Under the Headline "Lawyer-Judge Rift to Front in Judicial Race" comes this DBR article about an upcoming election, a lawyer, a judge, and a prior complex construction lawsuit about which we readily admit we know nothing, and do not want to know anything about. Or as we say in criminal court everyday: "Civil law is for &^%##$^&()*^#'s".
A well-funded family law attorney backed by judicial kingmaker Hector Lombana is challenging first-term Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jason Bloch, who has the backing of some prominent Miami lawyers.
Miami attorney Marcia Del Rey has filed to run against Bloch, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott in November 2014.
Del Rey of the Law Offices of Marcia Del Rey has never run for judge before but has already raised more than twice as much money as Bloch—$108,450 to his $50,548.
Lombana of Gamba Lombana & Herrera in Coral Gables has set up a Facebook page titled Defeat Jason Bloch.
"He does not have the character and fitness to be a judge," said Lombana, who has strong ties to unions capable of delivering large bloc of votes.
Bloch and Lombana tangled several years ago when they were opposing counsel on a case. Bloch was an assistant county attorney on a complex construction case, and Lombana was brought in at the end of the case by the plaintiff.
Lombana said Bloch "made misrepresentations of law and fact to an unrepresented party." Lombana claimed Bloch said he was entitled to a lodestar multiplier on attorney fees when county attorneys are not.
"Any lawyer who knowingly makes misrepresentations is incapable of being judge," Lombana said.
In a statement, Block said: "Mr. Lombana previously brought these allegations before the Judicial Nominating Commission for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida. The Commission obviously rejected them as meritless. As is the case with all candidates seeking appointment to the bench, the Commission thoroughly vetted and evaluated my qualifications and character, and proceeded to nominate me to the governor, who ultimately appointed me to the circuit court bench."
Lombana insisted he does not have a personal vendetta against Bloch. However, Lombana was so distressed about his experience with Bloch that he urged the Miami-Dade Judicial Nominating Commission not to name Bloch as a finalist for a judicial opening.
"In my 37 years as a lawyer, I have never written a letter such as this, but now duty compels me," he stated in the September 2014 letter. "It is my sincere opinion that Mr. Bloch is unfit to preside as a judge in any matter. It is my considered opinion that Jason Bloch believes that the legal system is a process to be 'gamed' and manipulated. It is my opinion that he has no personal commitment to the integrity of truth and justice."
On his Facebook page announcing Scott's selection of Bloch, Lombana called the choice "an abomination" and added, "2016 is just around the corner."
"He's going around telling people the reason I am helping his opponent is because I lost a case to him when the issue is his character and fitness," Lombana said. "If I was angry at everyone I lost a cast against, I'd have a lot of people I was angry at."
Bloch's supporters say they feel he is being targeted by Lombana.
"Judge Bloch was my opposing counsel in a matter he handled for the county prior to being appointed by Governor Scott," Lopez-Castro said. "My personal opinion was he represented the county very well, so it was a gain for the bench but a loss for the county.
"When I heard that Judge Bloch was being targeted before he even took the bench, I offered my support. As a former Cuban American Bar Association president, I have dedicated a good part of my career to protecting the integrity of the judicial election process. I believe I am doing that by supporting a respected incumbent judge."
Josefsberg said he, too, was disturbed by "the circumstances of why someone is running" against Bloch.
"I'm supporting him because many people, including many sitting judges, have said he is a wonderful person and a wonderful judge, and I don't like bullying tactics," he said.
Rumpole notes: As much as we respect Bob Josefsberg, and he is one of the greatest lawyers in this country, we don't think this amounts to "bullying tactics." A lawyer has a right, if not an obligation, to bring concerns about a judge to the forefront of an election, and it takes courage to do so.
That being said, we take no position on this contretemps, because we don't know the details and we have yet to argue a case before Judge Bloch, as circumstances out of town have kept us quite busy and away from our beloved REGJB.
Comments will be strictly moderated in that we will not in any way allow any ad hominem attacks. Make your comments thoughtful and intelligent (which unfortunately excludes the judiciary, but so be it).*
See You in Court.
* We can take cheap shots, you can't.