Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Feeling a little bored, maybe a little blue? Then we have just the thing for you. A little smattering of 3rd DCA justice. 

The ABC's of discovery are on full display in M.H. v. State, and Judge Rothenberg and company reach the conclusion that it is a discovery violation most foul when the State lists a "victim" (which every good defense attorney knows should be called "complaining witness") as category B witness. Category B means you won't B taking their depo, and Rothenberg says that is reversible error. 

easy as 1-23
simple as do-ri-me-
ABC-123-list your victim as an A and you will A-OK"
(c) Rumpole and Motown Records, 2014. 

WHEN COPS ATTACK -warning- the following video contains graphic and nasty language including multiple uses of the F word. Not surprisingly, Officer Friendly is doing all the cursing. 

Miami Beach cops used to have a reputation for being mean, nasty, abusive, violent, thuggish...oh wait...they still do. 

No truth to the rumor the video will be playing on a loop at MIA welcoming visitors to Miami this winter. 

See You In Court. 

Monday, October 27, 2014


UPDATE: Joseph Richer was convicted Monday night of second degree murder for shooting a maintenance worker in the back as he fled after Richer produced a gun when police arrived to convict him. Richer was also convicted of attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer. 

The last call at Tobacco Road made the NY Times Monday. Here. 

We went three for three on our picks yesterday. Naturally.

Want a nice, quick, fun, mindless read to relax? 
Try the Parker Novels, by Richard Stark. Start with Book One: The Hunter. Fun and easy. 

Judge Maritza Tinkler-Mendez sentenced Andrew Rolle to life in prison for the murder of Detective James Walker. She called the acts "selfish and senseless." (h/t @davidovalle305)

Also on tap, closing arguments before Judge Tinkler-Mendez (the James Brown of Judges? You know, the hardest working judge in the business? ) in the trial of Joseph Richer, a Wyoming Lawyer who shot and killed a worker on South Beach during an eviction. Tammy Forrest for the prosecution, PD Herb Smith for the defense. 

South Florida Lawyers blog has all the latest on the battle for a new civil courthouse. No word on whether the new digs  will come with a locker room for civil counsel to check their egos. What it won't need is a whole lot of jury boxes. Those chumps can't try their way out of a paper bag. Everything settles. 

If the referendum fails, we can see a Judge Soto/Kickstarter campaign in our future. Maybe.  Or maybe a bunch of robed-readers can take to the streets like those kids with football helmets trying to finance a trip to a big game. They can wear their robes, shake a gavel, and their bailiff can collect proceeds. 
Or maybe someone can start a Ponzi-scheme. 

Fall is definitely here. 

See you in court.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

NFL WEEK 8 2014

Another travel day, so another terse post, foregoing our witty repartee and analysis for just getting something out:

We're not off the Bengals bandwagon, and we can't pass them up with +2 at home, and the Ravens just aren't as good as their record. 

But the Dolphins on the road at JAX -6 means that we think the Fins are going to ride a little wave here. Their win on the road last week against the Bears shows us they have some moxie. 

The Pack is due for a letdown; Saints -2.5 at home. 

Survivor Pool: 
An investigative committee is closely examining the Dustin Tischler issue. Emails will be posted and the issue will be resolved. Stay tuned. 

RESOLVED: A switch in time saves Tischler this time:

> From: Dustin Tischler <dustintischler@yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: Pool
> To: "HORACE RUMPOLE" <fbpool12@gmail.com>
> Date: Sunday, October 5, 2014, 10:41 PM
> Hey
> Rump,
> Was
> reading the blog and just realized that I already took
> Packers this year.  If its not too late, I will switch
> my pick to Seattle for Monday night.  
> Thanks Dustin
> Tischler, Esq.Bruck & Tischler, Attorneys
> at Law
> New World Tower100 N. Biscayne
> Blvd.
> Suite 2301
> Miami, FL

Friday, October 24, 2014


Tobacco Road, Miami's oldest bar, closes its doors for the last time this Saturday. It's had a good great run.

In simpler times, lawyers and judges met after court and had a few cold ones, and maybe ate a cheeseburger before heading home.  It was a place of good food, good drinks, good live music, and after tomorrow it will be gone. More than a few criminal and civil cases were settled there, and more than a few assignations were consummated. 

Goodbye old friend. 

Here's the thing about winning a trial. It's a great feeling (we should know). But most of the time, despite what we as attorneys think, the case was ripe to be won.  The frustrating thing about trials is that  usually your best work goes unrecognized. As you are crossing the cop and s/he is crumbling on the witness stand,  a bored judge, an overworked prosecutor, and an unappreciative client are the only spectators. But that comes with the territory. And we find it unseemly when a lawyer touts their own victories, much less sending out emails with summaries of supposedly amazing cross. War stories years later are one thing, the "look how great I am" emails are something else. 

Back in our high school glory days, an errant football was thrown and landed in our hands  for an interception, and we galloped into the end zone before a few thousand cheering fans during a championship game. Days later we were still recounting the event for bored teammates when our crusty old coach who in fact did wear a houndstooth hat pulled us aside and growled: "Act like you've been there before son". 

It's good advice. 

It's not a new play on Broadway. A doctor who went to Africa to treat patients has tested positive for Ebola. And here's the problem: he was riding the subways for three days before his fever hit. 

That's one of many reasons why we aren't sleeping well these days. 

The weekend is almost here. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Ben Bradlee, the charming yet gruff editor of theWashington Post, who found his paper alone reporting arguably the biggest domestic story in US politics, died today at 93. Bradlee's support of his reporters was legendary. He turned the Washington Post from a sleepy third place newspaper, into the premier journalistic enterprise of its time. 

Our favorite story: The twice divorced Bradlee started dating a post reporter who had been sending him anonymous love notes. When he finally learned the name of the reporter and they started dating and the relationship became public, he was asked if would get married for a third time. "When they elect a Polish Pope" was a flippant reply. A year later the improbable happened, and four days after Pope John Paul II was elected, he was married four days later. 


FACDL issued a call-to-arms for Tuesday's  Miami Commission meeting, and the commission blinked. The proposed hike in court costs of $75.00 will not be going into effect. 

The Judge was (past tense) endorsed by the Herald. 
But such endorsements are ephemeral and once the Herald revoked their endorsement (much like a PVH revocation, but more messy) was the Judge obligated to not send the ad? Or is she within her rights to send the ad, because the Herald did endorse her?

Sorry for the delay in posting this week. A busy travel schedule and a lousy weather in DC has really upended our travel-work schedule. 

See You In Court. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

NFL WEEK 7 2014

With the resurgent Cowboys beating the struggling Seahawks, our survivor pool was considerably thinned, with the loses including both members of the judiciary: Jon Colby (retired) and Miguel De la O (quite active). 

Of more pressing concern is those of you who wish to find some value in todays match-ups. 

It's a tough week. 

We are officially on the Browns bandwagon, although we told you before the season began that the Brownies were the team to watch. Take them (-3) against America's team- the Jacksonville Jaguars and also take the under 45. 

We like the Fish on the road against da Bears +3 and we like the under 48. 

And we like the Giants getting 5 in Dallas because the Cowboys are due to return to mediocrity. 

We will post the survivor pool when everyone's picks are in. But see below about Mr. Tischler's zombie like return from the defeated:

MR. Tischler was not eliminated last week, as he took the Chargers, and not the Seahawks:

Dustin Tischler

Oct 12 (7 days ago)
to me

Friday, October 17, 2014


We normally don't do two blog posts in a day.

But this email from FACDL chieftains was forwarded to us, and we took the initiative of posting it.*

On Tuesday, October 21, the Board of County Commissioners will hear and decide on the attached resolution prepared by Commissioner/former Senator Javier Souto.  This resolution aims to impose an additional $75 of court costs on state clients who take a plea for or are convicted at trial of a felony, misdemeanor, or criminal traffic offense.
This simply cannot pass.
And, of course, we're not talking about $75.  We're talking about an amount added to the hundreds of dollars already imposed on the largely indigent population that are drawn into the court system.
We (and our clients) know that racial and social inequality is embedded in our criminal justice system.  We know that minorities are much more likely to be drawn into the despair of the justice system than whites.  African-American males are six times more likely to be sentenced to prison than white males; Latino males, 2 ½ times more likely. We know that although 95% of cases end in pleas, it's not possible that 95% of defendants are guilty.  We know that many clients would often rather take a plea to CTS than stay in jail. 
Knowing all these things, and knowing that imposition of expensive and overwhelming court costs for indigent clients does nothing more than perpetuate the inequality by continually thrusting them back into the system, suspending their drivers' licenses, and re-incarcerating many -- we cannot remain silent.
The County Commissioners are holding a meeting next Tuesday, October 21 at 9:00 a.m.  If you know one of them, please call, email, or write them to speak against this resolution.  A list of the commissioners is attached.  Or please join me at the meeting.
Thank you.
*Apparently there was a real barn-burner of an FACDL meeting a few weeks ago when this blog and this blogger, we have heard, were personally disparaged (as much as an anonymous blogger can be personally attacked) for posting FACDL list-serv emails which are as secure and sensitive as all NSA emails currently on Wikipedia.
"Loyalty-oaths" were called for. All FACDL members would have to solemnly swear under penalty of perjury that they were loyal Americans, were not now, nor ever have been members of ISIS, have not traveled within the past two months to West Africa, currently do not have a high fever, do not read this blog, are not Rumpole, and in fact despise Rumpole and everything Rumpole stands for, and would not, under penalties yet to be determined, ever forward Rumpole an FACDL list-serv email.
There has not, as of yet, been a final determination on this loyalty oath. But we admit to being scared, shaken, chagrined...but not enough to stop posting emails that FACDL members gleefully send us.
Have a good weekend.


"Sometimes wrong, but never in doubt" was the funny, dismissive comment our wonderful law school property professor would quip when he zeroed in on a first year law student and didn't get the correct answer. 

Perhaps that should be the motto of the Miami Herald as this week they WITHDREW their previous endorsement of embattled County Court Judge Jacqueline Schwartz ("take down that stinkin sign") and endorsed her opponent Frank Bocanegra. 

The Miami Herald withdraws an election recommendation rarely, sometimes reluctantly, when new information leads to reconsideration. And this is the case in the runoff between incumbent Miami-Dade County Judge Jacqueline Schwartz and attorney Frank Bocanegra. In August, the Herald recommended Ms. Schwartz’s re-election because of her experience on the bench. The incumbent drew two opponents for the primary. She and Mr. Bocanegra ended up in a runoff.
Since the primary, the Miami Herald reported an incident at a Coconut Grove convenience store in which the owner said that Ms. Schwartz demanded that he remove an opponent’s oversized campaign sign from the parking lot outside or display hers, too, then cursed at him when he said he could not because he was not the property owner. The story continues that the judge called Miami code enforcement, which made the store owner remove the too-large sign.
This raises sufficient questions about the judge’s demeanor. The individuals interviewed at the convenience store — a cashier corroborated the story in a sworn statement — said they did not know she was a judge when she came in.

Mao said "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."
But Mao never had Miami Code Enforcement as a weapon. 
See you in court. 

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/article2835897.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: The Japanese stock market was hit hard over night, down more than 2%. The German DAX is down 1.5%, the French CAC is down 2.3%, the FTSE 100 is down 1.5% and Greece is down 1.5%. 

The US response to Ebola has been less than sterling, but of course we should keep the Federal Government out of it, close the CDC and let the states handle it (cue cheering for Sarah Palin)  right? Maybe Texas can take the lead. They've been storing Ebola tainted linens in garbage bags bought at Home Depot (new motto: "we help with medical waste too!")

Here's what we know folks: There are two health care workers in Texas who were infected despite the precautions taken. President Obama has canceled two trips this week to stay at the White House to work on this problem. Do we know for sure exactly how this virus is and isn't transmitted? Assume for a moment that Ebola can be transmitted like the flu.  And you think the markets are shaky now? Say good bye to most of the airline and transportation stocks for a while. And the economy as a whole will be hit hard, as travel restrictions and fears hits tourism and business travel and people stop going to Malls and restaurants and movie theaters, and interstate food transportation, and then ......? It gets bad fast.  The CDC announced yesterday that the current rate of new cases in Africa - 1000 a week, will reach 10,000 a week before the end of the year. 

The Russell 2000 is off 11% for the year. The NASDAQ is off 8.6 of it's highs-  any drop of 10% off a yearly high is considered a market heading into a correction, which means the bottom falling out for a while.  Seems like quite an opportune time for the Russians to cause some problem in the Ukraine and the Chinese to stake out some more disputed territory in Asia, and ISIS to renew attacks and then one person slips though our porous borders and drives a car with some toxins and explosives to a crowded hotel or a Mall in DC or Chicago or Boston or NYC and leaves it with the valet and then.....

Meanwhile the Saudis are taking aim at US oil and gas producers by flooding the market with oil. Storage capacity is almost maxed out, the price for oil has been crushed and why does that matter to us? Because the rebound in the economy has been driven by energy and if oil and gas prices keep falling, many of these new US companies who have invested billions in oil recovery technology with the belief that oil at $100 gives them a nice profit close their doors when oil remains under $80, which is now where it is at.  

Of course Ebola could burn out, the market will rally, the Russians and Chinese  will behave and we will all have a Merry Christmas. 

And you wonder why we are up at 4am? 

What is the most (in)famous espionage case prosecuted in the United States?  
Before there was Jonathan Pollard and Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames there were Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. 

To understand the Rosenberg case, you need to understand the times. At the end of World War Two the United States was the unquestioned super power as the only nation that had the atomic bomb. The Soviet Union probably had the most powerful army at the end of WWII, but the US had the bomb. That changed by 1950 when the FBI learned that the nuclear facilities at Los Alamos had been compromised. 

This is from the FBI.gov website:

This contact was subsequently identified through FBI investigation as Harry Gold, a Philadelphia chemist. On May 22, 1950, Gold confessed his espionage activity to the FBI.
Investigation of Harry Gold’s admissions led to the identification of David Greenglass, a U.S. Army enlisted man and Soviet agent, who had been assigned by the Army to Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1944 and 1945. Gold stated that he had picked up espionage material from Greenglass during June 1945 on instructions of “John,” his Soviet principal. “John” was subsequently identified as Anatoli Yakovlev, former Soviet vice-consul in New York City, who left the United States in December 1946. Interrogation of Greenglass and his wife, Ruth, resulted in admissions of espionage activity under the instructions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, brother-in -law and sister, respectively, of David Greenglass. 

To summarize, David Greenglass was the brother of Ethel Rosenberg. His cooperation and testimony was crucial to the prosecution of his sister and her husband, especially that his sister Ethel had typed the notes he received about the atomic bomb. 

The Rosenbergs were convicted, and despite the public outcry, especially against the execution of Ethel Rosenberg, both were executed on June 19, 1953. 
And that was that. 
Except David Greenglass, who died this past July at the age of 92, lied.  It was Greenglass's wife Ruth who typed the notes, but Greenglass lied to spare his wife and the mother of his two young children. Here is the NY Times Obit. 
Ruth Greenglass

From the Times Obit: 
Mr. Greenglass was under intense pressure. He had not yet been sentenced, and his wife, the mother of his two small children, faced possible prosecution, though her role had been minimal. In federal court in Manhattan in 1951, Mr. Greenglass’s testimony — corroborated by his wife’s — clinched the case against Mr. Rosenberg and implicated Mrs. Rosenberg.
Sam Roberts, a Times editor and reporter, later found Mr. Greenglass and, after a 13-year effort, obtained 50 hours of interviews that led to a book, “The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case.” In the book, Mr. Greenglass admitted that, to spare his wife from prosecution, he had testified that his sister typed his notes. 
He said he had no regrets. “My wife is more important to me than my sister. Or my mother or my father, O.K.? And she was the mother of my children.”

So who apologizes to Ethel Rosenberg and her children? 

Just wondering. 

See You In Court. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Pity our civil brethren.  When not billing $500/hour to file the same summary judgment motion or response to summary judgment they have filed a hundred times before, they are cooling their heels in the Starbucks next to the courthouse, or at any number of expense-account supported restaurants within walking distance.

We remember back in the 1980's when Burger King sent a food truck outside of our humble courthouse for a few months. It was a big deal.

But the civil courthouse is in dis-repair. There are poles in the middle of courtrooms, creating sight-obstructed views for jurors and participants alike. Termites eat files, and water damage creates mold. Even the vultures are unhappy. Plus the birds that hang out on the courthouse. 

The depressing part of all of this is that before WE get a new courthouse for lowly criminal life and death matters, the mortgage-defense-personal injury-corporate default -crowd will have to get their own courthouse next. Family has a new courthouse, and Juvenile-dependency-delinquincy has a much needed new courthouse right across from the City of Miami Police Department.

Which leaves our own humble courthouse last in line. "Please sir, may we have some more?"

Photo journal v8. 9 16-14 from Justicebuilding

We don't begrudge the civil guys and gals a new courthouse. 

It just galls us to be in line right behind them while they check their I-Phone 6's to make sure their BMW or Porsche Cayenne has been  washed and waxed and is ready to be picked up. 

See You In Court. 

Monday, October 13, 2014


Last week Judge Miranda held attorney Herb Walker III in contempt during a closing argument. Here is the order, typos and all ("and is sentences to....) . And FYI, the defendant was found guilty, making it all in all, not a great week for Mr. Walker.

And while we're being critical, should the caption read "State v Walker"? The State isn't bringing charges against Walker, the judge, presumably after a hearing, found Walker in contempt of court. The prosecution is not a party to the proceedings. Correct? 

Not the best way to start the week, but court is closed today so enjoy the holiday. Perhaps we should do a poll on what charity the check should be made out to? 

See You In Court. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014


The story of the day is the defeat of the Seahawks to the resurgent Cowpokes, and with that defeat, the departure of survivor pool stalwarts Jon Colby, Rick Freedman, Miguel De La Over, and Dustin Tischler. Dore Louis also goes down with a gutsy pick of the Bills at home over the cheaters, and fake Alex Michaels makes his move as a legitimate contender with a gutsy pick of the Browns over the steelers. 

And there is controversy, because the Commish - Michael Grieco and Brian Freedman picked the Bengals who did NOT lose, but also did not win, in a tie with the Panthers. It is our unappealable decision that Mssrs.  Grieco and Freedman are  still alive because this is a survivor pool and the rule is that if you pick a team that loses, you are out, and Freedman and Grieco's  team clearly did not lose. 

Sorry dear blog readers and survivor pool participants. An emergency matter regarding a client has arisen out of state and at the moment we have limited internet access. Such is the life of a sought after attorney. 

Survivor pool participants- get your picks in.  We will post the picks, but probably not before this evening. 

Take the Bengals -7 at home in a bounce back over the Panthers. 
 The Cardinals -6 at home over the Skins.
Under 55.5 Bears at Falcons.

Thursday, October 09, 2014


More than one robed-reader has told us that they are taught in Judicial College that by the time they hold a lawyer in contempt they have already failed and lost control of the courtroom.

David Ovalle tweeted this today:

Judge Miranda held Herb Walker in contempt Mon for constantly speaking out of turn, acting unprofessionally, speaking obections. Fine: $250

Judge Miranda actually stopped closing arugments, sent jury out and held contempt hearing on Herb Walker right then and there.

Final straw: Walker said "this is ridiculous" in front of jury in att murder case, after Judge Miranda sustained objection during closings.

Disclosure: We have no love for Mr. Walker. We didn't like him as a prosecutor. 

And apparently Judge Miranda doesn't like him as a defense attorney. 

NB: Judge Miranda was the same judge that found Alex Michaels in contempt and sentenced him first to two days jail on a Friday afternoon and did not grant him an appeals bond (something the appellate court was disturbed about). 

Just saying that one is an aberration and two is a pattern. 
Williams rule reasoning. 

Letters of support from the


have been sent to
the Governor and
Florida's U.S. Senators
for the following
judicial nominees:

For Circuit Court
Jason Dimitris
Ayana Harris
Charles Johnson
Rodolfo Ruiz
Diana Vizcaino

For U.S. District Court
Peter Lopez

See you in court. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Jurors convicted Andrew "Birdman" Rolle for the first degree murder of Detective James Walker Wednesday afternoon, in a tense re-trial, that saw the jury announce they were hung 6-6, and in which the jury asked to  SEE the video of certain witnesses testifying. The jurors mistakenly thought that the news camera was recording the whole trial.

Congratulations to ASA Abbe Rifkin who fought for justice for the killer of a Miami Dade detective. She persevered through a mistrial and never stopped fighting for what she believed was right.

David Peckins and Stuart Adelstein for the defense. Two very experienced defense attorneys placed in the extremely unenviable position of defending the accused and now convicted murder of a police officer. When no else will step forward and defend the seemingly un-defendable, great lawyers like these two make our constitution and our system work.

Here is Ovalle's story in the Herald.

See you in court.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014



Jurors seem deadlocked, 6-6, in trial of man accused of juddering Miami Det. James Walker.
Judge is sending jurors home for evening without Allen charge.


David Ovalle @DavidOvalle305  ·  5 minutes ago
Prosecutor Abbe Rifkin asking judge for sanctions on defense's David Peckins for twice telling jury state brought to bolster "career"

We were just wondering today how many right-wing-Republican-State's-rights folks are looking to the CDC to make sure we contain the Ebola Virus and prevent an outbreak in Texas (Motto "not afraid of any damn Yankee, but keep dem money-eatin foreigners outta here")  and have enough vaccines/treatments for the virus available 

(BTW- State's can't have rights, only people. For more on why this is so, try reading Rand's easy:" Man's Rights and the Nature Of Government" in her book The Virtue of Selfishness.)

A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)
The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.

Thus,  a non-living entity like a State cannot have a right. Quod Erat Demonstrandum. 

So as Texas bungles it's way through trying to figure out how to quarantine four people and dispose of a few towels and bedsheets. we're just wondering when all those "shut down the government" people who called for the CDC to be closed will start looking for the CDC to save the human race. 

If you followed our advice and sold the market short in August and kept selling short into the dead-cat bounce rallies at the end of August and September, it paid off handsomely for you these last two weeks.  We're approaching a bottom and while usually the last few months of the year the market is dominated by Hedge funds taking profits and locking them in for the year, this year may be different as the US becomes the only real safe haven for foreign investors. And BTW, we've been buying Bank of America since it was at 8 (currently 17.50). Look for it to be in the mid-twenties next year. It's a cash machine
Disclosure: we are long long long on BOA, and we currently have NO position open on the markets in general. 

Speaking of correct predictions, we told you at the start of the beginning of the football season that Cleveland QB Brian Hoyer was way underrated and would lead the Browns to contender status. The secret is out as of yesterday, as the entire football world saw him lead the Browns to an amazing second half comeback. 

As @Davidovalle305 tweeted today, both sides rested in the contentious trial about the tragic murder of Detective James Walker. Tomorrow Abbe Rifkin will give closings for the prosecution, and David Peckins for defense. Judge Tinkler Mendez presiding. 

See you in court. 

Monday, October 06, 2014


Today is the first Monday in October. You know what that means? 
Pumpkins for sale, along with your favourite pumpkin ale. 
The weather was a bit cooler and drier this weekend. 
And oh yeah, the Supreme Court is back in session after a well deserved summer break. 

The cases to be heard before the court this year span the gamut of the First Amendment, Religious Freedom for Prisoners, the Status of Jerusalem (Zivotofsky v. Kerry, No. 13-628- whether Congress can force the State Department to consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel),  the right to same-sex marriage (otherwise known as the right to be as miserable as the rest of society) Affordable Care redux, Voting rights kerfuffles, and in perhaps our favourite case so far, whether White Collar Laws apply to ......fisherman. 

 Whether a grouper is like a email is at the  crux of Yates v. United States, No. 13-7451, in which the application of the Sarbanes-Oxley act's prohibition against the destruction of evidence applies to a fisherman who tossed a couple of allegedly undersized red grouper overboard before federal agents could seize the piscatorial evidence. 

There's a case about the interpretation of rap music, a form of entertainment known to make Justice Scalia swoon with delight, and there is a case about the size of a prisoner's beard. 

All in all, it is shaping up to be a very interesting term. 

See you in court, just not that court. Red grouper cases are so below us. 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

NFL WEEK 5 2014

The survivor pool pick this week was the Thursday night game, with the resurgent Packers easily trouncing the QB-less Vikings.
Get your picks in. 

UPDATE: It was almost a Sunday massacre, but the Saints came back to win and keep a whole bunch of people alive. 


Take the Eagles at home over the Rams -6.5.

The Bengals are -1 on the road against the cheaters. The 0/U is 46.5.  We like the Cats but we love teasing the  0/U down 6.5 points.  To do that you have to lay 12 to win 10 at most books. Now we could get exotic and then parlay the Bengals with the teaser, but we won't get crazy, especially right after atonement and a new start. So take the Bengals and pay a point, and bet the over 40, say ten Belichicks. 

The Wheels are off the bus in NYC with the J..E..T...S.  And as much as we don't like the Chargers, the 6.5 at home is juicy. Take the bolts. 

Friday, October 03, 2014


SHAME ON US: For writing a piece on co-existing and understanding and not noting that the Muslin and Druze feast of the Sacrifice Eid al-Adha falls on the same day as Yom Kippur. Maybe there's a message in the convergence of religious holidays. 

Tonight is the service of Kol Nidre, which as we understand it, is an ancient ceremony whereupon people who were forced into debts or promises against their will are relieved of such obligations. It is a ceremony unique to oppressed people and slaves. 

How could is such an ancient ceremony relevant in 2014? 
What are we now forced to do or forced to promise that we need the intervention of the almighty? 

Earlier this year we tried a lengthy federal trial and one after another, the government marched in pathetic individuals, shackled, in prison khakis, who shamefully admitted their part in an insurance scam. These were bit players, who were paid $500.00  or a $1,000.00 to participate in a small way in a very large fraud.  What struck us was that they all were sentenced to between two and four years for their actions, and now, as part of the contract they entered into with an Assistant United States Attorney out for the blood of our client, they came to court and testified. None of them looked very happy, and when we asked each one of them if they regretted entering into a deal with the government- a question we had no idea how the witness would answer- each of them said "yes".  And it was during that trial that we thought of Kol Nidre

There is still too much suffering going on in the world. Arabs shoot missiles at Israel and Israel responds by bombing and killing Arab children- clearly unintentionally, but they are dead nevertheless. The cycle of violence continues for another generation; hatred born out of the loss of a son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, father, mother or wife.  Perhaps a ceremony that releases nations from obligations of violence and hatred and war is in order? 

We get up and work at jobs that may be satisfying, or drudgery. We scramble to pay bills, satisfy clients, collect money, take care of children or parents or both, and life passes by slowly and yet at rocket speed. The notion that we will have time to do that- whatever that is, becomes less sure, and more surreal. Perhaps we need a ceremony to release us from the mundane obligations that turn life into work, and work into life? 

From dealing with cooperating witnesses to understanding geo-political events to the close introspection of our daily life,  these next few days can be a time of renewal, or they can be wasted in going though the motions of prayer and hunger and thirst. Whatever life it, we know this- it doesn't wait for us to live it. It ticks by, second by second, until one day we wonder "where did the time go?"

Don't wake up one day with that awful question. 

Enjoy your weekend.  And for those fasting, have an easy fast. 

See you in court. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014


The headline, which really writes itself, is "Will Thomas Collapsed!" but that would be somewhat disingenuous and unfair to the good Judge who otherwise seems to be in fine health. 

Like the new phone book, the Dolphin September-December swoon, and Judge Thomas denying a motion to continue, somethings never change, and that includes the changing of Judges. When the music stops, here's what we know via an email from Judge Sayfie:

In a nutshell, the changes will be as follows:

1.       Division 8, currently Judge Thomas, will be collapsed, once he is transferred to civil.  This will likely take place sometime in January. His caseload will be evenly divided by the COC among the other 20 remaining regular divisions.
2.       The 2 ROC divisions will be combined into one.  Judge Rodriguez-Chomat will be presiding over the division.  The current combined caseload is 369.  This will likely  take place during late January.
3.       Judge Mindy Glazer will be coming over to REG and be the presiding bond hearing division judge.  This should occur no later than February 2, 2015.
4.       Judge Fleur Lobree (Division 3) will be replaced by Judge Diane Ward and the division will be relocated to Courtroom 4-8.
5.       Judges Gordo (2), Hendon (4), Ruiz-Cohen (6), Sanchez-Llorens (18), Rebull (19) & Fajardo (20) will be transferring out of the criminal division.  Replacement judges TBA.  Locations TBA.

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  Thank you.

Nushin G. Sayfie, Circuit Court Judge
Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division

Here's the way we envision our opening statement, sometime in January 2015 (remember our admonition to never set a case for trial for the first week of the new year): "May it please the TBA, counsel for the state, ladies and gentlemen of the jury...."  

See You In Court.