JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG

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. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM. Winner of the prestigious Cushing Left Anterior Descending Artery Award.

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

INTERNET ISSUES

 Anyone familiar with Miami Court technology knows that all of the court computer systems are mostly incompatible with each other.  Some systems still greet the user with C;, the infamous C Prompt. 

Currently some, we repeat- some- courthouses have been hit with an interruption with internet service to the Judges. Like the song, "The Clerks are up but the judges are down, the people walk around with a big frown. Miami Miami, It's a hell-of-a town."

Like paratroopers hitting the wrong drop zone in Normandy on June 6, 1944, your judges are fighting back, innovating, some using clerk offered Wi-fi, others using hot spots or Zooming from their palatial estates in Doral and Palmetto Bay, strugglingly vainly to  provide justice, or at least signing that order granting partial summary judgement on a bond default case. 

We will monitor the situation as it unfolds. As always, if you have any concerns call your Judge's JA and hear the following message: "Hi. This is Judge Harold Solomon's chambers. Please leave a message and someone will contact you shortly."

NB The great Judge Solomon retired at least 30 years ago. 

Check out NY NY It's a Hell Of A Town- a Jazzy toon. 


Tuesday, July 05, 2022

FACDL SAVES BROWARD ZOOM

 It's not a complete win, but North Of The Border, nothing ever is. But with a heck of a lot of behind the scenes meetings, promises, cajoling, gentle arm twisting and horse trading, your Broward FACDL representatives (Motto: "The Loneliest Outpost for Justice In the Known World")  have gotten Zoom in some form to remain in that bastion of attorney hating   civility and justice known as Broward County, 

Here is the order. Buy your local FACDL rep a drink or three. 


2022-30-Temp (1) by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

Monday, July 04, 2022

THE DECLARATION DEFENSE

 Maybe we have been at this game too long. But when the arrests and indictments began to be issued against the individuals who stormed the Capitol on January 6, we immediately thought that if retained we would mount this defense: 

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...

To be clear, we do not and did not support the political objectives of those who stormed the Capitol. But for that matter we did not support the political ideals of those held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for their opposition to the United States on and off the battlefield. But we would have represented them. 

Nor did John Adams support the presence of British soldiers in Massachusetts, but he successfully represented several of them who fired into a hostile crowd. Well before Florida's SYG law, he mounted a successful self defense with these memorable words: "facts are stubborn things and whatever may be our wishes , our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

Are we wrong? Do not the words of the Declaration of Independence provide the framework for a defense on those charged for what they did on January 6? Now before you put down your hotdog and cold one and fire off an angry missive, we remind you that we do not believe this current government has become "destructive of these ends" requiring revolt. However, had POTUS 45 successfully seized voting machines and had Mike Pence agreed to reject slates of voters submitted by States on January 6 and kept POTUS 45 in power, subverting the lawful votes and outcome of the last election- would you not have taken up at least figurative arms against a government that was not "instituted among men?" 

We would have.

And doesn't that make the actions of those who stormed the Capitol simply whose Ox was gored? 

Happy Fourth. No hot dog eating and driving! 


Rumpole's Best Bet:
The Battle for The Mustard Belt will take place today at Nathans, Coney Island, NY. The Over/under is 76 Hot Dog and Buns (HDB) for the men's competition. Take the OVER. The o/u for the Women's competition is 46. Take the UNDER. Enjoy. 



Friday, July 01, 2022

THE BEARS OF KATAMI

 We are addicted to cams that allows us to watch, for hours on end, the brown bears of Katami National Park, part of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, an active set of volcanos, in Alaska. If you go on to explore.org you will see dozens of cams to choose from all over world. Water holes in Africa, bird cams for those of you with an ornithological bent, cameras under water in oceans and rivers and aquariums, but the brown bears of Katami are our Zen. 

There are several rivers and falls with cams where the bears gather to catch salmon. Salmon can be seen jumping the falls, and sometimes there is a brown bear at the top ready to catch them in midair. Other bears fish at the base of the falls. There is Brooks Falls cam, Riffles cam, Brooks Falls low, River Watch Bear Cam, and several others, some devoted to other wildlife like Bald Eagles. But Brooks Falls cam is our favoritie - the above link will take you to our favourite cam. 

Lately we have been captured by a female brown bear. She has one cub and is not the dominant female of the groups. She is smart and persistent and lately very finicky. The other day she was fishing and this large dominant brown bear- #747 - kept charging her and stealing her catch. Undeterred she kept fishing, moving to various parts of the falls to try and avoid 747 to no avail. We found ourselves yelling at the cam and 747 to leave our girl alone. 

Today as we write this, she is back at Brooks Falls. 747 is nowhere to be seen, and today, unlike the other day, she is fishing by putting her head under water. 

Now here is what we have learned about brown bears and salmon. When they catch one, they strip the skin off one side first and eat it, then strip the skin off the other side and eat that, and then bite into the stomach and flesh area. Birds flock around the bear and wait for the pieces of salmon. Sometimes a wolf lurks in the background and will dart out and steal a fish. 

Today our favourite girl is fishing and when she catches a salmon, she strips off one side and eats it and then gets this very bored look on her face and with great indifference lifts her massive paw and lets the salmon go and then returns to her fishing. A very finicky bear indeed and we are charmed by her. 

It is shaping up to be a long, hot holiday weekend and we have a feeling we will be spending a large part of it, inside, sipping a cool one, watching bears fish in Alaska. 

Go on the cam and check our Katami National Park and tell us whether you have ever seen a more beautiful place on earth where nature works so exquisitely well in balance of bears, fish, birds and the surrounding marshes and plains. 

Happy Fourth Of July. "When in due course of human events....."(you know the rest). 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

REVENGE OF THE JACOBS (AND JEDI)

 We want to invite you into a world of rancorous hearings and sanction motions and bar complaints and motions to recuse and petty jealousies and rages by Judges sanctioning lawyers (Bruce Jacobs) for raising defenses that plaintiffs were using fraudulent documents. It is a world of sanctions and fees and personal anger at a level never seen in the hallowed (and currently empty) halls of the REGJB. 

It is the world of mortage foreclosure defense.  The brief filed by Bruce Jacobs very competent counsel- David Winker- is troubling to read. Well respected Judges including the Judge de jour- Hanzman- come off looking not so great, threatening lawyers for raising defenses and arguing issues that - it appears to us- they have every right to raise and argue. 

It is world where mortgage foreclosure apparently consumes the litigators and the judiciary; where both plaintiff and defense counsel come to view their roles as avengers, and in which both sides have been repeatedly sanctioned and disciplined. It is a world where different appellate districts have taken vastly different views of the law and the practice of foreclosure defense, in which some districts buy whole heartedly the defense theories of fraud and robo-signing of documents, and other districts- notably the 3rd DCA- go so far as to sanction lawyers for advancing those defenses. 

It is a world in which Bruce Jacobs was forced to dig deep into himself, exploring his spirituality to sustain him through increasingly dark times. And it is a world in which Bruce Jacobs repeatedly defended homeowners pro bono, and stared down banks worth billions, forcing them to abandon mortgage foreclosure actions rather than respond to discovery orders. It is a world where Bruce Jacobs won a federal law suit vindicating his theories of fraud on the courts, and it is a world in which Hawaii was considering hiring Bruce Jacobs because of his fearsome advocacy, until well funded lobbyists, fearful of his lawyering, poisoned the well. 

It is a world we want no part of. The rancor and hatred and personal animosity that has apparently split both the bar and judiciary down the middle shocks us.  Give us a good death penalty case rather than the mean-spirited acrimony of foreclosure actions. 

Read the brief and decide for yourself. 


Initial Brief on Merits (1) by Anonymous PbHV4H on Scribd

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

NEW COURT ASSIGNMENTS

 Well let's see. We've had our abortion debate. We made fun of the FACDL Listserv woops....verboten to mention that...the F Word... how about some meat and potatoes...woops this is Miami....some Picadillo and Maduros on the old grey lady -the REGJB. The              ol' summer judicial rotation is here and it's darn official.

Add the honorific "The Honorable" to every name...it's an anathema to us to do it....

Milton Hirsch takes over Division 12  formerly Ramiro Areces. Courtroom 7-4 and appropriately, chambers 713, which is a magical number in baseball. 

Areces receives in the trade a new couch and a hotshot setting clerk. 

Areces goes to Division 70, commonly known as ROC court, an appellation sure to catch the attention of Magistrate Goodman, but alas, ROC stands for "Repeat Offender Court" and has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead or the Rolling Stones or rock-n-roll;                    but sentencings do tend to evoke the lyrics "What a long strange trip it has been." 

Areces remains in courtroom 2-4 and chambers 212, which as most Miamians know, is the OG NYC area code for a 100 years until they needed 718. 

When the music stops in musical chairs, there is always someone who has to leave the playing field, In this case it is Joe Fernandez, who is shipping out to Probate, the judicial equivalent of leaving the Yankees for a stint at AAA Buffalo Bisons. We have no information on chambers and courtrooms for probate because we have no information on where probate is. And as to the courtrooms, not to make a bad pun, but it's not as if there are clients who can show up. Do they have courtrooms in probate? Do they have trials? Do motions mention executrixes these days? 

NB: Judge Areces is taking some time off, so for now you have Judge Laura Sheron- Cruz pinch hitting. And if you want confusion, then look at the Sheron-Cruz-Altfield sharing of drug court and a division. Actually the rules are pretty simple- Clients who names begin with A-F merely have to count the letters in their name and then the logarithm of that number, if it is an equal number, the case is sent to Altfield, unless the month ends in R and then it is sent to Cruz. If the number is odd, but not a prime number, then the case is sent to Cruz, unless the infield fly rule is in effect with less than two outs and runners on base. For drug court it is simply the opposite. Clients who names begin with G-Z are simply required to show up in drug court where they will be given further instructions. 

So there you have it. Your much anticipated, long awaited, rumor inducing, Viagra taking, E....Street....Band.....2022 summer REGJB judicial rotations. 

 


Monday, June 27, 2022

DOBBS DISSENT

 At the request of a reader who wishes to remain anonymous, we post their response to our post approving of the legal reasoning in Dobbs. Note that we have not expressed approval of the social impact of the opinion. 

Response to Rumpole. 

Thanks for the opportunity Rumpole. Start with the fact that  you make no reference to the impact on stare decisis and the respect for precedent. And yes, I know your three word response will be "Plessy v. Ferguson." But isn't there a way to disapprove of the reasoning in Griswold and Roe without reversing rights that those opinions codified and have become integral to life in this Country? Let's pretend that the reasoning in Brown was similarly suspect. Would we allow states to start separating school children by race? Your criticism of Wickard, which was an Interstate Commerce Clause case, and set the stage for courts to strike down racist laws and drag the country into integration. Would you now support laws allowing businesses to segregate dinning rooms? Are you ready for the old days 1900-1960's of Miami Beach and the signs "No Coloreds and Jews"?  Can you not criticize the court for striking down rights that may have been in artfully found, but exist nonetheless and have taken root in society? The Court could have profoundly rebuked the reasoning in Roe and Griswold without changing the fabric of society. By doing so the Court's six justices- who give lip service to not legislating- have done thus that. What they have done legislates more than Roe and Griswold X1000. 

Under Thomas's reasoning, with new challenges the Court not just cannot- but following Dobbs MUST strike down laws allowing mixed race marriages, same sex marriages, and reinstate the Connecticut law banning the sale of contraception to even married people. At what  point does the tyranny of the minority of state legislatures (albeit with majorities in those states) affect the rights of Americans? When two women or two men or a mixed-race couple rent a hotel room as a married couple in Kansas, South Dakota, or Texas, they will likely be subject to arrest and prosecution. Or is the court going to find in the commerce clause rights that it cannot find in the 14th amendment? 

As the Dobbs dissent says: 

Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.

Can it be that we live in a country that can advance technologically to land a man on the moon but jurisprudentially is stuck with allowing its citizens only those rights recognized in the 19th century? You can use a cell phone and access the internet but have no right to contraception. Child labor laws, not to mention many civil rights laws are all now in jeopardy. Should Texas repeal a woman's right to vote, so be it. Can we live in a UNITED States that is so disunited State by State? 

Now I turn to abortion. Your philosophical hero, Ayn Rand supported an abortion because she did not or could not find a potential right (of life of the unborn child) to conflict with an actual right of a woman to make a medical choice to her own body. If life does not begin at conception, then wasn't Roe on the right track, allowing abortions when the fetus wasn't a viable life? If a person's right to make medical decisions about their own body was not endemic to the founders, then what about all those words regarding the right to Life and Liberty in the Declaration of Independence? Did they only apply to white men? 

If the Bill Of Rights was sufficient, we would have not needed the fourteenth amendment, but we did. How does the right of a man to get a vasectomy square under the equal protection guarantee with the now non-right of a woman to get a certain medical procedure.  

The dissent in Dobbs says: Today, the Court discards that balance. It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of.

How do you respond that under the 14th amendment as of today a State can now FORCE a woman to give birth from the moment of conception, an idea more at home in China or North Korea than New Hampshire (Live Free or Die?). 

Tossing aside the precedent of Roe and Griswold is infinitely more complex and destructive than the reversal of Plessy. At some point we do require Judges to say "Yes- we as a country have these ideals and they cannot be abrogated by a state legislature. We have the ideal and right to equal treatment despite race, sex, religion or sexual preference. Therefore Judges can express and uphold these rights, not specifically stated in the Constitution, but fully accepted by a society. To live in America means to live in a country where a person can marry whomever they choose; where a person can pray or not pray; where a person has the full right to exercise their medical decisions over their body, including the right to transition to another sex, the right to get plastic surgery, the right to have a vasectomy or abortion, the right to enhance or reduce their breasts and buttocks, the right to eat at any restaurant (assuming they can get a table), and the right to gamble on sports."

The effect on our society after Dobbs is to create the tyranny of States. States can now outlaw abortion, contraception, same sex marriage, interracial marriage, gambling, sale of liquor, use of marijuana, use of electric cars, the opening of any business on any day that the State decides is a sabbath, the use of cell phones, the use of cars....basically you name any modern action that didn't exist in the 19th century, and the right does not exist in the fourteenth amendment and thus can be legislated out of existence as per Dobbs and Thomas's concurrence. 

This is worse than China or Iran or North Korea. And Iran is a great example. The country is ruled by religious leaders, and I can think of at least 25 states that would support similar laws propounded by religious leaders. 

Dobbs goes way deeper than criticizing Griswold and Roe. Dobbs opens the doors for a return to the dark ages where vaccines and medical science and human rights are legislated away by majorities of uneducated Americans who are influenced by Fox News, former president Trump, and believe that horse medicine is better than people medicine. Take a poll- a majority of them, or close to it, believe the earth is flat because they cannot see that it is a sphere. Dobbs returns the rest of us to being ruled by uneducated, ignorant people, and the very few smart ones who spend their days manipulating them and gerrymandering state legislature voting maps to achieve their goals for power.  We are headed for dark dark times my friend. 

Welcome to America 2022. 

Thanks again for the opportunity to respond.