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

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

WHO WAS GEORGE BRAUTIGAM?

Now we are going deep. Way back into the recesses of history when Miami was a sleepy southern town and hotels in Miami Beach had signs that said "No Blacks or Jews"

The State Attorney history goes Richard Gerstein to Janet Reno to Kathy Rundle. There are still many lawyers around who worked for "the boss" Gerstein, and even more who worked for Janet. But what about before Gerstein? Things get murky. One old time prosecutor posted this: 

Richard Gerstein was not the first State Attorney. The Eleventh Judicial Circuit was established in 1911. The office of State Attorney has existed ever since then. It was during Gerstein's tenure that the office of county Solicitor was merged into the State Attorney's Office. The State Attorney before Gerstein was George Brautigam. Gerstein defeated Brautigam in his 1956 reelection bid due largely to unfavorable media coverage regarding Brautigam's attempt to suppress a grand jury report and his refusal to seek an indictment against a suspect in the murder of a little girl.

Then El Capitan weighed in: 

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

I REFER YOU TO A REPORT OF THE GRAND JURY, NOVEMBER 8, 1955

https://www.miamisao.com/publications/grand_jury/1950s/gj1955s4.pdf

[Rumpole notes: Listed as one of the ASAs is William Meadows who we knew -we think- as Bill Meadows- a wonderful man and older-timer when we first met him.]

FILED BY: State Attorney George A. Brautigam. Listed within the Report are the names of his eight ASAs including one named Adele Faske.

Dick Gerstein ran against the incumbent Brautigam in 1956 at the age of 33 and defeated him. He was reelected six times before moving into private practice. (Brautigam passed away in 1957)


So who was George Brautigam? And does anybody have a personal memory of him?  And who was before himHere is a short obit.  A Google search reveals he was a bit of crusading anti-communist, not unusual for the era. 

One brief thought about our covid-crisis: If only we had listened to the President and opened up earlier, like around Easter. Because the one thing we are learning is that the more you close your eyes really tight and ignore a serious medical issue, the more likely it is to just go away. 

REGJB TRIVIA 
Which former Chief Judge voluntarily resigned from the bench, left town for a bit, returned, was reappointed, and then became Chief Judge Of our circuit? Bonus question- what murder case did he preside over that garnered nationwide attention? 

Monday, June 29, 2020

JUDGE MATTE BELLE DAVIS

Judge Matte Belle Davis was the first woman to preside in the REGJB, but very little is remembered about her by our Starbucks swilling millennial readers. 



We asked former Judge Ted Mastos to write something, and this is what he remembered: 

I believe Mattie Bell Davis was a lawyer, Ruth Sutton was the woman who succeeded her husband who was a Justice of the Peace. When he died she replaced him. When the Florida Constitution did away with the Justice of the Peace system all those who had been Justices of the Peace were grandfathered in as County Court judges. That is how Ruth Sutton became a County Court Judge. She had the best Mango tree in South Florida.

Mattie Bell Davis was a champion for the County Court judiciary. She somehow had the ear of Governor Ruben Askew and worked tirelessly for improved salaries for the judges. County judges were making $32,000 back in the 70's. She was a great lady and an early pioneer for women in the law. Back in that era there were only a few woman lawyers working in the State Attorney's Office. One of them was the mother of David Markus who looked at me as some green kid from Wisconsin who needed a Jewish mother. She was my mentor in those early years.


Because he is a long time and careful Blog Reader, David S Markus* responded: 
Anonymous David S. Markus said...
Ted's mention of my mom brought a smile to my face. She was an ASA in 1973. There were only 3 women in the office at that time-mom, Barbara Schwartz (who became an AUSA for many years) and one other who I cannot recall. Janet Reno was my mother's intern.
I was in high school, but I already wanted to be a prosecutor. I thought it was the coolest job on earth. She taught me how a prosecutor could make a difference in someone's life (both victim and defendant) and how important it was to exercise that power wisely. Mom would bring the files home and I would look through them and we would discuss the cases and argue about them. Mom would talk about the lawyers she interacted with and it was interesting to meet them years later when I became a prosecutor, and to see if my view of them matched hers. She always talked about "Ted" with a big smile on her face.
I also learned how difficult it was for women in the legal profession not so long ago. Mom graduated UM law school in 1955 at the top of her class and was on law review, but could not find a job because she was a woman. She pursued other interests and returned to the law in 1973 to work in the State Attorney's Office. Life had gotten better for women in the law, but they were not treated as equals. Male lawyers would ask her why she was working at all since she had a husband. Judges and lawyers who did not know her personally assumed she was a secretary. She was once held in contempt for wearing pants to court. But mom loved the job, and she passed on that love to me. Mom was so proud that I chose to follow in her footsteps. I have been on the defense side for 39 years, but I still think of myself as a ex-prosecutor more than a defense attorney.
Well said David. Thank you for that. 

Judge Davis was born in 1910 and died in 2004. According to her Wikipedia page, she was admitted to the Bar in 1939, although at the time women could not sit on juries in Florida. She was instrumental in the formation of FAWL- the Florida Association of Women Lawyers which has an award named after her.  which, if they were smart, would name an award after her to be presented to a female member of the bench for outstanding work of some sort or another. She was president of FAWL from 1957-1958. 

Judge Davis was the first woman to sit on the Metropolitan Court of Dade County,  in which old timers like former Judges Lenny Glick and Ted Mastos actually practiced in. Judge Davis started on the bench in 1959. It is not clear how long she served.  

Prior to becoming a Judge, Matte Belle Davis was in practice with her husband Troy Davis. After he died in 1948, she became a single parent to two step-daughters. During her time in private practice she successfully argued two cases before the Florida Supreme Court.  We have researched the issue  and found those two cases: 

Abercrombie v. Eidschun, 66 So. 2d 875, 876 (Fla. 1953):
Petition for writ of certiorari be and the same is hereby granted, and the order dated the 7th day of May, 1953, denying petitioners' motion for a summary final decree be and the same is hereby quashed, with directions to proceed further in accordance within this opinion.

Spark v. Canny, 88 So. 2d 307, 311–12 (Fla. 1956):
We hold, therefore, that where a joint bank account with right of survivorship is established with funds of one person, as here, a gift of the funds remaining in the account at the death of the creator of the joint account is presumed; but such presumption is rebuttable and may be overcome by clear and convincing evidence to  the contrary. 

In 1987 Miami Dade County designated March 3 as Judge Matte Belle Davis day. 

There are a lot of female judges serving in Miami-Dade County. Two new ones were just appointed. They enjoy the shade of Oak Trees, whose acorns were planted by those who came before them. Every now and then, it is appropriate to remember who blazed the path we trod on. 

* Miami is blessed with TWO superstar attorneys named David Markus. David O runs the federal blog and can be found downtown tying federal prosecutors up in knots. He also works on top of a garage across from the courthouse. 
David S, who spent decades sharing space with the great Sy Gaer, can be found in the REGJB, walking clients out the door and leaving state prosecutors in his dust. He currently concentrates on Death Penalty cases. 

While David O has won cases in state court, and David S has kicked some federal butt from time to time, each is known primarily for his sphere of battle- State for S, Feds for O. 
What would have been nice is if, a long time ago, in a court far far away, Judge Stanley Marcus (with a C)  presided over a trial in which co-defendants were represented by Mr. Markus and Mr. Markus. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

THE PATH FORWARD AT THE REGJB

SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE: Ace Herald Reporter @DavidOvalle305, is just one of a long line of distinguished Herald reporters who have called the crime beat their own. From Susannah Nesmith all the way back to Edna Buchannan, prowling the hallways of the REGJB and digging up the stories the powers that be want hidden has been a hallmark of these intrepid members of the Fourth Estate. Now, of course, covering the REGJB has been reduced to "click-n-Zoom". The other day, David realized that he had some competition. Another person was Zooming around the REGJB Zoom calendars. His Name: "Big Meat Daddy". You can read all about their encounter in David's twitter feed listed above. 

This is the email from Judge Sayfie about new normal at the REGJB. It has been approved by the Motion Picture Association for distribution to all ages. 

Greetings to all.  I hope this email finds you all healthy.

As you all know we are back in phase 1, having spent less than 2 weeks in phase 2.  While this means that we all need to continue to be vigilant, in and out of REG, the good news is that we can move forward with our next stage.

Beginning Monday, July 6th, we will go back to normal…our new normal.  All division calendars will be heard in the respective division’s VIRTUAL courtrooms.  To appear in court you need to zoom into the virtual courtroom.  Attached is a directory of all virtual courtroom ID’s with clickable links. [Rumpole says: we have included the attachments below]. Each judge will preside over their virtual courtroom. If a judge is covering another judge, the covering judge will appear in the virtual courtroom of the division being covered. If questions or issues arise please contact chambers.  All chambers numbers are also attached.

We will still be limited to 3 “Pods” or connections to the 3 jail facilities.  The judges will continue to special set hearings and pleas in their respective Pods for defendants who are in custody and need to be present.  Additionally, every AM there will be one judge on duty for each Pod to cover pleas and other issues that arise in the AM calendar, from divisions assigned to that Pod, that may require the presence of the defendant.  The Pod duty judge will cover their division calendar first then “move” to the Pod virtual courtroom for matters requiring inmates.  I have attached the Pod schedule and the clickable link for each Pods’ virtual courtroom. This will be amended as MDCR works to increase the number of zoom stations or pods.

We have also created a procedure for the safe fingerprinting of out of custody defendants to take pleas.  These will be set by the division JAs.

Finally, thanks to the hard work of MDCR, the COC, and our CITES, we have been able to limit the physical appearances in the courtrooms to the judge, bailiff, court clerk and court reporter, ensuring that movement and contact within the REG is limited and within the CDC guidelines.

As always, please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  I want to thank all of you for your leadership and cooperation and patience as we tackle these issues. 

Please take care and wear your mask and keep your distance and stay healthy and safe!    


Rumpole says: The Judges have put themselves in Pods and we have not said one word about it- not even a passing reference to 
Invasion of the Body Snatchers. That deserves some type of award in our opinion.


Judge's Pod Schedule by HR on Scribd



Coming Monday: Judge Matte Belle Davis; Judge Ted Mastos; David S Markus; David O Markus; a star-studded blog post not to be missed!


Friday, June 26, 2020

TEACH THE CHILDREN WELL

UPDATE: FRIDAY AFTERNOON- This is not funny anymore. Governor DeSantis just ordered the suspension of alcohol consumption at bars in Florida. The bars remain open, so long as you order a Shirley Temple. 

First, all praise due our Governor, who has taken Florida from 700 new cases a day to almost 10,000. Way to go Ronnie! That's how you handle a pandemic. You open up, get people together, and shun masks as a Clinton-Commie-Chinese- Democratic-fake-news-Joe Biden-fraud.  Ditto social distancing, which perhaps President Trump can mock as "social Clintoning". 

Second, we have a couple of new County Court Judges today. Read the Captain's Post below. One is a current prosecutor-Chiaka Ihekwaba, whose name gets you 212 points in Words With Friends. We kid- she is well known and liked at the REGJB and a great choice in our opinion. The second- Cristina Correa- is a former prosecutor about whom we do not know much. 
New slots for judges are opening daily, and that's not even counting the inevitable vacancies once members of the judiciary start getting sick for a virus the Governor says is best ignored. 
Here is the number one rule for Governor DeSantis judicial selections: NO PDS NEED APPLY! Got that? If you have ever represented someone in criminal court, even if you hate Dr. Fauci and call the virus the Kung Fu Flu, you may not pass GO, you may not collect $100, and you will not be a Judge. Ever. As long as DeSantis is Governor. 

THE OTHER SIDE. 
We are tough on the MAGA crowd. But they do have a point. Times are tough for them. Many of their numbers are dropping dead from a virus they do not believe exists. Their beloved Confederacy is under attack throughout Dixie as well as the Yankee North. They can't get tests for a virus that doesn't exist; they can't get into an ER for a virus that doesn't kill. They can't wear their sheets in public, they are jeered for the Confederate Flag bumper sticker on their pick-up when they pull into the Piggly-Wiggly. It's a world where young women of color are speaking out, and they are frightened and scared. The American Exceptionalism, which in their mind is "White American Exceptionalism" is not playing out the way they think it should. Jobs are scarce for people who use their fingers for math and have trouble reading an Archie Comics. 

But they have a side to their story and it deserves to be told by the best, brightest and most eloquent. Sparing no expense or time, we have tracked that woman down, and present her to you: 





Yup, you got that right. This Nobel Prize candidate for stupidity is going to teach her grandchildren to hate. It's why we truly believe this country may well be doomed. 


Thursday, June 25, 2020

MR 5000

UPDATE: Soto puts on the brakes! Because she is intelligent, thoughtful and respects science, Chief Judge Soto moved the Miami Courts back to phase one on Thursday because of the expanding virus numbers in South Florida. Phase One means that the courts will remain open only electronically via Zoom and otherwise will remain closed to in person attendance, so as to stop the spread of the virus. This is what real leaders do. They assess the situation and make a decision that is best for the people they serve. Well done Judge Soto. Well done indeed. 

We give credit where credit is due. In a triumph of ignorance over reason; passion over science; MAGA over medicine; and the Third Amendment's clear right not to follow medical advice, Governor  "Fire Fauci" DeSantis has achieved the landmark goal of over 5,000 Floridians newly infected with Covid-19 in one day. That's more than the average attendance of a Marlin's game in August. That's as many people as who attended the Trump rally in Oklahoma. 

What it is, is a tragedy of epic proportions. Healthy people are going to die. Some people, with their view that they have the absolute right as an American not to wear a mask have brought this on themselves. Others, who believe in science and social distancing have gotten infected and are going to die because of the idiot yahoos who reject science and reason and medicine in favor of QAnon conspiracies. You have the right to be stupid, kill yourself and die. You do not have the right to be stupid and get someone else sick and cause them to die. 

For those of you who believe in MAGA, that America is the first, best, and greatest ever, here is something to think about. Well over 100,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. Thailand, has a population of almost 70 million people. 3,157 Thai citizens have contracted Covid-19 and 57 have died.  57 deaths- was a bad hour at the height of the crisis in New York. But hey, MAGA baby. 


REGJB Trivia: 
Name the first female judge to sit in the REGJB. 

TWO NEW COUNTY COURT JUDGES APPOINTED TODAY .......



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Today, Governor "Co'ron'a Ron" DeSantis named eight new judges to the bench, four to the Circuit Court and four more to the County Court. And, you can’t make this up - seven of the eight new judges are former or current Assistant State Attorneys; the eighth was formerly a County Attorney. No, none of the new judges hail from the Public Defender’s Office. Two of the new judges were appointed to the Miami-Dade County Court bench.

YOUR TWO NEWEST COUNTY COURT JUDGES ARE .......

CRISTINA RIVERA CORREA

Ms. Correa has been a member of The Florida Bar since 2010. She began her career as an ASA in Miami. For the past seven years she has worked as the Assistant School Board Attorney for Miami-Dade County Schools. She replaces Judge Zachary James who was elevated to the Circuit Court.

CHIAKA IHEKWABA

Ms. Ihekwaba has been a member of The Florida Bar since 2001. She has spent her entire career as an ASA in Miami. Her trip to the bench began when she obtained her Barrister at Law degree from the Nigerian Law School, her LLM from Kings College in London, and another law degree from St. Thomas Law School. She fills the vacancy created by Judge Lody Jean who was elevated to the Circuit Court.

THIRD DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL

Your next 3rd DCA Judge will be selected from the six names sent to Gov. DeSantis to replace retiring Judge Vance Salter who leaves the bench on August 31, 2020:

Judge Antonio Arzola
Judge Alexander Spicola Bokor
Judge Lisa Walsh
Kansas Gooden
Christopher Johnson
Eduardo Sanchez
 
 
CAPTAIN OUT .......
Captain4Justice@gmail.com



Wednesday, June 24, 2020

TREASON

BREAKING DC APPEALS COURT ORDERS FLYNN CASE DISMISSED "Markus was right, retired Judge Gleeson was wrong" the court did not hold, but should have

From Judge Hirsch's Constitutional/Covid Calendar: (and more REGJB trivia below)


  On June 5, 1776, the Continental Congress constituted a committee to address the problem of those who were cooperating with the British in the already-ongoing Revolutionary war.  The committee’s report, adopted by Congress on June 24 in the form of a resolution, provided that, “All persons abiding within any of the United Colonies, and deriving protection from the laws of the same, owe allegiance to the said laws and are members of such colonies.”  Giving aid to the King’s forces was defined as treason.  It was further recommended that laws be passed in the several colonies to implement the resolution.
The resolution was as revolutionary as the war itself.  For the first time, allegiance was demanded, not to the King or any person, but to the laws themselves.  It was a dauntingly abstract concept – the notion of a duty of loyalty to the law, and not to a human being who represented or was thought to be the source or embodiment of the law – but it was necessary if America was going to be governed as a democracy.

Item: The failing Washington Post reported this on Monday:
President Trump on Monday accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of treason, without offering any evidence or details to back up his claim.Trump made the accusation in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network. The president has frequently accused others of “treason,” but Monday marked the first time that he has leveled that claim against the man who preceded him in the Oval Office.

REGJB Trivia: Name the only (we are pretty sure) Asian American Judge to serve in the REGJB.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

THE FACE OF VICTORY

This is what winning looks like. 
This is what the after-effects of holding one of the greatest presidential rallies in history looks like. 


Now, this may be fake news. Upon walking in the door of the West Wing, Melania may have said "did you get the diet coke and Ring Dings I asked for?" 
This may be the walk familiar to millions of husbands, of a man returning home from work who has just realized he did not get his wife the Ring Dings she asked for. Lo any man who returns home empty handed when Ring Dings have been requested. 

Or he may have gotten his ass kicked by the very low turnout in Oklahoma- whose citizens mostly decided to stay home because they didn't want to get Covid-19 and die. 

Speaking of which, Florida's numbers for Sunday were approximately 2.800, down from 4,700 on Saturday. Governor Flatten What Curve? Ronny D is disappointed. He knows by riling up the troops with more mask-less visits to the beach and Wall-Mart, we can get those numbers back up. 

VP RACE:
Senator Harris of California is considered to be the front runner. We really want to know why former President Obama could not be Biden's VP? If Biden was impeached or resigned Obama could serve out his term. Co-presidencies have been considered before. 


REGJB Flash-Back Trivia:
Name the only African-American female judge to serve in the REGJB to also service on the 3rd DCA? 





Monday, June 22, 2020

MONDAY MORNING LOOKING FORWARD

Good Monday morning. Let's put a positive spin on the news. 

The USA has the most new cases of Covid-19! Woo-Hoo! We're Number ONE. AMERICA FIRST baby! And speaking of most new cases, Florida is battling it out with California for the most new cases amongst the states. Both are over 4000 a day, but as Governor Never Go Low Ronny D mentioned, California has more people, so Florida rightfully should claim the NUMBER ONE spot. If we try- if we crowd the beaches and flood the Wall Marts and don't wear masks (which are for wimps and Biden voters) we can do this! 

Meanwhile the President gave the best, biggest, no one has ever seen anything like it, political rally this weekend in which barely anyone went to. Hopefully, that portends the same for his votes. 

DOM is showing his politics with his last few posts. Check his blog out- it's not always a dry analysis of the 1977 committee notes on Money Laundering. 

David Ovalle tweeted that Miami-Dade, entering phase two, means, inter alia (he didn't use that term) that jury trials should be starting in 30 days. Not so fast Mr. Herald.  There are whispers of a super-star staffed committee working on re-starting jury trials. But, and this is our own opinion, we think we are a ways off. From reconfiguring the jury room on the seventh floor, to social distancing in the courtrooms (which is a polite way of, inter alia, declining an invitation to chambers as well as side-bars) jury trials are as far off as a 182 game baseball season.  Oh, there might be a 60 game season, and there might be a few test trials here and there, but that Monday morning "who's ready?" gathering in the old REGJB?  To quote one of our favourite Presidents- "Not gonna happen. Wouldn't be prudent." 

Other good news? Well, there is NASCAR, that liberal, Northeastern, intellectual exercise of watching cars go round-n-round-an oval for a few hours. In response to their only Black driver Bubba Wallace getting them to abandon the Confederate Flag...someone hung a NOOSE in his NASCAR garage. Yee-Haw! 

Let's think how this went:
Bubba Wallace (BW): Isn't it about time for NASCAR to stop displaying the Confederate flag? The Confederacy fought to keep slavery, and that's a might bit offensive to people of color. 

NASCAR: Well, normally we'd say no. But considering the country went up in flames recently, ummm...sure. We will do that for ya. 

NASCAR Fan: Someone tell that asshole that he don't know no history and needs to be learned some. The Confederacy fought for State's rights and stuff and the Civil War  don have nuttin to do with slavery and my grandaaddy fought with Robert A Lee and I'll be dammed if I'm going to take that flag down. And why is a black guy allowed to be named Bubba anyway? Gladys! Gladys! Get me that rope I've been keeping on the porch....it's behind the refrigerator....no not that refrigerator ....the other refrigerator on the porch, the  one on top of the truck tires with the old oil cans on top. 

America. Love it with your mask off or we will hang a noose in your work place. 

Happy Monday. 


Sunday, June 21, 2020

A NIGHT AT THE COPA

In the 1950's-1960's there was no better place to see and be seen than at the Copacabana night club in NYC, 10 East 60th street. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tom Jones, were among the headliners that entertained New Yorkers in post midnight shows. 

Of the many famous events at the Copa, none match the night of May 17, 1957, when six NY Yankees out celebrating pugnacious Second Baseman Billy Martin's 29th birthday, brawled with a Washington Heights Bowling Team.  NY Deli Owner and Bowler Eddie Jones ended up in the hospital with a busted nose and broken jaw. 

The fight captivated the NY dallies for weeks and ended up giving NY Yankee GM  George Weiss the excuse he was looking for to trade the street-wise Billy Martin whom he felt was corrupting Mickey Mantle, the innocent home-run slugging kid from Oklahoma. 

The fight started  when Sammy took the stage and the bowlers began shouting racial slurs, which upset both the Yankees and Harry Belafonte Jr., and Sidney Poitier, who were sitting next to the Yanks. Hank Bauer, a big beefy slugging right-fielder and decorated Marine, told the Bowlers to cool it. 

In the aftermath, Bauer was interviewed by the NY Times: "A big fat guy told me 'Don't trust your luck too far tonight Yankee'. I told him to Go--------yourself." The NY Times, in the sensitivity of the times reported that Bauer suggested the portly fellow perform an anatomically impossible act. 

Billy Martin, a pugnacious guy who never backed down from anyone, despite his diminutive size (once, on National TV, as Yankee Manager, it took four guys to hold him back from socking Reggie Jackson, who was easily twice his size and half his age) backed up his buddy Bauer. Jones, the Deli guy-bowler,  invited Martin to discuss the matter with him outside in the alley. Martin did not need to be asked twice. But before they reached the alley someone socked Jones, who according to newspaper reporter Harvey Arronson of Newsday, "went down like a ten-pin." Such was the fun reporting of the times. 

Violence was not new to the Copa, which had, according to a popular saying at the time, "the three B's:": Booze, broads, and brawls." NY Post columnist Leonard Lyons once wrote that the famous battlefields "include Gettysburg, Bastogne, Verdun, and the kitchens of the Copacabana." 

Suspicion centered on Hank Bauer.  A Grand Jury was convened. Yogi Berra, true to form said "nobody did nuthin to nobody." Bauer said "I only hit balls and lately I haven't been doing that too well." Bauer was hitting .208 at the time. Mickey Mantle was called to testify. He apologized to the judge for chewing gum, stuck it under the witness chair, and said he was so drunk he couldn't remember anything." Mantle did see someone on the floor: "It  looked like Roy Rogers rode Trigger through the Copa and Trigger kicked the guy in the face." 
No True Bill was returned and the Grand Jurors raced out to get autographs from the Yankees. But the damager was done. Bauer was haunted for years. The young Senator from Massachusetts, John Kennedy, on seeing Bauer in a train a few years later asked him how things were going at the Copa. Billy Martin was soon traded from the Yankees, and his ball-playing  career tanked. 

So who clocked the deli-owner-bowler? 
Enter Joey Silvestri, now 88, but at the time, a 24 year old street-wise kid from Queens, who knew how to use his fist. Joey was known for decades as "Joey at the Copa" because he ran the door and nobody got in without Joey's approval. On the night of the brawl, Joey was off, and the owner of the Copa had a hard rule that when the staff was off they could not hang out at the Copa with guests. But this was the last night of Sammy Davis, Jr.s set, and Sammy and Joey had become friends and Davis had invited Joey to attend. So Joey and Davis arranged for a table near the stage, out of the sight of the owner, and Joey sat with Belafonte and Poitier and heard and saw it all. The Bowlers mouthing off. The Yankees telling them to cool it And as Martin walked out to the alleyway prepared to fight, the kid from Queens stepped in and threw two punches to protect his friends and good customers. First Joey "hit him dead with a left hook to the jaw. It knocked him into a brick wall and the wall didn't give. On the way down I socked him a right hand between the eyes and busted his nose."

Now 88, with just about everyone involved having passed on to another Copa, Joey decided to set the record straight. Bauer told the truth. He didn't hit the Deli-owner. Martin never had the chance to hit him. And Joey was constrained by the fact that he was forbidden to have been in the club that night to begin with. That, along with the fact that there was a large mob influence at the Copa, and the rule was nobody talked about nuttin,  Joey was forced to remain silent even though he could have exonerated Bauer and perhaps saved Martin's job and career. 

 The moral of the story is that although Bauer was the prime suspect, and everyone thought he did it because he was following Martin out to protect his friend and as a Marine, he didn't take crap from anyone, nobody saw him throw a punch because he didn't- he was innocent. 


Saturday, June 20, 2020

YOU'RE FIRED

UPDATE BELOW
It was the best of times. 
It was the worst of times.
It was the Southern District of New York. 

Dramatis Personae: 
Donald J Trump, President of the United States of Citizens who reject science, education and experience. 
William Barr, Attorney General of the Unites States 
Geoffrey S. Berman, US Attorney for the Southern District Of New York
Jay Clayton, SEC Chairman

And so it came to pass that in the first years of his presidency, Donald Trump's then Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed Geoffrey S. Berman as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. But never really happy with the appointment, or for that matter the AG who made it- (the President reportedly wanted to appoint one of his doormen at Trump Tower, or Kim Kardashian, who is currently studying for the California Bar) Trump did not send Berman's nomination to the Senate. 

The Judges of the SDNY, wise and learned all, stepped in at 120 days and appointed Berman as US Attorney because otherwise his appointment had run out. 

Berman did not tow the Trump line, and this weekend Attorney General Bill Barr flew to NYC ostensibly to meet with the police to speak with them about unhappy the President was with the way they were treating demonstrators. "A little more of the baton to the head" was the message. But the real purpose was the grease the skids of Berman's exit. So Barr offered Berman the head of DOJ Civil.  Pay attention now, things move fast. 

Berman turned the offer down. "Who wants to do civil instead of criminal?" he was overheard to rightly say. 
On Friday night Barr released a statement that Berman was leaving and Clayton would be nominated. 
Berman released his own statement saying he wasn't leaving and no one could make him leave unless Trump's appointee was confirmed by the Senate. 
On Saturday Barr ran crying to the President that Berman was hogging the slide at the playground and wouldn't leave. 
Trump then said to Berman the words he wants on his gravestone: "You're fired...and by the way Geoffrey is a lame name you dope. Who hired you anyway?"
Berman in turn showed up for work on Saturday with a briefcase full of important papers.
Clayton meanwhile sat in  the Starbucks around the corner from the SDNY ( a place Rumpole has spent many an hour at) cooling his heels, sipping a latte,  and wondering whether he needed to worry about the pump-and -dump of Hertz's stock come Monday morning. 

So....who is the US Attorney for the SDNY? 
No one knows. 

A glooming peace this morning with it brings.
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head.
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things.
Some shall be pardoned, and some punish├Ęd.
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
Of Trump and Barr, and their troubled US Attorney who wouldn't go. 

Long time and careful Blog readers are noting that we are posting at a furious rate. Politicians keep doing stupid things and we are trying to keep up. 

UPDATE: 
To put an end to this drama as only Trump can do, the following actions occurred late Saturday evening:
1)  The Attorney General wrote a second letter to Berman telling him he was fired.
2) The President then DENIED firing Berman, saying that was Barr's job. 
3) Berman resigned when, after barricading himself in his office he realized he would miss his Pelton ride the following day and break his 28 day streak. 
4) Jay Clayton, having spent about a dozen hours in the Starbucks around the corner from the SDNY waiting to be given the keys, was briefly hospitalized with caffeine intoxication. He is reported to be resting comfortably at home. 

POSTSCRIPT:
5) William Barr approached Justice Gorsuch and, in light of Gorsuch's support for LGBT rights, offered him the head of the Justice Department's Civil Division. Gorsuch turned him down, which means that next up is............Clayton is ordered to fire Gorsuch!


MR 4000

Not content with 3000 new cases a day, Governor Don't Go Low Ron DeSantis is shooting for Florida to get 4000 new cases a day. That's 40,000 newly sick people in 10 days, and although math is not his strong point (as well as science, medicine, logic and good ol common sense) that's over 120,000 sick Floridians in a month. And according to the Governor, that's just the way he wants it.

Item: From the Tampa Bay Times: 
Gov. Ron DeSantis and local and state officials on Friday tried to reassure Floridians that rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state were not alarming.

Items from the same Article:

“The trends are absolutely favorable,” Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew said.

“None of these numbers are alarming,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. 

“We’re safe. We have capacity. We have resources,” said Maggie Gill, CEO of Tenet Healthcare, which operates five hospitals in Palm Beach County.

BLOGGER DISCOVERS NEW "FLORIDA VIRUS": From the failing NY Times:
A mysterious, but widely read blogger in Miami, Florida, has announced the discovery of a new virus that is apparently only affecting politicians and government officials: "I think it's an off-shoot of Covid-19" says the blogger who writes an extremely well written and entertaining blog: "What my team has been able to isolate is that virus causes the infected to lose their minds. Common sense goes out the window. For example, the Governor thinks the Covid-19 Virus trend in Florida, which went from 700 new cases a day to 4,000 is heading in the right direction. Mayor Gimenez of Miami said the numbers didn't scare him, and someone who works in a Florida Health Care Administration was downright giddy over the trends. The fact that this person's former job was a plumber and has no training in health care doesn't diminish the fact that they were babbling nonsense."

Rumpole was so concerned about the way things were going that he sneaked into a press conference to see things for himself. He was able to surreptitiously take this picture of the governor at the podium:





Friday, June 19, 2020

MR 3000

"We don't need no stinkin masks."

That should be the motto of our Governor Ron "Don't go low" DeSantis. 
Not content with the spike to 2700, Governor D is now also known as Mr. 3000 because Florida has proudly broken that number of daily new cases with the Covid-19 fake Chinese virus. 

Emergency rooms could be overwhelmed. But not in the world of Mr. 3000-No Science for me. The Governor doesn't buy into this pinko-commie-Democratic-Hillary Clinton-sponsored social distancing shut down the economy-to beat-Trump-crapola.

Considering that our governor sees right through the fake-news virologists, perhaps here is what he should do:
1) Order the closing of half the ERs. People aren't really getting sick, so they really do not need hospitalization. 
2) Order the arrest of any Doctor wearing a mask and protective equipment. It just scares people and fuels the Fake Miami Herald with their alarmist headlines. 
3) Close all Bio-tech firms in Florida working on a vaccine. No virus. No sickness. No Vaccine needed. 

Nazi Germany burned books. We are ridiculing scientists and ignoring science. We get what we deserve. 

And lest we forget, the letters of the States experiencing a so called Virus Spike?
Hawaii
Iowa
Los Angeles
London
Arizona 
Rhode Island
Yellowstone (not a state, but a cool place). 

California
Louisiana 
Indiana
Nebraska
Texas
Ohio
North Carolina

Who says these Republicans are not bright enough to read between the lines?

FAUCI THROWS THE FLAG ON THE NFL

Dr. Fauci threw the penalty flag on the NFL's upcoming season, warning that there probably will not be a season:

"Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall", Fauci told CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.

15 yards. Illegal procedure. Loss of down and loss of season. 

Speaking of illegal procedure, if you received a Zoom invite to a Judge Newman or Judge Cuevo hearing, it's the wrong address. 

Here are the correct settings: 
Judge Ed Newman:     990 7419 6294
Judge Raul Cuervo:     937 1548 3929

The incorrect settings are for the Kathy Rundle Dance Party. 
It's a Miami SAO tradition. 




Here are your Zoom settings for Bond hearing as per CJ Sayfie. 

To access Weekday Felony First Appearance/Bond Hearings:

Courtroom 1-5 DV/Traffic/Misdemeanor/Felony Hearings at approximately 9AM & 1:30PM
Zoom Meeting ID 968 6084 2478



To access Weekend/Holiday First Appearance/Bond Hearings:

Courtroom 4-1 Juvenile Hearings at 9AM & 1PM
Zoom Meeting ID 996 0478 5521

Courtroom 1-5 DV/Traffic/Misdemeanor/Felony Hearings at approximately 9:30-10AM
Zoom Meeting ID 968 6084 2478

Thursday, June 18, 2020

THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE

We are imagining two people representative of the opposite ends of the spectrum of the issues rendering our republic. 
Person one is an African American woman in her late 20's. Let's call her Sharon. Person two is a White male police officer of the same age. Let's call him Hank. 

 No stereotyping here, so maybe  Sharon is single, or married. Maybe she has children or doesn't. But Sharon has seen a lot growing up.  She has seen or heard of the prior generation of Black men wiped out by the pandemic of draconian sentencing laws that aimed to warehouse and not rehabilitate and resulted in her country having one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Maybe Sharon comes from a middle class or upper class family and had an easier time obtaining an education, or maybe she is from a poor home where her options were limited to a series of minimum wage service jobs. In either event she has experienced the pain and tragedy of the stigma of her race, or she knows people who have. She has never had a good experience with someone like Hank. . 

Hank  comes from a lower middle class blue collar family. There was always food on the table, but no European tours in his teen years. He has a two year associates degree from a community college.  If he is not a racist and ignorant, the people Hank knows and spends his time with are. They have taught him to blame his troubles and lack of opportunities on immigrants and people of color. Learning and higher education was never part of the values Hank was taught. As an officer on patrol, Hank just wants to do his job with no problems, but he is more likely to put his hand on his holster when making a traffic stop of Black men then White men. Most of  Hank's experiences with Sharon have  been negative. Some people like Sharon have cursed at him for no reason when he was doing his job. At some point, rather than ignore the hostility Hank  decided he wasn't going to take it anymore. Hank now uses his discretion to arrest people like Sharon and her friends and family and that in turn generates more hostility by Sharon towards Hank. This  causes Hank to arrest even more people like Sharon.  This is a circle that has not been broken in decades. 

There was one man who as a poet, had the ability to write words that could touch the soul of his country. It turns out that he was also the 16th President of the United States and led our country in times even tougher than these. We have not seen his likes since an assassin's bullet cut Abraham Lincoln's life short, but the conclusion to his first inaugural address contains words of poetry, healing, reconciliation, and genius. Now is the time for such words: 

I am loathe to close. We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Please read those words out loud, over and over, until the genius of his prose touches your soul and you say "Aha! Now I understand what he meant."
Only when enough people have done that, will the better angels of our nature heal our wounds. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

ATLANTA OFFICER CHARGED WITH MURDER

Update: Thursday: the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled that the Trump administration cannot end the DACA act without more than just telling the lower courts "MAGA". Justice Thomas  (Just making sure you're paying attention) Roberts joined the liberal wing of the court. Justice Gorsuch dissented, writing "I'm really really really sorry about that whole gay rights decision thing. I've learned my lesson."

We are going to leave the antics of Ms. Aponte, the self-described "colored candidate" for circuit court judge, and deal with some issues emerging Wednesday evening. 

Garrett Rolfe, the former Atlanta Officer has been charged with eleven charges including first degree murder, aggravated assault. What we have learned has contributed to our changing opinion on this matter. First: The Taser had previously been discharged twice, and therefore could not be fired again when Rolfe was chasing Rayshard Brooks. This was something Rolfe knew at the time he shot Brooks twice. Second, the video which appears to show Brooks discharging the taser does not in fact show the taser being discharged. Third, Rolfe said "I got him" after shooting Brooks, and then kicked him, and did not render medical assistance. What initially appeared to be a justified shooting is rapidly turning into a first degree murder case. 

Corporate America is responding to the social upheaval. 
Quaker Oats is retiring the Aunt Jemina brand
Mars Candy is retiring the brand Uncle Bens rice. 
ConAgra Foods is retiring the brand Mrs. Butterworth's syrup. 

It is tempting to crack some Rumpolian quip and make fun of the names and what is happening. But along the way to making a humorous remark we began reflecting on the fact that in America in 2020 corporations were selling brands marketed with blatantly racist stereotypes.  In other words, it took this last month to get these corporations to listen. How tone deaf they have been to racism. And that leads us to thinking about how tone deaf much of corporate America has been to racism. Does anyone doubt that there is a racial disparity in hiring and pay in corporate America? How many CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies are Black?  (Four). 

How tone deaf have we been to racism? 
Well, we never thought much about Aunt Jemina until now. It didn't matter to us-Vermont Grad B syrup being our preferred topping for Sunday Waffles. What would have caught our eye? A "Drunk Irish Mick's" Oatmeal ? A "schmoolie the rich Jew" seeded rye bread? 
At some point, some racial stereotype would have outraged us. But Aunt Jemina didn't. Neither did Uncle Bens or Mrs. Butterworths syrup. 

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away there were Sambos Restaurants in Miami Beach with racists pictures of young black children and tigers. These restaurants were open in the 1970s! In 2020 we still had a female black servant pitching syrup. 
We have been just as tone deaf as anyone. Shame on us. 



A MATTER OF TRUTH

The Herald and Ace Reporter David Ovalle, fresh from covering protests and a run-in with an obnoxious Florida Highway Patrol Trooper that threatened him with arrest for "inciting a riot", has interviewed everyone's favourite judicial candidate, the colorful candidate (not to mention the candidate of colour) the one, the only, the woman, the myth, the legend in the making, the Rosy Aponte. The colorful article is here.   (You may need a subscription to access it. We recommend it. Ovalle needs a raise. Pony up a few bucks from your business account). 

Aponte told Ovalle that the use of the term "colored people" was just an innocent mistake. A slip of the tongue. A bit of the old nerves. She meant to say "people of color". Case over. Much ado about nothing. Ahhh....but Rumpole has questions. Just a few questions on cross as some litigators are wont to say. 

First: The moderator specifically asked Aponte about whether she recognized that her use of the term colored people was something that people find offensive. She did not gasp in horror, apologize for her slip up and correct the record by saying that she meant to say people of color. No, what she did was feign ignorance- stumbling through an explanation where she said she was told it was ok to use that term. She mentioned that  Megan Markle used the term and that was good enough for her. She said  she never knew the term  was offensive because no one told her it was offensive. She detailed an extensive study of the issue, being told the term minorities was fine, then it was not, then it was.  

She told the Wilkie Ferguson Bar Association that she was colored because like Senator Warren, she is Indian. (She didn't say Native American, but we will leave that tepee unturned for now).

And then she said this in response to a question by the moderator:
 And The reason I said colored is because when  I was mentioning minority they said minority was no longer politically correct. 

So Ms. Aponte, were you lying to the moderator when you specifically defended the use of the term colored, or were you lying to Ovalle when you said you meant to say "people of color"?

Point II: A call to Camillus house has yielded some issues about whether she actually volunteered there to cook for the coloreds. So before we go any further, perhaps Candidate Aponte may want to amend her answer and say something like that what she meant was that she often tosses the remainder of her French fries at the bottom of the McDonalds bag to people in the street when driving by Camillus House. Because her  statement that she cooked there as a volunteer is, as they say in Southie, "Suspect". You might want to fess up before we get to the bottom of this. 

Point III: Likewise your newfound membership in the NAACP which you told Ovalle you belonged to. We wonder why you didn't tell that to the colored members of the Wilkie Ferguson Bar Association when asked about your involvement in the community? And we are checking with the NAACP as to if and when you joined. 

Query: If appearing before a Bar association makes you nervous Candidate Aponte, then what are you planning to do when trying a death case and Alex Michaels turns over the defense table during a demonstrative cross and kicks the court reporter for good measure? Perhaps the high pressure position of circuit judge is not something you are cut out for. Have you considered traffic magistrate in Two Egg, Florida?

Point III: Why are you working for a law firm where the named partner was never admitted in Florida and has been disbarred in New York for trust account violations of a client's money? When you lie down with dogs you get fleas, and is ethics something you consider when taking a job? 

Point IV: We offer you the blog, front page, unedited. All you have to do is send an email. Have at it. Answer these charges, or say what you wish. 

For those of you offended by our use of the term colored, it is being done to mock the person who wants to be your next circuit judge. We recommend you read Ovalle's article, which delves into the reasons why the term is offensive.