This one is easy and a no-brainer. We expect it to be implemented immediately. 

We need to innovate, which just happens to be our middle name. 

SOLUTION# 2: The C word. CALENDERING.  
Dear Judges Soto and Sayfie. We have had our differences in the past. You did not like the pressure we exerted to close down the courthouses. We in turn, did not fully grasp the pressures you were under and how hard it was to just shut it down. Let's move beyond our differences. Please listen to us. This is important. THE DAYS OF 9 AM CALENDARS ARE OVER. oVER. over. Over. Anyway you spell it. O..V..E..R. 

Judges need to work from 8:30-5:00. Arraignments from 8:45-9:30. Miscellaneous matters from 10:00-11:00. You need a half hour space to empty the building between calendars. 11:30-1 lunch. You need to give people time to eat off-premises. No jurors in building until 1:30. Jury trials from 2 pm on. Change of pleas on Friday afternoons (which gives lawyers in trials Fridays off and avoids the dreaded Friday verdict-syndrome Rumpole abhors). 

No longer will inconveniencing jurors be the guiding principle in pushing jury trials to quick conclusions. Safety. Space. Efficient use of time to schedule and handle hearings will be the new guiding principles.  


Solution#3: Calendar calls Can Be Done By Zoom. Repeat. Lawyers do NOT need to come to the courthouse to announce ready for trial or not. Two weeks before trial date, a Zoom calendar call is scheduled. Hold them during a Thursday evening cocktail hour and you may see more resolutions than normal. 

Solution#4: Saturdays and Sundays are just days in the week. We have all been home for several years now. Or at least it seems that way. There is no rule that says motions to suppress cannot be handled on Saturdays. We will all need to work more to catch up. Judges will need to use the time available to safely space out hearings. 

Here is the guiding principle- we cannot--- cannot---cannot just schedule everything for 9 am, jam people into our courthouse and then work until it is done. To their credit, the Feds have been scheduling their time efficiently for a long time now. State court needs to catch up. 

Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their court system. Judges need the calendaring tools to be able to schedule matters at 2:30 and 4:00 pm. To the court systems' credit, their tech department stepped up and instituted Zoom quicker than you can say it's safe to open tattoo parlors in Georgia.  Lawyers will be inconvenienced. We all need to change the way we do business

Solution#5: Move Traffic Court.  Dade County has lots of office space. Move traffic court off-premises from the courthouse. Commercial real estate is being crushed. You can rent a storefront office on Coral Way for nothing. Marias- a gathering place for REGJB lawyers ever since Janet Reno would stop off for dinner in the 1980's, has sadly closed. That space can be rented. It has street parking. Set up satellite traffic courts all over Dade County, even Hialeah (Motto: "Where the streets have six names"). Add a dollar user fee to each ticket to pay the rent. In Corona-world 2020 and beyond,  it is all about managing the flow of people. Less people in larger spaces=safety.

There will be no WWII to bring this economy back from the coming depression. But maybe there will be a few trillion dollars invested in infrastructure. And that means new public buildings redesigned to eliminate crowds, and the  infections that come with crowds. The new Miami Sy Gaer Criminal Justice Center that can be built in 2025 will be a giant step towards solving these problems. Until then we need to use all the hours in the day, six days a week, to handle the cases in our criminal court system. 

A well intentioned reader may well email us that we did not discuss the civil court system. "How about civil court Rumpole? 

Oh, that's easy  we respond. 
"Jam them all together. The world can use less civil lawyers."

Solution#6:  "I thank you good people. There shall be no money. All shall eat and drink on my score. ...The first thing we do, let's kill all (the civil) lawyers." 
Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, scene 2. 

Drop the mike and walk off the stage. 

Coming next: By Any Other Name.  (hmmmm, what could that be  about?)






Monday, April 27, 2020

GOOD NEWS STORY

From the FACDL Listserv that we are banned from and neither allowed to read, copy, and post, comes a feel-good story and our nomination of two Assistant Federal Public Defenders- Janice Bergman, Esq., and Bernardo Lopez for the 2020 Against All Odds Award:


From Henry Bell's FACDL email- posted without his permission- so sue us: 


Earlier this week I shared a compassionate release order which Emanuel (Manny) Perez obtained from Judge Cooke in USA v. Nieves Suarez. The government moved to reconsider (no surprise there) and Judge Cooke denied the motion (Good!!). I am attaching the order denying the government's motion to reconsider. Great job Manny and congrats again! There is more, however. Much more...... 

In her order denying the government's motion to reconsider, Judge Cooke relied on Judge Williams' April 10th release order in USA v. Daryl Hope. I therefore pulled the Hope order, figuring that it might be helpful. I am attaching it here. Although it discusses compassionate release in the Covid-19 context, Judge Williams' order is also based on the "extraordinary and compelling reasons" for release stemming from the injustice of Mr. Hope's life sentence. 

A review of the docket shows that Mr. Hope is a rather persistent and intelligent fellow. His pursuit for release was some odyssey.  After tangling ass [Rumpole interjects- we love the use of old legal terms- it brings a certain class to a discussion] with Judge Zloch for years on a pro se basis and losing every application and appeal he filed, Mr. Hope filed a motion for compassionate release under the First Step Act that was summarily denied without the judge apparently reaching the merits. The intrepid Mr. Hope, who had submitted his medical records and had done everything he could to improve himself over 30 years in prison, moved for reconsideration and for the appointment of counsel. The case was transferred from Judge Zloch to Judge Williams (why exactly is not so clear in the docket although it states that the presiding Judge was no longer accepting filings in the matter). That turned out to be Mr. Hope's lucky day because Judge Williams appointed the FPD.  

AFPDs Janice Bergman and Bernando Lopez took the reins,[Rumpole says- cue Rocky Theme]  and over the government's objections they convinced Judge Williams to release Mr. Hope after serving 30 long years in prison. Mr. Hope, whose sentence was jacked up to life imprisonment because of an 851 enhancement, is about 50 or so years old and has plenty to live for. He is no longer the same lost kid sentenced to life in prison back in 1990. Judge Williams issued a thoughtful and well reasoned order. Congrats are in order for Bernando and Janice for a job well done! If I missed someone else's involvement in getting Mr. Hope released please let us know. Congrats again. It was great to happen upon some good news.   

Saturday, April 25, 2020

CONNECT THE DOTS

First we want to take a moment an express a personal thought. It is our blog and we reserve the right, from time to time, to express a personal opinion.

RE: The lockdown. After careful consideration we have reached this conclusion:

WE ARE SICK OF THIS CRAP...ARrrrrrgh.

All righty, that is off our mind, lets move on.

Conspiracy theorists love this.

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair; Hover through the fog and filthy air"
Macbeth, Act I, Scene I. 

1) A lawyer gets in serious trouble for shenanigans with the Miccosukee tribe.
2) He gets wacked but good in federal court and the judge refers him to the Bar.
3) The Bar appoints Tunis as the referee. (Aside- why are they appointed as referees? Why not judges? And if they are appointed as a referee do they take the bench in a stripped shirt and if they do that, why haven't we ever seen this wonderful spectacle?)
4) Tunis holds hearings and recommends disbarment.
5) The Florida Supreme Court affirms.
6) The lawyer is disbarred, which these days, sitting at home, is not much different than the rest of us.
7) The lawyer is friends/mentor with a well-known Gadfly who Harold Stassen-like, keeps running for judge.
8) The candidate, no polymath she, immediately Googles "Harold Stassen" to try and discern Rumpole's brilliant historical reference. Confused about a seemingly irrelevant reference to her math skills, she then Googles "polymath" and the double insult finally dawns on her.
9) The disbarred lawyer (Macbeth for our purposes)  gets the candidate -hereinafter on the blog to be known as "Lady Macbeth-Stassen" (LMS) (and  at times"the Covid-19 Candidate", because more hoi polloi get that damaging reference), gets Lady Macbeth-Stassen to switch races and challenge Judge Tunis: "When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won,"  thereby bringing happiness to the disbarred lawyer, but much like when Lady Macbeth awakes from her famous sleep-walking scene, nothing good happens to her.
10) LMS -reading this- now nervously ponders whether she will be forced to read Macbeth, something she dodged in high school during her formative anti-polymath years, to figure out what this new allegorical turn in the blog means for her.
11) Fast forward to Macbeth, Act I, scene V, when Lady Macbeth, reading a letter from her husband, learns that three witches have prophesied his future as King: "When I burned in desire to question them further, they made themselves air into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives from the King, who all-hailed me 'Thane Of Crawdor,  by which title before, these weird sisters saluted  me: "Hail King that shall be.." 

What shall become of Lady Macbeth-Stassen? Shall our Macbeth assume the throne and get his vindication, or shall LMS wander the streets of Hialeah late at night muttering "Out damned spot! Out!...will these hands ne're be clean?"

Stay Tuned....





Friday, April 24, 2020

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2020 ..... NOON FILING DEADLINE


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

THE NOON TIME HOUR HAS LONG SINCE PASSED. Barring some unforeseen last minute filings that we are unaware of, it appears that there will be seven contested judicial elections in August of 2020.  Five contests in Circuit Court and two more in County Court. (For a detailed breakdown of all seven elections, please scroll down).

Three Incumbent Circuit Court Judges face opposition: Judge Thomas Rebull faces off against three time candidate Denise Martinez-Scanziani. Is the third time a charm?  Judge Dava Tunis faces her first ever contested election in her 20 years on the bench (five in County and fifteen in Circuit) as she has been challenged by another three time candidate Rosy Aponte.  Is the third time a charm, for her? Judge Mavel Ruiz beat an Incumbent six years ago to win her seat; now the tables are turned as Marcia Hansen tries to unseat Ruiz.

In County Court, two Incumbent Judges face opposition: Judge Joseph Mansfield is challenged by attorney Miguel "Mike" Mirabal. Mirabal lost to Judge Milena Abreu in 2018.  Also, Judge Christine Bandin faces off against attorney Shaun Spector.

In two other Circuit Court races, Olanike Adebayo faces Joe Perkins. Adebayo lost a County Court race in 2018 to Judge Sosa-Bruzon.  Perkins lost a Circuit Court race the same year to Judge Yery Marrero. Carmen Cabarga is challenged by Roderick Vereen. Vereen mounted a last minute filing, almost not qualifying due to some errors with his filing fee check, but has now officially qualified.

CONGRATULATIONS TO JUDGE-ELECT MICHELLE DELANCY.

Judge-Elect Delancy becomes the Milt Hirsch of 2020; (Judge Hirsch also walked into a Circuit Court seat unopposed back in 2010).

ADDENDUM: We just spoke with Judge-Elect Delancy.  Here is what she had to say about today's events:

"I am beyond ecstatic to get to live my dream of serving our community on the Circuit bench. Winning unopposed is humbling. I couldn't have done so without the amazing support of my family, friends and colleagues."

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FOLLOWING INCUMBENT JUDGES WHO ALL WIN NEW SIX YEAR TERMS HAVING BEEN UNOPPOSED IN 2020:

CIRCUIT COURT: (30)
 
Ivonne Cuesta
Rosa Figarola
Angelica Zayas
Jose Rodriguez
Jorge Cueto
Alex Spicola Bokor
Daryl Trawick
Migna Sanchez-Llorens
Yvonne Colodny
Tanya Brinkley
Laura Stuzin
Peter Lopez
Alberto Milian
Spencer Multack
Michelle Alvarez Barakat
Orlando Prescott
Stacy Glick
Dawn Denaro
Cristina Miranda
Abby Cynamon
Marcia Caballero
Martin Zilber
Alan Fine
Richard Hersch
Veronica Diaz
Reemberto Diaz
Carlos Guzman
Spencer Eig
Beatrice "Betty" Butchko
Andrea Ricker Wolfson

COUNTY COURT: (9)
 
Donald Cannava Jr.
Raul Cuervo
Stephanie Silver
Luis Perez-Medina
Betty Capote-Erben
Elijah Levitt
Natalie Moore
Victoria Ferrer
Gordon Murray, Sr.


CIRCUIT COURT CONTESTED RACES

GROUP 75

This race is the Incumbent’s primer for why Incumbents can take nothing for granted and must go out and raise lots of $$$ in the 12-18-24 months before their next election. Judge Tunis was blind-sided last night with the filing by Rosy Aponte. Judge Tunis had done almost zero fundraising over the past six years and she has only raised $8,575 from 27 contributors.

Dava Tunis (Incumbent)
- she has a net worth of $3,027,790 and she has qualified
- she has raised $8,575 from 27 Contributors and loaned her campaign $150,000
- she has a salary of $160,791 as a Circuit Court Judge
- she was first appointed by Governor Bush in 2005. She ran unopposed in 2008 and again ran unopposed in 2014. She has never faced an opponent.

Rosy Aponte
(JUMPED INTO THIS RACE at 5:00 PM Thursday. It would be an understatement to say that County Court Judge Gordon Murray is breathing a lot easier today while Judge Tunis is not a happy camper).
- she has a net worth of $315,000 and she has qualified
- she has raised $3,000 from 3 contributors and loaned her campaign $49,000
- she is a solo practitioner with R. Aponte & Assoc. where she paid herself $83,000. She is also a partner in the Felicetti Law Firm where she was paid an additional $120,000
- she ran for a County Court seat against Judge Kristy Nunez in 2018, losing that race by 52 % to 48%.
- she ran for a Circuit Court seat against Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts and Carol Breece in 2016. Ms. Aponte failed to make the runoff as she gained only 26% of the vote compared to Rodrgiuez Fonts (34%) and Breece (40%) in the Primary.


As Rumpole suggested last night, Rosy Aponte has a lot of explaining to do. Sure, no judge, or any elected official for that matter gets a free pass. You earn your position and your trust with the public. That is exactly what Judge Tunis has done for her entire career. First as an Assistant Public Defender from 1986-2000. In 2000, she was appointed to the County Court bench by Gov. Bush. In 2005, Bush elevated Judge Tunis to the Circuit Court bench where she has spent the past 15 years. By all accounts, Judge Tunis is a dedicated and trusted public servant.

Rosy Aponte faced the voters in 2016 and she lost. She faced the voters in 2018 and she lost again. And before those two loses, in 2014, she faced Bankruptcy Court Chief Judge A. Jay Cristol, and she lost again. In a Hearing before Judge Cristol on November 14, 2014, here is what the Judge had to say: (directly from the court transcript)

"THE COURT: Okay. We have a number of matters on the calendar. However, the Court will go first to Court Paper 526, and Court Paper 526 is the debtor's motion for rehearing, and on Page 2 of that motion Ms. Aponte states that the issues presented in the case are beyond her area of expertise.

Now, Ms. Aponte apparently filed a motion to withdraw, but then didn't show up to prosecute it. Some other attorneys came in who had not complied with Section 329 of the Code, and there had been no order authorizing substitution, so the Court did not allow them to appear.

In this case, based on Ms. Aponte's admission in her pleadings that she's not -- she's working within the area of expertise, it appears that Ms. Aponte is in violation of Florida Bar Rule 4-1.1, competence, and, therefore, should not be allowed to continue in this case or any other case in any Bankruptcy Court in the United States. And, therefore, the Court will draw such an order barring her from any further appearance until such time as she can demonstrate competence. And the Court will refer this matter to the Florida Bar." IN RE: Walter A. Lista. Case No. 13-22662-AJC. Doc. 551. Page 4. (NOTE: There is no indication that Ms. Aponte was ever disciplined by The Florida Bar for this or any other matter).


GROUP 37 (OPEN SEAT - Judge Celeste Muir retiring)

Michelle Delancy
- she has a net worth of $916,640 and she has qualified

- she has raised $88,828 from 307 contributors and loaned her campaign $88,250
- she is an attorney with Delancy Law with a salary of $147,000

SHE IS CURRENTLY UNOPPOSED

GROUP 55 (OPEN SEAT - Judge Jeri Beth Cohen retiring)

Olanike "Nike" Adebayo
- she has a net worth of $39,981 and she has qualified
- she has raised $55,431 from 195 contributors and loaned her campaign $1,604
- she is an attorney with the Office of Criminal Conflicts with a salary of $60,000
- she was a candidate for County Court in 2018. She was defeated by Judge Eleane Sosas-Bruzon 56% to 44% 
 

Joe Perkins 
- he has a net worth of $575,000 and he has qualified
- he has raised $127,069 from 135 contributors and loaned his campaign $75,500
- he is an attorney with Garbett Allen & Roza with a salary of $165,000
- he was a candidate for Circuit Court in 2018. He lost his race to Judge Yery Marrero 53% to 47%

GROUP 57 (OPEN SEAT - Judge Bernard Shapiro retiring)


Carmen Cabarga
- she has a net worth of $231,000 and she has qualified
- she has raised $64,906 from 170 contributors and loaned her campaign $145,000

- she took out a HELOC in the amount of $100,000 and borrowed another $45,000, all from Iberia Bank
- she is an attorney with the Office of Criminal Conflicts with a salary of $65,000
 

Roderick Vereen
- he has a net worth of $2,189,086 and he has qualified.
- he has raised no money
- he owns his own law firm with a salary of $650,000
- he ran for Congress in 2010 as a Independent against Fredricka Wilson and lost 86% to 14%.
- he then ran as a Democrat in 2012 for State Attorney against Katherine Fernandez Rundle, losing 60% - 40%.

GROUP 65

Contrast Judge Dava Tunis’ nearly non-existent fundraising efforts as an Incumbent with Incumbent Judge Rebull’s fundraising. He has 423 contributors who have donated almost $181,000 to date.

Thomas Rebull (Incumbent)
- he has a net worth of $366,509 and he has qualified
- has has raised $180,943 from 423 contributors and loaned his campaign $5,000.
- he is paid $160,688 from the State of Florida; and $3,150 from the Univ. of Miami
- he was first appointed to the bench by Gov. Rick Scott in 2011. He ran unopposed in 2014.

Denise Martinez-Scanziani
- she has a net worth of $1,423,019 and she has qualified
- she has raised zero money and loaned her campaign zero money.
- she is self-employed and had income last year of $323,657.  
- she first ran in 2008 against Incumbent Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro losing 59% - 41%. 
- she next ran in 2016 in retiring Judge Gill Freeman's Group against three opponents. The primary results faired no better for her: Mark Blumstein (29%); Luis Perez-Medina (25%); Renee Gordon (24%); and Ms. Martinez-Scanziani (23%).


GROUP 67

Mavel Ruiz (Incumbent)
- she has a net worth of $199,459 and she has qualified
- she has raised $123,944 from 278 contributors and loaned her campaign $78,000

- she has a salary of $160,688 as a Circuit Court Judge
- she was elected in 2014 over Incumbent Judge Fleur Lobree winning by a 54% - 46% vote
- she was one of the judges along with retired Judge Cindy Lederman and Judges Marcia Caballero, Rosa Figarola, and Teresa Pooler that received a written reprimand from the Supreme Court because of a letter they signed that backed Our Kids of Miami-Dade & Monroe, Inc. as it competed with another organization for a Department of Children and Families multi-year contract worth about $500 million.

Marcia Giordano Hansen
- she has a net worth of $996,788 and she has qualified

- she has raised $44,280 from 167 contributors and loaned her campaign $50,200
- she is an attorney with The Hansen Law Firm with a salary of $50,000
- she first filed to run for County Court Judge in Group 9 against Incumbent Judge Joe Mansfield before switching to this race


COUNTY COURT CONTESTED RACES

GROUP 9:

Joseph Mansfield (Incumbent)
- his has a net worth of $268,909 and he has qualified
- he has raised $5,200 from 10 contributors and loaned his campaign $0

- his salary with the State of Florida is $151,822
- he was appointed by Gov. Scott in August of 2017

Miguel "Mike" Mirabal
- he has a net worth of $1,684,634 and he has qualified
- he has raised $0 and has loaned his campaign $30,500

- he runs his own law firm, Global Legal, with a salary of $95,750
- he ran for a County Court seat against Judge Milena Abreu in 2018, losing that race by 65% to 35%
 

GROUP 24

Christine Bandin (Incumbent)
- she has a net worth of $540,979 and she has qualified.
- she has raised $12,780 from 45 contributors and loaned her campaign $500
- she is paid $151,822 by the State of Florida
- she was appointed to the bench by Gov. Scott in October of 2018.

Shaun Spector
- he has a negative net worth of [-205,256] YES THAT IS NEGATIVE and he has qualified
- he has raised zero money and loaned his campaign zero money
- he has been an attorney for nine years and runs his own law firm in Coral Gables where he primarily practices commercial litigation and pays himself $78,690


GROUP 38:

Gordon Murray Sr. (Incumbent)

- he has a net worth of $777,299 and he has qualified
- he has raised $67,794 from 227 contributors and loaned his campaign $25,704
- his salary from the State of Florida is $151,182; he is paid an additional $6,700 from Miami-Dade College
- he was appointed by Gov. Scott in October of 2017

Rosy Aponte
WITHDREW AT 5:00 PM YESTERDAY. NOW RUNNING AGAINST CIRCUIT JUDGE DAVA TUNIS.


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


Thursday, April 23, 2020

TUNIS GETS AN OPPONENT

The Captain is all over this. 

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

MAJOR, MAJOR, BIG TIME BREAKING NEWS .....


Incumbent Judge Dava Tunis has drawn an opponent.

Candidate Rosy Aponte, who filed and qualified to run against Incumbent Judge Gordon Murray in Group 38 of the County Court has just switched to filing to run against Judge Tunis in Circuit Court Group 75.

Aponte has previously been unsuccessful in seeking a seat on the bench:

- she ran for a County Court seat against Judge Kristy Nunez in 2018, losing
that race by 52 % to 48%.
- she ran for a Circuit Court seat against Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts and Carol Breece in 2016. Ms. Aponte failed to make the runoff as she gained only 26% of the vote compared to Rodrgiuez Fonts (34%) and Breece (40%) in the Primary.

Judge Tunis was first appointed by Governor Bush in 2005. She ran unopposed in 2008 and again ran unopposed in 2014. She has never faced an opponent. UNTIL NOW.

CAPTAIN OUT .......


Rumpole Notes...we are trying to be judicious here. An adjective we neither seek nor want. So we do not want call people names like "an unqualified slug" and such. 

Aponte should be ashamed of herself. Judge Tunis is dedicated and hard working. She does not merit an opponent. Neither did Judge Murray for that matter. Aponte is singularly unqualified to be a judge in our opinion. Twice rejected by the voters of Miami who have had a chance to vet her, she should stop playing games and trying to bully judges. Go away. We do not want you on the bench. You are trading on your name to make up for a truly undistinguished career as a lawyer. You are becoming the Covid-19 candidate- a virus no one wants. 
As always, we invite the person we have discussed to email us a response which we guarantee will be posted unedited. Equal time as it were. 

Here is part of a prior post about Ms. Aponte:
Ms. Aponte luckily managed to avoid payment of her debts through a discharge she obtained in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Interestedly, Ms. Aponte's complete ineptitude has been highlighted recently by the Hon. A J Cristol who barred her from practicing before the United States Bankruptcy Court as a result of her confession that she had no clue what she was doing in a contested chapter 7 case. Ms. Aponte's stellar representation resulted in the debtor and multiple family members of the debtor, including his elderly mother being held in contempt of court, faced with incarceration and substantially sanctioned. Unbowed, in yet another case pending before the Hon. Laurel Isicoff, Ms. Aponte was ordered to show cause and sanctioned as a result of filing an unsuspecting alleged debtor in bankruptcy without ever having met her client. Her excuse was simple, someone in her office used her credentials . 


NFL DRAFT 2020

First some erratum: We wrote last week about Judge Stanley Goldstein founding drug court. One of Judge Herb Klein's colleagues gently reminded us that we neglected to give credit to Judge Klein, who was instrumental in obtaining the agreement, funding, and setting the criteria for Miami's first in the nation drug court. Very quietly Judge Herb Klein was one of the best Judges who has ever worn a robe in Miami. He was smart, fair, kind, decent, and dedicated to justice and public service. He believed in the courts and that courts could be instrumental in addressing social problems. Judge Herb Klein should be remembered for many reasons, including  his wisdom and foresight in how courts treated an illness that is also a crime. 

NFL DRAFT 2020
Virus schmirus. The NFL draft will not be denied. Teams will be drafting from home. Some General Managers have rented RVs and camped outside their coach's homs so they can be closer and communicate on their draft choices. The Seattle GM knocked down walls in his home so his WiFi worked better. 
The potential for mischief is high. Wouldn't it be great if someone hacked the Cheaters Zoom and had them draft in the first round the long snapper from North Dakota State? 
Here are our predictions for the first ten picks: 
1. Cincy Bungles: They get it right for once with Joe Burrow, QB LSU

2. Washington wants to trade down, maybe with the Dolphins who are getting nervous about San Diego jumping above them to get their pick. If DC stays put, it's Chase Young, DE Ohio State. 

3. Lions- Detroit also wants to deal with the Chargers or Dolphins because they will be picking Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State and they are not worried about the Gints who pick next. 

4. NY Football Giants- the Giants want to trade down, and San Diego is the play here if they want to jump the Fins. If the Giants stay put, it's an O-tackle, most likely Jedrick Willis, RT Alabama, or Tristan Wirfs, OT Iowa. 

5. Your Miami Dolphins, with the fifth selection of the 2020 NFL draft select …. Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD, Virologist, Holy Cross. If Dr. Fauci is off the board, then it will  be Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama. He is the pick over Justin Herbert, but do not jump out the window and get the virus if the Fins grab an O- tackle here like Jedrinkc Willis, Mekhi Becton or Andrew Thomas. There were also rumors Wednesday that the fins were looking to trade with Detroit at 3 to jump over the Giants and grab their right tackle. However there are a few top quality OT available and there is no reason to trade to get about NY. We think those are rumors designed to hide the Fins desire for TT the QB. 

6. Chargers grab the other QB the Fins don't take- probably Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon. 

7. Carolina- after fighting off the Cheaters trying to hack the draft and steal their spot, the Panthers grab the Florida CB CJ Henderson, who has been shooting up the draft board. Most mocks have Carolina grabbing Derrick Brown which is a great pick as well.  

8. Arizona- if  the Panthers don't take Henderson, the Redbirds will. Otherwise it's either Derrick Brown, DT Auburn, or Isiah Simmons, LB Clemson. 

9. Tampa Bay Bradys need to protect Mr. Wonderful, so they draft the best OT left- Andrew Thomas, OT Georgia. 

10. Cleveland Browns. If any team has WiFi troubles, it will be the hapless Browns. Once they get reconnected, they draft an OT- Thomas if he's on the board, Mekhi Becton OT from Louisville, or Jedrick Willis OT Alabama. 

Fins at 18- this is from their trade with the Steelers last year. If the Fins have taken a QB, then the run on OTs continues, and they draft Austin Jackson, OT USC. If Florida CB Henderson is available, they grab him fast without thinking twice. 

Fins at 26. Defense continues with Miami drafting a fast and versatile LB like Patrick Queen,  from LSU, or Marlon Davidson, DL Auburn, or even a speedy WR like Jalen Raegor from TCU. This pick makes or breaks the Fins draft. Watch. They need three homeruns to bring this team back. 




Tuesday, April 21, 2020

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2020 ..... THREE NEW JUDGES .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:


MAJOR, MAJOR, BIG TIME BREAKING NEWS .....

Incumbent Judge Dava Tunis has drawn an opponent.

Candidate Rosy Aponte, who filed and qualified to run against Incumbent Judge Gordon Murray in Group 38 of the County Court has just switched and filed to run against Judge Tunis in Circuit Court Group 75.

Aponte has previously been unsuccessful in seeking a seat on the bench:

- she ran for a County Court seat against Judge Kristy Nunez in 2018, losing that race by 52 % to 48%.

- she ran for a Circuit Court seat against Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts and Carol Breece in 2016. Ms. Aponte failed to make the runoff as she gained only 26% of the vote compared to Rodrgiuez Fonts (34%) and Breece (40%) in the Primary.

Judge Tunis was first appointed by Governor Bush in 2005. She ran unopposed in 2008 and again ran unopposed in 2014. She has never faced an opponent. UNTIL NOW.
 


Mr. Vereen has now been qualified by the Department of Elections.



Ms. Martinez-Scanziani has also been qualified by the Dept. of Elections.



Ms. Delancey is still without an opponent.


Mr. Spector has not yet qualified to run against Judge Bandin.

UPDATE ON CANDIDATE ROD VEREEN:
He has submitted a NEW check at 11:41 AM today. This check has written at the top left:  
CAMPAIGN TO ELECT
RODERICK VEREEN





and


This check appears to be signed by his Campaign Treasurer. So, by all accounts, it appears that Mr. Vereen has resolved any issues with his qualifying check. 
 
 
 





DOES ROD VEREEN HAVE SOME QUALIFYING ISSUES? On it's face he appears to have two problems.  His check may not have been written from a "campaign account".  Also, his check was signed by Mr. Vereen - which according to the Election Rules (see below), he was not permitted to do. (He is not his own campaign treasurer). Story developing .....


Qualifying Fee The qualifying fee must be: • Paid by a properly executed check drawn on the campaign account. (A personal check, cashier’s check, money order, or cash is not acceptable); • Made payable to the Florida Department of State, Florida Secretary of State, or Florida Division of Elections; and • In an amount not less than the fee required. The check must be signed by the campaign treasurer or deputy treasurer. A check signed by a candidate who has not been designated as the treasurer or deputy treasurer is not acceptable.



Shaun Spector has just filed in Group 24 of the County Court against Incumbent Judge Christine Bandin.  Spector has been an attorney for nine years and runs his own law firm in Coral Gables where he primarily practices commercial litigation.  Judge Bandin was appointed to the bench by Gov. Scott in October of 2018. At the time she was a partner with Shutts & Bowen.  She has been an attorney for 13 years.  Ms. Bandin has only raised $12,780 from 45 contributors and loaned her campaign $500.  She does have a net worth of $540,979. 

Denise Martinez-Scanziani has just filed in Group 65 against Incumbent Judge Thomas Rebull.  She has a Net Worth of $1,423,019 and had income last year  of $323,657.  Judge Rebull was first appointed to the bench by Gov. Rick Scott in 2011. He ran unopposed in 2014.  Ms. Martinez-Scanziani first ran in 2008 against Incumbent Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro losing 59% - 41%.  She next ran in 2016 in retiring Judge Gill Freeman's Group against three opponents. The primary results were no better for her: Mark Blumstein (29%); Luis Perez-Medina (25%); Renee Gordon (24%); and Ms. Martinez-Scanziani (23%).

Roderick D. Vereen has just filed in Group 57 to run against Carmen Cabarga. He has a Net Worth of $2,189,086 and income of $650,000 last year. Vereen is no stranger to campaigns. He ran for Congress in 2010 as a Independent against Fredricka Wilson and lost 86% to 14%. He then ran as a Democrat in 2012 for State Attorney against Katherine Fernandez Rundle, losing 60% - 40%.


BREAKING NEWS #1 .......

COUNTY COURT

Tahya Fuenmayor has decided that she will no longer be a candidate for any judgeship in 2020.

BREATHE - that’s the nine incumbent County Court judges all exhaling a sigh of relief.

Ms Fuenmayor, who had filed in County Court Group 35, and who was on the short end of the move by Governor DeSantis when the Governor appointed Judge Lody Jean to the Circuit Court last Friday, spoke with us earlier today. She was congratulatory towards Judge Jean. But she was disappointed that the Governor chose to steal the opportunity away from the voters of Miami-Dade County to name the Group 35 replacement. Remember, Gov DeSantis could just as easily have chosen Judge Jean on Monday, and then let the voters choose her replacement through an election.

We have it on good authority that there will be some last minute surprises in both County and Circuit Court. That means the nine incumbents in County Court will need to continue to hold their collective breaths for another three days. In Circuit Court, there are still two open seats with only one candidate each:

In Group 37, with Judge Celeste Muir retiring, Michelle Delancy is still unopposed.

In Group 57, with Judge Bernard Shapiro retiring, Carmen Cabarga is also still unopposed.

BREAKING NEWS #2 .......

YOUR THREE NEWEST COUNTY COURT JUDGES ARE:

CARLOS GAMEZ. Judge Gamez has been an attorney for 11 years. He is currently employed as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Miami. He was first hired out of law school by Perez & Rodriguez. He takes over for Judge Ramiro Areces who was recently elevated to the Circuit Court.

SCOTT JANOWITZ. Judge Janowitz has been an attorney for 14 years. He was an ASA in Broward County for three years. He is now an associate with Geyer, Fuxa, Tyler, PLLC. He fills the vacancy created when Judge Christina DiRaimondo was recently elevated to the Circuit Court.

JEFFREY KOLOKOFF. Judge Kolokoff has been an attorney for 13 years. He was an ASA in Miami-Dade for six years. He is currently an associate with Beighley, Myrick, Udell and Lynne. He replaces Judge Robert Watson who was elevated to the Circuit Court recently.

Two closing points on these three recent appointments.

First, it is even more transpicuous what Governor DeSantis pulled with the Judge Lody Jean appointment (and the one for Judge Zachary James). It took him 57 days (he has a maximum of 60) to name these three new County Court Judges from the date the nominees were placed on his desk. By contrast, he named James after 14 days and Jean after 28 days - the two shortest turnarounds in Miami-Dade County history for Gov DeSantis.

Second, it bears repeating what I wrote about last Friday. The Governor has once again made it crystal clear of his insouciance toward anyone that has the name Assistant Public Defender on their resume. The count is now 62 judges appointed by DeSantis; 43 of them are former ASAs/AUSAs/AAGs and only one was appointed out of the P.D. office: Judge Ayana Harris. This time the Governor had 18 names on his desk for these three open seats, including APDs Kevin Hellman and Gale Lewis. They never had a chance.


We will update these pages regularly with any breaking election news.


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