Thursday, April 19, 2018




While most of our loyal readers have been focusing on the really important issues of the day - Trump, North Korea, Comey and his new book, and Attorney/Client Privilege via the Michael Cohen case, many of you may have missed the latest on the venerable CRC - a/k/a Florida’s CONSTITUTION REVISION COMMISSION.

For those not in the know, the CRC is reborn once every 20 years in the State of Florida. Its mandate is to review the Florida Constitution and propose changes for voters to consider. For the past year, at dozens of public meetings held around the State, the 37 members have been listening to the voters of Florida. The membership of the CRC is overwhelmingly chosen by only three elected leaders, all Republican; 34 of the 37 members were selected by Governor Rick Scott, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, and Senate President Joe Negron.

After spending the past year listening to proposed amendments to our state constitution, the members whittled down the list of ideas to 23 workable proposals for final consideration. Those 23 proposals were reduced to 11 proposed final drafts for consideration by the CRC. And on Monday, after nine hours of debate between the members of the CRC, they voted to approve eight amendments to go before the voters in November, while rejecting three others.

You can read the Title and Content of each of the eight amendments by going here:

The Amendments range in subject from: Crime victims; judges; first responders and the military; public colleges & universities; school boards; offshore drilling; vaping; property rights; lobbying; and the oh so important industry of dog racing.

Today, we focus on just one amendment, P6001: "RIGHTS OF CRIME VICTIMS; JUDGES". The proposed amendment/s would create a new constitutional right for crime victims to receive information and provide input during criminal cases. Known as "Marcy’s Law", the measure would, among other things, establish a right for the safety of victims and their family members to be considered when bail is set in criminal cases. The package of amendments also includes expanding the mandatory retirement age for judges (from the current age 70) to age 75, while also eliminating the provision permitting judges to serve out their term if they had served more than half their term by the time they reached retirement age.

Here is just some of the language:

(b) To preserve and protect the right of crime victims to achieve justice, ensure a meaningful role throughout the criminal and juvenile justice systems for crime victims, and ensure that crime victims’ rights and interests are respected and protected by law in a manner no less vigorous than

protections afforded to criminal defendants and juvenile delinquents, every victim is entitled to the following rights, beginning at the time of his or her victimization ...

(10) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay, and to a prompt and final conclusion of the case and any related postjudgment proceedings.

a. The state attorney may file a good faith demand for a speedy trial and the trial court shall hold a calendar call, with notice, within fifteen days of the filing demand, to schedule a trial to commence at a date at least five days but no more than sixty days after the date of the calendar call unless the trial judge enters an order with specific findings of fact justifying a trial date more than sixty days after the calendar call.

b. All state-level appeals and collateral attacks on any judgment must be complete within two years from the date of appeal in non-capital cases and five years in capital cases, unless a court enters an order with specific findings as to why the court was unable to comply with this subparagraph and the circumstances causing the delay. Each year, the chief judge of any district court of appeal or the chief justice of the supreme court shall report on a case-by-case basis to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate all cases where the court entered an order regarding inability to comply with this subparagraph. The legislature may enact legislation to implement this subparagraph.

The entire proposed amendment P6001 can be read by going here.

For any of the amendments to become law, they must win the support of 60% of the voters.


As alluded to in the Comments section last week, veteran Judge David Miller has drawn opposition, again. This time it is from Elisabeth Espinosa, a ten year member of The Florida Bar. According to her bio, she is a partner at Cole, Scott’s Miami office and she defends insurance cases. She was an ASA in Orange County for six years, and also spent time as a criminal defense attorney. She states that she has tried over 70 jury trials.



Anonymous said...

I would vote for a dog before I would vote for David Miller.

Anonymous said...

I understand support for the idea that crime victims ought not have to wait an inordinate amount of time for their case to close with a judgment, and that the State Attorney's Office is the proper party to introduce some kind of "motion" to move things along for the victims.

The de facto results of this kind of change, however, could include:

1. Defense attorneys going to trial before proper preparation has been done

2. More defendants being unable to afford the elevated costs required by a private attorney to prioritize a "speedy" case and so instead using the PD, who will need more lawyers

The first consequence exacts an enormous social cost and the second exacts a financial cost on the taxpayers. These "costs" need to be part of the debate.




The JNC has met and sent ten names to Governor Scott to replace retiring Judge Gerald Bagley and due to the resignation of Judge Antonio Marin. They are:

1. Honorable William Ira Altfield
2. Honorable Alexander S. Bokor
3. Honorable Tanya J. Brinkley
4. Honorable Dawn Veronica Denaro
5. Honorable Carlos M. Guzman
6. Ayana N. Harris
7. Julie Harris Nelson
8. Carlos Lopez
9. Luis Perez-Medina
10.Honorable Andrea Ricker Wolfson

CAP OUT .......




You still have another chance to get your application in to become a Circuit Court Judge. As was discussed on this Blog, Judge Sarah Zabel has resigned. The JNC is accepting application with a deadline of Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

Your application should be delivered to:

Hans Ottinot (Chair)
City Attorney’s Office for
the City of Sunny Isles Beach
18070 Collins Avenue, 4th Floor
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160
Tel.: 305-792-1765/ Fax: 305-792-1562

CAP OUT .....

Fido said...

Thank you 11:50 AM

Anonymous said...

Dear Fido,

If you've been a dog in the courthouse for more than 5 years, you are qualified and a much better candidate than that Miller guy. If I am nice to you, you'll lick me and not bite me like that Miller guy would, (unless you're a cop or prosecutor)......

Anonymous said...

Update...Miller v. Espinosa. Round Two. 30+ motions to disqualify Judge Miller filed by CSK - denied. Prohibition Writ filed in the Third.

Anonymous said...

If this goes through, the defendant should have a right to counsel with respect to victim's participation. Otherwise, the defendant will be required to respond to two different parties whose interests may be different, or who may coordinate their strategy to increase their chances of conviction and a harsh sentence. I can understand a civil party being faced with two opponents. But where a defendant is fighting for his liberty or life, he shouldn't be confronted by two adversaries.

Would the defendant have to file responses to both parties? will there be three podiums and three counsel tables in the courtroom? Will the victim be able to participate in voir dire? Do both parties get to cross-examine defense witnesses and depose defense witnesses? Does the victim have a Brady obligation? A job to seek justice rather than convictions? Can the victim conduct its own forensic testing of physical evidence? What if the defendant is alleged to have been reckless when his car hit a bus? Do all the passengers get their own victims' counsel?

There is already constitutional and statutory protection for the rights of victims in criminal cases. Sounds like someone is trying to raise her profile in advance of her campaign for a more elevated office than she holds now

Anonymous said...

If Judge Wolfson does not get appointed on this round of appointments it would be absurd. She is one of the best judges in County and at this point, I think it is clear the reason that she has not yet been appointed. I hope that if she doesn’t get appointed that she runs for circuit.

Anonymous said...


Don’t lie cheat and hide evidence and he won’t sanction you.

Anonymous said...

SIR KENNETH — emergency!

I am going to San Francisco next week. With my best girl. No time to find the old great concierge at The Cliff Hotel named Steve.

What do you think of the restaurants Seven Hills for Italian and a new Middle Eastern charmer named Mourad?

Please help.

Anonymous said...

We should all be fighting the CRC issue.

On a side note. How annoying is getting a million emails for Jordan dresnick? I don't really know the guy, but isn't there some issues with DCBA and him and overspending? Who do we vote for? Patrick is a nice guy. Jordan's email are just annoying.

Anonymous said...

David Miller is a good judge. The hoopla is all media fodder. He has common sense and knows the law. He usually does what is right. No one has ever whispered he was impaired during trial or suspected of consuming alcohol during lunch or having self medicated before a trial. More productive for the detractors to dedicate their energy on something beneficial to society and focus on the unqualified judges. We have judges who do not deserve to be on the bench. We have judge do not work, have no judicial sense and even some who are emotionally impaired. The whispers about some judge are so deafening loud. The whispers cause the administration to shelve the judge in place to protect them and keep their failings out of site. Judges are regularly forced to rotate. So why have certain judges never rotated out of criminal, never gone to civil and are shielded in a can do no wrong even if you try division. If judge are forced to rotate why have particular judges stayed in a defendants are guilty over and over division forever. Is it something the public should know. So to the Miller detractors I say put your nose to the ground and pick a more worthwhile candidate for your fodder.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thinks that CSK putting this kid up against Miller is the most cynical thing we've seen in a long time?

If the Third endorses this by granting the WoP, you can expect to see more and more of this kind of thing.

I wonder how CSK decided which associate to put up for the seat:

"Hey, Dick. Who can we spare?"

"Well, Tom, this Espinosa kid isn't too busy billing insurance companies $125 per hour. And she's no longer chair of the birthday committee, so really we can afford to let her go."

"Alrighty then, Dick. Tell her she's going to be a judge."

Anonymous said...

Judge Miller was chosen to run against by a Hispanic woman with a disrespected insurance defense firm only because of his Anglo name. . David was a good trial lawyer before he became a judge and is well respected as a judge. He works very hard and has held hearings at 7;00 Am if necessary and its very easy to get on his calendar on short notice. Even though he ruled against me on a summary judgment he wished us well on appeal. And when we got it reversed he congratulated us and in fact approved higher attorney fees because of the complexity of the case. He is heads and shoulders above this 10 year insurance attorney. We should condemn when a Latin runs against an Anglo or a black thinking the demographics of dade county will just vote based upon the last name.

Anonymous said...

Get Black off the icon.PLEASE


following up on 6:18 PM's comment, the DBR has written a story just posted online:

Election Rivalry Fuels Law Firm's Bid to Remove Judge

The move prompted claims Florida law firm used its deep pockets to strategically throw a sitting judge from its litigation.

By Samantha Joseph | April 20, 2018 at 12:38 PM

Cole Scott & Kissane, Florida’s largest insurance defense firm, has filed 38 motions to disqualify Judge David C. Miller from it cases after one of its attorneys filed to run against him in the November general election.

The move has prompted claims the firm is using its deep pockets to strategically throw a sitting judge off its litigation by pitting one of its lawyers against him in the political arena. It also caused an uproar among plaintiff lawyers, who say they’d have to start over before new judges in dozens of cases if Cole Scott succeeds.

The firm filed 33 motions to disqualify Miller and five sua sponte recusal requests, which ask the judge to remove himself without a motion.

Cole Scott partner Elisabeth M. Espinosa filed on April 5 to challenge Miller for his seat in Division 8.

Now, questions are swirling about why Espinosa chose to run against a judge handling dozens of the firm’s cases.

“We’re the largest insurance defense firm in the state of Florida, so to have 30 cases in front of any judge is not surprising. That would be rather standard,” law firm managing partner Richard Cole said Friday. “I have no way to control where Ms. Espinosa runs for judge. … That’s her decision.”

The firm’s website listed Espinosa an associate earlier this month, but it now describes her as a partner. Cole said Espinosa became a nonequity partner “recently,” but “not this week,” and declined to elaborate.

Critics say Cole Scott & Kissane promoted Espinosa to bolster its bid for Miller’s removal by arguing that a firm with a partner—not an associate— running against a judge would likely be a victim of unfair rulings.

“This has much broader implications. The motions for recusal have very little to do with the actions of Judge Miller,” said plaintiffs lawyer Victor M. Diaz Jr. “It’s scary. It’s an attack on the independence of the judiciary, and an attempt to intimidate state court judges that are subject to election or reelection. It should be offensive to every member of the bar, of concern to all lawyers and every sitting circuit court judge.”

Cap Out .....

South Beach Dandy said...

For my taste and money...ooogha!! It's dosa by DOSA or ...and I love just love this name...oooogha! Funky Elephant.

Millennial Me said...

Mourad is for self-important chumps with no real discerning taste for food. And the Cliff Hotel?? SOOOOOOOO 1980's. Really. Dump your flip-phone and join the world pal.

PS- Everyone miss me?

Anonymous said...

And CSK made her a Howdy Partner like ten minutes ago, presumably to shore up its pathetic argument that her candidacy is imputed to the largest insurance defense firm in the State. A week ago its website listed her as an associate and today she shows up as a "Partner." It's one thing to be an evil genius, but a whole other thing to be evil and stupid. I wonder if this Useful Idiot knows what she got herself into. Sad!

Anonymous said...

Total massive MM smackdown of the so be dandy

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to the cached version of Ms. Espinosa's profile on CSK's website as of March 5th 2018... https://web.archive.org/web/20160305045703/https://www.csklegal.com/attorney/elisabeth-espinosa/

It says she's an associate.

Judge Miller is a thoughtful and intelligent member of our judiciary who's served this community for years. It's telling that the only person who would challenge him is someone who's spent the majority of her career outside of Miami-Dade, and who hadn't made partner until she decided to run for office.

Kudos to her though, I hope she gets to keep the new title even aftershe loses.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a copy of the Miller orders denying the CSK motions to recuse?

Anonymous said...

Miller v. Espinosa update. A second prohibition writ has been filed in the Third. Case Nos. 3D-18-755 & 3D18-786. Issue of first impression to impute a candidate's conflict to an entire law firm (the largest insurance defense firm in the state), so expect a written opinion, hopefully shutting this down right now IMHO. Trust in the judiciary is already circling the drain. This kind of blatant manipulation by big biz cannot stand, or whatever trust is left in the judicial branch will vanish.

Anonymous said...

From today's DBR:

“I have no way to control where Ms. Espinosa runs for judge," Cole Scott & Kissane managing partner Richard Cole said. "That’s her decision.”

Seriously Dick?

Anonymous said...

Miller v. Espinosa Update - Round 3:

First fundraiser invitation for the challenger, hosted on 5/9 by CSK, Falk Waas, United Auto Insurance Company and Patrick Knight & Associates (captive counsel for United Auto).

Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:53 a.m. - you can pull them off the trial court dockets

Case Nos. 17-2393 and 17-12776

Anonymous said...

Miller v. Espinosa update:
CSK has filed a third Petition for Writ of Prohibition. Stay tuned.

Case No. 3D18-790


Lower Tribunal Case(s): 18-630

Anonymous said...

This just in.... 14 Petitions for Writ of Prohibition pending in the Third District, in which Cole Scott seeks to be rid of Judge Miller, just because... .
More to come. Too many to list in a stunning display of judicial manipulation. Game the system. No one does it better than an insurance defense firm.