Monday, October 31, 2011

The Honorable Kathy Williams had her investiture last week. DOM had the coverage.

Judges Bill Altfield (Dade County Courthouse at noon) and Ivan Hernandez ( 3rd DCA at 3pm) have their investitures this Friday.

The Captain pointed out in the comments Friday the NY TImes Op Ed here that the US has falling crime rates and teeming prisons. As we have said many many times: "The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population, yet 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. " Something's rotten in Denmark and in our criminal justice system.

The best chance the Dolphins have to win this season is this Sunday, on the road, at KC.

Roy Black continues his insightful critique of the lawyering in the Dr. Conrad Murray trial. His post on the prosecutor asking one question to many is superb, and if you have never done that then you've never tried more than one case. We've all been there. The goal is avoid doing it again and to recover when you do.

Mr. Black's commentary of this trial is a must read for all trial lawyers, especially young ones. His points are excellent and there is much to be learned from reading his opinion on the lawyering. Now if he could only give coach Sporano a few tips....

Supreme Court hears an ineffective assistance of counsel case today. The issue is a plea offer that was not communicated. NY Times coverage here.

Happy Halloween.
Send us your scary court stories.*

* Just emailing us the word "Broward", while technically qualifying as a scary court story, is not in the spirit of the request.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Breaking: Dolphins lose....more on this as it becomes available.

Our suicide pool rolls on as Clay Kaeiser and Michael Feiler continue to distinguish themselves with their football acumen.

Today CK confidently pick the Ravens to beat the visiting Cardinals while Feiler rolls with the 49ers over the Browns.

In our view Feiler has the rougher road to hoe today. Good luck to both players.

Take the under 51 if you can still get it in the Steeler/cheater and Cowboy/Eagle match-ups; take the under 42 in the Miami/Giants game in New Jersey today. The weather should be a factor in all three games.

We like the Browns +10 in San Fran today.

We'd also like it to stop raining in Miami before the end of the year.

See You In Court tomorrow. Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Many long time denizen of the REGJB know that for decades South Florida was blessed to have the very best in talk radio- Neil Rodgers. Neil died recently, and for some reason we have been thinking about Neil and his protege-Bob Lassiter. As detailed here, Neil was instrumental in getting Lassiter started in talk radio. But once he started, Bob Lassiter went on to have a career that approached if not equaled the great Neil Rodgers.

Here is the aircheck of what many believe was Lassiter's greatest call: the famous Mr. Airstream. It's worth a listen. And then listen to the other airchecks on the blog- they are all great.

And in case you're missing Uncle Neil, here is a web site that has over 150 Neil Rodgers shows-commercials included.

If talk radio is not your thing, just skip today's post and tune in tomorrow for Football.

See You In Court.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


What do you do as an appellate judge when you know the underlying fact on appeal- which was accepted by all parties and the trial judge- is wrong?

If you're Alex Kozinski, you have a little fun. The full coverage by the WSJ is here.

The fact remains that Arias conceded that he violated the order, and defendants didn’t argue otherwise to the district court, which is probably why the district court saw no reason to belabor the point. And this concession amounts to a waiver so that we must deem a violation established for purposes of this appeal even though Arias didn’t actually violate the order.

This raises the unusual question of how we treat a finding of bad faith for a transgression that didn’t actually occur. We conclude that Arias couldn’t have acted in bad faith if he did not, in fact, violate the district court’s order. You can’t have chicken parmesan without chicken; you can’t have an amazing technicolor dreamcoat without a coat; you can’t have ham and eggs if you’re short of ham or eggs. And you can’t have a bad faith violation without a violation.

Kozinski is obviously not from South Florida, because if he was, he would have written "you can't have arroz con pollo without the rice or the chicken..."

The Herald has a big scoop: The State Attorneys are now running the clerk's office!!
Here is a direct quote about how they obtained an a-form in the tragic cases of a Coral Springs police officer arrested for DUI Manslaughter that occurred in the Gables:

As of Wednesday, more than a month after the crash, Coral Gables police declined to release the arrest affidavit, saying it was part of an “open criminal investigation.’’ The Miami Herald was able to obtain the document through the state attorney’s clerk of courts office.

The full article written by Herald reporter Julie Brown is here. Next time you see Ms. Brown, ask her exactly where is the "State attorney's clerk of courts office"? We'd love to know.

Query: Should a reporter for the city's only major news paper have some fundamental understanding of the court system she is covering? Or is that asking too much?
Maybe we'll take a walk down and check with the Miami Herald's NY Times City desk.

See You In Court on our way to the SAO's clerk of courts office, where it's apparently an a-form jamboree.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011



From: Bravo, Carmen
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:19 PM
To: Carames, Manuel (COC); Gillett, Deborah (COC); Adrover, Jorge (COC)
Cc: Elena Reyes; Bula, Sonia; Hall, Charlene; Bazile, Sandra (COC); Fernandez, Yolanda; Diaz, Estela
Subject: Cancellation of Coral Gables calendars

Good afternoon,
Earlier today, I was notified, that due to the uncertainty regarding the reopening of the Coral Gables Courthouse, all Criminal Traffic, Misdemeanor and Traffic Infraction cases that are scheduled for the week of October 31 through November 4th are to be cancelled per Judge Slom.
I have asked the COC to inform me of any cases that have speedy issues, which need to be calendared ASAP so we may have them reset as soon as possible on other judges calendars.

I have attached next week’s schedule indicating the sessions that will be cancelled.
Thank-you and please let me know if you have any concerns.
Carmen Bravo
Director County Court Operations

Administrative Office of the Courts
*** We Who Labor Here Seek Only the Truth***

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The rumor broke through several attorney chatter services Tuesday. From the FACDL Listserv to Twitter to emails, the defense world was abuzz with the news that Customs Border Patrol was conducting sweeps and searches of our clients attending traffic court in the REGJB Tuesday.

Clients who are not in the United States legally are being confronted and detained while appearing in traffic court. The traffic courts of the REGJB have been called many things, but an international boarder has never been one of them. Are these "boarder searches", dozens of miles inside the United States, legal?

Is anybody going to do anything about this?

And how bad are those Dolphins?

As the news went back and forth, attorneys regaled each other with news of other supposed excesses of the CBP, including a rumored sweep of a Broward County Convention of cosmetologists. No, CBP is not deporting theoretical physicists (cosmologists), but they are seeking to deport beauticians who have overstayed their welcome, not to mention their visa.

Locating a super nova or a black hole (no judicial jokes please) is one thing, but it's not that easy to get a good shave and a hair cut these days.

See You In Court...with papers if asked.

Monday, October 24, 2011


BREAKING: Coral Gables courthouse closed Tuesday for "environmental reasons..." The courthouse was recently fumigated. Some employees are reporting becoming ill.
(Does anyone know a good lawyer?) More on this as it becomes (ack ack) available.


1966-2011. Rest In Peace.

Up 15-0 with less than six minutes left, at home, versus a team with a losing record.
Loss in overtime 18-15.

The Day the Dolphins died.

Reprinted with permission from the Captain.

The Captain Reports:


Names sent to Governor Scott to replace Judge Figarola are:

David Alschuler
Tanya Brinkley
Donald Cannava
Ivonne Cuesta
Steven Lieberman

We should have the names later today for the Circuit Court two open seats. Also, with Judge Scola moving to Federal bench, that opens up yet another Circuit Court seat.

And a contented reader writes:

Anonymous said...
who cares, really so annoying! I hate when you get into the football crap on the blog. It is so annoying. I like it better when you stick to what the blog is suppose to be about and that is the Justice Building which totally lacks justice right now. Especially when we have too scared judges refusing to grant motions when they know they should be. GEEEZZZZZ its freaking sickening. I hope RIP is for the rest of the season. Go bother your wife with football

Rumpole responds:

Gee whiz Mom, why do you have to bother me at work?


Saturday, October 22, 2011


Suicide update: CK marches with the Saints
while Feiller rolls with the Cowboys


There is a group occupying Miami downtown. It's starting small but who knows what it leads to?
The Herald has coverage here.

What's the difference between protests by the "Occupy" group and protests by the Tea Party? Not much (to the chagrin of conservatives) says the NY Times.

Any thoughts about if and when they try to occupy the courthouses?

Want a great nuts and bolts explanation of the defense theory of the case and why it matters so much? Roy Black has it here.

Tim Teebow arrives in Miami to play against the Dolphins tomorrow (yawn).

It's a beautiful fall day in Miami. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011



UPDATED: JUDICIAL REASSIGNMENTS ANNOUNCED TODAY. We hear that the GJB will be getting William Thomas, John Schlesinger, Victoria Sigler, Valerie Manno -Schurr and Samatha Ruiz Cohen; and we will be losing Trawick, Hogan-Scola, Cueto, Ward & Zabel in January of 2012.


On October 12, 2011, on the Justice Building BLOG, I reported the following:

And the newest filing has someone challenging newly appointed County Court Judge Fleur Lobree:

Fleur Lobree vs. William Pena Wells. Mr. Wells has been practicing in Florida since 1988. In 2002, he was suspended from the practice of law for three years nunc pro tunc to October of 1998. He petitioned for Reinstatement and was reinstated in 2004. He has a solo practice in NMB.

In the past week, bloggers have posted on Mr. Wells past. Here is what we found:

In October of 1996, Mr. Wells was arrested and charged with two felonies: Two counts of Worthless Check of $150 or more in violation of FS 832.05 (2) under case number F96-33449. Mr. Wells was appointed a PD. The PD filed a conflict an PCAC Philip Horowitz was assigned the case. In March of 1998, the State Nolle Prossed the two charges. They immediately refiled the two charges during that same month. A trial on the two charges took place before Judge Carney in June of 1998. Mr. Wells was found Guilty of both charges by a jury. On August 12, 1998, Mr. Wells was placed on Probation for one year; restitution was reserved. Wells filed an appeal with the 3rd DCA in September of 1998. In January of 2002, the 3rd DCA issued their opinion Affirming the Convictions. The opinion is found at Wells v. State, 807 So.2d 132. 3D98-2706. (I will not explain the basis for the two felony charges as the 3rd DCA lays out the facts of the case in their appellate opinion).

In January of 1992, it also appears that Mr. Wells was arrested in Miami Shores and charged with DUI. Mr. Wells was found Guilty of the DUI on February 26, 1997. See Case number 21404-WD.

I emailed Mr. Wells and asked him if he had anything he would like to say or share with the readers of this BLOG. He wrote back and said (UNEDITED):

Dear Captain Justice:

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss these issues early in the campaign to flesh out the facts and correct the inaccuracies.

I would like to say that it is unfortunate that the campaign is "William Pena Wells" vs. "Fleur Lobree." I hope to reject that notion. Judges run as nonpartisan candidates, held to a higher standard of ethics and campaign practices, and limitations of active campaigning, than most other elected officers in our County. It demeans and cheapens the judicial office to put candidates for judicial service in a head to head horse race. I am running because I am qualified, not because a sitting judge is somehow not qualified.

Judge Lobree was only recently appointed to her seat by Gov. Rick Scott in April of 2011 by the elevation of Judge Bloom to the Circuit Court bench. This election will be the voters first opportunity to have a voice in who sits on the bench to judge them.

I would much rather have a system of election where each candidate runs on merit. So that if there are 10 seats to be elected, the candidates, sitting and aspiring, were listed in alphabetical order and the voters were told to "pick any ten"... This would preserve the dignity of the judicial office and make certain that the best candidates were elected.

But that is not the system we have...

County Court is truly, to borrow the television term, "the people's court" and it is a cornerstone of American democracy that the people have the last word in who sits on the bench. Without an announced candidate, as I am, that right disappears.

As to the DUI, that happened on Super Bowl weekend of 1992. I had consumed a glass or two of wine and by the time the chemical tests were done, the alcohol had metabolized so that I had reached an unacceptable limit. As a result, I accepted a first offender penalty and have learned a valuable lesson -- that I carry with me. I think this makes me a more valuable judge on the bench... Having made a mistake nearly twenty years in the past, and learned from that isolated incident, I can be a more empathetic role model for others.

As to the felony charges, those occurred in 1996, but the judicial process took quite some time to finally conclude and the Florida Bar investigation was held in abeyance while the criminal case was completed. So the dates are misleading and out of context.

Basically, this was a business dispute. I was an attorney for a concert promotion entity, and as part of my compensation, was an officer of the corporation with check signing authority along with several others. The business was to put on a mega concert on the beach at Ocean Drive with musical legend Little Richard among others. Trying to stimulate the local economy, a Miami Beach travel agency was used to coordinate the travel arrangements for the band and performers (nearly 100 tickets in total).

Sadly, the William Morris Agency reported that the inexperienced agent had booked the tickets wrongly. In order to secure the travel on the short notice available, the corporation had to wire William Morris the funds directly and allow them to book the talent's flights. The money (and more since they were last minute changes) was withdrawn from the business account and sent to the Agency. The tickets they had purchased were never used and were returned to them.

Unfortunately, the travel agency decided to deposit the checks anyway, hoping I presume for a windfall. But they were returned by the bank as insufficient funds. The agency filed a complaint with the State Attorney and the fact that the checks were in the several thousand dollar range made it a category of felony. It is not surprising that the State issued a nolle prosse on these charges, realizing the futile nature of them.

The concert did take place and the artists, musicians, and staff did arrive. The Mayor of Miami Beach proclaimed it Little Richard Day. The concert was featured in the Miami Herald.

The State refiled the charges and despite being offered a pretrial plea deal, I refused and sought a trial. I did nothing wrong.

There is no element of fraudulent intent in an insufficient check charge. It is a crime against the banking system and the stream of commerce, paraphrasing the statute, to issue a check which is presented to a bank and returned for insufficient funds.

The jury found me guilty of the charges and the judge reluctantly imposed probation.

Thereafter, I appealed the decision and the Third District affirmed, glossing over the fact that the concert did take place and the funds used to cover the NSF checks were routed to another entity which did the job.

The Florida Bar offered to close the investigation of my conduct with credit for the period of time that I had been suspended while on appeal, I agreed, and I resumed my practice.

The travel agency never requested reimbursement of the funds it was supposedly missing by virtue of these tickets. In fact, in the later civil case I filed against them, they specifically disclaimed any and the case was dismissed as a result. I never paid them a dollar of reimbursement. The travel agency is no longer in business.

I hope this fleshes out the bare facts available in the public record.

If you have any more questions, I will be glad to answer them. My mother, and my Cuban born grandmother, raised me right. They taught me never to do anything I was ashamed of later. I am glad to have the opportunity to talk about this.

William Pena Wells

CAPTAIN OUT ...........

Tuesday, October 18, 2011



UPDATE: CAPTURED! The inmate who was mistakenly let out was captured when he had the crazy idea of going to a UM Psych Ward. Herald article here.

Corrections accidentally released a dangerous inmate on Tuesday. The irony is that while they open the doors for a guy who shouldn't get out, it often takes days and days to get someone released who should be released.

The Defendant was convicted of attempted murder of his former girlfriend on Monday. He stabbed her with a large knife. On Tuesday, before he was sentenced, corrections let him out. Judge Trawick is the sentencing judge.

The Herald article on the mishap is here.


Steady yourself.

It's still raining.

UPDATE: Rain will end. Temperatures to drop into the mid-50's Fall is here!

See You In Court.

Monday, October 17, 2011


It's the same old song in The Office Of Regional Counsel, just in a different Region.

Region 4 is now in turmoil, and the bad news is that there is no Gene Zenobi clone ready to step in and solve the problems. Low morale, high turnover, top lawyers fired, and general interoffice turmoil all bedevil RC4 which covers Broward, West Palm, and some other counties where they make OJ and grapefruit juice.

The Sun Sentinel article is here. Last week the Governor declined to name any of the two remaining candidates that were forwarded to him (the 3rd candidate, Raag Singhal was appointed to the Circuit bench last month) and the JNC is back to accepting applications: "Help wanted. Attorney needed to run Office Of Regional Counsel. Must be willing to be shunned by fellow defense attorneys who are no longer getting appointments and be tolerant of employees who take a nip of wine every now and then after work."

Meanwhile things are so hunky-dory at our own Regional Counsel Office (Motto: "Now we're happy") that we hear rumors of a celebration dinner happening this coming week.

Dolphins/Jets tonight. Michael Feiler won his suicide pick of the Ravens Sunday. The only thing standing between him and victory are the OH-4 Dolphins.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Suicide pool down to the final two!!??

Last week it appeared that Dan Lurvey, Clay Kaeiser, and Michael Feiler had all won their picks and made the final three.

Lurvey had picked the Chargers by sending an email that said "bolts". A challenge flag was thrown. After further review it appears Dan Lurvey picked the Chargers in week three. It is a foul to pick the same team twice. Mr. Lurvey has fouled out of the contest. To his credit, before we released this information Mr. Lurvey sent us this email:

Incredibly, Bolts was a typo and I really meant Colts. You, understandably, thought I meant the Chargers as that is their nickname. Either way I lose as I picked the Chargers in week three.

Since Lurvey's ill-begotten and putative pick of the the Colts was destined to failure, his typo doesn't really factor into the equation, at least in this universe.


Michael Feiler picks the Baltimore Ravens. Clayton Kaeiser picks the J...E....T...S on Monday night football. Good luck gentleman and congratulations.

A few plays today: take the under 50 in the Giants/Bills matchup and while you're at it give the three and take the Giants as both teams regress to the mean- Buffalo isn't quite as good as their record indicates and the Giants aren't quite as bad.

Under 51 Carolina at Atlanta and under 54 Dallas at Cheaters.

Good luck all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011



"It wouldn't bother me if we took them up to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and threw them off, and if things were right with God they’re traveling in that direction anyway ....."

Those are the words uttered today by Florida Republican House member Brad Drake***. Drake has had it with our belly-aching over whether lethal injections may have been causing some pain to death row inmates. So today he filed HB 325 and will ask the Florida legislature next Spring to bring back firing squads and fire up "Ole Sparky".

Read the full article here:

***Mr. Drake is a 36 years old Baptist born in Fort Walton Beach; he represents the constituents of Defuniak Springs and he lists his interests as fishing, Florida history, golf, growing vegetables, hunting, NASCAR, and is a card-carrying member of the NRA.

In other news, newly appointed Circuit Court Judge Thomas Rebull was officially sworn in last week and is assigned to the Circuit Criminal Division. He takes over Judge Mary Barzee Flores' division. Has anyone been in front of him yet and care to comment?

In JNC news, as the result of Judge Rosa Figarola's appointment to the Circuit Court bench, the JNC will interview ten candidates and nominate up to six of them and send those names to Gov. Scott for his consideration. Interviews take place on October 21:

11:00 - Martin Zilber
11:20 - David Alschuler
11:40 - Tanya Brinkley
12:15 - Donald "DJ" Cannava
12:35 - Ivonne Cuesta
1:40 - Carlos Guzman
2:00 - Steven Lieberman
2:20 - Gordon Murray
2:55 - Yadira Pedraza
3:15 - Alan Taylor

The JNC will be busy as three days later on October 24th, they will conduct interviews to replace the retiring Judge Amy Steele Donner and also Judge Ivan Fernandez who moved South and West to "The Bunker" aka the 3rd DCA:

10:00 - Steven Befera
10:20 - Miguel M. de la O
10:40 - Andrew S. Hague
11:15 - Richard Hersch
11:35 - Norma S. Lindsey
11:55 - Cristina Miranda
1:00 - Maria D. Ortiz
1:20 - Bonnie Riley
1:40 - Alan D. Sackrin
2:15 - Rodney Smith
2:35 - Douglas Swalina
2:55 - Deborah White-Labora
3:15 - Angelica Zayas
** Donald "DJ" Cannava will be considered but will not be interviewed **

And for those that inquired about the names of the candidates who have officially filed for 2012:


Robert Coppel vs. Maria Elena Verde
Miguel de la O - currently has no opposition
Maria de Jesus Santovenia - currently has no opposition
Richard Hersch - currently has no opposition


Non-Incumbents include:

Ivonne Cuesta (no opposition)

Tanya Brinkley & John Malgoza Rodriguez filed in same race. Rodriguez has thrown down $100,000 of his own money to fund the campaign.

And the newest filing has someone challenging newly appointed County Court Judge Fleur Lobree:

Fleur Lobree vs. William Pena Wells. Mr. Wells has been practicing in Florida since 1988. In 2002, he was suspended from the practice of law for three years nunc pro tunc to October of 1998. He petitioned for Reinstatement and was reinstated in 2004. He has a solo practice in NMB.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The secret is out: Our favourite restaurant in NYC was just outed by the NY Times as the Best Restaurant in NYC. And it wasn't easy getting in before this. Per Se!

We're sure we read somewhere in some Federalist Paper a warning against electing a President with the first name of Mitt. It's just not kosher as Publius would have said/written.

A zombie catastrophe in Canada.

Justice Scalia is a snob (if you didn't know that already.). Here is what he told the Senate Judiciary committee:

Justice Scalia said routine drug cases belong in state courts, which handle the vast majority of trials for most criminal offenses. The Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), himself a former state prosecutor, agreed.

The increase in federal criminal law has required Congress to enlarge the federal court system, and Justice Scalia suggested that has helped diminish the "elite" quality of the federal judiciary.

Pardon us a moment. Ok, we're back from being sick. Elite quality? Per Se is elite quality. The Outback steakhouse is not, even if they dress the steak up with a bloomin onion.

See You In Court.

Monday, October 10, 2011


(cue Dragnet theme)

The story you are about to read is true.
The names have not been changed, although the individuals are innocent.

On September 6, 2011 Attorneys Gene Zenobi, Kellie Peterson and Rene Palomino were dismissed from their jobs as assistant regional counsel attorneys for imbibing wine some 60 days previously.

Trial was held in the court of public opinion.
In a moment, the results of that trial ....

On October 4, 2011 the Governor of the State of Florida appointed Gene Zenobi as Regional Counsel, replacing the individual who fired him. Mr. Zenobi was exonerated.

Shortly thereafter (and we believe this is a scoop) Mr. Zenobi rehired and re-instated Kellie Peterson and Rene Palomino to their former positions at Regional Counsel. No confirmation on the rumor the parties toasted to their good fortune with a simple yet intriguing Cabernet.

Ms. Peterson and Mr. Palomino have been exonerated.

Dum da dum, dum da da da dum...

Judge Chin on sentencing: This is a great NY Times article on the education of SDNY Judge Denny Chin and his views on sentencing defendants.

Saturday, October 08, 2011



Jon Colby OUT

Michael Grieco OUT

Nick Basco OUT

Rick Freedman OUT

Kenneth Weisman and company OUT

Cary Clennon OUT

Juan Gonzalez OUT

Plea D OUT

Adam T2. OUT

Nine players, count em- NINE , all had their season ended on a late Eli Manning pick six as the Giants were driving for the winning TD.

Michael Feiler squeezed out a win with the Saints and CK is alive with his pick of the Lions Monday night. Lurvey picked the Chargers who are comfortably ahead. We will head into week six with two or three players.

The good news this week is that we are fairly confident that Fin fans will wake up Monday morning without having to endure another Dolphin loss. The bad news is that the Dolphins are off this week. The good news is that Ace College QB Senior Andrew Luck is house shopping in Miami.

The suicide pool rolls on with Feet of Clay Kaeiser alive and kicking as we made a mistake and listed his pick last week incorrectly. CK picked the Bears who beat the Panthers.

This week the NY Football Giants are everyone's favourite pick with the following people hopping on the Eli Manning bandwagon: Jon Colby, Michael Grieco, Nick Basco, Rick Freedman, Kenneth Weisman and company, Cary Clennon, Juan Gonzalez and Plea D and Adam T2.

Michael Feiler is marching with the Saints.

CK is now trying to cause trouble by picking against the Bears this week and taking the Lions. Just to make sure there is no more confusion, here is his email:

Thanks for the reprieve. This week I really am picking against the Bears & pick the Lions to beat the Bears on Monday night.

We are waiting on picks from the one and only Dan Lurvey. Brian Freedman took the lone loss last week with his faith in the Vikes all for naught.

The Obama Administration's justification for killing an American citizen- here.


Many of you were puzzled as we were last week when Mr. Kaeiser picked the Panthers over his beloved Bears. After further review the ruling on the blog is reversed and Mr. Kaeiser indeed picked the Bears and we read his email completely wrong. Mr. Kaeiser picked a winning team and he remains alive in the pool. We have forwarded his original email to all players.
We regret any inconvenience in this matter.

FYI- most but not all of the picks are in and everyone save one player has picked the Giants. One person has picked the Saints.

For those of you about to end ten days of introspection with a day of fasting, we present to you one woman's Yom Kippur. The whole article is here.

For the last 18 years, my mother and I have spent Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, at Tod’s Point beach in Old Greenwich, Conn., near where I grew up and where my mother still lives. I’m a TV producer living in Brooklyn now, but I still go back every year. My mom reads my father’s old prayer book while I order lunch for us from the greasy concession stand that stays open into the fall, double hamburgers with grilled onions and French fries.

To those who fast during the holiday, our version of a High Holy Happy Meal might seem sacrilegious, but we didn’t always spend it this way. We used to go to temple like everyone else. But when I was 17, my father, who had just turned 59 and had suffered from depression for many years, shot himself in the head. The police found his body two days later, on the eve of Yom Kippur.


My last conversation with my father was right before I left to go to the University of Wisconsin in Madison. We hadn’t spoken in months, and even then, only briefly and with much tension. When he called, I had just read through my new student packet and was bursting with excitement about the future I was trying so hard to create for myself. But he just asked for the phone number at my mom’s new office. As was so often the case, he was distracted; he wasn’t really listening. And that’s when I told him that I hated him.
Before I hung up, he cried into the phone: “Why are you doing this to me?” Three weeks later, on Yom Kippur, my mother called to say he was dead.


In some way, I thought I understood. In Jewish tradition, each person’s fate is written for the coming year on Rosh Hashana and sealed on Yom Kippur after the “Days of Awe,” the 10-day period of repentance, prayer and requests for a good new year. I had always been spooked by the final Yom Kippur service, Ne’ilah — meaning, in Hebrew, “as the doors close” or “as the gates of heaven close.” I remembered the ark that held the Torah in our synagogue when I was a kid, how it was kept open during the prayer, and how serious it felt when the rabbi warned us that it was time for our final prayers, before the ark closed and sealed our fates for the following year.

Friday, October 07, 2011


I think the following is quite profound:

Steve Jobs, Stanford University, June 12, 2005:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctors' code for "prepare to die." It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope, the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery, and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but a purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: It was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early-morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitch-hiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay hungry. Stay foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And, now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011



Cory Maples- inmate on death row in Alabama.
Super Large/Powerful law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, New York, NY.
Mail room clerk in Sullivan and Cromwell.
Clerk for the Court Of Appeals.
Small time Alabama Prosecutor.
Local Counsel in Alabama.

Maples was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Associates with Sullivan and Cromwell in NYC take on the case and file an appeal. Associates, as they are wont to do, leave big law firm. Appellate court denies appeal and mails decision to Sullivan and Cromwell and their local counsel in Alabama. Clerk in mailroom of Sullivan and Cromwell stamps letter from clerk's office containing decision "return to sender". Clerk in appeals court gets decision back in envelope unopened, shrugs, and puts it in file. Deadline to appeal expires. Prosecutor in Alabama sends a letter to Mr. Maples telling him his lawyers blew the deadline. Local counsel spits out plug of tobacco.

Case ends up before US Supreme Court which is surprisingly sympathetic to Mr. Maples.

Steve Jobs dies at 56. NY Times obit here.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Gene Zenobi is your new Regional Counsel. Once again our embattled Governor has made an outstanding pick.

Mr. George is out and that comes as a big relief to those who have worked and suffered under what was widely reported as his oppressive regime.

The good news is that there is a real professional now running a state funded criminal defense firm and we will all be the better for it.

Congratulations Mr. Zenobi, there are very high expectations for what you can bring to the job.

Now, to paraphrase our Governor- Get to work!

See you in court, where we expect to see a smile on the face of every assistant Regional Counsel.


DOM (naturally) had a good run down of the important criminal cases on the Supreme Court's docket this term. Check it out here. DOM also had an amazing link to an NPR chart of the top 100 Sci Fi books. Check it out here.

What's the value of a great appellate lawyer? Ask american Amanda Knox who was acquitted by an Italian Appellate court after being wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to 26 years. The best coverage is the BBC coverage here. Ciao.

10/3/2011 Amanda Knox acquitted of murder.
10/3/1995 OJ Simpson acquitted of murder.

The Dolphin stink. Everywhere. At home. On the road. No guarantee they won't add a loss over the bye week.

Are You Ready To Be An Idiot? A real looney...?
Hank Williams lost his mind for a moment and on Fox News compared Obama and Boehner to Hitler and Netanyahu and as a result ESPN didn't run the "are you ready for some football" opening Monday night before MNF.

The NBA season is in jeopardy. (yawn).

3rd DCA doings:

Judge Ivan Fernandez investiture at 3rd DCA has been set for November 4th at 3:00 PM. Judge Fernandez will be allowed six minutes and is expected to reserve two minutes for rebuttal.

Judge Shepherd is set to become Chief Judge in 2013 for two years. Judge Shepherd was elected unanimously and there will be no motions for reconsideration entertained.
2013? Wake us when it's 2012.

See You In Court.

Monday, October 03, 2011


First Monday in October. You know what that means.... time to check the tax assessment on your home. Also first day of the new session for the Supreme Court.

We don't have a Regional Counsel yet, unless the Governor did something while we slept.

At 0-4 your Miami Dolphins are officially in the mix for being on the clock and causing commissioner Roger Goodell to say next April "With the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft the Miami Dolphins select Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford." With all due respect to Jake Long (who was picked first by the Fins in 2008), the Fins passed on Matt Ryan the last time they had the first pick, and that has hurt them.

Roy Black at his blog has a series of three posts on opening arguments. He advises to spend a lot of time on your opening sentence. We agree. Nothing- and we mean nothing- makes us cringe more in court then when we see a lawyer stand before a jury for opening and the first words out of their mouths is some kiss-ass remark thanking the jury for their service. The jury has spent hours if not days waiting to be told about the case. You have only one chance to make a great impression- don't waste it thanking the jury.

Read this post where Mr. Black compares the opening statement of the prosecution and the defense in the OJ Simpson case and you'll see what we mean. Don't do a Marcia Clark for goodness sakes.

October may be our favourite month. Fall is in full swing, football season is 1/4 over, the summer slow down is over. Yes, October is right up there as one of the best months.

See you in court.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Question for the day: How does the guy find the time to be South Florida's Super Lawyer, AND be on Survivor? DOM does it all!

UPDATE: LAST OF THE PICKS ARE IN: Brian Freedman did the dreaded last minute switch with predictable results- with about six minutes before kickoff BF switched to the Vikings over KC and Mr. McNabb will NOT be a BFF anytime soon with BF as the Vikes lost to the hapless Chiefs.

Lurvey took the Packers, while Juan Gonzalez and Plea D and AdamT2 all took the Tampa Bay Bucs.

The suicide pool marches on:

Highlights from week three include the loss of these players who put their faith in the Cheaters: BTDT (who still impressed us by sending us his picks for the entire season before week one.), Robert Kuntz, and Peter Sautter. The rest march on and their picks are here:

The Packers are the popular pick in week four, with Colby, Grieco, Basco, and Rick Freedman all snacking on cheese. Michael Feiler thinks the Pats will bounce back; Cary Clennon is hopping on the Tampa bandwagon; and Brian Freedman likes the Falcons to win today.

Kenneth Weisman, et.al., likes the Bears and the shocker of the week is that Clayton Kaeiser-noted Bears fan is putting his fate with the Bears opponent today- the dangerous Panthers. Mr. Kaeiser is simultaneously putting his season on the line while predicting his Bears go down in flames. Fascinating.

Waiting for picks: Plea D, Lurvey, Juan Gonzalez, AdamT2.

Picks: Last week we had a great week, winning almost all of our selections. This was a bit of a busy week so no real strong opinions but we are concerned that the wheels may be coming off the bus on the Fins and would give the 10 and take the Chargers at home even though the Fins play better on the road.

What Rumpole will be watching: Three great games: Jets at Ravens, take the Ravens -3.5; Steelers at Texans, love the over 45; Cheaters at Da Raiders- rooting for the Raiders.

Eagles are 1-2. Who told you before the season began they were overrated?