Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Prosecutors cannot argue lack of remorse of  at sentencing because Judges are specifically prohibited from considering lack of remorse when passing sentence.

Knowing this, the prosecution in Lawton v. State, 3D15-1520 improperly argued the defendant's lack of remorse when seeking the court to impose a severe sentence:

THE STATE: [I]n light of the fact that Mr. Lawton has, still to this day, not expressed any remorse for what he's done or any responsibility for something that he has now been adjudicated guilty by 6 of his peers and in light of the victim's wishes, the State is requesting that your Honor sentence him to a minimum of five years in state prison . . . . 

(We will leave for another day the Dade's Sao's complete abandonment of their role and duty to seek justice and recommend a fair sentence. Victim's by the very nature of the fact they have been victimized are not in a position to request a just sentence. They usually seek vengeance, which is understandable, but not legal nor even biblical. But lest there be any doibt the Dade SAO has completely abandoned their role in seeking justice at sentencing, one need only re-read the words of the ASA who- at the urging of the victim, sought a five year sentence.). 

In Lawton, the 3rd found that Judge Glick did consider that argument and the defendant's lack of remorse in sentencing Lawton. The 3rd vacated the sentence and remanded for a new sentencing procedure before a different judge. Even the best judges have a bad day, and Judge Glick erred.

But what bothers us is that prosecutors continually argue lack of remorse at sentencing when the law is clear and they should know better. The court in Lawton wrote:
It is well established that “[w]hile a sentencing court has wide discretion as to the factors it may consider in imposing a sentence, it is constitutionally impermissible for it to consider the fact that a defendant continues to maintain his innocence and is unwilling to admit guilt.” Ritter v. State, 885 So. 2d 413, 414 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004).

It's apparently "well established" with everyone except the Dade SAO. What concerns us is that the new year brings new judges. And what with afternoon nail and spa appointments, tea and tee times, not to mention the odd origami class before dinner, judges just don't have the time to read case law. And new judges, like veals in a pen, are led through a maze by aggressive and over-confident prosecutors who continually push that "right up until today Judge he continues to show no remorse" argument that must still exist in some State Attorney Handbook under the heading "So Now You've Won a Trial. What's Next?"

So lets all make a new years resolution to keep Lawton and Ritter v. State handy, so that when prosecutors pull out the "no remorse" argument, the defense has a response. Well, at least some you need to make that resolution. We don't, for reasons that should be obvious.

See You In Court.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


We received this email the other day:

"Rumpole. Love the blog. Breaking news. Courtrooms are being fitted with cushions for the bench seats! This is big!! Trump effect?"

These next two weeks are pretty much the last two trial weeks of the year. After that- no one wants to work. 

As we head into the end of the year, we were recently in federal court and walked past the wall on the Akins building listing all the District Court Judges for the SDFLA.

Some judges served a long time. Others only a year or two, their names and memory lost to all but a few in the legal community; and some not known at all. It got us to thinking: which short-term judges at the REGJB are worth remembering? We'll define a short-term judge as someone who served less than a full term. We've run across a few in our time who came- left at 2 pm for a few months or years and then just left. 

Meanwhile Jeff Sessions as attorney general? Buckle up, it's gonna be a rough ride. 

See you in court. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Survivor Pool- everyone survives. Lucy Lew cruised with the Giants, while the 3 gentlemen all went with the Bills. The four move on to week 13. 

"History will absolve me" is what fidel castro told the court that sentenced him to fifteen years for a failed coup attempt prior to his successful overthrow of the Cuban government. Pardoned and exiled, castro returned and executed a successful coup against the Batista regime. 

History has not absolved castro. History will condemn him. 

The history of Cuba from 1959 to the present is the history of all communist dictatorships- a failed economy; a people without rights of expression and movement and ownership of private property. 

The philosopher Ayn Rand wrote that there can be no rights without property rights, and history and castro and Cuba have been a microcosm of her proof. 

Our community is populated by Cuban expatriots whose only crimes was the ownership of property, the running of a business, and education. When castro imposed his dictatorship on Cuba, the doctors, lawyers, engineers, farm owners, and merchants were the first to flee torture, imprisonment, theft of their homes and businesses, and murder. Those who could not own the rights to their abilities would not stay in a society founded on altruist-collectivism. 

"From each according to his ability to each according to his need"  cannot succeed when those with ability refuse to serve those with need. 

Cuba today is an economic and ecological disaster. The farms cannot produce because the land hasn't been taken care of. Knowledgeable farmers who had their land confiscated "for the people" left. With farm production falling, there was little to sell and GDP fell. With his country teetering on economic collapse, castro moved Cuba into the Soviet sphere, where the Soviets propped up the Cuban economy for the next forty years until the Soviet Union collapsed. With no sponsor for his communist state, Cuba fell into economic collapse in the 1990's; its people starving and its economy anemic. 

Today Cuba is a county frozen in time. Cars and households and infrastructure remain frozen in 1959. The country cannot produce money to do more than barely feed its citizens. Technology is almost unheard of. There is nothing that Cuba produces that is new or enviable. Even its tobacco farms have fallen into fallow. 

History has spoken. The Cuban revolution and communist dictatorship have failed. Hundreds of thousands of good people had their property stolen. There are no free elections, and in 2016 the country teeters without basic technology on the brink of economic collapse. 

There are not many things that we can accurately predict, but this is a one hundred percent given: in days, weeks, months or even a few more years, Cuba's totalitarian
communism and fidel castro will be consigned to the ash-heap of history. 

Soviet Premiere Kruschev once famously told a group of western diplomats "we will bury you."

Cuba is burying fidel. 
And the world will soon bury cuban totalitarian communism. 





Cuban President Raul Castro has announced the death of his brother Fidel Castro on Cuban state media.  The New York Times hits the Internet immediately with a story they have been writing and updating for years: "Mr. Castro brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere, bedeviled 11 American presidents and briefly pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war" that can be read here.

*Now who's going to promote the Adidas tracksuit?!


Thursday, November 24, 2016


No Thanksgiving is complete without the best Thanksgiving promotion ever. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016




The holiday season has arrived once again in South Florida.  How do we know this?  Well, for one, the damn roads are more crowded than ever.  You can't find a parking space at a mall.  And the line at Joe's is getting longer and longer.  And Horace has gone into hibernation; likely at his winter home outside of Truckee, in the Sierra Nevadas.

One thing that never changes in the "Magic City".  The WEATHER.  While folks are already shoveling snow in the Midwest and Northeast, we topped out at 82 degrees today with a low of 68 tonight.  Sucks to live up North, doesn't it.

So, today's assignment for our loyal readers, is to post a Comment that tells us what your three wishes are, (assuming of course you manage to run into Christina Aguilera on a beach somewhere while looking for that Genie in a Bottle).  And be creative.  We don't want to hear "peace on earth" kind of wishes or "we wish that Bill and Hillary" would both go to jail wishes.  Get creative, be funny.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving FOOTBALL Holiday Weekend.  We'll be watching, in no particular order: Michigan v. Ohio State; Alabama v. Auburn; Florida v. FSU; and the Dolphins v. 49ers this weekend.


Monday, November 21, 2016





Vote for Dana Santino for County Court Judge said the campaign flyer. Her opponent, Greg Lerman, is a criminal defense attorney who has spent his career "representing murderers, rapists, child molesters and other criminals".

Sound somewhat familiar? It happened in Miami-Dade County in 1996, and that campaign tactic worked here too. Yes, Dana Santino defeated her opponent Greg Lerman by just under 15,000 votes in Palm Beach County on November 8th  by a count of 248,765 - 233,949.

Criminal defense attorney and FACDL member Joseph Bell wrote a post on the FACDL Blog concerning the Santino v. Lerman campaign entitled: "Fundamental rights are at stake in Palm Beach County judicial race" that can be found here.

The Santino campaign’s response to the criticism went something like this: "Mr. Lerman is not a public defender and chooses to represent individuals who may have committed heinous crimes." In addition, Santino’s campaign also used social media to attack her opponent, using a Facebook page to criticize Lerman because he "chose to represent [a] serial killer."

Palm Beach County’s Judicial Campaign Practices Commission, a judicial ethics advisory panel, weighed in on Santino’s campaign stating that: "Santino’s statement is inflammatory and ignores that such legal work is based on bedrock constitutional rights". "It implies that representing such persons is dishonorable and antithetical to the public good, when, in fact, the representation of persons accused of crimes — even heinous crimes — is an essential component of our criminal-justice system". The Commission went on to state that "the email is rife with the innuendo that Mr. Lerman would favor even the worst of the worst from the bench (whereas, by implication, Ms. Santino would not),". "The Facebook post suggests the same."

Santino’s campaign consultant, Richard Giorgio, was more blunt, responding to the Commission’s findings by stating that: "Mr. Lerman is desperate. His supporter filed this last minute complaint in an attempt to generate some press for his failing campaign." County Court Judge-Elect Santino also weighed in, stating: "I appreciate the opinion of the commission; however, as the commission itself discloses in their letter, it is just that – their opinion,"; (the commission has no power to force Santino to do anything or to punish her. It’s opinions are purely advisory). The Palm Beach Post covered the story here.

So, the next time you have the pleasure of appearing in County Court before the soon to be Honorable Judge Santino, be forewarned of the value she places in your role as an advocate for the defendant in your case.

BONUS: Who can name the winner and loser of the 1996 Miami-Dade County judicial race where this same practice of calling out your opponent for representing "criminals" took place?


The State Attorney’s Office, AKA The Office of Michael Satz, has no home. As a result of sick prosecutors and staff refusing to remain at the Broward County Courthouse 6th floor offices, the Chief Judge is looking to move the employees to either the County Law Library or across the street into offices at the 110 Tower. No less than 134 SAO employees have signed up to move due to illnesses they have experienced. The Sun Sentinel covers the story here.


Sunday, November 20, 2016


We all lead busy lives and we try and squeeze in some exercise and some entertainment but along the way we sometimes get tripped up. Thus the sad saga of ace Survivor Pool player Clayton Kaeiser who last week sent us a pick of a team he had already picked. As the emails flew back and forth at a frantic pace and the opportunities for picks slipped away, it was only when all was lost did Mr. Kaeiser realize he was communicating with US and not one of the other pools he is in. Thus, having first made a pick of a team he had picked before, and then not having fixed it in time, he defaulted out. 

Meanwhile Dan Lurvey, secure in his Sunday pick of the Ravens hadn't realized they had played on Thursday night. But he fixed his pick in time and grabbed the Giants for a MNF win and he proudly marches on.  Jason Ireland also fell last week, hoping for a Pack bounceback that fizzled. 
So now there are four!

Here are the picks this week: 

RFFB: Cowpokes; De Lao Over- NE Cheaters; Lucy Lew - Fins; Lurvey-Raiders.

In other news, the Cast Of Hamilton (great musical if you can get the ducats) ended the show with a message to VP elect Pence who was in the audience about inclusion and fairness in our society, which caused our busy Pres-elect to take to twitter to complain. Was the cast of Hamilton out of line? We say no. 
Also making twitter was the resounding standing ovation for the lines in the musical celebrating immigrants. Having seen the show, its always an applause getter, but apparently last night it was a show stopper. 

Yes, among our many varied talents, we also have our finger on the pulse of Broadway. Enjoy your Sunday. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Tragedy struck the legal community  as Monroe County Chief ASA Manny Madruga took his life this week. Here is the Keys article on the tragedy. 

Many of you know Manny as a top notch trial lawyer and State Attorney Cathy Vogel's right hand in running the Key's State Attorneys Office. 

Manny was a great prosecutor and that is how he would have wanted to be remembered. Being a prosecutor was all he cared to do, and tragically, when it became apparent that Dennis Ward, who used to be the State Attorney and was defeated by Vogel six years ago only to win the current election, was not going to keep Manny on as the chief assistant, Manny took his life. 

While Ward's actions were a cheap political shot well beneath the dignity of the office he will soon hold, he doesn't bear responsibility for this tragedy. 

Some things....the actions some people take...the feelings they have...they pain they are suffering, are unknowing and unknowable. And sometimes tragedies occur that cannot be explained. 

Such was the case this week in Key West. 

Services for Manny Madruga will be on the Friday after Thanksgiving in a church in Key West. 

See you in court. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016


As much of the world watches transfixed over the train-wreck and incompetence of a Donald J Trump led transition, we wondered how the cabinet would be filled out if we only had the denizens of the REGJB to fill the posts. 

Obviously Janet Reno as AG, since she was AG, so lets leave her out of it. 

We'll start it off.  Our appointment to the Supreme Court would be Ed Cowart, a gentleman, a scholar, and possessed of a razor sharp legal mind nestled in the old south genteelness of a different era. 

Our second choice would be the late Circuit Court judge Michael Salmon, who was scholarly and always wanted to be an appellate court judge. 

Lawyers, judges, past and present are all eligible. Have at it. 

See you in court.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


When all hope is lost and the jury has returned a verdict of guilty and the 3rd DCA has said PCA, all that is left is a 3.850.

Thus was the scene this week when a familiar face was led into a courtroom on the second floor to have his 3.850 motion heard by Judge Milton Hirsch.

It must have been difficult for Judge Hirsch to sit and listen as one of his former colleagues from the defense bar and one of his former colleagues from the bench, one Phil Davis, sat in a red jumpsuit, looking haggard and gray and all but beaten by a system that once he tried to game.

His history is all too familiar to the regular denizens of the REGJB. Electoral victor over _______(name the opponent Davis beat for super duper REGJB BLOG extra credit), Davis took a seat on the circuit court bench in the REGJB and immediately began to exhibit bizarre courtroom behavior - berating prosecutors for filing informations, and hitting up lawyers in his chambers for loans. Eventually Davis became ensnared in the infamous Courtbroom scandal. His chambers was wired and he appeared headed for a downfall until (we can't make this stuff up) Davis was defended by one Alcee Hastings- himself an impeached federal judge before being  elected to congress (only in Miami does this crap happen, right?).

While his brethren from the bench all went down and went to prison- Judges Goodhart, Gelber, Sepe and Shenberg- Davis beat the rap. An astounding acquittal based in no large part by a spellbinding closing argument from Hastings who hadn't even sat through the entire trial.

Turned loose into the world, and unfortunately himself- Davis, who beat the feds couldn't beat his own demons and found himself in State court facing a serious charge of using a charity to defraud the government. Defended by, inter alia, Don Cohn, who himself was about to be elected to the county court bench, Davis turned down a plea offer of minimal jail time only to have Judge Butchko- she of late of the Dade Business Court- sentence him to twenty plus years or so.

We've written about Davis before, notably here.
And now it's down to this. A hail mary rule 3.850. Win big and go home or lose, and do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars, and be returned to a hellish fate in prison.

There's nothing pretty about the fall when it's this big.

See you in court.

Monday, November 14, 2016


There is something in the civil court division that handles complex business cases. What could those be?  "Plaintiff sues defendant for failure to indemnify the debentured bonds issued on behalf of the party of the third part..."  Yawn...

In any event, in a decision that spilled on to the comments section of this blog for the past few posts, Judge Soto chose veteran Judges Betty Butchko and Will Thomas to fill two open spots in the complex division. Many of the comments opined that Judge Hanzman should have been selected. Judge Hanzman did indeed apply. A very successful litigator in private practice, Judge Hanzman joined the bench for all the right reasons and spent a considerable amount of time in what we consider to be THE toughest assignment for a circuit court judge: Dependency Court.

When Judge Hanzman was not selected for the complex business section, he asked to come to criminal court. His request was granted and we in the REGJB will be welcoming a premiere jurist and former top-notch litigator in 2017.

At some point during the comments, there were some misguided comments about Judge Hanzman's race, an issue that should not really occupy any important discussion. That being said, Judge Hanzman, who is caucasian, was thought to be African-American by some commentators. Eventually, Judge Hanzman had enough and posted this comment last week. His handling of the race issue was perfect- a humorous dismissal:

Michael Hanzman said...
This is Judge Hanzman. Please stop posting about business court. The Chief Judge picked two outstanding Judges who have been there longer than I have and who will do a great job. I practiced civil law my entire career and one of my goals in leaving and going on bench was to learn other areas and be exposed to different parts of our community. That is why I stayed in dependency for almost 5 years. And while I have enjoyed civil I never practiced or judged a criminal case and thought it would be an interesting new assignment. One of the benefits of our court system is the ability of Judges to be exposed to different areas of the law and this is an area I've never been exposed to. And because i have always aspired to be Federal Judge- and am considering applying- Judges who i admire and respect advised me that I should round out my experience by doing some criminal work. That is why I decided to transfer. And while i would have welcomed the opportunity to serve on our expanded business court the Chief Judge had many qualified applicants and made the choice she felt was best for the court. Her job is VERY difficult and often thankless and she does not deserve to be insulted for doing public service and working everyday to try and serve our system. If any bloggers feel they could do better join the court and contribute. Don't bitch from the sidelines. Finally, and as an aside- I'm not African American. Just a short white bald guy.

Friday, November 11, 2016 2:39:00 PM
We received some emails from some individuals purporting to be African-American who apparently want to invite Judge Hanzman to "join them". Now, first let us say that race is a sensitive subject. The African-American experience in this country, from slavery, to civil rights, to the current socioeconomic and racial issues that divide the country is no laughing matter. But in the spirit of this blog, we reprint some of the comments:

"Judge Hanzman, get yourself an ipod and download some Marvin Gaye, Donna Summer, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Jay Z, and Snoop Dog. Tune in, chill out, get your groove on, and there might be some hope for your bald-white-ass yet."

"Rumpole, if Hanzman will eat some collard greens, change his Sirius station to some soul, and read The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison as well as some Maya Angelou, then we would welcome him as an honorary brother. "

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Today is November 13. A very special day in the Rumpole Universe. Something occurred today that set in motion a series of events that ended with one of the best television shows of all time. 

The Survivor pool marches on without DOM and former winner Rick Freedman who both went down as cheeseheads last week with their untimely choice of the Packers over Indy. 

Six remain, including the mysterious Real Fake Former Judge, who has not been shy in his disdain for former Judge Colby and his partner in Survivor Pool crimes, Kenneth Weisman. 

Picks: De La O and Lurvey go Purple with the Ravens vowing to lose never more. While RFFB makes a surprising pick with the Titans, and Jason Ireland goes the other way with the Pack, ensuring at least one player out of the pool by the end of the day. Lucy Lew likes the Texans, while Clay K is still surveying the landscape as time to make his pick ticks away.   Clay K has picked the Patriots over the Seahawks for Sunday night. HOWEVER- this is conditional on his proof he picked the Ravens this past Thursday. He thinks he did, but we cannot find the email. If he can find proof he emailed us the pick of the Ravens, then we will credit it him for it. 

Coming tomorrow: Which very well respected Circuit Judge who is coming to the REGJB in the new year was forced to exclaim "I'm not black", in response chatter that he was (although he made it clear that he was merely stating a fact and it is clear to us the statement was not racially motivated in any manner.) 

Also this week: Trump's first one hundred days. We have the inside scoop.

See you in court.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


This is how it begins. With a curtain of legitimacy. After months of crude bullying and threats to destroy and jail his opponents, there is a win, and then an appeal to legitimacy. "I'm ok. I belong. All is forgiven as long as I get my way and lead."

The ascent to power comes by an appeal to racism, sexism, nativism, and anti-intellectualism. "It is the foreigners who cause our problems. I will fix it by getting rid of them and banning them."

 Scientists and intellectuals are out to get you. 

Salvation is offered only through the specific virtues of the leader, the winner, the Fuhrer. "Only I can fix it. Only I can make you safe from the foreigners trying to kill you. Not the army or the Generals. Just me." 

"I know more about our enemies than the generals. Only I can make you safe."

"Lebensraum" is the desire for living space for the German race that the foreigners (Poles and Slavs) took in previous wars. 

"I will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it."

The Treaty of Versailles crippled the German people. They cannot earn a living.  "Give me the power and only I can fix it. I will break the treaty that destroyed our country." 

NAFTA and TPP are taking away American Jobs. 
"Give me the power and I can fix it. I will break NAFTA. I will cancel TPP. I will withdraw our country from the Paris Global Warming Accords."

"Jews are engaged in a conspiracy to destroy our country. They should be rounded up. They've stolen our jobs and wrecked our economy."

"Muslims need to be banned. They are dangerous. Muslims are engaged in a conspiracy to destroy us. Foreigners are stealing your jobs. I will round up and deport ten million illegals who are murderers and rapists."

"I've given you the answers in my best selling book Mein Kampf."

"I've written a best selling book telling you how to succeed like me. The Art of the Deal." 

January 1933: Hitler elected to Chancellorship. 

February 1933:The Reichstag is set on fire by a bomb planted on orders of Hitler. Hitler blames foreigners. The Jews and the Communists. 

March 1933: Facing a crisis of national security, the (the bombing of the Reichstag) the Reichstag passes "The Enabling Act" allowing the Fuhrer to issue laws without the consent of the Reichstag (Parliament) to protect the people.

Kristallnacht November 9-10, 1938: 78 years ago this week, the mob errupts, egged on by Hitler and his party over a thousand Jews are killed, their businesses looted and destroyed  (Kristallnacht refers to all of the broken glass in the streets from the windows of Jewish businesses looted). 

2016: Crowds, egged on by their leader, chant "Lock her up" Rudy Gulliani-  candidate for attorney general- gives an interview the day after the election indicating that he will seek the indictment and prosecution of his leader's political opponent. Winning is not enough. 

Books were burned. 

Our President Elect was overwhelmingly supported by people without college educations. 

Anti-intellectualism: the hatred of those who are learned and smart thrives. Scientists are scorned. Professionals are blamed for the problems of the mob. 

Education is scorned. The mob has the power. 

This is how darkness descends upon a society and the world. 

Those who ignore the lessons of history and condemned to repeat them. 

Make no mistake about this. America will pay for it's choice this week. Greatness is not bestowed. It is earned every day. There is no such thing as  American Exceptionalism without exceptional Americans. 

There are exceptional Americans who, by virtue of their work made America Exceptional. Martin Luther King. Bobby Kennedy. Teddy Roosevelt. Woodrow Wilson. Abraham Lincoln. John Adams. Thomas Jefferson. Dwight Eisenhower. Ulysses Grant.  Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Henry Ford.  Every American who landed at Normandy. Every American who fought in the Ardennes forest during those freezing cold weeks in December, 1944. Paratroopers wearing summer uniforms, dug into the snow, stopping German tanks. 

Thurgood Marshall. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. John Kennedy who quoted poetry to Americans. Joe Louis and Jackie Roosevelt Robinson and Muhammad Ali and Rosa Parks. 

These are the people from whom American Exceptionalism sprang. 

Darkness descends when the mob rules. 

Darkness has descended upon our country. 

Where will you be when your neighbors are rounded up and deported? 

What will you do when our President's opponents are prosecuted? 

Will you speak up when our wives and daughters and our disabled friends are mocked and harassed and shamed and shunned? 

The world is watching and history will judge. 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King

ELECTION RESULTS 2016 ..... Can Somebody Please Explain the Electoral College to me


ELECTION DAY 2016 ...............



Historic, unprecedented, shocking, and clearly the biggest upset in American political history.  Nobody could ever have seen this moment coming when Trump announced his run for the presidency 17 months ago.  In an historic year, (with the Cubs winning the World Series), it should have come as no great surprise, that a person never to have held elected office, and whose claim to fame was "acting" as the host of a TV show called "The Apprentice" was elected as our next President.  For many decades to come, political scientists will analyze and dissect every aspect of this election to figure out how and why Donald Trump won.

But we have a more important question:  What the hell is the Electoral College and why does it still exist? 

Picture this.  You are a tourist in a foreign country, say Paris, France.  You are sitting in a cafĂ© and discussing the US election with your French waiter (who speaks fluent English).  He asks you the following question: "So, I understand that your election was recently decided and that Hillary Clinton received 59,814,018 votes and Donald Trump got 59,611,678 votes.  By my math, she garnered 202,340 more votes and she is your next President, No (that's how the French speak)? But I read in Le Monde (it's a French newspaper- ask Rumpole about it) that Donald Trump won the election.  How can tis be (think French accent)?

I'm curious, enlighten me on how you would explain to your friendly French waiter what the hell is going on in the greatest country in the world that claims to have the most successful democracy where your country was founded on the principal of "one man/person, one vote". 

This is the fifth time in America history, where the elected President will have received less popular votes than their opponent but enough electoral votes to win the presidency.

It happened in: 1876 (Rutherford B Hayes over Samuel Tilden - and boy was that a mess of an election); 1888 (Benjamin Harrison over President Grover Cleveland); famously in 2000 with Bush v. Gore; and now again in 2016.  In also happened in 1824 (John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson, but that election was decided in the House of Representatives under the provisions of the 12th Amendment).***

We thought about inviting Rumpole to debate His Honor Judge Milton Hirsch on this topic.  Maybe they can email each other and take a side and each post an argument on why we should or should not continue to decide our presidential elections by the Electoral vote instead of the popular vote.  Gentlemen, are you all in???

For now, we'll just ask our loyal and faithful Justice Building Blog readers to chime in on their arguments for and against the EC.  Have at it.

In other election news (winners in BLUE):



Mark Blumstein v. Luis Perez-Medina
393,437 ..................   375,531


Carol "Jodie" Breece v. Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts
372,480 ..........................  376,551


Circuit Court Group 15 Runoff

Barbara Duffy v Miami Dade ASA Abbe Rifkin
356,839 ..................................  232,254


In Monroe County, former Miami-Dade ASA Catherine "Cathy" Vogel, who was elected to the job of State Attorney for the 16th Judicial Circuit four year ago, lost her job to the man she beat in 2012, Dennis Ward.  Final totals: 20,525 - 19,173.

***The Twelfth Amendment requires the House of Representatives to immediately go into session to vote for president if no candidate for president receives a majority of the electoral votes (since 1964, 270 of the 538 electoral votes). In this event, the House of Representatives is limited to choosing from among the three candidates who received the most electoral votes for president. Each state delegation votes en bloc – each delegation having a single vote; the District of Columbia does not receive a vote. A candidate must receive an absolute majority of state delegation votes (i.e., at present, a minimum of 26 votes) in order for that candidate to become the President-elect. Additionally, delegations from at least two-thirds of all the states must be present for voting to take place. The House continues balloting until it elects a president.

The House of Representatives has chosen the president only twice: in 1801 under Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 and in 1825 under the Twelfth Amendment. (In the election of 1800, candidates Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each ended up with 73 electoral votes). (In the election of 1824, none of the four candidates for President received a majority of the electoral votes. This election is the only time since the passage of the 12th amendment that the House of Representatives decided the outcome. Andrew Jackson 99 and John Quincy Adams 84 were the top two vote-getters with Adams getting the nod from the House).


Monday, November 07, 2016


ELECTION UPDATE: At 10:00 PM EST The NY Times is estimating a 73% chance that Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States with 280 electoral votes. 
What we are seeing is clearly a "Brexit" vote with rural counties and voters previously uncounted in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire and possibly Pennsylvania turning out in numbers not previously predicted and allowing Trump to be competitive and win states that no one thought Trump had a chance to win. 
Clinton will NOT win Florida. 

JANET RENO, Former Dade State Attorney and Former Attorney General Of the United States, has passed away at age 78. 

She was born and raised on the edge of the Everglades into a Miami that no longer exists. She was- in the simplest and non-racial sense of the word- a Florida Cracker. Raised by parents who were  muck-racking journalists, she returned to Miami with a Harvard law degree and expressed surprise when then State Attorney Richard Gerstein offered her a job because she and her parents had been so critical of him. 

She replaced a legend and became an even greater legend. 

As State Attorney in Miami she presided over the crime explosion from the Mariel Boat expatriation; the explosion of crack-cocaine and the influx of drug money that led to multiple corruption scandals in the police department and the judiciary. 

Through it all, as Miami rioted and burned, she sent her prosecutors to court with one simple directive- Go where the evidence takes you. 

This simple philosophy would in turn make her the moral compass of a nation during her eight years as Attorney General (the longest term in 150 years) as the nation reeled from sexual and financial scandals that marred the Clinton administration.  

We chuckled to ourselves as Janet settled into Washington, DC. "They have no idea what they've gotten themselves into."

Not one ever to be influenced by "old-boy" blackslapping politics and backroom deals, she befriended Justice Department janitors who accompanied her to church, and she spurned the trappings of power, flying regular coach when spending the tax-payers money on government business. 

When she made a mistake or things went wrong she went Harry Truman and told the congress that the buck stopped with her on the decision to send the FBI to raid a compound in Waco, Texas.  When things went right she stood in the background and let the line prosecutors have their moment in the sun. 

She was the most honest and ethical person we have ever met. She was intelligent, hardworking (bringing a sleeping bag into the State Attorneys Office to work on weekends), a true Floridian and a great American and someone we were proud to call friend. 

Rest in Peace Janet. You made us all proud. 

Sunday, November 06, 2016


Happy Birthday  Sy Gaer.
11/6/1931- 8/7/2007.

Korean War combat veteran.
Trial lawyer.
Justice Building legend and friend and mentor to scores of young prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys.

We miss him every day we walk into the REGJB. The courthouse has never been the same since he left us.


Last week saw the end of the comedic duo Colby/Weisman as both went down on the same pick. However those who picked the game that ended in a tie continue on pursuant to rule 3.1 which clearly states that an entrant who picks "a team that loses" is out of the contest. See also, Gowdy ex rel Madison...

This week saw ill advised picks by David O Markus and Rick Freedman, who both bowed out when the Packers were upset by the Colts.

Here are your surviving six:

Lew & Lurvey (Saints);
Real Fake Former Judge (Fins);
De La O & Ireland (Cowpokes);
Clay Kaeiser (Chiefs).

Thursday, November 03, 2016


It was, quite simply, the greatest game ever played. 
Not the greatest baseball game ever played. The greatest game ever played. Period. 

It had strategy decisions by the top managers in the the game that will be debated for decades. Maddon removes Hendricks in the fifth for Lester??

It had the best pitchers in the game on both sides giving up more runs in one game then they did in all of the playoffs. 

It had the home team hitting a game tying home run by Rajai  Davis of the Indians after his team came back from 5-1 and 6-3 deficits. 

It had a rain delay. 

It had pitchers on the mound in the end who were afterthoughts and here they were with the game on the line, game 7 of the world series. 

It had a home run by the oldest player ever to hit a home run in game seven, beating Wilver Dornel  Stargell's record at age 39 in 1979 for the Pittsburgh Pirates by three days. 

It went to extra innings. 

And it was won by a team that hadn't won a championship in 108 years. No one on earth is alive from the last time the Cubs won a world series. 

Cubs win. 

Cubs win. 

Bless the souls of Harry Caray and Ernie Banks. 

Cubs win. 

Well done Chicago Cubs. 
Well done indeed. 

Big Rico trial going on. Anyone have any updates? Don't see those in the REGJB very often.