Saturday, December 31, 2011


We wanted to end the year on a good note, and not a sour one. Criticizing Judges is a wearisome and unfortunately necessary job of the preeminent blog that covers the legal scene of Miami. In other words, it's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it. Like bond hearings on New Years Day.

So Happy New Year!

2012 brings a new year loaded with special challenges. Clients will show up seeking help. Some will be in distress, some will need immediate help, and others will just need a confident, guiding hand.

Our wish for our blog readers is that 2012 brings you all the joy and success that you want and deserve.

We (meaning all of us who work in the REGJB) are truly blessed to be working in our chosen profession, using our talents to support our family and help those who need our skills.

Many of our fellow citizens suffered in 2011. They lost their jobs and their homes were endangered or lost. The news reports that millions more americans have given up hope of finding employment and are thus not counted in the unemployment statistics.

There are simple enjoyments in life that sometimes we need to be reminded of. The joy of working in a fulfilling job. The pleasure of using your training and skill. The simple comfort of being with family and knowing that they are similarly safe and happy.

Sometimes life throws curveballs at you and you lose things that are precious to you, like your health or your job or your loved ones. In those times we are comforted by this saying: "Tough times don't last, tough people do."

Here's hoping that 2012 is filled with those simple joys and pleasures that make life worth living. For those of you who have faced tough times- be tough and endure. Life will get better. For those of you lucky enough to have had a successful 2011, take time to remember that there is an element of luck and chance in life and be happy for the good fortune you have been blessed with.

See you in court in 2012.


Friday, December 30, 2011




I was listening to the news Wednesday evening. The story was about two men charged with raping a pregnant woman at Johnson & Wales in North Miami.

The news report showed video of the Bond Hearing and the Judge was Milt Hirsch.

I heard Judge Hirsch ask more than one question that sounded way out of bounds.

Hirsch: Do you know who the alleged victim in the case in which you are charged is?

Defendant: No sir

Hirsch: You have no idea?

Defendant: No sir


At one point in the questioning, Hirsch asked the defendant WHERE WERE YOU ON DECEMBER 22 (the date of the alleged rape).?

He asked at least one other question that sounded totally inappropriate. (I tried to find the video from the newscast online, but was unable to locate it).

I cannot understand why Judge Hirsch would be posing a question that basically asks: Where were you on the date of a crime that you are alleged to have committed?

The Judge certainly has the authority to make decisions about the bond amount based on danger to the community and risk of flight. If the Judge wants to issue a Stay Away Order, he could have turned to the ASA and asked the victim's name and then entered an Order directing the defendant to stay away from that victim.

But to cross examine the defendant, (and that WAS the tone of the questioning), asking questions that would potentially incriminate the defendant, was totally out of line. Quite frankly, it appeared (both by his facial expressions and his tone of voice) that Hirsch was incredibly upset with what this defendant was being charged with. (The victim is eight months pregnant). Who wouldn't be?! But, Judge Hirsch's job description does not permit what I saw on that video Wednesday evening. He could have done what he needed to do without posing the questions that I heard him ask.

What's your take on this? Some of our readers have already chimed in:

4:25 writes: In response to the questions asked by Judge Hirsch, the Judge refused to issue a stay away order in the rape case because "the defendant doesnt know who the victim is"

8:48 wrote back: 4:25 Shame on you. You interfered with Captain's favorite past-time of pissing on Judge Hirsch. I assume that the Captain Judge would simply have issued the stay away order. Who cares if the defendant doesn't know who to stay away from.

And in response, was this entry:

To 8;48 , Judge Hirsch did not issue the stay away order because the sub told the judge (upon questioning) that he didn't know who he raped! Apparently that is a new standard in issuing stay away orders. You cant issue one to a sub who hasn't the freakin manners to ask his freakin vic their name.

And finally, this:

Didn't the prosecutor know the victim's name? They are the ones who tell the bond judge to issue a stay away order keeping the defendant away from whatever the name of the victim is.

Judge Hirsch has been getting very good reviews as he closes out his first year on the bench. It started a bit rocky when he issued that standing Order where even Rumpole himself had to use his online dictionary to figure out some of the words Hirsch wrote. The Judge also shook the GJB with his bold ruling on the constitutionality of FS 893.13, finding it facially violative of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Next year is an even year, and that means election season. We look forward to 2012 and qualifying day as we watch with excitement all of the judicial match-ups that are formed for the end of summer election. We also have the "big one" in November, but we'll leave the blogging on that to our 538 guru Horace.

So, for now, we simply wish you the safest of holiday weekends and hope that 2012 is your best year yet. Happy New Year.


Thursday, December 29, 2011


UPDATE: Go to the comments section and read El Capitan's comment. He has all the breaking news on the Hirsch/ bond hearing/stay away order contretemps.

Maybe it is, and maybe it's not. In any event, 2011 is rapidly drawing to a close.

Look back to December 2010. Did you accomplish all your goals for 2011?
We did not. We never do. And isn't that the point? To live is to continually strive to make yourself a better person. To love more, learn more, and (zen warning) be more.

Lets look at some of our predictions for 2011. Some panned out; some did not.

We predicted that there would be a natural disaster somewhere in the world which would in turn spark a man made disaster. And in fact that came true:

Just turn on your TV and you can't help but seeing Newt Gingrich's fat face everywhere. (Newt was the man made disaster, started by the natural disaster of Sarah Palin being relevant in our nation's life). (If you were thinking about the nuclear meltdown in Japan sparked by the Tsunami, we didn't predict that.)

We predicted the Dolphins would lose two games this year and be a lock to win the Super Bowl.*

For 2012 we confidently predict the following:

The Heat will have another disappointing season and will NOT win a championship. (Like shooting fish in a barrel folks, or appealing a decision from a broweird judge- just way tooo easy.)

In January 2013, the person taking the oath of office for President of the United States will have a wife named Michelle, two daughters and his first name will begin with a B. And it won't be close.

The economy will continue a slow improvement. Stocks will rise modestly.

Another Judge will have the guts and courage and integrity to admit they got their initial decision wrong, as did the Judge in Famous Fee Fiasco of 2011.

This Judge will be promptly snapped up by a large firm who quadruples their salary.

The talent drain on the circuit courts will sadly continue.

The Marlins won't be half bad. The stadium is super cool.

Judge Murphy will continue doing an outstanding job.
Ditto Judges Firtel, Soto, Sayfie, Lopez, Thornton, Bloom, Walsh, and Hirsch. For all the grief we give our robed readers, we as lawyers in Miami are truly lucky to have a core group of outstanding and dedicated judges. We don't say this often (because it gives us indigestion) but - THANK YOU!

Morning Joe will continue to be the best morning show on TV.

The Kindle will continue to be the only way to read, when you're not on your computer reading our blog.

Certain federal bloggers will continue their mighty struggle to be funny.

A certain state court blogger will continue to be quaintly amusing and relevant.

We wish you a Happy and Successful and Healthy 2012 and if you want to be amused, stay relevant and in the know, just keep clicking our blog and reading our posts.

See you in court in 2012.

* Of course we didn't. There's no amount of liquor in the world that would make us that loopy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


The NY Times confronts the issue of jury nullification, otherwise known as "just say No(t guilty)."

The Author, Paul Butler, is a former federal prosecutor, a professor of law at Georgetown, and the author of "Lets Get Free: A Hip Hop Theory of Justice."

The article starts:

IF you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote “not guilty” — even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.

Item: NYPD made 50,000 arrests last year just for possession of marijuana.

Item: Some states are seeking to take away the right to a trial by jury for drug possession because jurors are increasingly ignoring the law and issuing jury nullifications.

The next time some snotty 24 year old prosecutor seeks to have the court issue some misbegotten order prohibiting the defense from arguing that a juror is free to vote their conscience, remind the court that no less an authority (and great defense attorney) John Adams, said this: it is each juror’s “duty” to vote based on his or her “own best understanding, judgment and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”

See You In Court.

PS Check out "when clients cry in court". Boo hoo hoo.

Monday, December 26, 2011


It's Boxing Day!

For those of you with pugilistic preferences, today is not your day. Put down your fists.

But if you are a citizen of the Realm, one who dwells in Her Majesty's Commonwealth, then today is the day to shop and save.

Much like the tradition of the colonies on the day after Thanksgiving, subjects of Her Majesty's Commonwealth queue up and get some goodies on sale. It's an official holiday in Canada, the UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, to name some of the countries in the civilized world that celebrate Boxing Day.

Speaking of England, we are closely following the condition of the Duke of Edinburgh who was hospitalized with chest pains late last week and underwent cardiac catheterization.

Prince Philip, HRH's Husband, is 90 years old and was otherwise in tip top condition, keeping up a schedule of over 400 appearances a year. Perhaps it is time to cut back a bit?

Courts in Miami are definitely closed today. Who's set for trial tomorrow? Who's going to trial? On the last week of the last year in the last century (1999 for our robed readers) we were in the third week of a trial that ended New Year's Eve. What's your Xmas/New Year's Eve trial story?

Unlike other blogs, we blog 24/365. *

See You In Court.

*We're not saying we don't take vacations, we're just saying we never close.


Sunday, December 25, 2011


Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10-12

The above picture is Da Vinci's Madonna of The Rocks or sometimes called The Virgin of the Rocks. The original painting is in the Louvre, while the charcoal sketch hangs in the London National Gallery of Art (our favourite museum bar none), along with a second painting. There is a controversy as to which painting came first, whether Da Vinici's assistants worked on the painting in the National Gallery, and whether Da Vinici was forced to alter the paintings. Wiki has a good article here on the paintings.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


We always make it a habit this time of year to re-read Stephen Ambrose's remarkable account of the 101st Airborne Division's defense of the town of Bastogne, Belgium, in December, 1944.

When Germany launched a surprise attack known as the Battle of the Bulge, all General Eisenhower had in reserves were the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions. Both were ordered into the battle. Trucked across France, the 101st marched into Bastogne to stop elite German Panzer divisions while other U.S. soldiers fled in panic. And stop them cold they did.

With nothing to rely on other than each other, the 101st (including the famous 506th PIR whose exploits at Bastogne were detailed in Ambrose's Band Of Brothers) took up front line positions in the woods of Bastogne, dug foxholes in the bitter cold (the coldest winter in Europe in almost 100 years) and once again held off the best troops and tanks of Germany with nothing more than their rifles and each other. Their story is a remarkable one. No men ever better exemplified the courage of the American solider.

Bastogne exemplified the tradition of American soldiers enduring more than was humanly possible and refusing to leave the line, even while injured, so long as their fellow solider- their brother in arms- was still fighting.

American soldiers don't march into combat in summer clothes in the dead of winter anymore. They don't dig foxholes in sub zero weather anymore, they don't endure horrific artillery barrages and they don't fight tanks with rifles while hobbling on frostbitten feet anymore.
But they still exhibit remarkable courage. They still go into war zones in foreign lands and fight despots and terrorists and put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and liberate people they've never met.

Bastogne was a startling example of the mettle of the American solider. But it didn't start there and it doesn't end there. It continues today in places like Bagram, Kandahar, and Forward Operating Base Delaram, where today on Christmas Eve, the 3rd Battalion of the 4th Marine will - as they have done every day during eight combat rotations, get out of their tents and patrol a 2000 kilometer stretch of Afghanistan, putting their lives on the line for
their fellow Marine, and in a larger sense, for all of us.

Thank you just doesn't seem enough, but it's all we have.

Thank you and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and whatever other holiday or tradition you may follow, we wish you the joyous peace of the season, and a happy and healthy, safe and prosperous New Year.


Thursday, December 22, 2011



We neglected to write that Sky Smith also had a client in the trial before Judge Scola and also succeeded in obtaining a full acquittal for his client.

We regret the omission.

The REGJB is still open Friday, but since a group of Judges are apparently making the decision, that could change at any moment.

Judge Robert Scola had his first federal trial verdict Wednesday. Congratulations to Michael Walsh and Charles White for securing the very first NGs before Judge Scola. Lets hope its a harbinger of things to come. Newt Gingrich was rumored to say that if a few more cases go against the government Judge Scola could be called on the carpet.

Should the courts close for the Holidays? Coming next week we have a point/counterpoint debate between a sitting judge and an attorney who runs a small firm.

Economic Outlook: Jobless claims came in today lower than expected today at 364,000. It's the lowest weekly claim in two years (since April 2008) and it's the third straight week that the number came in lower than expected. That means we should see another drop in the unemployment rate next month.

What this means: The economy is kicking into gear at just the last moment to help the President. We could see unemployment in the mid to low 8% range and if the number dips a toe into the 7.9% range over the fall of next year the Republicans could resurrect Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt and still not be able to beat Obama.

On the flip side, the economy grew at a weak 1.8% in the third quarter and that's about .5% less than we need to sustain a jobs recovery.

Rumpole says: we are coming out of this unemployment/recession disaster very slowly and on the precipice of a double dip recession. This is a cliff hanger. Stay tuned.

Scott Rothstein hands up his former law partners Stuart Rosenfeldt and Russell Adler as being up to their lawyerly suspenders in his scheme. The Sun Sentinel reports here. Some Miami lawyers are part of the defense teams for Rothstein's former law partners who have not been indicted yet. Also getting caught up in the slime, former Broward Homicide Prosecutor Ken Padowitz, who was of counsel to the firm, shared some space, and drafted an opinion letter blessing the law suit funding scheme Rothstein was peddling. The lesson in all this is be careful who you share space with.

Miami Regional Counsel Gene Zenobi is no longer lonely, as the Governor made the following Regional Counsel Appointments across the state (all of which were due July 1, 2011, by the way)

RC4 (Broward and West Palm): Antony Ryan, a well respected Assistant Public Defender in West Palm Beach got the nod over RC4 henchwoman Shari Vrod, whose strong ties with RC4 current head Phillip Massa was probably her undoing.

RC2 (somewhere on the west coast) Ita Neymotin, who was a former RC2 employee and former Assistant Public Defender before running a law group, was picked to head her old office.

RC5 (somewhere north of RC4) Jeffrey Dean was re-appointed as the RC for the 5th region (motto: "Florida has 5 regions, and we're one of them!")

We will NOT be in court Friday, as we're heading out for Truckee and points west for the Holidays.

See You ....sometime in the New Year.

Monday, December 19, 2011


UPDATE: Sorry Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.
Court is OPEN ON FRIDAY. Merry Christmas- now get to work.

The Governor issued a reprieve today for State workers and as a result (State) court's in Miami will be closed (update- some readers say it ain't so. Is there a Santa Claus Judge Brown?) The JAA Blog has the machinations that the folks in Browierd are going through as they decide what to do.

Getting tough on CRIME JUDGES
This is what the Republican party has sunk to: with no more room left to increase penalties on crimes, Newt Gingrich, who is currently leading the race for the Republican presidential nomination, has opined that arresting federal judges might just be the right thing to do. Really.

Appearing Sunday on Face The Nation, Gingrich said Congress should compel federal judges to testify about any decision that the party in power disagrees with. Gingrich said he would send U.S Marshals to arrest federal judges if they did not come willingly to the Capital to testify. As Andrew Rosenthal pointed out in the NY Times, Marshals are tasked to protect the federal judiciary which gets hundreds of death threats a year.

Really Newt? Arrest Federal Judges if you don't like their decisions? What's next? Suspend Habeas Corpus? (Oh, wait, Scalia has already almost done that). National Identity Cards? Guilty until proven innocent? (Except in Texas, where that is already pretty much the case. Read this NY Times article on the 46h person exonerated based on DNA in Texas in the last ten years. In this case the defense is seeking to have the prosecutor investigated for withholding the evidence.)
And while you're at it President Newt, get rid of that pesky first amendment, shut down this blog, and declare this a nation of christians and throw all the muslims, jews, and japanese in internment camps. Now you've got the tea party's attention. Not to mention the religious right.

Listen closely. If the Republican party nominates this lunatic then they have lost their soul, they have lost all reason, and they will surely lose the election.

Anybody in trial? Let us know.

If you check out our tweets on Monday you will see that during the day there was quite a bit of chatter on the FACDL Listserv that certain penurious ASA's are ringing up certain appellate attorneys to give them a piece of their mind (not that they can afford to give much more away) about "trashing" them in emails. Meanwhile the appellate attorney noted that when the ASA told Judge X during the hearing that the other appellate attorneys had all billed the cap of $2,000 in the case, one of the appellate lawyers was an assistant public defender, and the other billed and received about 10K.

Newt Gingrich got involved and called for the arrest of the appellate lawyer for doing a good job and "trying to free a convicted murderer."

See You In Court. We are announcing our availability to represent any member of the federal judiciary who gets called to Congress for Contempt of Newt.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


A different take on law firm holiday parties from the popular if not avuncular
(who sent this comment in on the previous post)

Anonymous Angry Gurl said...

So the firm I am of counsel with had their holiday party at the Epic. In these tough economic times I am certain they spent enough money to pay the salaries of three mid-level employees at the support staff level for a year. That's three families, six to 12 or so people who could have paid their mortgage and car loans and gotten health insurance for what these bloated buffoons blew in an orgy of gluttony in one night.

And believe me when I say gluttony. Women who are so obese that they can no longer perambulate and are forced to travel around on some electric hybrid wheel chair/scooter are sitting in line with piles of potato chips stacked on top of pasta in cream sauce and fried potatoes, friend chicken, and because they want to eat healthy, friend cauliflower and broccoli swimming in a some sweet brown sauce. And because they are so heavy that they can't walk, they have a second plate on their electric chair piled high with sweets, cakes, and of course since this is the holidays- christmas cookies.

And all the while their boss/enablers, who spend thousands every month on private gyms and personal trainers and tanning booths are standing to the side of the line smiling with their $25,000 in dental caps shinning brightly while they and their chic thin trophy wives who are 20 years younger then them encourage this herd of mooing cows to eat more and enjoy their generosity. Its like they're drug dealers getting junkies hooked for free.

Its a disgusting spectacle on so many levels, including fraud. The smiling bosses stand by and encourage their minions to have another glass of champagne. And their secretaries and clerks and their truck driving husbands wearing their only suit which stopped fitting them three years ago, are suitably impressed because the bottle says Moet, and they think they are drinking a $100 glass of champagne when in fact the 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut remains in the back and not available to hoi poloi. Ditto with the "caviar" which is probably fish eggs from some local mercury filled bass plucked from the muck and slime of the Everglades, while the stuff from Russia is kept securely in the partner's dinning room.

And on and on it goes. The fraud, the food, the gluttony, the smiling bosses. I could only take an hour or so and I left sick to my stomach.

Saturday, December 17, 2011 9:16:00 PM

And then we received this comment in response:

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Finally a post I can agree with. If you wish to see gluttony at its best, go to Disney World. Every 10th person is sitting in a motorized chair, eating a turkey leg, drinking a diet soda, eating ice cream, etc. It is even more disgusting to witness this spectacle when it is blistering hot out.

I have absolutely no issue with people eating themselves to death, but I do have a problem paying for it with higher insurance rates.

Sunday, December 18, 2011 7:38:00 AM

Rumpole says: ignoring for a minute her unique view of current life in Miami, AG raises a serious issue: people are out of work. They are scrapping by on unemployment cheques. They have no health insurance and sometimes they go hungry so their children can eat and sometimes even that doesn't happen. Should law firms or any big corporation be spending 50 thousand dollars on a year end party?

The answer is that it doesn't really matter. It's not the 50K that will save society. It's the trillion dollars of national treasury and thousands of lives ended because of wars started on faulty intelligence that put us in the desperate position we are in today. Today the last troops left Iraq. Nine years late Saddam Hussein is gone. Was it worth it?

Ask the Iraq war vet who can't feed his kids if it was worth it. It's not AG's office party that's the problem. It was Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld's party that caused the problem.

See You In Court.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


(spin the judicial wheel of fortune below and find out where your favourite robed reader will be in 2012.)

The story you about to read is true.
The names have been withheld because most of the players are pretty nice guys.

We saw the following on the FACDL Listserv:

I just had the displeasure of arguing what appears to be Judge X's first Makemson hearing in which I was seeking to recover more than the $2,000 cap for a felony appeal. I had 153 hours in this first degree murder (life sentence)/armed robbery case, in which the trial took a month and the record was 5,500 pages. At the statutory rate of $75 per hour, I was asking for $11,475, which compares to a fee of $76,500 from a client paying full freight. (Rumpole can't help but wonder, who is getting $500 simoleons an hour to do an appeal outside of the southern district of NYC?)

Judge X (who apparently just came over to criminal from family court), was swayed by (the ASA)'s shrill arguments that I should not have taken a case with a statutory cap and expected to get much more, and her representation (which was news to me) that the other co-defendants’ appellate attorneys accepted the $2,000 cap for their fees.

Long story short, Judge X awarded $6,000, or $39.22 per hour.
Be warned.

Post script: The trial Judge, who is one of the most respected Judges we have and who otherwise has a reputation for treating all attorneys fairly and with respect issued a sua sponte (Latin meaning literally "woops, I think I can fix that before anyone does anything like appeal me") order reconsidering his prior decision. We think this will turn out just fine for the appellate attorney.

The more important question was what in the name of Sam Hill was the State Attorney's Office doing sticking their nose into a private attorney's fee? This is a dangerous precedent. When a prosecutor starts having some say in how much a court appointed attorney gets paid, it's Katie bar the door for the zealous advocacy on behalf of a client. (nb- two more catch phrases and we will tie the record for one paragraph). We are not aware of any statutory authority that gives an ASA the right to be heard at a fee hearing. If this matter is NOT resolved to the attorney's satisfaction we urge the FACDL to file an amicus brief on the appeal on the issue of whether Ms. Pinocchio ASA gets to put her beak into the middle of a fee hearing.

Speaking of the FACDL, there was an FACDL/PD party today at the PDs office. Don't get too upset, we didn't get invited either. Plus the opportunity to socialize with Brian Tannebaum, Barry Wax, Scott Fingerhut and other former FACDL Miami presidents WITHOUT the benefit of alcohol was just something we found very easy to pass up. And for those of you worried that Joe George might swoop in and become the next Public Defender after firing the entire PDs office, as best we can determine, NO alcohol was present on state property.

What was announced at the Party was the coming Judicial Assignments for the new year. Yes, it's that time of year again when Judges Brown and Soto spin the Judicial Wheel of fortune and click clack click clack lets see where your favourite judge landed.

OUT OF CRIMINAL: Judges Trawick, Cuerto, Zabel. Fair thee well.

IN TO CRIMINAL: Jon Schlessinger (for Trawick) Vickie Sigler (for Cuerto) Will Thomas (for Zabel). Welcome to the party.

Other moves: Firtel leaves division for backup and Manno-Schurr comes to criminal and takes over his division. Tinkler-Mendez leaves division for backup and Samantha Ruiz-Cohen takes over her division.

Judge Rosa Rodriguez leaves backup (Firtel takes over) and goes to ROC around the clock court taking over for Judge Ward. Judge Jackie Scola leaves backup and Tinkler Mendez takes over her spot.

You just know that once the music stops some poor judge will be left standing without a chair and be sent to probate.

See You In Court where you can't tell the players without a program and there's no better place to get your program than right here on your favourite blog.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Please remember to bring a new, unwrapped toy on Wednesday or Thursday to the courthouse area. Or, bring it to the holiday party.

With the holiday season now in full swing FACDL is again joining hands with the Dade County Bar Association Homeless Outreach Committee to ensure that some of Miami's less fortunate children do not go without toys this year. Just as we did last year we will be setting up collection boxes on Wednesday in the REG Building to collect new, unwrapped toys that will be delivered to the families at the Champman Homeless Center in Miami. Through the efforts of Rick Freedman, and the assistance of Judge Yvonne Colodny, Carlos Martinez, Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, and the staff at Au Bon Pain, we arranged to have collections stations set up at Au Bon Pain restaurant on the first floor of the Justice Building, Judge Colodny's chambers in room 209, as well as both the State Attorney's Office, the Public Defender's Office.

Additionally, this year's FACDL Holiday party will be held on December 15th at the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office. This year we are fortunate enough to have Administrative Judge Bertila Soto for what promises to be a very informative question and answer session. Just as last year, instead of charging an admission fee for this year's Holiday Party we are asking that attendees bring an unwrapped toy to be donated.

On December 21 at 6:00 pm there will be a holiday party at the Chapman Homeless Center where all the toys that have been collected will be handed out to the children. The Dade County Bar Association welcomes, and urges, all the FACDL membership to attend. We are hoping that all of our members will make a point to attend this great event and contribute to this worthy cause. We had a wonderful turnout last year and with everyone's help we can top it this year. Happy holidays to all.

Jude M. Faccidomo, Esquire
Vice President, FACDL-Miami


The Captain Reports:

One Year Ago .....

Very quietly this weekend I was thinking of Roberto Pineiro. Believe it or not, it was just one year ago (December 9, 2011) that Judge Pineiro died of a stroke at the age of 56.

We miss Rob Pineiro and we pray that he is in peace. We hope that all of our new Judges that have been appointed to the bench in the past year will read and learn about Judge Pineiro. He would be someone that you would want to emulate during your time wearing the robe.

God bless Judge Roberto "Rob" Pineiro.

Captain Out .....

RUMPOLE says: we think about Judge Pinero often as we enter the REGJB. He was one of a kind.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Life is all about timing.

Turn into one door on the spur of the moment to get a cup of coffee and bump into your future spouse. Decide at the last minute to forgo spending eleven bucks for a triple pumpkin spice latte, and save yourself a million bucks in alimony later on.

Stephen King writes in the afterword of his great new book 11/23/63 (no spoiler alert- this has nothing to do with the plot of the book) that if a stripper named Karen Carlin hadn't fallen behind on her rent and asked Jack Ruby for a $25.00 loan, Ruby, who had previously tried to get close enough to Oswald at the Dallas police station the day of the assassination would not have gone to the police station the next day because he assumed he had missed his chance and Oswald had been transferred to the Dallas County Jail. But the Western Union Ruby went to to wire the money was just a few blocks from the Police Station and Ruby, who often entertained Dallas cops at his club and was well known to them, wandered down to the police station intending to speak to some friends. But Oswald was just about to be transferred. And thanks to a stripper needing a quick loan, history changed again that day forever. Timing.

The Fins fired coach Tony Sporano today and timing was everything.

Sporano and the rest of the NFL awoke this morning to the firing today of Chiefs Coach Todd Haley. WIth the Chiefs suddenly the only team in the market for a coach, the Dolphins, knowing they were going to fire Sporano at the end of the season were now forced to act.

Sporano was allowed to hold his regularly scheduled 11:00 AM news conference. Timing. Then the media headed cross town to the Heat's 3pm conference. Timing. The Dolphins are on the road for the next two weeks, giving the interim coach a chance to get his feet wet without enduring a home town stadium of boos. Timing. With most of the media safely across town, the Dolphins called a news conference attended by some Haitian security guards and one lost insurance agent from Oswego named Hal and fired Sporano.


See You In Court, and if you see us, its all about timing.


Monday, December 12, 2011


Hunter shoots deer. No news. Dog shoots hunter. News. Herald has it here.

Dolphins win. News. Dolphins get blown out by Eagles. No news.

Its taken a while, but the chickens hatched by Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966) are finally coming home to roost.

DUI mavens will tell you that in Schmerber, the US Supreme Court upheld the rights of states to forcibly extract blood from DUI suspects.

Now the WSJ reports that many states, including our own, have adopted or are about to adopt "no refusal" laws that allows the police to hold you down and jam a needle in your arm and extract your blood when you refuse to provide a breath sample in a DUI case.

The Wall Street Journal article states that Texas (Motto: "jus give me mah gun and screw the commie constitution crap") is leading the way.

No doubt Alito and Roberts and Thomas will uphold such a law. They never saw a criminal law they didn't like. But lets see what our friend Scalia does with a 35 year old precedent that puts the government in the vampire business.

How does one discern the original intent of John Adams when it comes to driving impaired?

By the way, on this day next year, we will be dealing with the last of the numerology fads, as it will be 12/12/12. Woo Hoo!

See You In Court.


Saturday, December 10, 2011


Governor Scott appointed three judges in Miami (Motto: "Give us your tired, your poor, your wretched refuse, your judges...") not the two we reported, so we apologize to County Court Judge D.J. Cannava for leaving him(?) out of our last post. It's sort of a record in a way. We usually wait until the Judge has donned the black robes and taken the bench before we insult them.

As our Captain reported:

Don't feel too bad for Donald "DJ" Cannava. In his first time interviewing with the JNC, his name was sent up to the Governor, not only for one of the two Circuit Court seats, but also for the County Court seat vacated by Judge Rosa Figarola (Circuit).

And the Governor chose Cannava as our newest County Court Judge, in his first time

A Rumpole Courage award goes to 29 year old Scott Millard. The Michigan attorney refused to let a cantankerous, sarcastic, sneering (aren't they all?) Judge Kenneth Post from questioning his client about when he last used controlled substances during an initial court proceeding. Mr. Millard was polite, respectful and firm and held his ground to the point where the Judge fined him $100 and then held him in contempt and took him into custody.

We would gladly pay his $100.00 fine if we could, and we want Mr. Millard to know that he will never pay for a drink in this town should he choose to visit our fair city.

Here is the arrest report for Officer Villa who was arrest for DUI in his vehicle last week
courtesy of ace Herald Reporter David Ovalle who was nice enough to email it to us.

Sorry about the size of the document. We think if you click on the link you will get the full size of the document. Officer Villa was taken to the station, no idea if he provided a breath sample, and then in violation of some policy/statute (?) that we were told requires drivers arrested for DUI to be held for 8 hours or until there is some proof they are sober, Villa was taken home instead of to TGK/DCJ.

Arrest Affidavit - Fernando Villa

Thursday, December 08, 2011


Six candidates....two spots...and your new circuit judges are (drum roll please)

Judge Norma Lindsey, elevated from County Court and

Angie Zayas. elevated from the mere mortal status of a lawyer.

Congratulations to both Judges. Now as our Governor likes to say:

Get to work.

Meanwhile we now have a county court vacancy courtesy of Governor Scott's elevation of Judge Lindsey, and a circuit vacancy courtesy of President Obama's elevation of Judge Robert Scola.

And the beat goes on.


Here's a DUI scenario all of our DUI mavens can relate to.
Your client is passed out in his car in the middle of an intersection.
The police are called.
Your client is arrested and ....
1) Taken to the police station offered (threatened) a breath test and then taken to jail, or
2) Given a promise to appear by a sympathetic police officer and driven home by Officer Friendly?

Well, if your client is MIAMI DADE OFFICER FERNANDO VILLA then it's scenario number two. Herald article here.

And the beat goes on.

See You In Court.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Wednesday December 7, 2011 marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was the greatest generation's 9/11 and they answered the call of history and met the challenges of their time and set this country on the road to greatness.

When we think of Pearl Harbor we think of the great naval battle of Midway about seven months later . And when we think of Midway we think of the greatest American war hero you probably have never heard of: C. Wade McClusky, Jr.

Recall that what the Japanese didn't achieve at Pearl Harbor was the destruction of the U.S Carrier fleet, as the carriers were at sea and survived the attack unscathed. Seven months later in June of 1942 a Japanese naval armada of 200 ships set sail to attack Midway- a strategic atoll about 1,000 miles from Hawaii.

50 U.S Naval ships sailed to protect Midway including three carriers: The Yorktown, the Hornet and the Enterprise.

The attack on Midway was actually an elaborate Japanese plan to trap and sink what they believed were the two surviving US Carriers: The Hornet and the Enterprise. The Japanese believed they had sunk the Yorktown in the battle of Coral Sea. To make matters worse, the great US Admiral Bill Halsey was sidelined with a bad case of the shingles. He chose as his replacement Admiral Raymond Spruance, who had limited Carrier experience.

But the US had broken the Japanese code and Spruance and Admiral Fletcher, who was commanding the damaged Carrier Yorktown knew the Japanese plans and in turn planned a trap of their own.

But the greatest Naval victory in US History eventually came down to a humble 40 year old pilot from Buffalo, New York named C. Wade McClusky, Jr. Lieutenant Commander McClusky commanded Fighter Squadron Six on the Enterprise. The day of the battle he and about forty of his pilots flying SBD Dive Bombers launched looking for the Japanese Carriers. Several prior US attacks on the Japanese Carriers had met with disaster. When McClusky's force arrived at where he was told the Japanese fleet would be, he saw nothing. McClusky didn't panic. He led his squadrons on a classic search pattern and soon they stumbled upon a Japanese Destroyer moving quickly. Despite running very low on fuel, McClusky gave the order to follow the Destroyer and soon his squadrons came upon the Japanese fleet, totally unprotected and without air cover due to both strategic decisions of the Japanese Admirals and some plain old bad luck. Most of the Japanese air cover was on the deck being both re-fueled. Their bombers were also going through an ordinance change and the decks of the Japanese Carriers were stacked with bombs, torpedos, and fuel hoses.

If luck is the residue of design, McClusky's squadrons arrived at the precise moment when the Japanese fleet was totally unprotected and their Carriers at their most vulnerable. McClusky's SBD dive bombers pounced and in almost no time less than 40 planes sunk three Japanese Carriers. And just like that the war in the Pacific changed. The Japanese never launched another offensive Naval action after Midway and the battle remains the greatest American Naval victory.

All because a calm pilot from Buffalo didn't panic and kept his men together and led them into history.

See You In Court.


Before we get to today's topic, a little holiday housekeeping courtesy of the FACDL:

Dear Membership,

With the holiday season now in full swing FACDL is again joining hands with the Dade County Bar Association Homeless Outreach Committee to ensure that some of Miami's less fortunate children do not go without toys this year. Just as we did last year we will be setting up collection boxes on Wednesday in the REG Building to collect new, unwrapped toys that will be delivered to the families at the Champman Homeless Center in Miami. Through the efforts of Rick Freedman, and the assistance of Judge Yvonne Colodny, Carlos Martinez, Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, and the staff at Au Bon Pain, we arranged to have collections stations set up at Au Bon Pain restaurant on the first floor of the Justice Building, Judge Colodny's chambers in room 209, as well as both the State Attorney's Office, the Public Defender's Office.

Additionally, this year's FACDL Holiday party will be held on December 15th at the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office. This year we are fortunate enough to have Administrative Judge Bertila Soto for what promises to be a very informative question and answer session. Just as last year, instead of charging an admission fee for this year's Holiday Party we are asking that attendees bring an unwrapped toy to be donated.

On December 21 at 6:00 pm there will be a holiday party at the Chapman Homeless Center where all the toys that have been collected will handed out to the children. The Dade County Bar Association welcomes, and urges, all the FACDL membership to attend. We are hoping that all of our members will make a point to attend this great event and contribute to this worthy cause. We had a wonderful turnout last year and with everyone's help we can top it this year. Happy holidays to all.

Things are getting strange in ....where else but Browierd County. The JAA Blog has all the details on the Redemption Movement.

Below are the videos of a defendant (self and apparently secretly made) who doesn't want to give his name. Pity the poor overworked PDs who are trying to get the fool to just give them his name.

Anybody have any experience with these jerks popping up in Dade County?

Here's the Judge trying to get the idiot to say who he is.

Post script:

It appears that our hero messed with the wrong Judge when he showed up late to Raag Singhal's court. According to the Broward Blog the Judge issued an AC and when the genius showed up and started his games Ragg took him into custody because he wouldn't give testimony sufficient to allow Raag to vacate the AC. Upon being handcuffed our brave hero broke down and wanted to admit everything, but by then it was too late and as of last word Mr. Funny Guy is in the Broward County Jail. Now he has a number to go with his name.

Monday, December 05, 2011


What Rumpole is reading:

11/22/63: Absolutely Stephen King's finest. And even if you're not a Stephen King fan, this book is special.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. When you're done with this shorter story you will immediately start re-reading it to see what you missed. Sounds weird? Read it and see.

Destiny Of The Republic: A Tale Of Madness, Medicine and Murder of A President. Candice Millard. Think you know everything there is to know about President James A. Garfield? Think again.

The bad thing about writing a good post over the weekend is coming home late Monday and feeling like we have to write something before people get bored. It's not like we have law professors at UM guest blogging for us.

First no soup, now no mail for Rumpole. The US Postal service will be making cuts in the spring.

Super size black holes are gobbling up the universe, and that has us worried.

North Miami Police Officers are casting Santeria spells on the City Manager (and getting fired for it.) Pure Birdseed.

The cost of fuel in Afghanistan has risen to $400.00 per gallon, but only for the US Military.

The Dolphins don't suck anymore after the drubbing they put on the Raiders on Sunday.

And only 19 more shopping days until Christmas (starting Tuesday).

See you in court.