JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG
Monday, July 31, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
WELCOME TO THE OFFICE OF THE DADE PUBLIC DEFENDER:
They defend the worst this community has to offer.
Accused of murder, sexual assault, child abuse, clients march into the Dade County Public Defenders office confident that they will be treated with respect and dignity.
All are welcome, and the young and dedicated attorneys who staff that offfice have taken oaths to defend their clients to the best of their ability.
Yes, all of society’s downtrodden and outcast are welcome and provided succor and assistance when they trod through the doors at 1320 NW 14th Street.
But for a certain exclusive club of lawyers, ex-employees of Bennett Brummer, it’s a different story.
You see, these lawyers are
from the Law Offices Of Bennett Brummer, the elected Dade County Public Defender.
Like a bloated and corrupt ruler of the apprachik that one would expect to find in the former Soviet Union and not Miami, Brummer comes down hard on all who dare oppose his thirty plus year reign.
The "terrible two" PD's who ran against Brummer in the last election (Gabe Martin and Lonnie Richardson) are rumored to be banned.
So too is the elegant Lynn Overmann, who is such a good lawyer that earlier this year she managed not only to have charges against her client dismissed, but the officer who arrested him arrested himself for perjury.
"Country” Dave Pettus is rumored to have a restraining order against him.
What in the name of Nixonian Paranoia is going on at 1320 NW 14th Street?
Engage in some perceived slight against the Czar of 14th Street, and out you go!
Why would anyone care about being banned from the PD’s office?
The office is used by criminal defense attorneys to take depositions of prosecution witnesses in criminal cases. In many cases where multiple defendants are accused of a crime in the same case, the Public Defenders office has the responsibility to schedule depositions and coordinate the schedules of the attorneys working on the case.
But when you are part of the few, the proud, the banned, no depositions for you.
You are reduced to being turned away at the door and the whole lot – attorneys, court reporters, and witnesses have to trudge in the summer heat around the corner with their tails between their legs to the State Attorneys Office and hold out their hands and beg like the orphaned attorneys they are:
”Please sir may I have a depo room?”
Moral Of the Story:
You can be accused of any crime, and no matter how horrid the accusations, Bennett Brummer and his lawyers are there to help.
Just don’t insult the grand poobah of the poor; the Czar of 14th Street; the big kahunna of indigent defense.
Because if you do, you are tried, convicted, and banned.
All without benefit of Judge or Jury (or even the Public Defenders)
See You In Court.
PS: We almost managed to do an entire post about the PD’s office and not mention Mr. Stein and his morning Danish.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Not Fernandez with an “F” that stands for “fine circuit court judge not involved in this mess in any manner and on his way to civil and starbucks.”
County Court Judge Ivan Hernandez was found by the Dade County Bar Association (motto: “Gives us a minute and we’ll figure out a way to tell you why we matter”) to be in violation of the Canons of the Florida Code of Judicial Ethics (number 2million and 4 on Amazon and rising).
In that widely read and influential publication: Libertad News ( June 2006 edition) an advertisement appeared with a picture of Judge Hernandez and our Governor Holly Go Lightly Bush.
There was some accompanying text indicating that Judge Hernandez met Governor Go Lightly on his recent shopping trip to Miami and that “Judge Hernandez hopes to be re-elected.”
The Accusation: That the Ad created the “illusion” that the Governor was endorsing Judge Hernandez.
“That the intoxilyzer 5000 is not held together with snips and snails and puppy dog tails.” Woops… that is obviously another finding by an equally ineffective and unimportant group of Judges and lawyers.
The Ad violates the Canons of Judicial “No No’s” by implying that the Governor has the ability to form intelligent thoughts on his own, and that the Governor endorses Judge Hernandez’s bid for re-election.
Here is what the Commission also said that seriously bothers us:
”The Commission does wish to note a perceived lack of candor in Judge Hernandez’s July 17, 2006 response in failing to disclose that Marixa Hernandez, in addition to being the Judge’s campaign treasurer, is also his wife.”
The Judge’s Defense:
When will politician’s ever learn? Didn’t Nixon teach everyone: It’s the coverup that gets you, not the original offense? Judge Hernandez is old enough to have learned this lesson, but like so many other failed politicians he ignored the lessons of history and has been doomed to repeat them (no offense or insinuation against the Governor’s mentally challenged brother is meant by this obtuse comment.)
The Judge’s defense was that he was “shocked! Shocked to learn that the Ad was placed.”
The Commission was equally troubled by Judge Hernandez simply writing “No” to answer a series of questions about if the Judge knew who placed the Ad, knew who paid for the Ad, and knew who he was married to.”
What this all means:
Judge Hernandez defended himself against the accusations by essentially stating that he did not know that his Campaign Treasurer, who is also his wife, placed the offending ad in the newspaper. It is also possible to read into the Judge's curt one word reponses, that the Judge does not know who his wife is.
Judge Hernandez is showing himself to be an unprofessional and uncaring politician who sadly demonstrated a complete lack of respect for an investigating body.
Judge Hernandez would not tolerate a Defendant displaying that type of lack of candor and disdain for his court when he conducts his extraordinarily complex and lengthy speeding ticket arraignment calendars in South Dade.
We have steadfastly supported Judge Hernandez in the past.
We sympathize that he has incurred the wrath of “he who must not be named” who is as easy to get rid of as a bad case of syphilis. Just ask any member of the Florida Bar being sued by “He who must not be named.”
But we judge the Judge on the facts, not on who his enemies are.
We invite Judge Hernandez to respond to the findings of the Dade County Bar.
Other Judges have used the pages of this blog to explain their actions and in each and every case we have given them open access to state their case.
Until that time we are left with the fact that Judge Hernandez is not in control of his campaign and does not supervise or have any say where his campaign money is spent.
The fact that Judge Hernandez’s wife controls the purse strings of his campaign may indeed put Judge Hernandez into the same category of an overwhelming number of married American men who can sympathize with his plight.
Acceptable? Not for a Judge.
Even a Judge In Miami.
See You In Court.
Friday, July 28, 2006
IN RE: Judge Samuels:
Judge Samuels, currently ensconced in Domestic Violence Court and facing a challenge for re-election, has had his ups and downs recently. Word has reached us from several sources, including one close to his campaign that some medical issues have slowed the Judge down from a summer of robust campaigning. But, the source hastens to add, Judge Samuels is feeling better and back on track and working hard towards his reelection.
Speaking of Domestic Violence Court, we had occasion in the last two weeks to wander down to the Civil Court Complex. Did you know that there is a Starbucks on a corner directly opposite the civil court house?
What with all of those lawsuits about debentured bonds and subrogated insurance polices, one should fully expect that this Starbucks will be intravenously feeding judges and juries espresso and cappuccinos.
Civil Court, Family Court, Domestic Violence Court and Federal Court are all within a few blocks of each other. Almost makes those of us who labour in the REGJB feel unwanted. This slight must be unintentional. Right?
Yes, we may be the unwashed, rumpled, ruffled, lewd and lascivious litigators of criminal law, but you can’t live without us.
We also note that Family Court has a child care center. That would make way too much sense for the REGJB.
It almost pains us to note that North Of The Border has all their court divisions in the same courthouse. So you can enter a NOA on a murder case, take a continuance on a DUI, go to an uncontested divorce calendar, and pick a jury on the civil suit against your former client for un-paid fees.
You just can’t get any of your cases called if you’re from Miami.
(wants to be shot)
Signs that things aren’t as they seem:
Billions of dollars and over two thousand American lives have brought American style courts to Iraq. Yesterday, prior to a verdict, the presiding Judge had Saddam Hussein pick which method of execution he would prefer. Hussein choose a firing squad.
Somewhere right now, there are dozens of Judges in Texas, and even a few on our own 3RD PCA saying to themselves “what’s wrong with that?”
There are so many things wrong with that, we don’t know where to start.
See You In Court.
PS: The Herald reports this morning that our hard working state and federal prosecutors offices have not dropped the Art Teele investigation despite his death last year. That's the spirit! Don't let him weasel out of his crimes just by dying. This is Miami, where we're tough on crime.
Pss: To the prosecutors investigating Teele: That headline was wrong. Dewey didn't beat Truman.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
We want to know what bright bureaucrat at the Jail decided to order the orange jumpsuits for all of the Dade County inmates awaiting trial.
This is Miami folks. We try and do things with style, so when we screw up in the national spotlight (riots, election fraud, you know the drill) we at least look cool.
You can't walk down Ocean Drive without bumping into a wannabe clothing designer.
We are sure one of those aspiring Calvin Kleins would have donated their time for some free publicity.
How about the Dolphins teal, orange, and black? Cuffs trimmed in white.?
Something other than these bright orange blobs.
Don’t be surprised if the next time you saunter through the REGJB on your rounds if you see a surprising number of our judiciary peering at you behind a pair of sunglasses. And not because of a hangover (giving them the benefit of the doubt).
For once, you dear robed readers have our sympathy. (Quick, look outside. Is there a blue moon?) You are the ones who have to deal with that bright orange glare all day (ok- the two hours a day that you work). And it’s not as if our robed readers need any more distractions when trying to work their way through a tough two page arraignment calendar.
This is the Dade County Jail we are talking about. Somewhere, if some enterprising prosecutor pokes around, is an orange coloured scandal just waiting to be uncovered.
Congratulations to Assistant Public Defender David Sisselman who was the winner of the last trivia contest. Sisselman was the only one who emailed us that quick draw Henry Ferro was the attorney who beat Ted Mastos and that Ferro then resigned from the bench after he pointed a gun at a juvenile defendant accused of armed robbery and asked him how it felt. Displaying the kind of street smarts and common sense our judiciary is known for around the world, , Ferro saw fit to assault the defendant in front of his family members including Georgia Ayers. For those of you new to Miami, Ms. Ayers was about as powerful a community activist as we have seen in these parts.
These days one can find quick draw Ferro holed up in his home in the swamps of middle Florida, emerging mole like to verbally assault our State Attorney when certain former judicial assistants are bright enough to hire the wise Mr. Ferro to defend them from impending criminal charges.MORE TRIVIA:
TODAY’S SUBJECT: THE BENCH DURING THE ROARING 80’S : FUN, SUN, SEX, DRUGS, AND INDICTMENTS.
1) A) What Former Judge was known as “The Mouse”.
B)Why is he no longer on the bench?
2) What former judge was known as “Maximum”?
3) A) What former Circuit Judge resigned amid scandalous sex related allegations, and was later re-appointed to the county court bench, then appointed to the circuit bench, and then indicted in courtbroom? B)What was the outcome in his trial?
4) What former judge was acquitted in the trial of the judge in #3.?
5) What former Judge was a paratrooper in the Korean conflict?
6) A) What former Judge ran on the slogan: Put a Mensch on the Bench?
B) What county court judge and former chief of county court for the SAO did he beat?
7) What current judge is married to a former chief of county court for the SAO?
8) A) What former Judge has a tennis court named after him? B)Why is a tennis court named after him?
9) A)Before there was the court-broom scandal, another judge and attorney were tried for corruption. Name the former Judge and current attorney who were both indicted.
B) Special bonus question: Name the Broward Judge who presided at their trial.
C)What was the outcome of the trial? D) Where was the trial held?
See you in court with all the answers, as usual.
The Other day we made an offhand remark about cross dressing lawyers, and lo and behold, we see this news article:
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A male lawyer who appeared in a New Zealand court dressed in an ankle-length skirt, lace stockings and a diamond brooch said Tuesday he was protesting against a male bias in the country's justice system.
Rob Moodie, a former New Zealand Police union secretary, stunned the courtroom Monday when he appeared in women's clothing at a hearing related to a long-running case involving the death of a man in a bridge collapse on a North Island farm.
Moodie said he wore the two-piece women's suit because of what he described as a boys' network in the court room.
"I'm objecting to the male ethos that is dominating this case and from now on I'm going to be dressing as a girl in my daily life," Moodie told Reuters.
"It wouldn't have happened if I hadn't seen the gung-ho attitude in this case.
The more this goes on and the deeper the cover-up gets, the frocks will get prettier," he said.
Rumpole notes that there is a Miami related joke just waiting to burst forward from this story, but we apparently have writers block and nothing is coming to us.
A reader posted this top ten list:
top ten reasons you should be a Judicial Assistant in Miami Dade County Court:
10. you can start a perfume company outta the chambers of the court.
9. prohibit litigants you dont like because of race from getting a hearing on there motions.
8. start politacal campaign consulting firm right from the office chambers.
7. free office space for your campaign activities.
6. able to visit other judges chambers to extort them to hire you as campaign advisor.
5. free health care
4. free use of the computer to email judges and demand they hire you or else face opposition from hispanic lawyer with no qualifications.
3. can pretend you are the judge and jury.
2. use the office of the judge for profit and personal gain.
AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON TO BECOME A JA IN DADE COUNTY COURT.
1. when you f- up your BOSS the Judge will never fire you even if his office is raided under a criminal subpoena and his computer is seized. The Judge will back you no matter what happens.
And another reader posted this take on an old Bob Newhart bit:
Overheard on the phone at a local campaign headquarters:
“Judge Ivan Hernandez reelection headquarters, can I help you ?
"Uh…No Mr. D’Arce is unavailable at the moment.
"Yes…Yes he does help out campaigns for money.
"Why no, I do not think he would accept money to dress up as a clown and come to your child’s birthday party this weekend.
"Oh..you don’t need him to change clothes? He can just comes as he is.
I see. Yes, I see…well I’ll give him the message but I am pretty sure he won’t do it.
"$200.00 ??? "Hold on, let me get a pen. What is your address and when does he need to be there?”
Who says we don't have talented and funny readers?
See You In Court struggling with writers block.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man.
O! be some other name:
What’s in a name?
that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet;
For Circuit Court Judge Ivan FERNANDEZ there is some frustration.
Judge FERNANDEZ, former City of Miami Police Major,
Former Assistant State Attorney, and Circuit Court Judge has nothing, repeat-NOTHING to do with County Court Judge Ivan Hernandez and his frolicking much mentioned JA.
We’re not a big fan tempting fate. While we are not suggesting that there is anything remotely similar between former Judge Alan Postman and current Judge Larry Schwartz, we did note that Judge Schwartz, currently in a re-election battle, saw fit to hang a large sign on a dilapidated hotel facing I-95 that Postman used as the same platform to host his hefty sign during his losing battle against current Judge Diane Ward.
It’s not something we would have done.
“n : delight in another person's misfortune .”
We’ve written about this feeling before.
Not much comment on former attorney Knovack Jones’ fall from grace. It must have been tough to have been Judge Schlessinger last Thursday as he contemplated the possible sentence for Jones.
On the one hand was ASA Gail Levine advocating on behalf of the children and grandchildren from whom Jones looted the estate entrusted to her by a member of her church.
On the other hand was the always eloquent and tenacious Larry Handfield reminding the Judge about the lifetime of good and hard work Ms. Jones had given to our community. Probation was in order according to Mr. Handfield.
In the final analysis Judge Schlessinger decided prison was a necessary punishment in addition to the restitution that the law requires.
We don’t know what the proper sentence should have been, but it occurs to us that these are the tough cases that shape a Judge’s career and philosophy.
It’s easy to send a criminal with priors to prison, even for a long time.
It’s much harder to send a first time offender who makes one huge colossal mistake in their life.
As we said, we wouldn’t have wanted to been in Judge Schlessinger’s shoes last Thursday.
Odds are that not every wearer of the black robes facing re-election will win.
We are wondering what any of these soon to be ex-Judges will do.
All of them are too young to consider retirement like former Judge Bruce Levy.
Only time will tell.
On the subject of jobs, we always thought that the Court along with the SAO and PD’s office should institute an exchange program for Judges. For a 6 month period during a 6 year term, every Judge should work a 3 month stint in the PD’s office and a 3 month stint in the SAO. Let the Judge find out (or remember) what its like to drive an hour in traffic to Metro West to see a client for trial on Monday only to be told that the jail is on lockdown and there is no way to know when the client will be available.Let the Judge deal with recalcitrant victims who don’t want to come to court and testify on behalf of the prosecution.
We know this will never happen. The judiciary will never agree to it.
They became Judges precisely because its hard to get a good round of golf in on a Friday afternoon when clients need to be seen. But just imagine how much better everyone would get along in court if Judges got this six month refresher every six years.
See You In Court.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Unfortunately for De Campo, the Federal Courts have already ruled that a war is no reason to grant a defense continuance.
THE FOLLOWING POST WAS WRITTEN ENTIRELY BY OUR CAPTAIN. GREAT WORK.
Now that the qualifying period is over, it’s time for the campaigning to begin. Over the next six weeks, the decisions we make will shape the future of our County and Circuit Court bench. One vote CAN make a difference. Because the candidates are so limited in their ability to sell themselves, it is up to us to speak for them. If we feel that one candidate is clearly more qualified than another, they we owe it to ourselves and our clients, to speak to as many voters as we can and let them know what we know.
So, having said that, here are the contests (the year following the name is that listed with the Florida Bar):
Patricia Marino-Pedraza, 1990; was listed as Patricia Marino with the Florida Bar until this week when she added the Pedraza name; this is her first campaign.
Shirlyon J. McWhorter, 1991; Incumbent, appointed by Gov. Bush to replace Judge Adderly; this is her first campaign.
Robin Faber, 1983; this is his first campaign.
Ivan Hernandez, 1983; Incumbent, elected in 2000 when he defeated incumbent Judge Reginald Richardson (in a runoff) and Jim Best.
Victoria del Pino, 2000; this is her first campaign.
Joel S. Jacobi, 1997; this is his first campaign for Judge; he has been a Councilman in the City of Bal Harbour for the last four years.
Sari Teichman Addicott, 1978; she is listed with the Florida Bar as Sari Teichman; this is her first campaign.
Ana Maria Pando, 1988; Incumbent, elected in 2000 when she defeated David Alschuler.
Karen Mills Francis, 1989; Incumbent, elected in 2000 when she defeated incumbent Judge Harvey Goldstein.
Stephen Millan, 1991; this is his first campaign.
Juan F. Gonzalez, 1982; this is his first campaign.
Steve Leifman, 1987; Incumbent, elected in 2000 without opposition. A veteran of many elections including two tries for the State House, he was appointed a County Court Judge in 1995; ran as the incumbent in 1996 and lost to Judge Myriam Lehr; he was again appointed by Gov. Chiles in 1997.
Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer, 1994; she is listed with the Florida Bar as Gloria Gonzalez; this is her first campaign.
Michael Samuels, 1972; Incumbent, elected in 1996 when he defeated incumbent Judge Kevin Emas; re-elected in 2000 without opposition.
Migna Sanchez-Llorens, 1994; this is her first campaign.
Sheldon “Shelly” Schwartz, 1969; Incumbent, elected in 1996 when he defeated Larry King; re-elected in 2000 without opposition.
George A. Alvarez, 1994; this is his first campaign.
Bronwyn Catherine Miller, 1997; Incumbent, appointed by Gov. Bush in 2005 to replace Judge Richard Suarez; this is her first campaign.
Don S. Cohn, 1975; lost a Circuit Court race in 2004 to Judge William Thomas.
Bonnie Lano Rippingille, 1976; Incumbent, defeated Judd Aronowitz in 1996; re-elected in 2000 without opposition.
Cecilia Armenteros-Chavez, 1994; she is listed with the Florida Bar as Cecilia Armenteros; this is her first campaign.
Michael Aaron Bienstock, 1973; this is his first campaign.
Jose L. Fernandez, 1989; this is his first campaign.
Dennis Murphy, 1983; Incumbent, in 2000 defeated three other candidates. In that election, in the primary, Gina Mendez garnered the most votes (40%) and Murphy took 29% of the vote, while Martin Zilber (25%) and Peter Sylvester Adrien (6%) were eliminated. In the runoff, Murphy squeaked by Mendez 209,000 to 197,000; also in 1996 Murphy lost a three-way County Court race coming in third to Judge Andrew Hague and Elio Vazquez.
Josie Perez Velis, 1988; lost to Judge William Thomas in 2004, she did not make the runoff in that race.
Gina Mendez, 1994; lost to Judge Murphy in 2000 (see above).
Lawrence Schwartz, 1978; Incumbent, was unopposed in 2000; was a County Court Judge from 1990-1996 and has been a Circuit Court Judge since 1997.
Rima Catherine Bardawil, 1997; this is her first campaign.
Valerie Schurr Manno, 1993; she is listed with the Florida Bar as Valerie Manno; lost in 2004 to Judge Judith Rubenstein.
Jose Ramon Sanchez-Gronlier, 1991; this is his first campaign.
Marie Abigail Davidson, 1985; this is her first campaign.
Antonio "Tony" Marin, 1984; this is his first campaign.
Mario Garcia Jr., 2000; this is his first campaign.
Marisa Tinkler Mendez, 1986; this is her first campaign.
Catherine "Cathy" Parks, 1984; lost in a runoff to Judge William Thomas in 2004.
See you in court pondering the ballot.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
MIAMI DADE ELECTIONS TRIVIA
1) NAME THE LAWYER WHO RAN UNSUCCESSFULLY FOR JUDGE SEVERAL TIMES WITH SIGNS THAT PROMINENTLY FEATURED THE LETTER Z.
2) THIS FORMER JUDGE WAS FAMOUSLY RUMORED TO HAVE TOLD A CONVICTED RAPE SUSPECT “YOU HAVE TO BUY THEM DINNER FIRST LIKE THE REST OF US.” A) NAME THE FORMER JUDGE B) NAME THE PERSON WHO BEAT HIM. C) IDENTIFY THE EPISODE IN THAT JUDGE’S COURTROOM THAT PROMPTED HIM TO RESIGN FROM THE BENCH.
3) NAME THE COUNTY COURT JUDGE CURRENTLY UP FOR RE-ELECTION WHO WAS PREVIOUSLY BEATEN. B) NAME THE CURRENT COUNTY COURT JUDGE WHO BEAT HIM. C) NAME THE DISNEY FIGURE IN THE JUDGE’S PREVIOUS CAMPAIGN ADS.
4) IN A 2000 OPEN SEAT, THIS MALE JUDGE WHO NOW HAS OPPOSITION BEAT THIS CURRENT FEMALE CANDIDATE. A) NAME THE MALE JUDGE; B) NAME THE FEMALE CANDIDATE CURRENTLY RUNNING. C) NAME THE JUDGE SHE IS NOW RUNNING AGAINST.
5) THIS CURRENT FEMALE JUDGE WHO NOW HAS OPPOSITION BEAT A SITTING JUDGE WHO WAS AN ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE. A) NAME THE FEMALE JUDGE; B) NAME THE JUDGE SHE BEAT.
6) THIS CURRENT SITTING JUDGE WAS ONCE FORCED TO ABANDON AN EARLIER ELECTION CAMPAIGN. A) NAME THE JUDGE; B) WHY DID HE HAVE TO WITHDRAW FROM A CAMPAIGN AND WAIT FOR THE NEXT ELECTION CYCLE?
7) NAME THE LAST MALE ASA WHO RAN WHILE STILL AN ASA AND LOST. A)WHAT CURRENT JUDGE WON THAT ELECTION?B) WHAT OTHER CURRENT JUDGE WAS THAT JUDGE'S LAW PARTNER.
Summer hours in effect. See You In Court Monday.
The Captain writes:
Next time The Captain will refrain from metaphoring with references to skud missles and the Middle East. It looks like I turned the REGJB blog into the Middle East Conflict Blog.
Let's get back to the good stuff like the upcoming elections and the Indictment of a Judge (that is Indictment on this Blog).
In less than 7 weeks, the voters of Dade County will be faced with contested races in:
Circuit Court:Group 25, 42, 78, 79, 80
County Court:Group 1, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 27, 39, 40, 43
That means we could be looking at as many as 16 new judges in our County come January of 2007.
Let the voter beware!!!!!
AND THE CAPTAIN HAS SPOKEN .....
Rumpole wonders how many members of the judiciary are getting less sleep than the Captain(who posted after 1AM) and Rumpole (who posted before 6 AM)?
PS: Congratulations to Judge Rob Pinero. Successful prosecutor. County Court Judge. Respected Circuit Court Judge. But you've never really made it in this town until your thoughts on sentencing are posted on everyone's favorite federal blog. Welcome to the big time Judge Pinero!
See You In Court sipping the cuban coffee and scanning the federal blog on our phone to see what comments we can lift for our humble blog.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
We start with these simple rules:
1) An attorney running for judge should be qualified and have extensive jury trial experience. Why?
The court system is swamped with cases. In criminal court the ever increasing scope of minimum mandatory sentences is forcing cases to trial that in the past would have been settled. Only an attorney who has been on the winning and losing side of dozens of trials has the experience to understand what a trial requires, what the trial lawyers are doing, and why they are doing it.
We not so fondly recall the newly elected Judge who had not tried many cases in a failed career as a private attorney. The prosecution sought to introduce a document and we stood up and asked for voire dire. The Judge responded that we had used the wrong term, as the jury had already been selected.
2) An attorney running against a Judge must further articulate why the Judge needs to be replaced. What about the Judge- demeanor, work habits, etc., necessitates that the Judge be replaced?
We have already emailed several candidates privately where we explained that running merely because gender, race, or name gives the candidate a favorable chance of winning is abhorrent, as it diminishes the quality of the Judiciary.
Judges like Martin Khan, Hank Harnage, and Harvey Goldstein were victims of this and we have all suffered for it.
3) A Judge should articulate the experience, work habits, demeanor on the bench towards clients and counsel that would support the conclusion that the Judge should be re-elected.
4) A Judge should impose a just sentence, not a sentence that the public wants, or the police demand , or the defense requests.
We recall a very sad situation many years ago when the prosecution offered a Defendant 20 years on a second degree murder case. The case went to trial, and after the defendant was convicted Judge Moreno (when he was a state court judge) sentenced the defendant to about ten years based on the facts of the case. You don’t see things like that happening these days.Justice doesn’t always mean following the victim and arresting officer’s recommendation of “maximum sentence.”
5) Do judges berate defense attorneys for not filing motions to compel discovery or motions for continuances early enough? Do Judges take counsel out of turn? (and this includes prosecutors who also have several courtrooms to be in).
6) Do Judges interfere in voire dire, cross examination and then give each side ten minutes for closing arguments?
7) Do Judges routinely expect all parties (including court personnel like clerks, corrections, and court reporters) to start at 8:00 AM, work through lunch, and work to 7:00 or 8:00 PM or beyond?
Nothing, and we mean nothing speaks louder about the blatant stupidity of a Judge then when they brag about how they tried a DUI in one day and had the attorneys do closing arguments at 11:00 PM, and sent the jury out at midnight. These Judges some how think that gives them some sort of “macho” reputation. All it does is deprive both sides of a fair trial, and make jurors disgusted with their service.
8) Do Judges absolutely refuse to engage in plea negotiations, even when it is obvious to everyone that an inexperienced prosecutor is taking advantage of a situation but the Judge will not step into correct it? We saw one new County Court Judge on the day of trial for a DWLS case refuse to do anything when the defendant had obtained a valid license, had two prior convictions, and the third conviction would result in a loss of license for five years, and the prosecutor (about 1 month on the job) refused to do anything other than obtain a conviction.
9) Do Judges understand the law? If we see one more Judge tell an unrepresented defendant that a withhold is not a conviction, we are going to scream. HEY JUDGE- A WITHHOLD IS A CONVICTION UNDER MANY CIRCUMSTANCES, including loss of license for a DWLS, and FOR PURPOSES OF IMMIGRATION AND DEPORTATION. STOP TRICKING DEFENDANTS INTO PLEADING GUILTY.
This is where we are starting. We invite our readers to provide other criteria and to start emailing us (we said email not post) on who we should endorse and why.
(please make cheques payable to “CASH” and leave with the Cuban coffee person at Au Bon Pain in a plain manila envelope marked “BRIBE FOR RUMPOLE”.)
See You In Court.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
noun- Person, former judge;
Latin: judicious desperatous;
adj: To Swartz.1) to file for election against an incumbent who is about to be promoted, thus securing for yourself the elected position un-contested.
Syn: sneaky, schemer,
See also: izzy reyes enemies list.
Word reaches us that the Florida Election Commission on February 24 of this year fined former County Court Judge Jeffrey Swartz over $9,000.00 gavels for failing to file campaign treasurer reports on four separate occasions.
Here is what we think: are there any attorneys out there who were recipients of a lecture from Judge Swartz because they didn’t file motions timely, and were lectured on the proper way to do things?
Its not so easy when the shoe is on the other foot is it?
A Judge is empowered to decide whether a person violated the law. Shouldn’t the judge have the common sense to follow the law?
Election finance reporting requirements are not suggestions.
The reporting requirements are the law in Florida.
Go over to those strange orange and black colored books on your bookshelf entitled “Florida Statues, cut off the cellophane, open Chapter 106, pour yourself a large cup of coffee, and read.
In this day and age the citizens and legislature demand judges who have little tolerance for people who do not follow the law. (until one of them is charged with a crime, but that’s a topic for another day).
Rumpole has little tolerance for judges who cannot follow the law.
See You In Court, scowling at the Judge.
PS: Magistrate Ted Klein is in stable condition. Keep the good thoughts heading his way.
In response to the collectivist who commented that money was the root of all evil, we proudly reprint a portion of the finest response to that statement ever written, by our literary hero, Ms. Ayn Rand:
The following is an excerpt from Atlas Shrugged, © Copyright, 1957, by Ayn Rand. It is reprinted with permission from the Estate of Ayn Rand.
"So you think that money is the root of all evil?"
"Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them.
Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears not all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper... are a token of honor—your claim upon the energy of the men who produce.
"Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions—and you'll learn that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.
"But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak?
What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made—before it can be looted or mooched—made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced.'
"To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders.
" Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss—the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery—that you must offer them values, not wounds—that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods.
Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best that your money can find. And when men live by trade—with reason, not force, as their final arbiter—it is the best product that wins, the best performance, the man of best judgment and highest ability—and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?
Ahhh....food for the soul. That there are minds in the world that can produce such writing is what keeps us from giving up.
See You In Court. We're the one with the dog eared copy of Atlas Shrugged.
Friday, July 14, 2006
WE THOUGHT THAT WE WOULD NEVER SEE
A 3RD DCA JUDGE'S SON ARRESTED FOR HITTING A TREE
JUDGE RAMIREZ’S SON ARRESTED?
A comment posted alleges that 3rd DCA Judge Juan Ramierz’s son was recently arrested for leaving the scene of an accident. The police came upon a Mustang wrapped around an innocent tree. Some time later Judge Ramirez is alleged to have appeared and the police wanted to speak with the driver, Judge Ramirez’s son. They went to Ramirez’s house, and when counsel arrived the young man came out of the house and was arrested.
We have no idea about the truth of these allegations and we all know the young man is presumed innocent. But the facts of the case reminded us of one of our all time favorite appellate decisions, recounted here in full for you, our faithful and loyal readership.
WILLIAM L. FISHER, Plaintiff-Appellant,
KAREN LOWE, LARRY MOFFET and STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants-Appellees
Docket No. 60732
Court of Appeals of Michigan
122 Mich. App. 418;
333 N.W.2d 67; 1983 Mich. App.
November 3, 1982, Submitted January 10, 1983, Decided
JUDGES: Bronson, P.J., and V. J. Brennan and J. H. Gillis, JJ.
We thought that we would never see
A suit to compensate a tree.
A suit whose claim in tort is prest
Upon a mangled tree's behest;
A tree whose battered trunk was prest
Against a Chevy's crumpled crest;
A tree that faces each new day
With bark and limb in disarray;
A tree that may forever bear
A lasting need for tender care.
Flora lovers though we three,
We must uphold the court's decree.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Footnotes- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
n1 Plaintiff commenced this action in tort against defendants Lowe and Moffet for damage to his "beautiful oak tree" caused when defendant Lowe struck it while operating defendant Moffet's automobile. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants pursuant to GCR 1963, 117.2(1). In addition, the trial court denied plaintiff's request to enter a default judgment against the insurer of the automobile, defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. Plaintiff appeals as of right. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of defendants Lowe and Moffet. Defendants were immune from tort liability for damage to the tree pursuant to § 3135 of the no-fault insurance act. MCL 500.3135; MSA 24.13135. The trial court did not err in refusing to enter a default judgment against State Farm. Since it is undisputed that plaintiff did not serve process upon State Farm in accordance with the court rules, the court did not obtain personal jurisdiction over the insurer. GCR 1963, 105.4.
SEE YOU IN COURT, NO TREE LOVER WE.
Word reaches us this afternoon that Federal Magistrate Ted Klein is hospitalized in serious condition on a respirator with an as yet undiagnosed “lung condition.”
Before becoming a Federal Magistrate Ted Klein was widely considered “a lawyers' lawyer” and was one of those few attorneys known, respected, and truly liked by all parties whenever he walked into a courtroom. It goes without saying that he has been a superb federal magistrate and Rumpole sends his best wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery.
JACOBI vs. DEL PINO: WHAT CAME FIRST? THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?
We keep seeing elections signs around town for Victoria Del Pino and right next to her sign is a sign for her opponent Joel Jacobi. It is clear that one party is going around town putting up their sign next to the other person’s sign. It’s impossible to tell who had the sign up first, but it strikes us that this is a stupid and desperate campaign tactic. We have a feeling who is doing it, but unlike federal prosecutors we don’t go around making unsubstantiated allegations without proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
SUMMER HOURS means that unless something striking happens or we get a bit of inspiration over the weekend our next blockbuster post will be Monday.
Nice to see candidates emailing us with biographical information for purposes of obtaining the coveted Rumpole REGJB Blog endorsement for Judge. That and $5.00 gets you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEKEND:
WAR. WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Without taking sides or getting into a political dispute, it occurs to us that if the 50 and 60 year old men who make the decisions to go to war, had to go and fight the war, there would be a lot less war.
SEE YOU IN COURT.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
We have spoken out about this before on the blog, and been met with a resounding “zzzzzzzzzzzz”.
It would be very helpful if some judges (who can remain anonymous) would write in about what they think about sentencing in general.
Are minimum mandatory sentences the legislature’s way of saying they do not trust Judges?
What criteria does a Judge believe is important when sentencing a defendant after a trial.
Do Judges really sentence a defendant more harshly as a way of sending a message and trying to hold down the number of people who request a trial?
Does sentencing someone to 30 years as a way of sending a message (when 10 or 15 years would do) weigh on the conscience of a Judge?
Are there Judges now on the bench who regret past sentences and would do things differently now with some more experience?
Do Judges believe that with experience and more time on the bench they have issued harsher sentences, more lenient sentences, or stayed about the same?
Are there any Judges in Dade who do not believe in the death penalty?
How would a Judge wish to be known: as imposing harsh sentences, lenient sentences, or fair sentences?
Would it bother a Judge to know that the Dade legal community believes they are lenient in their sentences?
Finally, any candidate for Judge who wants their views known on this subject is invited to write in and we will post your thoughts and views.
Food for thought.
Of course these issues matter very little to us and Mr. Markus, considering neither of us are in the habit of having clients sentenced.
See You In Court winning acquittals.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
OCCAM’S RAZOR AND MODERATION- THE SIMPLE SOLUTION
THANKS BUT NO THANKS CAPTAIN: We checked with blogger and while the Captain (or anyone) could be a guest blogger with the ability to make posts, (s)he would not have the ability to moderate comments. The only solution would be to give the Captain access which computer nerds from the 1970’s would call “root” access. We would have to give the Captain our log in name and password, and then he could act like us, including changing the password and locking us out!
As the first president Bush said “wouldn’t be prudent.”
So, being a phan of philosophy, we turned to our old friend and Franciscan Friar William of Ockham, who is known for his logical theory of problem solving. We are somewhat reaching and simplifying the theory (for our robed readers) when we say that the theory says “the simplest solution is usually the best solution.”
OUR SOLUTION: RANDOM MODERATION:
Simply put, (Occam would be so proud) the blog will have immediate postings at times we are available to quickly monitor the posts, and will be moderated at times we are in trial, on a plane, or in a bar.
All of these complex thoughts and attempts to solve the problem, and in the end we resorted to our old favorite :
SEE YOU IN COURT MODERATING THE BLOG.
PS: I am speaking to those few idiots who try and ruin this blog with attempts like the one we deleted recently about a judicial candidate and little boys. If you try and ruin this blog, we will find out your IP address, hunt you down, and make you handle arraignment calendars in Judge Areces and Judge Adrien's division for a year!
HOW CAN YOU HELP OLD RUMPOLE?
PLEASE EMAIL US OR POST AN OBJECTION TO A COMMENT THAT IS INAPPROPRIATE. POST OR EMAIL THE TIME OF THE COMMENT SO I CAN FIND IT AND REVIEW IT QUICKLY.
EXAMPLES: "JUDGE X IS A SIMPLETON WHO WENT TO A LAW SCHOOL THAT IS CURRENTLY A CUBAN CAFE" : APPROPRIATE
"JUDGE Y IS A CRACK SMOKING HO": INAPPROPRIATE.
SNOOPY vs. THE RED BARON
NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES
TO FILE REHEARING MOTION
AND, IF FILED, DISPOSED OF.
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL
JULY TERM, 2006
CHRISTOPHER S. HUGHES
vs. CASE NO. 3D05-1767
THE STATE OF FLORIDA,
LOWER TRIBUNAL NO. 02-19207
Opinion filed July 12, 2006.
An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, David H. Young, Judge.
Jeffrey L. Freeman and James K. Rubin, for appellant.
Charles J. Crist, Jr., Attorney General, and Paulette R. Taylor, Assistant Attorney General, for appellees.
Before SUAREZ and ROTHENBERG, JJ., and SCHWARTZ, Senior Judge.
Rumpole takes this moment to note that a careful reading of the caption of the appeal would lead experienced appellate lawyers to suspect that things are not heading exactly in the way pilot/defendant Hughes would have wanted.
Judge Rothenberg wrote the opinion for the court:
(readers will remember that trial counsel for the pilots decided that the best defense would be that since the aircraft was being towed to the taxiway in preparation for takeoff, the pilots were not in control of the aircraft for the purposes of the DUI prosecution. )
Here is the way the “Red Baron” dealt with “Snoopy’s” defense at trial
"But more importantly, whether the defendants could move the aircraft under its own power during the time it was being towed by the tug is irrelevant and, with all due respect to the defense, nothing more than a red herring. The undisputed evidence at trial was that the defendants “operated” the aircraft well before it was attached to the tug and towed away from the gate in preparation for its takeoff."
We don’t always agree (ok, we never agree) with the way the Honorable Judge Rothenberg interprets criminal law. But even we are forced to admit that the Judge is correct. The defense at trial was a red herring and nothing more.
When you get past all the legal issues and so forth, you still have to deal with the common sense of jurors at trial. What would any person with a brain think was going to happen after the aircraft was towed to the taxiway? That Amelia Earhart would swoop down and sit in the pilot’s seat and take over?
The technical legal distinction that these two soused pilots were not in control of the aircraft at the particular moment the plane was stopped was ridiculous, and almost as reckless as the act of the pilots themselves.
Now we realize that sometimes the defense is reduced to arguing “venue” at trial because there is nothing else to contest. And certainly there will always be a certain amount of second guessing the losing side when a publicity case goes to trial.
But we can’t help feeling that the second mistake these two pilots made (the first being staggering out of Mr. Moes and hailing a cab to the airport) was in their choice of trial counsel. There are several highly trained and very successful DUI defense attorneys in this county, and none of them were retained for this case.
In the final analysis, these pilots almost killed over a hundred people. Men, women, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children all boarded that aircraft and placed their lives in the hands of two men who cared so little for the responsibility entrusted to them, that they spent the night before the flight drinking in Coconut Grove.
The first thing they teach you in flight school is “24 hours bottle to throttle”.
The actions of these pilots was inexcusable. In the scheme of things they probably got the defense they deserved and the sentence they deserved.
See You In Court.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
maitre ‘d at Joes taking 20’s, what can a blogger do for inspiration?
Turn his weary sweat drenched eyes north, where that county north of the border and its characters never fail to inspire our insipid prose.
ITEM: The Sun Sentinel reported on a "key" moment in Dania Beach politics:
Dania Beach City Commissioner John Bertino, a 63 year old real estate broker will be charged this week with a misdemeanor for allegedly keying a 2-foot-long scratch into another man's car in a dispute over a parking spot. Apparently on June 11 Fox and his family pulled into Grampa's Bakery & Restaurant, in Dania Beach. Fox said he and the driver of a white vehicle both eyed the same parking space. When Fox pulled in first, he said the other driver began honking his horn. After Fox's wife and the man briefly bickered, the man found a different spot. After breakfast, Fox discovered a 2 foot long scratch on his front-passenger door.
While there is never a police officer around when you need one…Charlie Crist and his band of roving do-gooders to the rescue!!!
Assistant Attorney General Cindy Bruschi, who had been eating breakfast with her husband, met Fox in the parking lot and told him she saw a man use a key to scratch his car, the report stated. Fox and Bruschi identified the man as Bertino from a picture that appeared in an advertisement. Fox said the restaurant manager told them Bertino was a city commissioner.
"A person with this moral or ethical character, in my opinion, has no business being an elected official," said Fox.
Rumpole responds: Au contraire mon ami. Mr. Bertino exhibits all the necessary
characteristics of a City of Miami Commissioner, with the exception that Mr. Bertino is only being charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony. While Bertino has the right aspirations, he is not ready for the big time of Miami just yet.
As to Mr. Fox, we suggest he visit his "abuelo" in Dade and not his gramps in Broward. As a good and faithful Miami resident, Fox has no business eating in the wilds of Broward County. However, we are confident that if the situation were reversed and some poor unfortunate resident North of The Border found himself in a parking dispute with a politician of our fair city on the way to score some cuban toast and a cafe con leche, the matter would have been resolved the Miami way: Can you say “say hello to my little friend” ? We Miamians have the proper respect for cars and would rather fill a driver full of lead before we would ever stoop to scratching a car.
ITEM: Muslims not welcome in Pompano:
Again we are quoting from the Sun Sentinel (motto: we’re not the Herald and we’d like to keep it that way.)
In Pompano Beach (we said Pompano not pompous) Preachers from some of the northwest area's most influential churches plan to bring their flocks and sermons to City Hall tonight to demand that leaders keep a Muslim mosque from opening in their neighborhood.
"We want to make such a fuss that the Muslims will pack up," said the Reverend O’Neal Dozier, of the Worldwide Christian Center.
Rumpole pauses at this moment to thumb through his bible to see just what commandment or psalm says “The lord commands you to hate all other religions.”
Hmm…can’t find it.
“do unto others…” no that’s not it.
“Love thy neighbor…” nope, not that one.
We’re sure it must be somewhere. We’ll get back to you on that.
Anyway, this is not just any old Reverend who is off his religious rocker.
This Reverend happens to be a an appointee of Governor Holly Go Lightly Bush to the Judicial Nominating Commission, which as we all know is the body of open minded, conscientious, and highly intelligent folks who decide which lawyers they believe have the right stuff for the Governor to appoint to the bench.
In a news release late last month, Dozier called Islam "a cult'' and said the mosque's plans have residents in the predominantly "black Christian neighborhood" feeling less safe and secure."Their general welfare is being jeopardized by knowing that Muslims are invading their neighborhood," Dozier said.
Off course students of history will recognize that Dozier was paraphrasing some of the very most enlightened leaders of our nation including:
Abraham Lincoln: “A house divided between Muslims and Christians cannot stand.”
John Kennedy: “ask not what your country can do for you. Rather, ask what you can do to hurt your Muslim neighbors.”
Martin Luther King: “I have a dream…that one day this will be a totally Christian nation with all other religions and peoples outlawed.”
The Sun Sentinel article noted that:
Dozier, 57, is a key figure in Republican Charlie Crist's effort to reach black voters in the attorney general's race for governor.
In Broward County, Dozier has been a controversial figure on the judicial screening panel, asking judge candidates if they were "God-fearing."
Dozier said he was learning that he needed to "just do right and please God and not try to please man."
"I still love the governor,'' he said. "
I just hope they replace me with another black with a law degree."
Rumpole hopes that they replace Dozier with any man or woman who is without prejudice towards any religion, and who has a brain that works.
But before we get too excited, lets remember we're talking about North Of Border, where Muslims are as apparently as welcome as a Miami lawyer at a Judge Ross Calendar call.
For the record, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy (the no action, not the arrest.)
Monday, July 10, 2006
I confess that I do not have a lot of time to look at the Blog, as I am busy campaigning, and I suspect that the other candidates are busy as well. I did take the opportunity to review it this Sunday afternoon, and frankly Rump, I found it quite fascinating. Everyone can learn a lot by reading it, and I will recommend it.
We appreciate the recommendation but how can it be that this is the first time you have perused the pages of our humble blog?
Didn’t you see the blockbuster Daily Business Review interview with us?
How about the earth shaking New Times Interview with Rumpole?
Even the Herald mentions our blog now and then.
Anyway, we thought for all you new readers like Ms. Parks, we should catch you up in the history of the REGJB Blog.
Assuming you are familiar with the big bang, the parting of the red sea, the reformation, the Pilgrims, the war of 1812, Japan Surrenders on VJ day, “Dewey beats Truman”,
Armstrong walks on the Moon, the Miracle Mets of 1969, “Nixon Resigns”, Carter, Regan, the Berlin Wall falls, Monica and Bill, and Bush steals a second election,
then you should know that sometime after the election of Ronald Wilson Reagan, we arrived in Miami, much like Paddington the Bear, with a suit case in our hand, and a law degree tucked firmly and safely inside.
20 plus years of witnessing some of the most ridiculous spectacles known to man has an effect on any attorney: (true story- we once watched the late Judge Winton tell a prosecutor that he could not introduce a picture of the stolen item in a petty theft case, and that he needed to bring the item into court. When the quick thinking prosecutor asked if the State had to bring a car into court in every grand theft auto case, Winton said “of course! Now you’ve got it.”)
We were sitting in our office one blustery November day directing a steady stream of divorce clients to the attorney down the hall, and the bankruptcy clients to the attorney upstairs, with, as usual, not nary a soul knocking on our door seeking our services. Our secretary was busy refinancing her house that had increased a few million dollars in value, while we were trying to find some use for our Enron and Global Crossing stock certificates.
Turning on the radio, we heard an NPR report on a mysterious blogger of the federal courts that had been unmasked as a young prosecutor in New Jersey. We jumped on the web and quickly came across our favorite federal blogger’s web site and realized that there was no state court blog.
Now is an appropriate time to note that the one time in our life that we actually had an idea before anyone else that became popular, turned out to be an idea that produces absolutely no revenue.
Anyway, we proceeded to turn off our phones to avoid the bill collectors, and actually created a blog.
We made a few posts, and then one day we were at a local watering hole drinking some Chateau Miami River when he happened to "overhear" that the Law Offices Of Bennett Brummer was settling the lawsuit brought by a former employee.
Here is part of what we wrote:
A JBB Exclusive: Dade Public Defender Settles Lawsuit for $200,000.00 + Attorneys Fees.!!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 supporting Gabe Martin.Bennett Brummer.
At the parade the Assistant Public Defender ( and soon to be Plaintiff) marching in support of Gabe Martin has a mega-phone, and is yelling anti- Bennett Brummer slogans, like "We Need A Public Defender, Not a Public Pretender. "…
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 young PD.
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 the 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 Plaintiff is free to talk and gloat about his victory whenever he wishes.
Well wouldn’t you know that a few days after we posted our blog story, the Herald ran a big story on the Brummer lawsuit with nary a credit to poor Rumpole who continued to labor in relative obscurity.
Sometime the next month an enterprising PD stumbled across the blog and sent out an email to colleagues. A few prosecutors found the blog and so did a few Judges, and the next thing you know we are getting a few hundred readers a day.
Now Judges use the blog to explain unusual occurrences in their courtroom, or attorneys log on to mourn the passing of a judge or colleague, or attorneys post comments on the actions of some of our more entertaining robed readers.
Along the way we have introduced such terms into the lexicon as “north of the border” for Broward, "Lord Of the Traffic Magistrates" for Judge Leifman, and “robed readers” for the dear members of our legal community suffering from diminished capacity.
We have covered (or more accurately- created) the JA Perfume Scandal (JAPS), the the Swartz maneuver, and Interpreter Interruptus, to name a few recent REGJB events.
Trying to be serious, we have posted several posts on the death penalty, the innocence project, the problems with eyewitness identifications, and the fact that only the US, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria execute juveniles. In response, we had loyal readers react to those posts with the famous “zzzzzzzz”.
Currently the issue raging across the blog is whether we should allow unrestricted access to people who want to post “ [ judge] regularly has oral sex with [ ] in chambers” or other prurient nonsense. We don’t like the fact that people cannot engage in a spontaneous conversation across the comments section of the posts, but we are not in our office enough to monitor the posts full time.
We are working on a solution, but until then, we have a new poll on what the blog should be.
In the meantime, we invite our new readers to check in often and as always, we end with this warning:
See You In Court.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
For the record, the discussion on Judge Glick, his thoughts on Miami elections, and his record as Judge, have been intelligent and thoughtful. Some people like him, some don’t. But the discussion has been within the bounds of decency. For the record, we printed EVERY comment on Judge Glick, meaning that when cretins know we are moderating the comments, they don’t waste their time writing the type of garbage that makes us ashamed to be associated with the blog.
Our view is that people do Judge Glick a disservice labeling him “state oriented.” Does anyone believe he would assist the prosecution in the conviction of an innocent man? He may not tolerate criminals easily, but what Judge should? We think he calls it like he sees it. There are too many prosecutors who have felt the brunt of his criticism for us to agree that he is “state oriented.”
On Judicial IQ'S:
We think science missed a golden opportunity with the appointment of Reemberto Diaz to the bench. It would have been great to have his IQ tested every six months for the next five years to prove our thoroughly un-scientific proposition that there is a direct inverse relationship between the ‘wearin o the robes” and IQ. (you didn’t think we were going to say all those nice things about judge Glick without taking a shot at the judiciary as a whole, did you?)
On Candidate Parks and the "darker" side of people:
Catherine Parks resigned her job to run for Judge full time.
Dedicated? Or in need of medication?
People support Ms. Parks because of the life experience she brings as a nurse prior to being an attorney.
Our only comment to Ms. Parks is that if elected,
If you thought you saw a lot of …ahem…when giving enemas in a hospital…
Wait to you get to our little world in the REGJB.
We mean, there’s a whole world of attorneys and bondsmen who will make you feel dirtier than the working end of a colonoscopy camera.
How did we do in our little federal free-for-all?
To quote our friend and former Judge, Rudy Sorrondo, when he was in the private practice of criminal defense (before he became a big-shot) : “UFR” (usual federal result).
RUMPOLE WINS- 5 TO 4
On the order we received from the Honorable Chief Judge John Roberts, to return the blog to the wild days gone by:
You are in the minority. Justice Kennedy writing for a majority of the court (Souter, Stevens, Ginsberg, and Breyer concurring) wrote:
“[t]he right of free speech has traditionally been tempered by restrictions such as the laws against libel, and the doctrine of fighting words. In this day and digital age, when rumors on the internet one minute can become ill-conceived “facts” the next, we find that the restrictions used by Rumpole, namely his moderation of the comments so that no scurrilous and un-founded rumors will not be published, are a rational and reasonable restriction and do not violate the first amendment.
Rumpole strikes a blow for decency, and wins!”
Justice Scalia, in a scathing dissent, joined by Roberts, Alito, and Thomas wrote:
“Rumpole is a jerk and his blog is now boring. He blew it with a capital B man.”
See You In Court savouring our victory.
(You know you've really made it when you are mentioned in a Scalia dissent. I bet we can get a good table at Mortons or Joes now.)
Friday, July 07, 2006
A Robed one wrote:
I guess this qualifies as North of the Border. Maybe this will inspire your judicial threesome dreaming poster.
Awkward moments abound in penis pump trial
By SHAUN SCHAFER, Associated Press Writer
Serving on the jury in an indecent-exposure trial unfolding in this conservative Oklahoma town has been a giggle-inducing experience.
Former Judge Donald D. Thompson, a veteran of 23 years on the bench, is on trial on charges he used a penis pump on himself in the courtroom while sitting in judgment of others.Over the past few days, the jurors have watched a defense attorney and a prosecutor pantomime masturbation.
A doctor has lectured on the lengths the defendant was willing to go to enhance his sexual performance.
The white-handled sexual device sits before the jury box for hours at a time. Occasionally an attorney picks it up and squeezes the handle, demonstrating the "sh-sh" sound of air rushing through the contraption's plastic tubing.
The jurors sometimes exchange awkward looks and break into nervous laughter when the testimony takes a lurid turn.
Thompson, 59, is charged with four counts of indecent exposure, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison. If convicted, he would also have to register as a sex offender, and his $7,489.91-a-month pension would be in jeopardy.
Thompson's former court reporter, Lisa Foster, wiped away tears as she described tracing an unfamiliar "sh-sh" in the courtroom to her boss.
She testified that between 2001 and 2003 she saw Thompson expose himself at least 15 times. "I was really shocked and I was kind of scared because it was so bizarre," said Foster.She testified that during a trial in 2002, she heard the pump during the emotional testimony of a murdered toddler's grandfather.
The grandfather "was getting real teary-eyed, and the judge was up there pumping on that pump," she said.
"It was sickening."
The allegations came to light after a police officer who was in Thompson's court heard pumping sounds and took photos of the device during a break in the proceedings.Thompson took the stand in his own defense, saying the device was a gag gift from a longtime friend with whom he had joked about erectile dysfunction. He said he kept the pump under the bench or in his office but didn't use it.
"In 20-20 hindsight, I should have thrown it away," he said.
The R-rated testimony has produced occasional outbursts of laughter and surreal scenes. A man who once served as a juror in Thompson's court testified that he never saw the device, but figured out what it was based on movies he had seen.
The comment sent sidelong glances through the courtroom.
"It sounded like a penis pump to me," Daniel Greenwood testified.
He said he had seen such devices in "Austin Powers" and "Dead Man on Campus."
Dr. S. Edward Dakil, a urologist called as an expert witness, repeatedly prompted laughter from the jury when discussion turned to the penis pump.
Dakil defended use of the device after defense attorney Clark Brewster said it was an out-of-date treatment for erectile dysfunction."I still use those," Dakil testified. Brewster paused. "Not you, personally?" he asked. "No," Dakil responded as jurors laughed. "I recommend those as a urologist."
Rumpole notes…nah..just leave well enough alone.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
From the ol’ site meter on the wall we remain as popular as ever.
Average Per Day 463
Average Visit Length 6:00
Last Hour 42
This Week 3,242
Interesting fact according to Web Media, which monitors web site traffic, among the Miami legal community, we rank 3rd in the site most visited. Below are the rankings:
1) Hot Latina’s .com
SEEN AROUND TOWN:
A “Re-elect Sheldon “Shelly” Schwartz” for County Court Judge sign in Aventura.
No surprise that the sign was purple with hot pink lettering.
The question is who prevailed on Shelly to tone down the colors?
IF YOU HAVE TO GO NORTH OF THE BORDER then on the way back, we highly recommend taking US One through Dania and stopping at the original Tarks for lunch. Tell Lenny behind the counter that Rumpole sent you and he will toss you a few extra fried shrimp.
ONLY TWO JUDGE/CANDIDATES emailed us to request that we endorse him/her. The much coveted and highly anticipated Rumpole endorsements will be out in August. Now is the time to email us and make your pitch.
Speaking of endorsements, how “thrilled” is Judge Steve Leifman that his picture is prominently displayed on
HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED’S web site with a ringing endorsement for his election?
Politics makes strange bed fellows, but even John Kerry asked Hinkley to take down his picture and endorsement from Hinkley’s web site.
[careful and long time blog readers remember a time in the past when we put the moniker “he who must not be named” on a local lawyer. But we haven’t called him that for a while and in fact he is a great friend of the blog and daily reader. This current incarceration of “he who must not be named” is a much more appropriate recipient of the title]
WE THINK our favorite federal blogger David O Markus with a K was right on the money with his criticism of the feds and their arrests of the Miami “terrorists.”
These guys live in Miami, yet were apparently unable to secure even one rusted firearm. Pretty poor excuses for terrorists. Can't you just see the Taliban sitting in the bar in the Watergate Hotel (we told you Bush is looking for them in the wrong place) laughing about our Miami Terrorists?
"....And when the FBI arrested them..they didn't even have a butter knife...I'll have another scotch please." [general laughter from men around the bar].
Just how hard is it to get a gun in Miami?
Even the City of Miami Police keep “extra” “throw down” guns for those hard to explain police shootings.
Not being able to get a firearm in this city is like not being able to spot a a 6 foot tall model with breast implants on South Beach.
The unfortunate fact is that right now as we speak, there are probably several pods of truly evil people loaded to the gills with firearms and all sorts of devices planning to do evil deeds. And the FBI is arresting wannabe taliban from the hood.
Busting these “terrorists” (motto: who needs a gun to promote terror?) is like sweeping the streets of Overtown for crack addicts to combat drug trafficking, or arresting prostitutes to combat sexual slavery.
What kind of idiots would do that?
Woops…[Rumpole at this moment sincerely regrets calling all of law enforcement in this city idiots. Misguided would have been a better word.]
See You In Court.