JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG
WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM. Winner of the prestigious Cushing Left Anterior Descending Artery Award.
Thursday, June 06, 2019
D-DAY, TWO NEW COUNTY COURT JUDGES, & BAR PRES UNDER INVESTIGATION .....
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived." — General George S. Patton, Jr.
75 YEARS AGO TODAY, D-DAY, June 6, 1944. It was the largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare when more than 150,000 brave young soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy, France in a bold strategy to push the Nazis out of Western Europe and turn the tide of the war for good. A total of 4,414 Allied soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice that one day.
Today we honor them.
YOUR TWO NEWEST COUNTY COURT JUDGES ARE .......
STEPHANIE SILVER, age 42. Ms. Silver has been a member of The Florida Bar for 18 years. She is currently the County Court Division Chief at the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office. She has worked her entire legal career as an ASA. She replaces Judge Michelle Barakat who was recently elevated to the Circuit Court bench.
ZACHARY JAMES, age 39. Mr. James has been a member of The Florida Bar for 14 years. He is currently a partner at Meland, Russin, and Budwick, PA where he concentrates his practice as a business litigator. He has been at that firm for the past eight years. He formerly served as an AUSA in the Southern District of California and before that as a state prosecutor and a trial attorney for the Department of Homeland Security. He replaces Judge Tanya Brinkley who is also now on the Circuit Court bench. James is also a marathon runner and triathlon competitor.
Governor DeSantis made three other judicial appointments today throughout the State. Tesha Ballou (former prosecutor) to the Circuit Court 18th Judicial Circuit; Anthony Salem (former prosecutor) to the Duval County Court; and Charles Young (former prosecutor) to the Escambia County Court. DeSantis goes five for five in appointing former prosecuting attorneys to the bench!!!
NORTH OF THE BROWEIRD BORDER .......
FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT UNDER INVESTIGATION
Michelle Suskauer was sworn in as President of The Florida Bar in June of 2018. Her term ends this month when she turns over the gavel at the Bar’s annual convention in Boca Raton. It looks like Suskauer is going to need the extra time as she now has to defend herself against a Bar complaint filed by a Federal Court Judge.
Judge James Cohn filed the complaint after Suskauer, a criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach, allegedly permitted a disbarred attorney to represent one of her clients.
The Facts (from the Palm Beach Post).
+ U.S. District Judge James Cohn told Suskauer this week that he would contact the Bar after one of her clients told him that disbarred lawyer John Garcia met with him, sat at the defense table when he took a plea deal and handled all the details of his wire fraud case. "Certainly his role was more than that of a paralegal," Cohn said after looking at dozens of emails Garcia exchanged with accused fraudster Anthony D’Amico. "And he had direct client contact, which is prohibited by the Florida Bar. And it is a serious allegation." "Quite honestly," Cohn continued, "the Florida Bar needs to take a look at this, and I plan to refer it to the Florida Bar."
+ D’Amico, the client, pled guilty to five counts of wire fraud in February.
+ Garcia, was disbarred for five years in 2007 after he pleaded guilty to federal charges, admitting he hid a client’s drug money and lied to federal agents about it. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. In 2014, he was permanently disbarred after he was accused of practicing law without a license.
+ D’Amico explained that he hired Suskauer and paid her a significant amount of money. He said that Suskauer urged him to also hire Garcia because he was a "federal court specialist". So he did and he paid Garcia $10,000.
+ At the February change of plea, Garcia sat at the defense table. Suskauer was not in court; she instead sent an associate.
+ Suskauer says: "Garcia brings a unique perspective to clients. He not only knows the law, but can advise people about what it’s like to live behind prison walls." "We used him as an expert so that our clients, if they’re sentenced as such, will be able to be better acclimated to the procedure." "Aside from offering prison counseling, he worked only as a paralegal, she said."
+ Judge Cohn said, Garcia — with Suskauer’s help — may have stepped over some important lines. He asked Suskauer about various Bar rules that attorneys must follow when dealing with disbarred lawyers. Suskauer said she wasn’t familiar with the rules but was convinced that neither she nor Garcia violated them. "Well, perhaps you should acquaint yourself with Florida Bar Rule of Professional Conduct 3-6.1," Cohn said. "I think you may come away with a different opinion."
(a) Authorization and Application. Except as limited in this rule, persons or entities providing legal services may employ suspended lawyers and former lawyers who have been disbarred or whose disciplinary resignations or disciplinary revocations have been granted by the Florida Supreme Court [for purposes of this rule such lawyers and former lawyers are referred to as "individual(s) subject to this rule"] to perform those services that may ethically be performed by nonlawyers employed by authorized business entities.
An individual subject to this rule is considered employed by an entity providing legal services if the individual is a salaried or hourly employee, volunteer worker, or an independent contractor providing services to the entity.
(d) Prohibited Conduct.
(1) Direct Client Contact. Individuals subject to this rule must not have direct contact with any client. Direct client contact does not include the participation of the individual as an observer in any meeting, hearing, or interaction between a supervising lawyer and a client.
Our own Brian Tannebaum has been retained to represent Ms. Suskauer in the Bar proceedings.
CAPTAIN OUT .......