Monday, June 15, 2015




Today, in Courtroom 2-11, beginning at 10:30 AM, Associate Administrative Judge Steve Leifman will begin a two day hearing, (currently scheduled to continue on Tuesday, June 16th at 10:00 AM), on the issue of Whether Red Light Camera tickets can be prosecuted in Miami-Dade County.

In the case of City of Hollywood v. Arem, (4D12-1312, Oct. 15, 2014), the Fourth District Court of Appeal addressed a similar issue.  That Court was asked: "Does F.S. 316.0083(1)(a) authorize a municipality to delegate and have a private vendor actually issue Florida Uniform Traffic Citations, when notices of violation, (also issued by the vendor), are not complied with, where the only involvement of the traffic infraction enforcement officer in the entire process is to push a button saying "Accept" after having reviewed the image of an alleged violation electronically transmitted by the vendor?".  The Appeals Court was also asked: "And if the answer is in the negative ....., is dismissal the appropriate remedy?".

The Court answered the first Question: NO and they answered the other question: YES.  The municipality did not have the authority to delegate the red light camera program to a private vendor, and therefore, all of those Red Light Tickets should be Dismissed.

While the 4th DCA made that decision exactly eight (8) months ago, Miami-Dade's Traffic Magistrates, (who serve under the direction of Judge Leifman), have been continuing cases in each of their courts, whenever a Defendant or their Counsel, has brought up the Arem case and asked the Hearing Officer to Dismiss the ticket.  Each time, the Hearing Officer has announced: 'Judge Leifman has scheduled a Hearing on the Arem issues and once that decision is made, they we will set the tickets for a new Hearing date'.

Judge Leifman's decision, however he decides, will likely be appealed by the loser to the 3rd DCA.  Several cities in Miami-Dade County have continued to use red-light cameras and pocketed million of dollars in fines as the result of this program.  As just one example, the City of West Miami, which is only three-quarters of a square mile in size, has collected more than $1.7 million in red-light camera money over the past five years alone.


On June 30th, Florida's "first openly gay elected official", Judge Victoria Sigler, will retire from the bench.  The DBR covers the story here.  Judge Sigler became a County Court Judge in 1995 and was elevated to the Circuit Court by Governor Bush in 2000.  For the past twenty years, she has been serving on the bench in Miami-Dade County.    Judge Sigler began her legal career at the Miami-Dade County Public Defender's Office.  According to Judge Sigler, "she has a house in Colorado, where she plans to volunteer as a park ranger in her retirement. She also will attend "adult band camp" to play trombone and tuba, and she's set to travel to Brazil, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand by the end of the year."

Good luck Judge Sigler and thank you for your service to Miami-Dade County.

The JNC has received a total of 20 applications;  16 from attorneys and four more from County Court Judges, to replace Judge Sigler:

Joseph J. Mansfield
Elijah A. Levitt
Alexander Spicola Bokor
Karl S.H. Brown
Griska Mena Rodriguez
Luis Perez Medina
Julie Harris Terry
Lourdes Simon
Jason Emilios Dimitris
Charles Kenneth Johnson
Carol Jodie Breece
Mark Blumstein
Ayana N. Harris
Paula J. Phillips
Lauren F. Louis
John W. Wylie
Wendell Mitchell Graham
Norman Christopher Powell
Flora M. Jackson
Nydia Streets



In Group 9, recently appointed Judge Jason Bloch has opposition from attorney Marcia Del Rey. 

In Group 39, David Young has filed to run in this open seat.  He currently has no opposition.

In Group 52, Carol "Jodie" Breece, Raul Perez-Ceballos, Elena Tauler* and Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts have filed to run in this open seat.

*We have made a decision not to print the name that attorney Tauler used to file with the Division of Elections, (hint - it's Hispanic), until she at least has the sense to provide the same name to The Florida Bar, the organization that gives her a license to practice law.  She is also still using the name Elena Tauler in her other legal-business ventures.  It is time for the voters of Miami-Dade County to not have the wool pulled over their eyes and to be told the truth about her candidacy as it relates to her name.


In Group 7, incumbent Judge Edward Newman has drawn opposition from attorney Lizzet Martinez.  Ms. Martinez has already raised nearly $37,000 in just two months since her filing; (only $5,000 of which was her own money). 

Judge Newman immediately kicked in $100,000 of his own money to fund his campaign.  This would be Judge Newman's fifth run for office having previously won elections in 1994, 1998, 2004, and 2010.  If Judge Newman decides not to retire, this would be his final run for Judge as he would be 65 years old in 2016.  It will be interesting to see if the former offensive guard for the Miami Dolphins, who played for the team as a rookie when they won the Super Bowl in 1974, will be "forced" into retirement from the bench.

Ms. Martinez has been a member of The Florida Bar since 1997.  She concentrates her practice in the areas of family and bankruptcy law.



FACDL Listserve Leaker said...

Captain, how can you so blatantly refer to the gender and ethnicity of the candidates? As if Miami voters and Bob, and Armando, and Hector cared about or even thought about such irrelevant things when, for example, Hector tries for the 19th time to knock Newman off the bench.

It must be that you are a sexist and a racist. That is the only explanation possible, since we know that all candidates are elected on the basis of "merit," blind to the factors at which you hint. (I note you are also, gasp, an experiencist, which is the only reason for listing a candidate's years as a lawyer.)

I'm so very disappointed.

Rumpy, where are the rules I asked about in my comment last week? This cannot be allowed to go on.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again. Love the campaign season.

Anonymous said...

It'd be fun to have candidates, all of them, answer two simple questions: "Why are you running, and why are you running against this judge," while hooked up to a polygraph.

Anonymous said...

I for one will miss Judge Sigler. She was one of the first Judges I got to observe in Court when I started at the PD's office. Not only is she a great Judge, but her wit and timing were impeccable! I will hate to see her go, and hope her spot is filled with someone of equal intellect.

Anonymous said...

I really like Vickie Sigler and wish her well.

Now about Judge Newman.... there's a reason he keeps getting opposed. He simply can't do the job correctly.

Anonymous said...

Captain, are you, by any chance, one of the Anglo/Jewish judges who lost to Hispanic candidates in the 2004 electiom? That might explain your continued obsession with candidates with Hispanic names and whether they are entitled to use them. Who cares about Elena "Ortega" Tauler? She is legitimately Cuban and so is her ex-husband Dr. Antonio Tauler. I would see your point if she was not Hispanic but used a Hispanic name to get Hispanic votes, however, that is not the case. If anything, she might want to avoid being mistakenly identified as Anglo or Jewish when she is, in fact, Hispanic.

Anonymous said...

Why is young unopposed? Seriously how cowardly are Oscar Fonts and all the other candidates who got a call from someone telling them not to run. Young was not a great judge. He's obnoxious and in appropriate and couldn't hack it on TV because he's a diva. Remember all the crap he did against Andrea Wolfson. He should not get to be a judge again. Theses candidates are so cowardly that you have 4 in one race. So you can't stand up to Hector how can we trust that you will be able to stand up against a bribe, political pressure or in following the law when one of your donors appear before you? . I'm disgusted

Anonymous said...

David young should challenge Ed Newman- thoughts?

Claude Erskine - Browne said...

3:37 pm,
Like it or not , Judicial Campaigns ARE Political campaigns. David Young has great Name Recognition, is generally liked by the Public and has huge financial resources for a campaign.
Running for another judicial seat is an intelligent decision based on the information available about your potential opponents
It is like pleading a case when they have your client on video committing the crime.
Its not being a coward, its simple common sense

Anonymous said...

I'll vote for any candidate that promises to start a circuit court calendar at 8:30AM.

Today a 9:00AM calendar call began at 9:35AM and a 9:30AM calendar call began at 10:10. By the time arraignments were done and private counsel were called, it was 10:40.

Can you imagine candidates being asked that question by the Miami Herald: What time do you think work should begin? And what time will you actually begin your work day?

Claude Erskine - Browne said...

2:49 pm
Judges have to be Florida Attorneys who are members in good standing with the Fla Bar.
Judges have to run on the name they are listed under, with the Fla Bar.
All the above mentioned attorney has to.do is registered her maiden name as her middle name and there is no issue

The Professor said...
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The Professor said...


You have been called out as Henry Harnage, Jeffrey Swartz or D. Bruce Levy. Are you one of them? If so, I am immensely disappointed. I thought for sure you are someone else.

The Professor

Anonymous said...

the PD who remarked on Sigler's wit and timing is spot on: two of my favorite Sigler comments over the years:

1. in County Court in a bench trial of a non English speaking, pro se young man charged with solicitation of prostitution on a decoy officer. The officer testified how the def asked for a certain act of oral sex to be performed and in cross the def. protested saying he did not ask for that and doesn't even know what "that" means and Sigler said, in half a second " Well I'm going to decline to demonstrate that for you "-- I died......

2. in arraignments in felony division, state filed an indictment on a first degree murder and said they needed a follow-up report date on the penalty decision to which Sigler turned to the defendant and said something to the effect " Well the state has charged you with this first degree murder and they're asking me for another 30 days to come back so they can decide if they are gonna wanna kill ya".

The Professor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

No he really doesn't have that great a name recognition to be honest. At least against him and opponent has a 50/50 chance. The other 4 have terrible odds and have to work even harder and raise much more money. Giving into the phone calls denotes a huge lack of character. Young is not entitled to anything. Money means only so much. They are cowards.

The Professor said...

Judge Sigler learned early on that some of that humor was not in keeping with the dignity of her office. She placed a note on the back of her name plate. It said: "You think it is funny. The don't!"

However, one story about her still brings a smile to my face. I was attending a calendar call one day when she was in civil. Two lawyers were making her life miserable. As she waved her hand at them in dismissive manner, she said: "Please leave. Your presence no longer amuses us."

The Professor said...

For those of you who seem to be dismayed that David Young is running to be a judge again, you can place me in your ranks. I have tried to remain neutral in this, but my sense of appropriate and inappropriate seems a bit strained.

He was not a very good judge. At times he would say totally inappropriate things or be obnoxiously abusive. He chose to give up his seat for a TV show, where the ads touted him as bringing "justice with a snap." That show failed. Then he tried to be an internet radio commentator, and that failed. Then he attached himself to Channel 10 as a political commentator, ostensibly speaking out for the gay community on local issues. That really did not work out very well, either.

David has exhibited that he is insecure and in need of acknowledgement and a sense of importance. You don't fill that emptiness by trying to return to a job that requires discretion and humility. Neither of these are attributes David possesses.

He would have been happy being a retired senior judge, but the Florida Supreme Court said he had waived his right to be certified and said no. That is what the people of Miami-Dade should say, and for just the same reasons. But that requires that he draw opposition, which he seems to be intimidating away. If the right candidate files against him, he can and will be defeated.

But give him credit, he is using social media like a pro. He has hired everyone he possibly can, including D'Arce. Just remember, the election is a year and half away, and David does have a tendency to stick his foot in his mouth.

Anonymous said...

I had many cases in front of David as an asa and a Def atty....at the end of the say, he is fair and cares about the decisions he makes that matter in the cases....yes the humor and penguins are unique, but so what if he is fair.

Anonymous said...

Will miss Judge Sigler. Bright,prepared, no nonsense, and didn't take herself too seriously. Young just looking for a steady check and paid vacations. Is he going to work any harder now than he did before?