Wednesday, February 18, 2009


UPDATE. In the DBR: When Admiralty Lawyers attack. Here. Warning: It's not pretty. 

A Reader wrote in the comments section:

Michael Mathers, a real gentleman, gets a NOT GUILTY on all charges in a first degree murder case before Judge Jimenez. The defendant was accused of being the hitman in the killing of a federal witness who had testified against his codefendant, Fat Tony. The evidence consisted of a flipped codefendant who participated in the murder and a supposed confession to a federal prisoner serving almost 23 years on an unrelated matter.
Fat Tony was convicted in December in a separate trial and is now serving a life sentence. After many years and two prior mistrials, Sally Weintraub waived death on both defendants. CONGRATULATIONS TO MICHAEL!!!!!!

Rumpole notes: It's bad enough to be serving life in prison, but who wants to be known as "fat Tony?"  The reader is correct: Mr. Matters is a real gentleman, and as the results show, a top notch trial lawyer. 


A reader writes in the comments section:

How you I do this without getting personal yet still deliver my important message?
There was a mutiple defendant sex battery case. It was very defensible.
Of the 5 co-defendants, 3 had the same exact defense. One of the 3, my client, passed a "Slattery" polygraph test. All were out of custody.

Of the 3 co-defendants with the same defenses and same exact issues...2 had private lawyers and they received (better term would be "earned on the merits" ) nolle prosses.

The 1 that had "regional counsel" actually PLED TO THE CHARGE two months earlier.
The regional counsel was not a member of the RJG family (ie Bailey, Parke) Rather it was an unfamiliar, inexperienced face.
We really did not have to move mountains to get the nolle prosse...just doing the expected job.

The defendant that pled received dismal legal advice and was screwed by his own attorney! It is a bad, current system. Some of these regional counsel are very inexperienced.

Rumpole notes: There is no excuse for bad lawyering. Period.  The issue now is does the prosecutor have an affirmative obligation to seek justice and bring the defendant who pled back to court to vacate the plea and dismiss the case? The answer is maybe.
The facts of the case need to be examined very closely. It is entirely possible, despite the reader's comments that all three defendants were in the same position, that the guilty party pled guilty. Or it is possible that an injustice has been done. We hope the attorney who wrote this will speak to the prosecutor, the ROC attorney, or some other defense attorney to represent pro bono the person serving time.  An experienced attorney needs to decide whether a motion to vacate or a rule 3.850  should be filed. 


Anonymous said...

Who is the ROC atty/ Who is the Defendant? Who was the ASA? Details, please!

Anonymous said...

Shumie chat dominates Twitter:

@SouthFLawyers So Shumie is an actual human being. Have a wonderful day SFL and I hope the sun is shining. It's snowing again up here.
about 11 hours ago from web in reply to SouthFLawyers

@AudreyHayden I was just being cheeky. I read your Shumie post. It was funny!
about 11 hours ago from web in reply to AudreyHayden

@SouthFLawyers Shumie's a criminal lawyer, or is that reply not directed at me?
about 11 hours ago from web in reply to SouthFLawyers

I thought of another one. Maybe Shumie is a distant cousin of Free Willy.
about 23 hours ago from web

@AudreyHayden I liked it a lot. 'Vinnie' shopping for groceries was so funny.
about 23 hours ago from web in reply to AudreyHayden

Maybe Shumie is related to Shamu.
4:56 PM Feb 17th from web in reply to AudreyHayden

I'm unclear what or who a Shumie is but it sounds like a mammal at Sea World.
9:10 AM Feb 17th from web

Anonymous said...

Scott Saul And J.C. Duque were the private lawyers on the Reimberto Diaz/sex battery case. I do not know who the other lawyers were. Saul was his usual maverick self ignoring that the State Attorney was even a party to the case. He told off everybody, left the court room and never returned even to hear the prosecutor make the nolle prosse announcement

Anonymous said...

If the prosecutor reasonably believes that the defendant who pled is in fact innocent, then it is my opinion that he/she has at least a moral--and probably borderline ethical--duty to allow the defendant to withdraw the plea. However, given that the ROC-represented pled out two months before the others receive a nolle pros, it appears as though Mr. or Ms. ROC did not do his/her legwork, so the prosecutor may not have reason to know an innocent man pled.

Some of the ROC counsel scare me......while a few (Abe Bailey, Franz Parke et al) are capable defense attorneys, there are some who have no idea what the hell they are doing. If you haven't done much criminal defense, you have no business handling a sexual battery, let alone anything but perhaps a nonviolent F3. This case may be the first in what proves to be a parade of Rule 3.850s.............

Anonymous said...

Rather than worry about who the ROC Atty was, lets realize the writer has identified a real problem. The RCA's office is too often not providing adequate legal services. There are Constitutional protections in this country. They exist for everyone that is born here or makes it through our gates. It's a fundamental part of who we are as a country, that rich or poor you have those rights when confronted by the power of the state.

That promise, that American dream, that we're all equal, and specifically that we all have an equal opportunity to defend ourselves if we're accused of a crime and our liberty is threatened, is not being fulfilled in Miami recently. If you work in this building you know it. Presumably belief in those principles is part of the reason you started doing that job, and are still doing it, whatever part of the system you work in. And it's not right that shit like what the writer described is happening. And it is, all the time.

The PD's office has a lawsuit out there. It hasn't been discussed much on this blog, I don't know why not. But this is the issue of that lawsuit. Economic downturn, unemployment, whatever is going on, you have to fund the court system. That comes first in a democracy like ours. If we don't have our basic rights, what do we have? Everyone who cares about what we do as criminal lawyers should be able to get behind that.

I'll get off my soapbox, but this bothers me. I know I'm not the only one.

Anonymous said...

When I was a prosecutor, I had the pleasure of trying a case against Matters. Not only did he do a great job, but he was a hell of a lot of fun.

He IS a great guy.

Anonymous said...

the pd's office in miami has plenty of pathetic lawyers also. it's like pushing pot luck back in the day,, you might get a dook drink.

Anonymous said...

How about a rule that any attorney found to be ineffective is automatically suspended for a year for the first offense?

South Florida Lawyers said...

Shumie happens.

Anonymous said...

9:20- Who is on the other end of those conversations? {Like we don't know}

Anonymous said...

Are you fucking kidding me?! I can't get a comment published by the latina! Hmm, maybe I need to stop asking questions about the naughty tape she made....Nah that can't be it.

Rump what does she "twitter" with you about?

Anonymous said...

Did I read corrctly in the paper today? Is Rick P. Freedman the same Rick Freedman that is President of FACDL? If so, he just got a million dollar settlement in a personal injury case.

Anonymous said...

10:47- Do tell!

Anonymous said...

10:47- The tape is magnificent! Just ask SFL, he directed it.


The Captain Reports:

Out of town right now at another courthouse, but just read this on the Broward Blog and needed to pass it along:

"Court’s “baby mama” remark leads to resentencing"

... here is just a taste of the article ...

“Where do you guys find these women, really, seriously,” the judge remarked. “I’d say about every fourth man who comes in here unemployed, no education, is with a woman who is working full-time, going to school. Where do you find these women? Is there a club?”

Later, the judge said, “Mr. Harris sits at home, gets high while his baby mama works and goes to school. I swear there’s a club where these women get together and congregate.”

read the entire article at:


Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

Yo Rump in regards to you and the Colombian--

Direct quote from SFL:

"Rump, the guy's A-Ok by me and can twitter away to his heart's content, with my blessing and encouragement."

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

For better or worse, the shumie Time guys have descended upon the south florida lawyers blog.

Anonymous said...

1:55- Ever seen the princess shimmy and slide up and down a pole? This lawyer has.

3:18- Whadya have to say Rump? C'mon speak man, we wanna hear what ya gotta say!

Anonymous said...

With ROC, you get what you pay for.

Anonymous said...

From the Shumie grapevine in Jacksonville:

The latina was fathered (illegitimately) by a former member of the Cali Cartel who remains incarcerated.

Anonymous said...

9:20- Thanks for rubbing it in! The Colombian twittering with SFL- no big surprise.

10:47- We feel your pain.

8:03- Hey Shumie that news was leaked months ago. You boys in J-ville are behind.

Anonymous said...

There are as many lawyers at the REG building that scare me as inspire me. These lawyers are scattered all over the place, from the State to the PD, Regional and in private practice.
There are lawyers who have a reputation for being "great" or "aggressive" lawyers, yet if you really look at the individual person, I mean a good honest look, they do not live up to the hype and actually hurt instead of help their clients.
Some also fail to see the good work that anonymous government lawyers or private practitioners do for their clients, just for the sake of doing the good work.
Now, I agree that if there was some sort of ineffective assistance of counsel at the time of any plea, that this needs to be looked into and remedied. But to those more experienced and learned co-defendant counsel I have to ask, why didn't you counsels pull the Regional lawyer aside and say something (like many lawyers did for many of us when we were first learning the ropes of our chosen professions and making our own mistakes) before the plea was taken? Or, if you were co-defendant counsel and knew the plea had already gone down, why not speak to the Regional lawyer immediately while the time frame to withdraw the plea was still pending? Why not talk to the lawyer directly instead of anonymously posting a criticism of a lawyer from a fledgling office that is just trying to do the best it can with the resources it has been given? Why not help those less experienced lawyers instead of anonymouly criticising them? Why paint an entire office in a negative light, when the criticism is of one lawyer on one case?
Or are these comments posted to just continue to take shots at the Regional counsel's office since their mere existence has impacted many lawyers' bottom lines? I know that these are hard economic times and that we in the private sector are struggling to keep our practices afloat, but are these comments designed to hurt an office that the legislature and the FSC has decided is here to stay? Are the comments some way of throwing support behind the PD while their litigation is still pending? Why did all of this become "us" against "them"? Why not accept the reality that Regional is here to stay and just try to do the best work we all can, with the skills we have developed, and help those fellow lawyers that need it, when they need it, whomever they may be and whomever they may work for.
Why is it okay to help the struggling ASA, PD or private lawyer in court and not the Regional counsel lawyer? If you are so dedicated to a sense of justice and fairness, then your duty is to seek it for ALL who come across your path, even when they are not your client.
If you sit back, as an experienced lawyer, and do nothing to remedy an injustice or malpractice when you see it, then you are just as guilty as the lawyer committing the alleged malpractice. "Right" is "right" always, and is not meant to be "right" except when it is someone or some agency you don't care for.

NOTE: Rumpole, I sent this same post to you last night and I see that you are not willing to post anything that may remotely shine any type of non-negative light on the Regional Counsel. I see where the bias lies.

Anonymous said...

Re the issue of Regional Counsel's performance in Judge Diaz' case, anyone surprised by this just does not know anything about the Regional Counsel office or, more specifically, it's chief, Joe P. George. Almost all of the line lawyers in the Regional Counsel office are hard-working and conscientious people. The problem is Mr. George. (1) Mr. George has NO criminal law experience or knowledge, none. (2)He has NO jury trial experience. None, zip, nada. (3) He has NO supervision or monitoring of the work or performance of his lawyers. None. (As Mr. George has no criminal experience and no jury trial experience, how would he know whether any of his line lawyers is doing a good job?) (4) Mr. George is spending his "due process" money -- money allocated for depositions, etc. -- on office rent instead of trial prep. (5) Joe George does not care one whit about criminal defense, or the clients of his office. Just ask him.