One reader who didn't answer any questions grumbled that they were all common knowledge for an old-guy. There is a bit of controversy over a few of the answers including who prosecuted Jim Morrison from The Doors for obscenity. We always thought it was Al Sepe, but Ellen Morphonious has been added to the list, along with the great trial lawyer- the late Terry McWilliams.
Only one reader knew Judge Ben Willard was the subject of a plaque on a small obelisk outside of the REGJB.
The biggest controversy, as detailed below, is the correct answer to who was the first female Judge in Miami. We have always thought it was Mattie Belle Davis, but some comments listed Ruth Sutton who was a justice of the peace in the 1950's.
A little REGJB trivia for some summer time diversion.
True or False?
A) A judge once tried and sentenced to death a defendant in the murder of a police officer within 40 days of the arrest. T- Manuel Valle by Judge Morphonious.
A1-Bonus Q- the conviction and sentence were obviously vacated. What new judge assigned to the case heard it and later sentenced Valle to death? A sentence that was carried out a few years ago.
B) A County Judge used to keep a miniature electric chair on their bench.
FALSE. Trick question. It was a circuit judge who did it. Judge Morphionous.
C) Dade County has never had an Asian-American Judge
False . Dominic Koo. County Court. Quite a character.
There is a story about Judge Koo that probably has some truth to it. Over a weekend he was stopped for a traffic infraction in Miami Beach. The officer asked Koo what he did for a living and Koo truthfully responded that he was a Judge. The story goes that the officer responded something along the lines of "Miami doesn't have any chink Judges". And that Monday the officer, on an un-related case was subpoenaed to appear before Judge Koo. We should not forget that it was not that long ago that it was common to see signs in Miami Beach that said "No blacks or jews served here."
D) A Dade Judge was a holocaust survivor.
Judge Frederick Barad, who once called a client "a no-good-nick", and had a noticeable
E) The Dade State Attorneys Office officially investigated the Watergate Burglaries.
This is true and the investigation was carried out by famed Miami Dade State Attorneys Office Chief Investigator Martin Dardis. Dardis is a name that unfortunately too few people remember. He was one of the very best.
F) A Police Officer in Miami was a serial killer.
True. Sweetwater Police Officer Manuel Pardo.
G) There was once a murder in the REGJB.
False to the best of our knowledge. Lots of other crimes and assignations have occurred in our wonderful home away from home, but not murder most foul (although birds have been killed, so there has been murder most fowl).
H) The current PDs office used to be part of a hospital.
This is false. Although Cedars-Sinai (now part of UM) was a hospital right across the street from the current PDs office, the office used to be the HQ of the Miami-Dade Police Department. The SAO was on floors 6 and 9 of the REGJB, and the PDs were on 7 (or was it 8?).
I) There was a football field named after a Dade Judge.
False (as far as we know). But there were/are the Arthur Snyder tennis courts in North Miami.
J) An MDPD Homicide Sergeant was convicted of murdering his wife in Miami.
TRUE. Sgt Ted MacArthur killed his lovely wife Pilar who was a popular Dade Correctional Officer. Ed O'Donnell Sr for the defense. Reid Ruben and Susan Dannelly for the prosecution.
MacArthur had an affair with a Miami Herald reporter at the time he killed his wife. He also had recently increased the amount of life insurance on her to almost a half a million dollars. MacArthur shot Pilar in the head, probably while she was sleeping, and then claimed she was playing with his gun and placed it to her head pretending to being held hostage by someone and pulled the trigger not knowing the gun was loaded. The forensics said otherwise. MacArthur was so sure of his acquittal he held a press conference predicting his quick acquittal. This is something Rumpole generally avoids having his clients do.
K) A member of the Miami Dolphins perfect season team was prosecuted and convicted of cocaine trafficking.
TRUE. Mercury Morris. When he was sentenced, Judge Morphonious, who was required to impose a fifteen year minimum mandatory sentence, said "Sorry Merc."
George Yoss led the prosecution. The conviction was overturned by the 3rd DCA.
L) A former Dade State Attorney (not ASA) was once prosecuted by the office he/she ran.
TRUE. Richard E Gerstein who had retired and was in private practice and an attorney/friend were prosecuted in the some-day-to-be Richard E Gerstein Justice Building for actions relating to their stop for a possible DUI, which included swilling mouth wash after the stop. The case was dismissed when "somehow" the discovery the state had filed and provided was not in the court file. WOW! Imagine that. Some clerk some where somehow neglected to clock in discovery that was filed. Oh well. You can beat the rap but not the ride.
M) Which former Dade Judge represented a Florida Supreme Court Justice who was charged with drug trafficking?
We think this was Al Sepe when he was in private practice but now we are not so sure.
N) Which former Dade Judges prosecuted Jim Morrison of The Doors.
Al Sepe. Ellen Morphinious. Also Dade ASA Terry McWilliams who did not become a judge but was one of the finest trial lawyers in Florida.
O) Name any Dade Judge who became a member of the Florida Supreme Court (we can think of two). Judge Luck was the most recent one. The great Jack Blumefeld writes in the comments section that Hal Dekle is also a correct answer. We did not know that one. We were thinking of Gerald Kogan who has a Miami-FACDL award named after him and is one of the all time great people you could ever have a cup of coffee with.
P) Name at least two Dade Judges who became a Judge on television.
This one was easy. Marilyn Millian, along with Alex Ferrer and Karen Mills Francis. David Young and Cristina Perreya-Shuminer round out the ones we are aware of.
Q) Name at least two Dade Judges (current or former) who were police officers before going to law school. Ivan Fernandez is one. Alex Ferrer is another. And the late great Stan Goldstein was a motorcycle cop before becoming a lawyer, judge and then founding the First in the Nation drug court. And of course Izzy Reyes, now in private practice, was a great homicide detective before becoming a lawyer and judge. The Great Ed Cowart and Arthur Maginnis who was one of the nicest men you will ever meet were also law enforcement officers. Add Calvin Mapp and Victoria Platzer and that exhausts our knowledge of former judges who were law enforcement officers.
R) Name the former PD who ran for Senate in Florida (not state senate, but the Senate in DC).
Hugh Rodham, who's sister you may have heard of. Her first name is Hillary. Hugh's brother Tony, who also worked at the PDs just recently passed away.
S) Name at least two former County Court Judges who made it to the Federal Bench.
There are lots of Judges who are in this category, including Judge Beth Bloom, Federico Moreno, Cecilia Altonaga, Joan Leonard (who we missed but a reader did not) and recently Rodney Smith, to name a few. Also Darren Gayles we believe.
T) Name one criminal defense attorney who without becoming a county or circuit judge was named to the 3rd DCA.
U) Name the first female Judge in Dade County.
We think the correct answer Mattie Belle Davis. However this is not without controversy. We have always believed it was Judge Davis, who was a complete Floridian. But some have answered "Ruth Sutton" who was a justice of the peace in the 1950's and was not-as is still a common practice- a lawyer. When the judicial system changed there are contentions she was grand-mothered in as a County Court Judge but of this we are not certain.
V) Name at least one judge who was a professional athlete before becoming a Judge.
Ed Newman who was NOT on the 72 undefeated Dolphins, but does have a Super Bowl ring from the 73 Dolphins.
W) Name the Judge who has a plaque located outside but nearby the REGJB.
ONLY ONE PERSON GOT THIS RIGHT- BEN WILLARD CONGRATS TO WHOMEVER ANSWERED THIS CORRECTLY. The inscription states (this from memory) "A man of the people, a man of the law." But it might also say something about "nature". Maybe someone can look. The obelisk is just in front of the parking lot across from the REGJB.
X) Name the Broward Judge who presided over the State criminal trial of a Dade Judge. Name the Dade Judge as well.
Apparently there are two correct answers to this. Our answer was Judge Daniel Futch, from Broward- a more ornery Judge you will never run across. The defendant was Howie "The Mouse" Gross, a Dade Circuit Judge who before Courtbroom, was accused of selling his robes. Dade ASA Larry Levecchio for the prosecution.
More Recently, Broward Judge Robert Lee presided over the trial of Dade Judge Reggie Richardson. Jayne Weintraub for the defense.
Both Lee and Gross were acquitted at their respective trials.
Y) Name the only Dade Circuit Judge currently sitting as a circuit Judge in another county.
Judge Lauren Levy Miller nee____ was a Circuit Judge in Dade County. She found love on vacation with a Dr who practiced in Collier County and she left the bench in Miami, only to snag an appointment in Collier County.
HERE'S A BETTER BONUS QUESTION: NAME A FORMER DADE CHIEF JUDGE WHO LEFT THE BENCH TO TRAVEL (TO AFRICA WE BELIEVE) RETURNED AND WAS RE-APPOINTED.
CREDIT TO PHIL MANIATTY FOR RESPONDING QUICKLY WITH THE CORRECT ANSWER- JOE FARINA.
Z) Name the judicial candidate who ran for Judge multiple times whose name began with a "Z".
This question may not have been artfully written. While it is true Judge Zilber ran (and won), the question asks for a "judicial candidate" who ran multiple times, indicating they never won. The answer we were looking for was ALBERT ZEMLOCK who used to put up "Z" signs everywhere. He never won.