Wednesday, February 11, 2009



UPDATE: Chief Judge vote today. High noon. 73 West Flagler street. Here's a fun game if you're an ASA or PD. Try and slow things down and keep your Judge in court for as long as possible past 11:30.  Just for fun. 

We're not the only one spoiling for a fight, but if you're going to fight, be warned ASA's, it could cost you a conviction. So held Judge Schwartz in
Chapinoff v. State, when two mistrials caused by antics, fist-a-cuffs, and "free for alls" between  ASA David Ranck and Defense Attorney Syndey Smith were enough to cause the 3rd DCA to vacate the defendant's conviction and remand for discharge on double jeopardy grounds. 

From the opinion:

MR. RANCK (Assistant State Attorney): -- don’t
start --
MR. SMITH: I would ask you not to interrupt
please –
MR. RANCK: I will ask you one more time –
MR. SMITH: --I’m not going --
MR. RANCK: --if you ever interrupt me --
MR. SMITH: --don’t interrupt me again--
MR. RANCK: --you asshole--
MR. SMITH: --I will not tolerate this man--
MR. RANCK: --I will not tolerate--
MR. SMITH: --act like a lawyer. Act like a
MR. RANCK: you act like a lawyer.
MR. SMITH: I won’t take that from you.
MR. RANCK: I won’t take it from you.
MR. SMITH: I will not take that from you.
(whereupon the Bailiff entered the room and ended
the confrontation while the Judge left the

And, as the decision makes clear, the 3rd DCA will not take that from either of you boys. 

Had enough fight fans? Well then try this, because what takes place next is unprecedented in the annals of American Jurisprudence: battery by probocsis: 

During this exchange the prosecutor had again left
his podium, advanced to the defense podium where
defense counsel was standing,
and placed his nose in
contact with trial counsel.
He remained in direct face to
face contact until ordered to his seat by the bailiff.
Defense counsel apparently made no attempt to leave the
defense podium.

Rumpole says: "Go ahead punk. Feeling lucky? Go ahead and make my day."

What the decision makes clear is that unprofessional misconduct by counsel, and that means all counsel- those with prominent appendages, and those without-is not sufficient to create a manifest necessity for a mistrial. And as we all know, no manifest necessity, and double jeopardy attaches. 

The fault dear Brutus (and Judge Murphy), lies not in the stars but in ourselves:

It is even more obvious that the trial court fatally failed in its required duty
carefully to consider all reasonable alternatives -- including gaining control of the
courtroom -- to doing so.

Be warned those who battle for their clients and those who fight for the state- the 3rd DCA is very clear on this- act up, and the remedy is a contempt hearing, not a mistrial. Those of you with prominent noses, be careful where you put them, because the opposite end of you may well end up in a sling. 

Oh we could go on and on. This case is just a blogger's delight. 

But back to law:

W/h SES is an illegal sentence, and don't you forget it. State v. Galaazz.

See you in court. Go ahead. Make my day. 

PS. If you want to read why less cases go to trial, and the problems with sentencing in Federal Court, then check out the written testimony of our favourite federal blogger to the US Sentencing Commission here.


Anonymous said...

Check out the story I just read on Yahoo web page about two Pa. Judges charged and removed from the bench by PA> Supreme Court for taking over $2million in kickbacks from two private agencies that they sentenced juvenile offenders to.

Anonymous said...

Seems like about $100k that KFR can free up on her budget. Ranck is a recidivist.

Lots of places to use that much money + stop whining about being broke.

Anonymous said...

The untold story is that Alex Michaels was appointed to represent the defendant and the trial went off without a hitch.

My first post btw.

Anonymous said...

Oy vey.....

Anonymous said...


A prosecutor puts his nose in my face, I RIP IT OFF AND MAKE HIM EAT IT. Then I try case and win. Then I take him out back and keeeeeeeck his butt. And then....

Anonymous said...

The question is would the 3rd DCA have issued the same opinion if the defendant had been black with priors instead of white without priors? You can't tell me the court doesn't look up the defendant's picture and criminal history before deciding a case. I refuse to believe it. The court should institute a "blind ruling" system where the defendant's name is removed. It's just like a blind grading system in law schools. Also, arguably, the court should not know the offense for which the defendant is charged but I'm not sure where I stand on that one.

Rumpole said...

I can and will tell you that the 3rd DCA does not look up a defendant's picture before writing a decision. Your contention is absurd.

Anonymous said...

Who wins in a fight?

Alex Michaels
Sydney Smith
David Ranck.

Steel cage courtroom match. The doors are locked and the last man standing leaves.

I can sell this on pay per view.
Attorney Courtroom death match.
1 million viewers and we'll splt a hundred million bucks, OK 60 million after taxes and fees, but we'll still never have to work again.

Anonymous said...

If Alex Michaels would have been involved, there would have been blood. Seriously.

Has any ASA tried a case, or for that matter argued a significant motion, against against Alex and not been verbally abused and/or physically threatened?

Anonymous said...

I wanna be the referee for the Courtoom Cage Match. Then I can put both my boxing referee and judicial skills to use at the same time!

Anonymous said...

Rumpole - i'll put former
ASA ADAM NEIJNA up against any defense lawyer ...

Anonymous said...

This would NEVER happen in Judge Pinero's court.

Anonymous said...

Dis is BULLSHEEEET!! 7:28 YOU COWARD. I never threaten anyone. Why don't you write your real name so I can take you outside and kick your ass?


Anonymous said...

I tried a case against Alex many moons ago. Not only did he do a very good job, but we had a hell of a lot of fun.

In fact, Alex and I became instant friends when, after he made his first snide comment, I asked him to start speaking English or get a court interpreter so I could understand him.

We spent the entire trial trashing each other as soon as the judge left the courtroom. He even went so far as to show up in my courtroom during morning calendar call to trash talk me while I addressed the court on other cases. Frankly, it was funny as hell. He and I laughed about it for years.

Alex is a great guy. You just can't take the comments seriously. He enjoys the gamesmanship and likes to get a rise out of people. Tease him back.

Anonymous said...

Bye Bye David

Anonymous said...

What was the charge and ultimate sentence?

Rumpole said...

The charge was murder most foul. I'm guessing the sentence was life.

Anonymous said...

I have never in all my years in Miami Dade Goverment ever seen such ignorant oversight!


Anonymous said...

9:07...........sad to see you take such apparent pleasure in this whole thing. Ranck is a good guy and a fair prosecutor. Always has been. Most of us have faced difficult challenges in our lives that have effected us. If you haven't, I assure you that you will. Taking pleasure in his difficulties is pathetic.


PS----celebrating the release of a murderer because of something like this also is weak. We all have an interest in the safety of our community.


Here is that story that an earlier blogger mentioned about the two corrupt judges in PA.:

Judges Accused of Jailing Kids for Cash


Cap Out ...

Anonymous said...

APD's Madeline Acosta and Oliver Morales won acquittals in the case of Robert Dearmas who was acquitted on three counts of attempted second-degree murder of a law enforcement officer with a Mercedes Benz. However, he was convicted of the grand theft of the car. One juror cited "lack of evidence".


Anonymous said...

Third flood at the Broward County Courthouse. This time it was at the chambers of the administrative general master that handles child support. The hearings will be held in another room.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Daily Business Review online is reporting Joel Brown wins.

Do I win? Was I the first to report? (Other than the DBR-online)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to newly elected Chief Judge Joel Brown.

Now, can you please build us a new criminal courthouse.

Rumpole said...

I know a lot of what is said here is done in jest, but these are people's reputations and I cannot print a comment, even in jest, about a prosecutor getting arrested. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, vhy you talk about reputation but let others trash me? Deeees essss BULLSHEEEEEET!!!! MAJOR BULLSHEEEEEET!!!! I challenge you to Courtroom Cage Match where I put you in Romanian Claws of Death.

Rumpole said...

Well, I think there is a clear parody of a person or situation, which is the case with Alex, and then certain comments which can be viewed many ways. The comment I did not publish started off by saying "ASA XXX Was arrested today while s/he was climbing on the roof dressed in black holding a sniper's rifle."

A google search of that person's name would reveal the comment in a manner in which the casual observer would not know for sure if it was true or not. That being said, I realize that I draw the line based on my on sensibilities but the other choices are 1- complete open free for all like the Broward Blog and I won't do that. Someone else can run that type of blog here- or 2) comments that can be published only if the person reveals their identity. And as I have said, I think there are good reasons for allowing anonymous comments.

Anonymous said...

This much I know- If the Q had run for judge, he would be chief judge in a month, two tops.

Anonymous said...

This job was "the other Shuminer's" job if she wanted it, all Cristina Shumier had to do was come back and she'd be fitting Farina's chambers for new curtains as we speak.

Anonymous said...

So Vice presidential candidate and geography expert was in town for the Republican Governors Convention (motto: "Oww, that hurt!") Yup, Sarah Palin was freshly clothed in RNC threads, in Miami, shaking an angry fist towards Cuba ("No governor, the other way, south, not north")

Anonymous said...

When does Brown take the oath as Chief? Because I have one or two complaint letters to send him about the job he is doing so far.

Anonymous said...


Why don't you check the facts before you start shooting off your reactionary mouth again when some people are celebrating justice. The "victim" in Syd's case was a proven pedophile, and, even though Syd beat the murder charge, Judge Areces still gave the defendant a life sentence on the burglary conviction. Did you ever stop to consider the possibility that Judge Schwartz (hardly a liberal) felt that this was a just result in this case?

Anonymous said...



Here are the facts as I've heard them:

The victim, who was 70 years old, hired the defendant and another man for sex. The victim was found on his knees, hog-tied with rope, with a white shirt wrapped around his face and neck. He was asphyxiated.

The co-defendant was convicted of first degree murder and other offenses in a separate (so much for your justice argument).

Tell me how this murder was justified. More importantly, tell me how you'd feel if Chapinoff moved in nextdoor to you. For you, this is an amusing academic exercise. For the people who have to live around or come into contact with Chapinoff, it's a reality.

My point is that reveling in Ranck's situation (again, Ranck is a good guy) or celebrating the release of a dangerous person because of an error (rather than innocence) like this makes no sense. It's easy for people like you, whose neighborhoods these guys don't live in, to say otherwise.

Murphy's a good judge. I have little doubt that he wouldn't have done what he did if he didn't believe it was the right decision (ie. Sydney also was culpable/behaving badly and he had enough of them both).


Batman said...

This is another case of a person who is ill-prepared and incapable of fulfilling her duties taking the bench and believing being a judge is an easy gig. In the vacuum of authority chaos prevails. The failure of Judge Areses to assert control over her courtroom because she simply does not know how or have the ability to do so illustrates the failure of the system to select the best people to do the job. Had she the strength this would never have happened. In the absence of a real judge, lawyers will fight for dominance and inevitably embarrass themselves and the system.

Complain as you will about judges who are strong figures in their courtrooms, but there is something real about a respected authority figure. Both of these lawyers should be held accountable before the Bar and probably should have been held and adjudicated in contempt.

Anonymous said...

"Rank is a good guy"??? Irrelevant, not to mention, debatable. Whatever your opinions about him personally, an ASA who has demonstrated for years his lack of self control while in trial should not be handling the most serious of cases. Let's see if KFR has the backbone to do the right thing by, at a minimum, forbidding Rank from ever getting within 100 miles of another murder case. (If I were SA, he'd be escorted from his office before the end of the day)The citizens of this community can ill afford calamities in the courtroom such is this, not to mention the anguish Rank's antics must have caused the next of kin.

Anonymous said...

157 you are a moron. ranck is without a doubt one of the best prosecutors in an office that is currently sorely lacking in prosecutorial talent. Newspaper said ranck got disciplined enough done.
its nice to see someone at that office who really gives a shit as opposed to so many of the three years and out snot nosed punks who go there to get a few trials and dont really care about the work.

Anonymous said...

It is a complete disgrace that David Ranck has not been terminated long ago by the SAO. KFR, Don Horn and Hague should be ashamed to have people like him on their staff. It is their lack of concern and outright lack of ability to run an office that results in a murderer walking the streets.

Then again this was the same office that employed that clown Jonathan Marc Davidoff!!!

Anonymous said...

8:50..........actually, it's a sign of their compassion that they don't throw away a guy who's given so much for so long. If you had been around than you apparently have, you'd know that Ranck did a terrific job without causing any problems for a looooooooong time. In fact, Ranck was one of the best like DCs for years.

The world is not black and white as you seem to think. We all good through good times and bad. I hope that people aren't as judgmental of you when you encounter life's difficulty as you are of him.

I wish Ranck nothing but the best. It's sad that some of you insist on taking such pleasure in other folks' struggles.


Anonymous said...

BTDT, is that you David Ranck?