Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Little Heaven In a Bun.

Over the past year as readership of our fair blog has steadily increased, we have guarded our posts, ever mindful of the fleeting nature of the trust our readers have bestowed upon us.

It is thus with great trepidation and only on rare occasions that we have strayed from our self appointed rounds as guardians and commentators on all things legal as they relate to the REGJB.

This is one of those occasions.

It was probably not DeTocqueville, (to whom we have been flatteringly compared to in the comments section) who observed that Americans can be divided into two camps. Perhaps it was someone more recent who had the flavor of the common man. In any event, we agree that Americans are two distinct peoples, into a particular camp one is easily placed, if the discerning eye knows what to look for.

Sliced tomato or gilled onions? Plain, or with a pickle spear? Ketchup (horrors!) or mustard?

We are speaking of course of whether you take your Hot Dog Chicago Style-dragged through the garden, or not.

The Chicago Style Dog starts with a Vienna beef hot dog, steamed to 170 degrees.

A slice of tomato (that will become important later) a dill pickle spear, some onions, relish, a dash of celery salt and mustard, all on a poppy seed bun, steamed soft and hot.

To those of us who have stood in line at the Bunny Hutch in Lincolnwood, it is a shrine to all that is good, and simple, and American. You can have Coney Island, with the dog and bun grilled, and ketchup-the ultimate insult. But then again, you can have New York lock stock and barrel, with their superior attitude, sour faces and sauerkraut, and burnt buns.

It was therefore with great surprise and delight that a few nights ago on our way to the cinema we happened upon Liberty Hot Dogs, proudly offering The Chicago Style dog.

A wanted sign should be hung up for the proprietors: dirty dog dealers, who are purveyors of fraud, pure and simple. Any decent Chicagoan should kick these miserable curs in their buns wherever they may be found.

Perhaps our first indication that all was not right was when the dog came out of the steamer and on to the grill.

We protested loudly: "Chicago style dogs are not grilled madam!"
only to be met with a disappointing: "Que?"

Next was a bowl of chopped tomatoes splashed on top- a sin. Followed by a sour pickle, another sin, some raw green peppers- a crunchy blasphemy, and perhaps the only three words of Americana this thief in a chef's hat knew: "Ketchup? Mayonnaise? Mustard? "

All was lost.


There outta be a law.

Certain traditions need to be upheld. The line needs to be drawn and manned with those who can both protect - and serve a tomato properly sliced.

Would you serve pastrami at Noche Buena?

Would you serve chopped liver at Thanksgiving?

So we turn to the power of the pen, and in the traditions of our forefathers whose pamphlets in Philadelphia formed the basis for our Constitution, we take to writing our complaints and posting them for all to see.

For shame Liberty Dogs!

May your mayonnaise curdle and may your time serving such swill upon Miami be short.

It's almost worth a case North of the Border just to pay a stop at Reno'
s where our taste buds can be rejuvenated and our faith in America restored.

Note the sliced tomato and sliced dill pickle.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Something a little different before the picks today.

Rumpole’s super bowl odds.

Colts- 3/2 to make it to the Super Bowl; 3-1 to win. Colts are the top team here until Chargers win a playoff game and show everyone they got game. Tony Dungy is all class and deserves to win one. Peyton is no Marino/Fouts. He will get a SB ring before he’s done.

Ravens. 3-1 to make it; 4-1 to win. Surprising Ravens get the second seat based on an experienced team, a great defense, and a QB who knows how to win.

Chargers and Bears: 3.5 -1 to make it; 5-1 to win. Both these teams have something to prove. Edge to Chargers with the best player in the game, but all it takes is one bad half by either QB to send these teams home in their first playoff game.

Dallas; New Orleans; Seattle: Best of the rest division winners. All have weaknesses that peg them as Playoff losers. 6-1 to make it; 8-1 to win.

Bengals 9-1 to make it; 9-1 to win it. If this team gets hot-watch out. Fundamentally a better team than those directly above them if they can get some pass defense and stop getting arrested.

Jax/Denver: 9-1 to make it; 11-1 to win. Good teams that can and will be beat.

Eagles/Jets, 20-1 to make it; 25-1 to win.

Steelers 50-1 to make it; 65-1 to win. Long odds against them getting in. If they do sneak in, then odds change dramatically, but still not the same team that won it all last year.

Bills. 75-1 to make it; 100- 1 to win.


Like the surging 49ers -3 at home over the Cardinals. One team has a great coach, one team has a lame duck coach.

Like under 47 in the Philly/Dallas game.

Like the over 36 in the Tennessee/ Buffalo game.

Fins are in a –win one/lose one cycle. This is the win cycle, and Fins are -1 at home on MNF. Jets need this one for the playoffs which makes Miami a dangerous pick. Fins would love to be the spoiler for the Jets. Take a deep breath and lay the digit.

Colts -9 at Texans. Dungy not going to rest his boys this year. It’s pedal to the metal until he gets to Miami.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Au Revoir Judge Young

Judge Young soon retires to leave the REGJB for greener pastures on television. Here is why his absence will be felt as a true loss.

In this day and age of “strict constructionists” and criminal court Judges who were neither prosecutors nor public defenders, Judge Young could see the forest through the trees. Cases before him were not just charges with corresponding guidelines. Cases were in fact people.

Judge Young could always see the good in almost anybody who appeared before him. That is not to say he was not a tough sentencer. He was, where the facts of the case called for it. But he was also the type of Judge who understood, because he was a former prosecutor, that there was more to any particular case then an arrest report and an allegation.

We have oft decried the devaluation of a criminal case. What we mean is that there is a qualitative difference between the burglary charge where a stranger breaks into a house, and an estranged husband who gets arrested when he returns home to pick up some items and gets into another fight. However the Husband may well plead to CTS to get out of jail rather than fight the charges. If either of those two people were to get re-arrested, Judge Young was the type of Judge who you could get to look beyond the priors, and into the facts of the case, to really see who your client was.

This is a trait sadly missing in many of our current Judges.

The “its not my job” philosophy has taken hold. Judges know that hundreds if not thousands of people plead guilty every year to charges that are not supported by the facts of the case, just to get out of jail. There isn’t a judge in the REGJB who doesn’t know that. Yet, many of them will turn a blind eye to that fact when it comes time to evaluate a defendant, for either bond, or an appropriate sentence.

What we are trying to say is that Judge Young understood the practicalities of the system; the good and the bad. He was not afraid to make the tough call either way. And in the end, whether you liked his decision or didn’t agree with it, you would have to agree that Judge Young did what he believed was the right thing to do, not the easy thing to do.

It's not an accident that Judge Young has sat in the courtroom where Judge Cowart's portrait hangs: two Judges who were known for their interest and concern in all who appeared before them.

We wish Judge Young well. We just wish he wasn’t leaving. The citizens of Dade County are a little less better off the day he resigns.

See You In Court.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sun George?

Last night in the comments section, we saw fit to quote from one of our favourite books. In another context in terms of the present day situation in our nation, we wonder if perhaps these words may not assist those who are pondering events and making decisions.

Sun Tzu wrote, inter alia,


When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long
in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.

The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither
are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice.

Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to be
maintained by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.

Attack by Stratagem

In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not
supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy's army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.

There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune
upon his army:

By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey. This is called hobbling the army. By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army. This causes restlessness in the soldier's minds. By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to circumstances. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.

A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; a commander-in-chief
may be robbed of his presence of mind.

When in difficult country, do not encamp. In country
where high roads intersect, join hands with your allies. Do not linger in dangerously isolated positions. In hemmed-in situations, you must resort to stratagem. In desperate position, you must fight. There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must be not attacked, towns which must be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.

There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general:
(1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction; (2) cowardice, which leads to capture; (3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults; (4) a delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame; (5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.

When a warlike prince attacks a powerful state, his
generalship shows itself in preventing the concentration of the enemy's forces. He overawes his opponents, and their allies are prevented from joining against him.

Hence he does not strive to ally himself with all and
sundry, nor does he foster the power of other states. He carries out his own secret designs, keeping his antagonists in awe. Thus he is able to capture their cities and overthrow their kingdoms.

Maybe the powers that be in DC should be reading more Sun Tzu and less Jim Baker.

PS. Has any ASA done more in the last two months to protect this community than Laura Adams? With two victories in high profile serial rapist cases (which we are sure took years of investigation and work to obtain) she deserves our thanks.
Well Done.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


This email was forwarded to us by an attorney. It was not emailed to Rumpole, but I hope Mr. Harris does not object in our posting it. This is what the spirit of the holidays should be about.

On some level, those of us who devote our careers to work in the REGJB are some kind of extended family. This is a nice way of showing you care and remembering a wonderful person.

As you know, Ana Delgado, Judge David Miller’s J.A. passed away last month after an incredible 6 year battle with cancer. She was 44 years old and left behind 3 beautiful girls. We are taking donations to help the family get back on their feet. Her husband, Jose has just returned to work after 6 months of helping care for Ana, and I don’t need to tell you that the bills keep coming in. We are trying to help them as best we can. We were like family. Over the past 20 years Ana has worked in the SAO, P.D. office also for several Criminal Defense Lawyers, the AOC, and many County and Circuit Court Judges. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. I would like to get this email and photo to the Criminal Defense Lawyers that knew and worked with Ana. She was a very special person.
All checks should be made out to Jose Delgado and they can be dropped off in my office, (AOC) room 7100 of the Justice Building. I can be reached at (305) 548-5634.
Remember, the family needs help now and nothing is too small.
Jeff Herris (AOC)

Rumpole says: Please help if you can.

but never in doubt.

Long and careful readers of the blog know that is one of our mottos. Thus it came as no surprise when we arrived at work yesterday morning after court to read that our plea on pleas was dismissed with prejudice by the Honorable Kevin Emas.

(The entire post is in yesterday's comments section. We have edited it for space only.)

Judge Kevin Emas said...
Rumpole: Before you get your DNA in a twist (no pun intended), you ought to know that the lengthening colloquy echoing throughout the halls of the REGJB was not some mysterious conspiratorial plot by trial court judges; it was mandated by a recently-enacted law and a corresponding change to Rule 3.710.

The statute, effective July 1, 2006, provides in pertinent part:925.12. DNA testing; defendants entering pleas(2) For defendants seeking to enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a felony on or after July 1, 2006, the court shall inquire of the defendant and of counsel for the defendant and the state as to physical evidence containing DNA known to exist that could exonerate the defendant prior to accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere...

As a result of this newly-enacted law, the Supreme Court adopted an emergency amendment to Rule 3.710: In re Amendments to Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.170, 938 So.2d 978 (Fla. 2006):"The Florida Legislature recently enacted chapter 2006-292, Laws of Florida (the Act), which among other things requires courts to inquire into the existence of physical evidence containing DNA that could exonerate a defendant prior to accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a felony. The Act applies to pleas entered after July 1, 2006. ..

So you see, Rumpole, there is no reason (at least from this example) to be "suspicious of our robed readers." No vast conspiracy here, just constitutional officers doing their constitutional duty. While people can certainly disagree on the reason for this legislative enactment, and whether it will, as a practical matter, accomplish its intended goal, no one can reasonably dispute the fact that the trial court judges are duty-bound to include this language in their plea colloquy.

Kevin Emas

And frequent blog contributor Abe Laeser, who apparently is never beyond kicking a poor blogger when he is down, piled on with this missive last night:

abe laeser said...
Rumpole, nice win on the Colts - but only a 'push' at 50.I actually recall trying a case against Weed. Of course, that was when Hubbart was the PD; and the Earth had not yet fully cooled. Better trial lawyer than his new duties would ever suggest.Surprised you were so off base on the 3.172 plea issue. Perhaps you need a proof reader who spends more time in the books than in the bars. However, for whatever meaning it may have, I trust a person who can handle their alcohol. It is one of the few traits that can exist in every class, race, religion, or gender + tells one something about thier breeding.

Rumpole responds: OK. We give up. Far be it from us to engage in a discourse on laws we don't read and never intend to. However, it is nice to know that even during this holiday season, there are constitutional officers ready to discharge their duty and set us straight.

Our Favourite Herald Scribe, Oh Sussanna Nesmith, hits a home run today with a front page feature on Sy Gaer.

And finally, Rumpole sends his femme fatale football challenger back to the kitchen with his pick of the Colts over the Bengals last night. A lot is going on for a slow holiday season.

See you in court, NOT reading the rules of criminal procedure.

Monday, December 18, 2006


An insidious new part of the standard Plea Colloquy has crept into the REGJB. Silently it has spread like the mold in the AC vents, from courtroom to courtroom, Judge to Judge.

Rumpole aims to be the Lysol spray.

The objectionable portion of the colloquy is where the Judge asks the defendant if he/she is aware of any physical evidence that should have been DNA tested; whether the defendant is aware of any additional exculpatory evidence and whether the Defendant believes his/her attorney should have done more to have evidence tested.

Now why are they asking that?

We view it as the thin edge of a larger wedge designed to shatter the Great Writ. We are speaking of the Writ of habeus corpus incorporated in Florida’s Criminal Procedure rule 3.850.

Lets face it: Judges and prosecutors hate those Rule 3.850 motions. Yet, as even the most cynical among them would admit, 3.850/post conviction relief litigation has resulted in the exoneration of over a hundred individuals on death row nationwide, and hundreds if not thousands of Florida inmates convicted of various crimes over the years.

Do Judges really believe that by asking the Defendant to essentially waive any additional testing of evidence that if a real question of innocence was raised at a later stage that it would be fair and proper to use the plea colloquy to prohibit the testing of the evidence?

If the answer is “No” then can we assume that the motives behind these questions are as pure and innocent as the driven Florida snow?

Is a Judge who just denied the motion for continuance which precipitated the plea to begin with now going to stop everything and reset the case for a few months because a defendant says during the plea that- since you're asking- he really would like an independent lab to retest the wine glass?

Which is it?

Because if the plea colloquy is not a setup for use against the defendant at a later date, why stop with asking about DNA testing? Why not inquire about whether the defendant is satisifed with the questions asked at deposition, and whether the attorney has shared with the client the cross examination questions taken from the depo question and answers; is the defendant satisified with the the voire dire questions the attorney has prepared, the opening and closing statements the attorneys was ready to give, and has the defendant reviewed the possible JOA motion?

We recognize the court’s legitimate obligation to inquire whether a plea is knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. Should the colloquy go into a complete discussion of defense strategy, and attorney competence as well?

Why is it that we are so suspicious of our robed readers?

See You In Court reading our Sun Tzu, who wrote: Beware Judges who smile and bear gifts (or words to that effect).

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Fresh from my embarrassing defeat at the hands of a goil, (She picked the cowpokes and I agreed to take Falcons to teach her lesson, now I owe her a Starbucks card) here are my real picks- the ones I have thought about for at least five minutes- the ones I am hitting about 80% on all year-documented.


That’s why we say take INDY at home -3, no problem over the Bengals. Over 50 is a bit of a problem. We are leaning under, but stay away.

Take the Giants at home -6 over the Eagles; take the under 44 as well.

Love the over 35 in the Fins/Bills game; while you’re at it take the dog/ Fins + 1.5.

Kinda like the defending/fading champs- Take the road Steelers +3 over the disappointing Carolina Panthers.

Toots: Email me your work address and voila, a Starbucks card will arrive.

Anybody really trying cases the next two weeks?

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Well it was bound to happen. The folks up north banded together and started a blog.

I don't know the lawyer who is runing the blog, but -get this- he has used his real name!!

My understanding is that he is expected to be out on bond by Monday.

Courageous? Or in need of a psych eval?

Say what you want about ol'Rumpole, but our years of mingling with the criminal element has done nothing if not teach us the ins and outs of avoding a consipracy rap.

" Never tell anyone. Never trust anyone. Never reach for the check. "

That's our motto.

Best of luck to the Broward Blogger.
And if necessary we will establish a defense fund for you.

PS. Folk- tis the season to be jolly. Stop posting mean things about each other in the comments section or Santa will make you the last person on a 100 page sounding calendar before Judge Adrien or Areces.

Friday, December 15, 2006


An assistant public defender who is a frequent reader and often sends us emails on his thoughts took us to task earlier this week for not recognizing a Miami Herald Editorial praising, he said, his boss, ol’ double B: Bennett Brummer. We apologized for missing the missive, and promised to respond.

The editorial in question appeared on Friday December 8, 2006.

Herald (just click on the link and then type in "Brummer" in the search box to get to the editorial.)

The editorial praised two decisions of the Third District: the first requiring DCF to remove 30 mentally ill defendants from DCJ; and the second requiring judges to hold a detention hearing within 24 hours of the arrest of a juvenile.

To the extent the Dade PD’s office litigated those cases, we say WELL DONE. But we have always praised the work of the assistant PD’s. We have not always been so kind to the head PD.

The third part of the editorial praised Governor Bush’s decision to release 15.7 million dollars to pay conflict lawyers.

None of the topics in the editorial praised Mr. Brummer. His personal work in any of those decisions, if he did any, was not mentioned. Sorry Mr. S, but we don’t see anything here requiring excessive praise of Mr. B. He hires good lawyers who do good work. We wouldn’t expect anything less.


We were sauntering down the second floor the other day when we espied Judge Schlessinger’s pre-trial order. To summarize, Judge Schlessinger has hopped out of the sounding date pool, and returned to those thrilling days of yesteryear when cases set for trial did not appear in court until the trial date. The Judge has left it to the sound discretion of lawyers to decide if they are ready, and to file a motion to continue if they are not.

If we recall, it was Judge Farina, as a lowly circuit court Judge (not as Chief Kahuna) who introduced the sounding calendar when he was sitting in criminal court. The virus spread until every Judge in every division had a version of soundings. Now Judge Schlessinger goes old school, and has tubed the sounding calendar.

Clearly this may well be a case of:

“be careful what you ask for, because you may get it.”

One can reasonably expect that continuances on the day of trial will be handed out as frequently as a Judge picking up the bar tab. Certainly the pressure is on the prosecution to prepare more cases for trial on Monday.

However, the real problem as we see it, is the potential for some twenty odd Judges (no offense intended with that particular phrase) having twenty different rules about soundings, trials, and continuances. Inevitably, some poor confused defense attorney will file a “Tunis Motion” for a “Schlessinger case", and drop the ball.

We have bandied around the idea of some sort of “master calendar” many times before . Perhaps its time to think about implementing such a system?

From the standpoint of a Judge ( a view we rarely care to advance) a sounding calendar must eat up some very valuable court time that could otherwise be spent trying cases, or making dinner reservations.

What if some retired Judge like Judge Salmon had daily sounding calendars for ten or so divisions?

Lets say Monday afternoons it was for an upcoming Judge Scola trial week; Tuesday mornings it was for Judge Shuminer; Tuesday Afternoons for Judge Perez. You get the idea. The calendar would be staffed by prosecutor and a PD. If an attorney wanted to move for a continuance, or file a motion, or bring a matter to the court’s attention, they would show up at that time. The files would be in court, and the Judge could resolve the issue. Otherwise it’s “see you at trial.”

The “master calendar” solves the problem of soundings eating up court time for the judge, and yet gives the prosecution a heads up as to what cases are really headed for trial. Why, the Judge at sounding could even plea cases out if the defense attorney brought their client to court. What a novel idea!

Lets try and address the naysayers now. 1) Lack of courtrooms: Oh please. We see a dozen empty courtrooms every afternoon. 2) Lack of staff. Use the electronic recording system for these hearings, and we are sure a few clerks can use a little overtime now and then.

So we say “everybody out of the pool!.”

Deep-six the sounding calendars and think outside the box and lets come up with a new way of doing things.
Just how hard can it be to get some twenty odd judges to agree to something?

Ahh….on second thought maybe we’ll solve the Palestinian/Israeli problems first.

It should be easier.

See you in court. And on some days, see you at soundings. Just not before Judge Schlessinger.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Here is a post which is similar to many we see throughout the day/night:

Anonymous said...
OK -Rumpole. Why is the 8:44 post still up? Bet it would be down if the comment was directed at a race or national/ethnic group (such as the dominant nationality in Miami-Dade). This blog need not be clean or pleasant, but you should remove the really nasty stuff.

Rumpole responds:

As shocking as this may seem, we do not sit and stare at the comments section 24 hours a day. There are times a truly mean or dumb post stays up a while until we see it. The offending post last night was about Jewish people.

Stop looking for some hidden agenda. We do not have one.
We support anyone's right to write the most the vile crap imaginable.
Just not on our blog.

Our desire is to have a fun, witty, informative discussion about our work world.
Most readers agree and participate. When Roy Black and Abe Laeser go at it, this is a great place to spend ten minutes.

When the mentally damaged among us choose to write about a Judge's sexual orientation, an attorney's physical appearance, or the private life of one of our colleagues, we will remove it as soon as we see it.

The alternative is moderation. We've been down that road before, and most people do not like it.

Rest assured, I will remove almost any offending post, usually as soon as I sober up, like I did this morning.

See You In Court.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Anonymous said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 6:16:55 PM
Anonymous said...
Rest in peace Ellis Rubin...

Rumpole remembers:
Mr. Rubin was a throwback to the days when the solitary defense attorney rode into town to defend the person no one else would defend.

Did Mr. Rubin like a case in the news? Sure. But don't let his cases in the press mask the underlying talent of an excellent trial lawyer. He should not be remembered for that one case everyone mentions (TV intoxication). He should be remembered for being a fighter, an innovator, a man who cared about his clients, and man who went to jail for his beliefs.

We proudly admit we bought and read his book "Get Me Ellis Rubin". One comment always stuck with us, and only a real trial lawyer would be able to write about it. Mr. Rubin wrote that he always enjoyed trying cases against a prosecutor who had a reputation for never losing. Because when he managed to cause them enough problems in trial, he knew they were in unfamiliar territory and he had the advantage. Only a lawyer who tries a lot of cases knows that feeling.

From the outside looking in, we think his was a life well lived.

We celebrate his memory.


Nicloe Richie was arrested for DUI last night. Is B. Reiff on his way.
It is amazing what happens in the dark alleys of the city

The Dade County State Attorneys Office has a new procedure to schedule depositions at their office. In our continuing request to be of public service, we gladly assist in explaining the new procedures:

Here is an outline of their memo:


1) Please sign the enclosed waiver in which you consent to the prosecution seeking the statutory maximum in this and every other case you have or will ever handle.

2) You must reserve a room. Please feel free to use the State’s efficient staff by calling our office:

“Hello State attorneys Office”

“Hi..I’d like…

“Please hold.”

[ten minutes elapse]


“If you’d like to make a call please hang up and dial the number.”

“Hello state attorneys office please hold.” (Click).

“If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and check the number and dial again.”

“Hello state attorneys office how can I help you?”

“I’d like to schedule a deposition room.”

“Sure I can help you. What division is the case in?”

“Ahh..umm..Judge Murphy’s.”

Please hold….. Judge Diaz’s division How can I help you?”

“Umm… I was holding to set a deposition in Judge Murphy’s division.”

“Well you called Judge Diaz’s division.”

“No I was transferred.”

“OK. Please hold.”

“If you’d like to make a call please hang up and check the number. If the number is 305-547-0100, you have better chance of winning the lottery than getting through to a person who can help you.”

3. In the unlikely event you are actually able to reach the correct person and schedule the deposition, please be advised that:

i) it is against our policy for any witness to show for the first three times the deposition is set;

ii) (If that is not enough to get you to give up) all officers and detectives will not bring any reports to the deposition;

iii) Most addresses for civilian witnesses that we provide are not correct. We will not be able to locate any civilian witness until the day of trial.

4.) You can elect to take the pages per month plea offer- the length of the deposition will determine the plea offer. Otherwise the deposition room will be set for 5 minutes per witness. Our motto is that if you can’t figure out your case in the first five minutes you’re screwed anyway, so why bother?

Rumpole cannot tell you how happy we are that the State is getting serious and scheduling deposition rooms.

In all seriousness the memo does state that the length of time for each room is dependent upon the number of witnesses scheduled. That leads us to this question:

Isn’t there a difference between the lead detective on a three defendant murder case, and a police office who just put up crime scene tape?
Shouldn’t the defense have some say in how long the deposition is for?

See You In Court.

Rumpole eats some crow:

Within the last week we actually had this conversation with a JA for a Judge in Broward:

Us: “We’d like to get a court date for a motion for continuance.”

JA: “No need. Just send a motion, waive speedy trial, and state in the motion if the state agrees. The Judge has no problem doing this without making attorneys come to court.”

US: “Is this Judge “x” in BROWARD county?”

Hmm. Handling continuances by motion with no court appearance? They may be on to something up there.

A few pieces of mail we need to answer:

RumpoleWhy not even a mwention of Friday's Herald Editorial Praising Bennent Brummeer & the Dade PDs? If Bennet is responsible for all the bad things in the office, AS THE Gabites Say, Isn't He Responsible for ALL THE GOOD THINGS , ALSO.
David Sisselman

Mr. S: Well said, and a fair point. Our defense: We did not read the Herald on Friday. However, we intend to pull the editorial and comment on it by tomorrow.

Anonymous said...
I am starting to think Rumpole is batting for the other team. Not that it matters.

Rumpole responds: Why do you think that? Are you asking us out on a date?

Anonymous said:
rumpole: interesting that you don't delete homophobic posts or denigrating the homeless but say something true about a judge and as o.j. would say "Lookout".

Rumpole responds: We did remove the post. Not when it went up last night, but this morning. We plead guilty to crashing a christmas party for the free food and liquor last night, and not checking the blog until this morning. Our responsibility to the blog weighs heavy upon us. But we shall not let it interfere with our number one priority: freeloading.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Perhaps this serves as a good a warning as any to our new Judges, and some of the older Judges. We have never seen such egregious conduct in Dade County, although from time to time we have seen Judges refuse to set aside BW’s for people who were clearly confused by the sounding/trial dates.

A judge who jailed 11 people because they were late for traffic court after being directed to the wrong courtroom lost his job Thursday. The Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled he was unfit to remain on the bench.

The justices said the jailing and strip searching of the 11 misdirected motorists capped a series of complaints of intemperate conduct against Seminole County Judge John Sloop, 57, of Sanford.

''Judge Sloop's indifference to the anxiety, humiliation and hardship imposed upon these 11 citizens reflects a callous disregard for others that is among the most egregious examples we have seen of judicial authority and lack of proper judicial temperament,'' the high court wrote in an unsigned opinion.

The justices also offered an apology on behalf of the judicial system to the citizens of Florida, Seminole County and the 11 jailed defendants. They came to court on traffic citations ranging from driving with a suspended license to having an illegal tag.
As part of the same investigation, Sloop had been accused of ignoring court rules by refusing to release one defendant on a minor charge and acting more like a prosecutor than a judge through rude and abusive treatment of another.

Sloop admitted he violated judicial canons in all three cases. At a Judicial Qualifications Commission hearing, Sloop blamed his behavior on undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and said he had since received treatment for his condition.

Sloop expressed no bitterness over the decision, saying he joined the justices in hoping his removal will help restore public confidence in the judicial system.
''I spent my life helping people understand they are responsible for their actions,'' Sloop said.

``I am responsible for the grievous things that I did.''
Sloop said to believe otherwise would be hypocritical.

Rumpole says: Good riddance

PS: Our favourite federal blogger, David O Markus with a K has some real good stuff on his blog lately. From the Supreme Court's dwindling docket, to coverage on the Padilla torture allegations, and a link to a poignant Miami Herald article we missed on Miami Attorney Ellis Rubin's farewell to friends and colleagues as he remains hospitalized with advanced cancer.
Click on the link to the left and check it out.
President of the Miami chapter of the FACDL; running his blog and a busy practice. Hardly leaves any time for drinking and gambling. Not for us.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


First bad week last week, but a nice rebound calling the Steelers big on Thursday night.

The Broncos go the San Diego where the Chargers are laying 7.5. Give the points, take the cannoli.

Bills go to Jersey to play the Jets. Take the over 37. The Jets look like the pick to lay the 3.5 but something keeps telling me to stay away from this line. So take the over but watch the line.

Giants at Carolina on many books is off the board. If you can get it, I like the Giants with their backs against the wall getting 4, and under 40.

2 quick flyers- Take Tennessee -4 at Houston, and the 49ers -5 at home against the Pack.

Friday, December 08, 2006


So many hale fellows well met pass in and out of our small little work world that with thoughts turning to holidays present and past, we thought it might be nice to do a little something where people post names and others respond with whatever they know about that person. This is not limited to members of the brotherhood of the shark. JA’s, court reporters, clerks, corrections; whomever you’re interested in.

We’ll start:

Whatever happened to:

Our friend and colleague Owen Chin?

Bailiff “Buckle” Bill?


Mechanic and Goldstein?

See you in court, reminiscing.

Here are some additions:

What ever happened to Peter Baraban and Steve Mechanic?

What ever happened to Ed Frank?

What ever happened to Edwin Saar?

How about Alex Curry? The Weinbaums?


Anonymous said...
Surprised none of you have asked "whatever happened to Judy Alves"? She was the driving force behind the end of the old fashioned Public Defender dinners. No more sexist jokes and skits and songs, etc.Bar says she is practicing in Fort Myers

Anonymous said...
josh gradinger?chris scleppi?josh weintraub (hasnt it been 30 days since he left - time to come back)

Anonymous said...
What ever happened to Frank Joyce?Tom Darby?Rick Katz?Ric Margolis?

Anonymous said...
Gene Ciprano is well and practicing on the West Coast of Florida. He still drives in for Dolphins games.

abe laeser said...

Frank Joyce: Never went to law school, probably an evangelist.

Darby: Went to Talahassee, some desk job for an agency (non-stress).
Koch: Retired or was retired, depending on who you believe. Heard that he is actually selling carpets.
Rick Katz: Represented me this morning on a traffic ticket + won. Paid him with his usual fee, dinner tonight. He has a limited practice, due to family business matters that are time consuming. One hell of a fighter if you really need someone to battle for any cause.

(Rumpole wonders why Mr. Laeser is getting so many traffic citations?)

Jason Grey said...
I call on Judge Glick to speak on the past. He has been here the longest and can tell us much about that which has passed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006






SEE YOU IN COURT (and maybe a bar).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Item: NYC Bans Trans-Fats.

NY Supreme Court, Queens, Special Term, Part 49. Food-Court. June, 2010.

Clerk: "The People vs. Donald Haynes."

ADA: "Your honor, the Defendant was seen at a known TF den with a French Fry in his hand. The under cover officer infiltrated the kitchen, clearly identified himself as a member of the Food Police. He ordered everyone to drop the fries, and step away from the ketchup.

The Defendant was seen running out the backdoor and dropping French fries from his hand by members of the support team that had set up a perimeter outside the fry den."

Legal Aid Lawyer: "Judge, this is another of those fry-dropsy cases. How many people would drop a French fry in this day and age in front of a uniformed member of the food police? Clearly, the foodies raided the home, where my client was an invited guest, and without probable cause to believe their was a high-fat content dangerous food item (HFCDFI) conducted a stop and frisk. Also, may I remind the court about the recent sugar decision by Chief Justice Roberts, where he court affirmed that the government’s interest in food was limited by…"

Judge: " Counselor. I do not need to be reminded about the sugar case. I have heard the same argument twenty times a day for the last week since the case was decided. [To the Prosecutor] What are the People looking for here?"

ADA: "Judge, the defendant is clearly twenty pounds overweight. His HDL is below 100 while his LDL is a shocking 180. His total cholesterol level is 268, 3 points below habitual fat offender status. Also he may have an alias and might be on probation for eating at McDonalds with a suspended license. I recommend he remain in custody on an all fruit diet for the next twenty days during which the People will check his identity and his cholesterol will be lowered 10 points. "

Defendant: "I ain’t taking no more Lipitor, it gives me the runs. "

Judge: "Mr. Hayes, you might want to remain silent and let your attorney speak for you. She has a cholesterol level of 145 and her LDL is below 40, so you’re in very good hands."

Defendant: "She look too skinny for me, plus she tried to make me eat an apple before court."

Judge: "Keep it up Mr. Haynes and I’m going to start considering some brown rice sanctions. [To the Prosecutor] Priors?"

ADA: "Possession of a Pizza with whole cheese in 2009 and again in February of this year. A few fried fish charges which were mostly dropped, and uhho….a dealing in Velveeta for which he did some time."

Defendant: "They never caught that cheese on me man, it was with some dude I met."

ADA: " And he just happened to have some crackers with trans-fat on him at the time. Your honor, the People see this as an escalating pattern of eating and stand by their request."

Judge: "Ok everyone, enough. Mr. Haynes, If I let you out, will you promise to be here in twenty days?"

Defendant: " Yes your honor."

Judge: " And will you get that cholesterol down ten points by then?"

Defendant: "Yes Judge."

Judge: "He just might be a candidate for Judge Rosen’s French Fry Court. He has never been caught with fries before, and we might be able to nip this thing in the bud. But Mr Haynes, if I give you this chance, you better apply yourself. Judge Rosen will have you tested every day, plus therapy, and fruit salad twice a day. This is your last chance, so don’t blow it on some golden arches fry den, you hear me?"

Defendant: " Yes your honor. "

Judge: "Transfer to Fry Court. Next case."

Clerk: "People versus Sanchez, trafficking in Dairy Products, possession with intent to sell chicken McNuggetts, and running a fried food lab. "

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Rumpole, your posting is timely.

A Bonita Springs attorney was recently charged with Contempt of Court after she failed to show up for her client's trial. Diane Gonzalez agreed to enter a PTI program and the Judge required her to take a professionalism course, write a letter of apology to the court, make a $250 donation to charity and do 40 hours of community service.

On October 10th, Gonzalez should have been in court for the trial of her client. Her client had been charged with driving while his license was suspended, he was an HTO. Instead, the attorney was in South America on vacation. She had spoken to her client and thought that he had agreed to a plea agreement. So she had someone "cover" the trial for her. On the day of trial, the plea agreement fell through and the "coverage" attorney told the judge that they knew nothing about the case and that they were not prepared to take the case to trial. The Judge was outraged and stated that it would be considered malpractice for an attorney to try and rely on another lawyer to represent a client at trial.

If Gonzalez fulfills the terms of PTI, all charges will be dismissed against her. As a footnote to this story, Dade lawyers should note that the defendant eventually pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to serve four months in jail followed by one year of probation.

CAPTAIN OUT .....................

Monday, December 04, 2006


There is a growing cancer in criminal law.
It feeds on the corpus of a profession that was once populated by individual lawyers who defended those who were scorned by society. The rugged individualist who appeared to defend the accused was once a common sight in our profession. However, like the mom and pop hardware store, individual criminal defense lawyers are being driven out of business by the Home Depot equivalent of defense firms.

We are talking about the practice of COVERAGE.

COVERAGE means this: Take your average ticket defense law firm. With cases is almost every courthouse in Dade and Broward there is no way any single lawyer can appear everywhere at once. Nor is it economically possible for the Ticket Law Firm to employ the army of lawyers necessary to cover all their cases. So a system of coverage arose, where independent contractor-lawyers staked out their own territory like a pitbull guarding a bone. The Law Firm then gave the coverage lawyer the tickets for the week, and they were charged a small per/ticket fee.

There is nothing wrong with this system for tickets.

However, the system has spread to the point where we are told that it is now common for there to be several “coverage lawyers” for most misdemeanor calendars.

The principle is the same.
The Misdemeanor Law Firm floods the market with advertising and direct mailing to people who were arrested. The clients are charged a nominal fee for their case.
The Firm soon gets dozens of clients for every Monday trial calendar. Rather than defending the case in the normal manner, the Firm hires lawyers who will cover the misdemeanor cases for a per/case fee.

This system does a disservice to the client because the coverage lawyer does not have a file, does not have discovery, has not filed motions, and is generally unprepared to do anything other than seek a dismissal if the witnesses do not show, or enter a plea of guilty if the prosecution is ready for trial.


Nothing good can come of this. It demeans the practice of law, and it does not provide good low cost legal services to individuals who cannot otherwise afford it.
There is a marked difference between a prepared attorney and a warm body in a suit standing next to a client. For the most part, the coverage law firms and coverage attorneys only provide the latter.

The question is why are judges, mostly County Court Judges, allowing attorneys who have not filed a notice of appearance to appear in a case?

Now of course it is one thing to have a friend cover a case when a lawyer is ill or in trial. It is however, quite another matter to have a lawyer who is running a firm, and signing the pleadings to NEVER appear in court, and send lawyers that are not members of the firm and are not familiar with the cases.

Certain Bar Rules may apply here, including:

RULE 4-1.1 COMPETENCE: A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

We know that several lawyers make their living from coverage.
We are not out to get them or cost them a job.
There should be some sort of resolution here.
Perhaps the Bar should set some guidelines, including the requirement that all clients sign a retainer agreement that clearly specifies that the attorney they are hiring will not be the attorney who appears in court.

But as it now stands, lawyers who engage in mass mailing, and offer cheap legal services and hire coverage lawyers, are turning the practice of criminal law into COTSCO. Our profession is demeaned by this, and the clients are not getting decent legal services.

See You In Court, ducking curses from coverage attorneys.

Saturday, December 02, 2006



Because the SAO does not believe their attorneys (outside of Division Chiefs and Major Crimes) are mature and responsible enough to manage internet access at work, which is strangely similar to communist China and North Korea believing their citizens are not able to have unrestricted access to the web, we have waited to post this memo until the weekend, when the minions can peruse the pages of this blog.




Put down your SAO manual (pages 2-220: “I’ll have to ask my supervisor…I cannot do that without my supervisor’s approval….hey judge-only a supervisor can do that….bathroom break? I’ll check with a supervisor”) and read the following, because you young lawyers are really starting to get on our nerves.

Are we upset that you have been trained to be intransigent blocks of “no…no…no way..and no” ? No.

Is your limited ability to see the big picture getting on our nerves? Nope- we were once young and full of …umm…bright ideas to change the world.

What is really bothering us is the way you walk to court.

Every morning you troupe out of your confines on 14th street in little cabals of 3 or 4 and, pulling your boxes full of disorderly conducts, selling flowers without a license and possession of undersize Snook (“Put your hands in the air and step away from the Snook”) you traipse through some easement appurtenant, cross the street, and walk through the attorneys' parking lot on your way to floors 1,2,4,5, or 6.

Now we realize that the collection of Porches, Benzes, gleaming Corvettes, or tricked out Escalades may make your eyes glaze over as you struggle by on your once a month miniscule salary, but for those of us trying to get to Judge Murphy’s 8:30 soundings or Judge Pinero’s 8:00 am (!!) calendar,


Hyped up on Starbucks, the adrenaline of your first court appearances (“the state is providing discovery”) flowing through your as yet unclogged arteries (just wait) you don’t seem to notice that there is a line of cars crawling behind you because your crew is spread out three or four across blocking the entire lane of traffic in the parking lot.

Granted some of the more lascivious members of the defense bar may be enjoying the view and plotting ways to lure you into conspiring combing and confederating in flagrante delicto, but for those of us married or just too old to care anymore, please strut your aerobically toned bodies somewhere else.

We just want to park our rusted heap and schlump into court.

Now, back to your SAO manuals: ("I’ll have to check with a supervisor before I can get out of the middle of the road your honor, its our policy.")

See You In Court, and hopefully safely off to the side of the road in the parking lot.

PS. Sometimes we do sneak a peek.

Sunday is Funday.

The Chargers travel to Buffalo as LD meets WM (willis mcghee). Take the under 43 as the bad weather holds down scoring.

The cowboys venture into Jersey to play the Gints. Still don’t think those boys are fer real. Take the Giants, give three, and have some xtra xmas money by Sunday night.

Jax at Fins-: Fins -1 and under 38.

Jets at Green Bay under 42 all the way.

Seattle at Denver under 43 as the Jay Cutler era arrives in Mile High, via an extended running game.

Friday, December 01, 2006


A prosecutor of some sort has leveled some serious charges:

Anonymous said...
Rumpole: You worked so hard on the Brandeis post??? How do you explain the fact that much, if not all, of your post appeared in a New York Times article several weeks earlier??

Rumpole responds:

Plea of not guilty, demand discovery, 15 days for motions.

Typical hot head suspicious prosecutor.

1) Look at the top of this blog. See where it says: "Search this blog"? Type in "Brandeis" and see when our post about Brandeis first appeared.

Now Mr. Ashcroft, who posted first about the good Jutstice?

2) We readily admit to reading the NY Times. The Times reported on Brandeis' birthday, and we credited the Times in our post:

The New York Times recently remembered that as a young lawyer, Brandeis co-wrote an article for the Harvard Law Review, The Right to Privacy, that Roscoe Pound, dean of the law school, would later say did nothing less than add a chapter to our law.

The Defense rests.

See You In Court.

Ps: If we weren't so jet lagged and beat from flying home this week, we would have had something better to post than this cheap shot from some unimaginative knucklehead who has nothing better to do than cast unwarranted aspersions.

Of course, we are in the business of defending against those who cast such aspersions, so in retrospect, thank goodness for knuckleheads like our fair, suspicious, reader.