Monday, July 14, 2008


Two sides to the Hanlon/McDuffie issue:

"Batman" wrote:

When did we become such an unforgiving society that we can not recognize a good man rising from the ashes of his wrongdoing? Why do we celebrate such a story in movies and written fiction and not in real life? We preach redemption to our children when we bring religion into their lives, yet we grant none to those who have earned it.

Those of us who were around in 1980 know what happened and the injustice of the acquittals that followed. Of all of the culpable parties, Hanlon was the only one who came forward and acknowledged his participation. The others denied everything and after being acquitted went on their merry way. To now punish the only remorseful and repentant one is unconscienceable.

For the Supreme Court to determine that Hanlon's acts were so egregious as to deny him entry now or at any time in the future is beyond hypocritical. Considering the attorneys who have been convicted of innumerable felonies not being disbarred, judges who have committed criminal acts and not removed from the bench and applicants who have shown no history of rehabilitation from their own criminal acts, this decision smacks of politics and pandering. Obviously those most aggrieved by Hanlon's conduct think better of him than those who don't know him at all.

And Abe Laeser responded:

Oh, you mean the Hanlon who came forward before the autopsy? The one who watched / helped / killed {your choice} and did the 'right thing' for HIMSELF. 

Yes, he was able to persuade Adorno and Yoss that they should grant immunity - before he had anything to disclose. Wise decision. 

No, not for the concept of Justice. No, not because he was motivated to go after killer cops. He cut the best deal for Hanlon. He knew that the stories that every one of the killers had spoken and put into reports were complete lies. They killed a man out of anger. He kept silent, denied his own actions, and now what?

I still have my memo outlining to Ms. Reno why I thought Hank + George were wrong. She decided otherwise. I voted to prosecute Vaverka and Hanlon first. But that was late in 1979 and nothing would have brought Arthur McDuffie back.

Do I appreciate that Hanlon has tried to lead an honorable life since? Certainly. But the stain has not faded. Can he become a cop again? Nor should he be an attorney.

I still foolishly believe we are an honorable calling -- that our honor and trust are our finest tools. Hanlon did what he had to do to save his skin. Please do not confuse that with honor and trust.

Rumpole says: Two valid view points. I guess the issue is whether you consider redemption and whether redemption is sufficient to earn a place in the Bar. You know, I think that if Hanlon had gone to medical school instead of law school he would not have any problem in becoming a licensed doctor. If we can trust someone to reach inside us to save our life, can't we trust someone enough to write a will, or do a closing, or a divorce? I think that being a police officer is a very tough job. There are pressures the average person cannot comprehend. What Hanlon did on that street that night was very was wrong, and what he has done since then apparently has all been very right. I'm willing to give him a second chance, but that is me, and I didn't prosecute the killers who killed McDuffie and I didn't have to deal with the pain of explaining to his family why they were acquitted and why my office made a deal with Hanlon. 


Anonymous said...


you have always been a yenta.

Anonymous said...

abe laeser you got this one correct. rumpole you shame your blog with those words.

no redemtion to anyone who has killed a black man because he was black. especially a former cop.

Anonymous said...

my is the death of a block man worth more then the death of a china man? "give a china man a chance."

Rumpole said...

I am proceeding on the belief Mr. Hanlon did not kill anyone. My understanding is that he fully and completely participated in the coverup but did not kill Mr. McDuffie. Black or white, all life is precious and Mr. McDuffie did not deserve to die.

Mr. Hanlon passed a polygraph on the issue of striking Mr. McDuffie. He denied it and he passed.

Now "shame" is quite a strong word . It would be appropriate if I somehow suggested Mr. McDuffie deserved to die or that his life was not worth that much. No such thoughts have been conveyed by me. Indeed I am of the belief that the officers that killed him should still be in prison.

You may not agree with my view of Mr. Hanlon, but please don't paint me as someone who does not care about what happened to Mr. McDuffie. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Anonymous said...


Brought to you by the Florida Bar. Sometimes you're in sometimes you're out- we'll never tell you for sure.


def: usual use: relating to or involving bitter fighting within a group.

Use: As we can see, there was an internecine battle at the SAO over whether to give officer Hanlon immunity.

(formally fake matters and adelstein)

Anonymous said...

You mean that all Hanlon did was cuff a black man for speeding, then watch other officers use their flashlights and nightsticks to beat him to death, and then tried his best to lie and cover it up?

Not only should he be a lawyer, maybe we can make him a judge, too.

Rumpole said...

never let it be said 9:05 that our readers' comments are not steeped in irony.

Anonymous said...

Ok I'll bite.

Q. Who did the lie detector test? Was it George Slattery? or some lame guy who prefers cash in white envelopes?

Q. What questions did the examiner ask and what answers did he give?

Q. How many lie detector test did he do? Did the MDPD administer the test?

When I get the questions above responded, I may take a different view. Until that time he has no business being a licensed member of the bar. I suspect the Supreme Court had the answers to my questions and ruled correctly.

Anonymous said...

I agree why did he not go to the FBI with the information?

Anonymous said...

I can't see how anyone who lived in Miami during that time could even consider "redemption."

Forget the pained proximate cause analysis of what started the riots. Cops with Hanlon's mentality were the proverbial "but-for" cause. He should never be allowed to be an "officer" of the court.

It hurts, but in this case, I cast my lot with Mr. Laeser.

Anonymous said...

End the Bar's reign of tyranny upon our profession and let the free market determine these matters.

Anonymous said...

abe you are a great prosecutor but you are a fool if you believe that we are an honorable profession. we have lawyers who have committed crimes who have reapplied to the bar and been reinstated. and those crimes were usually fraud involving alot or planning or pre-medititation wheras in hanlons case the guy was a young cop put in an untenable position. it is easy to say that he should have come forward but we all now that this is not so easy.

the guy has done alot of good with his life since this mistake and we should let him in our club

Anonymous said...

Any one of us can be placed in a position to have to defend our license from the Bar. The question of "What is good moral character" and can one ever redeem himself from a lapse in judgment is still not answered. What will it take to redeem ones self. Yes, this is a profession of honor and truth but does this mean that honor can never be redeemed. That you can never be trusted after a lapse in judment. As educated and honorable people are we that hipocritical, nieve or are we afraid of the political consequenses? What is good moral character, will it always be an unknown?

Anonymous said...

When this occurred, most of the new class of PDs and ASAs were probably still in diapers.

That was a whole lifetime ago for them. It sounds like it was a whole lifetime ago for Hanlon too.

What does it say about our legal system that we don't think a person can atone/repent/rehabilitate/reform/ redeem themselves in an almost 30 year period.

Face it, our profession has people in it who have done a lot of slimey, underhanded, illegal, ruthless things. A lot of them are still practicing. If we are going to try to be such an elitist group that 25 some-odd years is not enough to time to change ways, then we better start policing ourselves better and kicking some of our own out.

If the story is accurate, this guy has done a lot more in the way of good deeds, community service, activism, etc. then most of us who do our 20.5 hours of pro bono stuff so that we can feel like we don't have to lie on our Bar dues statement.

I think it's a shame he isn't a member of the Bar.

Anonymous said...

Awww, why doesn't everyone just shut the hell up already, about everything. Man are you people annoying, just shut the hell up already.

Anonymous said...

Under the thoughts of some misguided bloggers we should allow former child molesters from 1980 open up a child care business in each area of Miami.

Your kids should be the first to attend a semester with the "I have sinned please forgive me" convicted child molester. It was 25 years ago and "I have changed".

Would you say yes? I will allow my child to attend the child care center with the so called changed man? The answer is NO! If you said yes you need your head examined!

So why should the Supreme Court allow this man to get a bar card so that unsuspecting clients end up retaining this guy. Clients who would otherwise not retain him if they knew his past?

Anonymous said...

9:43, that was my first thought, why didn't he go to the FBI?

9:55, Those of us who were practicing law back in the eighties know two things existed in Miami, greed and corruption.

Attorney Rejected By The Princess,
proud member since 2008.

Rumpole said...

3PM- Alcoholism and pedaphelia are diseases. I wouldn't trust any child to a child molester and I would be careful about an alcoholic, although recovery is a wonderful thing.

Having a mental disease (sexual attraction to children) is markedly different than a young man making an enourmous mistake in judgment, and then maturing and trying to make amends.

I respect Abe Laeser, but I also say: let he who has not sinned cast the first stone. I would like to think I would have acted differently than Hanlon, but I remember how I was a young man- I had character problems like everyone else, and that's the game of life- maturing and getting better.

Gomer said...

Must say that reading this blog makes my internship at the SAO infinitely more entertaining. Thanks for the drama.

Anonymous said...

When do we get to find out about Ranck? Did he come in today? Anyone see him?

Anonymous said...

We have all sinned. That gave us character. But it would not get us public office. That would be the equal and ooposite reaction to our sinning.

For this cop, the past will not change. The equal and opposite reaction is to withhold a Bar card.

He was never punished for his crimes. This is simple penance.

Anonymous said...

Folks Character is not developed,you either have it or you don't. We don't leap onto the scene with a "tabula resa" and then discover flaws and correct them ,we do at a very young formative age develop our value systems hopefully for the fortunate ones of us from loving and caring parents and we proceed from there. "Lord Jim" was an interesting story of a flaw that was corrected but from Abe's dissertation this doesn't seem to be a Conrad piece. He can continue his good works as a layman...AMEN !

Anonymous said...

Tolerance and foregiveness are up to society to determine.However,certain certain prior ncriminal conduct should prohibit certain individuals from entering certain profession.
Prior bloggers mentioned pedophiles.Whould a business owner hire a embezzler or thief;I suggest no.The medical profession,especially hospitals, do not knowingly hire drug addicts.The offices of the Fed.U.S.Atty.has turned down attorneys who have admitted to smoking marijuana one time and such was verified by a polygraph(at least they were honest).
Yes, the legal profession has admitted felons,misdemeanants etc.Depending on what an investigations shows about Hanlon.about his forthrightness at the inital investigation stages and not just trying to save himself,it has been wrightfully left up to the Florida Bar and possibly the Supreme Court.
Miami was in flames following the McDuffie matter.Many were glued to the television to see the aftermath and trial.It affected our community greatly.Dis Hanlon truly come forth for justice of merely to help himself.That is the question?

Anonymous said...

"Tainted" Cop Cookies Deemed Safe

Lake Worth, TX. AP, July 11 - A teenager jailed on accusations that he delivered drug-laced cookies to a dozen police stations was released Thursday after tests showed no drugs in goodies taken to two departments.

Blue Mound and Lake Worth police said tests by the Tarrant County medical examiner showed there were no controlled substances in cookies delivered this week by Christian V. Phillips, 18, who had been jailed in Lake Worth on $75,000 bond on a charge of tampering with a consumer product.

Phillips walked quickly out of the jail without commenting while accompanied by his father, who then drove away with his son.

Phillips’ attorney said his client was performing community-service work when he delivered goodies for Mothers Against Drunk Driving to about a dozen stations in the past couple of weeks. Only two stations had any treats left over to be tested for drugs.

"I’m really upset that this thing has gotten to this point, that this kid has gotten convicted in the media before any evidence was collected," said the attorney, L. Patrick Davis.

Anonymous said...


After reading this story please seek to help the family of the deceased.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Batman. People should be able to change and rehabilitate themselves, otherwise we would be forever chastising people be it over a flashlight or a zipper.

Anonymous said...

Hanlon for ASA and after 5 years for judge!

Anonymous said...

Did Ted Bundy make a few "mistakes of judgement"? He would have made a terrific lawyer, according to the presiding judge. Bummer that they nuked him before he could join our ranks! Fake Anonymous

Anonymous said...

In view of the history of this country, we stand guilty of violating the rights of others because of the color of their skin. We find pleasure in exating vigalanty justice when it envolves someone not of ones own race. There have been countless murders committed in history that have gone unpunished because of some bias attitude or another. The person(s)that have gone unpunished may or may not be repentant. The person that is punished for the crime may or may not be repentant. Is the attitude less valid in either case? Would their be redemption if Hanlon would have went to prison? There are cases where offender have been more tolerated or forgiven and pursued law careers after serving prison time. When is there enough punishment?