Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Here's the problem: Long time Circuit Court Judge Judith Kreeger made plans to retire after a distinguished career on the Family Court bench. She will be missed.

Judge Kreeger informed Governor Charlie Crist (motto: "get me the hell out of Tallahassee and on to Washington , the sooner the better") of her intent to retire prior to the April 30, 2010 filing deadline for her seat (her seat is up for election this year.) Attorneys Miguel De La O and Pat Kopco (sorry, we couldn't find a web site for her) filed as candidates to run in her seat.

But because Judge Kreeger informed the Governor of her intent to retire before the qualifications period was up, the Governor may well have the right to appoint someone to Judge Kreeger's seat, knocking De La O and Kopko on their electoral butts and out of the race.

While some commentators have said that Judge Kreeger blew it by announcing her retirement before the filing deadline, we think that Judge Kreeger probably had to do that, in relation to the arcane retirements laws we have in Florida, as well as her ability to sit as a Senior Judge, since if she didn't retire before the filing deadline, the State may well have treated her failure to file as something other than retirement- preventing her from returning as a Senior judge.

Such complicated questions. Oy. Perhaps its time we shine our El Capitan spotlight over our troubled metropolis and seek help from the blog's super hero of arcane election law.

The DBR has an article about Judge Kreeger's retirement here.


In the comments from the previous post, a loyal reader was clearly troubled as how to refer to us, vis a vis whether the adjective "pompous" should be applied to any particular noun that might be associated with us?

We answer the question in the affirmative. Having known us as long as we have, the term "pompous" is appropriate and should be used whenever necessary and or appropriate.

Have any other Rumpole related questions? Email them to us at Howardroark21 at gmail dot com and we will answer them post haste.

it amazes us that after all this time nobody has still figured out what our email address means and why it is significant.


Anonymous said...

Good, Anything to keep De la O from being a judge is fine with me.

Why the hell should Judy care what happens with her seat as she retires? She is not Lenny Glick... leaving it to her daughter.

Batman said...

I saw the signal and will respond. Sorry I have not been posting, but I have been spending a great deal of time out of town and just can't seem to get too interested. However, this is too good to pass up.

Judy actually did blow it for Kopco and De La O. My sources tell me she has incurred the rath of all of the judges who feel they are vulnerable. She could have waited until after qualifying and then announced her resignation.

Any tme you leave voluntarily (not losing an election or JQC action) it is a voluntary retirement. The changes in the pension plan and senior judge qualficiation takes effect on July 1 and any retirement before then would be exempt.

Anticipate retirements effective June 30 from all of the judges who will not be running for re-election and some in the drop system who want to sit as senior judges. (There is a possibility that some who can not accept reduction due to averaging salary changes will also leave.) They will then come back and serve at $350 per day until January. The system will not fall apart or be any more under-manned (no gender bias intended) than it is now.

The net effect of all of this will be to: (1) force drop system participants out of office thus reducing the initial payout; (2) reduce benefits to those who stay and; (3) despite statements to the contrary, will return the system back to what it was supposed to be, the finish of a career, not a career in itself.

I believe we may see more experienced and financially secure lawyers closing out their careers as judges, rather than younger lawyers trying to get the whole 30.

Watch for additional changes, like no free medical insurance, reduction of percenatage partcipation to 2.7% from 3.3% and changes in the drop system. The whole financial structure for judges is about to be turned back to the early 90's.

As much as one might look at this as an attack on the judiciary (and it is) it might actually (in the long run) improve the judiciary. Lets watch and see.

I am still lurking out there.


Anonymous said...

Howard Roark is the protagonist from "The Fountainhead."

Rumpole said...

You're way late to the party pal. You're not saying anything people didn't realize on about day two of the blog.

But there's so much more.

"You look, but you do not see, Grasshopper."

totally immature lawyer said...

I've lost count as to how many times I have whipped out my pecker in front of that blonde cleaning lady that is always yellow-taping off & straighteing out the bathroom every time when I need to use it.

I shall make the laws now! said...

Vote for me and I will make Campaign laws that help judicial assistants have two careers at once.


Rumpy, I'm back!

Toy Story said...

I'm not hip to all of the rules and nuances of Election Law. But am I missing something? I feel like In re Advisory Opinion to Governor re: Appointment or Election of Judges, 824 So. 2d 132 (Fla. 2002) controls here.

"In view of this conflict between sections of the constitution, we conclude that the conflict must be resolved by a construction which gives effect to the clear will of the voters that circuit and county judges be selected by election. We therefore answer your question by stating that it is our opinion that upon the qualification of a candidate or candidates for a circuit or county judgeship during the statutory qualification period, the election method of selection required by section 10(b)(1) and (2) takes precedence over and forecloses the Governor's constitutional authority and obligation pursuant to section 11(b) to fill a vacancy that occurs during the balance of the incumbent judge's term of office. Once the election process begins by candidates qualifying for the judge position, the election method is the method by which the judicial position is to be filled. Our opinion, however, is limited to the circumstances described in your letter, i.e., where a candidate or candidates have already qualified during the statutory qualifications period, one of whom will fill the position by election."

The Court recognized the seat would remain vacant between July and January. The Florida Supreme Court was so willing to stand by this proposition that they concluded, "We understand and are aware that the length of the vacancy in this case will work a hardship on the workload in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit because the judgeship vacated by Judge Foster will not be filled until January 2003. We are also aware of the policy concerns previously raised by our discussion of the need to avoid extended judicial vacancies. See, e.g., In re Advisory Opinion to the Governor (Judicial Vacancies), 600 So.2d 460, 462 (Fla.1992). In light of this hardship, the Chief Justice of this Court will endeavor to cover this deficiency with the use of senior judges when requested to do so by the Chief Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit."

Therefore I think since De La O and Kopcko qualified for election prior to Kreeger's retirement announcement, that they would have rights to proceed by election that would foreclose the Govenor's right to make an appointment.

Beavis said...

You said "pecker"

Huh, huh

Anonymous said...

I am in Zabel courtroom hell...someone help please...

Anonymous said...

Sorry 645AM, no one has qualified for the 2010 election yet. The actual qualifying period is from April 26, 2010 through April 30, 2010 at 12 PM. Those are the dates that candidates can pay thier qualifying fees and "lock-in" on the seats where they are goong to be listed on the ballot.
Hence Keeger did what she did BEFORE qualifying.

Fake Blecher said...

Where is the Captain when we need him? Someone needs to straighten out this mess. Someone get the captain please.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Judge Judy - you may have saved us from having to deal with de la O or Kopko as judges. How much worse can a governor appointee be? (hmmmmm).

Anonymous said...

I never thought I would say this but we may need some real legal brains on this whole retirement thing.

Ahhh.. who am I kidding on this blog! If I'm lucky I might get some advice on traffic tickets or jay walking citations.

Batman said...

This is not rocket science. Before july 1 the old retirement rules apply. After the new ones do. Those new rules relate to average salary computation and eligibulty to sit as a senior judge. The intention is publicly to make up for the 4% shortfall in the retirement systems funds available for distribution.

As to judy's seat it is up to the governor. If he declares the seat vacant before the first day of qualifying he can appoint and the seat is pulled from the election not difficult stuff

Anonymous said...

They need to get some sort of system for cleaning the bathrooms- like not at 900 or 10 am when the place is jammed. That lady and her minions are the worst. Hey genius, how bout cleaning it after the rush? Maybe you could start with the judge's toilets and then move to the public ones afternoon? Just a thought. I have been close several times to at least an improper exhibition because I couldn't hold it anymore (and maybe a battery for shoving that dunce out of the way).

Anonymous said...

So to put this into blog terms- Kreeger took Shumie time, but may have announced it a bit early?

We need the Shumie Time replay official to take a look at this. I'm throwing the multi-colored Shumie Time flag- scarf that Shumie has been wearing lately.

Golf Guy said...

Rump- knowing you enjoy the Masters as much as I do, any predications?
Is this the year Joey Sindelar- perhaps the greatest golfer who hasn't won a Major- breaks through?

How about young Zack Johnson, or clubhouse leader Tom Watson-trying at 60 to win another Green Jacket. K.J. Choi anyone? Y.E Yang? Lefty Michelson? I love this weekend!
And I always remember the great trivia question- which Dade PD placed at the Masters? It was none other than Dan Sikes, who while on the PGA Tour was known as "The Golfing lawyer." Dan had 6 wins on the PGA Tour, including the 1963 Doral, the 1967 Jacksonville Open, and the 1968 Florida Citrus Open Classic.
Sikes finished 12th in the 1969 Masters, 6 shots off the lead. It was his triple bogey at 12 when he drove the ball into Rae's creek twice that knocked Sikes out of the lead. Although it was Sikes "laser like" four iron on his second shot at 11 in which he knocked it to within a foot of the hole for an easy birdie put that briefly put Sikes in a tie for the lead- and led to roars in the old Marine Bar where his colleagues had gathered on Sunday to watch the final round.

To be Fair- Sikes was mostly an SAPD and didn't practice much in Miami, but for that one glorious Sunday, the PDS were almost ready to wear a Green Jacket.

Anonymous said...

now if we can only get batman to learn how to spell...

Tired Of Tallahassee said...

I know it sounds crazy...but I've been in Tallahassee for weeks now and one of the things on the Governor's plate is the appointment of a new 3rd DCA Judge.

The republicans want their guy(Gal actually) the dems gave their guy and even the Tea Party is pushing some obscure neo-cnservative judge.

But in the midst of all the in-fighting one name is generating a mild yawn and may well emerge as
a consensus pick.

Ladies and Gentlemen your next 3rd DCA judge......the right and honorable.....

Sheldon Schwartz!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Are you an architect that likes to play blackjack (21)?

Toy Story said...

Thanks 10:38am.

Batman said...

Sorry about the spelling, but I have this incredible difficulty manipulating the keys on my Crackberry.

Toy Story said...

I still think the Governor has a problem though. (Of course, prior precedent may prove otherwise.)

Kreeger will be occupying the seat between 4/26/2010 and 4/30/2010.

De La O and Kopko can hurry up and file their qualifying paperwork as early as possible and then get qualified on 4/26/2010.

The question is, does an earlier resignation, allow the Governor to start the appointment process right away? There would still be at least two months between the last date of the qualifying period to the date she vacates the seat?

Anonymous said...

Thanks but NO THANKS!!!!!
A County Judge deals with the people and may help the community as no other member of the judiciary can.Circuit Court handles more serious offenses;thus little and or no communication with the defendants or public.Appeals Judges deal with paper and research,and legal arguments.
County Court Judges are the real "Peoples Court"judiciary and can make coming to court a learning experience for all present,including defendants.

Grey Tesh said...

Howard Roark represents the triumph of individualism over the slow stagnation of collectivism.

Rumpole is represents the triumph of individualism because:

He blogs anonymously. He can say whatever he truly thinks about judges, lawyers, current events with no backlash for his career and/or his clients.

Not sure what the 21 means.

Maybe I'm wrong and Rumpole named himself after the photographer Howard Roark who fancies hot young models.


Anonymous said...

Jeff Weiner's crossexamination makes DEA agent faint in federal court.

From the Miami Herald:

DEA agent in Kobie O. Gary case faints on the stand

A federal drug agent fainted under cross-examination by a Miami criminal defense attorney at the sentencing of a prominent Florida lawyer's son.


Rumpole said...

Oh you disappoint me Grey. For such a good attorney to be constrained to the same sad old "inside the box" analysis. It's a shame really.

Anonymous said...

Its obvious what will go down: Kopco and De La O will run against William Johnson, and fight it out against each other in the runoff. Or (much less likely), they both jump into Gordo v. Kuntz race, making the race effectively Kuntz v. Kopco (Kuntz wins running away) and Gordo v. De La O (not even close, De La O wins), setting up a Kuntz v. De La O runoff.

Batman said...

You can not "hurry up and qualify." Qualifying is defined by statute and can only occur during "Qualifying Week". This year it is April 26-30. The Governor has until April 25 to declare the seat open.

C'mon people, stop making things up. It is statutory and constitutional (state). If you don't know, don't say. As I said before, this is easy stuff.

Who Are You? said...

I just don't think anyone really cares any more, Rump. Maybe JT, but no one else, really.

Toy Story said...

Sorry Batman to annoy you. But if you're going to put someone on blast, have the decency to get right what you quote.

"De La O and Kopko can hurry up and file their qualifying paperwork as early as possible and then get qualified on 4/26/2010."

That's a little different from "hurry up and qualify." According to the Florida Department of Elections website, they will accept qualifying paperwork on 4/12/2010, pursuant to 99.061(8), F.S. Three days from today. That's Monday guy.

I am glad you're so sure that the Governor can declare the seat open. According to the DBR article "Attorneys in Crist’s office are researching whether a resignation letter or the resignation date triggers an appointment." Meaning that they're wondering about the issue... wow, they should hire you since you know it all.

Even assuming that I had been way off base, I never claimed to be an expert by any stretch. I specifically stated at 6:25am, that "I'm not hip to all of the rules and nuances of Election Law." Thus openly professing that I don't know election law well and not pretending to know it well.

At my 10:16pm post I stated "Of course, prior precedent may prove otherwise." Because again qualifying my comments, I didn't profess to know what others wiser than myself may well know from past experiences and cases.

But more importantly, I phrased my 10:16pm post in the form of questions, you know the type that solicit other opinions and comments about a theory. Not going around and saying, "Hey this is the answer, you better listen to me." Not going around "making up stuff" as if to profess I'm an elections guru.

Maybe if you spent a little less time smoking bat guano, you could be a little less judgmental and glossing over posts and then misquoting them, and a little more helpful than with comments like "If you don't know, don't say."

Guess you're saying there is such a thing as a honest question? Sorry I asked, jerk.

Batman said...

Sorry to disappoint you but that "prior precedent" dealt with the issue of whether a governor could appoint when a vacancy is created AFTER the qualifying period and the court said no. Did you even read the case? Once a seat is in the election process (defined by the Florida Supreme Court as when qualifying commences) it must remain in the election process.

You can file any papers you want, but you cannot officially qualify this year before 9:00 am, April 26,2010.

Based upon prior "precedent" once the governor recieves a resignation letter, he may declare the seat "vacant" and proceed to appoint. How many times has the governor asked the JNC to give him names for appointment when the sitting judge is still there based upon a resignation letter. The only research the governor is doing is whether he wants to do this or not. It is not mandatory.

If your best source of information is the DBR you really should expand your horizons. Like I said, stop making stuff up. You are obviously a candidate who has an interest, possibly De La O or Kopco, or a judge concerned about your seat.

And what makes you think I haven't provided advise to General Counsels in the past on just these type of issues, including your "precedent"? Now who feels like a jerk, jerk.

Anonymous said...

Batman nails it again.
This wasn't even a close call.
When a sitting Judge submits a letter of resignation, the Governor has the option of declaring it a vacant seat, the same as if the Judge had died in or been removed from office. This option is not available to the Governor if candidates for election for that seat have "qualified" with the elections commission.
"Qualification" means you have paid your filing fee,correctly submitted you paperwork, and have no age, residency or shortage in length of membership in the Florida Bar. The Election Division of the State of Florida then certifies that you, Mr. or Ms. Candidate for Group "X" have "Qualified" for election to Group "X". The qualifiying period has a rather short time line, one week, and a deadline.
Just opening a campaign account and declaring you are running in a seat/group "X" does not count as "qualifiying" for the Governors declaration of a vacant seat to be nullified.

So let's see what option our Governor will take:

DOOR # 1 - Let the presently declared candidates, De La O and Kopco duke it out in an election, by the people, this August.

DOOR # 2 - Declare Judge Judy's seat as vacant, open it for appointment and let the ass kissing begin.

****Here comes the dream sequence where the Governor talks to himself in an off camera voice and says;

"The right thing to do would be to let the people decide who they want in the free democratic vetting process. Let these candidates present their credentials to the communities they may be serving and let the will of the people rule instead of a panel of lawyers and lay people with agendas and a Governor (who could get a "twofer", appoint a County Court Judge to this Circuit seat and then appoint a lawyer to County Court.)who is seeking higher office and may want the support of various ethnic, racial or gender groups.
I should do the right thing...Right?



The 2010 Election Kibitzer

Toy Story said...

All I ever wanted was to engage in meaningful discussion and work through the law.

Thanks for the answers, the excessive ad hominem attacks ("did you read the case?" "best source of info is DBR article?") notwithstanding. (Just as I previously thanked 10:38am.)

Still kept misquoting me, since I say I provided all the "precedent," I said "precedent may prove otherwise." And misquoting, what I subsequently said about the 4/26 date, when I specifically mentioned it in my 10:16pm post.

There's such a thing as answering a question without needing to keep putting someone down, but I guess your psychological insecurities require you to do otherwise.

Batman said...

Toy Story,

My further review of our exchange clearly sets forth not a question on your part, but a hope and prayer as what you want the truth to be. The name calling and personal attacks started with your use of the word "jerk" and the "bat guana" remark.

So Mr. De La O or Ms. Kopco I was and am sure of the legalities, not necesarily the politics. With the Governor in a Rubio State of Mind, I don't know that he wants to deal with the problems of one judicial seat in Miami-Dade (I don't expect one Hispanic vote in the primrary) County

I have no insecurities. I am Batman. My only issue is how to deal with my dual personality.

Anonymous said...

is your email address properly read as "howardroarktwentyone" or "howardroarktwoone" so as to be a homonym for "howard roark to one"

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that witch of Kreeger is out of the system! One if not the WORST Judge I've ever encountered!