Tuesday, October 30, 2018


The State Attorneys Office  lost a great one when ASA David Gilbert retired at the end of October. 
Great is a term often overused, but in Mr. Gilbert's case, it doesn't seem enough.

David Hugging a surviving victim in an awful mass shooting case 

Mr. Gilbert has been a fixture at the courthouse and the SAO roaming the halls and courtrooms (back in the 70's and 80's in his trademark three piece suit) handling many of the toughest cases the State Attorney's Office prosecuted. Homicide cases. DUI Manslaughter cases. And not just slam-dunk cases with DNA, video and confessions. But the types of cases that merited a trial, where there was a story to tell on each side. And Mr. Gilbert did it with exceptional skill, style, and the type of fairness not often seen from lawyers on either side of a case. 

Mr. Gilbert representing the SAO on the Justin Bieber DUI case (not one of his more serious cases) 

From the defense bar viewpoint, Mr. Gilbert was the type of prosecutor you could feel comfortable speaking with. You knew he was going to seek justice wherever the road took him. And if justice meant a more lenient plea, or even a dismissal, David Gilbert was the prosecutor you wanted to work with. If justice meant a trial and a stiff or maximum sentence, then you knew you were in for a fight- a fair fight- but a fight. 

We will not see his like again very soon. And we in the criminal justice system have all benefited from having a man like Mr. Gilbert working for justice. 
We wish him Godspeed in a well earned retirement. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018


Pittsburgh is a proud city. A peaceful city. A city that bursts with public pride in itself, its people, its beloved sports teams, and its transformation from steel to tech. It is a city profoundly dedicated to family and friends. 

Today Pittsburgh mourns and we all mourn with Pittsburgh. 
Pittsburgh has a large Jewish community that began settling in Western Pennsylvania just before the Civil War. Saturday witnessed the largest and deadliest  individual attack against Jewish Americans in the history of the United States. 

The Anti-Defamation League reports a 70% increase in Anti-Semitic attacks  between 2016 and 2017. We now see candidates for public office repeating in public the right-wing hateful speech of "Jewish Conspiracies".  An African-American "minister" said in 2018 that Jews were his enemies and were "termites". 

What happened in Pittsburgh in Saturday didn't just happen. It was bound to happen. And that is a serious problem we all need to confront and address. 

Today we are all Pittsburghers. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2018




This past Monday and Tuesday, the 3rd DCA JNC interviewed a total of 17 for two open seats on the appellate court.  Today, the JNC narrowed the list to ten and forwarded those names to Governor Scott for his consideration.  The list includes six current and one former judge among the ten nominees.

Governor Scott has 60 days to name replacements for Judges Leslie Rothenberg and Richard Suarez. The two new judges will likely be chosen just two weeks before Scott leaves office as a lame duck Governor.

The list of nominees (click on the names of the last three listed below to be taken to their complete bio):

Hon. Monica Gordo
- 19 years Florida Bar; Circuit Court Family Division; eight years on the bench; former ASA

Hon. Eric Hendon
- 39 years Florida Bar; Circuit Court Criminal Division;  sixteen years on the bench; former ASA, APD, AAG

Hon. Timothy Koenig
- 34 years Florida Bar; Circuit Court Monroe County; four years on the bench; thirty years in private practice

Hon. Fleur Lobree
- 26 years Florida Bar; former Circuit Court judge (2 years) and County Court judge (1 year); former AAG, ASA

Hon. Bronwyn Miller
- 21 years Florida Bar; Circuit Court Civil Division; thirteen years on the bench; former ASA

Hon. Thomas Rebull
- 21 years Florida Bar; Circuit Court Civil Division; seven years on the bench; fourteen years in private practice

Hon. Lisa Walsh
- 26 years Florida Bar; Circuit Court Criminal Division; ten years on the bench; former APD

Oren Rosenthal 
-22 years Florida Bar; currently an Assistant Miami-Dade County Attorney; Oren Rosenthal currently serves as the lead attorney for the Miami-Dade Elections Department and the Information Technology Department. Oren has previously served as a member of the Federal Litigation section of the office. Oren is experienced as a litigator and as a transactional lawyer. Oren's litigation experience includes federal civil rights suits, intellectual property claims, complex commercial matters, as well as challenges to elections and the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter. Oren has also handled numerous appeals before both state and federal appellate courts.

Ann St. Peter-Griffith
-24 years Florida Bar; currently with Kasowitz, Benson, Torres LLP; has a national practice that focuses on all aspects of complex commercial litigation, including health care, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, False Claims Act, product liability, constitutional, and employment discrimination cases in federal and state trial and appellate courts. Also represents health care clients in civil and criminal matters throughout the United States. Former AUSA. 

Melissa Damian Visconti
-23 years Florida Bar; currently Of Counsel to Damian & Valori; experienced trial and appellate lawyer who has appeared in state and federal courts across Florida and around the country. Ms. Visconti is Of Counsel to the Firm and focuses her practice in the areas of state and federal court appeals, complex litigation, and receiverships. Ms. Visconti has extensive experience in state and federal appeals courts, as well as in the areas of products liability, whistleblower and False Claims Act cases, securities, multidistrict litigation, and class action litigation. She is also experienced in criminal law, advising clients who are the subjects of or material witnesses in federal and state investigations

Who didn’t make the final cut:

Hon. Jason Bloch
Hon. Alexander Bokor
Hon. George Sarduy
Hon. Angelica Zayas
Jeffrey Geldens
Kansas Gooden
Edward Guedes

Predictions anyone?


Monday, October 22, 2018


Sad news has reached us today. We forward the email we received that was sent by Jeff Weiner: 

Sad news: the death of a kind and compassionate fellow defense attorney and judge, D. Bruce Levy. Bruce was a former Assistant Public Defender and a circuit court judge. He was a true gentleman, and the kind of judge we all want to appear before. (Unlike too many judges), Bruce honored our Bill of Rights and was fair, smart and courteous to all. He was respected by everyone. To sum it up, Bruce was a great guy!

He will be missed.

Well said Mr. Weiner. 
Judge Levy was all of those things and more. In these troubled times, when many Judges, lawyers, and everyone else sometimes lack the courage to speak up, Bruce Levy was one of those people. He spent his professional life righting wrongs. What better way to live? He has been missed and he will continue to be missed and remembered.


Item: A caravan of refuges escaping the gang violence of Honduras has grown to approximately 7,000 people. See the NPR story here

Many of these migrants are fleeing poverty and violence.

At the border, a woman named Maria tells James, "It was our decision."

"We asked for people to give us rides, we sold the little we had to come," she added. "I'm doing this for my daughters and granddaughters."

James tells NPR that people at the border say they'll do whatever is asked of them, as long as they aren't sent back to Honduras.
Over the weekend Trump called the people in caravan "Hardened Criminals."
That kid in the yellow shirt looks muy peligroso 

Any thoughts that the above actually means something, should be put to rest by this: 
From occupied America where words that once gave comfort to the world are tossed into the trash bin by an  utterly amoral idiot. So....FIGHT THE POWER.
Rumpole has been traveling in Europe. We haven't had full internet access for a while and we thank the Captain for keeping the posts coming. We can report that our European compatriots are completely puzzled by what we have done to ourselves. But they are now taking stock of a new world order, where the US not only doesn't lead in advocating for human rights, controlling and reversing global warming, and collective security and peace, but actually works against those goals. Mark our words. Europeans have written us off for the foreseeable future. And when this darkness that has descended upon us lifts, like a significant other that has discovered their partner is cheating, they will NOT welcome us back with open arms. We will have to re-earn their trust and respect and it will take decades. 

Friday, October 19, 2018




The application deadline has passed, and you’ll be happy to know that Judge Michael Hanzman and Judge Milton Hirsch will not be leaving the trial bench any time soon. Neither of them applied for the two open seats on the 3rd DCA due to the resignations of Judge Leslie Rothenberg and Judge Richard Suarez. Judge Lisa Walsh though is one of the 17 applicants*** that will be interviewed next week. A total of nine current and two former judges are among the applicants. Two, Judge Alexander Bokor and Edward Guedes are also being interviewed for the three open seats on the Florida Supreme Court.

The interviews will take place on Monday, October 22, 2018 and Tuesday, October 23, 2018. Those being interviewed include:

Hon. Jason Bloch

Hon. Alexander Bokor

Jeffrey R. Geldens

Kansas R. Gooden

Hon. Monica Gordo

Edward G. Guedes

Hon. Eric W. Hendon

Hon. Timothy J. Koenig (Monroe County)

Hon. Fleur J. Lobree

Hon. Bronwyn C. Miller

Ann M. St. Peter-Griffith

Hon. Thomas J. Rebull

Oren Rosenthal

Hon. George A. R. Sarduy

Melissa Damian Visconti

Hon. Lisa S. Walsh

Hon. Angelica D. Zayas

***It was rumored that Rumpole was personally asked to apply.  In response to the request, he issued a one word PCA that read: "Overqualified".

Members of the public are invited to attend the interviews (they are being held at the law offices of DLA Piper) and also are urged to contact the commission concerning the applicants. Please consider emailing any comments concerning any of the applicants to the JNC Chair:

Harout J. Samra, Chair
200 S. Biscayne Blvd., Suite 2500
Miami, FL 33131-5341
Tel: 305-423-8534
Email: harout.samra@dlapiper.com

Predictions anyone ?????


Wednesday, October 17, 2018




You can love him, you can hate him (nobody really does), but one thing we can all agree about BRIAN L. TANNEBAUM, is that he and Senator Ted Cruz were born from the same mother and father.

The Florida Bar, you know, that organization that you pay $265 to every June 1st (or at least most of you pay on time), so that you can call yourselves real lawyers, has an enormous amount of resources most of us probably never use. Most recently, the BOG created the LEGALFUEL SPEAKER SERIES and this month, one of our own, Brian Tannebaum, is the guest speaker. His topic is one that every single attorney, young and those not so young, should care about, if they want to keep on being able to pay their annual dues every single year.

Take 28 minutes out of your very busy day and watch the online video of Brian’s Ten Ways to Avoid Bar Discipline. Oh yeah - you also earn CLE credit for taking the time to watch.

Here is the link in case the video does not work (depending on the browser you are using; hint use Chrome and it will work): https://www.legalfuel.com/legalfuel-speaker-series-ten-ways-to-avoid-bar-discipline/

Two very important phone numbers we should all add to our Rolodex; (for you millennials, Contact List):


Thanks Brian.


Monday, October 15, 2018




Governor Rick Scott will not get the chance to choose the three new Florida Supreme Court Justices on his final day in office. So ruled the current Florida Supreme Court in an unsigned Order issued today.

Last Wednesday, we wrote a post entitled: "CAT 4 STORM TO HIT STATE CAPITAL, BUT IT’S NOT NAMED MICHAEL".   We described the controversy being litigated over which Governor, Rick Scott or the newly elected Governor (DeSantis or Gillum) would be the one to appoint the next three Florida Supreme Court Justices.

Today, the Florida Supreme Court issued the following Order in CASE NO.: SC18-1573, League of Women Voters, et. al. v. Rick Scott:

"The petition for writ of quo warranto against Governor Rick Scott is hereby granted. The governor who is elected in the November 2018 general election has the sole authority to fill the vacancies that will be created by the mandatory retirement of Justices Barbara J. Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, and Peggy A. Quince, provided the justices do not leave prior to the expiration of their terms at midnight between January 7 and January 8, 2019, and provided that the governor takes office immediately upon the beginning of his term. Governor Scott exceeded his authority by directing the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission ("the JNC") to submit its nominations to fill these vacancies by November 10, 2018.

The sixty-day period after nominations have been certified within which the governor is required to make appointments, as set forth in article V, section 11©, of the Florida Constitution begins to run only when the governor with the authority to appoint has taken office. As the JNC is an independent body, it is not bound by Governor Scott’s deadlines.

The issue of when the JNC can certify its nominations shall be the subject of oral argument to be held at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 8, 2018. A maximum of twenty minutes to the side is allowed for the argument, but counsel is expected to use only so much of that time as is necessary."


In Burns’ Petition, he claims that the three Justices, Pariente, Lewis, and Quince, should be disqualified from this action "due to their objective economic conflict of interest" in the case. He states in his Petition that "the Retiring Justices have an economic incentive to determine that their last day of work ends at 5:00 p.m. on January 8, 2019, as opposed to January 7, 2019. ... The three Retiring Justices will each lose one day of salary ($884.94) if they deny the Petitioners' request for relief."

Meanwhile, The Florida Supreme Court’s JNC met last Thursday and agreed to an interview schedule of the 59 applicants for the three open seats. The interviews will take place on November 3rd and 4th here in Miami and on November 8th and 9th in Tampa. The JNC had planned on sending the finalists names to Governor Scott on November 10, 2018.

Here is the interview schedule:

Miami International Airport Hotel
Terminal E; Level 2 to hotel lobby (7th floor conference rooms once in hotel)
(Door #11 if arriving from outside the airport)

Nov. 3 – Miami
9:00 a.m. Alexander Bokor
9:30 a.m. Amy Boulris
10:00 a.m. Jeffrey Burns
10:30 a.m. Howard Coates
11:00 a.m. John Couriel
11:30 a.m. Cynthia Cox
1:00 p.m. James Duncan
1:30 p.m. Manuel Farach
2:00 p.m. Jonathan Gerber
2:30 p.m. Edward Guedes
3:00 p.m. Bradley Harper
3:30 p.m. Terrance Ketchel
4:30 p.m. Mark Klingensmith
5:00 p.m. Jeffrey Kuntz
5:30 p.m. Bruce Kyle
Nov. 4 – Miami

9:00 a.m. Barbara Lagoa
9:30 a.m. Norma Lindsey
10:00 a.m. Robert Luck
10:30 a.m. Mark Miller
11:00 a.m. Carlos Muniz
11:30 a.m. Hayden O’Byrne
1:00 p.m. William Roby
1:30 p.m. Cymonie Rowe
2:00 p.m. Leonard Samuels
2:30 p.m. Edwin Scales
3:00 p.m. Anuraag Singhal
3:30 p.m. Elijah Smiley
4:30 p.m. Donna Greenspan Solomon
5:00 p.m. William Thomas
5:30 p.m. Daryl Trawick
Tampa interview location:
Airport Executive Center
2203 N. Lois Avenue
Tampa, FL
(813) 348-4963

Nov. 8 – Tampa
9:00 a.m. Michael Andrews
9:30 a.m. J. Andrew Atkinson
10:00 a.m. Ross Bilbrey
10:30 a.m. Hunter Carroll
11:00 a.m. Angela Cowden
11:30 a.m. James Daniel
1:00 p.m. Bryan Gowdy
1:30 p.m. Jamie Grosshans
2:00 p.m. Laurel Lee
2:30 p.m. Robert Long
3:00 p.m. Mark Mahon
3:30 p.m. Scott Makar
4:30 p.m. Michael McDaniel
5:00 p.m. Timothy Osterhaus
5:30 p.m. Thomas Ramsberger

Nov. 9 – Tampa
9:00 a.m. Eric Roberson
9:30 a.m. Clayton Roberts
10:00 a.m. Samuel Salario
10:30 a.m. Tatiana Salvador
11:00 a.m. Stephen Senn
11:30 a.m. Pat Siracusa
1:00 p.m. Jonathan Sjostrom
1:30 p.m. Adrian Soud
2:00 p.m. John Stargel
2:30 p.m. Anthony Tatti
3:00 p.m. Matthew Thatcher
3:30 p.m. M. Kemmerly Thomas
4:30 p.m. Waddell Wallace
5:00 p.m. Thomas Winokur

You have to feel for Judge William Thomas and Judge Daryl Trawick. They will be the last two applicants interviewed on day two. I sure hope the JNC members are taking their no-doz, (do they still sell that stuff), that day.
It will be very interesting to see how all this plays out.



Sunday, October 14, 2018

NFL WEEK 6 2018

Another perfect week for our picks last week. And now we will endeavor to do it again. 

Ravens are on the road for the third straight week. We don't like that. Titans at home giving up 2.5. Take Tennessee

Florida's team- the Jags, are in Dallas playing the hapless cowpokes. Take Jax + 3 and under 40. 

Browns are giving up one to the homeless Chargers. We are riding the Browns to the Super Bowl. Brownies -1 at the mistake by the lake.  Cleveland has done something no other team has done in the NFL. Ever. They have won in OT; lost in OT. Tied in OT. Won in regulation and lost in regulation. How cannot you not love a team like that? Think 69 Mets. 

Bears at Miami. Tannehill is out. Not sure what that does to the line. 52nd Street Irwin isn't answering his texts. If you got Bears and +7 earlier in week you are great. Any line with the Bears is good. They are going to win. 

Game of the week: KC at the cheaters. KC is getting three. We aren't touching this game because the last few weeks KC has been playing shaky. Maybe they were looking to this game and if they were, we would pick them. 

Friday, October 12, 2018


In 2000, in a courtroom in Brooklyn, two brothers aged 20 and 21 appeared for sentencing for the murder of a gang member who had sexually assaulted one of the brothers' wife. 
As recounted by Darnell Epps, one of the two brothers, in this NY Times Op Ed piece, the judge could have sentenced them to forty years to life, almost ensuring that they would spend the rest of their life in prison. 
But, inexplicably, NY State Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach did not condemn the two young men to a life in prison. Justice Reichbach, in the face of the prevailing attitude then (and now) that people are unredeemable and should be always sentenced to the maximum sentence-especially in a murder case (even where the victim was a gang-member rapist), sentenced the brothers to 17 1/2 years to life, allowing them to seek parole after 17 1/2 years. 

In 2017 both brothers were paroled after serving the minimum sentence.
Darnell Epps, who authored the op-ed piece, is currently a student at Cornell majoring in government. His brother Darryl is enrolled in the Justice In Education Program at Colombia University. 
Both brothers went from the NY State Correctional system to Ivy League schools within a year of their release. 

Darnell Epps wrote the op-ed piece to highlight the help he and his brother received from the prison "old-timers": the men serving life sentences who at ages 50, 60, and beyond, provided guidance to the brothers and other young inmates. 

We cannot help thinking about another hero in this case: Justice Reichbach. Justice Reichbach saw something in the two young men before him, and he made  the politically, socially, and legally un-popular decision: he did not sentence two young black men convicted of murder to the maximum sentence. 

It is unfortunate that we write that such a decision (and yes, race is most definitely a factor in sentences) is remarkable for how rare it is. And we write this in the (small) hope that some Judge somewhere may read about this case and realize that the ability to total the maximum years of a lawful sentence is not the distinguishing factor about what makes a judge "good". There should be no pride in a judge who has a reputation as a tough sentencer. Rather, it should be a badge of shame, the moniker  proof that within the judge there is no humanity or, more importantly, no ability to see the spark of humanity in a defendant appearing before them at the worst moment of their life. 

The triumph is the wisdom of Justice Reichbach in this case-his "Mercy": "It becomes the throned monarch better than his crown". The tragedy is that there are far too few Justice Reichbach's in the legal profession. And as a result, there are far too many "old-timers" in prison. 

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The thron├Ęd monarch better than his crown.

Portia, The Merchant of Venice, Billy Shakes

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Anonymous steve bousquet said...


You and your writing staff are to be commended on what I consider to be one of the best blogs I have had the occasion to read. I am the Tallahassee Bureau Chief for the Tampa Bay Times and I read many blogs. Your writer's commentary today on the firestorm brewing up here in the state capital is spot on. Keep up the good work.

Steve Bousquet
Tampa Bay Times
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 1:26:00 PM
Rumpole Responds: Dear. Mr. Bousquet:
Thank you for the nice comment. Welcome to what is generally
considered the finest legal blog in the land; nee the Universe.
The writing is superb; the opinions spot on, and we are read by all the movers and shakers of the legal community. And beyond that, we are also read by those who wear black robes to work. And if you can get beyond the hoi polloi, you will find a blog that informs, entertains, and provides football picks that are usually 100% winners (like last week). In short, we report ….you decide. (hmmm that seems familiar). No fake news we. We hope you and your community made it through the storm, although if you took an honest poll of the residents of South Florida, there isn't one person who wasn't experiencing schadenfreude at the Panhandle's misfortune. See, no other blog uses words like schadenfreude or hoi polli even though a substantial portion of our readers (see the above comment about black robes) do not know what those terms mean. 

Yr obt svt,
H Rumpole, 
Blog Proprietor.  



The Florida Supreme Court JNC met today and voted to interview all 59 applicants.  The interviews will take place in Miami on November 3rd and 4th and in Tampa on November 8th and 9th.  The JNC will then meet on the evening of the 9th and into the 10th, if necessary, with the plan of sending the names of the finalists to the Governor on November 10th.


On Monday, January 7, 2019, a convergence of significant events will take place in Tallahassee, Florida. If you thought the effects of Hurricane Michael were going to have a major effect on the surrounding community for a long time, the Hurricane that I speak of will be one hundred times stronger and will last for one hundred years longer.

You see, on that date, Governor Rick Scott’s term concludes at the end of the day on that first Monday in January. And, at the exact same time, three members of the Florida Supreme Court will retire, including Justices Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis, and Peggy Quince. It is also important to note that, the new Governor’s term begins on "the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January"; in this case that means on Tuesday, January 8th.***

Now, anybody that follows the decisions of the current make-up of this Supreme Court, and the one immediately before it knows what all this means. Until December 31, 2016, an overwhelming majority of the controversial decisions of the court were split 5-2; the five voting together included Pariente, Lewis, and Quince, along with Justice’s Labarga and Perry. When Justice Perry retired on the last day of 2016, Governor Scott appointed Justice Alan Lawson to replace him. For most of the past 21 months, the overwhelming majority of the controversial decisions of the court have been a 4-3 vote, with conservative Lawson joining the side of Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston.

So, as you can see, with the departure of Pariente, Lewis, and Quince, the three most liberal justices on the court, a win by gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis next month would result in a dramatic shift of the court to the right with a resulting 6-1 right wing majority. On the other hand, a win by candidate Andrew Gillum, would result in the court maintaining a razor thin 4-3 lean to the left.

Now that you understand what is at stake, understand that Governor Rick Scott, (whose successor will be elected on Tuesday, November 6, 2018), has decided that he, not the Governor-Elect, will appoint the next three justices to succeed Pariente, Lewis, and Quince.

That’s right, a lame duck Governor, who is term limited, has decided that, rather than let the voters of the great State of Florida decide, through their choice at the ballot box, whom between DeSantis and Gillum should choose the three new justices, Scott will do that for them.

*** Note that, in the recent past, Governors Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist, and Rick Scott, all took the oath of office well before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January so as to assume gubernatorial duties immediately on the first day of their respective terms.

In order to head off this constitutional crisis of Category Four proportion, last year, the League of Women Voters filed suit against Rick Scott. The League asked the Court to issue a writ of quo warranto against Governor Rick Scott prohibiting him from "filling any judicial vacancies on Florida's appellate courts that occur due to terms expiring in January 2019." The League's basis for filing the petition was Governor Scott's December 2016 announcement of his intent to appoint the replacements for three justices of the Court.

In their opinion issued on December 14, 2017, LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF FLORIDA, et al., Petitioners, v. RICK SCOTT, GOVERNOR, Respondent. (No. SC17-1122), the Florida Supreme Court ruled, by a vote of 6-1, that the issue presented was not ripe for consideration, and the Court dismissed the petition. The lone dissenter was Justice Lewis.  The opinion can be read here.

Fast forward to September of 2018. On September 12, 2018, at the direction of Governor Scott and his legal counsel, the Florida Supreme Court’s JNC announced that they were accepting applications to fill the three upcoming supreme court vacancies as the result of the mandatory retirement of Justices Pariente, Lewis, and Quince due to all three reaching the age of 70. The application deadline was set for October 8, 2018.

On September 20, 2018, the League of Women Voters filed their new Petition Quo Warranto against Governor Scott. League of Women Voters, et al. v. Hon. Rick Scott, et al., (SC18-1573). The Docket can be read here.
On September 21, the JNC met to discuss retaining legal counsel to respond to the Petition. They hired former Justice Raoul Cantero. The League of Women Voters is repped by Former Speaker of the House John Mills.

By the deadline of October 8th, there were a total of 59 applicants for the three seats. Two of the seats are At-Large while one seat must be filled by a resident of the 3rd DCA jurisdiction (Miami-Dade and Monroe County).

On October 11th, the JNC will meet to discuss the 59 applicants and to consider and select applicants for interviews and further consideration to fill the three positions of Florida Supreme Court Justice.

For many voters around the State, the issues of jobs, the economy, the environment, health care, and immigration dominate the landscape. But for many in the legal community, there will be no more important decision made over the next decade than the one that involves the replacement of the three retiring justices.

As stated above, the Florida Supreme Court JNC received a total of 59 applications for the three open seats. Of those, a total of 11 are residents of the 3rd DCA. The applicants for that seat include four judges currently on the 3rd DCA:

Judge Barbara Lagoa
Judge Norma Lindsey
Judge Robert Luck
Judge Ed Scales

and two Circuit and one County Court Judge:

Judge William Thomas
Judge Daryl Trawick
Judge Alex Bokor

The remaining applicants include 12 DCA judges, 27 Circuit Court Judges, and 1 County Court Judge along with 12 private counsel.

We will be closely watching the current Florida Supreme Court as they review the legal briefs and then render a decision on this latest Petition for Quo Warranto filed by the League of Women’s Voters. (As of the posting of this story, the Court has not yet agreed to set the case for Oral Argument).

Anyone care to guess how they will rule this time .......


Monday, October 08, 2018


    I have previously griped and complained about various courthouse-related shortcomings. So, as not to be a complete Debbie Downer, let me gush and pay homage to some positives. At the RJG, there must be some strong positives; "this must be the place" where some good goes on; 

1.   The kindest, most accommodating jurist anywhere,  

    Broward Mental Health Judge "Ari Porth", emerging in his   

    court room well before almost anybody else and passing out donuts.

2.    Judges that ask lawyers if they can call their cases out of turn.

3.   Munching on Cuban toast in between court sessions.

4.    Bailiffs that pass out numbered, jury seating charts.

5.    Judges/Judicial Assistants that make their calendars accessible

     and put you on their docket the very next day.

6.   How well Mindy Glazer ran the felony bond hearings. Sorry to see you go, you left some big shoes to fill.  

7.   Last month’s David Byrne’s “American Utopia” tour at the Filmore South was the best live show in South Florida in the last 5 years. Why was it so epic? The former Talking Head re-invented and re-imagined what a concert should and could be.  

8.  At the nearby eatery, Fiesta Salsa’s “Lava Cabbage salsa” …that’s some tasty condiment!  

9.  The Clerk’s employees at the lawyer’s desk; even though they are in an untenable situation, their pleasantries and initiative help.

10.      Litigating something substantial before judges where   

       they actually have significant real world and legal  

11.    Commemorative plaques for the late attorneys “Sy Gaer” 

       and “Richard Sharpstein”; A lot more plaques need to go  

       up since we need to honor those that have paved the way.

12.     Federal Judge Mark Walker of the Northern District of   

       Florida, Tallahassee, what a breath of fresh air in federal


13.        How incredibly accommodating the Miami Public  
        Defender’s Office has always been to all attorneys.

14.        The feeling of successfully convincing a prosecutor to take  

        no action on a flawed arrest.

15.          When another lawyer takes over a case that was nothing 

         but aggravation.

16.          My wonderful Palm Beach lawyer friends that stand in      

         for me for those West Palm Beach calendar calls.

17.         Getting the front row spot in the lawyers’ parking lot.

18.         Receiving complete discovery at an arraignment.

19.        Stainless steel watches like the Rolex Submariner with the

        green dial, Patek Phillipe Nautilus with a blue dial and

        Omega Speedmaster with black dial.

20.        Being able to call the Broward county jail visitation desk  

        and arrange for your incarcerated clients to be waiting for 

        you. Walking into the FDC as your client is already there 

        waiting for you is also not too shabby.

21.         A reliable and professional bail bondsman.

22.         Dealing with brand new, fresh-faced ASAs that have yet to 

         be maligned.

23.          Getting into the elevator at the 9th floor and having it go 

         down. non-stop.

24.           Having two judges fight over you as to who gets you to try 

         their case.

25.           Getting paid up front.

26.           Clerks kind enough to make a certified copy in the court 


27.           Courtroom correctional officers that you can rely on.   

28.           Yoga pants, fishnet stockings, form-fitting white pants 

          and other apparel that celebrates, accentuates and  

          complements the body beautiful.

29.           Receiving feedback about the presentation of a tried case 

          by the discharged jurors.

30.          Watching talented attorneys and learning from them.

31.           A 750 ml bottle of Chimay Blue and some dark chocolate.

32.           Professionalism on all sides of the criminal justice system.

33.           Getting hired to do a bond hearing, achieving a great 

          result and now the client is willing to pay anything for 

          your continued representation.  

34.          Getting a desired verdict early in the day and taking off 

         the rest of the day to celebrate.

35.           Running into classmates from days past while you’re in a 

          court house; nothing like catching up.

36.    First time possession of cannabis; pass the case 60 days,  

         no new arrests...nolle prosse.

37.    The euphoria of the night before a cool vacation starts.  

38.           Family