Thursday, August 21, 2014


UPDATE: We have the video of Ferguson Officer Go F Yourself, which is how the fine, upstanding, well trained peace officer identified himself while pointing a semi-automatic rifle at an unarmed protestor while telling him- in a clear attempt to defuse the situation- that he would "fucking kill you."

No folks, this isn't the Ukraine, China, or Gaza. This is America 2014. 

PAC=Political Action Committee. 

PACs came into existence in the 1980's in response to changes in campaign finance laws. PACs are able to campaign for candidates they endorse, and spend almost unlimited amounts of money to promote a candidate. It is what is known as a "loophole."

Politicians like Senators, candidates for congress, Presidents, and Mayors, benefit from the activities of PACs who promote issues the politician is aligned with. So some yahoo Billy-Bob-For Congress campaign in Texas can be endorsed by the NRA and run for congress under a platform requiring all school age children to wear firearms while attending school. Yee-haw!

But what happens when say MAAD not only endorses a judicial candidate, but it's PAC spends $100,000.00 on billboard and direct mail for a judge in a judicial campaign? What happens when a DUI or DUI Manslaughter comes before this judge after s/he wins the election?  Do we want that in our judicial campaigns and do we want judges who feel beholden to industries based on PAC support?

PAC donations have become an issue in our current judicial campaigns, as an insurance company that litigates and defends a lot of PIP suits has formed a PAC and spent money on behalf of sitting judges running for re-election. And make no mistake about it: PIP litigation is a multi-millon dollar legal industry in Florida. For decades the plaintiffs bar has donated generously to support judges and judicial candidates. Now the insurance industry is fighting back. 

Is the only solution to remove elections from the judiciary? 

We're not willing to go that far, the memory of some truly awful judges being defeated for re-election too fresh in our mind to endorse a system that makes our robe wearers even more arrogant than most of them already are. 

What say you? 

See You In Court. 



Anonymous said...

Are we pretending that donations from licensed, practicing attorneys are indistinguishable from corporate donations to PACs? Let's not forget that licensed, practicing attorneys have ethical obligations they must live up to and that those ethical rules contemplate their support of and interaction with the judiciary.

Parties to litigation and the PACs they set up have no such obligations. This is a comparison of apples and wrecking balls.

Anonymous said...

Like Ice Cube said Amerika with the KKK


The Profeesor said:

I like Rodney. He is capable, but he has shown very poor judgment in his campaign. He has put himself in this position, and now I believe he must pay the price for that mistake. In showing bad judgment, I fear he will show the same bad judgment in his appellate decisions and his eventual actions in the civil division.


Professor. What would you like Judge Smith to do? The electioneering communications organization is an independent organization. It was set up by United Auto, it was funded entirely by contributions from United Auto, it is sending out literature without the consent of any Judge, including Judge Smith.

What is Judge Smith to do?

He has run a clean campaign. He has received high marks from attorneys that appear before him. Can you point out any rulings where he unfairly and without legal support ruled in favor of United Auto over their opponent? Was the case appealed and was Judge Smith reversed ?

I think that would be much more egregious if you could point out even one example where he was reversed by a higher court after ruling in favor of his former employer.

What say you Professor?


Anonymous said...

Stock market up 700 points since Rump told everyone to sell. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Captain Justice:

The case that pushed Carrazana to challenge Smith in this election a appellate decision by Smith in Virga Chiropractic v. United Auto. Ins. Co., 20 Fla. L. Wkly Supp. 362a (Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. App. 2013). In the recent DBR article, Carrazana said that was the case that pushed him to run against Smith. The comments section to the DBR article, Virga’s appellate counsel, Marlene Reiss, stated the following regarding what happened in the case:

“I write to correct the misinformation and inaccuracies contained in Mr. Hunker‘s earlier comment, so that the record is accurate and correctly informs readers of the actual facts in the case.
Mr. Hunker was my opposing counsel in that appeal. United Auto‘s contracted court reporter, Downtown Reporting, somehow managed to create three significantly and materially different trial transcripts, omitting sidebars, objections, curative instructions, and motions for mistrial.

On relinquishment from the circuit appellate court, the trial judge (who actually presided over the trial, unlike Judge Smith) twice determined that the transcripts were inaccurate and were in such a state that only a new trial could cure the errors. After the third transcript was created and filed by United Auto, instead of allowing the trial judge to review yet the third version of the trial transcript, Judge Smith chose to ignore the trial judge‘s earlier recommendations and issue a decision based on an inaccurate and materially incorrect trial transcript, depriving the plaintiff of a fair appeal and a fair trial.

The dissenting opinion, issued by Judge Dava Tunis, fairly and legally correctly suggested that the third transcript be reviewed by the trial court to see if the court reporter finally got it right (it did not).

"... The chiropractor expresses the harm to his appeal by questioning how he may demonstrate preserved error when three (3) transcript versions omit the motion for mistrial, request for a curative instruction, and the curative instruction. . . . I interpret ‘no report of the proceedings was made [in Fla.R.App.P. 9.200(b)(4)],‘ as encompassing the omissions from the second amended transcript about which this chiropractor complains. . . . Therefore, we may remand for a limited Rule 9.200(b)(4) proceeding."

Finally, unlike Mr. Hunker, I will not presume to know the basis of the Third District‘s denial of second-tier discretionary and very narrow certiorari jurisdiction, but can definitively say that the denial was a simple denial, not on the merits, and therefore, contrary to Mr. Hunker‘s pure and self-serving speculation as to its meaning.

Put plainly, Judge Smith is a former United Auto employee who was intimately involved in an appellate decision favoring United Auto.”

Carrazana’s criticism of Smith’s decision has traction. There is case law from the District Courts (which were civil cases cited in the Appellant’s brief in Virga) that requires a new trial where, through no fault of the appellant, the transcripts are destroyed or material portions of the trial transcript are lost/missing. Smith ignored those cases and affirmed the verdict for United. Recall that when the appellate court relinquished the case back down to the trial court to “fix” the problem with the transcript, the trial judge issued an order stating a new trial was necessary because the record could not be accurately reconstructed to afford the chiropractor a fair appeal. What happened is that there was not one transcript of the trial, but THREE transcripts of the same proceeding that were inconsistent with one another and were missing relevant and material parts of the trial. The trial judge was right. How did Smith get that wrong? Who benefited in that case? United Auto. Hhhmmm… the same company reported in the Herald spending a fortune to keep Rodney on the bench.

Anonymous said...

If we want campaigns, we must allow campaign contributions. Otherwise we will be left with only judges who can self finance their campaigns. I don't think anyone truly wishes the judiciary to become a playpen for the wealthy lawyers looking to retire on the public's money.

I say go the other way, money is free speech, let anyone donate any amount they want to anyone. Let judges solicit like any other politician. I think its a joke that Judge's can't ask for money directly. Like we can pretend they don't know who is making campaign contributions.

Allow anyone to donate anything, but let it happen in the Sunshine. with realtime posting of donor lists on a n easily accessible web site.


Let's be accurate 3:13.

The market has only gone up 671 points since close of business 8/7 when Rumpole made his post on the morning of 8/8. And what he said was:

"sell into this "rising market", don't panic sell."

So, time will tell on this one. He did say to sell into this rising market and that is exactly what it is doing. If it does suffer a 10-20% correction between 9/1 and the end of the year, he will have called it correctly.

Anonymous said...

To Thursday, August 21, 2014 11:23:00 AM

Man up? I signed my name Sonny Boy/Little Girl. Not my fault Nuria Saenz es una " Cubana Arrepentida"


3:53 PM.

Let me get this straight.

A chiropractor, named Virga, sues an insurance company, named United Auto, for PIP payments.

The Plaintiff, Virga, goes to trial against the defendant, United Auto (UAIC).

A jury rules in favor of the defendant, United Auto.

The Plaintiff, Virga, appeals the decision to the appellate court; in this case, a three judge panel of Circuit Court judges.

One of those three judges is Rodney Smith. Another is Dava Tunis. The third is Nushin Sayfie.

Two of the three judges, Sayfie and Smith, affirm the decision of the trial court. Meaning United Auto wins at the appellate level.

And, something important that you conveniently left out of your post; the Circuit Court, including Judge Smith, DENIED United Auto's request for attorneys fees.

The Plaintiff, now 0-2, having lost at the trial court level, and the appellate court level, attempts yet a third bite at the apple and appeals to the 3rd DCA to review the findings of the Circuit Court acting in its appellate capacity.

The 3rd refuses to hear the case. Now the Plaintiff doctor is 0-3 and United Auto is 3-0.

Then United Auto petitions the 3rd for attorneys fees, which the Circuit Court, including Judge Smith, acting in its appellate capacity, did not award.

The 3rd rules for United Auto and against the doctor. Meaning that the 3rd DCA REVERSED JUDGE SMITH'S RULING AGAINST UNITED AUTO (along with the other two judges), and awarded the attorneys fees to United Auto that they had requested Judge Smith and his panel to award. Now the doctor is 0-4 and United Auto is 4-0.

That opinion, which you also conveniently forgot to refer to, can be found here:


So, Judge Smith must be very powerful because all by himself, despite being only 1/3 of one of the four decisions, he managed to cause United Auto to go 4-0 and the chiropractor to go 0-4 in these court proceedings.

And Judge Smith, in the most important part of the ruling that could have benefitted United Auto, the awarding of attorneys fees, ruled against his former employer. BAAM!

Also, as of July 16, 2014, United Auto still has not been paid the attorneys fees. Why, because Judge Lawrence King, who is the County Court Judge in this case, heard UAIC Motion For Attorneys Fees, after the case was returned from the 3rd DCA, and he denied their entitlement to attorneys fees once again.


Case Number: 2006-507-SP-26

Sorry, I just don't think your example was worthy of supporting your position that Smith is bought and paid for by UAIC and that his decisions are swayed by the money that UAIC is throwing in support of his reelection.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

The Professor says:

What would I have Smith do? I would have Smith do what we all expect. Avoid the appearance of impropriety.

If you do not believe that Smith's re-election will send a message, as it did just 10 years ago in another race, you are wrong. Parillo is sending a message to every judge, what he is willing to spend and how far he will go to buy the judiciary. It is as much about him as it is Smith. You are the company you keep and the friends you acknowledge.

What would I have Smith do? I would have him openly reject Parillo and UAIC. I would have him return every dime he has received from UAIC's PAC. Nothing less can remove the Mark of Cain left upon Smith by this insidious alliance.

You can indict Carrazana's run against Smith, but Smith himself has given credence to the attack. Although some of his decisions give credibility to the criticisms leveled at him, it is nothing compared to the fear that is instilled of future effects this grotesques display of power by Parillo for which Smith has become the poster child. Parillo and his company are a scourge upon our judiciary and the people of the State of Florida.

Again, sorry Rodney, but in one way or another you have made your seat and re-election a symbol of the choice of either the power of money and greed, or the need for the people to trust their judges.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole based his mrkt advice on two grounds- stocks over valued at 15pe for the dia and 2nd that there would be a world event that would send mrkts down. He suggested thatt you sell stock as the market goes up. My advice- never take stock tips from a legal blogger.

Anonymous said...

Did you see the attack mailer that a PAC from Broward funded by a Delaware corporation (with no corporate officers but only a registered agents company listed) sent out against Renier Diaz de la Portilla with misleading information about campaign spending?

Maybe PAC's ought to stay out of judicial campaigns or PAC's corporate donors should be required to disclose the identity of the persons behind the corporation.

Claude Erskine-Browne said...

Should a Judge sit on a case where one party is his Former Employer?
It looks wrong and he should have recused himself.


Professor says:

What would I have Smith do? I would have him openly reject Parillo and UAIC. I would have him return every dime he has received from UAIC's PAC. Nothing less can remove the Mark of Cain left upon Smith by this insidious alliance.


First, electioneering communications organization (ECOs) are independent organizations. They do not contribute to campaigns. So, the ECO created by United Auto has not given a penny to Smith's campaign. And UAIC has not opened a PAC. Therefore, he can't return something he has not received.

Who has given to Smith's campaign? There are Public records for the answer to that question:

Smith has raised 145,159.73 from 580 contributors. The max contribution is $1,000.

Here is what he has received from UAIC:


So, a total of $4,000.

Now, let's take a look at who else has given the max contribution of $1,000:


Stuart Ratzan; big time med mal lawyer. When Smith goes to the General Jurisdiction Division and Ratzan has a multi million dollar med mal case in that division, does Judge Smith recuse himself - or should he just give the money back now?


Kendall Coffey's firm. Big time litigators with big time clients. Every time a lawyer from Kendall Coffey's firm walks into Judge Smith's courtroom, should Smith recuse - or just give the money back now?


Dori Morales. Big time divorce lawyer. $3,000 total from the Morales clan. When Smith gets transferred to Family Court, and Dori walks into court, should Smith recuse himself - or just give back the $3k now?

1,000.00 LEGON FODIMAN, P.A.
1,000.00 DRT GLOBAL, LLC
1,000.00 TRUMP EDDIE
1,000.00 SHUBIN & BASS, P.A.
1,000.00 GAMBA & LOMBANA, P.A.
1,000.00 DAVIS JARET L
1,000.00 LEE TIFFANI G

28 separate $1,000 max contributors as part of the 580 contributors to the Smith campaign. What should Smith do - give it all back - renounce the contributors - or recuse himself every time one of them walks into his courtroom?

By the way, what’s the deal with Morton’s Steakhouse? I guess Rodney must like a great steak every now and then.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

Former ASA here:

There used to be an air of "independence" in the judiciary. We all know that there was the "donation advantage" in our cases. I have been on both sides of it.

When I was an ASA, I knew that in the case of a tie, the defense attorney who gave the max contribution would have a slight edge with the judge. Nothing to the point of bribery, but an advantage nonetheless.

When I was working for a big firm, I saw as the firm lined up the max donation to every civil judge. We were told to announce our presence before the court with the firm name first so we could be "identified." Once again, a little advantage for me.

Now I do family work and I know that the big time lawyers max out the donations to the family bar. So now I'm back on the disadvantaged side, but once again no big deal.

That being said, this Smith PAC thing is troubling. Smith's campaign has 145k in it and the max anyone can give is a few thousand. The average contribution is 250 bucks. But now United comes in and the PAC gives a six figure campaign to him. Do you really think they are doing this with no expectations of favorable rulings? Get real. This is a business investment and they are purchasing rulings from not only Smith, but any other judge who decides United cases. Rule for United and get some PAC money come election time. Rule against us and maybe we runs someone against you. So now, instead of judges sucking up to big law firms, they suck up to big insurance companies. Except now were talking major bucks. The old joke was that that judges moved over to civil two years before their term ended so that they can build up a war chest from the civil firms. Now they can just bypass them and head over to United. Its the same scenario as politicians, except it has moved into the judiciary.

I know Rodney and he is a good judge. He is a good guy and a great story. He has support within the legal community and beyond. It's a shame that his goodwill is being tarnished as he is being labeled a propped up judge for an insurance company.

That being said, I'll still vote for him. Not overly impressed with Carrazana and if there is any scourge among the legal community, it is lawyers that practice the legalized scam known as PIP.

Anonymous said...

Cap: What you fail to understand is that there is a big difference between lawyers giving money to a judge versus a party who appears before a judge as a litigant. UAIC is not your average litigant either. They have thousands of pending cases in the Miami dade courts. Wake up!

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that Captain is that naive. You can't compare a max donation of 1k verses a quarter of a million dollars through an ECO from a litigant with thousands of cases in our court system.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that Captain is that naive. You can't compare a max donation of 1k verses a quarter of a million dollars through an ECO from a litigant with thousands of cases in our court system.

Anonymous said...

It's to bad Ruiz did not run against Smith. With all this United stuff coming to light she would have squashed him. Nobody gives that kind of money and support with no expectation of something in return. Bottom line Smith is bought and paid for.


The Captain Responds:

I think we can all agree that the idea of ECO's being involved in our judicial elections sucks. There is no place for them in a system where we strive to have an independent judiciary.

But with campaign finance laws the way they are and with the SCOTUS giving corporations free rein to indirectly support one candidate over another, we are stuck with them.

So, I am still waiting for anyone to provide me with a direct answer to my question:

What is Smith to do about it?

Here are the numbers on:

Citizens for Judicial Fairness


07/23/2014 6,000.00 UAIC
07/25/2014 112,000.00 UAIC
07/28/2014 29,316.29 UNITED AUTO
07/30/2014 51,588.00 UNITED AUTO
08/05/2014 10,000.00 UNITED AUTO
08/05/2014 18,000.00 UNITED AUTO

Total raised to date: 226,904.29


07/25/2014 112,000.00 G&R STRATEGIES LLC

07/29/2014 10,455.00 CIRCLE OF ONE MARKETING

07/30/2014 29,316.29 STRATFORD STRATEGIES

08/01/2014 23,988.00 G & R STRATEGIES

08/01/2014 600.00 G & R STRATEGIES

08/01/2014 4,500.00 G & R STRATEGIES

08/01/2014 18,000.00 G & R STRATEGIES

08/06/2014 10,000.00 ADP STRATEGIC RESULTS, LLC

08/07/2014 18,000.00 SKDJ SOLUTIONS

Total spent to date: $226,859.29

So, what is he to do about it? Spend $200k sending out his own flyer denouncing the flyers being sent out by Citizens for Judicial Fairness?

Cap Out .....


One thing Smith's campaign should be doing. Sending a check back to Pablo Arteaga immediately in the amount of $1,000.


According to the Elections web site, Arteaga donated twice on August 1, 2014.

The first check was written from a home address in Miami and indicates that he is a Project Coordinator.

The second check was written from a different home address in Miami and indicates that he is "Retired".

Cap Out ....

Anonymous said...

The Professor says:


Apples and Oranges. You liken individual contributions, which are limited, to the hundreds of thousands of dollars of unreported in-kind efforts by UAIC and the Parillo family which are not enumerated on a candidates campaign contributions report.

Don't exaggerate and try to limit the clear intent of UAIC and the conscious denial of Smith to this effort. Your attempts to argue on his behalf are unworthy of you.

I understand you like Rodney. So do I. But his failure, at a minimum, to publicly acknowledge these efforts on his part, so the public can judge it for themselves, leaves one to believe he knows that upon re-election he is obligated to Parillo and UAIC, both of which are unforgiving of being double-crossed.

The best I can describe this whole situation is: unseemly and nonjudicial. We continue to sink judicial campaigns further into the dirty world of politics.

End judicial elections. Bring back the JNC system as it was originally designed before your mentor, Jeb Bush, destroyed it. Merit retention is the only answer.

Anonymous said...

Captain, it cab be two Pablos.

Anonymous said...

It's Kenny W's world and we're all just living in it.


That is true. It could be a Jr and a Sr.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately you are blinded by your love for Rodney. You act as if Rodney didn’t know what was going on and could not have stopped it before United did what it did. But guess what … Rodney knew about the PAC/ECO from the start.

The owner of UAIC (United Auto), Richard Parillo, threw a fundraiser for Rodney on July 10, 2014 (I saw the invitation). Rodney did not report a contribution from that fundraiser. About 10-12 days after the fundraiser, United created the PAC/ECO and deposited over a 100k to start. The timing of the Partillo-United Auto fundraiser and creation of the ECO can’t be ignored. No reasonable minded person can say with a straight face that Rodney did not know about the ECO/PAC before United created it and sent out the mailer. Rodney knew.

What could have Rodney have done to cure this? Simple. He could have refused the assistance from United before United created the ECO. But Rodney chose to accept the UAIC’s help instead of refusing it because to him, winning is everything. For Rodney, as evident by his actions, winning this election is more important than protecting against the appearance of impropriety or partiality. That alone makes him undeserving of his seat.

FACDL Listserve Leaker said...

Rod was asked about PAC involvement in judicial races today at the CABA forum. His answer was, in essence: "PACs are legal. I have no control over what PACs do. Now here is why I am the better candidate. . . "

At a table full of folks inclined to support him, the consensus was he ducked the question, and not gracefully. Fact is he COULD have declined the money. A good answer would have dealt with that.

Carrazana really did pretty well. He complained about PAC involvement and said it created the appearance of impropriety. (And it absolutely does, and you know it in your hearts.) He also took on directly the charge that he targeted Rod because of ethnicity.

Rod still got huge applause while Carrazana got a smattering at best.

I'll still vote for Rod, but then I never have insurance cases -- one way or the other.






The DBR and the Eye on Miami BLOG are reporting the filing by the Veronica Diaz camp of a complaint against her opponent:

A complaint has been filed against Renier Diaz de la Portilla, to the Florida Bar and to the Judicial Qualifications Committee.

The essence of the complaint is that, at an early voting site, on August 13, candidate Veronica was at the site, speaking with a voter.

Also at the site was Renier Diaz DLP.

Here is what is alleged:

Vernocia Diaz was speaking with a voter. The voter asked her position on same sex marriage.

Diaz told the voter that she could not take a position on political issues, let alone one that is currently the subject of litigation and that could possibly come before her in the future.

Portilla stepped into the conversation. He told the voter not to vote for Veronica because, unlike him, she does support "gay marriage" and she is endorsed by the "gay organization". He then looked at Veronica and stated:

"why don't you tell her about your endorsement, you were endorsed by the gays, you support the gays".

The voter responded to Portilla, by smiling and stated: "thank you, I now know how I will vote".

So, there you have it folks.

The complaint was filed, with affidavit, by someone who is in the Veronica camp and works directly with Veronica Diaz.

Go here:


Cap Out ....

Anonymous said...

The attacks on judge Smith for recieving support are outrageous. Even in the controversial decision he joined another judge in the majority. Some of Judge Smiths support comes from people who like him the other is from people who believe his opponent is unqualified and dangerous. THe list of Smith supporters includes some of the most respected lawyers in this community. I trust most of these men and women and their support means Smith is more qualified not less.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Veronica Diaz is getting pretty desperate with her attack mailers and this complaing filed by Heather L. Gray who is Vanessa's Brito girlfriend. Renier DLP did not make "committments, pledges or promises" as prohibited by the canons of judicial conduct and what seems to have made Veronica and Heather angry was that he told the voter Veronica's position or opinion on gay marriage,something that's no secret (unless she lied to Save Dade to get its endorsement.

Read the comments to the article posted by the Captain to get the context of the incidents and the people involved.

Anonymous said...

Leaving the niceties of insurance election contributions aside... if I was that cop dealing with jerk journalists who were baiting me, I'd tell them to F off, too.

Anonymous said...


Why is it as soon as The Professor outed as Jeb Bush being your mentor, you changed the subject?

Anonymous said...

Rodney is a stand up guy with an excellent track record. He's more than earned the benefit of the doubt. I'm with the Captain on this one.


Anonymous said...

Rump, while it's clear that the officer acted inappropriately, I do not share your glee for the obvious cop baiting. I think it's disgusting that so many people take such joy out of verbally abusing those whom they expect to take a bullet for them.

As I've said before............just be cause we can do things (ie. act like an asshole), it doesn't mean we should.


Anonymous said...

1:08 pm, JNC and "merit" retention is tantamoiunt to a lifetime appointment, takes we-the-people out of the process and leaves it in the hands of an unelected and polticized elite committee. While in elections the crap is thrown through the air, in the JNC process it gets thrown under the conference table, but it gets thrown nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

PS-----Rump, MADD, like most victim groups, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. It has no PAC. It does not and cannot endorse candidates or donate to political campaigns.

Bad example.


Anonymous said...

I supported the gays last night at Playmates in the champagne room. Am I qualified?

Anonymous said...

I voted today. The judicial candidates are all horrible. And when there are two qualified candidates, they are running against each other. Pathetic.

Claude Erskine-Browne said...

Judge Smith is correct, He has NO control over United's PAC or the fact they support him. No more than the Judges control the fact that the Unions will spend money promoting the candidates , Judges, they endorse

Anonymous said...

The Professor says:

Really Claude. Just as the Captain tied, you liken a $1000 contribution from a union, and an endorsement card sent to their membership, as the same as $225K in money and in-kind electioneering from a privately held corporation and its owner, who litigates thousands of cases a year in front of a judge running for reelection. You are either in denial or just naive.