Wednesday, May 15, 2013


(Inmate Phil Davis)

The year was 1992 when the name "courtbroom" broke across a  Miami. First a whisper, the courtbroom scandal- a federal investigation into Miami Circuit Judges selling court appointments for kickbacks- crested and broke upon Miami and  ravaged the reputation of the Miami legal community like Hurricane Andrew roaring through a South Dade home built with chinese drywall. 

Judges Sepe, Gelber, Shenberg, and Davis, along with former Judge Goodhart and a gaggle of lawyers,  were all  eventually indicted. Gelber pled and flipped, rat that he was. Everyone else went to trial. All were convicted except a hung jury for Sepe (who later pled to one count to close out the case) and a complete acquittal for Phil Davis (thanks to the amazing job done by his lawyer, now Congressman, and former US District Court Judge until he was impeached, Alcee Hastings. And if that sentence doesn't tell you all you need to know about South Florida, then keep reading the blog.)

But like a bad penny that keeps showing up, former Dade Circuit Judge Phil Davis could not keep out of trouble. 
More than a decade after his surprising "OJ like acquittal" in federal court, Davis  was  convicted in Dade Circuit court for money laundering, grand theft, and participating in an organized scheme to defraud, all arising, not surprisingly, out of Davis's misuse of a charity. 

The 3rd DCA (Schwarz, Logue, and Lagoa) just upheld his conviction and TWENTY YEAR sentence here. 

Davis was an awful judge. 20 years is a devastating sentence for him. But really, does he have anyone else to blame but himself? He accepted bribes as a judge. He stole from a charity. At some point karma plays a role. 

See You In Court. 

UPDATE: Phil Davis trivia: who did Davis beat in his election as circuit judge? 


Anonymous said...

That's Courtbroom not courtroom and it was not a whisper. It was a huge headline and the only subject of talk in the hallways for weeks and then months. And it was Goodhart not Goodheart.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me like this one is not over yet - I think Schwartz is right.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Phil. The 3rd dca called the shumie. Oh there will be a 3.850 and 2255 but the shumie has been called on this one. See ya in 2028 but wouldn't want to be ya.

Ps- blonde hair? What gives?

the trialmaster. said...

Sepe was a great judge and a very good trial attorney. There is not one judge on the bench today who could try a case, except for Thornton. His downfall was accepting head from a wife of a defendant in turn for granting a motion to mitigate.

Anonymous said...

And wasn't his defense in the federal bribery case that he was so strung out on hard drugs and alcohol that he didn't really understand that he was being paid bribes?

Anonymous said...

Didn't Bronis walk someone?

Anonymous said...

you say "he accepted bribes as a judge"
But I thought that was what he was acquitted of?
or was there another case?

old guy said...

Phil's defense at trial was miraculous, and pulled off by Alcee Hastings.

His basic defense to accepting money as a bribe was that he was so coked up that he thought that it was a legitimate campaign contribution.

Gotta love the jury system!

DS sez said...

I was the B PD in Phil Davis right before and during Court Broom. Judge Jeri Beth Cohen was the C ASA.
Phil sucked as a Judge unless you lawyer was his 'Friend' .
Phil was coked up , had the sniffles, was going and banging women during extended lunches.
He would go late at trial. We would stay forever for a verdict. Took a jury verdict at 1 AM and had to be back at court at 8:30 that morn.
But PHIL was always wide awake and energetic.
Once, He didn't like something I did or said and BANNED me from his court . Then He Had a full blown contempt hearing against me.
I retained one of his close friends. Got away w just apologizing 5 times in a row.
Karma is a Bitch

Anonymous said...

Actually Rump (having been there and watched much of the trial), Davis mostly represented himself. He could not afford to pay Alcee, who only showed up for opening and closing. Phil did his own cross, mostly very poorly. Fortunately, he received help from Jay Hogan, who was defending David Goodhart at the trial. Hogan's help, combined with Davis' incompetence and Alcee's stellar closing convinced the jurors that Phil was too stupid and too drugged up to have been bribed.

Anonymous said...

Bronis was not convicted

Rumpole said...

Davis's defense at trial was entrapment, which means he admitted the offenses, but said he was unable to resist committing them. Which is why I am 100% correct in writing that as a judge he solicited and accepted bribes.

He was also coked up most of the time. His behavior in court was often bizarre.

Stephen "The Iceman" Bronis represented Shenberg. All that little slimy hustler did was sell the name of an informant even though he was told the informant was going to be killed. The video of Shenberg accepting $50,000 cash (or was it more?) and stuffing it in his pants while telling the FBI undercover agent that it was hard to put a kid through medical school on a judge's salary was priceless. Shenberg was convicted and got 15 years, proving it's even harder to put a kid through medical school on a federal inmate's hourly earnings

Secret Judge said...

Disgraced former judge Phil Davis defeated Fritz Mann for his seat on the Circuit Court. After he was elected, he told me "this is my chance to make some real money". Mr. Davis got precisely what he deserved in life. Kudos to the judge that launched him.

Anonymous said...


So Horace. You opened your mouth once in the past two weeks about the Heat. And just as I predicted, you would go right back into hibernation like you have been all season. HEAT win four straight and send Bulls packing into the off season.

We can win from in front, win from behind, and both the starters and the bench are showing up and doing it with class.

I guess you'll next open your mouth, so to speak, when we drop a game to the Pacers or the Knicks in the ECF.

Until then, we so much enjoy your silence.



Anonymous said...

They had video of Davis taking money. His defense was entrapment. The Feds knew he was a coke addict and enticed him and his drug habit led him to take the money. He was sniffing on the vid,

Anonymous said...

phil had several children, one of which is a lawyer today..he was not bad..maybe a little zealous...he admitted drugs were a problem...we all know he wasnt sentenced for ctroom broom..but millionaires get less time...sad to see him sit...his sentence is too long..i'll read the opinion now..




Phil Davis was 28 years old when he passed the bar in 1981. Seven years later he was running for Circuit Court Judge at the age of 35.

He ran in a three-way contest against Fritz Mann and Edward Swanko. In September of 1988, in the Primary, Mann placed first with 41% of the vote. Davis got 37% and Swanko trailed the field with 22% of the vote.

In the runoff, Davis trounced Fritz Mann 55%-45%.

Davis never lasted his full term as CourtBroom took him out.

Fritz Mann had run against Judge Joseph Nadler in 1986. Leah Simms was also in that three way race. Nadler won the election over Simms as Fritz Mann placed a distant third in the Primary.

While Fritz was running in the 1988election against Davis and Swanko, Judge Nadler filed a Defamation lawsuit against Mann. That litigation was filed in the General Jurisdiction Division and went on for seven years before it was dismissed in 1995.

Fritz Mann was an AUSA during the time he ran for office back in the 80's. He has since moved to the panhandle and works as an Assiatnt PD in Panama City, Florida.

I would have answered earlier, but I was watching the HEAT win their second round clinching fourth straight win against the Bulls. On to the third round. Bring on the Pacers/Knicks. Go Heat!!!

What do I win Rumpole?


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't see that Gelber was any more of a "rat" than these other crooked bastards.

Hanging would've been too good for any of these subverters of justice. Hastings, too, for what he did as a federal judge.

Anonymous said...

I love karma. It'll get you every time. See all public officials recently who got fired / or had 3 hours to resign

karma is more consistent than an investigation. It always gets you. Ask the various police departments, a couple JA's, correctioms guys and old judges, a few pd's and Asa's

What's so hard about having pride in your chosen field and not being a hypocrite? A guess for some they just can't help

And for the few who make the rest of us ethical workers look bad, shame on you We all know who you are

Anonymous said...

Hastings was running for Congress while the trial was going on. I remember seeing him in the foyer area of the old federal courthouse being interviewed by the New York Times while the trial was going on without him. I guess he really didn't have to be there for the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

ct broom is just another example of the baby boom generation fucking it up for the younger generations...

baby boomers are the most selfish generation in american history.

Anonymous said...

Even most tellingly, although the trial judge herself said at the beginning of the colloquy that “I don’t know anything about the case, so I would have to hear
extensively form the lawyers before [sic]impose a sentence,” the fact is still that she actually made the four-year offer at the end of the proceeding without hearing anything more about the circumstances of the case. It is hard to imagine a more persuasive indication of the fact that the twenty-year sentence was imposed not because of the circumstances revealed by the trial, but by the
defendant’s decision to require one.

Schwartz is right.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole. Read your piece on the battle at Khe Sanh. Your analysis and linking the US defeat at Khe Sanh to the subsequent defeat of the US at the battle of Kham Duc was quite ....revolutionary? Or far reaching? I guess what I am saying is that most military history experts see the link in much more tenuous terms than you argue. But overall, very impressive piece of work. Never realized your extensive writing on Military history and the Vietnam war. One would almost think you were there....

Anonymous said...

Gebler was not the only Defendant to flip. After the first trial, the government announced that it would re-try Sepe. The trial judge, Jose Gonzalez, about as fair a man as you will ever find wearing a robe, ruled that the facts underlying the acquitted counts could not be used in the second trial where the only charge left was RICO conspiracty. The 11th reversed and affirmed everyone else' s conviction. It was at this time that the Lee Strasburg look alike, David Goodhart, decided to admit what everyone in town save the 12 jurors on Sepe's case knew as fact: that he was Sepe's bagman. Once Sepe found out that there was no honor among thieves and Goodhart was ready to flush him to obivion for a reduced sentence, he copped a plea to 18 months. Quinon represented Sepe on the second go around and really did a nice job saving his client a near certain multi year sentence in exchange for 18 months playing checkers and dominoes in Homestead.



State v. Phil Davis .....

Strong Dissent by Schwartz on the issue of Vindictive Sentencing by Judge Butchko.

Unfortunately it is a Dissent.

Good primer case law and analysis and worth keeping in your trial/sentencing briefcase.

Cap Out

Anonymous said...

Although Former Judge Phillip Davis is in prison, some of us are still suffering from his hands of deception. We are the Brighter Day COGIC, located in Atlanta Ga., as of June 2, 2017 we are getting notices from Loan Sharks about loans Phillips Davis made on our church. Phillip Davis never attended our church, never have known anything about of church which was a burned out house his mother before her death sold to our Pastor. We converted the land into a beautiful church with a communication tower on our property which secure Hartfield Airport. The money from Spirit who formerly owned rights to the tower and then Crown spoke to us and we learned a man posing as Judge Phillip Davis represented by an Atlanta attorney who knew nothing about Judge Davis schemes.

When Pastor Ward learned of the trouble and it appears from reading the articles Judge Davis had a drug problem and was doing others the same way in Florida. Our church went to court befor Judge Livingston in Fulton County Ga., we won our rights and property. Working for a court, Judges will often assign an attorney to write up the agreement and settlement agreement. The former attorney of Mr Davis who is now a federal judge and a most honorable Judge, Batten of the 11 circuit remembered writing the agreement. With respect he reported back to Judg Livingston that he completed his paper work to Judge Phillip Davis. About 2 years ago after learning about loans coming from everywhere Judge Davis had made on God's house, we searched the Fulton County records and located the documents thatba General motor attorney for Pastor and a top,Georgia attorney completed. Fulton county search many archieves and found them. In the hearing, Judge Livingston said in court he had the papers. Pastor Ward had his deeds from the mother Ms. Davis who had since died. Mr. Phillip Davis was not present because he was being held in Florida jails. Federal,Judge Batten confirmed to the Judge that he did the settlement agreement and filed them. Our church money from the tower communication line has been going to Mr. Davis which he has used for his appeal. Our church is paid for from years ago, and when we learned of his demands for us to pay him money, we went back to the courts. How did he make loans on Gods house? Why does the Crown Towers communication keep giving him our church money from our property? Judge Davis used his name to hurt a lots of people.

Anonymous said...

Yes it was they sentence him for courtroom broom not the crime for this case 20,000 dollars

Anonymous said...

How can I contact Phil Davis ? Please email me at ktfoer3221@gmail.com
Thank you
I am a childhood friend