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.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

FED NOMINATIONS RUBIO COMMITTEE

 The nominations from the Rubio committee,  the story first broken on Mr. Markus's blog, are:

For the position of US District Judge, the Commission recommends:
David Leibowitz and Detra Shaw-Wilder 

For the position of US Attorney, the Commission recommends:
Jaqueline Arango, Markenzy Lapointe, and Andres Rivero,

For the position of US Marshal, the Commission recommends:
Gadyaces Serralta

 We have yet to hear from the Warren Commission, the 9/11 Commission, the committee on Pollo la plancha; the committee on committees and the committee on multiple judicial committees. 

What does this mean? Nobody knows. Could be a long time until we get some confirmations. One would think that if someone was nominated that Rubio did not approve, he would blue-slip the nomination and that ala Will Thomas, would be that. 


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

FIAT JUSTITIA RUAT CAELUM

 If you are on the FACDL listserv then you saw the email from the State Attorneys Office that one of their employees has tested positive for Covid and was in several courts over the last few days. 

Federal law and several international treaties including the International Treaty Governing the Privacy of FACDL Listserv E Mails do not allow us to reproduce the emails in full without violating the holdings of Pennoyer v. Neff and the Corfu Channel Case

Suffice to say the Delta Variant is upon us and it is vicious. 

A few thoughts: About 50% of the lawyers in courtrooms are not masked. Of those, about 90% of the State Attorneys are not wearing masks. We are not sure why. But really, how stupid do you have to be to not wear a mask inside a closed room without outside ventilation? 

Second- as one commentator noted on FACDL- this reinforces the reason to continue with Zoom hearings. And yet where ever you go you hear Judges complaining about Zoom hearings and quite frankly it is the same old crap- they need defendants in court to "make sure" they understand the plea offer, blah blah blah. 

There is something about putting on a black robe that makes people need an audience. They just cannot bear to be in a courtroom by themselves. If it wasn't so stupid and dangerous to require people to jam back into court it would be funny. 

 And our judges are downright desperate to ruin as many defendants' days as they can by getting them to miss work, come to the courthouse, pay for parking, use cars and expend carbon into the atmosphere that we can no longer afford to do,  all for the privilege of offering supplication to the apparition in black robes hovering a few feet above them. 

Stop it already. We no longer have a useable civil court house and the sun is still rising in the east. We spent 18 months doing arraignments and motions and even pleas via Zoom and the judicial system of the United States did not come tumbling down. 

It is not like there was a banner scrolling below the screen on CNN: "Court system collapses as Miami Judge does a virtual sounding... Chief Justice Roberts to address the nation at 9PM"

SO LET US BE CLEAR. RUMPOLE WILL NO LONGER ATTEND IN PERSON COURT HEARINGS UNTIL THE DELTA VARIANT IS CONTROLLED OR ALL IDIOTS WHO HAVE NOT GOTTEN VACCINATED ARE IN HOSPITALS, DYING ON RESPIRATORS AND WISHING THEY HAD GOTTEN THE VACCINE. 

FIAT JUSTITIA RUAT  CAELUM

As any of our learned scholars on the bench will tell you, that means "let justice be done though the heavens may fall."

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

 The US Attorneys Office keeps lining up convictions like bowling pins...

And Mr. Markus and his wife Mona Markus keep knocking them down like bowler Don Carter did in Miami in the 1960s and 70s. 

The latest prosecution derailed is a story that first broke a few years ago when it was learned that  the US Attorneys used a cooperating defendant who had also signed a Joint Defense Agreement to infiltrate and spy on defendants and their attorneys as they prepared for trial.

We are just guessing here, but the disclosure of the use of the snitch to spy on the defense probably went something like this- a thumb drive with 15,000 pages of bank statements which were shuffled several times before being scanned and disclosed to the defense. And around page 7,890 was a typewritten paragraph "The government used one of the defendants as a cooperator during the time he was part of the joint defense agreement. But we promise he did not tell us anything we did not already know except that one defense attorney is apparently a vegan." 

 The case, an insidious sweepstakes fraud fiasco, had been awaiting sentencing for over a year when last Friday Judge Gayles threw out the convictions and ordered a new trial.  

Jay Weaver of El Herald has the story here, where he quoted Judge Gayles as saying the prosecutors "knowingly invaded the defense camp, which is improper."

Rumpole doesn't really like JDAs. We find most of the defense attorney meetings go something like this: 

"Who ordered the California roll with extra avocado?  I ordered four of the tuna sushi with brown rice, anybody see those?"

But apparently in this case, there was some real strategy discussed which the snitch told the AUSAs about and Gayles had had enough. Good for Judge Gayles, and meanwhile, in an office on top of a garage in downtown Miami, another notch was etched on the "victory  wall" of the Markus firm. Well done. Well done indeed. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

BEETS BEAT BEEF

Global warming and climate changes are falsehoods, perpetrated by left wing, pizza shop owning, child exploiting, Chinese agents who have bribed Hillary Clinton along with the Muslim Imams controlling former President Obama. 

The fact the Western United States is burning; that the hottest days on earth ever recorded have occurred this summer, and a flash flood just killed hundreds in Germany is merely....(everyone now) fake media! 

So, if you were in fact brainwashed and wanted to flee the worst effects of global warming and climate change, where would you go? The Pacific Northwest has frequent fires, is in the midst of the tenth "thousand year drought" in the last fifteen years; lake Meade which provides water for millions is rapidly becoming a puddle. Remaining in Florida is out- killer hurricanes and the prospect of Immokalee becoming Miami Beach as the ocean floods half of our state. Europe, devastated by heat waves and now flooding is no longer safe. 

Where would you go to establish a safe base in these troubling times?

When we consider such troubling issues, we repair to 11 Madison Park, our favourite US restaurant which recently re-opened in June (no 15,000 waitlist for us, courtesy of a little case-quieting work for a member of the staff). And here is what we found- there is nary a piece of animal protein on the menu! 

Ceramic pots with aging beets, dehydrated, re-hydrated, smoked and carved table side "a-jus" is the closest you will come to a sliced steak. Caviar from seeds are served like a dish of beluga, and went well with an ice cold vodka martini. Lettuce wraps, vegan bread baked without butter or any animal products, watermelon and peach salads, cheesy dips made with brewers yeast, all conjure up the thought that we are paying over four hundred dollars to eat creatively crafted veggies. 

And yet, it works and it works amazingly well. 

The second vodka also helps one forget that we are destroying our planet and that we may be forever condemned to history as the generation that destroyed the earth. 

But hey, as they say in Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska to name a few places- drill baby drill. It is America's destiny to destroy earth with SUVs and Big Macs because animal farming contributes to 14.5% of all human produced greenhouse gasses. 

We will have another plate of beets please along with the watermelon salad. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

HOUSE BILL ONE - THE "ANTI-RIOT" LAW

Rumpole notes- there was a picture posted here before and it should not have been posted without the express consent of the person. I removed it.  


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:


MOVING, MOVING, MOVING .......

The State Attorney’s office, County Court Division, is finally moving out of their current digs located at 1469 NW 13 Terrace.  After years of complaining about broken air conditioning, restrooms that don’t work, broken elevators, and constant flooding in the garage and basement, not to mention the lack of space, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved a 20 year lease, with offices covering 49,000 square feet, including 101 parking spaces, located at RIVER LANDING, located at 1500 NW North River Drive. The cost will be approximately $3.2 million per year and the move will take place as soon as the landlord completes the build-out which is expected to happen before the end of the year.

NOT MOVING, MOVING, MOVING .......

That was the scene on Tuesday as thousands of protesters made their way onto the Palmetto Expressway showing their support for the Cuban citizens still on the Island who have been breaking out in spontaneous protests in cities all over Cuba. (NOTE - as I am writing this post on Wednesday evening, it is being reported that the protesters are out again blocking the highway).

Of course, the actions of the protesters immediately brought out strong opinions on all forms of social media, from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter on why it was that the Florida Highway Patrol chose to ignore House Bill 1 passed this year by the Senate and House and signed by Governor DeSantis in a pomp and circumstance affair.

DeSantis signed the bill, dubbed the ANTI-RIOT bill”, as his priority legislation, on April 19, 2021. The bill was fast-tracked, bypassing the accountability of numerous Senate committees, and took effect immediately. DeSantis boasted that the measure “is the strongest, anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country.”

The new laws provide that: “[a] person commits a riot if he or she willfully participates in a violent public disturbance involving an assembly of three or more persons, acting with a common intent to assist each other in violent and disorderly conduct, resulting in: (a)Injury to another person; (b) Damage to property; or (c) Imminent danger of injury to another person or damage to property. A person who commits a riot commits a felony of the third degree.”

It goes on to state that: “[a] person commits aggravated rioting if, in the course of committing a riot, he or she: (a) Participates with 25 or more other persons; (b) Causes great bodily harm to a person not participating in the riot; (c) Causes property damage in excess of $5,000; (d) Displays, uses, threatens to use, or attempts to use a deadly weapon; or (e) By force, or threat of force, endangers the safe movement of a vehicle traveling on a public street, highway, or road. “

Yet, despite the fact that every one of these protesters were potentially violating several laws, including but not limited to F.S. 316.2045 (Obstructing the Highway), none were cited with any offenses. Other new or amended statutes that were covered in HB 1 concerning Unlawful Assembly include F.S. 784.0495 and F.S. 870.02. It was pointed out, correctly so, by one of our local criminal defense attorneys on his Facebook page, that if a driver happened to strike one of the protesters on the highway they could use the new law as an affirmative defense against any civil lawsuit. See F.S. 870.07. (“In a civil action for damages for a personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage, it is an affirmative defense that such action arose from an injury or damage sustained by a participant acting in furtherance of a riot. The affirmative defenses…shall be established by evidence that the participant has been convicted of a riot or an aggravated riot.”). Under the new laws, any person arrested for unlawful assembly will now be held in custody until their first appearance in a court of law. 

It is only a matter of time before a test case makes it way through the State and/or Federal courts and the Florida Supreme Court or the SCOTUS has to address the issue of the constitutionality of many of the provisions addressed in HB 1.

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

Thursday, July 15, 2021

HANZMAN TAKES CONTROL

 The inevitable lawsuits over the tragedy in Surfside have been assigned to Judge Michael Hanzman. And because there is no civil blog, we sometimes have to hold our nose and do double duty. It's better than going to Broward for a case (see yesterday's post). 

After first handling a fracas over a feline, covered by ace Herald Reporter David Ovalle on his Twitter feed @DavidOvalle305  in which a woman petitioned Hanzman to stop the demolition of the tower so she could rescue her cat- only to find out the woman did not live in the building and was what we call in the law an "Amicus Feline" (literally "friend of the cat") Hanzman denied the motion, and presumably Fluffy is on her/his second life. 

In Wednesday's  Herald, here, Jay Weaver covered  a hearing in which at least fifty civil lawyers crowded into some courtroom (presumably not at 73 West Flagler - the courthouse on the verge of collapse) to hear Hanzman rule on how the cases will proceed. 

First up was the appointment of a steering committee for the class action that was filed. Second was Hanzman warning the lawyers that he would NOT be approving a contingency payment to the lawyers and that at the end of the case he would CONSIDER authorizing payments to the lawyers at an hourly rate and reimbursing them for costs.  For a Judge who came from the civil community where he was known as one of the best and most successful and experienced lawyers handling class action suits, the ruling was a bit surprising. So these lawyers now have to work and expend money on costs without knowing if they will be paid at all  for their time and reimbursed for costs which could be considerable.

Third on the list was the Judge fast-tracking the lawsuit, including approving the court appointed receiver's decision to place the property up for sale- initial asking price north of 100 million. There is another 48 million in insurance coverage, so it looks like the Court will overseeing distributions to survivors and next of kin of over 150 million dollars. It is a lot of money until you factor in that there are more than 150 victims. 

A group of crows is called "a murder". What do you call a group of civil lawyers watching a  collective 50 million contingency fee disappear in a puff of judicial smoke? 



Wednesday, July 14, 2021

BROWARD TO THE RESCUE

 Just writing the headline caused us severe nausea and the need to step outside, take a few deep breaths, pop a Tums and return to the work at hand. 

As the civil war neared conclusion in April, 1865, General Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia desperately sought to escape the encirclement of his forces by the Army of the Potomac. General Grant, head of the Army of the Potomac sent Lee a letter requesting his surrender, noting that any additional loss of life would be Lee's responsibility. Lee asked for terms of peace and Grant replied that he was only authorized to accept Lee's surrender. With his army surrounded, Lee accepted the inevitable, dressing in his best uniform for his meeting with Grant, as he expected to be taken prisoner. 

Lee was not taken prisoner. The terms of the surrender included paroling all soldiers from the Army of Northern Virginia so long as they did not again take up arms against the United States. While his army was required to surrender their arms, Lee requested that his men in the cavalry and artillery be allowed to keep their horses and mules, which they had provided from their own stock. Grant agreed, writing a separate order to that effect. 

While forced to surrender unconditionally, Lee was afforded escape from the ignominy of taking succor from his enemies. 

Not so the Court system of Miami-Dade County. In the immediate aftermath of the closing of the Civil Courthouse,  none other than the Chief Judge of the Evil Empire  known as Broward County contacted Judge Sayfie and offered her and our courtroom-less Miami Civil Judges the use of their courtrooms (but not the Death Star). 

This, dear readers is what is known as the  Ignominy of accepting charity from your enemies. 

We would rather try a case under the burning hot sun in Lot 26 than travel north of the boarder. We would rather fight locusts from the Miami River while cross-examining a flip then accepting  charity from Darth Vader.    

Will the "Broward Rules" of court  apply to Miami-Dade case?  Taken from actual events we have been subjected to or witnessed, will the following occur?

1) The courtroom door being locked at 9am and no one else let in;

2) Clients acquitted in a criminal case being taken into custody for "a records check"; 

3) Being told by BSO officers who had their hands on handcuffs that we "could not talk to our client during the trial, subject to being arrested for violating this order"; 

4) Having our 8:30 am case called last after all the 11:30 am cases were called; 

5)  Having our client's bond sua sponte revoked at arraignment because "we do things different here in Broward than in Mi-Am-Uh"; 

6) Being told by the judge that unless we could cite a specific rule or case law, we would need to ask permission to cross examine every witness called by the prosecution, AND THEN clear each issue we wished to address on cross-examination with the judge, in open court, before being allowed to conduct cross examination- we'd love to see how civil lawyers respond to that gem; 

7) Being told  (threatened) that arguing for an acquittal may result in a Bar Complaint if our client was convicted because "lawyers are not allowed to argue frivolous issues"; 

Yes, these are the joys we have experienced heading North of the Boarder to represent clients. Will these rules apply to the civil cases Broward wants to host? 

Our advice to our civil brethren: avoid Broward. It has bad Juju. Nothing good ever happens there in court. Ever. Settle. Take the money or offer the money and wait for another case on another day in another place in the Universe. 

Anywhere but Broward. That's our motto.