Wednesday, January 03, 2018


Everybody knows that the secret to a successful Judge is an efficient and pleasant JA. In past years Broweird was notorious for JA's that refused to calendar cases. Call and ask, and they told you to file a motion. File a motion, and they'd tell you they didn't receive it. Ask to fax it and they'd say they don't have a fax. Hand deliver it, and they'd say they don't calendar cases with motions. It was a no-win situation which was made worse, we suspect, when the JA sniffed out a 305 or 786 area code associated with the lawyer. Just sayin...

Before we post the comment we received yesterday, let us first say that being a JA is a thankless job. The hours are long, the pay is low, and for every efficient attorney who feels like they're getting the run-around, there are plenty of our brethren who have no idea what they are doing, and treat JAs, clerks, bailiffs with disrespect.  A good JA can save your case and your client, and a disgruntled JA can sink you. 
Within the last year, some of the more efficient robed-readers have taken to having their JA email lawyers reminding them about their case set for the following day. In our view, that is above and beyond the call of duty. One of a lawyer's first responsibilities is to learn how to keep an accurate calendar. 

With that in mind,  we print this comment we received yesterday: 


I am in the office today and I am trying to set matters on calendar that I could not for the past two weeks because judges and staff have been on vacation. Now that I am getting JAs on the phone, I am getting a lot of passive aggressive groans, underhanded complaints, exasperated sighs, and so on...just because I need to put such-and-such on calendar.

I am trying to be pleasant. I am being patient and understanding. I get that this is the first day back and things are a bit hectic. But this attitude is not limited to the day after New Years. Some JAs always treat us like they are doing us a grand favor by putting a matter on calendar. Not all JAs - some are wonderful and nothing but helpful. But a good number are nasty on the phone, and that's uncalled for.

So Rump - I call on you, to advise a solution to the constant kerfuffle between defense attorneys and their staff and the judicial assistants. Could we perhaps move to an online scheduling system for criminal so that JAs don't have to manually set our dates? I would love to hear a JAs perspective - what can we do to make your jobs easier?

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, January 02, 2018 11:21:00

Rumpole replies: 
We absolutely cannot have an online scheduling system. This is what would occur:

1) 10:25 AM: Upon trying to log on, your password will not be accepted. So you click "forgot password" and enter your email. 
2) 10:45 AM: You still have not received the email link to update your password. 
3) 10:46 AM: You go through the reset password routine again. 
4) 10:51 AM: A "reset your password" email arrives. However, when you click on it, it has expired because you did it twice. 
5) 11:22 AM: Another email to reset your password arrives and you click on it. 
6) 11:26 AM: Your password is too long- rejected. 
7) 11:27 AM: Your password is too short-rejected. 
This is called the "Goldilocks Password Paradox" from which there is little hope of being saved. 
8) 11:35 You call the IT help line and are promptly disconnected.
9) 11:40 You call the IT help line and are placed on hold. "You are second in line. Approximate hold time is one hour, forty-seven minutes."
10) A martini at lunch is looking better and better.
11) By 2:00 PM all issues are resolved and you log on to the system. You have an emergency bond motion that you need to get heard on the Thursday or Friday before a holiday weekend.
12) 2:25 PM: The calendar system reveals that the first available date is in seven weeks. 
13) 2:45 PM: You call the JA and leave a message. 
14) 3:35 PM: The bailiff calls you back and tells you that to schedule a hearing, you need to use the on-line system. You explain that it is an emergency hearing. The bailiff replies that the JA and Judge are on vacation and Judge XYZ is covering. 
15) 3:42 PM:You call XYZ chambers and the JA tells you to use the on-line system. You explain the emergency and the JA responds that the Judge on vacation left instructions for nothing to be calendared in their absence other than an emergency. You explain (again) that it is an emergency. The JA tells you to call the chief Administrative Judge. 
16) 3:54 PM: You call the Chief Administrative Judge and leave a message. 
17) At 4:12 PM the bailiff calls you back to tell you the JA and the Judge are gone for the day. 

Should we go on? 

From Occupied America, Day three, year two, fight the power!. 


Anonymous said...

Much ado about nothing, Rumpole. I'll ignore the issues with the password because this is 2018. Each day would have 2-4 calendar options: Status, Plea, Motion, Emergency Motion. There could be more or less, but I'm giving an example. Then you cap certain calendars with a certain number of cases (10 for status, 10 for plea, 5 for motion, etc). The clerk sets up a system for the Emergency Motion calendar whereby the Judge/JA is notified so they can review the motion and make sure it is truly an emergency or not. Again, this is 2018, so there can be a computerized system to notify the relevant parties (including a covering judge). This would free up a lot of time for the JAs, who could then hand hold certain defense attorneys who have unique issues that can't be addressed by the online scheduling system. It also brings us in line with (yes, here it is agian)...2018.

Anonymous said...

Now this is the Rump I know and love! Leading the charge on all matters related to the courthouse!

Anonymous said...

E-scheduling is totally easy. Just integrate it with the efile portal, which all of us are already signed up for with passwords and logins (if you're not, you cannot file anything in Miami-Dade criminal court).

When you upload your documents and select parties for service, the last menu that comes up should be for scheduling. You may elect to schedule hearing or decline (if you are just filing an NOA or something like that). If you click to schedule hearing, you will be taken to a page where you can select your date/time. If dates/times are unavailable, they should be blocked off.

It's really easy and would save everybody time. Defense attorneys don't have to wait for JAs to answer the phone and JAs don't have to spend their time scheduling our hearings.

Rumpole said...

You think I'm fooling about e-filing. I'm not. Wait until you need to do something- one thing slightly out of the ordinary- and then see what happens.
Look at the ridiculous state e-filing portal. Trying finding any number of daily motions we file on the list. Not there. So you have to chose "motion/motion" they can't even get the Notice of Appearance, plea of not guilty, demand for discovery correct. They have it totally f'd up.

First e-filing. Then e-ruling. They will just program some AI robot to stamp "DENIED" on all the filings.
Tech is not all good.

Real Fake Former Perkins & Peckins said...

MM is burning up twitter today. She's all freaked out it's getting cold out and she's home drinking soup and watching old movies and complaining about the cold.
She's definitely kinda funny in her own, self absorbed way. And I'm not out of line saying she posted a very vague picture of herself on twitter that definitely makes you want to see more, if only to see exactly who she is.

Anonymous said...

If that is not the best name that has ever been on the blog, then I don't know what is:
"Real Fake Former Perkins & Peckins" freaking hilarious. I came on to blog about an idiot ASA in Juvie, but that just made me laugh so props to the poster

Anonymous said...

Manafort filed lawsuit seeking to declare his indictment beyond the scope of the special counsel's jurisdiction. DOJ spokesman calls the lawsuit "frivolous." I read the complaint and perhaps it's not a winner, but the claim the lawsuit is "frivolous" seems itself frivolous. Maybe Trump should fire DOJ spokesman? What do you think MM / BTDT?

Anonymous said...

Everyone complains about e-filing not having the title of the document you are filing. Who cares?! Just select some generic one and file the damn document. It has no bearing on how accurate or correct it may be.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, JAs are the power behind the throne. Big problem. Another issue, opposing counsel who refuse to agree to a date/time for a hearing.

Hillsborough (13th Circuit) and Pinellas (6th Circuit) Counties use JAWS - Judicial Automated Workflow System, to schedule hearings and accept proposed orders.


The 12th Circuit uses Judicial Automated Calendaring System (JACS)


E-portal is a godsend to nonlawyers appearing pro se. By contrast, the Middle District of Florida does not allow nonlawyers appearing pro se to use CM/ECF.

@10.46 AM "Everyone complains about e-filing not having the title of the document you are filing. Who cares?! Just select some generic one and file the damn document. It has no bearing on how accurate or correct it may be."

It depends upon whom you ask. The Marion County clerk hangs on the title of the document you are filing like dear life. I think it is a matter of taking the time to find the right title, which is rushed when filing. I would like to see the list of titles somewhere to review off-line. Once you use a particular title, it should appear in the first box of titles on the portal.

Can/Should Computers Replace Judges? Computers should be used to check orders/judgments of judges for compliance with law. If there is a discrepancy, further review should occur.

D'Amato, Anthony, "Can/Should Computers Replace Judges?" (1977). Faculty Working Papers. 129. https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/facultyworkingpapers/129

Introduction: "The most important inquiry in jurisprudence has always seemed to me to be whether it is possible to have the rule of law rather than the rule of persons..."

Also see, The Yale Law Journal - Forum: Judges in Jeopardy!: Could IBM’s Watson Beat Courts at Their Own Game? https://www.yalelawjournal.org/forum/judges-in-jeopardy-could-ibms-watson-beat-courts-at-their-own-game

Also see, Technology-Assisted Review: The Judicial Pioneers

ABA Legal Technology Resource Center

Eventually replace lawyer-judges with professional judges. Go to judge school to be a judge. Go to law school to be a lawyer. Two different professions.

Of course, it may be better to know the judge than to know the law.