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. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, AND THE POPE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Friday, August 16, 2019

FIVE MIAMI DADE JUDGES CHARGED BY JQC .......


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

THE JQC VS. FIVE MIAMI DADE JUDGES .....

Intrepid Miami Herald reporter David Ovalle, recently returned from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, breaks the story.

The JQC filed formal charges against five Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judges, including: (the FSC Docket can be found here).

Judge Cindy Lederman (Retired), represented by James Blecke
Judge Rosa Figarola, represented by David Rothman
Judge Marcia Caballero, represented by Joseph DeMaria
Judge Teresa Pooler, represented by Andrew Berman
Judge Mavel Ruiz, represented by Brian Tannebaum

All five judges were, at the time of the allegations, assigned to the Unified Children’s Court. According to the factual findings of the JQC:

"The Florida Department of Children and Families ("DCF") routinely contracts with private companies to administer its programs throughout the state. In some instances, these contracts are worth millions of dollars." ... "In March of 2018, DCF initiated a competitive procurement process to award the contract to become the "Lead Agency for Community Based-Care for the Southern Region of Florida-Dade and Monroe Counties" ("Lead Agency")." ... "The competitive procurement process used to select a Lead Agency, known as an Invitation to Negotiate ("ITN"), requires companies to submit proposals to DCF who then selects which company should receive the contract." ...

"The contract was potentially worth upwards of $500 million dollars, over five years."

"In March 2018, when DCF began the ITN process, a non-profit business called Our Kids of Miami-Dade and Monroe, Inc ("Our Kids, Inc.") held the contract, and had served as Lead Agency for the last several years. Only two companies participated in the ITN: Our Kids, Inc, and Citrus Health Network, Inc (also a non-profit corporation)."

The JQC learned that, the five charged judges (along with Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia and GM Steven Lieberman), signed a letter authored by Judge Lederman, written to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF), suggesting or implying that Our Kids, Inc. "is the favored provider of the 11th Judicial Circuit, and that the court will work only with Our Kids, Inc.".

Judge Sampedro-Iglesia resigned on April 28, 2019 and was not part of the JQC inquiry.  GM Steve Lieberman was not part of the inquiry as the JQC has no enforcement authority over General Magistrates.

The JQC and all five judges have filed a Stipulation with the Florida Supreme Court where all of the judges have admitted to the violations charged by the JQC. While there are several Canons charged, (the Investigative Panel determined that probable cause existed that the Respondents had violated Canons 1, 2A, 2B, 4A(1), 4A(2), 4A(5), and 4A(6) the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct.), the gist of the violations is that the judges were advocating for one vendor (Our Kids, Inc) over another and using the prestige of their positions to do so.

The FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF DISCIPLINE (which can be found here) stated the recommended penalty for all five judges as follows:

"The Commission therefore finds and recommends that the interests of justice will be well served by a written public reprimand of the Respondents by publication of an opinion."

Now it is up to the Florida Supreme Court to decide whether to accept the Findings and Recommendations filed by the JQC.

CAPTAIN OUT .......
Captain4Justice@gmail.com

RUMPOLE ADDS THIS COMMENT RECEIVED WHICH IS RELEVANT:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Let's not go nuts here. This appears to have been a well meaning "whoops" moment. The judges are humans too.

"the Commission believes it is important to note [in] its findings that the Respondents[] were not motivated by any corrupt intent or design. The Commission believes that the intent was to protect the interest of the children and families served by DCF."

See page 8 of the Findings and Recommendations of Discipline. https://efactssc-public.flcourts.org/casedocuments/2019/1377/2019-1377_miscdoc_354669_findings202620recommendation.pdf






16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I say Derobe all of them. Who knows how much they got under the table or would have harvested in the future. Judges should read the Canons of Ethics and know the law better than most. There is no excuse for this except self interest.

Anonymous said...

After what happened to Judge Ana Pando, what the hell were they thinking? Keep in mind that Judge Cindy Lederman was a horrible control freak and probably pushed them all to do it or she would have made their lives miserable. I hope the Supreme Court removes Lederman from senior status so we never have to deal with her again. As for the others, they were really stupid to sign that letter and a reprimand may be enough.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

2:28 PM:

please see pages 17-23 of the Findings & Recommendations:

https://efactssc-public.flcourts.org/casedocuments/2019/1377/2019-1377_miscdoc_354669_findings202620recommendation.pdf

Those seven pages are the email string between Judge Lederman and all of the other judges where Lederman is asking for the other judges to sign the letter.

Cap Out .....

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ALSO, see page 15 of the same document, which is a letter penned by Administrative Judge Orlando Prescott. Unlike the letter written by Lederman and signed by the six judges and one GM, Prescott's letters tells DCF that the judges "stand ready to support and work alongside whichever agency that is selected in this ITN process."

Interestingly, Judge Sampedro-Iglesia and Judge Caballero, were cc'd on the Prescott letter. Not sure why those two, and only those two, were cc'd, but on page 4 of the Findings & Recommendations, the JQC said this:

"In a reversal, Judge Sampedro-Iglesia and Judge Caballero, both signatories to the September 2018 letter (Lederman's letter), approved Judge Prescott's November 2018 letter."

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

Let's not go nuts here. This appears to have been a well meaning "whoops" moment. The judges are humans too.

"the Commission believes it is important to note [in] its findings that the Respondents[] were not motivated by any corrupt intent or design. The Commission believes that the intent was to protect the interest of the children and families served by DCF."

See page 8 of the Findings and Recommendations of Discipline. https://efactssc-public.flcourts.org/casedocuments/2019/1377/2019-1377_miscdoc_354669_findings202620recommendation.pdf

Eye on Q said...

Nobody hired the Q. Tragic mistake. He'd get it dismissed.
Respect the Q
Fear the Q
Close your eyes....

Be the Q

Real Fake Former Judge said...

Oy vey. I'm glad I'm running my Chick'n kitchen stands in Sheboygan.

Anonymous said...

Shumie time for the Judges?

Anonymous said...

They should also investigate the role of judges in the monopolies enjoyed by Advocate and Court Options in the criminal courts.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


The Captain Reports:

Word of the Day Guys latest entry:

SESQUIPEDALIAN

As someone who is quite sesquipedalian, I make it my mission to use loads of long words in all my conversations.

OK, readers, Let's see if anybody other than Rumpole can use that word in a sentence.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

The REN (a venue) was one of the only venues in Miami that served fresh and not frozen sesquipedalian. I liked it breaded and fried, but it's very healthy and full of beta flavonoids when simply grilled with garlic and butter. A little broccoli rabe, some new red potatoes, and cold mug of mini-brewery beer that the Ren (a venue) brewed, and you had yourself some good eating. I liked to follow it up with their fresh peach cobbler with a scoop of home churned vanilla bean or coconut ice cream. Those were the days when Miami led the restaurant scene, and none better than the REN (a venue).

Anonymous said...

Every judge knows the "Pando" rule so, why on earth did they sign the letter?

Anonymous said...

Mr. CJ Milton Hirsch is quite the sesquipedalian.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to Judge Cindy Lederman.

I believe she deserved more than just a Public Reprimand. I reviewed the materials and documents. Read them.

Is there a Federal Criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney?

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that you printed 2:27. That is a bit extreme. Unless someone has some proof of corruption by all of these judges, the more likely explanation is that it was a lapse in judgment, but an area where they thought they could do that. I thought you made a point of not allowing people to attack judges. That is a good policy. They cannot defend themselves and just hang out three. I am very concerned about this kind of allegation being made about not just one but a handful of judges.

What I would like to know is who appoints the child support judges who sit downtown and have their findings basically rubber-stamped by a retired circuit judge. All other judges have to be reviewed by the voters or by the Supreme Court. Who reviews who gets these jobs and how long they serve. Poor people are routinely squeezed by these proceedings that basically serve as a collection agency for the State. Moreover, why is our state Attorney doing this? I do not believe that is the procedure anywhere else in the state, and if they are being paid for it, I am troubled by the idea that state officials charged with prosecuting crimes are acting as paid collectors. It is as questionable as the state law that has the court system serve as enforcers for late car rental returns.
We need to have these "judges" appointed for some fixed term, reviewed by a panel of circuit judges. It is not even clear who appoints them and for how long.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of more judges behaving badly...

https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/20/us/ohio-judge-murder-guilty-plea/index.html