JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The next item in Fishwoman’s column, entitled “Day of Reckoning” was about the upcoming sentencing of former Miami Police Officer Jesus Gutierriez. Gutierriez, represented by Gina Mendez (see item below “Tis The Season) was convicted of having sex with a fourteen year old girl.
Alan Schwartz, the former Chief Judge of the Third District Court Of Appeal presided over the trial as a retired judge. What the fish wrap’s fishwoman didn’t know, what she couldn’t know, what only a real Justice Building Regular would know, is that Gutierriez turned down a plea offer of probation, with the condition that he forfeit his law enforcement certification.
We hear that what really turned people off about Gutierriez’s defense is that the former cop had his wife and family sit through the whole trial.
We know that it helps to have a family attached to a defendant. We’ve all heard the stories about defendants getting a rent-a-family to show up and sit behind them at trial. But when you are cheating on your wife and family with a fourteen year old girl, perhaps you should be man enough to keep your family out of it and spare them the grief and embarrassment of a trial.
The real story of the Gutierriez trial is that he was offered a chance to both spare the victim the trauma of testifying, and spare his family the trauma of a trial. Gutierriez showed that the only person he cared about was himself.
We don’t like prison. We strongly believe that if a society is going to abandon its citizens and warehouse them rather than rehabilitate them, then the least a society can do is provide safe and humane prisons. But, fully aware of how difficult it is for ex-police officers in prison, and how difficult it is for convicted child sex offenders in prison, we are so offended about Gutierriez’s conduct that we support what we think is going to be a request from the prosecution for a lengthy lengthy prison sentence.
Prosecutor William Altfield gets props here. A veteran of the Sexual Crimes Unit, and now serving for many years in the Public Corruption Unit, he was the prosecutor for this case. He did a great job, and the people of Dade County are fortunate to have dedicated and experienced prosecutors like Mr. Altfield.
We can’t help noticing that the local paper was scooped by an out of town paper (the New York Times) on the University High scandal. University High is a private “school” occupying a storefront in a strip mall, owned by a man with a bench warrant for possession of marijuana, and started by a man who did ten months for mail fraud in the federal can for starting a fake school in Arizona. University High enrolled more than a dozen local highschool athletes who were not going to pass the FCAT and were not going to graduate. For 400 bucks, the athletes got a diploma from University High, becoming eligible for an athletic scholarship to college. As a private school, UH was under no obligation to make a student pass the FCAT before handing out diplomas.
This was a local story, a local scandal, and our local fish wrap was embarrassed nationally and scooped by an out of town paper.
New Hampshire burglarly suspect framed.
A CASE EVEN THE STATE ATTORNEYS OFFICE COULD WIN.
Ever wonder why criminal defense attorneys drink? Because we have clients like this genius.
Timothy Dufield of New Hampshire, age 37,IQ same, was arrested several weeks back for burglarizing a Concord hair salon. When the cops arrived at "The Long and Short of It," Dufield attempted to flee by diving through a closed back window. As you can see from the picture, he did not succeed. Bleeding and wedged inside the 9-by-15-inch window frame, Dufield was rescued by Concord firefighters and later booked into the local lockup on a felony burglary rap.
Because we live in Miami, we are a little suspect of this evidence. Notice how our hero is handcuffed while in the window? We are just a little suspicious that the police staged this photo to help the case. Not that something like that ever happens in our fair city, but still….
With thanks to thesmokinggun.com (unlike certain Herald columnists, pictured below, we give credit where its due).
We scooped the Herald on la’affair du Brummer. We know for a fact that the Herald and Joan Fleishman read our breaking news on the $200,000.00 settlement. And today, Joan’s column appears, and nuttin. Not one word on this great new blog that scooped all the local media.
That’s OK Joan. I guess you’re not interested in any more tips from a lawyer who is “boots on the ground”: in the Justice Building everyday, trying cases, hanging out in chambers, gathering tidbits….no problem. The Daily Business Review called me for an interview…maybe they will like a source like me giving them all the hot legal scoops?
Joan: Stick to civil court and who’s divorcing who.
You're cutoff: “now I have to turn my back on you” (Big Paulie to Henry Hill in Goodfellas when Henry gets arrested for drugs).
No more Justice Building tips for you.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
1) You have a complicated DUI breath motion. Who do you want to hear the motion:
a) Beth Bloom; b) Ed Newman; c) Luise Krieger-Martin; d) Karen Mills-Francis
2) You have a slam dunk no breath dui trial. Who do you want to be the trial judge:
a) Beth Bloom; b) Ed Newman; c) Luise Krieger-Martin; d) Karen Mills-Francis.
3) You have a nasty GORT enhanced strong armed robbery: Who do want to do the trial:
a) Stan Blake; b) David Miller; c) Rosa Rodriguez ; d) Ivan Fernandez?
4) You have a complicated motion to suppress a confession that should be granted. It’s clear that if the court grants the motion, the prosecution cannot proceed. Whom do you want to hear the motion:
a)Stan Blake; b) David Miller; c) Rosa Rodriguez ; d) Ivan Fernandez ?
5) You forgot to move for a continuance and you really need the case continued on the day of trial because the following week you are starting a two week federal case and you really need this week to prepare. Which Judge in the Justice Building is LEAST likely to be sympathetic to your problem? Free-for-all category, everyone’s eligible.
6) Have you ever selected a juror based on looks?
a) once- and the client will be out by 2010; b) never c) besides my wife/husband/significant other?
7) After a late night at Mynt in Miami Beach, you head home, cross the causeway, and who’s that in your rearview mirror? Could it be Closius and Davenport? You house has not appreciated enough for the second mortgage to hire Bobby Reiff. Who do you turn to in your time of need to try your DUI?
JUST EMAIL ME THE QUESTION NUMBER AND YOUR ANSWER.
ALL EMAILS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL BE DESTROYED. NO ONE WILL BE IDENTIFIED WITH AN ANSWER.
Monday, November 28, 2005
CLICK HERE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4480052.stm
Sy Gaer could do the entire trial with his little black book in two weeks.
Wonder if they pay a little bit better than what used to be known as SAPD and now is known as contract attorney rates?
Its never too early to start thinking about the season. Not Christmas, but Judicial Election Season. Yes, those seasonal cards have started to arrive. Not Christmas cards, but endorsement cards, seeking $500.00 bucks and your name (quite frankly, its all about the money, your name is irrelevant).
Who has opposition? It’s a bit confusing (and we were the research editor on our law review in law school). The State Election web site has the list of Circuit Court Judges up for reelection, and candidates opposing them here: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/cgi-bin/CanList.exe, but nary a mention of those over-worked (allow us a joke now and then if you please) and under appreciated County Court Judges.
Are you a Hispanic Female? Do you want to run for Judge? Then click here,
and scroll down to the judicial election link to see a list of all judges up for re-election.
Why do we ask if you are a Hispanic female? Because the wisdom around the courthouse is that Hispanic females are going to be running for Judge in droves, and the rumor is that they are targeting one particular type of Judge.
Ay Dios Mio, La Gata is out of the bag.
Perhaps it is the success of female Hispanics who ran and won in the last election, but this year, two sitting Judges have already received opposition from Hispanic females.
Circuit Judge Lawrence Schwartz has opposition from former Assistant State Attorney Gina Mendez. Mendez is one of those rare candidates: a Hispanic female who LOST a race to a white male: as she was beaten by Judge Murphy (four?) years ago in a race for an open seat. This year Mendez goes after former Assistant State Attorney Larry Schwartz, who was elected several years ago, running with a great campaign slogan “First a Teacher…Then a Prosecutor…Now a Judge”. Judge Larry Schwartz forms one part of the married Judicial Team Schwartz: Caryn Schwartz his wife, is a County Court Judge . In a bit of bad planning, BOTH Judge Schwartzs are up for re-election. This means it costs lawyers a cool grand if you are friendly with Team Schwartz.
County Court Judge Shelly Schwartz also has opposition from a Hispanic Female. The candidate is currently an assistant state public defender, and previously worked as an assistant federal public defender. We are tracking down the correct spelling of her name, so give us a few days on that.
Do we see a trend here? Are Hispanic Females targeting Jewish Males? Or are Hispanic Females just targeting bad dressers?
Sorry Shelly, but that red and yellow tie does not go with the purple robe and a blue/green shirt. Say what you want about Judge Shelly Schwartz, but he is always dressed appropriately in case a Gin Rummy game breaks out. Actually, Shelly is known for his colorful attire and we think it would be a great loss for the bench if he were beaten. Shelly Schwartz was a former criminal defense attorney for many years, and he brings a certain common sense and know-how to the County Court Bench.
Good Luck Shelly, our check is on the way.
Likewise for Judge Larry Schwartz. While not as loud a dresser as Shelly
( who is?) , Judge Larry Schwartz is a real pro. With a long stint as a State Court Prosecutor, and the social consciousness of a Green Peace activist, Judge Larry Schwartz brings fairness along with a great deal of experience to the job.
OK- so sometimes he’s a bit petulant during a long calendar. And not many people were fans of his 8AM Justice Building Soundings: but at least he put in a full days work for the job he was elected to do.
Here’s hoping that the trend does not continue and that these two fine Judges are re-elected. If they both lose, well, we can think of a lot of Judges (mostly male- many Jewish) who will turn several shades of green as their election year looms ever closer.
How can you say OY VEY in Spanish?
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Because we are, at the core, committed to defending people, we advance the other side of the story:
First: what did that little twerp with the mega-phone expect? He came to work FOR Bennett. If he didn’t like the current administration, he should have quit- and then campaigned to his traitorous heart’s content.
While Brummer should not have fired the little weasel, a steady diet of weekend and holiday bond hearings, with a posting to Judge Postman’s courtroom (with strict instructions to buy him lunch any time he asked) would have been in order.
Second, and more importantly, Mr. Brummer has made a career of recognizing, and rewarding loyalty. Currently, Mr. Brummer has a former Judge working for him. Brummer hired the Judge after a long and distinguished career, and an election loss that was a travesty. Mr. Brummer rewarded the Judge with a nice paying slot allowing the Judge to tidy up his retirement. And the Public Defenders Office has long been known as the place where a lawyer down on his or her luck, or entering a new phase of sobriety, could return for a fresh start.
So there is a lot more to Mr. Brummer than what appears to have been a proclivity for heavy-handed politics. And while we stand by our comments criticizing the incident, we applaud Mr. Brummer’s long history of loyalty and record of service to the citizens of Dade County. Like many of his clients, Mr. Brummer is entitled to the jury of public opinion knowing both sides of the story. (plus- you never know when we might need a job).
Friday, November 25, 2005
We scooped the Herald on this one: The JBB has learned that long time Dade County Public Defender Bennett Brummer has caved in and settled a federal wrongful termination lawsuit that arose out of his contentious re-election campaign.
The Scene: The annual Martin Luther King Day Parade cira 2003.
Dramatis Personae :
Assistant Dade County Public Defender Gabe Martin, who has announced his intention to oust his boss. Another young assistant Public Defender (Lonnie Richardson) supporting Gabe Martin.
At the parade the Assistant Public Defenders ( and soon to be Plaintiffs) marching in support of Gabe Martin- Lonnie has a mega-phone, and is yelling anti- Bennett Brummer slogans, like "We Need A Public Defender, Not a Public Pretender. "
Brummer, gearing up for his re-election fight was present and witnessed the spectacle.
Sometime thereafter, an enraged Brummer shows his dark side and orders his henchmen (in this case- we believe it was a hench woman) to fire the bunch.
A Federal lawsuit alleging wrongful termination was filed, and as it proceeded towards trial Brummer and his legal team filed a motion for summary judgment before new Federal Judge Marsha Cooke. We haven't seen the ruling denying the motion, but we hear it was a real barn burner, with some very critical language of Brummer and his legal team. Meanwhile, to ratchet up the pressure, in conjunction with filing the motion for summary judgment, but before Judge Cooke's ruling, Brummer and his team of legal eagles makes an offer of settlement: that the Plaintiff pay $1,000.00 and write an apology. The Greeks have a word for this: Hubris. And if you have read any Greek tragedies, you know what follows: disaster.
Well, after they got up off the floor, the Plaintiff and his lawyer formally rejected the offer. Judge Cooke's blistering ruling followed sometime thereafter. We don't know the rest of the specifics but we feel we are on pretty firm ground reporting the following:
Brummer has parted with $200,000.00 PLUS legal fees, and didn't even get the gag order he wanted. The Plaintiffs Lonnie Richardson and Gabe Martin are free to talk and gloat about their victory.
First Greek Tragedy; then Hubris, now, Irony:
In 2002 Brummer was honored by the ACLU with the Nelson Poynter award. Named after the former crusading Editor and Publisher of the St. Petersburg Times, the Poynter award honors people who have tirelessly fought to promote and advance civil liberties and civil rights in Florida.
Here's the rub: Brummer was sued for wrongful termination and violating the FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS of his former employees , who were taking part in a peaceful march and were advocating their own political views during their own free time.
We have to believe that Poynter himself would have roasted Bennett's butt in a scathing editorial about Brummer's heavy handed anti-freedom of speech and expression tactics, if Poynter was still around. Poynter's gone, but the JBB is here to expose hypocrisy
when we see it.
Brummer can't be feeling too happy these days. On August 5, 2005, the Miami Herald (did we mention we scooped the Herald on this story??) reported that Brummer's top aid David Weed and another Public defender employee agreed to pay fines for violating Florida's Campaign Laws.
Campaign dirty tactics? Suppressing free speech? This is not Nixon's CREEP (the committee to re-elect the President) we are talking about. This is Dade's Public Defender.
We think ol' Brummer has built himself quite a little fiefdom over on 14th street. Plenty of cushy jobs and old time campaign cronies cashing big paychecks, while young PDs are forced to sign loyalty oaths and are fired if they don't vote the right way.
Bennet Brummer: ACLU Honoree or loser in a civil rights suit?
Public Defender..or Public Pretender?
DUI Ubber-Lawyer, DUI Author, and just about the best damn DUI defense attorney around- we are speaking of course of our own: BOBBY REIFF-
BR was instrumental on fighting the good fight and getting the goods on Davenport. Reiff got the booking photo, got Dr. Hyma involved, and got the Defendant to take a polygraph. All in all, Reiff acted just like we hope we would in a similar situation: he saw a wrong and fought to right it.
Good Job Bobby. You can buy Bobby's book- co-authored with Pam Anderson
"The Breast DUI Defense" on Amazon dot com. (Just kidding).
Go Here: http://bookstore.lexis.com/bookstore/catalog?action=product&prod_id=6665
and order Bobby's great book on DUI defense now.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Lets see the circumstantial chain of evidence:
Defendant in Custody Of Davenport at Station.
Davenport says “woops…he fell.”
Dr. Hyma says- nope- he was punched.
Davenport has prior history of excessive violence.
Defendant PASSES polygraph.
Hmm… Seems like a pretty good case to us.
Read the report for yourself:
Reminds us of the old joke:
How many City Of Miami Police Officers does it take to throw a defendant down a flight of stairs?NONE- He fell.
The views expressed by those who comment are their own and are not necessarily the views of JBB or its affiliates. No portion of this blog may be copied, re-broadcast or otherwise disseminated without the express written consent of the National Football League, and JBB.
Here is what we received: a moving testament to one of our favorite Judges: Fast Gerry Klein. This comment, however right on the money it is, must be taken with the sad knowledge that the “rocket scientist” can’t spell “barrel” and doesn’t have enough sense to use his spell check before posting a comment. However, we corrected his spelling error, and we removed the crude language at the end. Since he is one of our regular – and only- commentators- we don’t want to offend him too much.
My vote for the coolest Judge in the Justice Building. The man who has been the litmus test for all that is hip for the last 40 years. The man hung out with Dean, Frank and Sammy Davis. It could only be Jerry "Ocean's Eleven" Klein. Lets face it , "Fast Jerry" or "His Fastness" never makes the wrong call. The guy is a f***ing gem. Kudos to the all time prince of the Fifth Floor.
Pickle Barrel Regular
Here’s a thought: what about some plaque, picture, or small ceremony, honoring the Honorable Gerald Klein for what must be over thirty years of dedicated service to the Bench in Miami? He is a good and sensible judge (not to mention fast) who always has the foresight and kindness to tell a client at bond hearing that the client has a good attorney. It makes those “hold-no bond” cases a little easier to get hired on.
We have always felt that if you took all of the third degree theft and drug felony cases that every judge in the building has, and placed them on a special Friday Calendar before Judge Klein, and arranged for waivers for bench trials on all the cases, he would settle most of them, try the rest, and still get on the Golf Course before noon.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Go to the Southern District's web site-also no longer a secret -to read the full 20 page manual entitled "So now you're a Federal Judge..psst...wanna know a secret?" No, seriously, the full 20 page manual on secrecy can be found here: http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/
We remember a time when our State court was reeling from scandals and Federal Court was seen as a bastion of civility and professionalism. Now we find out that Fed Judges are trading cases like the Marlins and the Red Sox trade players.
"I'll take off your docket two possession with intents and one boat smuggling if you let me take the Key West fraud case during fantasy fest, and I'll give you a really hot strip club licensing suit as well."
Here's what we really don't get: what happened to attorneys who didn't show up for secret status conferences because they were...well...a secret?
Maybe we could try that with Judge Murphy on his 6AM Friday soundings: "Sorry we're late Judge, but we thought this was one of those secret soundings."
What's really disappointing for the State Court practitioner is that we just don't get cases that merit secrecy. Not many disorderly conducts, DUI's, agg bats, or sale of marijuana cases need to be tried in secret. But speaking of soundings and secrecy, having spent several hours in line during one of Judge Crespo's "Sale Of the Century Soundings", maybe a secret court calendar every now and then is not a bad thing. We remember seriously thinking by 4:00 pm, after having got in line by 8:15 that morning, that it would be better to just offer to do the five years our client was going to get ourselves, then have to stand in line another twenty minutes and listen to Crespo scream at another defendant. Manny, we love you...we love your pleas.... our arthritic knees just can't stand another sounding with you.
A crack team of Miami defense attorneys achieved what one called "a significant victory...considering the time of year and all" when the above pictured client received a "full and complete pardon" and was released from custody and driven -we are not making this up- with a full police escort to the airport where he was flown to ...again we are not making this up- to Disneyland in California, where (for the final time we are not making this up) he will serve as a grand mashall for a holiday parade.
The client, who is known by the street name of "Marshmallow" did not immediately comment. You can read the full text of the story here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051122/ap_on_go_pr_wh/turkey_pardon
Neither the attorneys or the other individuals pictured above Marshmallow were available to comment on the possibilty of other pardons for the other individuals who are also known by their street names, Dick and Scooter.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Rutherford Aris, a well known Chemical Engineer died over the weekend. A skilled classicist, he was also a widely respected scholar of paleography, the study of ancient writing. An accomplished calligrapher, he wrote a book on the historical evolution of letter forms.
But Professor Aris did something that caught our eye, meriting mention here, on our small slice of the web. Aris was a Professor who didn’t take himself too seriously. When in the early 1970’s Who’s Who in America asked for a biography, he obliged. When a few weeks later Who’s Who asked for a biography for ARIS RUTHERFORD, he wrote them a quick note telling them they had inverted his name. His letter was ignored, and the requests kept coming. This is where Professor Aris merits enshrinement in our modest Hall of Fame.
Sensing a rare opportunity, Professor Aris submitted a biography for Professor Rutherford. And so, in the 38th edition of Who's Who in America (1974-75), Professor Aris appears twice: in Volume 1 as himself, and in Volume 2 as Aris Rutherford, who leaps to life in 16 lines on Page 2,672.
In the NY Times Obituary, both men are eulogized. You can read the whole article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/20/national/20aris.html
Here is what Who’s Who said about the often mentioned, but rarely seen Aris Rutherford:
“ Aris MacPherson Rutherford was born in Strath Spey, Scotland, on April 10, 1930, the son of Archibald MacPherson Rutherford and the former Ephygeneia Aristeides. In 1948, when he was just 18, he earned a diploma from the Strath Spey and Glenlivet Institute of Distillation Engineering. His field rewards intensive study,(hmm distillation, intensive study, and those bozos couldn't catch on?) and several advanced degrees followed.
In 1955, after a stint with the Argyll and Sutherland Regiment, Mr. Rutherford became the chief design engineer and tester for the Strath Spey Distillation Company. He came to the United States the next year.
From 1960 to 1964, when he joined the Minnesota faculty, Mr. Rutherford was a visiting professor of distillation practice at the Technological Institute of the Aegean, in Corinth.
A past trustee of the Scottish-Greek Friendship Foundation, Mr. Rutherford was active in numerous organizations, among them the Distillation Club of Edinburgh, the Burns Society of Minneapolis and the Hellenophilic Club of Minneapolis.
He wrote three books, "Sampling Techniques" (1957), "Distillation Procedures" (1963) and "American Football: A Guide for Interested Scots" (1960).” (Doesn't Ed Newman keep a copy of this tome in his chambers??)
From the NY Times Obituary: “Aris Rutherford survived only a year. When the news media got wind of the hoax, Professor Aris came clean, and Who's Who expunged his doppelgänger (we love this word, when used properly) from future editions. This cut short a promising career, for Mr. Rutherford, according to the updated entry Professor Aris had prepared, was about to publish a new book, "American Baseball: A Guide for Interested Englishmen."… Professor Aris is survived by his wife, the former Claire Holman, whom he married in whom live in England. [umm... not my error, but the NY Times dropped the ball here. Maybe we have a furture as a copy editor if they continue to lower the SAPD fee rates.]
Mr. Rutherford, who apparently never married, leaves no known survivors.”
Isn’t that last line great? Who says the NY Times doesn’t have a sense of humor (besides Donald Rumsfeld, that is)?
You can read the full account of the self outing by the author of ÂUnderneath their RobesÂ here: http://biz.yahoo.com/law/051121/fa74db42f9b91b89f200c61de91a34b0.html?.v=1
Here are some of the highlights of the blog that I love:
Regular features included "Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary," touting the physical attractiveness of 12 men and 9 women on the bench. The top three women were Lourdes Baird (C.D. Cal.), "a lovely Latina [who] leads UTR readers to exclaim, 'Que rica!'"; Irma Gonzalez (S.D.Cal.), "a judicial J. Lo who is muy caliente!"; and Frank Hull (11th Cir.), of whom Lat writes: "In case you're wondering, Frank M. Hull "is a woman -- and oh, what a woman!"
The top three male superhotties were Harold Baer Jr. (S.D.N.Y.), "as handsome as the dickens"; Gary Feess (C.D.Cal.), "quite cute, in an admittedly nerdy, dork chic sort of way" and Alfred Goodwin (9th Cir.). "Yee-haw!" Lat wrote. "Article III Groupie is ready to be lassoed, tied and dropped by this judicial hottie!"
In "The Dancing Queen of the Ninth Circuit," he excerpted a newspaper article about U.S. Circuit Judge Consuelo Callahan, who "likes to surprise judicial and legal gatherings by starting discussions about serious topics and ... then pulls off her black robe to reveal a sequined costume and tap shoes." He posted both Article III Groupie's e-mail asking the judge for her photo so attired and Callahan's polite e-mail denying the request "without prejudice."
And Brian Tannenbaum won't publicize my blog unless I reveal my identity.
Sure, real chance of happening. I could get more than fired!!!!
Any candidates for "supperhottie" of the Justice Building? male or female accepted.
On second thought, why should we stoop to the prurient level of some over heated and under sexed federal prosecutor? Don't we have higher standards than this fecundated Fed?
[ Remember send those nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org]
People, there should be a mechanism for posting comments on the blog as opposed to emailing me. However, I will keep reading emails and posting your fine comments until we iron out the kinks.
“this forum is a great idea. But...does it have to be a rehash of the other legal sites. Do we really need more postings on "the law" and comments as to the horrible state the world is in. Lets do something really important...who is sleeping with whom...discuss the relative i.q.'s of our judiciary...the wonderful place where we all ply our trade...those kinds of things, or not”
Hey, does any one know what the deal is with that object that Judge Jose Rodriguez tosses repeatedly while on the bench ? Today Judge Shelly "bling-bling" Shwartz was sporting a purple robe. Possible new name: "Judge Shelly "Purple Rain" Shwartz.
Signed, Pickle Barrel Regular.
KEEP EM COMMING.
$200.00????!!!!! In the old days, a city of miami cop didn’t sell his uniform for less than 10g plus a few kilos of coke. Those of us who are old enough remember that even before the infamous River Cops, a City Miami Major named Orrett ( the spelling is phonetic) and his brother, also a Cop became the personal enforcers for a group of traffickers in Miami. The Brothers Orrett spent the 80’s in Federal Prison.
Speaking of Bribery, just a few weeks ago a familiar name forever linked with bribery was seen skulking the halls of the Justice Building. In fact, former Judge and convicted felon Roy T. Gelber was seen lurking right around the corner from his old courtroom on the third floor where he hatched so many of his schemes to sell his greed stained robes for kickbacks on court appointments.
Remember that scene (straight out of a bad B movie) when Gelber’s fellow Judge and henchman Harvey Schenberg is stuffing $50,000.00 down his pants on an FBI video tape and remarking that “its hard to send a kid through college on a Judge’s salary?” One wonders what Gelber and Schenberg would think of the fact that the price of bribery has fallen to record lows in Miami?
Of course the more things change, the more they remain the same: think Gelber has any unique insight into co-defendant (although he was acquitted) and fellow member of the Justice Building Hall of Shame former Judge Phillip Davis and his new arrest? Unfortunately for Davis, his former attorney Alcee Hastings now prowls the halls of a much larger nest of thieves and den of vipers than our small justice building: namely the US Congress.
At least fraud in Congress has kept pace with inflation. Former Lobbyist Jack Abramoff is charged with fraud arising from his lobbying activities that netted him 80 million dollars over the last few years. Say what you want about Officer Donaldson and Abramoff, but at least if Abramoff was committing a crime, he was doing it for some significant pocket change. 80 million gets you a whole lot better defense than 200 bucks. Sheesh, you need more than $200.00 to get Sy Gaer.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
BROWARD KARMA: We had the opportunity to visit the Broward County Courthouse last week. Seemed like every other window was blown out. Remember when those Browardites were so smug after Hurricane Andrew? It seemed like Hurricanes and boat people, not to mention crime and corruption were all problems that only affected Miami. Karma Baby. Your police force is manufacturing evidence, using faulty Miranda forms, and your courthouse was blown to bits. Karma baby. Maybe next time your smug judiciary will think twice about not calling Miami Defense attorneys out of turn.
BROWARD CHRISTIANS & THE JNC:
The Daily Business Review reported the following:
Will you be able to balance your duties as a single mother of twins with your duties as a Broward judge?" That was the question Broward County Assistant Public Defender Jayme Cassidy says she was asked by a member of the 15th Judicial Circuit Judicial Nomination Commission during her two judicial screening interviews in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Cassidy says the first time she was asked the question by JNC member O'Neal Dozier, pastor of the fundamentalist Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, she was so surprised that she could barely answer. The second time, she says, she was livid and told the panel that the question was inappropriate.
It seems Christian Fundamentalism has now reached the Broward County Courthouse.
We wonder how one of Miami’s well respected Circuit Judges who is also the single mother of twins would have answered the question? (we keep the Judge’s name private because while all Judges are fair game here-their private lives should remain private unless they do something stupid like get caught with a young PD or Prosecutor IN FLAGRANTE DELICTO, but that’s for another posting on another day when we have more time to speculate on the dozens of those rumors that pop up (pun untended) every day). We can’t help imagining the string of expletives that would have at least passed through our fair Judge’s mind before she would have answered such an asinine questions. But welcome to the decade of Religious Correctness.
Coming up next in Broward: “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone” replaces Standard Jury Instruction on Reasonable Doubt.”
Here’s a an example of a possible new application for a judicial position in Broward:
“Years You Have Been a Member of the Bar: ”
“Number of times a week you go to Church to Pray? ___ ”
“Number of Jury Trials you have acted as lead counsel:_____”
“Number of heathen jews you have converted?____________”
“Number of scholarly articles on the law you have authored: ________ “
“Number of chapters of the new testament you read every week:_______”
We voted for this Governor, and now we have his JNC.
Dan Rather once famously ended his news cast with the word: “Courage”.
Now we know what he was talking about.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Come on BT- let the people decide!!!!.
Lets get serious (and see if this will get Tannenbaum to publish our site)
Querry: What does the United States have in common with Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, China, North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan and a host of other countries who's dedication to freedom and human rights the US constantly criticizes?
THEY ALL HAVE THE DEATH PENALTY!
Which countries that we criticize or otherwise believe we have a superior legal system to,
do not have the death penalty?
Armenia, Cambodia, Czech Republic, East Timor, Ukraine, South Africa, Serbia, Romania, Nicaragua, Estonia, Georgia, Nepal, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina.... the list goes on and on.
[Source: Amnesty International http://web.amnesty.org/pages/deathpenalty-countries-eng]
INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN SENTENCED TO DEATH: ILLINOIS:
In the quarter century between restoration of the Illinois death penalty and Governor George Ryan's blanket clemency order, 289 men and women were sentenced to death in Illinois. Of those, 18 have been exonerated Â a rate in excess of 6.2%. Source: The Center On Wrongful Convictions: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/depts/clinic/wrongful/deathpenalty.htm.
FLORIDA: OUR FAIR STATE:
In Florida the state Supreme Court upheld the death penalty in an October 24, 2002 ruling on a lawsuit brought by two inmates challenging the penalty's constitutionality. Florida currently has 369 inmates on Death Row. Florida also leads the country in the number of innocents let off death row -- 25 since 1973 (although the Death Penalty Information Center only acknowledges 22 as "truly exonerated").
to be continued...
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
We seek comments, rumors, and stories on any and all Miami Justice Building habituates, Judges, Prosecutors, Attorneys, and defendants. While we (the royal we) will not be libelous, and we will not pick on those not able to defend themselves [ insert your favorite judge here] , we love a good story about a Judge or lawyer putting his or her foot in their mouth. A juicy rumor that is not too harmful will also be posted.
As you can see in my profile, I have assumed the identity of that famed English Barrister Rumpole of the Bailey. The names have indeed been changed to protect - not the innocent- but those of us who still need to go to court from time to time to get our clients a bond.
As November draws near to Turkey Day, and thoughts turn to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and the New Year, we should be thinking of various ways to celebrate and remember the past year. Hurricanes and other hot winds blew through our small community, and we think that a few good year end awards are an excellent way to remember the year.
Here is an example of what we mean::
1: Worst New TV Show By a Local Lawyer: Roy Black. Winner hands down.
OK. Granted that was an easy one. But why shouldn't the famous and well compensated Mr. Black be our first target anyway? Just because he is a member of the brotherhood of the shark (defense attorney) does not mean he escapes our rapier like wit.
Get the idea? Then get posting.