Monday, October 29, 2012


UPDATE: Here is the order everyone is talking about. 

Judge Hirsch is at it again. This time with fingerprint evidence. The Herald article is here. 
We're not really sure what he is up to, but the portion of the order acknowledging that just because something has been accepted and the issue appears well settled does not make it so, is an important philosophical point with implications well beyond our jobs. 

The President starts his day in Orlando.  
Update: Early this morning the president's campaign informed us that he was canceling his joint appearance with President Clinton to handle storm related issues. Polls show the president behind slightly in the Sunshine State. If Obama wins Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida, or two of any of those three, game over. The polls remain super tight in almost every so called swing state. If Obama wins Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire and Nevada, he makes up for the loss of Florida and Wisconsin or Ohio puts him over the top. What all this means is that the road to an electoral college win is slightly easier or the president.  Check out our post over the weekend and use the interactive tool to find out where early voting places are open near you. 

What happens if the super storm knocks out power in NY, NJ, Virginia, Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania for more than ten days and electronic voting machines don't have power? 
Can an election be delayed? 

One thing is for certain: storm related issues have moved both campaigns off the east coast and into the mid-west. There will be no campaigning in Virginia (where a new poll shows the president taking a 4 point lead) North Carolina and New Hampshire. The candidates will have to focus their time in Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio because east coast cities affected by the storm cannot handle the motorcades and no one will show up anyway. 

300,000 people have been evacuated from lower manhattan. Not only has trading suspended on the NYSE, but electronic trading of stocks has been suspended as well.  That hasn't happened since the mid-1980's. 

Have a great week. The Dolphins beat the j...e...t...s, so the week has to be a good one. 


Anonymous said...

Milt is right.

Anonymous said...

There is something incredibly self-destructive about Milt. He's too smart to believe this order will be sustained. So what is his point? A simple order challenging old assumptions might be attributable to stronly held moral belief. But the rhetorical and literary flourishes of this order seems designed, once again, to draw attention to himself.

Fake Josh Gradinger said...

I may have to return to Miami just to teach this Milt a few things about the law!

Zay Gezunt!

Anonymous said...

I would ask what is wrong with this guy, but we all know. His ego is bigger than any we have ever seen on the bench in Miaimi. We think Alan Schwartz is arrogant, OMG this guy is so narcissitic that he can't see straight. He truly beleives he is above it all. It seems he really only wanted one term knowing he will never sit as a senior judge.

Anonymous said...

Milt is right and the proponents of inclusion are wrong. The opinion by the ex-pros that we let the evidence in b/c the defense can cross-examine has been repudiated.



Election Central ......

This election will undoubtedly end up I. The courts. Federal judges will be asked to extend hours and days so that people can exercise their right to vote. It will come down to which judge draws the issue in each key State that is affected by the storm.

You thought the storm was going to cause a real mess for folks in the Northeast, weather related issues, that is.

Well, wait until you see the mess it is going to cause the general election for our next President.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

More Angry Girl.




As previosuly announced on this BLOG, Judge Victoria Platzer and Judge Ellen Leesfield are resigning to take jobs with Judge Izzy Reyes' law firm.

The JNC has received applications from the following individuals:

Jason Bloch
Robert A. Coppel
Michelle A. Delancy
Jason Emilios Dimitris
Candace Renee Duff
Alan Samuel Fine
Raul Flores
Christopher Green
Judge Andrew S. Hague
Judge Eric William Hendon
Oscar Levin
Judge Fleur Lobree
Alan D. Sackrin
Sandra Miller-Batiste
Steven Reininger
Leslie Sharpe

Very interesting to note that only two of the applicants are County Court Judges.

As you may recall, the same JNC met earlier this month to nominate the replacement for Judge Farina. They nominated:

Jason Bloch
Jason Dimitris
Alan S. Fine
Eric Hendon
Fleur Lobree
Steven Reininger

Is there any reason to expect them to name anyone else other than those same six?

Well, logic would say, obviously it will be the same six. But, if you have paid attention to our columns over the past two years on this subject, you would know that logic plays no part in this.

To be fair to the JNC, five of the applicants this time around are new so the names actually could change. Candace Duff, Chris Green, Oscar Levin, Alan Sackrin, and Leslie Sharpe did not apply for the Farina seat. And Sackrin has previously applied and been nominated by the JNC.

Interviews to follow and then the selection. We will keep you in the loop.

Cap Out .....

Secret Judge said...

I am beginning to wonder if the Honorable Judge Milton Hirsch might be just a bit daffy. His exploits since taking the bench suggest the possibility of a jurist mentally unstable. Think Henry Ferro with more intellect. Suggest the man be watched very carefully. Frankly, who knows what deeds he may be capable of. I say this not in jest, but with considerable concern.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will about Milt, but the man has balls...big balls, and he ain't afraid to show 'em!

Anonymous said...

Read the order. Hirsch is RIGHT.

Not that being right about something so insignificant as the quality of evidence used to send people to prison trumps the desire of many here to criticize someone for personal reasons.

I say it again -- READ the order. There's nothing outrageous there, he just wants prosecution employees to stop lying on the stand when they say they have found a "match," and instead be forced to testify about what they have really found -- usually a compromised partial print with 10 or 12 or 16 or whatever number of points of identity.

Anonymous said...

You watch. Milton will be moved to civil or probate soon. That's how they handle "rogue" judges.

I wonder if probate lawyers can recite from Shakespeare?

Anonymous said...

Consistent with the rules of evidence, burden of proof and gist of the jury instructions, Milt is correct

Anonymous said...

Secret Judge, you and many like you are cowards compared to Milt. This is a man that is too busy doing his job rather than being worried about keeping his job. He is a breath of fresh air. He considers the issues, does his own research and actually takes the time to put his reasoning into paper. The rest of the judges in this circuit just summarily deny motions without any legal analysis. Judge Hirsch will undoubtedly be slapped once again by the 3rd. But at least he has the courage to rule based upon the law and what he thinks is right.

Anonymous said...

I hope "Secret Judge" is not a real judge. Wouldn't his/her statement be a violation of judicial ethics?

Anonymous said...

Hirsch thought he was going to be a huge fish in a huge pond and be in the spotlight every morning. Most lawyers who want to be a judge suffer from this illusion: that a judge is all powerful because he has such enormous power over people's lives and any lawyer's cases. But the reality is quite different. Once you get used to (and probably annoyed by) everyone calling you judge, the job is boring. Civil or criminal, things get mundane very quickly and you soon realize your are a prisoner of the bureaucracy that you thought was beneath you. I bet most every judge dreads having to sit through morning calendar listening to adults sound like children.

Anonymous said...

POst a link to the order, please..

Anonymous said...

Hirsch is not right. Once again, he has dismissed binding precedent from the Third District and gone rogue. He will be reversed. Not to mention the fact that he ruled on this issue without even hearing from the state after he said he would recuse himself because he had prejudged the issue.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Most become judges cuz they don't want to work hard and hustle for the money.

Tell me who is still in his or her chambers on Friday about 3:00 pm?????????

Only a few do it for the power trip. (Victoria Brennan, Jackie Scola, Special Ed Newman, Dava Tunis, to name a few)

Luckily for us, many are really great: Stan Blake, Peter Lopez, LK Martin, Milton Hirsch, Leon Firtel, Nushin Sayfie, to name a few.

Anonymous said...

It used to be generally accepted that judges ought to be accorded respect due to the dignity of the office. Perhaps that old assumption needs to be reconsidered.... in certain cases. Stare at that decisis, arrogant putz.

Anonymous said...

754 are you sniffing glue???????firtel a great judge??????most indecisive Jurist I have ever practiced before in 18 years

Anonymous said...

7:09, it's on the Herald's article. Other than the literary Shakespearean stuff, Mr. CJ Hirsch is correct in granting the Motion in Limine. His reasoning is according to current law, which he uses to shake a scientifically unproven but commonly-held belief that's been accepted as gospel truth for over a century without any scientific basis.



TO 7:09 PM .....

Judge Hirsch's Order on Defendant's Motion In Limine re Fingerprint Witness


Cap Out ....

the trialmaster said...

Mr. Justice Hirsch is a great judge.Unlike most of the other judges with hypened names and the others who could not make a dime in private practice, Milt gave up a good private practice to become a judge. Too bad others like him do not do the same.I would take him as a trial judge anytime.


Cum Grano Salis

Read Milt's Order; then you decide whether he is simply out to draw attention to himself or out to follow the law. Whether this is about his ego, or whether it is about doing something that no other Judge would ever do, in this situation, or in others where he has stepped "over the edge".

Milt Hirsch has very strong beliefs about the law, about our consitutitions, and about how those laws have been applied in the criminal courts of this State and country for the past hundred years.

Milt is now in a position where he can act on his beliefs, using the law as his foundation. Is it all about him, or is it about something greater, To apply the law. To be brave enough to speak out and call out others in the system who have not been willing to apply the law the way he believes he ought to be applied.

And he will continue to do this, because it is what he believes in all his heart,

You can all continue to believe that it is only about Milt, that he does this for his ego, that he really doesn't give a hoot about the bigger broader picture, the constitution. But, read the Order before you criticize him and it. Speak with him off the bench.

Then let us know what you think.

Cap Out ....

Cap Out ...

DS said...

The Judge only said
the Emperor has no clothes.

Anonymous said...

Ok Cap, I accepted your challenge and read the Order. I did so as someone who repeatedly spoke in support of Milt both before and after he took the bench and as someone who still likes him and wants him to succeed. That said......

This Order is patronizing, ignores precedent (state and Federal appellate cases), and is woefully insufficient.

Milt needs to put down the literature and actually read case precedent. He clearly does not understand Frye. First, Frye, at its most fundamental level, is based on the concept that the relevant scientific community is better situated to determine the reliability of scientific evidence than a lawyer with robes. Second, Frye only applies to new or novel evidence. Fingerprint evidence obviously is neither. There's no doubt that it has gone beyond the stage of experimentation and has reached the stage of "reasonable demonstrability." Third, Frye only applies to a test's underlying theories and procedures, not the conclusions an expert reaches in a specific case. Thus, it should be applied on a question by question basis as Hirsch plans to do. Fourth, once a test or method is determined to be admissible, it's up to the jury to weigh it, not the judge.

Finally, his non-ruling at the end is ridiculous (basically, he said that he is going to rule on the particular conclusions and testimony on a statement by statement basis as the State introduces the evidence. Absurd).

One of the worst opinions I've ever seen.


PS----I also found it amusing that Milt opined that fingerprint identification "is advocated and practiced almost exclusively by law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities." I guess he hasn't bought a good laptop in a few years. Many are equipped with fingerprint identification technology.

Anonymous said...

It's so funny when Milt posts good things about himself. But a little sad, too. Like when he invited everyone to lunch so he could talk about how smart he was, but no one showed up.

Anonymous said...

Milt is absolutely right. And the only thing even slightly controversial about this order is that it implicitly calls out past judges and even defense attorneys for lazily accepting unfounded conclusions.

The Order fingerprint evidence doesn't eliminate the use of fingerprint evidence, but it does require that conclusions actually be supported by the evidence (heaven forbid).

Anonymous said...

I don't like Judge Hirsch. When I've seen him on the bench he has been condescending in a way that bespeaks enormous insecurity. Why would an aged, accomplished jurist roll his eyes and sigh make snide comments about young ASAs and PDs?

His writing style is putrid. It is cluttered and meandering, phrases constantly stopping to gaze at themselves in the mirror, instead of powering the sentence ahead. Using the Latin for a cliche like "grain of salt" doesn't refresh the cliche, it only signals the worst middlebrow pretension.

In sum, a short sabbatical to address his insecurity would do his personality wonders. Imagine his command of language put to good use! Imagine the breadth of his reading marshalled, not to show off, but to shed light on difficult situations! Sadly, I don't think we will see this. We will get more bloviating.

Despite all of this, however, the man is right when it comes to the Rules of Evidence. It's too bad you have to dig and scrape through his writing style, but he's right.

Anonymous said...

Dear Miltie, please see State v. Armstrong, 920 So. 2d 769 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2006), review denied 945 So. 2d 1289.

Anonymous said...

Judge Hirsch is appropriately explicating the issue of finger print science's traditional ambiguity of "identical matches". He's being precise on the issue.

Judges uses brain and people go crazy: How dare he use his brain to think on the bench!?!

Reminds me of what a boss once told me when I was a painter. He said to me one day,"What are you doing?" I said I thought about--." He rejoined "You don't get paid to think, you get paid to do." That's when I quit.

Anonymous said...

Hey Cap - I've known Milt a long time - before he was a judge and after. I've spoken with him when he's been on and off the bench. No matter the circumstance, there is only 1 topic of conversation that holds his interest: HIM. He is so full of himself it's crazy. Perhaps his bravado is a mask for deep-seated inadequacy from childhood or some other crap. I really don't care. He is a jerk in a robe that likes to quote other people because he has nothing profound to say on his own.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, Capt,

What do you think about Judge Sigler's Ruling on SB 1960 as Unconstitutional?

In my opinion her ruling is just and, timely.

Anonymous said...

Excuse all of you who believe Milt is right. Whether he is right or not is irrelevant. The DCA's and the Fla. S.Ct. have determined otherwise and he is ethically and legally bound to follow that precedent. It is on appeal after a record is made that the change takes place. Milt has usurped his powers as a Circuit Judge and the authority of the DCA and S.Ct.

Get over whether he is right or wrong. His ego is the isssue not his analysis.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not going to pretend to understand judge milt's order. But couldn't he just deny the recusal motion in 2 pages? Why all the shakespeare references?

Anonymous said...

To Anon 10:59 blindly citing state v. armstrong: You should actually read the Armstrong case and Milt's Order and compare them, not just blindly cite. The two orders are not inconsistent.

Milt's order doesn't say that finder print evidence is inadmissible, and in fact highlights instances in which it would be perfectly admissible. Milt's order however says that he won't let experts testify to conclusions that cannot reasonably be drawn from the evidence.

The Armstrong case revolves around a direct challenge to the use of finger print evidence on the theory presented by a defense expert who "has no formal training in latent fingerprint identification analysis; he did not examine the latent fingerprints taken from the crime scene in this case; he does not question the latent fingerprint analysis actually performed in this case; and he has no opinion about the standards or methods used by the fingerprint examiner in this particular case."

This defense expert's testimony was therefore without credible basis, was correctly not considered, and the challenge to fingerprint evidence was properly denied.

Some more gems from the Armstrong case the distinguish it from Milt's Order include:
"[the defense expert]'s testimony will, therefore, be no more than a general critique of the predicate underlying fingerprinting as a method of identification. His testimony will not be probative as to whether the latent prints lifted from the scene match Armstrong's fingerprints, that is, his testimony will not be probative of Armstrong's guilt or innocence. Consequently, his testimony is not admissible."

Anonymous said...

Well, Milton just made Sartre turn in his grave. How long before he dials himself in?

Anonymous said...

Judge Hirsch is not so courageous! After his beautiful decision and opinion in Washington, I had a motion to vacate based on Shelton and Washington and he ruled that Shelton was not retroactive. That was clearly a cop-out from pressure from the powers that be.

Anonymous said...

The Governor picked another crazy one to execute.

Anonymous said...

Manuel Pardo, the former Sweetwater cop who killed nine people, claiming they were “scum of the earth,” will be executed Dec. 11, the governor’s office said Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Pardo, 56, and cohort Rolando Garcia committed nine murders during the 1980s, ripping off drug dealers and people who could implicate them in the crimes.

“I’m not a criminal. I’m a soldier. As a soldier, I ask to be given the death penalty,” he told the court when he was sentenced to death in 1988. “I accomplished my mission, and I hope you will give me the glory to at least end my days in a proper fashion.”

At trial, lawyers for Pardo — a former highway patrolman, Boy Scout leader and decorated Navy veteran — argued he was insane at the time of the crimes and thought he was ridding the streets of criminals.

Gov. Rick Scott signed his death warrant Tuesday.

read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/30/3075035/death-warrant-signed-for-former.html#storylink=cpy

Anonymous said...

In before Rump's negative comments about the champions receiving their rings tonight:




Anonymous said...

I wonder why he picked Pardo? There are dozens of death row inmates before him. Seems politically motivated. Maybe he thinks Pardo will volunteer??

Anonymous said...

I just watched PBS series Nova, Forensics on trial. Every judge defense lawyer, and prosecutor needs to see it! The junk science presented as evidence in courtrooms is torn apart. The first segment is on fingerprint evidence. Methinks Judge Hirsch deserves a bit of deference and perhaps more than a few apologies . Watch it online very scary. Jason Grey