Tuesday, August 26, 2014




With a turnout of just over 14%, Miami-Dade voters elected six new Judges to the bench on Tuesday.  There were a total of eight contested elections, with Incumbent judges facing opposition in four of those contests.
The only sitting Judge who was returned to the bench is Circuit Court Judge Rodney Smith.  Smith had no problem defeating challenger Christian Carrazana, a personal injury and insurance lawyer.  The race was controversial because, for the first time in a judicial campaign, an outside corporation, United Auto Insurance Company, set up an ECO and funded it with nearly $346,000, (spending in excess of $313,000), in order to sway the vote in Smith's direction.  It worked.

Incumbent County Court Judge Jacqueline Schwartz, who has been on the bench for twelve years, failed in her bid to win outright in a three way race and must now face challenger Frank Bocanegra in a November runoff.  Bocanegra, a lawyer for the past six years, is a former law enforcement officer with the MDPD and former Miami Lakes Town Manager.
Circuit Judge Fleur Lobree lost, again.  She also lost a County Court race in 2012.  Lobree was defeated by criminal defense lawyer Mavel Ruiz.  After eight years on the County Court bench, Judge Nuria Saenz will join Lobree in the private sector as she was defeated by personal injury & PIP attorney Victoria Ferrer.
There will be at least six new Judges on the bench come January of 2015.  Stephen Millan, an attorney with experience in the areas of criminal defense, immigration and bankruptcy handily beat Traffic Magistrate and criminal defense lawyer Thomas Cobitz.  Millan had previously lost two judicial contests: in  2006 (County Court) and 2008 (Circuit Court).
Alberto Milian, a criminal defense practitioner, who had previously lost two campaigns to State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, (2000 and 2004), easily defeated marital and family practice attorney Mary Gomez.
Attorney Martin Zilber battled Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts all night for an open Circuit Court seat.  At seven pm, Fonts, who specializes in criminal defense and immigration matters, held a commanding 12% lead; by eight pm, the lead was down to 4 points.  It dropped to two points by nine pm.  And by ten pm, Zilber had grabbed the lead by a mere 423 votes.  Zilber, a mediator and insurance defense lawyer, held on and defeated Rodriguez Fonts by just over 2,400 votes.
In one of the nastiest races in recent memory, Assistant Miami City Attorney Veronica Diaz, better known for getting free Ultra tickets, sending business to her boyfriend's law firm, and having an Ethics complaint filed against her, easily defeated former School Board member and State Legislator Renier Diaz de la Portilla.  Diaz de la Portilla, not to be outdone by Veronica Diaz, had an election complaint filed against him, by Veronica Diaz' campaign.  He has been a member of The Florida Bar for only seven years, and had barely practiced any law during that time, but he has been a mediator for roughly three years.
For all of the election results, please take a look at the final numbers below.


Only two races really worth watching:

With 100% of the precincts counted, Zilber defeats Rodriguez-Fonts by 2,314 votes.  No recount.

Zilber                     76,973  50.8%
Rodriguez Fonts  74,659   49.2%

Judge Schwartz fails in her bid to win outright and must now face attorney Frank Bocanegra in a November runoff.  She fell 893 votes short of the 50% plus one number.

Two incumbent Judges, Lobree and Saenz, getting trounced.  Lobree losing 54%-46%; Saenz losing 64%; - 36%

We can safely call (before the Miami Herald) the other six races.  Come January 2015 you can welcome five new judges (along with Judge Rodney Smith) to the bench:

Stephen Millan
Alberto Milian
Mavel Ruiz
Veronica Diaz
Victoria Ferrer



Thomas Cobitz - 35%    52,006
Stephen Millan - 65%    98,422


Judge Rodney Smith  - 63%    96,172
Christian Carrazana  - 37%    56,909


Mary Gomez         -      42%     66,199
Alberto Milian      -      58%     90,858


Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts   -  49.2%    74,659
Martin Zilber                   -  50.8%    76,973


Judge Fleur Lobree       -    46%    67,573
Mavel Ruiz                     -    54%    80,752


Veronica Diaz                         -   57%    87,629
Renier Diaz de la Portilla      -   43%    66,973



Judge Jacqueline Schwartz   -   49.42%    75,615
Frank Bocanegra                    -   31.08%    47,559
Rachel Dooley                         -   19.50%    29,840


Judge Nuria Saenz                 -   36%     54,050
Victoria Ferrer                       -   64%     94,789



MC Waste Services, Inc said...

so cool to see blackmouth will live to see another day.

Anonymous said...

Who is the blackmouth?



Convicted Judge Lynn Rosenthal is trouncing her opponent, McLawrence 57% - 43%

Rhonda Sokoloff and Dennis Bailey headed for runoff in four way race

Stacey Shulman, former prosecutor, headed to big win over Shapiro Harris, 55% - 45%

Contini & Feren are neck and neck at 51% - 49%

Judge Feld returning to bench over Rickard 67% - 33%

Judge Ian Richards 42% headed to runoff again, (he won in a runoff last time he ran), this time against Claudia Robinson 33% with Jonathan Kasen 25% a distant third.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

What a joke!

I only call them "your honor' because I gotta make a living. If I saw them in a social context, I'd call them "dude", "bub", "loser", or "poor lawyer".

Anonymous said...

Knock knock
who's there?
Mavel who?


Anonymous said...

Former dade schlub peter ticktin who migrated to west palm and became king of mortgage defense charring is now comfortably in the lead to be a Judge.

As the billboards say... BETTER CALL TICKTIN.

Anonymous said...

If Victoria wins all hell will freeze. No sitting judge will be safe as FIU grads with 5 years of so called experience will claim a judicial seat. Wow. Disaster!

Dooley noted said...

Jackie Schwartz says:

"Dooley noted, but IM A WINNER!!!"

Anonymous said...

Steve Milian
Miami con tiego.

Anonymous said...

Oscar Rodriguez Fonts addresses the media.
He walks on to the stage amid a cascade of flash bulb lights from cameras and iphones and holds his hands up Nixon style and waves and then tries to quiet the crowd:

"This is a close race. We will be up a while. We are awaiting the reports from South Dade, South Miami and the Gables where we worked very hard and are expecting a large favorable turnout. Until then the lead may shift back and forth but once those precincts report I am confident I will be your next Circuit Court Judge!!!!!"

Neon Leon said...

What was the deal with Saenz? It is rare that an incumbent, who is Latin, gets slaughtered in an election.

Lobree makes a better showing this time but still gets beat. Seems like she ran a weak campaign. She is well liked maybe she will get reappointed.


The Captain Reflects:

My POST from May 2, 2014 on Fleur Lobree:

Can you say roller coaster ride. If you are Fleur Lobree, you need a large dose of dramamine right about now. Our Blog readers have been big supporters of Her Honor. They know that she has been a member of The Florida Bar for nearly 22 years. She spent most of her time in the Appellate Division of the State Attorney's Office where she became a highly respected appellate attorney. Then she decided to throw her hat into the JNC interview process.

By all accounts, it went really well. I say that because she made it to the Governor's desk on her first try, for an open County Court seat, in 2011. In fact, Lobree was Governor Scott’s first judicial appointment in Miami-Dade County. Of course, getting appointed to an open seat means you have to run in the next scheduled election. So, now County Court Judge Lobree needed to win with the voters. She was hoping, of course, to draw no opposition, and earn a full six year term on the County bench.

No such luck. With a name like Fleur Lobree, she was easy pickin’. Attorney Michele Alvarez Barakat filed against "Incumbent" Judge Lobree and proceeded to trounce her on election day. And we are not just talking trounce. We are talking Jaguars v Dolphins playoff game trounce; (62-7 if my memory serves me correctly). Lobree lost in the most lobsided judicial election (involving an Incumbent that lost) in Miami-Dade County history. The final score: Barakat 71% and Lobree 29%.

The story gets better. The Lobree v. Barakat contest was playing out during the summer election season of 2012. At the same time, there came an open seat on the Circuit Court bench. Lobree is no dummy, and realizing she was in the midst of a hotly contested election to retain her seat, she applied for the open Circuit Court seat.

Another interview with the JNC, and they still loved her. That’s because her name was again chosen and sent to Governor Scott. By the time Scott conducted the interviews of the six finalists, Lobree had already lost the August 2012 election to Barakat. She was scheduled to hand over her gavel on January 2, 2013. Amazingly, Scott again chose Lobree and this time Lobree was to become a Circuit Court Judge. So, in an amazing twist of events, the voters voted her out of a County Court seat whilst at the same time the Governor promoted her to a Circuit Court seat.

So, with her new Circuit Court gavel, she was back in business by March of 2013, after taking an unpaid 60 day vacation. This time, everyone warned Lobree. With that name, she needed to start campaigning early and she needed to start raising money early. Whatever she did, it didn’t work. Since getting reappointed in March of 2013, in a period of one year, she raised only $17,500 from 86 contributors. She did pluck down $100,000 of her own money in November/December of 2013.

Meanwhile, attorney Mavel Ruiz, was clearly playing cat and mouse. Ruiz filed for Circuit Court in Group 27, in September of 2013. In October of 2013, Ruiz jumped out of Group 27 and into Group 58. Ruiz jumped ship again, and on April 18, she switched to Group 70. Finally, at 10:52 AM this morning, she made her final decision. It was the one that Fleur Lobree did not want to hear.

We are not criticizing Ms. Ruiz for what she did. That is part of the strategy of winning elections. No candidate goes into a contested election wanting to lose. Ruiz followed the rules and did what she felt like she needed to do, in order to maximize her chances of winning. But, this is what you get, when you have contested elections instead of an appointment system.

Now it is left to the voters to decide between someone named Fleur Lobree vs. someone named Mavel Ruiz.

Predictions ?????

Mavel for me said...

Lovin the Mavel comment.

Disappointed said...

At least the voters got the Rod Smith race right.

Victoria Ferrer couldn't put 2 sentences together at the CABA luncheon.

Lobree race is a damn shame.

Hopefully Oscar pulls it off……..

Maybe it's not too late for med school……….


The Captain Reports:

Judge Fleur Lobree .....

Lost her seat for County Court

Lost her seat for Circuit Court

Only way she gets back on the bench, and stays there, is if the Governor sends her to the 3rd DCA.

Cap Out .....

MAvel for me said...

M is for her massive vote total.
A is for the awesome campaign she ran.
V is for the victory she is winning.
E is for how easy is really was.
L is for how well she will be liked.

and if you put it all together you have your next circuit court judge : M A V E L!




Nearly all votes have been counted and no change from my Comments of 9:08 PM tonight.

One note: voter turnout in Broward was 10% with only 100,000 voters out of 1 million registered who exercised their right to vote. Sorry, truly sorry ass turnout.

Cap Out ....

Anonymous said...


get it right. ferrerr went to st. thomas. also she graduated in 2005 but wasn't barred until 2008. anyone know what she did all those years in between?

Anonymous said...

It is a very sad day for the citizens of Miami Dade County. Judge Lobree you are clothed in strength and dignity and can therefore smile knowing that your future will bring more than you can imagine as you stand here now. Please keep this post as I would like to hear you read it back at your swearing in ceremony for the Third DCA.

Anonymous said...

Go bananas, go go bananas.

Anonymous said...

Rump, your Blog is on fire tonight, with the up to the minute election reporting.

I say Steve Millan nice guy. Al Milian, lets give him a chance and see how he handles the first sign of adversity. Mavel Ruiz, don't know her. Veronica Diaz, well, she can get us free tickets to Ultra, if we ask nice. Victoria Ferrer, again no idea who she is.

What say you about the new crop.

Anonymous said...

Walter, I'm here at OR Font election headquarters and it's quite crowded and busy as you can imagine and ...hey buddy watch that elbow will ya?... and I just got off the phone with his assistant election manager for south dade and homestead and he has been working the phones steady for the last hour and he told me they are very happy with the turnout in homestead and the get out the vote effort and that if they take this into Homestead within a 1000 votes then, to quote him "it's in the bag" because he says they will come out of Homestead with a 2,000 vote advantage. Back to you at election headquarters Walter...

Terrible Tom said...

10:27 The judge elect took the bar exam a few times until she got it right. Not sure why or how she crushed a sitting judge.

Not to kick a good person on a bad night but Lobree's campaign stunk.I didnt get my first email from her campaign until mid summer. I emailed her campaign and never got a response. I donated and never got an acknowledgement. She is a good judge but a lousy candidate.

Rumpole said...

I say I have never seen a lower quality of candidates across the board for Judge and it doesn't bode well for us in criminal court because the rich civil lawyers will never let some of these disasters into their cases where money matters more than life behind bars.

But on the plus side, if you like EDM and Ultra you have to be happy.

Rumpole said...

I think Terrible Tom is right. Lobee ran an awful campaign. She took the entire month off and didn't do basics like email supporters, create get out the vote efforts, organize her support, get people to call and email and tweet on her behalf. She got beat and whatever she did wasn't nearly enough. Samantha Ruiz Cohen ran the best campaign I've seen in years and no one has come close since.


Agree with Rump on Samatha Ruiz Cohen. Every time I turned around, there she was. With a smile on her face and a firm handshake.

She took nothing, nobody, and not one vote for granted.

Never seen anyone run a more complete campaign than hers. She could write a book on it.



The Captain Reports:

Who is looking forward to SKYRISE MIAMI. $400 million dollar skyscraper to be built at Bayside?

Voter turnout in Miami-Dade 14% and still counting.

10:38 may have sounded funny, but what he says is true.

Most of the votes still to count come from the South Dade/ Homestead area where the overwhelming #s registered to vote are Hispanic and Black. This race will go down to the wire and likely result in a recount.

Cap Out ....

Anonymous said...

Rump: Do you remember Amy Steele Donner with her ads on 1/2 the busses in Dade County?

MC Waste Services, Inc said...

Cobitz had like 500k of his own money in the race. He should have bet 500k on Millian two to one and he would been declared a millionaire this evening. oh well!

Anonymous said...

Indeed, how COULD a sitting Hispanic female county court judge like Saenz with an ECO with $350,000.00 in backing from an insurance company lose to, and not only lose to, but get TROUNCED by, a St. Thomas grad with a three year gap between her graduation and her admission, who has been practicing for all of six months?
People just found out how awful and corrupt Saenz is, and WHY she was supported by the worst insurance company in Florida.

Never, ever, ever doubt how a plucky group of dedicated and hard working people can work together to overcome massive odds and seemingly unlimited wealth and power to make the right thing happen. Good riddance, Saenz, your obstruction of justice is over, and you never deserved the spot to begin with. I'm sure United Auto will have a job waiting for you come January.

Anonymous said...

Don't be ridiculous. She is sort of attractive and rich. A combination that cannot be beat. All the others are broke. Look at Martin. Rich and bad looking makes winning difficult.



EVERY VOTE COUNTS......THREE to be exact

State House - District 15 - GOP Primary

40 of 40 Precincts Reporting - 100%

Name Party Votes Vote %

Fant, Jay GOP 5,960 50%
Renner, Paul GOP 5,957 50%

Claude Erskine-Browne said...

Looks like the $$ & family commercials by Zilber over came Oscar's Hispanic name . Too bad, now we have Judge Taxi.
Cap, you didn't mention that Oscar R-F, Navel Ruiz & , Bicanegra are/ where PDs

Ziggy Zygote said...

Yes, Fleur (whom I've known for almost 20 years) was indeed "a good judge, but a lousy candidate." But she was a lousy candidate not just because she ran a mediocre campaign. Rather, she was a lousy candidate because her name was Fleur Lobree, and not Flora Lopez.

Lobree's failed candidacy should be Exhibit A to a case study militating in favor of extending merit retention down to the circuit and county court levels. That voters know virtually nothing about judicial candidates, and instead select them on the basis of their names, is a veritable cliché here in Miami-Dade (and in Broward, too). Yet we tolerate this sorry state of affairs in the name of "democracy," as if judges were our elected representatives, voted into office to voice our views on the propriety of exclusionary rulings, summary judgment. and other matters of law.

The argument against merit retention is that it, too, is political. But the politics of ethnic name recognition that has long been inherent in judicial elections is far cruder and far more base than any politics involved in the JNC and merit retention process.

I am far from a fan of Rick Scott. But Fleur Lobree is a very good lawyer, and became a very good county and then circuit court judge (although admittedly, the latter is not a high bar in South Florida, where even someone a half-dozen years from graduating at the bottom of his or her class at St. Thomas or Nova can get elected with the right name and a few bucks). Despite any political disagreement I might have with Rick Scott, he (via the JNC) clearly chose a candidate who is vastly more qualified and talented than the usual clowns with the "right" names who ante up their filing fees.

Change begins somewhere. Why not here?

Anonymous said...

The GOOD NEWS is that young, inexperienced, mostly Hispanic, lawyers with few actual clients to represent can now try becoming employed as a Judge. Not bad, very little work and a regular pay check from the tax payers. Great system!!

Anonymous said...

Al will make a good judge because he has the right of truth.

Miami loves Mavel said...

Miami Loves Mavel
Mavel loves Miami
Now everyone can you see?
Miami loves Mavel
Mavel loves Miami
She'll be on the bench before January 23 cha cha cha.

Anonymous said...

The Professor says:

The Parillo family has finally succeeded in publicly buying a judge and putting all judges on notice, "do it our way or we will go after you with all the PAC power we have." Intimidation, pure and simple.

Smith is now suspect and clearly damaged goods. Despite prior decisions to the contrary, motions to disqualify will fly into the Appellate Division. The Florida Supreme Court on a case out of the 3rd had ruled in a prior case (MacKenzie v. Super Kids Bargain Store, Inc., 565 So.2d 1332 (Fla.1990) that just receiving from a litigant or a party's attorney a contribution to the judge's campaign is not a basis for disqualification. However, this now needs to be revisited and will be. (See Braynen v. State of Florida 895 So.2d 1169 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005). Judge Farmer's dissent is right on point)

Demands will be made (appropriately so) for advance notice of the judges sitting on a panel, like the 3rd and other DCA's. Smith will not be allowed to cover for other judges, just to sneak onto a panel. Appellate lawyers handling PIP and other UAIC appeals will come to court with prepared motions to disqualify, just in case.

If he moves to the civil division motions to disqualify will be filed in each and every case involving insurance claims or personal injury cases in which UAIC is either a party or the insurance carrier.

Chief Judge Soto would be best to remove Smith from appellate panels, and rotate him to family in hopes that the taint and furor will die down. But, I will be watching, and where I see evidence of his bias, I will post it all.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say the al holds the right vision of truth..

Anonymous said...

8:08 I warned of this 10 years ago when it started, and I was ridden out of town on a rail for making those statements. (Although I was misquoted as to how I said it.) My Cuban and Hispanic friends walked away from me. My enemies and other people said it was sour grapes. Amazingly enough, it all came true, and now they bitch and moan over the unqualified and mediocre candidates it has produced. Well, they wanted it, they got it, and the best thing that happened to me was I was ridden out of town on a rail.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why some people are voting for J. Schwartz. She's by far, THE WORST Judge in Dade County. She has no knowledge of the law, she's not consistent, she's not fair, she doesn't treat anyone with respect. She was kicked out of the criminal courthouse by Judge Slom because she sucked. She continues doing a horrible job at Hialeah; she needs to go ASAP. If you voted for her, or you think she's a good Judge with a thorough understanding of the law, and the issues she deals with, please turn your bar license in.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Schwartz gets beat in the general election with higher turnout and Bocanegra having the better last name.

Congrats to Mavel and Millan. Two longtime REGJB regulars headed for the bench.

Lobree is just a poor candidate and cant run a campaign. Twice. Such is life.

Anonymous said...

To "The Professor" who posted at 8:47 ...

Where in all of that seething indignation about Judge Smith being removed from appellate panels is your concern about Mari Sampedro Iglesia and Valerie Manno Schurr, former PIP plaintiffs' lawyers whose husbands STILL make millions doing PIP and yet they make sure to attach themselves to every circuit PIP appellate issue that makes it's way up. And, without fail, write opinions that their husbands use to win cases and line their own pockets.

Explain and justify, please. Without doublespeak, whining and head-fakery.

Anonymous said...

I think you are very very wrong. Pip plaintiff lawyers for years have been donating hundreds of thousands to judicial candidates and no one says anything. Judges would just sit there and break the law ruling against united just to satisfy the plaintiff lawyers. Millions of dollars in attorney fees have been wrongfully awarded. Yet no says a thing. What United wants is a fair judiciary period. The message they are sending is if you are not going to follow the law we will be there to help get you removed and put someone in who will follow the law. Rodney has ruled against united before and it was overturned on appeal. He is far from bought. United wants to be give a fair chance as a litigantnot just looked at as deep pockets. They are vital to the economy of South Florida employing almost 900 people. What happens if they go under. They take the risks and insure people who no other company will insure. The reality of what they mean to our economy is very over looked. Again they don't want corrupt judges, they want judges that will follow the law. That means sometimes they lose sometimes they win but win or lose the law was followed.

Anonymous said...

The Professor says:

9:29 - It is not that Jackie Schwartz is a good judge or a smart judge. It is the expression: "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know." With Jackie you know what it is going to be like and what is likely to happen and you can litigate accordingly. With her opponents you knew they were unqualified, but not how badly.

FACDL Listserve Leaker said...

Some questions and answers:

How many times did Victoria Ferrer take the Bar? Answer: I dunno.

But it causes one to ponder. Graduated St. T in 2005, admitted 2008. In any case, worst example of the Mommy Bench, worst example of Latina 'lection syndrome in a while. That said, is she better than Saenz? I dunno. FLL does not go to County Court, and cannot say.

How many law firms have already got the motion to recuse Rod Smith typed up and waiting on their hard drives, needing only to insert the case style? Answer: Mine and tons more.

And why does a fellow with a solid -- if not a sterling -- reputation as "not one of the worst judges in town" sully himself like this? Answer: I dunno, but it's a damned shame.

He was an incumbent. He likely would have won in any case. And, if not, there are worse things than losing -- such as winning like this.

How many voters thought Stephen Milan and Alberto Milian were the same person? Answer: Most of them.

Mavel Ruiz beat Fleur Lobree based on (A) a balanced assessment of each candidates strengths and weaknesses, or (B) pure identity politics? Answer: B.

The tragedy here is that these two were two of the better candidates on the judicial slate. Given her experience, Mavel may turn out to be a fine judge. But we don't gain anything net-net.

Anonymous said...

Why do I get the feeling that if the ethnic politics in judicial races were to play out in favor of the bergs, the steins or the baums as they have for -- oh I don't know -- ever, that there wouldn't be a peep, nevermind the marginally bigoted posts we see on here. Is it that surprising that in a community with so many Hispanic diasporas there might be an inclination to vote for Hispanic candidates.

The fact that we have sitting or incoming Hispanic judges who are terrible (and there is no doubt there are more than a few) is purely a function of being elected. Lynn Rosenthal was just re-elected in Broward despite her debacle of a DUI. Why? What demographic do we think re-elected her?

Don't hate the player, as the saying goes. What we should all rally around is changing the game. We all know we shouldn't be electing judges for reasons, many and far, beyond the ethnic politics.

Anonymous said...

Schwartz is unfit to be a Judge. One should never accept an unqualified, irrational, unfair and disrespectful judge out of fear of some one else possibly being worse.

Anonymous said...

10:42 - Thank you Mr. Parillo. You are truly the Dick Chaney of judicial political analysis. Do the harm and then blame it on others. You are disgusting.

Anonymous said...

The Professor says

To Mr. Parillo at 10:34 - Sampedro and Manno-Schurr's "bias or prejudice" was known at the time they ran, and they have been re-elected since. Smith on the other hand, was, and is, an unknown quantity to the voting public thanks to the actions of UAIC.

With that said, I agree that there is a problem in what you say, but that still does not excuse being bought, which is different than coming to the bench with whatever bias you may have had in your practice. My indignation is not how Rodney rules, it is the appearance of impropriety and undeniable prejudice created by the way his campaign was funded.

Apples and Oranges.

Anonymous said...


Al Milian - arrogant
Mavel Ruiz - lost, completely lost
Steve Millan - Never on time
Zilber - tyrant

Anonymous said...

Good Riddance Nuria..LAZY Judge..LAZY Candidate .LAZY.. and unemployed.

Anonymous said...

For all of you whiners Ferrer and Ruiz have jobs and futeres .....their opponents?...not!

Anonymous said...

Let Nuria Saenz be a lesson to all of you robed ones that actions and disloyalty have consequences..wearing a robe does not make you smarter, better or infallible..Ignore this at your peril..Violate your obligation to justice,fairness and the people and you will be replaced...WORD!

Anonymous said...

The Professor has no idea of what he is talking about. Schwartz is a disgrace and you don't know what you're going to get from her at any given time. On the same day, you often get different rulings on the same issues,same facts, but on different cases. Why would you, or any lawyer prefer her?? Again, she needs to go because she's unqualified and unfit to be a good and fair Judge. I am not even sure how she got there in the first place. I can only imagine she was a horrible lawyer. I've seen attorneys having to explain her what hearsay is and she didn't get it. If you voted for her, shame on you, turn in your bar card now! I believe the Bar should require any candidate elected to be a Judge to take a test on the law and the rules of evidence. If you don't pass, you shouldn't be a Judge. Not every lawyer that has 5 years of "practicing" is qualified to be a Judge. The pool of elected Judges as of yesterday shows this to be true.

Claude Erskine - Browne said...

In the late 70s, 80s and early 90s because of the Jewish NE Condo vote, lawyers w Jewish names had a edge getting elected. Some were good, some sucked, like Harvey Baxter, whose slogan was elect a Mensch to the Bench. Now the NE Condos Jewish voters have moved out to West Broward or passed on. The demographics in Dade has changed. But Zigler proved money in a campaign can over come the advantage of a Hispanic name in elections

FACDL Listserve Leaker said...

2:43, it seems you're the likely bigot. Why do you insinuate the the "other" choice is for Jewish judges only?

As for FLL, soy presbiteriano y tengo una esposa cubana y tres hijos medio-cubanos y una hija-en-ley cubana. No es racismo que decir, el hecho de que la mayoria en Miami votan puros "política de la identidad."

Tampoco es el racismo que decir que muchos candidatos sin calificados utilizan este hecho para gagnar trabajos como jueces.

Conoces con Rodríguez-Chomat?

old guy said...

I know all of the 'new' judges.

My stomach is churning over the possible indignities that I will suffer in front of the rude and inept new members of the bench.

Justice, Justice shall you seek...

Anonymous said...

Professor, thanks for responding re Sampedro Iglesia and Manno Schurr. You're actually the first person on this forum who has bothered to acknowledge the difficulties posed by their role in PIP appellate opinions.

Your argument seems to be that it's ok to have these particular foxes guarding the henhouse because everyone knew when they ran what their biases were. I have to disagree. Their elections were very much in-house, uncontroversial and generated no outside media attention. Which meant that the only people who "knew" where they were coming from were (was?) ... us. Smith, on the other hand, was the subject of a tremendous amount (for a judicial race) of press. So, the general electorate (not just us) knew an awful lot more about his supposed links to United Auto than it did for either Sampedro Iglesia or Manno Schurr and their direct and ongoing links to plaintiff's practice. The latter two, then, were much more "stealth" candidates than Smith was. And their appellate records speak for themselves. And they actively fought being recused from PIP panels.

The reality is, practically nobody posting here is being altruistic. We are all motivated by self-interest and our notions of "fair" are largely shaped by our experience, practices, the myriad petty (perceived) outrages that we've suffered day-to-day and year-to-year.

The objective reality is, it all sucks. Mari and Valerie have no business sitting on PIP panels and maybe Smith doesn't, either. But if the JQC said it was ok for Mari and Valerie, I don't see how they are going to have a problem with Smith. Minds (whether reasonable or otherwise) may differ. But we won't be deciding that.

Judges have no business being elected. But if we're going to have elections, then you have to have real elections with all of the good and bad that that entails.

And people, even judges, are rarely the mere avatars we think they will be. Maybe Victoria Ferrer will turn out to be a fair, impartial judge and if she ever rotates to civil, plaintiffs' lawyers will occasionally say, "Hey wait, I thought you were on our side" and defense lawyers will say, "wow, I didn't expect to win that in front of her." And if she pisses both sides off fairly regularly then she's probably doing her job.

I will sign myself, finally,

The Mad Samoan.

Anonymous said...

Ferrer may not have been able to put 2 words together at the CABA Lunch(A lie she had Nuria for lunch actually) but she put together 64% of the vote........A Landslide !

Anonymous said...

Time and time again you criticize judicial candidates who decide to run and you, behind the alias of “Rumple,” criticize them and claim they are unqualified (without explaining why most of the time).
Why don’t you grow a pair and run for judge yourself? If not, you should just shut up and not criticize others who, unlike you, do have the stones to run.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Mavel Ruiz. She obviously makes good decisions: she decided to run against a very smart, diligent judge who had the misfortune of being given a name that is not election-worthy. She decided that even though she has done nothing to distinguish herself as an attorney (granted, she doesn't have sustained bar complaints), she would run against said judge. She decided to play "guess which seat I'm running for," and she made good decisions along those lines. Just hope when she wears the robe, she feels she made a good decision to put a much better judge on the sidelines. Game well played, Mavel. Well played, indeed!

Anonymous said...

6:02 p.m., Harvey Baxter was a great judge. People often judged him for his antics and his showmanship, but he was an excellent judge, knew the law, had not qualms about applying it and had a lot of common sene, fairness and compassion. I wish the current crop of judges were 1/10 as good as Harvey Baxter.

Rumpole said...

Harvey Baxter was not a good judge and he did not know the law. He was a blow-hard.

Mavel Ruiz is an accomplished criminal defense attorney and politics is a cold hearted game. Like business nobody gives you anything for free and they take advantage of every weakness. Judge Lobree had no right to expect anything else.

8:15: I don't run for judge because I like my life. I like setting my own hours. I like filing motions and attacking the prosecution and defending my clients. I couldn't imagine sitting there in court and not cross examining the witness.
And I can't afford to remove a digit from my yearly pay. Are you kidding me? All that work for 165 K and some insurance and a 100K pension? HA. Not for me. Let the altruists do it. I have goals.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that Victoria Ferrer won because people might have thought that she might be the daughter of Alex Ferrer?

Do The Locomotion said...

I have it on good authority that there will be a flashmob at the front of the criminal courthouse this Friday, at Noon, sponsored by the Zilber and Stephen Millian campaigns. The flashmob will suddenly join, sing "Locomotion" while some of the original Janet Reno rappers will make a comeback and reprise some of their songs. Then the judges elect will appear and hand out freebie beverages from the Pepsi-cola brand of soft beverages as a thank you to the voters.

The theme is new judges, new start, not doing the same old things the same old way.

Anonymous said...

I guess the best thing that can be said about the election results is that many of the newly elected judges don't have much of a law practice to close up before taking the bench.

Anonymous said...

The Professor says:

Mad Samoan,

You a are welcome. However all judges come from somewhere. It is what they do on the bench that matters.

With that said, my problem with Smith is just what he has just done. In the judge business the appearance of an impropriety or bias is just as bad as an impropriety or bias itself. Smith has given that appearance of being bought and the public has no knowledge of this. In the case of Manno and Sampedro it was known from the beginning. Rodney's refusal to acknowledge his involvement is also troubling.

There have been judges who did exactly what you are saying you would like Ferrer to do. The problem with that is they end up with low bar polls and off the bench. Two long ago examples of that are Harvey Goldstein and Jeffrey Swartz. Both called it right and hoped that just doing the job right would be enough. It was not, and off they went.

I agree electing judges stinks. Appointments through the JNC as it is presently constituted also stinks. A return to the pre-Bush system is needed. Then I think the best system would be merit retention. But only the "have-nots" want that. The "haves" will keep the power as long as they can.

See you around.

Anonymous said...

I was a prosecutor before Harvey Baxter and he was a disgrace. I cannot believe that he has been complimented here. He was definitely a crooked judge.

His rulings were racist. If the defendant was darker than "beige", the push was towards the more expensive, high risk traffic school. He never, ever tried cases and unreasonably shook down people for money.

I would think he was part of that Marshall Nader "cartel" that had a financial interest in the very schools that defendants were mandated to go to.

Anonymous said...

Cobitz lost because money cannot buy a personality nor character. He lacks both

Anonymous said...

Why were last names never an issue when the judiciary was mainly/all Anglo? Then everyone was happy. Even with the bad judges of which some are still presiding.

It's called evolution. Stop crying.

Anonymous said...

Amen for the 6 year lawyers coming to the 11th Judicial Circuit!

Thank you JNC and Campaign Treasurer Hector for bringing this to Miami-Dade County. Hope that your Political Action Committee "HISPANICS FOR JUDICIAL FAIRNESS" (fictitious corporation on www.sunbiz.org) made you happy and lots of consulting cash on this elections as you did on the last election and with Robert P. It's interesting to think how liking Joel Brown created this year's results.




The DBR tackles that issue in their most recent post election article.

And our own Rumpole is quoted as to a tweet he twitted out on twitter that night:

"The Justice Building Blog, which posts on the South Florida legal community, put it this way on Twitter on election night: "Requiem for Judge Fleur Lobree. Her name just doesn't run well in Miami outside of the Haitian community and a few Canadian expats."

Let's look at the facts when considering the "name game" issue. Did having an Hispanic name win the night?

Millan beat Cobitz - Point Hispanic

Smith beat Carrazana - Point Non Hispanic

Millan beat Gomez - Draw

Zilber beat Rodriguez-Fonts - Point Non Hispanic

Ruiz beat Lobree - Point Hispanic

Diaz beat Diaz - Draw

Schwartz beat Bocanegra/Dooley - Point Non Hispanic

Ferrer beat Saenz - Draw


Hispanic - 2
Non Hispanic - 3
Draw - 3

Conclusion: Having an Hispanic name does not guarantee victory; it didn't even guarantee a win in half the races where an Hispanic name challenged a Non Hispanic Name; winning only 2 of 5 contests.

You can read the entire article here:


Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

This professor is a smelly addition to the blog and must be the significant other of Carranza. I have supported judges financialy and otherwise for decades and they NEVER rule in my favor for fear appearing to be cutting me a break. Furthur, 99.9% of the judges rule in favor of the state on every significant issue. Financial contributions buys you at most a nice greeting when you go to court. This has been my experience and that of all of the colleagues I have dealt with over the years. The truth is as that there are a lot of stupid, inexperienced,sometimes cruel and gutless judges in south florida but there none that sell themselves for campaign donations. The "professor" should stop reading and writing so much and do a little practicing.

Ask not what the judiciary can do for you... said...

I think (and hope) "blackmouth" is V. Diaz aka Ultra. Her signs were horrible and made her look like she drank tea made only by Heath Ledger.

I commend those who ran on having the cojones to do so. Some shouldn't have run because they are not the best for the job, but hey they had a goal and they went for it. To those who complain about the quality of the judiciary yet do nothing because they don't want to "make less money" you deserve what you get for being selfish (if you're really that much better, outside of the space between your own ears). One would think that you would be a lot more marketable and could make a lot more money after 6 years of being called "Your Honor." Those who cannot do, criticize.

Anonymous said...

Harvey Baxter was a jerk, a clown and a bully. I don't care how nice he was in chambers or how great he was "when you really got to know him". You're either nice all the time or a jerk all the time. As a new prosecutor in branch court, I found myself giving my cards to pro se defendants to help them out so that Baxter wouldn't hurt them.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Zilber and Diaz will end up somewhere other than the REGB.

Kissimmiee Kid said...

Dear Thursday, August 28, 2014 12:47:00 PM;

The practice of law is an honorable profession in which one can take pride. Judges are hacks and whores. Why should I give up a profession I love to be a whore?

Anonymous said...

The (stinky) Professor says:

12:23 pm - Well, I did take a shower today, like Smith should take a Clorox shower to try and get the stench and stain of Richard Parillo off of him. But like Lady Macbeth, the stain will never come out.

I am happy that you and your colleagues have contributed to campaigns of those you believe are qualified, and never expected anything in return. I also agree that the age and inexperience of many sitting judges effects their rulings.

But sir or madam, you know nothing more than my opinions about me. So you should know it is likely I have been a lawyer longer than you and most of those who participate on this blog. My experience is far more wide ranging than yours, I am sure, and I have most assuredly tried more cases than most who have practiced law in Miami-Dade County. As of right now I am no person's significant other.

I will repeat what I have said numerous times, and apparently has not found its way inside your non-absorbent brain, there is a huge difference between a $1,000 maximum individual contribution to a judicial campaign and a $250,000 PAC contribution, whose funds come from a single individual. No one gives $250,000 to a judicial campaign without expecting something in return for it, unless the contributor is a family member or the candidate him/herself.

Parillo considers the money given to Smith as an investment on several different levels, and he anticipates a return on his investment from Smith and others.

Anonymous said...

If Parillo can get FAIR, UNBIASED and IMPARTIAL rulings or appellate opinions and REASONABLE attorney fees awarded against UAIC when it loses, his "investment" will pay for itself in less than 6 months.

County judges who hear PIP caes at the trial lever and circuit judges who hear their appeals have tradiotionally awarded huge attorney fees and ruled in favor of PIP plaintiff lawyers who, in turn, have traditionally massively made the maximum contribution to those judges.

Anonymous said...

The Professor says to Mr. Parillo at 2:31 AM (you need to sleep)

"Fair" means you win motions to avoid a jury trial. "Unbiased" and "Impartial" means that when you lose at trial, the circuit judges you buy will reverse the verdict, and reasonable attorney fees means $150 per hour and, even though your attorneys drive the extent of the litigation, only the hours you deem as necessary.

The problem with all of this is you don't disclose that your business model writes in those fees about which you complain, because your denial of benefits and demand to litigate so many claims allows the investment of funds needed to pay at the end of the litigation process. Also you value all claims at $0, so you don't have to place funds in reserve for each claim, which is what reputable insurance companies do.

Lastly the idea that you consider each dollar you contribute to any political campaign, especially Smith's, to be an "investment" is obscene. I urge you to keep doing it. It will be the impetus for change in the system. Your actions have taken a benign tumor on our judicial system and created a true cancer that only radical surgery will cure. It must be removed.