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.


Anonymous said...

Check it out: Teretha Lundy Thomas hasn't filed for re-election and has now drawn opposition if she does. tanya Brinkly now is alone in her race as her former opponent changed seats to #33.

Anonymous said...

Has gene zenobi already let the title of regional counsel go to his head? word is that numerous attorneys have applied and received no response to or acknowledgement of receipt of applications. as the head of a florida government agency he should reply to applicants and not ignore them.

Anonymous said...

So what is the law on this issue? Does the Florida Bar have a position on this issue? I have defended prostitution cases and have gotten responses such as "I don't think it should be illegal." Similar situation. Can you ask for a jury nullification jury instruction, with the John Adams language that you shared ?

Rumpole said...

The law is that the jury cannot be instructed as to nullification, but they also cannot be told they cannot do it.

I do undertand the argument for not instructing jurors they are free to not follow the law.

Anonymous said...

Is that a lawyer asking whether you an ask for a nullification jury instruction?

Anonymous said...

Our old buddy John Rodriquez has jumped seats and is now running against Teretha Lundy Thomas. John ia good guy and a friend and boy will I do everything in my power to see that Teretha wins.

She has been a truly great judge and the only reason she has an opponent is because (drum roll please) she is black.

John, you are really pissing off everyone with this decision. Please change your mind.

Rumpole said...

Yes they were. I think.

old guy said...

I like Geno, but I think that administration and deadlines are hardly his forte.

He probably will get to everything eventually, but it may be a while.

Anonymous said...

Most elections have two sides. It is a fact of life. To say that one shouldn't run against another because of a race issue is to say that we believe in affirmative action.

We don't believe in affirmative action because appointments, jobs, and elections should be based on competence.

If Teretha is as good as you say, she won't have a bit of trouble.

If one is in charge of hiring and will only hire a certain race over another without regard to competence, that to me is despicable whatever the race is and should not be practiced whether it's a state or federal institution.

BNI IS A CULT said...

Breaking- Florida Bar about to announce investigation into BNI improper fee sharing between lawyers (which is bad) and fee sharing between lawyers and non-lawyers (which is suspend-able at the least).

"BNI bucks" payoffs between members of which the BNI organization takes a cut z(called kicking up to the boss, which is just what the mob calls it) and "BNI Ambassadors" getting bribes to secure what are viewed as favorable seats in "good" groups are what is behind the investigation which is thought to also include at least one federal agency (IRS).

Even higher level members of what is now arguably a CCE (continuing criminal enterprise) which includes what the cult calls Ambassadors, Senators, Prelates, Chapter Presidents, Vice President, and treasurers, are alleged to have to have paid large five figure fees to secure their spots which entitle them to a piece of the referral fee "BNI Bucks". The IRS is said to be taking a dim view of these BNI Buck referral fees that are not being reported because the organization orders its members to categorize the payments as dues and expenses.
This is big folks and lots of justice building lawyers are going to go down.

Anonymous said...

I think you are going to be hard pressed to find a judge who is going to end his portion of voir dire or jury instruction with the phrase, "but feel free to ignore everything I've said, including the law, and do what you want."

I know we all want juries to come back in favor of our clients, especially in the marijuana cases, but I'm not sure I want them ignoring the law in a more serious felony. We have all had trials where the jury thought our guy did it, but the state just could not prove it within the rules at a fair trial.

If you really want marijuana use legalized, lobby for it.

Besides, the "odor of marijuana" as PC is good for business.

mikal said...

What is BNI?

DS said...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 12:18:00 PM
Are you kidding. Race and Ethnicity have no place or effect.
This is SoFLA.

Anonymous said...

BNI is a cult, masquerading as a business networking organization. It has all the trappings of a cult. For instance, did you know that in nazi germany everyone had to own a copy of mein kampf? It was a way for hitler to get money and before he was chancellor he controlled the nazi party and had the party buy hundreds of thousands of copies of the book. It became the game plan for cult leaders.

Well, the "doctor" who formed BNI writes books and its mandatory when you apply and pay thousands of dollars in application fees that you also buy his books. Now there is no rule you buy his books but when you apply if you don't plunk down an additional 200-300 for the 4 hardcovers , its pretty much a guarantee your application will be denied because "our investigation revealed you do not conduct your business in accordance with BNI principles." Figure conservatively that 3-5K people apply every year and you're talking almost a million bucks to the founder in book sales. Also after being accepted you have to take a series of classes (which you pay additional for) and guess what? You have to buy additional work books authored by the founder. Notably his books cannot be found in any book store and have negligible sales on Amazon. Nice little scam.

BTW the doctor is not an MD but a phd from some bs paper factory.

Anonymous said...

OK folks, not primarily a crim lawyer, but got a few emails from friends who know my story. Here is how the scam works: you get invited (recruited) to a meeting which is highly ritualized.

At this meeting there is lots of clapping and congratulating between the members who share stories of how great the other members are. At some point it is casually dropped that each seat is worth $86,000.00 meaning that's what they claim the average member got in referrals the prior year from the other members.

And then...lo and behold! The treasurer or VP comes over, finds out you're a (fill in the blanK) real estate broker, own a payroll company, sell life insurance, or do closings and have a title company. The VP whispers that your specialty is suddenly open in the chapter. Wow its your luck day. Can you apply right away? Meaning now? Is only 495 bucks, which to get about 7500 a month seems like a great deal.

Now the fun begins. The VP comes back and says the president is upset. Normal chapter rules require 6-10 applicants for each seat. With the $200 application fee that goes directly to the president (he gives a share to the vp and kicks up 50 to the bosses upstairs) he is upset that giving the seat to you will cost him 500 bucks. Can you write another check for 800 or a 1000 so all the people can be paid? Its still a great deal, you're a shoe in for that 85K seat.

Next week you show up and there's a problem. One of your references (they wont say who) hedged a bit on you. The Ambassador is asking questions how you are the only one applying for the seat. Can you write another check for 2500 for the ambassador and his people? if you say no, your prior checks are not refundable and you've lost your money and your 85K seat. Once you write this check, the hook is set and they own you.

Your sworn in, and a couple of members want to use your services. They even write you a check (of course its with your own money but you don't know that yet). So now you're starting to see a return on your investment.

Have you done BNI basic? What's that? You say. "Oh, you can't speak at meetings or technically get referrals until you've taken the course." "Where do I sign up?" "Right here, it's just $1,200" but you get a whole lot for your money including personal coaching by the Florida Senator for BNI Wow! What a deal. Again , if you drop out now, all your money is lost and you have already tasted some of the referrals heading your way. At the end of the course, don't forget to buy the owner's two latest books at $105.00 each, or a set of all six for $500.00. You can't get the certificate of completion needed to allow you to get referrals at meetings until you buy the last two books. It would be a shame to drop out now. You pay.

Anonymous said...

The next week its a special county wide networking event. You will meet literally thousands of people just bursting at the seams to give you business. Just $375.00 to attend, and payment is mandatory, although attendance is not.

Now you're into these goniffs for 5K easy and the pressure is still on. Donate here. Stop using your dentist and use the chapter's dentist, printer, florist, plumber, ac mechanic, car dealership owner, ect Oh, its tradition the newest member sponsor the president's trip to the california nationwide BNI rally. "We've all paid our share, now become of us and do the same." You pay his travel. You switch chiropractors and get your next copier lease from Hal who is the chapter's sgt at arms. BNI advanced is coming up next month. If you were amazed at the coaching that made you thousands at the first BNI basic, wait till you get the inside scoop on what BNI advanced can do. It will knock your socks off. Only 2100 but payable in three easy monthly installments. Just give them your credit card!

Monthly dues. Monthly fees. Annual dues. Chapter costs. Donations. Buy their books. use the businesses they sponsor (which they get a cut of and kick up the line). The entire thing is an enormous nationwide money making machine and those at the top are making tens of millions while the peons in the middle scratch and claw at each other to get in position to pick up the crumbs, which can amount to tens of thousands a year or more.

I got out and hired a lawyer as they tried to enforce a contract and accelerate five years of dues as the last cheap shot they take at you.

Be warned friends.

Anonymous said...

I was asked to join the BNI chapter here in Coral Gables. I went to a few meetings; everyone was nice, friendly, and well dressed. Every business seemed to be represented: from attorneys to private adjusters to web site designers, and to the best one of all, a guy selling specially designed pee cups for women so they could pee standing up instead of squatting over a toilet in a public bathroom.

I asked that the application be faxed to me, but after I received it, I never filled it out.

Lucky me.

Anonymous said...

Judge Lundy Thomas is truly a class act and highly respected by all. I just wish candidates would run against crappy judges and leave the good ones like her alone.

I know John and will ask him to run against a judge who needs to go like: Newman, Liefman, Slom, Hendon, etc. (yes, I know Newman is not up this time but, he learned nothing from that last election)

Anyone who thinks John was somehow "color blind" is stupid.

Anonymous said...

BT made money as a bni member - miami beach chapter. he quit after a bit. i would be interested to hear his take on the org. he's a loyal prick and thats the reason i like him.

i was offered to join but i passed. i dont like people enough to wake up every week at 7am to network with them.

Anonymous said...

So you are saying there is an opening in your chapter?

choosy ex rel pd said...

I "broke my contract" a big no no and received a threatening letter. I filed a county court lawsuit and alleged fraud. 16 years in practice, no bar complaints, I received FIVE in one week, four from the assholes in my chapter, including one from a 65 year old 300 pound hag who claimed I sexually solicited her before I would handle a lawsuit she was involved and one from a court appointed client, who later admitted he was solicited to do it by people he didn't know, who arrived with a written out complaint, and put money in his jail account in exchange for him signing a complaint in which he said I refused to visit him unless his family paid me cash.

They are snakes and mean nasty people. Avoid them at all costs.

Anonymous said...

Hey idiot- you don't wake up at 7am to network. You wake up at 5am because if you're not there by 6:45 you starting earning "negative feedback". NF can get you canned quicker than sh*t through a goose.

Fake Albert Einstein said...

G-d does not play dice with the universe!

Fake Niels Bohr said...

Stop telling the lord what to do Albert!

Anonymous said...

Someone else other than I watches Nova!

Anonymous ASA said...

With only a few days left, the ballots are being counted for the 2011 Gersteins. Categories include top PD, top ASA, 30 under 30, top ABP sandwich, worst blogger (SPOILER ALERT - it's rhymes with schmagry schmurl), top blogger, the coveted "DS" award, etc...

See you soon with the winners.

Anonymous said...

Most of those pyramidal multilevel marketing schemes make money by making you recruit a downline of people who buy tapes, books, courses, etc. from your upline, which is where the big profits go. They are cultish, demand total allegiance, give you a false sense of belonging and take all your hard-earned money on the illusion that you'll make money if you do this, attend that or buy the materials.

Dr. Martin Van Nostrand said...

Hey Horace ... Have you ever used a Corum Nobis?

Anonymous said...

Teresa Lundy Thomas has opposition due to her deficient performance on the bench , her attitude ,her poor legal skills,her poor work ethic and the fact that she is poorly regarded by lawyers and judges alike

Anonymous said...

Wow - Seems like this is a Bash BNI Blog - I just joined a BNI chapter - did not have any of the experiences everyone here is talking about. Have gotten some good referrals - no kick backs, no pressure, no extra money, I do not feel like I am in a cult - but I haven't drank the cool aid yet - I will keep you posted...

Anonymous said...

The BNI may technically operate within the scope of the law, but it IS a cult, a scam, and a Multi-Level-Marketing-type ripoff. Some members do experience some results, but that is due to their own efforts rather than any positive influence of the organization. The prime purpose of the organization is to take money from the members and give nothing back. There is no room for discussion, deviance from strict meeting protocols, or creativity. Members are told NEVER to question the organization, the method, or the doctrine, and that if they are failing, it is due solely to their lack of effort. BNI is an ideal environment for con-men (sociopaths) to flourish. My friend has been a member for a couple of years, but I had no idea until I recently attended a recruitment lunch that it was actually a cult. As an ex-cult member (8 years in the Moonies), there was no doubt in my mind after attending this lunch that BNI is a cult. It's kind of a low-level wannabe cult - nothing so impressive as AMway or the Moonies - but a cult nonetheless. My friend is currently trying to recover the $12,000 a member of his chapter stole from him for a "real estate investment". That member is currently filing for bankruptcy, and apparently had no intention of ever doing anything legitimate with the money.

The hard sell is evident right from the moment you step in the door. They are waiting like vultures to pounce on the innocent guests who have no clue what they are signing up for if they decide to join. The pressure is on to sign you up the same day. Watch out, and make your own call.

Anonymous said...

Judge t. thomas once gave a man 6 months on a first DUI. What goes around comes around what goes around comes around...

Fake Ivan Mizner said...

Phil R. tried to get into BNI, I think. His office was too messy, so they didn't let him in.

Anonymous said...

Bunch o jerks on dis here blog.

fake Phil R said...

The Phil R question is actually an important one. If he joined or tried to join then for me it's a reputable organization, as I think Phil has high standards and good judgments ( outside of his fanatical devotion to the Steelers and incessant yapping about poker, although I admit I saw him at hardrock a few weeks ago walking out of the high limit room with about one and a half trays of 100 dollar chips which is roughly 15K, and was looking pretty darn happy with himself). Back to BNI, if he or any other successful member of the criminal defense bar is a member that would go a long way to dispelling these comments which have a smelly air of sour grapes. Perhaps the authors themselves were rejected?

Kool Aid Man said...

@9:23-- Unless the BNI is buying the cheap knock off stuff it's Kool Aid with a "K" and not a "C"

Anonymous said...

What is your definition of a cult?

Looking at dictionary.com DEFINITIONS - almost anything can be a cult.

For example, one definition is "a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc." So if you belong to any club, group or business, then you're in a cult.

Anonymous said...

I got invited to a BNI meeting as the guest of someone, and decided to give it a try and was disgusted by the meeting! It was terrible, and I was embarassed for everyone there. The meeting is so “calculated”; every minute is planned, there is forced laughing and clapping, and basically I was hoping I would shit my pants, just to have a good excuse to get the hell out of there. Although I’m sure lots of members are there for innocent reasons, there is something quite sinister beneath the surface, and I was wondering when the baby would be presented for the daily sacrifice. I was also looking around to see if anyone had the mark of the beast on the back of their necks, lol. This may sound dramatic, but the meeting was bullshit, and not only that, downright scary. And it’s SO early in the morning!! I had to be there at 6:45. It’s like they try to get you when you’re tired, or something. If you’re invited, DON’T GO, unless you’re writing some sort of article on cults or unless you’re looking for a good laugh or scare. BEWARE!!

Anonymous said...

BNI is a steaming pile of … how do you dumbasses say it? Shite? Every week I sit in disbelief at the brain-washing mentality. I am cynical and sarcastic by nature. When I stood up and told my chapter that I read Givers Gain and found it very insightful into the whole BNI story-I saw my mentor sitting across the room grinning from ear to ear. Although it sounded like I was complimenting BNI, my intent was wow this is everyone’s weekly brainwashing. I find myself dreading every weekly meeting and even though I have already made the money invested in return, it is complete waste of my time.

It is so not because of my attitude but rather because it is run like a cult and there is both constant pressure to pass referrals but then no quality control in those referrals. Which leads to a very high signal to noise ratio of fictional leads.

A real referral network operates with no pressure. Because you like and trust the people in your network sometimes you’ll just hang out with them for lunch or a beer. But when you pass a referral it’s a sure thing.

Which is the polar opposite of the 99% garbage that BNI referrals are.

Anonymous said...

I went to one meeting and one was enough! I didn't like the 'evangelical' hard sell approach and took an instant dislike to the 'leader' because of his attitude. I made an excuse that I couldn't possibly attend every meeting because I have young children and am separated and can't leave them at 7am every week - and that, as a one-man band, I had no-one to send in my place. Even then, the club leader tried to 'persuade' me by saying that if I didn't join, they would invite another lawyer to take my place and all the leads would go to him. I said if they could find another lawyer in the area, good luck to them!

I hated the idea that you had to make referrals or you were out. I often send clients to people I know - but it's because I think they are the right person for the job - not because they happen to have paid someone a few hundred bucks to be a BNI member. And the breakfast was dire - hard toast and terrible coffee!

I regularly get a BNI friend trying to befriend me on LinkedIn - but I just press the Ignore button!

Anonymous said...

Judge Teretha never gave a guy 6 months. You are full of shit.

That lady has been great and we all know it.

Here we go again... black judges get latin opposition.

Not nice.

Anonymous said...

Is jury nullification a related concept to withhold adjudification?

Anonymous said...

Everyday I think about how I'm gonna get out of the law game. So I ask you all, how much money would one need to bank at age 45 to call it quits. I think the number is 6.5 million plus the crib paid down.

Anonymous said...

Amsel, Raben, Tannebaum, Greico, Meltz, Arias, Blecher, Shumminer, Phil R., Pracitto, Chilokis, Estlund. All in BNI. The hater sounds like a whack job.

Anonymous said...

Judge Gladys Perez to get opposition - Stay Tuned.

DS said...

Check the pic under this headline. Glad some still live in the 14th century.

Saudi Women To Vote Without Male Approval

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Women in Saudi Arabia will not need a male guardian's approval to run or vote in municipal elections in 2015, when women will also run for office for the first time, a Saudi official said Wednesday


Scott Saul said...

I'm in a BNI chapter in Plantation (BNI millionaires). It' top heavy meaning most of the members are professionals.

You pay $365 to join and $88 per month (which gets you a wretched breakfast at 6:45 a.m.)

The only course required (which was free) was a to instruct the member how to market your wares in both a 60 second and 10 minute presententation. It was a logical requirement since that is what BNI does, helps you market yourself.

Nobody forces anybody to do anything. You refer business only if somebody develops and gets your confidence.

In my six months in the group, I have yet to get a referral but that is due to the unusual arising of criminal cases out of the situation rather than because they don't want to. I have referred a little bit of business (once again, a criminal defense attorney is not in such a great position to refer real estate and insurasnce matters). Nobody tries to pressure me.

Most of the members in my group are very nice and I'm glad to have developed their friendship. Meeting once a week to discuss business is not the worst thing in the world. I view it as "shaking the tree" and trying to make something happen. Although I have yet to get a referral, it has made me more cognitive about marketing myself and business has increased since my joining. Coincidental? Probably.

Each chapter is different, a wholly seperate entity, but my chapter has been nothing but a positive experience (I checked out the Cooper City one and was turned off). I'm the last person to be drinking from the koolade so I disagree with the "cult" label.

We are in tough economic times. Sometimes we get lazy wishing for different results but not taking different paths to get those results. I have wasted money on many different forms of advertising and marketing. $1200 for a marketing strategy (where you get food and friendship out of it) is a pretty minimal investment.

BNI is not for everybody and hardly uniform among it's chapters. The fear invoked on this post is inaccurate. Let me put it this way...If you are a lawyer and you are intimidated or being controlled by a voluntary networking group, then you are not as a powerful lawyer as you may think. If you get involved with one of these chapters, you are a fool to not control it rather than it controlling you.

Anonymous said...

Ask Jonny Pinerro. His client got launched. 6 months on a first dui. You are full of shit not me.

Anonymous said...

what is with the kool aid?

Anonymous said...

He's a professor at George Washington

Anonymous said...

Not a fan or foe of BNI,

But a former Moonie passing judgement?  Not sure I am willing to take that person's criticism to the bank.  This person was able to determine BNI was a cult from attending one meeting, but actually got hooked by the Rev. Moon?

Now, as a former Manson Family member, survivor of Jonestown, and a current devotee of the Krishna Temple, I can tell you the most blatant cult around here is the FACDL.  

Don't question them, don't disobey, don't forget your dues, don't piss a member off in court, don't run for judge against a former president.  If you ain't with em, your agin em.

Anonymous said...

12/28/11 at 12:12

Interesting, I practice in civil and have never heard a bad word about Judge Thomas.

As to not highly regarded by judges, I can tell you that is just not true. She has been the Administrative Judge of the Civil Division for 3 years (succeeding the highly regarded and popular Mercedes Bach) and has done a quiet and effective job, while handling a full calendar of her own.

In short, you don't know what you are talking about. I suspect these Thomas-bashing posts are from John Rodriguez trying to to anonymously spread disinformation and justify his opposition to her.

John, why don't you just fess up and admit that you are running against Judge Thomas because she is African-American, unlikely to raise large amounts of cash and Cuban and Hispanics have figured out they don't need the Wilkie D. Furgueson Bar Association endorsement to get (nor will they ever get even with the endorsement) African-American votes, which they don't need to win an election. Despite all attempts to the contrary, CABA can not save African-American judges.

Anonymous said...

@7:20-- "Nobody forces anybody to do anything"

-sounds suspiciously like something a "cult" would say.

Anonymous said...

1. No Rumpole it is not an acceptable practice to use your blog
to compare a group of lawyers who
accept work at a lower rate than you deem acceptable, to Vichy collaboratos who joyfully facilitated the transport of children to concentration camps.
2. No Rumpole it is not justifiable behavior to smear 5 lawyers for what you feel is going to be substandard law practice without having a shred of evidence
to support your speculative claim.

If Mr. Marcus conducts himself in this fashion so be it. You are not a Juvenile defendant and must know better. Urging lawyers to call up and harass lawyers who do something you happen to disagree with to intimidate them not acceptable.
Have you no sense of decency sir?
At long last, have you left no sense of decency? I understand that in your mind you are justified but there must be limits
to what you are willing to do in order to advance the economic agenda of Mr. David S. Markus and
his followers.