Wednesday, May 28, 2008


(updated below and here: Sad news reaches us, apparently confirmed, that longtime REGJB Lawyer Stuart Mishkin has passed away. Stuart was a former prosecutor, and good friend to many lawyers, court reporters, Judges, and court staff.
Stuart Miskin passed away after a long brave fight. Those of you who were Stuart's friends, knew that at least two years ago, despite a grim diagnosis, Stuart kept working and surprised his doctors. Stuart Mishkin was part of a different era. He was a lawyer when Miami was changing from a sleepy southern tourist town, to the high powered, cocaine fueled, exploding metropolis of the "Miami Vice 1980's". Stuart was here when it all changed. When we think of Stuart, we think of other old-time lawyers like Max Engle, Paul Pollock, Sy Gaer, and of course his longtime former partners Steve Golembe and Ken Weisman. Stuart left his mark on countless clients and friends, and he will be missed and remembered.)

The rumor we are hearing is that very shortly because of the infamous budget cuts, the Public defenders, those champions of altruism and defender of those who no one else will defend, will very shortly be telling judges (politely we hope for their sake) that they can no longer accept appointments on new cases. The halls of PDs office are full of rumors of impending layoffs, attorneys being furloughed, no new lawyers or support staff being hired. It has not been the most pleasant place to work lately.

So, Mr. Martinez, as some of our favourite judges like to say "what say you?"

Are you guys putting up the shutters and closing the door and turning away the poor, the weak, the wretched refuse of Dade County. Has rain and sleet and gloom of no money forced the PDs to abandon the swift completion of their appointed cases? (Why are we quoting so many verses from words etched in stone in NYC?)

See you in court, where we often ponder the oath of admission to the Bar of Florida, in which, inter alia, young lawyers are required to swear that they would never turn down a case because of money.

Update: ASA David Ranck's "documents blog" getting some outside publicity:RANCK


Anonymous said...

I think this is outrageous. Hello
Mr. newly minted Public Defender,
you are supposed to have too many cases. You are supposed to be overworked. You are supposed to
be outmanned. This is life as a
Public Defender. Suck it up and
defend the people who need it.

If you want to have a lighter caseload - go private.


Anonymous said...

And Rumpole how many pro bono cases are you taking to help the down trodden of Miami-Dade County?? Oh I see.....

Anonymous said...

You're right bro, we should not turn down a case bc of money. How about I turn it down bc I have 200 other clients and can't possibly be a zealous advocate for you. Is that an acceptable reason not to take on new clients?

Anonymous said...

I heard Stuart Mishkin passed away this morning--can anyone confirm this?

Anonymous said...

If the PD says no new cases, and a judge has to set a bad guy free, then, maybe then, the cheap bastards in the Republican legislature will wake up and fund these programs.

Sometimes those guys need it shoved up their you know what.

Anonymous said...

Think this through...

The pd's office had been cut 11% in its funding in merely two years.

Caseloads will only increase due to escalating crime rates in Miami's tough economy.

Since the legislature is chosing to make these drastic cuts to the PD's office, there are only two alternatives:
1) increase each PD's caseloads way beyond one single attorney's capabilities and way beyond ABA's criminal standards
2) refuse to take cases that would jeopardize your clients, your office, and attorneys, from inherent malpractice and false convictions. Or just plain shitty lawyering that destroys lives.

Think this through. Someone has to keep the pd's offices funded. It is not only an issue of protecting the innocent or fundamental fairness, but a Constitutional issue. The legislature just wants to see how much it can cut until someone stands up for the poor and says, "STOP!"

It is obvious, the point has come when pds CAN NOT be "effective" counsel due to caseloads and budget cuts.

It is well beyond working with the cuts. The first year was bad enough. This second year is a slap in the face.

Shouldn't poor people have the right to an EFFECTIVE attorney as opposed to ANY attorney. I mean, look at other jurisdictions in FL. It is insane that a single pd's handles 600 felony cases a year. That is not an attorney- that is a COG in the machine of screwing clients! The Miami PD's office is one of the best in the nation. It wins awars and is used a model nationally and internationally.

That is because it continually fights for funding. It doesn't allow the State to chip away at it continually to the point of lawyering as a facade. As an office, it does what is right for poor people instead of just agreeing to cuts and degenerating into a "meet and plead" screw session like other southern cities!

Go PD's- protect your clients!!!


Anonymous said...

Turning down a case because of money is one thing. Turning down a case because you are too over burdened to provide adequate representation is another.

Anonymous said...

The league of prosecutors should just be named the league of former prosecutors ie. present defense attorneys. Prosecutors cannot even afford to be members since they are also charged a membership fee like all others. Once they become defense attorneys, they will be able to vote too. Sad, but true.

Anonymous said...

what about new cases? I see you refer to news cases. How many news cases are there?

Anonymous said...


Are you on the sauce again? Is this blogg forever doomed? Where are the answers/comments to these issues? Did your scuba equipment lose CO2?

U didn't answer the Questions from 5/27@6:55, or are you tied up with BB now?

SamIAm has a point, but no response.

El Capitain never reported about contempt matters. Is this blog disappearing for good?

Finally, Michael and Fredo in the boat house. Is some anonymous person alleging Rump kissed Fredo, "I love you because you are my brother," then blew him away? If so where's that camera expert that ran the picture of REG from the SAO to tell us the truth?

Info is the fuel of the blog.

Anonymous said...

In the past the PDs have argued they're overloaded and couldn't take anymore cases. They would ask for the Chief to allow them to pass cases to conflict counsel. This time, the PDs think, apparently, that they can unilaterally decline to accept cases. It's a threadbare argument.

What I'm hoping to see is Stan Blake haul in a few partners from Greenburg Traurig and other large firms. Let's have them do a little forced pro bono. Maybe the next time they won't sit around on their asses when the courts are in trouble.

Anonymous said...

I'll be the first to say it this time:

Call the Q!!!!!!!!!

Rumpole said...

1:44 let me be very clear about this: I TAKE NO CASES FOR FREE AT THE POINT OF A GUN.

I do not offer my services based on a standard of value of "need." i.e., I do not work for free merely because someone needs it. I work for whomeever I want, and charge what I want, based on my value system, not the Florida Bar's or the US Government, or any other altruistic collectivists who feel like telling me what to do, because they can't do it themselves.

Anonymous said...

Justice North of the Border:

Jury returns verdict of guilty of secod degree murder without a firearm in shooting murder case prosecuted by Broward SAO with very little circumstantial evidence (their philosophy: "we prosecute all cases and let the jury turn lose he innocent ones").


Anonymous said...

The PD's are not accepting cases because of budget cuts because they can't hire more attorneys. Attorneys are leaving, or getting fired, because of budget cuts. That means higher case loads. At some point, a case load of 200 cases equals ineffective assistance of counsel. The PD is there to provide effective assistance of counsel. Read Gideon and its progeny. You cut the budget and the PD can't hire attorneys to replace those that leave, and right now, PDs are getting fired because of budget cuts. If they are getting fired, case loads are growing. You are all educated people, this should make sense. This is a message to Tallahassee. Lets hope they can read up there.

Anonymous said...

How did this story about Lance Stelzer get by you Rump de la Rump?

Click here for New Times article

Anonymous said...

I too heard that Stuart Mishkin passed away. I'd just like to say what a nice man he was. Always full of stories and very funny. Smart too. He taught this goy quite a bit of Yiddish. I'll remember him fondly.

Rosie said...

Yes, it's true, Stuart Mishkin passed away this morning. He and Stephen Golembe were my first clients back in 1985. I just saw him last week and chatted for a few minutes....hard to believe he was so sick. At least he didn't have to suffer too long at the end.

I truly hope he's at peace, in a far better place.

Rosa N.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait 'til the Feds shut down the jail system in Miami oh boy!!!! LO QUE NOS ESPERA!! are our GREAT leaders here and in Tallahassee going to love all the criminals running the streets..it would be wonderful if our intelligencia in Tallahassee did something GOOD for US AND NOT THERE EGO once IN A WHILE...by the way aren't they forking out money for some mega plan for baseball AND A TUNNEL AND STREET CAR...HEY, WHEN IT COMES TO THE MARLINS, TO HELL WITH JUSTICE AND THE 6TH AMENDMENT(THIS IS THAT PESKY AMENDMENT THAT GUARANTESS ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL)!!!! I LOVE YOU MIAMI!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Is the prosecutor's office taking the same 11% cut or just the public defenders?

My plan was to go to law school in Miami and work for the public defenders office in 3-4yrs. Do I need to be rethinking my plan?

Anonymous said...

Two ways to help yourself Mr. PD.
(1) How about get rid of all that non-lawyer waste you have over at the PD's and hire some more lawyers.

Investigators who earn 50k and
barely lift a finger to help the
clients. As any good lawyer does,
investigate your own cases.

Social workers who tell the judges
what everyone already knows - half
our clients have mental health issues and need help not jail. Have
the lawyers tell the judges this
instead of paying these social workers 40k each to. If you need
evals, ask the court just like we
do in private practice. Or call a
doctor yourself and have them do
a ex-parte eval like we do.

(2)And then there are the lawyers.
How about everyone who makes over
100k at the PD's office - there
are approximately 30 of you - take
a pay cut of 20k to 40k each and then you can hire some new lawyers.

All this whining about caseload and
ethics is bs - there is plenty of
money in your budget right now to
hire more lawyers to handle the volume - instead you all want to
keep your high salaries so you can get those high pensions when you

Get real!!!!

Anonymous said...

that article on lance stelzer is pretty funny. Only a real loser sues ex-girlfriends for dumping him, especially when u are almost 60. I wonder if lance and jack went to the same law school.

Anonymous said...

Stuart Mishkin was a great guy. As a former ASA and presently a defense attorney, it was always a pleasure to work with Stuart.

Just two weeks ago, I saw Stuart on the third floor running around with a giant smiling on his face. Stuart told me he was dying, but enjoying every day without concern for the future.

As a prosecutor, Stuart annoyed me with a smile, but was always respectful and kind. When I started in private practice, Stuart always offered advice, assistance and offered cases.

Stuart will be greatly missed, not as an attorney, but as a person!

Jonathan Davidoff

Anonymous said...

Yesterday a DUI manslaughter was plead down to vehicle homicide, with hold, and no jail.

What a deal!

State v. Diaz
Judge Leban
Matthewman and Catalano for the Defense
Kathleen Pautler for the State

Anonymous said...

As a former prosecutor, I greatly respect the many PDs and ASAs who work long hours despite a pitifully low salary. Still, I know that far too many PDs aren't working true 40 hour weeks, let alone more (far too many ASAs as well, for that matter). Frankly, they're doing part time work in my book (and, yes, I said the same thing when I was a prosecutor).

You want an easy 40 hour a week job? Go flip burgers. No law firm would put up with the kind of effort many of these lawyers put in (and they would never survive on their own if they did the same thing in private practice).

Many of the legislators are or were defense attorneys or prosecutors. They know that many of our PDs and prosecutors are putting in 40 hours or less per week (I'm talking real hours.......I'm not counting the lunches, coffee breaks, etc.). And, unfortunately, the laziness of these attorneys tarnishes everyone.

Simply said, when legislators know that many government lawyers aren't putting in the time or effort they should, they're not going to hesitate to cut budgets, especially in this economy.

I submit that the offices should get rid of the dead weight and increase the salaries of the people doing the real work. And, the legislators should reward the offices that actually do this by increasing the salaries of their lawyers even more. Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but I'm suggesting that we reward people for their hard work and get rid of the slackers, just like the private sector does.


PS----The photo of Bennett snoozing in the car certainly didn't help.
PS2-----Citing case load numbers is a bit misleading. Especially on C cases that all plea out (or should) without much, if any, work up (ie. possession of cocaine, etc.).

Anonymous said...

Ahhh... isn't that the problem, sir? Shitty attoneys who are immediately pleading out coke cases WITHOUT doing research (ie an ethical issue per ABA and other National Standard!). So, if it is a C case, clients should just say screw it? Don't seek alternatives to incaceration/criminal records that come into play in federal sentencing.

Tells me the type of attorney 11:16 is...

Anonymous said...

11:16 a former ASA just proves the itellectuals and the supa Intellectuals who over see them in that office!!!! Hope this one liner answers your question 2:14

Anonymous said...

I believe what 11:16 says violates the 6th AMENDMENT, b/c somehow it smells like ineffective assistance of counsel...boy go back school!!!!!!!! I thought everyone deserved fair and equal representation regardless of socio-economic status!!!!

Anonymous said...

yeah take a few bucks from rory stein the danish eater, and melnick, greenstein, nalley and the rest who handle one or two cases a year.

christ luke ferster is in his seventies and is still in the pits trying cases and fighting the good fight while so many sit around and do nothing

Anonymous said...

Judges with 800 open cases,
ASAs with 400 open cases,
APDs with 200 open cases
and caseload keeps going up, up, up.

After years of arrests going down and caseloads remaining high arrests are now going back up and everyone, especially the Judges need to get off their asses and get these cases through the system.

As much as everyone complains about their budget cuts some checking will show that budgets are back to where they were 10 years ago and so are arrests.

Enough whining - get'r done!

Anonymous said...

The caseloads go up and up and I can count on one hand how many PD's actually put in close to 40hrs a week.