Monday, March 04, 2013


UPDATE: Monday afternoon Judge Firtel denied the  motion to suppress in the Escobar murder trial. The argument and decision was today. Ovalle with the Herald has all the details here. 

The College Of Cardinals officially meets today in Rome to get the ball rolling. We can't get enough of this. 

Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens has waded right into a Jimmy Ryce sexual predator controversy by refusing to release an infamous convicted Miami Dade Rapist although the jury split 3-3 on the civil commitment trial. The jury is instructed that a 3-3 split will result in the release of the convict. But Judge Sanchez-Llorens has issued some sort of JNOV ruling committing the offender. Attorney Andrew Rier for the defense. The Herald article by Ovalle is here. 

Query: Is the judge's decision an example of the ends justify the means? Or is there precedent for her decision because the trial is a civil trial as we understand it? Having never tried one of these cases, we are not possessed of the expert advice our readers have come to expect of us on these legal issues. 

Cold day starts off a hot week in court. Lots of cases popping. See You in Court, we're wearing the Homburg and mufflers. 


Anonymous said...

Big Duh

Anonymous said...


I know just as little as you do about Jimmy Ryce proceedings having never taken part in one, let alone seen one. However, while there are less safeguards in place for civil proceedings considering only money is at stake, I'm confused why a "civil proceeding" would exist wherein a person stands to lose their liberty?

Anyway, I don't know if the judge has the authority to issue a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in Jimmy Ryce proceedings. What I do know is that judges are politicians, and like politicians, they must fight to keep their jobs. Until we appoint county and circuit court judges and stop, this is what will happen.

Judge Sanchez-Llorens is a former PD. But she is now a Circuit Court judge. This means that she must be tough on crime or else she may find herself a one-term judge. Judges care little about appeasing the defense bar because we are such a small and insignificant percentage of the electorate. You think Miami-Dade County is going to get up in arms and cry about the rights of a convicted rapist when the judge took it upon herself to keep him locked up? Hispanic female judge who's tough on sexual predators? She just secured her re-election.

Not to mention that about three weeks ago, with cameras and MADD present in the courtroom, this same judge raised the bond of a young girl charged with DUI manslaughter from about 10,000 to 77,000. No change in circumstances, just a new charge. Isn't the standard bond for DUI manslaughter about $25,000?

And if I recall, she said something to the effect of, "You made a decision to drink and now you must deal with the consequences?" Prejudging the facts, perhaps?

Look, maybe sexual predators should stay in jail and young party girls who drink and kill innocent pedestrians should have high bonds, but the law is the law. Above all, it must be respected even if it contradicts with what's popular.

Judges are too afraid to follow the law in the face of what's unpopular. A judge would rather be wrong than be unpopular.

Anonymous said...

Arcadia Loves Migna!!

Anonymous said...

Judge Sanchez llorens is a very nice person and if she married a family member I would be ok with it. However, she is a horrible jurist. This is what happens when someone gets on the bench when they literally purchase tehir position. She spent over $400,000 of her own money in two elections in order to get her job.

I have appeared before Judge llorens in criminal and family court and she is one of the weakest judges I have ever seen. It takes her forever to make a ruling and when she rules she often makes weak rulings without a legal basis.

Anonymous said...

216 pm you are correct.

Judges are too afraid to follow the law in the face of what's unpopular. A judge would rather be wrong than be unpopular

Easier to keep him in then lose an election.

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure that Migna is a nice person either. She is definitely a horrible judge. No doubt about that. But I suspect that the kind of judge she is on the bench is a true reflection of her character.

Anonymous said...

She ( migna) is also frighteningly dumb .

Anonymous said...

We talk a lot about bad judges on this blog like Migna. I want to tell you about one who is an pleasure, smart and seems to have the perfect temperament for her job; Fluer Lobree. I have appeared in front of her a couple times and I am very pleasantly surprised. She is very sharp and has a great demeanor. Treats clients, lawyers and staff with respect. I am also pleasantly surprised with Verde. Hendon and De la O are also off to a good start.

Anonymous said...

Migna is definitely one of the worst judges in the circuit. She's got to go. She's not a nice person either.

Anonymous said...

Hardest part about explaining criminal defense work to friends and strangers at dinner parties, etc., is getting past the idea that when a "guilty" guy walks because the state failed its burden it's a "technicality". There's a strong sense among lay people that this is a problem, a perversion, rather than something planned for and desired amongst our founders. The idea that the system is designed as much to keep governmental power in check as it is to punish the guilty is a tough one to sell.

So when judges toss jury results in order that a bad guy not walk, it only demonstrates that this misunderstanding isnt limited to lay people.

We have an amazing and rare thing in the jury system and the reasonable doubt standard. We could easily lose it if we arent vocal about nonsense like Migna's decision.

Anonymous said...

Without commenting on Sanchez-Llorens' ruling, I would say that I don't believe Sanchez-Llorens made her ruling for political reasons (no, I'm not a Sanchez-Llorens fan. I just call it like I see it). Why do I say this?

1. Sanchez-Llorens could have simply ruled "with" the jury and NO ONE would have criticized her.

2. There are plenty of extremely soft judges who get elected again and again in Miami-Dade.

3. Sanchez-Llorens put up a lot of money to run before and will do so again. I don't see anyone running against her.

I believe Sanchez-Llorens did what she thought was right. And, in civil court, judges obviously can issue a judgment for either side. I think, but am not certain, that she made a legally proper ruling. I have little doubt that the Supremes will decide that issue (and I'm not referring to the Florida SC).


Anonymous said...

I found 2:16's comment interesting.

First, I don't believe that any judges are afraid of MADD anymore. Witness Pando's escapades. She was the worst judge in County Court. MADD, the prosecutors, and almost every DUI cop hated her. Yet, she won a couple of elections. She only lost when she got busted for the other shenanigans she was involved with.

Second, the "Party Princess" originally was only charged with LSA which arguably suggests she is a flight risk.

Third, the filing of a new charge (ie. the DUI manslaughter) IS a change of circumstances.

Perhaps Sanchez-Llorens did what she thought was right there as well. $77,000 may or may not be unreasonable depending on a host of factors, including defendant's ability to post the bond........which brings me to my final point. I think it's a bit of a stretch to hammer a judge for imposing a $77,000 bond in a DUI Manslaughter/LSA where the defendant posted the bond as the Princess did.

Sanchez-Llorens is not a great judge. But, I don't think that she's pandering to the masses.


Anonymous said...

Wait. I thought Miami Loved Migna?

Anonymous said...

Migna is the new Milt. Blog gold.

Anonymous said...

You all complain about judges ruling on the basis that they are more worried about being unpoplular than being wrong. I have been saying this for the past 10 years and noone listened. Now you are feeling the pain.

You all wanted elected judges you could control. Now you have elected judges who are more concerned with being popular than doing the job. More worried about keeping their jobs than doing their jobs.

Being a judge should not be a popularity contest. It is about getting it right more than most of the time.

You can't have it both ways. You either want good, smart judges who run their courtrooms and do the job, or you want your friends or people who are scared of you. Take your pick. I want the former.

South Florida Lawyers said...

Homburg -- always makes me think of the Procol Harum classic.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Migna= high ratings. I would love to see her a reality TV show. "Migna Judges Miami". Would be sort of a cross between "The Khardashian's Take Miami"
and "The deadliest Catch" with a little "Joe Schmo" and "The gong show" and the People's Court thrown in.

Put it on Reality TV or the Discovery Channel after Pawn Stars and I see big mucho bucks in her future.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is attacked Judge Sanchez-Llornes but she went way out of her way to grant YO sanctions to a client of mine in a case involving a police shooting and over the State's strenuous objection. She got my client the help that he needed and took the time to put together a fair plea. That, to me, is the sign of a good judge.

Anonymous said...

Big Duh

Anonymous said...

You geniuses forget that Jimmy Ryce cases are civil commitment cases. Civil is the operative word. A judge can grant a JNOV in a civil case--it's done all the time. Whether or not the judge can do it in a civil commitment case remains to be seen, and will be decided soon enough by an appellate court. It also wasn't like it was a 6-0 in favor of the defendant, it was an even split with a particularly bad dude, which I recognize is still marked as a win for on the defense side. However, I'm pretty sure that if this judge granted a JNOV in favor of the defendant you would all be lauding her praises, as you've demonstrated so many times before (um, I think even Milt Hirsch has been deemed "brave" for some of his more novel defense rulings on this blog in the recent past). Bunch of hypocrites, the lot of you.


Migna is a very Lincoln-esque figure. From out of the ashes of a very bitter and difficult election defeat for a county court seat arose- perhaps Nixon-like is a better metaphor- a new Migna. Battle tested. Tempered by war, hardened by a loss, wiser. A more mature Migna- one who engendered respect. And she overcame adversity in a ground breaking campaign that saw many different groups of diverse interests and ethnicities unite for the common cause of putting Migna on the bench.

But I will never forget that historic campaign song from her first campaign for a county court seat against Shelly Schwartz:
Miami Loves Migna
Migna loves Miami
Oh Shelly can't you see?
Miami loves Migna
Migna loves Miami
She'll be on the bench by January 3......cha cha cha.

Rumpole said...

Thank you 1:54. That was my point when I wrote the blog post. In a civil case a Judge has a right to disregard or override a jury verdict for either side although in a criminal case the judge can only do it for the defense.

Fake Louie Mayer said...

I'm seing Migna guest hosting for Jay or Dave or Jimmy Kimmel. Let her put together a solid ten minutes and maybe a continuing episode story line on Louie CK where he is arrested in Miami and she is the judge and at some point they trade one liners in court.
In a year she can headline at the Hardrock and then go into a reality TV show. I'll make her a star.

Anonymous said...

In reply to 1:54 and 3:01, here are the relevant statutes:

Section 394.916(5): "The person or the state attorney has the right to demand that the trial be before a jury of six members."

Section 394.917(1): "The court or jury shall determine by clear and convincing evidence whether the person is a sexually violent predator. If the determination is made by a jury, the verdict must be unanimous. If the jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict, the court must declare a mistrial and poll the jury. If a majority of the jury would find the person is a sexually violent predator, the state attorney may refile the petition and proceed according to the provisions of this part."

It's pretty hard, then, in THIS civil case, to glean any ability of the judge to grant a JNOV in favor of the State after the jury has spoken. The statutory language is very plain and permits four options: (1) Unanimous vote for commitment - he gets committed; (2) Unanimous vote against commitment - he is released; (3) Vote of 5-1 or 4-2 in favor of commitment - a mistrial is declared and the State Attorney has the option of refiling the petition; (3) Vote of 3-3, or 4-2 against commitment or 5-1 against commitment - a mistrial is declared and he is released because the State Attorney DOES NOT HAVE the option of refiling the petition.

Wilbur said...

I'd bet the farm that 1:04 and 3:55 were written by the same individual.


Anonymous said...

1:04 here Willie Boy. Just what kind of farm property are we talking about. Size, acres, water, crops- details please. And 3:55 please come forward- I have a business prop for you.

Anonymous said...

Migna is just awful. Was a great PD, but is inappropriate as a judge. Why do you think she got booted out of Family so quick? Asking litigants on UCD calendars why they're getting divorced...Seriously?