Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Al Franken, erstwhile comedian, author of "Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot", is now the Junior Senator from Minnesota.

Franken's victory gives the Democrats a "60ish" majority in the Senate, because while the Democrats have 60 votes-giving them a filibuster proof majority, Democratic Senators Byrd and Kennedy have been ailing and mostly absent from votes.

David O MarKus's federal blog has the latest on the candidates who made the interview process for the federal judge spot and the US Attorney spot. In no particular order, we like Judges Scola, Bagely, Barzee and Magistrate Patrick White for the federal bench, and think Broward Judge Illona Holmes would really shake up the US Attorneys Office.

The Broward Blog has a good report on the sad case of a defendant who was so stymied by his house arrest-sexual offender requirements, that he went back to court and asked to be incarcerated rather than violate his conditions of house arrest. His probation officer told him to "go live under a bridge" but had no answer for how he would deal with the violation that would automatically occur when his bracelet monitor was not charged.

Also check out the blog's continued reporting on how Juvenile Court Judge Feren- he who is often on vacation status- attempts to respond to his original transcript where he lodged his foot firmly in his mouth with comments about punishing juveniles who elected to go to trial.

IN OUR OPINION the transcript stands as proof positive that the greatest legal minds rarely ascend to the bench.

See you in court, just not juvenile court you know where.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Odd Couple - "My Strife in Court"

Perhaps the greatest courtroom scene in the history of television.


As we sit here waiting for a judge who is perpetually late (and you know who you are) the following questions are on our mind:

Doesn't giving a 70 something year old man 150 years speak more of vengeance than the 3553 sentencing factors? Is 150 years the minimum sentence necessary to accomplish all the other goals and concerns under the statute? 

Don't get us wrong- Madoff ruined hundreds of lives if not more. he deserves to be punished, and he probably deserves to die in prison. But on a theoretical basis, if Congress created a class of crimes that do not include life sentences, then shouldn't a sentence take into account the age of the individual?  Isn't a judge giving what amounts to a life sentence for a crime Congress didn't authorize life in prison for what amounts to (heaven forbid) "legislating from the bench?"

Or are we not thinking clearly because we haven't had a drink yet? 

Where is this blasted judge anyway? 

If it rains on me one more time on the way to court I might just.....I dunno. But I might do something. 

If you see a naked man running into court screaming "I can't take this hot, wet, sticky, weather anymore!!!!" Well, then you know you've found Rumpole. 

See you in court. Dressed for now.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


UPDATE: David Ranck resigns:

(I had to remove the original email addresses because the links mess up the blog. It was from David Ranck to Fernandle, et al.
----Original Message-----

Sent: Sun, Jun 28, 2009 1:51 pm
Subject: Resignation

Effective immediately, I resign my position as Assistant State Attorney. I know that we will always be in each other's thoughts and I look forward to our future dealings.

To the "pit" prosecutors with whom I worked and those I supervised there is a special bond that I will always have with you. If there is ever anything that I can do for any of you please reach out to me.

David Ranck \

Rumpole says: Welcome to the Dark Side of the force. It's very seductive over here. Porsches, fancy watches, sexy women, penthouse condos...
well at least that's the way I imagined it when I started out.

Two more submissions on David Ranck's blog.

This one is his latest response to the Stevenson Charles and Passion Carr murder prosecution.
It appears Stevenson Charles is serving 20 years with the Feds for gun issues which we are not certain are related to this case.

The blog post is an etymological analysis and linguistic disassembly of the responses by various police offices to the issues in this case as quoted in the Ovalle-Herald piece.

Passion Carr is-according to the clerk's office- being represented by Gordon Murray and the case is before Judge Marissa Tinkler-Mendez.

This one appears to be the close out memo in the Leonardo Barquin police shooting.

If you don't want to wade through 52 pages of ontological onanistic legal analysis, (the link is for our robed readers who might need a bit of help with their vocabulary- and this is an especially good word to describe much of their participation in the legal process by the way) the startling conclusion is this: there is not enough evidence to show the officer legally and justifiably shot Mr. Barquin and there is not enough evidence to prosecute him. Ta da!

We now enter the week before, and week of 4th of July, where it is way too hot to want to work, and judge's thoughts turn to those vacation homes in the Carolinas thoughtfully offered to them by lawyers who would never ever think of influencing their decisions. Right?

Anyway, if history is a guide much posturing ("you want to go to trial? Because I have nothing to do. I'll go to trial, so don't push me.") and little work will accomplished the next two weeks.


Is it possible that there is some vast conspiracy between some all powerful "dry-cleaners political lobby" and the absolute refusal of any of the chief judges to modify the dress code for summer? If the Herald hadn't canned Nesmith, we know she would get right on this. Dark and powerful lobbyists never scared her.

See you in court.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Judge David Miller changed his mind about the bond status of Adam Kaufman- and Aventura resident accused of killing his wife.

According to this CBS article, Judge Miller had an epiphany of sorts on Father's day, and reconvened court this week on the issue of releasing Kaufman, which he had previously refused to do. 

The ability of a professional, especially a Judge,  to ponder a difficult decision and later change his or her mind, is an admirable trait.  It bespeaks of the Judge's ability to consider and re-consider difficult decisions. Judge Miller is to be commended for taking the pre-trial incarceration of anyone, especially someone charged with crime in a high publicity case, seriously. 

Of course the prosecutors responded in the same likewise thoughtful and professional manner: They threw a fit and filed a motion for Miller to recuse himself. Very professional guys. Practice tip: You can't file a motion to recuse a judge just because you don't like the decision. 

As we informed you before: Bill Matthewman for the defense. 

Very quietly the deadline for US troops to withdraw from Iraq is this Tuesday. 

You don't hear much debate on this anymore. 

As we turn our attention to Afghanistan, you might want to pick up this new Book for beach/4th of July reading: Horse Soldiers. It's about the first CIA and special forces in Afghanistan weeks after September 11. It gives a good insight into the historically troubled and murky region which is rife with internecine rivalries that take years to even fully understand. 

Florida takes part in Operation Dry Water (an oxymoron? Sort of like "Learned Judge"?).

Basically, when you drink alcohol, you shouldn't do anything, especially drive a car or boat. 
And sitting on a couch, watching the Marlins and drinking, sounds like a good weekend to us. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Passing of Patti Talisman Hersch, ESq.

It is with tremendous sadness that we report that our colleague Richard Hersch's wife- Patti Talisman Hersch has passed away. 

The funeral will be at Temple Beth Am on Sunday June 28, 2009 at 12:00 Noon. 
5950 SW 88th Street
Pinecrest, Florida 33156

The family requests that in lieu of food or flowers donations be made to 
Voices For Children Foundation
1500 NW12th Avenue
Suite 1117
Miami, FL, 33136
(305) 324-5678

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Love. (What? You thought we were going to say something else?)

The title of the post links to the NY Times story of the bizarre saga of South Carolina's Governor Mark Sanford who stole away from the state to rendezvous with his hot "latina chica" in Argentina. 

When Sanford disappeared this week his staff suggested he was hiking the Appalachian trail solo. 

It turns out he was dancing the tango, and as we all know, that's not a dance you can do alone.

Muy Caliente!!!

Query: Why is it usually these right wing moralizing politicians who rail against sex outside of the marriage, and then end up cheating on their wives?  We called former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to help us figure this out but he wouldn't return our calls. (Gingrich left his wife for another woman, serving her with divorce papers while she was in the hospital with cancer.)

Meanwhile, it's still hot in Miami, but at least it stopped raining. 

See you in court. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The Herald reports here that a man robbed a Wachovia bank on Tuesday. 

Not included in the article was the fact that he got away with 150 million in bad loans and as a result Wachovia's stock was actually up two points in trading on news of the robbery. 
"A few more of these and we can start returning government bail-out money" a bank VP was overheard saying. 

No reports yet on whether prompt action from our local branch of the FACDL has caused the highly trained courthouse security personnel at the Coral Gables Branch court to stop making lawyer Tom Risavy remove his shoes at the security screening. 
The FACDL has however promised to quickly address the new Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona  "as soon as we finish reading it."


Add  "sopping wet from the rain" and "heavy humidity" to the previous reasons why it's just plain dumb to require only half the lawyers in court to dress as if it were winter outside. 

No report yet from Judges Blake and Slom about this heavy and hot handed ill advised custom. However, we continue to do an unofficial survey, and on Monday noted that not one female Judge was wearing a tie on the bench, and a record high (for our counting ) 7 male judges were sans ties under their robes. 

What can new chief Judge Brown do for us? Something, anything. Just saying that he has heard our pleas from the hot barren desert of humidity that we are wallowing in, would be a start. 

Speaking of injustices, the Broward Blog continues to reveal sordid detail after sordid detail on the sweetheart of a deal disgraced former Broward Deputy Charles Grady got in pleading guilty to a misdemeanor in the face of "armed sexual battery" and "armed kidnapping" allegations. Only North of the Border. 

And the Broward Blog is also keeping up the heat on Circuit Court Judge Freen 
whose penchant for short court sessions interspersed between lengthy vacations has made him the darling of robed readers everywhere. The Broward Blog boys have filed public record requests on his vacation days, and just for fun, the blog also has a transcript here of Freen espousing on why he punishes juveniles for going to trial (wasting his time) and the reason in his opinion "misdemeanors don't matter."

We're sure Judges Bloom, Newman, Ortiz, Arzola, Miranda, Seraphin, Krieger-Martin,  and Fernandez (did we miss anyone?) would beg to differ with the North of the Border Judge. 

Anyway, it will stop raining any month now, and then we can get back to working on our tan. For now the local pub will have to fill in for our normal fun in the sun summer time hijinks. 

See you in court. 


Update: Signs that the apocalypse is upon us: 

1) Just look outside;

2) Gloria Estefan is becoming a minority owner of the Dolphins. 

Can the "Landshark-Sound Machine" Stadium naming ceremony be far away? 

On with the show:

“No State shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or 

property, without due process of law.”*

  U. S. Const., Amdt. 14, §1; accord Amdt. 5.

*(But the Supreme Court can....)

In case you missed it, the US  Supreme Court ruled 5-4  last week that it doesn't matter  if you're innocent and in prison- a prisoner has no constitutional right to a DNA test of the evdience.   CJ Roberts (motto: "calling those balls and strikes as he sees em" ) wrote for the majority and Justice Stevens wrote a dissent.   The Osborne decision is here.

CJ  Roberts believes that certain state interests trump the "right" (if there is one) to be released from prison when wrongfully convicted: 

Roberts wrote:

The  dilemma is how to harness DNA’s power to prove innocence without unnecessarily overthrowing the established  system of criminal justice. 

Herewith for your consideration: Chief Justice Roberts, avowed statist:

the "power to prove innocence" balanced against "unnecessarily overthrowing the established system of criminal justice."

Which side of the "dilemma" did Roberts come down on? The "established system of criminal justice" of course. Statists side with the State. It's what they do. 

Lord forbid Roberts should  find that the overwhelming power to prove innocence was such a revolution in technology that it called for a "new system of criminal justice." A system which removed the propensity for error inherent in such unreliable evdience like eyewitness testimony. 

Want more? You got it. Roberts admits that actual innocence may not entitle a convicted prisoner to relief. Huh? You read that right:

As a fallback, Osborne also obliquely relies on an asserted federal constitutional right to be released upon proof of “actual innocence.”  Whether such a federal right 

exists is an open questionWe have struggled with it over  the years, in some cases assuming, arguendo, that it exists while also noting the difficult questions such a right would 

 pose and the high standard any claimant would have to meet. (emphasis added.)

There you have it. Roberts the statist. The state's interest in preserving an "established system of criminal justice" trumps even the supposed reason for having a system of criminal justice: to protect the innocent and convict the guilty, with the priorities in that exact  order. 

In Roberts' world the trivial question of an innocent man or woman spending their life in prison pales before the important statist interest in keeping the gulag running smoothly. Call him a statist, call him and Scalia and Alito advocates for state's rights, but don't call them conservatives. They sacrifice the individual at the alter of the state just as readily as any marxist, they just couch their reasoning a bit differently. 

Space does not permit it here, but you must read section II of Alito's concurrence, in which he essentially argues that new STR DNA testing is so sophisticated and accurate, that the sensitivities surrounding the accuracy make it.....unreliable.  Yes, Alito  somehow has written himself into a corner by arguing that the DNA test the Petitioner sought was so technologically sophisticated and thus so sensitive to contamination, as to make the results proof of nothing. 

That's the best we can explain his views. As to why he has those views, one must wonder how hard he recently hit his head?

Stevens in dissent writes powerfully, simply and logically that nothing is lost and everything gained by letting a convicted prisoner pay for STR DNA analysis of crime scene evidence:

The State of Alaska possesses physical evidence that, if tested, will conclusively establish whether respondent William Osborne committed rape and attempted murder. 

If he did, justice has been served by his conviction and sentence. If not, Osborne has needlessly spent decades behind bars while the true culprit has not been brought to 

justice. The DNA test Osborne seeks is a simple one, its cost modest, and its results uniquely precise.  Yet for reasons the State has been unable or unwilling to articu­ 

late, it refuses to allow Osborne to test the evidence at his own expense and to thereby ascertain the truth once and for all.

And although this is a lengthy post, we cannot omit Stevens' reply to Alito's concurrence in  FN 7 of his dissent:

JUSTICE ALITO provides a detailed discussion of dangers such as 

oratory contamination and evidence tampering that may reduce the 

reliability not only of DNA evidence, but of any type of physical forensic 

evidence. Ante, at 3–10 (concurring opinion).  While no form of testing 

is error proof in every case, the degree to which DNA evidence has 

become a foundational tool of law enforcement and prosecution is 

indicative of the general reliability and probative power of such testing. 

The fact that errors may occur in the testing process is not a ground for 

refusing such testing altogether—were it so, such evidence should be 

banned at trial no less than in postconviction proceedings.  More 

important still is the fact that the State now concedes there is no 

reason to doubt that if STR and mtDNA testing yielded exculpatory 

results in this case, Osborne’s innocence would be established. 

There you have it. To 5 Justices on the Supreme Court, the criminal justice system has more important concerns than "actual innocence."

See you in court, actually fighting for actually innocent people. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The police shooting of Leonardo Barquin, an unarmed 17 year old boy, was the case that started the process that eventually cost David Ranck his job as an assistant state attorney. 

Agree or disagree with Ranck's analysis and subsequent actions, Ranck saw something he didn't like and he spoke out about it. How easy it would have been to join the cosy club of police officers protecting one of their own. But Ranck went where he believed the evidence was taking him, and along the way he incurred the wrath of both the police and the supervisors in his own office. 

Sometime during Sunday a woman purporting to be the mother of Leonardo Barquin somehow found our blog and posted a comment. 

The comment serves as a reminder that when all the legal analysis and politics are over, a boy is dead and a mother grieves. 

Everybody talk about Katherine Fernandez, but not one about Jorge Espinosa, the former police officer who shoot a boy unarmed three times in his back and beat him without mercy. This boy did not have a criminal record contrary to Jorge Espinosa that at the time of the murder counted with a history of police brutality. He was also investigated for trespassing with his police uniform some residences to steal. I’m not exaggerating or creating anything, I’m talking about facts and I can prove it.

Even if Leonardo Barquin was doing something wrong, he had the right to live and this police officer the responsibility to arrest him, so a judge could determine if he was guilty or not. But justice sometime is betrayed and perverted by some unscrupulous people as this former police officer.

Jorge Espinosa is a violent and unscrupulous man who does not know about limits. After “he left” the Police Department and with a murder in his back and as I mentioned a record of police brutality, this man was able to run for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. When I found out this, I went to one of the Polling House and to my surprise he was there. At the beginning he was laughing at me, but far a way, but with a cynical smile in his face he approached to me and took pictures of me, probably to intimidate me. But definitely he didn’t know that the love of a mother exceed any type of intimidation or fear. 
At first I was skeptical about the “Blue Code” in the Police Department, but not anymore since every time I have seen in the news that a police killed a person, the investigation concluded that the shoot was justified. The translation to the “Blue Code” is corruption and we with our silence are allowing this few people to corrupt our justice system. 
Katherine Fernandez-Rundle won’t be all her life the prosecutor of Miami, but unfortunately I think we need to way until she leaves her office for justice returns to Miami. I think that David Ranck is a prosecutor that believes in the justice system of this country and I would like to have his faith, and one day see Jorge Espinosa paying for his crime. I’m Leonardo Barquin’s mother, a boy that with only 17 years old was graduated from High School. He was looking for a University to enroll. He had a lot of plans, a future that was killed with him by a murder dress with a police uniform. I’ll love him forever and will fight for justice the rest of my life if it’s necessary. 
Beatriz Luis-Garcia


The Miami Herald article on a case David Ranck handled is out today. The title links to the Herald article by Davild Ovalle. 

Ranck has four blog entires on his involvement on the case beginning here. 

Part IV of his blog entry on the case contains an insider's view of how the SAO and US Attorneys Office get along. Interesting stuff.

OK people, have at it. 

Friday, June 19, 2009


Shoeless Joe Jackson.

(there's an interesting update about David Ranck below.)

Attorney "Shoeless" Tom Risivy has been complaining for some time now that the highly trained security personnel at the Coral Gables Branch Court (Motto: "We're at Christy's. Please leave a message and we will get back to you shortly.") have been requiring him to remove his shoes before being granted access to the building. 

So now we know what the Coral Gables Branch Court and the TSA at MIA have in common: a foot fetish. 

The FACDL has promised to get right on this "as soon as we finish up reading the minutes from our meeting in 1996". 

Query: Just what can happen at about 3 feet above sea level if a "shoe bomber" were to set one off during one of Judge Andy Hague's 4 hour PIP calendars or whatever it is they do over there?   

  On the other hand (or foot) it would be kind of cool walking around in court in socks for a while. It might give our sore feet a rest.

In any event here's the haberdashery update for Miami Courts: Men have to wear jackets and ties in court in the summer, but they don't have to wear shoes in Coral Gables. Something to ponder while sweating in those security lines. 
See you in court, fully dressed top to bottom.

David Ranck:

As many of you know, David Ranck  recently was let go by the SAO after many years of dedicated service. The reasons behind the parting of the ways are complicated and partly contained in Judge Gold's order in Ranck v. Rundle, et.al. (The link is in yesterday's post.)

David Ranck has sent us a link to his new (?) blog in which he discusses at  length and in at least three parts, his handling of the case of State v. Stevenson Charles and Passion Carr. Here is the link. 

Miami Herald Reporter David Ovalle will be doing a story on this, and this is apparently Ranck's anticipatory response. 

Have at it. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Heat index update: 46% of respondents say coats and ties should be optional in the summer time. In court today, saw 7 more male judges sans tie on the bench. Come on guys, what's sauce for the goose...

SUPER UPDATE: WE'VE MADE THE BIG TIME!!! Herewith is an excerpt from Judge Gold's exceptionally well reasoned opinion in Ranck v Rundle:

On May 5, 2008, Plaintiff made public the Memo by posting it on a blog he created and sending a link to his posting to the Justice Building blog, a well known public forum 

used by lawyers practicing criminal law in Dade County.  [DE 1, ¶ 44].

Ahem....."well known"...."superbly written" was probably mistakenly edited out by a clerk at the last minute.

BREAKING BLOG NEWS: As you wander the hallways of the REGJB today (Thursday) don't be surprised when someone says "It's a bird! It's a plane!! NO- It's SUPER LAWYER DAVID MARKUS!!!"  Yes dear readers, the hallways of our humble courthouse will be blessed and honored today as a true superstar of the legal profession comes over here to show us how it's done. 

(you did ask us to say "hello" David.)

If it's sometime after Wednesday, it's time for.....

Ward v. State: After bouncing between the 3rd DCA and the Supremes, the court's of Florida have reached this startling decision: in order to sentence a person as a prison release reoffender, the state must introduce something more than " a department of corrections letter" (whatever that is). 

State v. Waters. Guy steals almost a million bucks from a bank. Guy's lawyer (David Rothman) does a great job negotiating with the bank for restitution and then convinces  former Judge Perez  to go below the state's plea offer of 6 years and gets 6 months CTS, probation, and restitution. NB: The guidelines are 108 years!!!!
Enter Judge Rothenberg, who rarely sees a downward departure she likes. And this was like shooting fish in the barrel for her. Imagine a scheme to defraud a bank that involves setting up shell corporations in Mississippi with a name similar to a law firm in Miami, and then appropriating an escrow check made out to the law firm and putting it in the Mississippi corporation. And now imagine a judge issuing a downward departure based on the "unsophisticated manner" in which the scheme was deployed. Now imagine Judge Rothenberg's opinion reversing the downward departure. Ouch. Plus the case is returned for trial with one pissed off prosecutor and the guidelines are 108 years. Double ouch!!

Rivero v. State. Judge Schlessinger joins the wall of FAME for doing his job and issuing a ruling in denying a motion for post conviction relief that was supported by the record. 
Tapanes v. State. Ditto for Judge Reemberto Diaz. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Former ASA David Ranck had his federal lawsuit  against the SAO dismissed at the summary judgment stage by Judge Gold. David Markus has all the details here, 
including a link to the Herald story.  Those of you wishing to do so can email David at davidrancklaw at aol dot com. ( We have to write the email address that way or it screws up the layout of the blog but you should understand what we mean.)


If you haven't gone to ATL and seen all the sordid details of a client, his wife, and a Case and White associate,  go here   and here. Even for Miami, that's an awful lot of sex going on. 

Moral of the story- we as criminal lawyers are a lot more accustomed to covering our tracks than these dopy civil guys who apparently leave footprints, hand prints, and blackberry email and text messages everywhere so that any aggrieved husband can connect the dots. 

Still lots of chatter on the Donte Stallworth case in the REGJB today. 
Query: does the sentence the SAO agreed to  in one case affect the sentences the SAO should be seeking in similar cases? 

It's an interesting issue. On the one had we decry the guidelines, especially in federal court. On the other hand, when someone gets a good deal (for whatever reason) people start complaining. 

We fall squarely on the side of every case is different; every person is different; and every case should be handled on the specific individual facts associated with that case. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The  comments below  fairly reflects the chatter around the REGJB regarding the plea offered to NFL star Donte Stallworth that included a mere 30 days jail for a DUI manslaughter. 

The question is whether Donte Stallworth bought his way out of state prison? 
In our experience this is one of the most lenient deals ever offered a person charged with DUI Manslaughter. 

UPDATE: This comment (edited to remove extraneous curse words- the full comment is in the comments section) bears discussion as it highlights the issues here:

Is Murphy ... stupid? look up case number F02-2850, state of fl v. leonardo cardenas. DUI Mans, son driving mom home from festival crashes into police cruiser and mom dies. the police officer is hell bent on the son getting real time. state's offer is 8 years, murphy offers him 5 years state prison. kid gets scarred and leaves the country. Murphy, today, i can honestly say you suck. 30 days because the victim's broke ass family gets pay day. ... what if stallworth would have hit a rich guy instead of a poor guy, more time wold have been required for justice to be achieved. remember this was a criminal case not a civil case. murphy, you are shameless.

Former ASA here.

30 days for a DUI manslaughter? That's a disgrace. Mothers Against Drunk Driving should be up in arms over this one. From now on, no DUI prosecutor should ever ask for jail time on a case that didnt involve a fatality. And I guess the guy that killed the mother and kids a few months ago, who is being held no bond should get 90 days DCJ. 30 days per corpse according the the "Stallworth formula."
How can you resolve the fact that the DUI prosecutors in county court hardly ever break a case down and will try any DUI case, no matter how bad, but Stallworth gets a pat on the back for cooperating with the police and showing remorse. Athlete buys his way out of trouble again and my old boss KFR should be ashamed.

How will the state ever offer anything more than 30 days in any DUI in county court based on this plea? 

If you want to read about the David Ranck situation at the SAO, scoot over to Mr. Markus's blog and read his piece as he horns in on our turf. 

We all know Fed Court is boring, but please, leave the REGJB to the experts. It may look easy from the sidelines, but trust us, you're playing with fire and will get burned.   

Lawyer Tom Risivy can't get into the Coral Gables Court house without either 1) Taking off his shoes at the security checkpoint or 2) Getting a police escort through the back door which is reserved for people getting married and that seems a bit extreme just to get to court on time

Judge Serpahin: Did he get his props for responding to complaints and designating 8:30-9:30 as the time he will call lawyers out of turn on Wednesday sounding calendars? If not, he's got them now. 


This was the scene confronting the citizens of Miami as they streamed into our worn down and weary courthouse on Monday on not one, but two floors.

When will it end? It's like voire dire before Judge Tunis (we hear she went a solid month on her current murder case). 

Cleveland Browns WR Donte Stallworth has agreed to plead guilty DUI Manslaughter. According to ESPN he will serve "a short jail sentence" followed by lengthy probation.  Chris Lyons for the defense in this case.

Are they holding a goodbye party for Souter at the Supreme Court? Will there be a soiree in his chambers with delivery from Papa Johns and Scalia and Ginsberg singing parody songs about Souter's return to the Mountains of New Hampshire? 

Or does he just take down his diplomas, pack his name plate and take off? Does he get a little plate to tack on to his license plate identifying him as a retired supreme court judge to help him get out of traffic tickets? Just wondering. 

We counted five male judges who were NOT wearing ties in court on Monday. What's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander, eh?  

There's nothing funny about a demented and ill individual who kills helpless and innocent animals, and we're not going to make any jokes about it.   

See you in court. We're the one in the tie. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Ties That Bind

UPDATE: For those of you following this story, and we can't get enough of it, the NY State Senate was thrown into more confusion today when one of the two Democratic Senators who switched sides switched back, creating the first ever 31-31 tie. And to make matters worse, the Lieutenant Governor, who normally breaks ties in the Senate doesn't exist, since he became the Governor when Elliot Spitzer resigned because of women problems. The NY Times article is here. 

It's 96 degrees outside. It feels like 105. The humidity is 100%.

And only one profession mandates that the male participants wear not just a tie, but also a coat, no matter how hot it is. 

Imagine if you will an alien species making contact with earth. After all the fanfare died down, eventually earthlings would escort the aliens around to show them different parts of our cultures. 

Can you just see them standing on a corner somewhere in the USA in July with the hot sun beating down and the alien saying "tell me again why the men who go into that building must wear coats in this weather?"

We have no rational answer. Didn't Obama say it was time for change? 

<-----------Vote in our new poll on coats and ties.

This is not about respect for the court. Every female lawyer and female judge manages to dress in a manner that is respectful without being totally ridiculous in face of the rising temperatures outside. 

Cooler lawyers make happier lawyers (not to mention better smelling) and happier lawyers tend to get along and settle cases. 
So doing away with the coat and tie requirement during the summer months may reduce case loads. 

How's that for a "two-fer-the -price-of-one" change? 

Judge Slom? Judge Blake? Judge Brown? What can Brown do for you? Make things cooler for a start. 

Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? 

See you in court, sweltering on the walk in, until further notice. 

Poll results:

Judge Butchko was not trying to get reversed on appeal by 45%;

73% (140 out of 191) said Judge Adrien was playing the race game in his reelection efforts. 

And about a third of us take depos in every felony case, while 25% never take depos in homage to Sy. 

Friday, June 12, 2009


Quiet week at the 3rd DCA. Not much to report except these three gems:

Braggs v. State.  Generic case law here on the issue of Melbourne and striking jurors during voire dire. BUT- talk about pulling victory from the jaws of defeat!! The court initially reversed the conviction because the trial judge left out parts of the mandated “Melbourne analysis”. But after reading the opinion the prosecutor contacted the court reporter who reviewed her notes and the transcript and realized the typist left out many words and phrases during the trial court’s ruling on the striking of the juror. With the new transcript, the prosecution filed a motion for a re-hearing and the 3rd DCA quickly reversed their reversal and affirmed. (try saying that 3 time fast). 

Harvey v. State-  Friend of the blog Judge Barzee-Flores was reversed when the 3rd DCA ruled that a defendant being held in custody and out of state is entitled to have the time period for filing a rule 3 motion tolled until the time he or she is returned to Florida. 

If you have to get reversed, this is the kind of reversal judges can live with. 

Harris v. State a/ka “don’t Mess with the 3rd”: The 3rd denied a successive Rule 3.800 motion to correct sentence and reminded  the defendant that filing repetitive and frivolous post conviction motions “may result in loss of gain time.” Kaboom.

 “You talkin to me?”

“Do you feel lucky today punk? Well, do ya?”  

“Yipeee kai aaaa mother f’er.” 

Name your favourite movie tough guy tag line and insert it here when dealing with the 3rd. Personally, we only file frivolous appeals according to a certain retired Judge who lets us know his position on our briefs during oral argument. 

CHAOS: This is totally off blog, but if you read the NY Times during voire dire like we do, then you have been following the total chaos in which the NY State Senate has fallen into. In a nut shell,  Senate Republicans, who lost control of the Senate earlier this year after decades of rule, were able to lure two dissatisfied Democrats- one who is under indictment for slashing his companion with broken glass, and one who is under investigation for campaign finance violations. With the two turncoats in two, (and having made the campaign finance guy the Speaker) the Republicans called for a vote and ousted the Senate Democratic leadership. That was about a week ago. The Democrats left, and took the keys to the Senate Chamber with them, and that's where it sits in Albany.