Thursday, March 30, 2006

This is a great post

This is a great post:

I am saddened to hear of the passing of a great man, Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal.
My father, Abraham Safdie, recently died of Gallbladder Cancer. Many at the courthouse knew my father. He was a court interpreter, who four days prior to passing was made an honorary judge in a ceremony attended by more than fifteen judges. Judge Leyte-Vidal was one of those judges.

That day, my father seemed to have a sudden charge of energy given to him by these public servants.

Although, what many do not know is that Judge Leyte-Vidal visited my father at the hospital, almost every other day during those awful two and a half weeks. With every visit my father was energized with hope and love provided by this noble man. He also was a great comfort to my mother, sister, brothers and I.

His wife and three sons should know that he has earned a place in heaven, not necessarily for what he did on the bench, but more so for what he did as a private citizen, without fanfare, visiting cancer patients and providing inspiration and hope.

Charles A. Safdie

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Anonymous wrote in:

rumpole you should have a trial trial board like they do at the Public Defender's Office.

Rumpole says, ok. Not that we don't have enough to do during the day, but if a Judge or attorney wants to email us on a Monday ( or whenever a trial starts) we will post the trial, the attorneys, and the results.

As to the other posts about the Markus verdict: 1) We don't know who got the guilty verdicts and who got the Not Guilty verdicts. 2) We were just being friendly to Mr. Markus, as we are about to ruin his career (or at least his reputation) with a post we have about our views of the Vatican and the federal college of cardinals. Stay tuned and we will let you know when its up on his formerly well respected blog.


Rumor has it hoards of men dressed in purple suits with yellow ties descended on a restaurant in downtown Miami this evening and staged a "We love Judge Shelly Schwartz" rally.

Rumor has it the Don Cohn / Judge Rippengale race almost had a third candidate.

Rumor has it that a domestic violence county court judge personally visited an attorney recently to try and talk him/her out of filing against HIM.

Rumor has it that sales of Ambien among judges up for re-election this year has skyrocketed.

Rumor has it that attorneys North of the Border have started their own blog. In the words of Bruce Willis in Die Hard "welcome to the party pal."

Rumor has it that the Kommisar of Konty Kort doesn't like our humble blog. We respond, "those who can....do. Those who can't....teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym. Those who can't teach gym become supervisors of bloated state bureaucracies .

Rumor has it that the County Court Judges will each issue their own individual opinion on the pending motions on the DUI breath machine because nobody wants to be in the Herald issuing a dissent for the defense.

Rumor has it that a noted criminal defense attorney helped nab a "perp" this past weekend, and after criticizing the manner in which the police beat up witnesses, was almost arrested himself.

See You In Court where rumors run rampant.


Congratulations to our favorite federal blogger, David K Markus for his NOT GUILTY verdict in Federal Court in Georgia. 6 weeks of trial, seven days of deliberations..Not Guilty. Read all about it on his blog. You can find the link on this page on the left.

You da man!

Because we choose to remain anonymous, we cannot celebrate our not guilty veridicts like Mr. Markus. Why just last week we won a hard fought disorderly conduct case. 16 minutes of testimony, seven seconds of deliberation by the court. Oh well.
See You in Court.


A suspicious reader writes in:

Rumpole, why did you delete the comment referring to your statement, "Rumpole says, its not like Mr. BT was alleged to have threatened a JA or anything".The comment said it was funny how you are Phil and you are trying to make fun of yourself. That we caught you attempting to call a bluff???

Rumpole responds: Careful readers of the blog last night may have noticed that we posted the Brian T post twice by mistake. We erased one, and that one had some comments. Here is your comment (wrong in every way possible) for the world to see. Like Rumpole, you can join our “Sometimes Wrong. Never In Doubt” club and keep overlooking the obvious.

A soothsayer writes:

SARMIENTO (HIRES) A LAWYERLooks like a recently departed asa is getting his first case:NOTICE OF APPEARANCE TIMOTHY M. VANDERGIESEN, ESQ. AND GREG V. CHONILLO, ESQ.I predict the fee is ZERO

ASA Howard Rosen, who reads the blog more than he lets on, and who thought he had nabbed our identity in a series of private emails, (not close…no cigar) writes in:

Although I unfortunately never had the opportunity to become friendly with Henry Leyte-Vidal off of the bench, I did appear before him on many occasions, and had the recent opportunity to try a two week trial in front of him. He always demonstrated all of the qualities that lawyers - and our community in general - could ask for in a Judge. He was intelligent, humble, patient, practical, and fair. Whether he was doing his morning calendars or was in trial, he listened intently to the litigants and always had a smile on his face (no matter what was spewing forth from the attorneys’ mouths at the time). This was a good indication that he truly loved what he was doing. He was a Judge who really liked to be in trial. He will be missed.On another, but a related note… The trial which I just mentioned was the one wherein Sabrina Puglisi and Brian Tannebaum were opposing counsel to Dan Bernstein and I. A couple of you anonymous posters out there in our little “blog world” have criticized Brian Tannebaum for posting his comments on Henry Leyte-Vidal by saying things such as “Brian Tannebaum, can't you just go away for a little while? You weren't real friends with Leyte-Vidal. Why did you feel the need to quote to the Herald (or here in the blog)? Why not refer them to someone you did know the guy? Or, just don't offer a comment out of respect for the fact that you didn't really know him?…”I do not know if Brian Tannebaum knew Judge Leyte-Vidal off of the bench or not, but even if he did not, as I did not, during the course of spending a couple of weeks in trial with Henry Leyte-Vidal, I got a good sense of the qualities in him that both Tannenbaum and I expressed, and I am sure that his family is comforted in knowing that even those of us who did not know him very well off of the bench noted the same qualities in him on the bench that he must have had in his personal life. Let’s not let the passing of one our finest become a source of divisiveness.

Sunny Goldin, queen of the tickets, writes in on Judge Sheldon Schwartz:

Some of the "traffic attorneys." Myself(Sunny Goldin), Myra Perez, Angie Serra. I know Schwartz has his detractors and I myself have bitched about his long calendars but I think he does right by both defendants and the state and I think that's more impt than whether I get out of his courtroom quickly. (and no, I don't have any cases on his mtigation calendar tomorrow)

Sunny also wrote in about a fundraiser:

Why wait until tomorrow's "moderated" blog to find out what happens at the fundraiser for Sheldon Schwartz at 6pm tonight at Perricones? Come find out for yourself. Sunny

The following was a non-paid political ad for a Sunny Golden fundraiser for Judge Sheldon Schwartz and the views expressed were neither written nor paid for by Judge Schwartz or the National Football League.

Here is a stupid observation if we have ever read one:

Is Judge Young sentencing straight men to more jail time than homosexuals? Are there any statistics regarding the known gay and lesbian judges? It seems like he wants to become the next Ellen Morphonious.

And a reader wants us to censor the post:

Rump, the David Young post should have been censored. The writer asks a question about whether or not Young sentences certain people differently from others with no supporting information. It's like allowing an attorney to say, "did you beat your wife today?" If someone's going to ask the type of question, he or she should have (and provide) some kind of factual basis. Otherwise, it's just a not so clever way to spread lies and sully a person's reputation.

Rumpole responds: We do not censor posts. Everyone knows we have a few rules. The moronic post on Judge Young comes close to crossing the line. The sexual orientation of any Judge is not fit for public commentary. While Judge Young has discussed his private life, it is not anyone’s business if a Judge lives with another man, woman, or Vietnamese Pig. However, because the best way to deal with stupid, dumb, idiotic (are we getting our point across? ) posts like the stupid, dumb, homophobic idiot who made that post is to shine the cold hard glare of light on their stupid, dumb, idiotic beliefs, we put their post up and tell them to have the courage to sign their name if they truly believe Judge Young is unfair in his sentencing policies.

PS: How in the name of Liza Minelli would any Judge know the sexual orientation of a Defendant that they were sentencing? As far as we know, its not part of the plea colloquy.

A writer talks some smack:

Hopefully someone will run against Cindy Lederman. She makes Ann Coulter seem like a flaming liberal.

Curious asks:

rumpole why do people get crushed on this blog when they self promote? it's good buisness. what is your view?

Rumpole grumbles that people are mostly stupid, dumb, and idiotic. Especially people with licenses to practice law. See You In Court.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Tampa Judge Remembers Judge Leyte Vidal

A Judge From Tampa writes in to remember Judge Leyte-Vidal:

My name is Judge Dee Dee Pomponio from Tampa. Iwas appointed to the bench on the same day as Henry. We became very close friends and because of Henry I have become good friends with many Dade Judges. I am writing this from a conference in Denver. I wanted to tell all my friends in Miami that my heart and prayers are with you and I wish I could be with you during this difficult time.I truly loved Henry for the wonderful man he was and I know God put him in my life to teach how to live life to its fullest

Rumpole says: wonderful post.


In Defense and Praise of BT

Anonymous wrote all these posts:

Because you don't charge for ad space on your blog...and with regard to the B.T. ISSUE. I like Brian. He is a hard working capable lawyer. However, he should take care when he injects his views about people in the press. He could have said to the reporter, off the record, I don't feel comfortable giving a quote because I hardly knew the guy. Perhaps that was the point which some of your fans were trying to make.


I thought BT was appointed by Leyte-Vidal guardian for Michael Hernandez - the kid from the junior high murder - he must have known him somewhat to make that appointment. I just re-read his comments to the herald - he said he was one of the best, and most respected judges? NOthing about being "friends with him"

I am somewhat amazed by the juvenile way some of you writers sound like on this blog. If I didn't know it was a legal blog, I would have thought it came from my daughter's elementary school.Anonymous continues to whine and complain about BT. Hey, Anonymous, when was the last time you volunteered for an organization that is dedicated to the criminal defense bar.Have you been a member of FACDL-Miami or FACDL Statewide. Have you been a Board of Director, have you been an Officer, have you been President, have you been a statewide legislative coordinator?Do you go to Tallahassee (I think on his own dime) and certainly on his own time to lobby state senate and house members on critical issues affecting our court system and, more importantly, affecting us as attorneys and, even more importantly, affecting our clients?I am not a particularly close friend of BT's, I have just seen him at work, and while his name and face may be in the paper and on TV every once in a while, it seems like he has earned every minute of the exposure he gets.It seems to me, anonymous, that you, like my elementary school daughter, (who whines because "Kathy" is the teacher's pet, and not her), ... you are nothing more than a jealous person in need of your own exposure.Here's my suggestion ... you want exposure .... then sign you name to your next blog.

oh christ, ENOUGH ABOUT BT!!!Some like him, some obviously hate him (some, just for telling the Herald Leyte Vidal was a great judge (go figure))The guy has his own blog - go over there and leave your fan and hate mail, lets talk about important stuff like who's filing for judge this week.

Rumpole says, its not like Mr. BT was alleged to have threatened a JA or anything.

Any feedback on having other bloggers join our ranks?

Any updates on Judges calling PD’s who reverse them on appeal at home?

Any new rulings from the County Court Judge who likes to do Circuit Court Motions?

Any thoughts on Judges who order drug tests at arraignment?

Any news items on the new circuit judge who doesn’t give his staff lunch (or dinner for that matter) and likes to tell people there’s a new sheriff in town?

This is what is on our mind. What’s on yours?

See You In Court.



A reader doesn’t like us very much:

Rump, are you seriously saying that just b/c your readership hasn't dropped means people like you censoring (call it what it is) their blogs, or waiting for it to pass the Standards Board before its available for public consumption? YOU ARE A MONOPOLY. No one else has a Dade Criminal Court Blog. If Fpl sucks, what can I do? Start my own electric Co? I'm stuck with their service. Similar thing here. No one is realistically going to put in the time to make another blog on the same shit you have. We only have you. Why take away the fun of real-time quotes b/c once a month some asshole writes cruel shit? Why do believe its your responsibility to PREVIEW quotes for publication? What is wrong with a disclaimer( in bold print if you wish)? No more back and forth b/t bloggers. Now, we'll have to wait for you to OK our speech. Yes, its your blog, and its private, and you can do whatever you please with it, including censoring it or ending it. But it just seems, with all due respect to all your hard work, that you fell a little too easily into a kind of Power Trip. You decide what other lawyers (mostly) are allowed to say on a blog that is supposedly an open forum. Can't be open and "moderated" at the same time. No matter how you try to spin it, it just can't be. Go with freedom. Leave the dark forces of control and regulation alone. They don't suit you. There's always a "good reason" to limit speech (and other freedoms) in the minds of those who naturally take a collectivist approach. Hate to see you cross over.

Rumpole responds: We respect your point of view, but point out that you are incorrect in one important point:

We do not censor what people say, or decide what attorneys can or can’t post. Posts that are mean to us, our friends, or Judges we like, are faithfully posted. We have a few simple rules: 1) No posting of personal information: home address, children names, etc. 2) No posting of personal and private matters that do not affect a public office. That means if an attorney is cheating on her husband with her secretary, we do not post that.

For all the chatter and recriminations, we note that the one very sticky wicket that has never been discussed is this scenario: Where a Judge is having a relationship with an attorney who appears before the Judge, and the attorney for the other side makes the disclosure. That would trouble us.

Here is the point: there is apparently a lot of anger out there. People use the blog to just mercilessly attack other people. People criticize Brian Tannebaum for speaking to the Herald on the death of Judge Leyte-Vidal. What was he supposed to do?

“When contacted for a quote about the late Judge, Brian Tannebaum, president of the Miami Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense attorneys refused comment.”

How stupid would that be?

Be that as it may, while this blog has become a conduit for some people’s frustration and anger, their anger is not our anger. We are pretty happy go lucky. Give us a jury, a defense, and a paying client, and our week is made. Give us a Judge who does something stupid like rule that the issue of whether a statement is voluntary is a jury question (watch for the upcoming post, “A is for….”) and we delight in rubbing that Judge’s nose in their ….ummm…ruling.

But to make this blog a vehicle for trashing people for no reason, and trashing them in an extremely vicious and nasty way is not something we choose to be a part of. This very week, without even being buried, some lowlife wrote a post about Judge Leyete-Vidal and included a very hurtful insinuation. Sorry, but even if it was true, we don’t play with that kind of hate.
Go start the “MetroJusticeIhateeveryone.blog” and have fun.

But your allegation that we decide who can post, and what they can say, is simply not true. Ask around and see if anyone was "censored."

If we are in the marketplace for readers, then we rely on our quick wit, our ability to play with words, and our ability to write an enjoyable piece every now and then.

For instance, former Dade Judge, and current Broward Lawyer, Terri Ann Miller writes in about the lawyer dropping our of the Judge Diaz race in Broward, and give us a nice compliment:

Been there, (Supreme Court), donethat...Article V, Section 8 has beeninterpreted to apply when a person takes office. (See Ari Miller v. Gina Mendez, Miller v. Mendez, 804 So.2d 1243 (Fla., 2001) Newman v. State, 602 So.2d 1351,(Fla. App. 3 Dist., 1992)He knew the law. The reason hewithdrew was he realized the vastsum of $ he would need to spend...Love the blog, Rump, especially the Broward editions...

Finally, one new issue: SHOULD WE INVITE GUEST BLOGGERS? We can invite someone like Jason Grey or The Captain to have bloging privileges and that would allow them to leave headline posts like we do (and no, they could not discern our identity). This has been on our mind ever since our favorite federal blogger David Markus put his career and reputation in federal court in jeopardy by inviting us to be a guest on his blog.

Write in with your opinion.

See You In Court wondering why, if we are a monopoly, we are still kind of poor.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Our political reporter, the intrepid Captain writes in with breaking news:

BREAKING NEWS:Your self-anointed political reporter, who first reported the unusual happening of an incumbent Broward Judge actually facing opposition, has some very interesting news .....Judge Robert Diaz no longer has opposition.

Attorney Brian Peter Wolk, who filed to run against Judge Diaz on March 13th, (that's the Judge Diaz, who was suspended from the bench without pay for two weeks for some past problems) has DROPPED OUT of the race.

Why ... we can't answer that one yet .....?????

On a separate note, can you believe the amount of judicial fundraisers that have been taking place in the last couple of weeks and those that are scheduled to take place this week.

I've got envelopes piling up from the following campaigns:

Candidate Stephen Millan
Judge Stanford Blake
Judge Maria Espinosa Dennis
Judge Mary Jo Francis
Judge Mindy Glazer
Judge Luise Krieger-MartinJ
Judge Lester Langer
Judge Cindy Lederman
Judge Ellen Leesfield
Judge Steve Leifman
Judge Bronwyn Miller
Judge Karen Mills-Francis
Judge Dennis Murphy
Judge Catherine Pooler
Judge Sheldon Schwartz
Judge Sam Slom
Judge Ellen Sue Venzer

Makes you want to vote for a constitutional amendment where all judges get appointed instead of elected!

A reader thinks s/he knows why Judge Diaz no longer has opposition:

That Broward dude couldnt run. Quirtk in law, gotta be a member of the bar 5 years at qualifying time for county court and 5 years at time of election or take office for circuit. he wouldnt be 5 years by May 12.

Rumpole notes that Judge Diaz was suspended for sending an anonymous email to Judge Seidman complaining about Seidman turning defendants into Immigration and Customs for deportation. We have already made our feelings about this judge well known. Too bad Judge Diaz didn't just post on our blog.

Only North Of Border do people get punished for speaking out and trying to do the right thing, while oppressive, ignorant, xenophobic, jingoistic bullies get rewarded.


Judge Mary Barzee wrote this beautiful post in memory of her friend:

Leyte died on a glorious spring day. He would have loved this past weekend, and, had he not been in the hospital, he would have been outside, coaching Danny’s softball team, playing golf or boating. Henry heartily loved life. He was a compassionate, genteel man. He was a generous friend. He loved food—French mussels, fresh anchovies and garlic in vinegar, spaghetti and clams. He drank scotch. He loved art and music. He’d been to the Opera at La Scala, he sang and played guitar in a rock band, he liked The Black Eyed Peas. The judge was a great dancer. And he loved his boys more than anything. His passing is our great loss.

Rumpole notes that the loss of Judge Leyte-Vidal, a man who apparently loved life and lived it to the fullest has left us sad ever since we heard the news. We sometimes take solice in poetry and think this poem by Keats, one of our favorites, seems appropriate at this moment in our lives:

An Irish Airman Forsees His Death:

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;

My county is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.

Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;

I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

Keats. Barzee. Good company both.


Stephen Millan was kind enough to email us this information:

I have just heard from Judge Leyte-Vidal's bailiff. The viewing will be at Vior Funeral home located at 291 NW 37th Avenue from 6:00p.m. t0 10:00p.m. on Tuesday March 28th. No mention was made as to a service on Wednesday. I know it goes without saying but we (the legal community with whom he shared a good part of his adult working life) should go and let the family know how much he was loved and will be missed.

Here is the official court memo on the funeral arrangements:

I regret to inform you that Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal passed away on Sunday, March 26, 2006.

The viewing will be held Tuesday, March 28th from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Vior Funeral Home located at 291 N.W. 37th Avenue, Miami, FL, (305) 643-3131.

The funeral procession will leave the funeral home at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29th for Miami Memorial Cemetery located at 6200 S.W. 77th Avenue.

There may be a memorial service prior to leaving the funeral home. As details are known, we will keep you informed.

Condolences may be sent to:

Dade County Courthouse
73 W. Flagler Street, Room 1110
Miami, FL 33130

The flags will be flown at half-staff in Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal’s honor at all of our courthouses through Friday, March 31, 2006.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Judges Larry and Caryn Schwartz wrote:

We are stunned, saddened and in disbelief about this horrific news this morning. We will miss our friend, his warmth, his smile and his incredible sense of humor. this community has lost another special person.

Caryn and Larry Schwartz

Judges David Young and Scott Bernstein wrote:

We have lost not only a colleague but a friend. Henry embodied the yiddish term 'mench'. Our thoughts, prayers and love go out to his family.

Rest in Peace dear Henry

Judge Maxine Cohen Lando wrote:

I will miss our dear colleague, Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal. His untimely passing affects us all. He was a gentleman, sweet natured, a wonderful soul who always had a good word for whomever he encountered. He was comfortable in any courtroom, well versed and well prepared. He was one of the Circuit's finest judges, and his loss is a shock. My prayers are with his family.

Jason Grey wrote:

When I first left the PD's office I rented space from Henry on coral way.He was then, and always a true Gentleman. A Great judge. A friend. One tough guy.Took on cancer without blinking, and was back to work in no time.

Much Too soon to lose you. vaya con Dios

Brian Tannebaum wrote:

I just wanted to add something about a recent 2 week trial in October I had in front of Judge Leyte-Vidal.He was a true vision of the perfect trial judge - he called balls and strikes, and when dicussions were had about "finishing early" one day, or "starting late" another day, his attitude to both sides was "whatever you guys want."At sentencing, he said something I will never forget. As in every case, we asked for much less prison time than the state. As both sides were debating the term of years the defendant was going to get, Judge Leyte-Vidal said: "Look, I think a year in jail is a long time."

It was nice to hear that in a felony courtroom.

The Captain wrote:

Judge Leyte-Vidal received his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami in 1977 and earned his JD at UM in 1980. He was in private practice until August of 1999 when Gov. Bush appointed him to the County Court. Interestingly, he was Gov. Bush's first Dade County Court appointment as Governor. Gov. Bush had taken office in January of 1999, and in April of 1999, he made his first Circuit Court appointment, (the People's Court Judge Marilyn Milian) which opened up a County Court seat ... which Judge Leyte-Vidal was appointed to. In November of 2001, Gov. Bush elevated Judge Leyte-Vidal to a new Circuit Court Seat. He had been in the Criminal Division up until January when he was reassigned to the General Jurisdiction Division of the Circuit Court.On a personal note, he was a wonderful man, kind, personable and warm and he was an excellent judge, fair as the day is long. He will truly be missed.

A (former?) PD wrote:

Leyte-Vidal was a great guy and a great trial judge. Fair to both sides. Level headed. Listened to argument with no negative facialgestures.One quick story, back in the oldPD days, as was custom, we pickedfive or six of our best cases andfiled demands in Leyte-Vidal'sdivision. The judge who did nothave a problem going to trial anyway, proceeded to deny our subsequent motions for continuances on our other non-demand cases.We ended up trying four cases in two weeks on the non-demands cases,and even though we won all four ofthem, that stopped our routinepractice of filing demands on him.In the game of criminal law, he was a truly great player, and hewasn't even a criminal defense attorney.During those two weeks of trial, weall had a blast off the record andI truly came to like this honorableman.

Rest in Peace.

Pepe Herrera wrote:

My sincerest condolences to the family of Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Henry’s passing is a great loss for our entire community, not only the legal community. His humanity was ever present, and spoke volumes of his character. All who appeared before him got true justice - a fair playing field, underscored by his patience and tempered by his benevolence. This community has indeed lost a good man, a true Jurist, and I have lost a friend. - Pepe Herrera

Susan Nesmith , scribe from the Herald is seeking info on Judge Leyte-Vidal:

I'm sorry to use the blog this way, but I'm working on Judge Leyte-Vidal's obituary and I'd like to make it as representative of his life as possible. Does anyone have a way to contact Peter Heller? Can you ask him to call me at 305-772-4380. His service has declined to relay a message. Also, I'm trying to reach Judge Izzy Reyes and any other judges or attorneys who were close to Judge Leyte-Vidal. Again, I'm sorry go about it this way, but I'm still pretty new on the beat and I don't want my still-slim rolodex to mean his obituary is less than his family would want. thanks

Susannah Nesmith-Miami Herald

Bobby Reiff wrote:

Henry was a tremendous guy and a wonderful judge. He was always pleasant and kind and he had that rare quality as a judge to be able to leave all of the participants in the proceedings before him smiling. He'll be missed (and he leaves some big shoes to fill).



Judge Henry Leyte-Vidal has passed away. He died during the night while at Mt. Sinai hospital on Miami Beach. He was operated earlier this week for cancer. He has previously battled a brain tumor, skin cancer and I believe lung cancer. Henry came out of the operation OK but complained of some pain on Friday. The doctors were going to go back in but couldn't since he had low blood pressure (Could've been high, he suffered from one of these two) Since the doctors were unable to stabilize his blood pressure, they were unable to go back in. He then suffered cardiac arrest. and was placed back in ICU. This was all yesterday. Last night, He seemed to have stabilized when he died. Peter Heller just called me so I am passing it on to you. Peter was very close to Henry. They coached Little League together and Peter was with his son Danny throughout the day. Danny is 14 yrs old. He is also survived by two older sons Alex and Henrique or Enrique from an earlier marriage.
Pray for them.


Rumpole says moderation has been turned off so people can immediately post their thoughts and memories of this fine man.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


A “chiva” writes in:

Moderation sucks and nothing Reiff,Catalano, Grey, Tannenbaum or any of the other self-righteous egomaniacs has posted has been at all confrontational or complex. The stuff they post can be postedon the FACDL email list or the CJAemail list where it belongs. If one of the purposes of this blog was to have a forum for confrontational issues regarding the criminal defense bar, then your moderation scheme will kill that.No one's gonna get hurt by a few little old words on an anonymous blog. I guarantee you most of us do not read this stuff for the boring, self-important statements made by your name only commentators.
We read this blog for the latest gossip, rumor and humor.
The Snitch

Rumpole responds: Although as a criminal defense attorney we have a well documented aversion to self promoting snitches, we welcome your comments and choose to respond.

In October of 2005 we started this little experiment and had no readers. Slowly people found out about the blog and now it is safe to say that most of the judiciary tunes in sometime during the week (usually during voire dire) and many attorneys read the blog almost every day.

What if you- Mr./Ms Snitch, lost a motion to suppress and in retaliation, wrote a post that the Judge was having an affair with the court reporter? Lets say the post was true, and known by some people close to the situation, but not by most of the Judge’s colleagues, including the Judge’s husband. (Lets face it people, you were imagining a male judge in this scenario. Shame on you sexist thinkers!) Another Judge, a friend of the husband, read the blog, was shocked, and conveyed the information, and the Judge got divorced and the couple’s children got involved in a real mess.

Now, many would say it is the Judge’s fault for having the affair. And that is true. What we are saying is that we do not choose to be the conduit for exposing that problem. If you, big bad snitch, want to ruin the Judge, then write a letter to the Judge’s husband with your name on it. Then the result is on your snitching conscience, not ours.

This is our blog. We made it, and we work on it a few hours most days. We want it to be funny. We want it to be enjoyable. And from time to time, like an upcoming post, we want it to be a place where Judges who are too big for their britches get brought down a notch or two, for the dumb things they say and do in court, not because of any indiscretion in their personal lives. (This last sentence ought to get our robed readers to tune in to see who’s going to get blasted this week. Stay tuned for “A is for…..” only on the Rumpole Blog.”

The simple fact is, ol’ Snitcher of snitches, if you don’t like this content, don’t log on, don’t have someone read it to you, and spend your time meeting secretly with cops and selling out your friends.

The last words of your post Snitch states that you read the blog for "gossip, rumor, and humor." That all can be accomplished without ruining a Judge or an attorney. It just requires a few more brain cells than your average client or snitch has. Try thinking before writing. It helps.

See You In Court destroying snitches on cross.

PS Our favorite Federal Blogger David O Markus with K may have made a fatal mistake to his career. He has invited us to be a guest on his federal blog while he remains held Hostage in front of a Georgia (thanks to the reader who corrected us) Federal Judge and Jury. How much damage to his reputation can we accomplish in one post? Stay tuned, and we will alert you when the post on his blog is up.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Well, day two of the grand experiment.

For those wordsmiths and poets who didn’t think we’d publish the “rumpole sucks” comments, we did. For those who didn’t think we’d publish the “Phil R is rumpole and he blows” we did. (boy are you people going to be shocked when we are outted.)

The one really strange post was the well written post complaining about Judge Jackie Scola drug testing people at arraignment. The post then goes on to make a derogatory comment about her appearance. As we have said before, you can posit that a Judge does not have the brains of a fruitcake, (not our opinion of Judge Scola, but maybe yours) you just can’t make fun of their appearance. How hard is that to grasp?

Trust us, we don’t like this. There are other ways. We can require that anyone who posts first join the blog and post under their name. That never stopped Jason Grey, Bobby Reiff, Mike Catalano, Phil R, and others. Or we can allow anonymous posts with the proviso we screen them to make sure they comply with these simple rules. Or we can go back to the old way and remove posts that violate the rules with the problem that some may stay up awhile.

One thought we have is that we can switch back between an open forum and moderation depending on whether we are in the office or in trial. For example, this week we spent an inordinate amount of time at the Vatican (Fed Ct) before one member of the College of Cardinals (Fed Judge) getting berrated for mentioning unmentionable matters like “reasonable doubt” “presumption of innocence” and “the fourth amendment.” (The prosecutor sneered at the mention of the 4th amendment, we kid you not.) and knowing the blog was moderated helped. Next week, we will not be in court and can open the blog up again.

Is that a fair solution? We note the poll in which the option of Rumpole moderating the blog is gaining ground.

We are not the monster censor some of you make us out to be. And yet, resorting to calling out the silent majority on our behalf is much too Nixonian for our tastes.

See You in Court with our red pencils tucked away.



Anonymous writes:

The bottom line is that what Ray did, if true, was stupid and hypocritical. And he's unfortunately paying dearly for that. He had a lot to lose, and he should've been more careful. But how many of you prosecutors also dabble in drugs? Or get behind the wheel after having one too many drinks? Just go to Monty's on a Friday for happy hour to find out. It is hypocritical as hell, b/c the only real difference between you and the ppl you're prosecuting is your bar card and your job. I really like Ray and I hope he gets through this, b/c he truly is a good guy. I just wish it was one of his many asshole colleagues whose arrogant sense of power and entitlement makes them way more deserving!

A reader writes directly to Ray:

Sarmiento,Go private, open an office in Hialeah, get 3 or 4 bondsman on the roll and you're laughing all the way to the bank. The funny thing is that SArmiento had 14 pills on him when he was caught and $300.51 on him, and by the time he made it to DCJ he had 7 pills and $0 on him. Conclusion, not only is Space a career killer but Miami Police are fucking fucking fucking thieves. If this doesn't make Sarmiento go private I don't know what will.

A reader likes what s/he sees:

WOW! What a lot of "stuff"... I liked Ray too and still do.. BUT it is true that an ASA really needs to be extremely law abiding in their personal lives. I keep reading about his "drug problem" and addiction... Are you guys serious??? An ECTASY addict? Now that's funny! Look, I hope Ray comes out on top. I never like to see someone get into trouble.. especially for something I think should probably be legal... X has hurt a lot less people than booze for sure. And please fellow defense atty's let's not foget INNONCENT until proven guilty.. I'd much rather see someone address the bondsman attorney connection than an asa who is charged with a crime. The bondsman attorney nonsense hurts our business THAT needs to stop

Former ASA here: In the interview process, EVERY ASA is asked the hypothetical question about what they are to do if they see another ASA at a party smoking weed or snorting coke. The answer that the SAO wants to hear is that they would turn the other ASA in. And while nobody likes a tattle tale, you have to wear the white hat when you are a prosecutor. I don’t know the guy, but the fact that he probably put people in prison for the same thing he was doing outside of the office is pretty sick. He is an idiot for even getting within 50 feet of ecstasy given his job. By the way, spies in the SAO state that the girl he was holding for was a secretary at the SAO. When the SAO found out about the arrest, the SAO investigators told her to submit to a urine test to see if she was clean. She refused and was fired on the spot.

As per SAO spokesman, the amended Miranda warnings that apply to State employees clearly state: "You have the right to remain silent when we tell you to be silent. You have the obligation to speak or pee when we tell you to speak or pee. All orders must be obeyed! If you cannot afford to lose your job, you'd better damn well do what we tell you to do when we tell you to do it. You are presumed guilty because our lawyers are so bad, they would have a pretty hard time proving your guilt if you were presumed innocent."

A reader sounds off:

can you really be so fucking deluded to truly believe that the "defense attorneys" who are disgusted with mr. sarmiento are "the real hypocrites?" i'm a former prosecutor and although i sympathize for mr. sarmiento, i think it's clear to everyone that HE in the REAL HYPOCRITE in this situation... not his critics

And yet:

The real hypocrites are you defense lawyers who say you feel sorry for him becuase he wasnt a hardass like some other prosecutors. So let me see if I get it, an asa who fights hard for the state and believes strongly in his job and doesnt roll over for you guys is someone who we go to the arraignment and cheer his misfourtune? Conversely, if the ASA was useless and plead out every case so he could take three hour lunches, we should feel sorry for him.The real hypocrites are all you defense attorneys taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune. Anyone with a heart should feel sorry for a guy who made a mistake and screwed up his life and is forced to leave a job he enjoyed. The good news for him is he will be given a chance to go to drug court like other first time offenders and he wont lose his license to practice law. Good luck to you Ray and f--k all the defense attorneys who are laughing at you on this blog, they are the losers not you.

Rumpole says…tell us what you really think.

Bottom line: This is not the crime of century. It has happened before and will happen again. Ray may have screwed up and will pay the price for it. We hope that if he did something wrong he learns from his mistake and grows and gets on with his life.
“Life has more imagination than we do” is a wonderful saying.

See You In Court defending the real Miranda rights.

Thursday, March 23, 2006



"Criminal Justice And Our Constitutions:
That Delicate Balance"
An Open Forum, Ethics Roundtable

Sponsored by
The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Miami Chapter and
The Dade County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section

Date: Friday, March 24, 2006

Time: Noon to 2:00 p.m. (includes lunch)

Place: The Gerstein Justice Building (1351 N.W. 12th St.), Courtroom 4-1

Expert Panel (in formation):

Former Judge Roy Gelber: “Taking money on appointed cases….what not to do and when not to do it.”

Former Judge Alphonso Sepe: “Always make the lawyers pay for lunch.”

Former Attorney Stephen Glass: “Former law partners will always bite you in the butt.”

Former Judge Harvey Shenberg “Selling a CI for the highest price…tactics, strategies, and what the market will bear.”

Former Judge Phil Davis “Hiring the right attorney for trial matters a lot.”

Bennett Brummer “What NOT to do when your employee runs against you.”

Judge Ivan Hernandez “Why a JA is so important.”

Judge Steve Leifman “Successful strategies for handling traffic magistrates.”

Judges Larry and Sheldon Schwartz: “Ethics, Race and Gender.”

Judge Peter Adrien “Election Law and Names. What every candidate needs to know. Oye.”

Special Guest Speaker Attorney Phil Reizenstein: “What constitutes an assault under Florida Law.”

Rumpole says: Sorry… this was a hanging curve ball and we couldn’t resist.



March 22, 2006
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Now Tank Carter has even more time to think about how much he enjoyed that Super Bowl party.
A judge increased jail time from six months to five years for the brother of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Tyrone Carter because he failed to report to prison on time for driving with a revoked license.
Tank Carter went to the Super Bowl instead and said he had no regrets.
He was to report to a Broward County prison on Jan. 6, but decided against it when his brother told him the Steelers had a good chance of going to the Super Bowl.
"Even knowing what I know now, I would do it again. It was the greatest game in my life," said Carter, who watched the Steelers beat Seattle from the 50-yard line in Detroit on Feb. 5 and partied with rapper Snoop Dogg after the game.
Tyrone Carter said he would have done "the same thing" for his brother.
The two have been close since growing up in a rough section of Pompano Beach and winning the Super Bowl meant "we finally made it together," Tyrone said.
On Tuesday, Broward Circuit Judge Stanton S. Kaplan upped the jail time.

Rumpole says, North Of The Border Judges…must be something in the water.

What do Dade Judges have to say about this?

Assuming the Defendant is just stupid….and had a dumb but human reaction to an unusual situation.
Is it really fair for him to sit in prison until 2011?
Wouldn’t 364 have been sufficient?
What if the Steelers make the Super Bowl next year….what lawyer wouldn’t love to go before Kaplan with a motion for a furlough?

See You in court….but as we have said before….just not north of the border.


Oscar Wilde wrote “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess."

But Thomas Paine wrote:
“Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice"

With the moderate success of our humble blog, we are having trouble concentrating and sleeping.

If we are in trial, or on a trip, or goofing off from work and miss a post that violates our rules, then the post stays up until we remove it. Several people read the very vicious, mean, and nasty post about a Judge over the weekend, and we just can’t have that.

So while it may “Paine” some of you, the posts will be moderated thusly:

1) Make a post.
2) It is emailed to us.
3) It passes our limited test and up it goes.

For newer readers, any post on any subject is fair game unless the post is a personal attack that either is designed to merely injure the individual, or posts personal information, or is false. For example, writing that Judge XYZ has a large nose is off limits. Writing that the same judge lacks the common sense to find his way out of a paper bag (while a common attribute at the REGJB) will be posted.

Writing that attorney ABC takes cases from bondsmen or cheats on her husband will not be posted, but writing that she lacks the basic legal skills to file a pad of paper will be posted.

Favorite posters like the person who started “zzzzzzzzzzzzzz” will have nothing to fear. Since we are basically lazy and devote way too much time to this blog, and because our cell phone gets email, we can clear and get those posts up without too much delay.

Sorry for the inconvenience but the post this weekend was just too mean and scary. And if a post like that ever made widespread news, and it caused someone personal pain (like a divorce) we would be devastated and would shut the blog down.

For our English majors out there, while we detest the “Judge so and so is a f’n f’er” they will be posted because this is not censorship.

To quote George Herbert Walker Bush: "just being prudent."

With the fact that we have a few hundred readers a day, we need to be a bit more careful.

Thanks for Readin and writin and

See You In Court. We’re the ones checking our email on our phone.


Maybe Censorship is not the right word. The word is “Moderation”.

For all of you wordsmiths who cannot post without your F bombs, those will be posted. But by moderating the posts, we just pre-screen them to prevent someone from posting that Judge so and so has a big nose and lives at _________. So with that in mind, here are the early returns:


Not to take away from your praise of DOM (my buddy, former trial partner and favorite federal blogger, because I agree with you that it’s great for his blog that Jimenez wanted to be heard on it), but, just so you know, Jimenez is a former US Attorney. Alex Acosta is the interim US Attorney until the POTUS appoints Jimenez’ replacement. Take care and keep having fun

Careful readers of the Blog know that Rumpole’s motto is SOMETIMES WRONG…NEVER IN DOUBT.

Thanks to Judge Barzee for correcting us.

This reader’s thoughts are similar to ours:

A tarnished reputation is hard to repair. Make it as hard as possible to do so.Censorship? Give me a break. Rump, you don't have to provide a soapbox for destructive comments. It's only censorship if you prevent them from posting the info ANYWHERE.

Yet there is a certain “something” about this genius’s ability with the English language:

censorship is FUCKING LAME. let it all come in. the words "fucking douchebag" have a certain special connotation that the words "stupid jerk" just don't have. it's funny that attorneys can deal with some really horrible people and crimes on a daily basis, but then get all upset about a few "bad words."

And this reader wrote in to say:

If you're worried about people using the site to spread ugly rumors, make it all comments require pre-approval. Going back and deleting and/or editing posts is for the birds.


Rumpole, try moderating, leave up the FU posts, just stop the ones that violate the rules. Plus, has anyone considered that Katie Phong is the blogger? Although I still think its a DUI guy like Blecher or Jimbo Best, or maybe both of them.

As always, the Captain is first with the late breaking election news:

Congrats to Assistant Public Defender Steve Levine, who yesterday was re-elected to serve a second term as a Commissioner in the Town of Surfside.True to his calling of public service, the job pays $1 a year

The Komisar Of Kounty Kort got these responses:

Everything's coming up Daisys and daffodils???


Komissar of Kounty Kort? KKK? Should we be running from white sheets too? Didn't know if that was innuendo or not.

Rumpole notes, stop seeing secret messages. We were thinking more along the lines of Krazy Kat Komics.

See You In Court watching that Judge Barzee…nothing gets by her.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


This is really concerning us.
People use foul language in their posts.
OK, what do you expect from educated attorneys?
But it is demeaning when this blog is meant in the spirit of fun and good humor.
Yes, we deal with serious matters. But we much prefer to make fun of Judge Jose Rodriguez for tossing his ball in the air and wearing a microphone like Madonna, or laugh at Judge Areces for making attorneys argue JOA motions before the jury, then read a post with a half a dozen curse words about someone.

For instance, here is a fun post, probably not from the person who is listed as posting it, but we like it:

Warren D. Schwartz said...
Hello Bloggers! I wish to extend my sincere thanks for all of your support in the PD election poll. As those know me will attest, I have waited patiently in the wings.

Now, ITS MY TIME! My lifetime of legal accomplishments has brought me to this stage. The other candidates to replace Mr. B simply do not have my experience or ability.
I have spoken to Brummer and he will be stepping down this afternoon.
Based on my overwhelming victory, I have a clear mandate for change.
There will be 3 main rules: 1. all men must wear bow ties and shave their heads bald. 2. no more jury trials--clients only get hurt from that approach. I've personally tried over 100 without a victory. 3. no more slave hours. All pd's from here on shall work the hours I work and no more. Together we will build a better tomorrow!
Sincerely, Warren D. Schwartz

This is a post that made us laugh.

We are truly undecided how to remedy the problem we are concerned about.
So, for the very first time, we present a poll that means something.

Vote in the poll. Submit emails pro and con, and a decision will be made.

The choice is: free for all posting and then we delete the offensive posts that violate our few rules: posting personal information about Judges or attorneys like their home address or posts relating to their families.


A post is submitted, we review it and up it goes so long as it does not violate the rules.

We can only say that we have worked hard to let all posts stay up, even posts that we consider rude or offensive about friends. You will have to trust us to put up 99% of the posts.

Or, it stays as is, and someone posts an offensive post while we are on an airplane, then it stays up for a day and someone's reputation gets tarnished.

Help us decide.
See You In Court.

PS. We stand in awe of our favorite federal court blogger, David O Markus with a K. Check out his blog and see that THE US Attorney asked Mr. Markus to post his comments on his blog. Somehow, we can't see Kathy Ferundle seeking our help, especially when credible rumors reach us that her Komissar Of Kounty Kort has threatened to fire any of her young prosecutors who are caught posting on the this blog. Take heart young ASA's, we are behind you. You can post here all you want and remain anonymous. Our motto is that no "flowery" prosecutor can ascare us.


Our friends at CBS 4 broke the Sarmiento arrest and emailed us a link to their video.


Note the TWO computer screens behind our favorite "well known" criminal defense attorney, Brian T. We love Brian, but it would have been great if there had been a video game on one of the monitors (like what you would see on our screen in our office when we're not on the blog.)

We need your input. This past week a very improper comment appeared on the blog. We took it down as soon as we saw it. But since we work for a living, we cannot monitor the blog all the time. We have the ability to screen all posts before they go up, but have refrained from doing so to avoid the appearance of censorship. This blog works as we intended it to, most of the time. But a lot of people now read it, and we are concerned about people's reputations.

So dear readers, what should we do?

("Go jump in the Ocean" is not the type of suggestion we want, but we are bracing for what people will be telling us to go do, with the belief that many suggestions may well be anatomically impossible.)

We welcome your ideas.

See You In Court.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006



These are coming in on a daily basis now:

The Miami-Dade County Elections website has officially updated their webpage and now has the information that I previously reported about Judge McWhorter and Judge Samuels....drawing opponents.
But, I must add that Ms. Marino has followed the lead of Ms. Gonzalez (aka Gonzalez-Meyer)......Patricia Lea Marino, as she is licensed to practice law with "The Florida Bar" is running for County Court Judge as: Patricia Marino-Pedraza.

I must comment that I believe the voters of Miami-Dade County deserve better than two judicial candidates, who are running to uphold the administration of justice and to be fair to all parties that appear before them and to not "prejudge" anyone or any case ... these two candidates first acts are to try and pull one over on the voters.....because they believe that there names will best be "prejudged" by their ethnicity .....

First, Ms. Gonzalez has become candidate Gonzalez-Meyer and now Ms. Marino has become candidate Marino-Pedraza ....a very disingenuous opening act!!!!

sounds like something we might be reading about in a Joan Fleischman article real soon.and the CAPTAIN has spoken .....

Rumpole humbly notes that we scooped the Captain in our post about the Judge McWhorter race by mentioning the rumor that the challenger was going to add the “Hispanic Hyphen” to her last name. Of course negative publicity about name changes never hurt anyone, did it, Judge Macho Camacho Adrien? No truth to the rumor that in his next campaign the chief Judge is going to be listed as Joe “El Jeffe” Farina.

Hey, there’s an idea!!! Send us your submissions of best hyphens or middle names to be added to names. Like “El Jeffe” for Farina, or, say, David “Mucho Anos” Miller. (una pregunta por favor : is it “mucho anos” or “mucho tiempo” ?)


Two readers wrote in about this. The first wrote:

hey rump, how about we talk about that scumbag assistant state attorney who got caught with ecstasy in his pocket? i wonder how many poor schmucks he's locked up because of even more petty shit. personally, i don't give a fuck if someone smokes a little weed or pops a few pills from time to time, but an assistant state attorney who does it is a scumbag asshole hypocrite douchebag.

Then the Captain wrote in with the pertinent info: ASA Ray Sarmiento was arrested.
[note that until the Captain confirmed it, we removed a post that named Mr. Sarmiento because we could not confirm it. But the captain had the case number, and it checks out.]

There is another term for people’s delight at the problems of another: Schedenfreude A German word that has worked its way into the English Language, and is defined as "taking pleasure in other people's misery".

Judge Victoria Sigler gets her first mention on the blog, and not a favorable one at that, as a reader writes:

victoria sigler need to be tought a few lessons.

1) Be polite
2) your not funny
3) drop the sarcasm
4) do not pre-judge defendant on their attorney
5)study the Rule of criminal procedure
6) remember who you are and quit trying to be someone who you are not
7) do the right thing not what is political

Rumpole responds: Judge Sigler remains the favorite Judge of quite a few attorneys. However you are entitled to your opinion, and we are sure the readers will follow-up with their own. Our own experience with Judge Sigler is that she is good, fair, and has her own unique way of arriving at just and simple solutions to what appear to be complex problems. She would get our vote any day of the week.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere are Signs:

More than a few people in the REGJB commented today on what this reader wrote in about:


A billboard truck with a yellow sign that says something like
anyone else seen it?

Rumpole notes that we hope its going to take a lot more than that to beat Judge Leifman. Judge Leifman remains mysteriously quiet on the scandal surrounding wannabe politico Juan D’Arce, when more than rumor has it that D’Arce threatened the Judge with opposition. We hope Leifman is just keeping his powder dry and not firing until he can see the whites of their eyes.

See You In Court, and if we catch as case before Judge Sigler, she is as fair as it gets, in our opinion.

PS check out the new poll- and we took Portia's poll down because she has gone silent on us.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Anonymous writes in:

a war has started north of the border; Sun-Sentinel Buddy Nevins reports that Judge Robert Diaz has a challenger, anyone know Brian P. Wolk who is running against Judge Diaz in Broward?

Rumpole Responds: Article II section 4 of the Broward Judicial Code of Conduct mandates all sitting judges treat attorneys who challenge a sitting Judge in the following manner: “The challenger shall have his/her case always called last; the challenger shall have any motion filed, denied. If the challenger wants a continuance, it shall be denied, if the challenger is ready for trial, the case shall be continued.”
Say what you want about North of The Border, but they look after their own.

The Captain, not content with being our Dade Political reporter, expands his horizons North Of The Boarder, where Judges leave messages on their answering machines that they are busy “so many bad guys….so little time.”

BROWARD COUNTYFor those who have any interest in those judicial elections "north of our border", the Circuit Court shapes up like this:

11 races with one contested race:
Group 6(an open seat)
Charles Kaplanvs V Kenneth Padowitz

In the County Court:Again, 11 races and only one contested race:
Group 10
Robert Diaz - who has raised $28,025 from 125 contributors; and also put in an additional $25K of his own money.vs.Brian Peter Wolk
Mr. Wolk, Esq., was admitted to practice law in Florida on December 19, 2001 meaning he would be eligible to take office on January 1, 2007; (the rule requires one to be an attorney for 5 years before becoming a judge). He squeaks in by 12 days!

The Sun Sentinel wrote about the contested race this week and said:"Broward County judges rarely are challenged for re-election, but County Court Judge Robert Diaz picked up an opponent this week -- Brian Peter Wolk of Weston.
Wolk said he decided to run against Diaz because "I looked at a place where the county would be better served having me as a judge." That's as close as he got to mentioning Diaz's problem with the Florida Bar last year. Diaz served a two-week unpaid suspension and paid a $15,000 fine for sending vaguely threatening anonymous e-mails that implied a fellow County Court judge was reporting illegal immigrants to federal authorities.
Wary that the suspension and fine might leave him vulnerable in a campaign, Diaz said, he has raised more than $65,000 to fight back.
Wolk is a former vice president in the family business, the defunct Peaches music store chain. Now a lawyer, Wolk said that since anybody could appear before him in county court, he won't take any campaign contributions. County court judges hear disputes under $15,000 and criminal misdemeanor cases."

By the way, in Dade County we have 2 contested Circuit Court elections out of a possible 22; and 6 contested County Court elections out of a possible 25.

Captain has two updates today


We have yet another contested County Court race, as an incumbent judge (who first ran and beat a sitting incumbent County Court Judge Kevin Emas) now has opposition. Now he will get to taste what it is like on the flip side of the burger!

GROUP 14 Michael Samuels - $60,000 (all of which he has loaned to his campaign; he has raised no money from any contributors)
Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer, or should I call her Gloria Gonzalez, as she is registered to practice with "The Florida Bar".

She has been an attorney since 1994. She put her name in for an open Circuit Court seat in 2005.
She works with attorney Michael Kirby and they exclusively handle Progressive Insurance company, insurance defense cases.I can't wait for the political pundits, who will surely have a field day with this female, hispanic\hyphenated jewish attorney who has her name one way with the Florida Bar and another way with the voters of Miami-Dade County.
By my count, that now makes eight County Court contests, with no less than six sitting County Court Judges who could be looking for work next January:
McWhorter vs. Marino
del Pino vs. Jacobi
Leifman vs. Gonzalez
Samuels v. Gonzalez-Meyer
S. Schwartz vs. Sanchez-Llorens
Millan vs. Twombley
B. Miller vs. Alvarez
Rippingille vs. Cohn


Captain’s question is answered?


See you in court, where things are getting very interesting.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


We invited both sides to submit posts about the Herald article today, and Phil Reizenstein did:

Philip Reizenstein said...

Having been invited to respond to the article in the Herald, I will do so.

First and foremost, D’Arce refused to calendar a motion, handed in by another attorney, who handles all of my firm’s South Dade work.
For him to say he didn’t calendar the motion because he was in fear for his life is disingenuous.
In fact, let me make it clear: he is a liar.
1) How much interaction does an attorney appearing court have with a JA? None.
2) In D’Arce’s own words to the herald, my alleged threat was “IF he came to my house again, then….” Thus, by not coming to my house, he has nothing to be afraid of.
3) Joan Fleishman told me that she heard D”Arce tell Hernandez “I have been doing research on this…WE need to recuse OURSELVES.
4) I will not be silent or intimidated by anyone who thinks that they can play games with my clients and their cases. The proper remedy here, if D’Arce was truly afraid was to have Judge Hernandez address the matter. It was 100% improper for the JA to just toss the motion aside ( a motion to set aside a bench warrant I might add) and just the tell the attorney “No. I will not do it.”
Who elected D’Arce to anything?

5) I make no apologies for defending my home or family. I do not know who D’Arce is. I may have been at a political fundraiser for Judge Hernandez, but this does not (outside of D’Arce’s fantasy world) make him my friend.

I was a prosecutor for many years. I put many people in prison. I take the safety of my family seriously. Perhaps, if I had answered the door and seen him, I may not have been so upset and angry. But all I had to go on was what my wife told me, which is that he continued banging on our door screaming “I know you’re home.” Until she answered the door.
He then was very upset and demanded to know why I did not return his phone calls.

For people who have criticized me, I have two questions:

1) By what right does a stranger have to come to my home on a Sunday afternoon, bang on my door and demand to see me?

2) What kind of fantasy world does this guy live in that makes him believe that I have to answer for not responding to his phone calls? And, since I do read the blog, and I do find it well written and funny, does anybody in their right mind truly believe this guy is the one who was writing the blog?

I have said on this blog before that I do not believe in physical violence outside of an individual’s right to protect themselves and their family.

When I called D’Arce I told him in no uncertain terms to stay away from my family.
I also was very careful with my words. I told him that if he came back to my house, I would consider that a threat and would protect my family. However, since my words were clearly qualified by the statement “if he came back to my house” (which even D’Arce admits in his statement to the herald) I am not worried one bit about his threats (which he has said to other people) to have me arrested.

Once again, I do not apologize for protecting my family.
I do not know this guy, I do not know if he carries a firearm.
What I do know, is that unlike the rest of civilized society, he feels so important, and so powerful, that he believes he has the right to bang on my door whenever he pleases.

Between the two of us, D’Arce knows where I live.
I have no idea where he lives.
And he tells the Herald he feels threatened?

Other people have mentioned this guy’s strong arm tactics. He has apparently threatened judicial candidates and sitting judges. Personally, that is none of my business. However, in these limited dealings with him, I can tell you that I believe those allegations.

However, there is a line between professional threats and personal threats.
D’Arce made this personal when he came to my house.
I have an office. He could have come there.
But he choose to come to my home on Sunday and demand to see me.
Based on his conduct, I have nothing to apologize for, and will not do so.
Philip Reizenstein.

Rumpole notes: As is our policy, we post these comments without editorial. We await D'Arce's reponse and wonder why he called our humble blog "stupid" to the Herald?


We just took down a post that violates a basic rule: a post about a judge's personal life. We also removed several follow-up posts. This blog is not about smearing a Judge for personal matters. If anyone's personal matters affect their public work, then that is fair game. Please, if you enjoy this blog, do not post rumors about a Judge or attorney's personal life.


Friday, March 17, 2006


North of the Border Circuit Judge Lawrence Korda insisted that a battered wife seeking a restraining order speak in English instead of her native Spanish.
''She doesn't need any translation,'' Korda said at the Dec. 1, 2005 hearing.

"She has been here 19 years. She's watched ¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.? for 15.''

Item: County Court Judge Lee Seidman, on the shortlist for a promotion to Circuit Court has repeatedly asked traffic court defendants if they were here illegally, and in at least one case, turned over an illegal immigrant to law enforcement

What is going on North Of the Border???
We don't know, but we see where it's heading.

Indulge us in a little speculative fiction:

Its Morning in America again. And in Broward County too.

Morning calendar, South Satellite Courthouse, Broward County, 2021.

Chief Circuit Court Judge Lee Seidman makes one of his frequent returns to the Satellite Courthouse where he sat in as a lowly County Court Judge in the early part of the new century. Sediman has a fondness for the Courthouse, because it is where he made his name as America's leading anti-immigrant Judge. The publicity of having defendants arrested and deported propelled him to the position of Chief Circuit Court Judge. Today, one of Seidman's protégé’s is taking the bench for the first time, and Seidman wants to be on hand to help.

Forty four defendants and their families sit huddled close together in the modern courtroom. Only English is spoken. A few Defendants remain tight lipped.

Seidman waits in the hallway outside the back of the courtroom.

A dozen Jackbooted Officers dressed in black leather jackets and black pants march smartly up to Seidman. The Special Services section of the Broward Sheriffs Office, charged with assisting Judges "fulfill their constitutional oaths by investigating and arresting defendants” accompanies Judge Seidman wherever he goes. Known informally as the “SS”, the unit is feared by defendants for their ruthless interrogation techniques, concentrating on suspected illegal aliens who, in the language of the time "abuse taxpayers by demanding enforcement of rights reserved to US citizens."

The SS officers wear an insignia on their sleeve: a sharp red “SS” superimposed over a silhouette of Lady Liberty, which is encased in a circle with lightening bolts shooting from two opposite ends of the circle.

Before the calendar begins the SS officers walk quickly through the rows of seated defendants asking “Cheney Cards, please. Please have your Cheney Cards out for scanning.” The Cheney card is the national ID card all people in the US are required to carry. The law requiring National ID cards was enacted during the President Lynne Cheney/ Vice President Jenna Bush administration

The new Judge takes the bench and the clerk starts calling the cases on the traffic arraignment calendar.

When a Defendant named Gonzalez is called, a young woman with a small daughter walks fearfully to the podium with another person. The Judge begins an inquiry and the other person is whispering into Gonzalez’s ear.

Judge Seidman sitting off to the side, walks up to the bench.
The SS officers snap to attention and a hush falls over the courtroom.

Seidman takes the microphone and introduces himself and says he is here to help the new Judge. Sediman then asks Gonzalez if she speaks English.

The other person begins to interpret and with a small hand signal from Seidman, the SS walks over and forcibly removes the person from the podium.

In halting English Gonzalez trys to say the she speaks some Engish.
Seidman interrupts: “It appears to this court that you do not speak English. Are you a US citizen?” The woman remains silent. Seidman looks to the head of his SS Unit.

"Lieutenant Schmidt, it appears to this Court that this Defendant does not speak English and may not be a US citizen. I have taken an oath as a Judge to uphold all of the laws of the State Of Florida. By the power vested in me I hereby order you to detain this woman on suspicion of being an illegal alien."

The SS officer rushes over and cuffs the woman. The young child begins to cry: Mama…Mama.

Seidman: "Lieutenant, take the child into custody as well. If her mother is illegal, so is she. " The SS unit works quickly as both the mother and child are taken from the courtroom.

Later that morning Seidman reviews the morning calendar with his new Judge:

“44 arraignments, 3 arrests for suspicion of not being a US citizen. About average. The key is engage the Defendant into conversation. If you notice an accent, or if they don’t speak English too well, then have the SS officer in the court open an investigation. If they don’t have a Cheney
Card, have them taken into custody.”

Its Morning in Judge Seidman and Judge Korda's America again.
In Broward County.
North of The Border.
Where not speaking English is a crime.

See You In Court.