There is no truth to the rumor that Nonja was about to be fired from the Zoo for donating some of her toys to charity. No, that monkey business is confined to the corners of 12th street and 12th avenue.
JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG
Monday, December 31, 2007
There is no truth to the rumor that Nonja was about to be fired from the Zoo for donating some of her toys to charity. No, that monkey business is confined to the corners of 12th street and 12th avenue.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Therefore, it is with all due concern and respect for precedent and the high offices of our land, that after careful thought and consideration, we moderately propose the following possibility:
Click here and impeach this sonofabitch now!!!!
IMPEACH CHENEY NOW
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Go ahead and take the Tampa Bay Bucs at -2 over the hapless Carolina Panthers.
Over 39 in the Titans/Colts game.
Under 41 in Jax at Houston.
Tough week because so many games don't matter. It's kind of like pre-season.
You might want to take a flyer on our Fins -2.5 at home to close out the season as winners.
We also sort of like the over 41 in tonight's Giants/Cheaters match up.
And because we are scheduled to be away for a bit, let us wish you an early Happy New Years. We might not blog for a couple of days, or we might be hammering the SAO. It all depends on the Internet connection at our accommodations.
But fear not for comments, as we have that well under control; they should be up shortly after you make them.
See You Next Year?
The Herbert Walker III scandal at the SAO is disturbing for several reasons. First, as we all learned from President Nixon, it is the cover up that will get you.
What did the State Attorney know, and when did she know it?
Are we to believe that Walker’s sexual harassment and battery on employees and people he supervised, including unpaid law school interns was suddenly revealed to the State Attorneys Office on Friday December 28, 2007 at coincidentally the very same day the office decided to fire two other attorneys for unrelated conduct?
Some readers who posted in the comments section have said that Walkers lewd conduct was an open secret at the SAO for years, to the point where interns and attorneys and support staff went out of their way to avoid working with him.
As we asked the other day, is anyone reviewing Walker’s cases to see if his personal demons affected the fairness of how he treated female defendants or female defense attorneys?
And just how did someone who exhibited this type of behavior get at job, and manage to keep his job and get promoted to a supervisory position at the SAO? Is the State Attorney and her staff reviewing hiring and promotion policies. What about the clear indication that employees were frightened to come forward? What is being done to promote a safer and secure working environment at the SAO?
And finally and most importantly, why was Walker allowed to resign when arguably his conduct was criminal, when an intern who was promoting a charity at Safe Space- which is a shelter where women can find safety from people like Herbert Walker III- was fired. Doesn’t anybody at the SAO see the problem with that?
The Herald’s article with Walker’s comments is HERE
Beyond Walker’s ridiculous statement that he resigned solely to find a better paying job (he quit with no apparent job offers) is the statement from the State Attorney’s office’s employee relations lawyer that Walker was allowed to resign or face being fired over the allegations. (with employees like Walker, it is now obvious why the office needs an “employee relations lawyer”. Just wondering if the PDs office has an ”employee relations lawyer”?)
UPDATE: We received this anonymous comment which makes a world of sense to us:
Hey, Herald lady:You really missed the issues. Poor job.If Walker decided on a random Friday afternoon to quit -- where is he going? Did he have his new business cards? Did he give the required notice? Did he complete the transfer memos on his cases?I know the answers. You do not get to answer those questions when they are not asked. He was given only moments to decide to resign or be fired.
Or are to we conclude that the SAO has a policy where its one thing to touch a woman’s breast against her will, but it is quite a more serious matter to donate toys to a woman’s shelter? Is that really the message they want to send? Because as it sits now, the objective facts speak to the conclusion that the State Attorneys Office either doesn’t view sexual harassment and battery within their work place as all that serious, or they went to extreme measures to cover up Walker’s conduct.
Either way you look at it, something still smells over there on 12th Street and 12th Avenue. If Walker touched a prosecutor against her will in an offensive manner while she was at work, does that not constitute probable cause to begin an investigation into battery? The State Attorneys Office has a policy against letting any victim "drop charges". Doesn't the prosecutors office have a responsibility to initiate a criminal investigation when they learn of facts sufficient to constitute probable cause for a crime?
When the State Attorney can manage to squeeze in a few days work from her vacations in South America, we’d like some answers to these questions.
Friday, December 28, 2007
THE STATE ATTORNEYS OFFICE NEEDS TO REQUEST A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR BE ASSIGNED TO THIS CASE.
WHAT EFFORTS ARE BEING MADE TO REVIEW THE DECISIONS THIS PROSECUTOR MADE IN CONNECTION WITH PLEA OFFERS OR DECISIONS TO PROSECUTE BASED ON THE SEX OF THE DEFENDANT?
AS WE HAVE SAID IN THE PAST: THIS STINKS.
THE MIAMI HERALD REPORTS:
BY SUSANNAH A. NESMITH
Former Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Herbert E. Walker III resigned suddenly last week amid an investigation into complaints he sexually harassed at least five women in the office, according to documents released Friday.
At least two women accused Walker of touching them inappropriately and several said he would often comment on their appearances, saying they were ''sexy'' or even talking about specific physical attributes like their legs or breasts, according to complaints filed by the women.
The complaints were released by the state attorney's office in response to a public records request.
One woman complained that Walker told her she would be his girlfriend -- if it weren't for their working relationship -- then put his arm around her shoulders and touched her breast.
The woman said she moved away and he apologized, but that he did the same thing again at a later time.
Another woman said that Walker was so persistent in his advances she stopped wearing makeup to work ``so he would not look at her.''
''We don't tolerate any type of inappropriate behavior, whether it be sexual or issues of credibility,'' said Terry Chavez, the spokeswoman for the office.
Walker, who has been involved in several high-profile cases over the past few years, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Several of the women said they were afraid to come forward, fearing Walker, a 10-year-veteran of the office, would retaliate against them. One woman said she didn't feel comfortable coming forward because ``he touches everybody.''
Another woman confronted him and told him she felt his comments were inappropriate. But three days later, he ran his fingers through her hair while the two were talking in a hallway.
Office management received the first complaint on Dec. 14 and, within a few days, the other women came forward.
Walker, an avowed evangelical Christian, also sent one woman an e-mail about Jesus and the Bible, and then called her into his office and insisted she view the e-mail message with him.
The woman, who is not a practicing Christian, told him she ``wasn't into it.''
''Mr. Walker then said that his supervisory duties kept him from telling me what he truly felt about that,'' the woman told her superiors at the office. Later that day, he came into her office, closed the door and told her she was ``sexy.''
Rumpole says, lets see if we've got this correct: lie about why you were fired, and you get fired and threatened with a bar complaint.
Sexually assault and batter employees and create an actively hostile work environment to the point where women are afraid to show up for work, and the State Attorneys Office allows you to resign with nary a peep?
What in the name of Watergate is going on over there? These people need some sexual harassment counseling from the Broward Judiciary. Even Judge Ross from North of the Border is laughing today at our State Attorney.
More later. We're just too fed up right now by the lack of accountability from Kathy Rundle and Don Horn to write anything else until we calm down.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
From prosecutorial grudge breaks to new mutiny
Where prosecutors fired makes supervisors hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these supervisors
A trio of star crossed prosecutors are fired
Whose misadvenutred piteous acts
Doth with their firing do create Fernandez-Rundle’s strife.
With a tip of the hat to our favourite tragedy from our favourite Bard, we set out to examine three memos that constituted the SAO Christmas Eve Massacre.
Memo 1: Herbert Walker III’s resignation email:
“It is with great sadness that I regret to inform you of my recent decision and to resign from the office. … may you continue to prosper and excel and “fight the good fight” and “wage the good warfare” against crime in our community…the struggle for good and against evil is a reward that surpasses any mere monetary quantification."
Query: who in the name of the lord gave this man an ounce of power? Nowhere in his resignation email is there any hint of a mention of seeking justice. He was on a crusade- all were guilty, the other side was "evil", and he was the tip of the sword in “warfare”. This man would not have made it past the first round of interviews when Janet Reno was the State Attorney. And not only was he given the power to decide to seek a prison sentence, he was supervising other people? This is astounding and it boggles the mind that the State Attorneys Office could sit quietly on the side while he engaged in his "warfare" against defendants.
Memo Two: Don Horn fires Antonio H. Jimenez (or…how to cover your tracks in six easy steps).
This memo requires some careful reading: Horn meets with Jimenez and writes Jimenez lied to him about receiving approval from the assistant chief of the career criminal/robbery unit to plead a case below the guidelines. Horn writes that Jimenez conceded to him that he misrepresented the facts to him and to the assistant chief. Then Horn writes: “Mr. Jimenez’s explanation for the below guidelines plea was that he had, in fact, obtained approval for the plea from the assistant chief of career criminal.”
Lets stop right there: Horn writes that Jimenez admitted to him that he lied. Then Horn writes that Jimenez defended his actions by saying he had approval, which Horn says in the memo, is a lie. Something just doesn’t sit right with that explanation. Either Jimenez admitted to lying or he defended his actions and Horn believes he lied. You cannot have it both ways (unless you are a City of Miami Police officer taking a confession and the tape recorder conveniently fails.)
Now it really gets strange. Horn writes: Finally, after our meeting, Mr. Jimenez represented to certain of his co-workers that he was terminated due to the Assistant Chief Of Career Criminal/Robbery division misrepresenting facts to me-which is a lie. Accordingly, because Mr. Jimenez…made representations to one of his superiors and co-workers… his employment was immediately terminated.”
Let us translate: Jimenez was fired because he lied to Horn, and then told his co-workers he was fired because an assistant chief lied- and because Jimenez lied to his co-workers about why he was fired- Horn... .uhh..fired him. Again. Because in the State Attorneys Office, it is an offense punishable by firing to lie about why you were fired. Get it?
That’s the logic of a Soviet Commissar protecting his own inadequate communist butt. Something really stinks about this.
The State Attorneys Spokesperson was quoted in the Herald as stating the Office had not yet decided whether to file bar charges against Jimenez. Herbert Walker is allegedly accused of sexual harassment, and he resigns without a peep. But lie about why you were fired (which gets you fired) and they want to disbar you?
Someone please wake us from this nightmare, because we are getting a headache. These are just not believable actions and statements from individuals who are supposed to hold the power of seeking the death penalty.
Memo Three: The Mills Francis Massacre.
Don Horn fires, get this, an INTERN, while the prosecutors in the division are suspended. Why? Because, as Horn writes:
"Mr. Zuniga’s failure to provide complete information, his failure to inform any superior regarding the Court’s intended actions, and his failure in being forthright and clear about what occurred in court is intolerable."
If being “forthright and clear” is a prerequisite to being a prosecutor, and having just read two of his memos, umm…perhaps it’s time for Mr. Horn to go back to private practice.
But more troubling is the firing of an intern- an intern- for failing to inform his supervisors regarding the court’s intended actions. Just where in the world were these supervisors? Were they all in meetings devising circular strategies to fire people? Was this young man fired because his supervisors were shocked! Shocked ! to find out what Judge Mills-Francis was doing? (We are citing here to the scene in Casablanca where the prefect shuts down Rick’s casino because he is :"shocked, shocked to find there is gambling here” just as an employee hands him his roulette winnings.)
You want to can this kid, then can him. But don’t blame him for not telling people who have the responsibility to monitor this kid to begin with. As we have stated before, it is a violation of the rules of professional responsibility for lawyers to not adequately monitor interns, especially interns who are in court acting on behalf of the people of the State of Florida.
This is day two of the State Attorneys Office’s invocation of their right to remain silent and not explain why Herbert Walker III, resigned with “great sadness.”
The people want to know- what did he do? What was he accused of? What did the State Attorney know, and when did she know it?
As to Jimenez and The Intern, you use your own judgment. Are you satisfied with what happened here, and with Horn’s memos explaining the incidents?
We are not.
See You in court, where at least when we say something, we mean it.
PS: This is our 801st post. Something tells us some people would have prefered we call it a career at 800.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Rumpole says: This was a prosecutor who tinged his prosecutions with a religious zeal that concerned many defense attorneys. His resignation letter confirms his "black/white" view of what we do, and also appears to confirm that the resignation was not his idea. The article by Ms. Nesmith quotes SAO Spokesperson Terry Chavez (no more handling mental health issues Terry?) as saying the SAO will comment at a a later time as to why Walker resigned.
Chavez is quoted by Ms. Nesmith as saying that ASA Jimenez was fired for misrepresenting that he obtained a victim's approval for a plea.
Rumpole says: rumours in the SAO persist that all that glitters may not be gold in the Jimenez matter.
End of Update: Here is the original post:
Today a palpable sense of fear and loathing in Miami hangs in the Dade County State Attorneys' Office. Prosecutors walk with a blank stare, heads hanging low. Any requests that they talk about what has just happened at their office is met with a polite "no comment" followed by a whispered "I don't want to lose my job too."
Such is life under a totalitarian regime where "citizens" are routinely whisked away in the dead of night never to be seen again. Morale is at the lowest point possible in the Dade State Attorneys Office.
Rumpole has confirmed the following so far:
ASA Herb Walker "was asked to resign". A controversial Division Chief who was celebrating a guilty verdict last Thursday, Walker resigned on Friday. The reason he was asked to resign is allegedly there were allegations made against against him of sexual harassment. Nothing has been proven.
ASA Antonio Jimenez was fired. The reason allegedly has to do with an allegation regarding his authority to offer a plea in a career criminal case. Word from other prosecutors and the defense bar is that Tony Jimenez was well regarded and was a good prosecutor and there is a palpable sense of outrage that he was fired. Some have whispered that he is the fall guy for a case he had authority to resolve.
A female secretary was fired for "sexual harassment."
Rumpole ponders: What is it about the State Attorneys office that is engendering these feelings of sexual frustration? Is it the proximity to South Beach and the bevy of models that sashay down the street apparently out of reach for the common prosecutor and his or her meager salary? Something is causing prosecutors and employees to become sexually frustrated to the point where they take it out on their colleagues. Perhaps an office wide trip to TOOTSIES is in order. (A quick perusal of their website reveals that "Honey de la Cruz" is appearing all this week. Ok. It wasn't a "quick" perusal.) Apparently a trip entitles you to spin the "wheel of friction" which may just be all that some members of the SAO need to ease their "frustrations."
THE JUDGE MILLS FRANCIS ASA MASSACRE:
This is the worst news of all. Apparently acting in the Christmas spirit, there was a Toys For Tots program that Judge Mills Francis was helping. Judge Ward among other criminal and civil Judges was also participating in a Toys collection program.
Out of this Toys For Tots Program, the State Attorneys office has FIRED one prosecutor, suspended without pay three to five prosecutors, and re-assigned all the prosecutors who were previously in Judge Mills Francis Division.
We did not reach State Attorney Fernandle for a quote, so we imagine she would say this:
"Merry Christmas, you're fired. Toys for Tots? Bah, humbug. "
Rumpole fumes: This is County Court. 90% of the cases deal with selling flowers without a license, possession of an undersized snook, or driving without glasses. All these cases and more are routinely dismissed.
The State Attorneys Office is going to have to offer some explanations as to why they are abusing their county court employees in this manner.
Lets not forget that the prosecutors in County Court are new attorneys. They need close supervision to help them learn where to draw the line. The Florida Bar requires that senior attorneys supervise and mentor junior attorneys who work for them. The Bar has held senior lawyers responsible for not supervising new lawyers.
If the State Attorneys Office saw fit to fire a prosecutor, was his supervisor disciplined? What if anything happened to the Chief Of County Court? Or do the supervisors at the State Attorneys Office not believe that the buck stops with them? Are they not professional enough to step forward and explain why there was a lack of supervision that caused this young prosecutor to make a mis-step that has ended his career?
This is the same Office that Janet Reno used to run. When Ms. Reno was Attorney General and Waco exploded, she went to Congress and took full responsibility. Where is the same ethics and character in the current State Attorneys Office?
Let us be blunt: this stinks. We demand an explanation.
See You In Court.
The incident was called the Saturday Night Massacre and it was arguably the greatest Constitutional Crisis this nation has ever faced ( until the unfortunate day the names Bush and Cheney meant something.)
Now comes word that on late Friday afternoon, December 21, 2007, came an unprecedented house cleaning at the State Attorneys Office as upwards of five assistant state attorneys and one secretary have been reported fired (or asked to resign) for indiscretions ranging from nolle prossing cases in county court in exchange for donations to a court run Toys for Tots program, to the more nefarious and indefensible accusations of sexual harassment.
We humbly nominate this black day in SAO history to be forever known as the Christmas Eve Massacre, if in fact this occurred.
We do not have independent and verifiable proof of the incident. We leave that to the more journalistically credentialed individuals (like our own favourtie Oh Susannah). All we have are persistent rumors. The blog is back on moderation and we request that anyone who has proof email it to us.
Until then, we shall be monitoring the situation.
Monday, December 24, 2007
UPDATED: This may just be the most wonderful story of 2007.
A US Solider in Iraq, a single man, meets, befriends, and finally adopts a
young Iraqi boy who has cerebral palsy and is living in an orphanage.
The Solider is Capt. Scott Southworth, and he is what being an American is all about.
CLICK HERE for the most heartwarming story of 2007, and one of the best things we have ever heard of one human being doing for another.
TRACK SANTA: Click here for Rumpole's (semi) exclusive contract with the North American Air defense Command to track Santa.
And finally, this news which we first read on the Broward Blog:
The Lakota Indian tribe, who are decedents from Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, and whose territory includes Nebraska, the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming, has announced "We are no longer citizens Of the United States."
The story is HERE and the tribe announced that it would be issuing passports, driver's licenses, and that its citizens would live tax free.
Rumpole says: Sign us up. We're in.
And for all of our religious and Christian readers, we leave you with this message of peace:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
Happy Holidays. See You Wednesday.
We have often said we do not always agree with the ideals of the author, however, it takes something (and we're just not sure what) to send this pleading to the Florida Supreme Court with your Bar license on the line.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
THE FLORIDA BAR,
v. Case Numbers SC 07 - 80 and 07- 354
JOHN B. THOMPSON,
RESPONDENT’S VERIFIED MOTION TO VACATE THIS COURT’S
TWO ORDERS ON THE BASIS OF THE FLORID BAR’S FRAUD
COMES NOW respondent, John B. Thompson, hereinafter Thompson, on his own behalf, and moves this court, pursuant to Rule 1.540, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, to vacate its two orders entered, respectively, on January 24, 2007, and March 7, 2007, directing Miami-Dade Circuit Court Chief Judge Farina to appoint a referee in each of these “disciplinary” actions, on the basis of The Florida Bar’s fraud, stating:
Thompson, because he is a lawyer, has been trained by our profession to communicate with ten words when one will do and to hide truth in polite euphemisms. This training, as to Thompson, has been only partly effectual. In 1914, the term “legalese” was first used to identify the problem. Legalese obfuscates, making the meaning of the writer difficult for the reader to understand. Thompson apologizes, as his apparent inability to communicate one simple fact to this Honorable Court is the only possible explanation for the Court’s inability to comprehend what should be the patent illegitimacy of these two disciplinary actions that were just tried before Referee Tunis.
Therefore, just as one of our nation’s Founders, John Hancock, wrote large his name on the Declaration of Independence so that “King George III could see it without his spectacles,” Thompson in that same fine historical tradition resorts to clear, large images herein, as words alone have apparently obscured rather than illuminated The Florida Bar’s fraud which he has repeatedly tried to explain.
American songwriter Paul Simon
wrote and performed the song “Kodachrome”
and notes “When I look back on all the crap [imaged withheld] I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.” The analysis explaining the undersigned lawyer’s or any lawyer’s lack of communicative clarity, applies to law school, times ten. This must explain Thompson’s inability to convey to this court the initial, fatal flaw in this prosecution. As the “Man with No Eyes” said in : “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Here, then, is a renewed attempt to communicate a problem that Thompson has not made clear but which should now be so clear with this filing that even
could see it.
The court knows this. Thompson need not explain why this is so. Thompson’s designated reviewer from the time the first SLAPP Bar complaint was filed against him in August 2004 by a porn industry lawyer was Bar Governor Benedict P. Kuehne .
Mr. Kuehne, while guaranteeing the “fairness” of the Bar proceedings against Thompson, received a target letter from the United States Department of Justice alleging that Mr. Kuehne had laundered Medellin cocaine cartel money .
The Bar, knowing this, never disclosed this to Thompson, and in its fraudulent withholding of this information denied Thompson the state equivalent of a McLain hearing by which Thompson would have been apprised that there just might be a problem with the “fairness” of proceedings against him when overseen by an alleged thief (apologies to Greenberg Traurig and Barry Richard) .
The video game company
footing the bill for the SLAPP Bar assault upon Thompson, in violation of the Preamble to Section 4 of our Bar Rules, is Take-Two Interactive Software which has sold millions of units of the Mature-rated to minors. Take-Two has more money to throw around than the Medellin cartel. Whether Take-Two got to Mr. Kuehne or not, Thompson was entitled to a McLain hearing with a DOJ-alleged crook presiding over proceedings that are designed to end the law career of the video game industry’s most successful and most hated critic, Jack Thompson. Take-Two’s targeting of Thompson began when Ed Bradley personally invited Thompson to return to CBS’ 60 Minutes after Thompson had first appeared thereon six years earlier.
The DBR’s predecessor, the Miami Review, similarly wrote an article in 1992 about Thompson bearing the headline
Thompson has no problem with enduring a fair disciplinary process. He has not had it, and no Justice sitting on this High Court could rationally think fair this Ben Kuehne-led high-tech lynching of an uppity Christian .
These “disciplinary proceedings” are supposed to be like
prediction in Lathrop v. Donohue, 367 U.S. 820 (1961), that integrated state bars, like Florida’s, would eventually become “goose-stepping brigades.”
The pattern of this legislation is regimentation.
WHEREFORE, respondent Thompson moves this court to vacate its two orders directing Judge Farina to appoint a referee to preside over these matters. Those two orders were procured by The Bar’s fraud. .. (edited by Rumpole because we lost the picture associated with a point here.)
Either this Florida Supreme Court will do the right thing and vacate these two Kuehne-procured orders which would not have been entered but for Ben Keuhne, and give Thompson, for the first time, a fair review of this regulatory abortion [picture withheld- (this is Thompson's own comment not ours)]...
Respondent Thompson hopes that he has finally been clear. If he has, somehow, not been clear with this children’s picture book for adults, then this Honorable Court should read Thompson’s book about how this Bar and this Court unsuccessfully tried to pathologize his Christian faith the first time in 1992:
I SOLEMNLY AFFIRM, under oath, and under penalty of perjury, that the foregoing facts are true, correct, and complete, so help me God.
I HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing has been mailed this December 22, 2007, to Bar prosecutor Sheila Tuma, The Florida Bar, Orlando, Florida, and emailed to every single Bar Governor, as well as to The Bar’s designated blogger/libeler/public relations hit man/John Berry wannabe Barnaby Min.
JOHN B. THOMPSON, Attorney
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Yes, today our Miami Dolphins, riding a winning streak, rumble into Bahstan to take on the New England Cheaters. The Cheaters are once again 22 point favorites. Take the Fins -22 and watch the under 44 if the weather is bad in NE.
We like the Over 40 in the Redskin/Viking match up indoors in Minnesota. The Vikes are also worth a look at -6.5
The Cleveland Browns, who still could win their division if the Steelers lose and they win next week, roll into Cincinnati today to face the hapless Bungles. The Over 43 looks very nice here.
The Packers are 9 Point "Favreorites" on the road in Chicago against Da Bears. We like the 9, but our play is the money line. +320 Da Bears. Lay a hundred, if the Da Bears win outright, collect enough for a a few IPODS this Xmas Eve.
And finally, a rare Monday Night Football pick for us. The Denver Broncos go to San Diego to play the resurgent Chargers on a Christmas Eve edition of MNF. We like the over 47.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
“If you win you win. If you lose, you still win.”
The Federal Government and their henchmen prosecutors have changed this slightly:
“If you lose, you lose. If you win, you still lose.”
Scene: US District Court, Southern District of Florida.
Dramatis Personae: Several nameless faceless grey bureaucrats stalking the halls of “justice”; Lyglenson Lemorin-Defendant;
A jury acquits a lawful US resident who has no prior criminal record, has lived in the US for over twenty years, and has a wife and children at a home in South Florida.
What does the US government do to this Defendant who had a trial in the United States? Yes- these United States, about which our president travels the world extolling the virtues of freedom, democracy, due process, trial by jury, presumption of innocence; the bill of rights; this wonderful government of ours throws this INNOCENT man back into custody and in the dark of night drags him off to some concentration camp in Georgia, to await removal for being something he was just acquitted of.
The United States: land of the free- so long as the federal prosecutors don’t come after you. Then it’s the land of Soviet Russia, when the government can and will do any damn thing it wants to you, and there is nothing you can do about it.
No wonder why our message extolling the wonders of a free democracy is falling on deaf ears around the world: it’s a damn lie and everyone knows it.
It makes us sick and embarrassed to be an American when our government acts no better than a group of jackbooted SS Storm Troopers:
(Jury: "We find Lyglenson Lemorin Not Guilty;
Government SS Thug 1: "Can they do that? Is not guilty allowed? Should we arrest the jury?
Government SS Thug 2: "Not yet. First grab Lemorin and take him to...hmm...that camp in Georgia. And do it in the middle of the night."
Government SS Thug 1: "The camp we call Bergen-Belsen?"
Government SS Thug 2: "Yeah that one. But don't let the press hear the nickname.")
The Herald article is here: LEMORIN - make sure you have a barf bag when you read it.
It occurs to us that if safety is the concern here- because despite what the jury said, apparently the entire safety of the free world hangs in the balance of keeping a slight and poorly educated Haitian day laborer in custody, then perhaps we should start with a top to bottom review of the entire federal government.
Ask any County Court DUI prosecutor the statistics on impaired drivers. Apparently for an individual to get arrested once, he or she must have driven impaired more than 25 times. For a second DUI arrest the statistics are higher and the probability is that they will continue driving impaired, imperiling the lives and safety of anyone who drives.
The President of the United States has one DUI conviction and the Vice President has two. That’s three within the top layer of the executive branch.
Want to make the country safer? Remove these two dangerous individuals to another country. After all, Mr. Lemorin does not have a criminal record, while they do.
See You In Court, where the great hypocrisy of this country being a democracy that protects the due process rights of its citizens becomes more and more transparent day after day.
Coming Monday: The Lawyer who represented Lemorin and the Federal Government’s new “three acquittals and you’re out law.” The dangers of getting a not guilty in Federal Court.
PS: And just so it is very clear about how upset everyone ( and besides the defense team, we mean EVERYONE) is about the acquittal and hung jury in this matter. The Court has agreed to the government's request to keep the next jury anonymous. Nothing like injecting a little more fear into a terrorism trial the government can't otherwise win.
Friday, December 21, 2007
See ya....wouldn't want to be ya.
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:NEW PUBLIC DEFENDER SYSTEM DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Criminal Defense Lawyers Win Suit Against Governor and Legislators. TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (December 21, 2007)
Only one day after hearing legal arguments on the issue, Circuit Judge P. Kevin Davey issued a comprehensive opinion yesterday striking down Florida Law 2007-62. The law was passed in July in an attempt to create new, state-run conflict public defender offices in five regions throughout Florida to handle criminal cases from which the elected Public Defender was obligated to withdraw due to ethical conflict. In his opinion, Davey declared the law to be, “...an attempt to amend the [Florida] Constitution by legislative fiat.”
“FACDL will also immediately begin contacting the Chief Judges of each Circuit to ensure that no person currently facing charges is adversely affected by the unconstitutionality of SB 1088.”
To read the entire order from Circuit Judge Davey regarding this ruling, go to FACDL
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Nothing's going on.
The phones in the office are dead.
Without any reason to go to court, there is nothing to stimulate our imagination for blogging.
Therefore, as we previously have threatened, we shall re-post some of our favourite posts and invite new comments.
The first of these repeats is the TRIAL LAWYERS'S BILL OF RIGHTS.
Originally posted January 1, 2006, but just as relevant today.
HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Our favorite Bard wrote “It is the purpose that makes strong the vow.”
Here’s an idea that’s been on our minds for a while:
TRIAL LAWYERS' BILL OF RIGHTS.
The Trial Lawyer needs protection from their biggest enemy.
The one entity that can with a wave of the hand completely screw up years of hard work and preparation.We are speaking of course of the Judiciary, some of whom are our wonderful Robed Readers.
Herewith [ and we strongly invite submissions] is our Trial Lawyers Bill of Rights:
A TRIAL LAWYER SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT
1) TO BE FREE FROM BEING EMBARRASSED AND CHEWED OUT IN FRONT OF OUR CLIENT.
We know we say and do stupid things from time to time. But Judges have chambers- and there’s sidebar. We have enough troubles with our clients without having to deal with them after a Judge has just dressed us down for something in court. [ Half the time the judge is upset because we’re late. Well, usually we’re late because we just spent 45 minutes doing an arraignment in front of the Governor's latest new nominee to the bench. ] Does Judicial demeanor matter? Ask Judge Larry Schwartz.
2) TO AT LEAST ONE WEEK AFTER RETURNING FROM VACATION BEFORE STARTING TRIAL.
This one really frosts our ass a little bit. We have an important trial. And when the Judge suggests a date, we tell the Judge we have an FACDL Ski trip for that week. So the Judge gives us a big smile and tells us that sure, she’ll accommodate our vacation, “after all , lawyers are entitled to a vacation as well.”
And then she sets the trial for the Monday after we return that Sunday.
Hey- wake up!
Don’t you know what’s involved in a trial? Don’t you realize that no matter how well an attorney plans and prepares that there are literally dozens of last minute problems that spring up?No. We can’t fly across the country Sunday night, stagger home at 1:00 am and be fresh as a daisy and ready to go to trial Monday morning. If Judges don’t want us to believe that the reason the majority of them became Judges is because they couldn’t try a case, then show some common sense and give us at least a week from retuning from a trip before trial. This may surprise some of you future Supreme Court nominees, but other than the really successful or truly awful lawyers, the rest of us have more cases than the one case clogging up your precious docket. We have clients that want to see us, employees that need guidance and your equally dense colleagues who want us to try a case in their division on the day we return from vacation.
Sometimes, and we really mean this, we wonder how some of you even got into law school.
3) THE RIGHT TO AS MUCH TIME AS WE NEED IN VOIRE DIRE.
First of all, many lawyers who get stuck in a trial don’t try a lot of cases and couldn’t conduct a good voire dire with Perry Mason sitting with them as second chair. So you needn’t worry about them taking too much time. They ask a few moronic questions about which section of the Herald the juror’s husband reads, and then they stagger back to their table sweating bullets and grab their law school text on opening statements to see what to do next. For the rest of us, the ones who devote time and energy to our craft, a good voire dire is crucial. It is the most important part of the trial.We are not asking you to give us a long leash. Keep the leash short. But as long as we’re asking the right types of questions, then our clients (be it a defendant or the people of the state of Florida) are getting their moneys worth from the advocate they hired. Just leave us alone and let us do our job. Surprisingly, when that happens, the Jury system works just fine.
You want a short voire dire? Get an appointment to the Federal Bench.
4) THE RIGHT TO BEGIN AND END THE TRIAL AT A DECENT HOUR:
We see this with a lot of new Judges, especially in County Court. Trying to establish some sort of macho reputation, they work until 11 PM and then send the jury out at midnight.What are you people thinking?Would you want the most important day of your life in the hands of someone who has been in the Justice Building since 8 AM making a decision about your life some 16 hours later?What’s so difficult about coming back the next day?
That’s a good start. We have cast our bread upon the waters. Lets see what happens next.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
This story was almost too tragic to contemplate when it was initially reported.
Edward Babington Special Needs Trust
Edward Alex Babington is the 14 year old autistic boy recently released from the hospital after being stabbed in both eyes, allegedly by his aunt. He has lost sight permanently in one eye, and only time will tell if he recovers sight in the remaining eye.The Association for Retarded Citizens (The Arc), has set up the Edward Babington Third Party Special Needs Trust Fund, at Sun Trust Bank, to benefit the child. Donations can be made through The Arc by calling 305-759-8500, ext. 101, or by email through The Arc's contact person Tonja Parra, at tonjap@ARCsofla.org
This information comes through attorney Sean Conway, who represents the child's mother. Please watch Channel 4 at six and eleven tonight, to learn more on how you can help the Babington family.
FROM THE SUN SENTINEL
By Jerome Burdi Sun-Sentinel.com
9:17 AM EST, December 18, 2007
A Miami-Dade Police Department officer was arrested for driving under the influence in a cruiser about 6:15 p.m. Monday west of West Palm Beach on Florida's Turnpike, the Florida Highway Patrol said.The officer, Jeffrey Janish, 51, was in uniform and was in his police car headed north as he swerved from lane to lane while speeding, officials said.Troopers pulled Janish, a 24-year veteran of Miami-Dade police, over north of Okeechobee Boulevard, took possession of the cruiser and arrested him, said FHP Lt. Michael Brown. According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office booking blotter Janish's blood alcohol level was between .226 and .239, about three times the legal level of .08
Then we received a crudely worded comment about attorneys who file notice of expirations at this time of year, when the Christmas and New Year holidays leave precious few days to try the case within the 15 day speedy trial recapture window under Rule 3.191 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Perhaps as we approach the time when New Year’s resolutions are often contemplated, it might be a good time to decide if we need to add ethics to our annual attempt to better ourselves.
Lets start with the speedy trial question. Is it ethical to request a trial or dismissal during the holiday period when many Judges are on vacation and there are few if any jurors in the building?
Absolutely. We don’t read any holiday exception into the speedy rule. If the attorney is ready for trial, the client is available, then either find a judge and a jury or discharge the defendant. We don’t see Judges automatically continuing cases for the Christmas holiday. There are a plethora of Federal trials going on right now and at least one major murder case being tried in the REGJB. Using the calendar to assist a client is nothing but good lawyering. It’s called strategy.
A more difficult question is when zealous representation pushes an attorney to their ethical boundaries.
Just how far is too far?
The simple answer is that anything up to the line but not beyond it is acceptable behavior for a criminal defense attorney. But the more sophisticated answer is that there may be more than one way to skin a cat or prosecution witness.
We’d like to hear your stories from the ethical wilderness. How close have you ever pushed the edge of the envelope, to quote Tom Wolfe quoting those who had the “right stuff”.
And since this is the REGJB blog and not a criminal defense blog, “what say you state?”
In the final analysis; at the end of the day when all is said and done, whom do you (the prosecutor) respect more: The criminal defense attorney who takes the case to edge and secures a victory for his/her client, or the one who plays it safe to protect their reputation? Who would you want defending you or a family member?
See you in court, where thankfully these matters do not arise often in disorderly intoxication cases.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Maybe somebody should talk to Uncle Scrooge Farina? You would think his treatment of Clerk Cratchit would merit some intervention.
Chief Judge (CJ): Who is that?
JCP: I am the Judge of Christmas past.
JCP: Yes it is I, retired Judge Rick Margolius.
CJ: I thought you were in Panama?
JCP: I am, but you are asleep, and this is a parody, so stop being so damn technical for once in your life and play along, will you?
JCP: Look- look at all those poor lawyers picking juries and trying cases on Christmas Eve. Look- there is former Judge Goodhart giving that Judge a paper bag,
CJ: Isn’t that nice? Although we don’t allow Christmas presents these days.
JCP: That’s not a present. That’s a bribe so he won’t have to work on Christmas Eve. Don’t you remember, in Courtbroom Goodhart was the bagman? Now look, see that poor Public Defender? She doesn’t earn enough to pay that Judge, so she has to pick a jury on Christmas Eve, all because you won’t close the courts.
CJ: Wait a second. That’s Gelber’s courtroom. He never tried any cases.
JCP: Work with me here. This is a fable designed to illustrate certain concepts. Plus, I can write about Gelber accepting bribes, because he was convicted of it.
CJ: It is kind of sad. I never realized what was going on.
JCP: You should have spent more time in criminal court.
CJ:Yeah, but have you seen my new office at the Family Court house? Once you fly first class, its too hard to go back to coach.
JCP:I’m outta here.
(fade to a cloudy interlude)
CJ: Who are you?
JCN: I am the Judge of Christmas present. (JCN for Judge of Christmas Now)
CJ: But who are you?
JCN: Well I can’t really say. Have you seen what the Bar’s doing to Conway in Broward?
JCN:Look at that –
CJ: Oh my word! That’s a 98 page felony calendar! Those poor PD’s and ASA’s.
JCN: And that’s what will be happening next Monday.
CJ: Why is that calendar so long?
JCN:Don’t you read the blog? The lawyers make fun of this Judge’s inability to handle his calendar. Actually, this calendar is short by his standards.
CJ: And now he’s going to do a motion to suppress? But he hasn’t finished arraignments. And look- that lawyer just has one arraignment and needs to get home. He won’t call him out of turn before the motion! Oh, stop it , stop it. I can’t bear to look. What can I do?
JCN: Well, for one you can send Schumacher to take over his calendar. He moves fast and calls anyone out of turn the second you walk into his courtroom. Now I have to go….
(fade to cloudy interlude)
CJ:Who are you?
JCF: I am the Judge of Christmas future.
CJ: David Pecki…?
JCF: Shhssh…don’t blow it. I really think this is my time. I gotta get one of those two slots. But never mind me. Look…This is Christmas next year.
CJ: Christmas is the middle of the week. Why…it's that same Judge as before.
JCF: Well, he’s trying to. But as you can see, he’s not very efficient with his time. Look at all those potential jurors just sitting there on Christmas Eve. And that same PD.She’s missing her second Christmas in a row with her family.
CJ: I can’t take it anymore. Stop it. Stop it. What can I do?.
JCF: Wait- look at this:
This is a ceremony in 2015. There is a new Chief Judge. And look, there is a plaque honoring you.
CJ: Why are they placing it in the Men's Room of Hialeah Branch Court? And that’s not a plaque, its just a piece of paper. And it’s torn. Why are they so angry at me?
JCF: Because you made them all work during Christmas.
CJ: Oh, I can’t bear a future like that. Judge King got a courthouse named after him. All I get is a piece of paper in a Hialeah Men’s room? What can I do?
JCF: During the week of Christmas, you can open just one or two divisions in criminal court staffed by retired volunteer Judges to handle arraignments and emergency motions. And you can let everyone else have the week off.
“Wake up. Wake up.”
CJ: Huh. What? Oh my. I just had the worst dream. Rick Margolius was in it. And so was Gelber and Goodhart. And those calendars on Christmas Eve and the Men's room in Hialeah had my name on it. It was horrible. I’m going to change everything.
"Many laughed to see this alteration in him, but he let them laugh and little heeded them. His own heart laughed and that was quite enough for him. And it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge."
Monday, December 17, 2007
Query re: The Bar and Broward Attorney Sean Conway: Should there be any regulatory supervision over what an attorney says about a Judge? Or should it just be a free for all?
Attorneys (are supposed to) occupy a special place in our society. In our practice we are very judicious about what we say to our clients about judges assigned to their case. The door swings both ways on this. A client who has a tough case assigned to a Judge that we believe is very fair and not afraid to grant a motion despite the consequences, may still well end up with a poor result (although hiring us is a step in the right direction.).
Similarly, a client with what appears to be an easy case may have a Judge who we believe is prosecution oriented to the extent they will ignore favorable case law if at all possible.
In those cases we believe, unless the circumstances are extreme, we have a responsibility to not disparage the justice system and try our best and let the client see the outcome in court. However, the Aleman scenario in Broward may well be that extreme situation. We would not have resulted to crass name calling on a blog (far be it from us to do that!). But we would have expressed an unfavorable opinion to the client about the Judge's policy of what we view as pure extortion in the misguided attempt to get clients to waive their rights to speedy trial by threatening them with a trial before their counsel had time to prepare.
But this analysis goes a step further. Assume the Bar exonerated Conway's statements because of Aleman's conduct. The result is a gutting of the Bar's prohibition regarding derogatory comments about Judges. Any Judge who had a case reversed on appeal would be fair game for the worst possible comments about their ability (hmm...we could be on to something here) and any attorney challenged by the Bar would have a sure-fire defense.
Questions of such magnitude are better suited for the wise and learned legislature and experienced Judges.
Ok. We shall stop joking. The serious issue is that unless we as attorneys and Bar members resolve this issue together with the Judiciary, we will have an answer forced upon us by yahoo politicians who never pass up an opportunity to disparage attorneys, especially criminal defense attorneys, to get curry favor with voters.
See You In Court, where we go out of our way to heap tons 'o' praise upon our learned and distinguished robed readers.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
It was 3rd and 8, with 8:30 remaining in overtime as Cleo Lemon coolly stepped to the line and surveyed the vaunted Baltimore Ravens defense lined up before him.
Earlier, the Dolphins had surrendered a last second field goal in regulation - stopping the Ravens at the one foot line with 12 seconds left to play.
Then in overtime, Ohio State Phenom rookie QB Troy Smith marched the Ravens to the Dolphins 26 yard line. Ravens kicker Matt Stover, who was 5 for 5 in overtime field goals confidently strode out on to the field to kick the 44 yard game winner.
But today in the rain of Miami, it was a day for aquatic mammals and not birds, as the bad snap on the attempt caused the field goal to drift wide left, giving the Dolphins a sliver of hope for the game and the season.
The offense ran on to the field with a determined glint in their eye. It was now or never.
1st and ten from the 34 was a running play for a loss of three yards.
2nd and 13 saw Cleo Lemon scramble away from the blitzing Ravens for a 5 yard pick up.
And so with 8:34 left to play, on third down and eight, the fickle fingers of fate and history intertwined just the right way for our Dolphins.
The Ravens opened with 6 defensive backs.
The Dolphins countered with 4 wide receivers and Lemon in the shotgun.
Greg Camarillo, number 83 was in the slot to the right. Discarded by the San Diego Chargers earlier in the year, Miami had become his hope for redemption in the NFL. Camarillio returned the favor.
Lemon sent him into motion.
The ball was snapped and Lemon dropped back to pass. At about the Dolphins' 47 yard line a bullet of a pass hit Camarillo right between the 8 and the 3 and suddenly there was one man standing between the Dolphins and the trash pile of an inglorious 0-16 season and history.
The race went to the swift today as Camarillo scored on a 64 yard pass play, which just happened to be both Camarillo's first touchdown reception of his career and the longest play from scrimmage for the Dolphins this year.
What followed was a re-affirmation of love and faith between hopeful fans and tired but unbowed players. There was a celebration in the end zone, along with jubilation in the stands that spread all the way up to the owners box, where television cameras caught Wayne Huizenga with more than a tear in his eye.
Come what may, the Dolphins are no longer losers this year.