Friday, August 21, 2020





The Blog has rarely received as much negative commentary about one criminal court judge. Peter Adrien comes to mind, but that was for a totally different kind of criticism. No doubt Judge Tunis was not a favorite of many of our readers.

First, Tunis got caught with her pants down. She sat on the County and Circuit Court bench for 20 years and she never once had opposition in an election. She expected the same in 2020. Her opponent, Ms. Aponte, it could also be said, never drew so much commentary compared to any other challenger to an incumbent. That commentary from our readers was certainly ignited by the explosive writings of our Blog's Author, Horace Rumpole.

Aponte filed against Judge Gordon Murray in Group 38 of County Court in September of 2019 and she Qualified for that race. She was in that race through Thursday of Qualifying Week. It was one day before the end of Qualifying when she pulled the switcheroo and jumped into the Circuit Court race against Tunis.

Tunis threw down $150,000 of her own money into her campaign war chest figuring that would scare off any opponents. In fact she did virtually zero campaigning through March of 2020. She had only raised $8,575 when Aponte jumped into the race. Contrary to some comments from yesterday, Tunis did go on to raise a total of $128,000 from 326 contributors for the overall campaign.

Aponte, as I reported earlier, had the least amount of contributors for a winning contested election in the history of Miami-Dade County, ten people gave a total of $6,300 (and two of them were Joe Klock ($750) and his Law Firm Rasco Klock ($500).

Anyone who actually thinks that the 209,895 citizens who cast their vote for Aponte had a clue as to the negative commentary about Tunis - well, you all have been smoking your client’s hydroponic weed.

Aponte lost in 2016 to Oscar "Rodriguez-Fonts"; (Carol Breece was also in that race; Aponte came in third). Aponte lost in 2018 to Kristy "Nunez".


Another incumbent who drew a last minute challenger. Ms. Martinez-Scanziani also filed on the Thursday of Qualifying Week, one day before the deadline. But, Rebull was prepared for a challenge. He raised more money than we have seen in a contested raise in probably the past two decades. Rebull raised a total of $408,400 and spent over $387,000 as of last week.

Ms. Martinez-Scanziani raised only $55,000 and spent it all. She also was a previous two-time loser having lost to Judge Bernie Shapiro in 2008 and then again in 2016 in a four way race against eventual winner Mark Blumstein, and Luis Perez-Medina, and Renee Gordon; (Martinez came in last).

For those of you who think that the 192,744 voters for Martinez-Scanziani knew anything about the "transcript" or about Rebull and his courtroom demeanor - well you all have been smoking the same weed.


Joe clearly was not prepared for a campaign. Not sure why as he was an appointed judge facing the voters for the first time. He raised $17,800 while his opponent Miguel Mirabal raised over $68,000. (Does Mirabal’s campaign photo remind you of a 1970's porn star?). (Go here for a look).

A wise commenter pointed out that Anglos have beaten Hispanics in recent judicial contests. But, what they didn’t factor in was the very different kind of campaign we had in 2020. Pre-Covid was the time when every candidate attended a live breakfast in Homestead or Perrine, a lunch in Little Havana or Hialeah and a dinner in Aventura or Miami Gardens, every single day from April until August. Thousands upon thousands of voters had the opportunity to see and hear and speak with the actual candidates. They were much better able to separate the wheat from the chaff. Not so with this election - and that my friends made all the difference in the world. Heck, Rosy Aponte, not only didn’t have to attend those breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, she didn’t even attend the Zoom forums following her "colored people" comment to the Black Lawyers (Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association) forum.



A complete shocker in Browierd as heavily favored candidate Sarahnell Murphy, a 24 year veteran of Mike Satz’ office and the candidate Satz endorsed lost in an eight way battle to a black attorney named Harold Fernandez Pryor. Pryor has been an attorney for all of seven years; (he served as an ASA for three of them). In fact Murphy could do no better than third behind Pryor and Joe Kimok (who lost to Pryor by a mere 2,600 votes out of the 206,200 cast).

Expect to see a major shake-up of the policies and procedures in the Broward State Attorney’s Office and they are both welcomed and way overdo.


No surprise in Broward’s newly elected PD Gordon Weekes, who was Howard Finklestein’s number two for the past decade. What was a shocker is what Finkelstein did the day after the election.

He fired Weekes opponent, Ruby Green. Weekes faced retired judge Tom Lynch and Green; (Ruby came in a respectable second place). Green is 33 years old and had spent her entire eight year career working for Finkelstein and under Weekes. Weekes was the anointed successor to Finkelstein but Tom Lynch, and Green, decided to take their best shots.

Green is the current President of BACDL and she told the Sun Sentinel that she had no doubt she would be terminated after the election. From the Sun Sentinel:

"I was told not to run, I was told I couldn’t do it and I was told I was going to get fired," she wrote. "Nevertheless, I persisted because I know I am the change we seek. I know that there are so many things that happen in this office that are just down right WRONG, and I refused to sit back and let it happen ... This is not going to stop me."

Green received the following email from Finkelstein, on Wednesday at 8:34 AM:

"Thank you for your service. Your services are no longer required. Your termination is immediate."

T-74 days until the real Super Tuesday, November 3, 2020



Anonymous said...

Facts and rhetoric. Not analysis. I would like to know if it is true the Mansfield was known that impose maximum sentences post trial. Is this true?

Joe Klock said...

Judge Tunis received negative comment because she deserved it. I assume that your reference to the gullable or deplorable votes for Circuit Judge-Elect Aponte who did not know about your and your buddies' attacks on her were unknown to them, but I guess we are to assume that all of Judge Tunis's voters were aware of the negative comments about her but chose to vote for her anyway. By the way, I think Judge Murphy had one or two Latin opponents but won anyway as have other Anglo judges. But, let's see, did anyone ever see Judge Murphy blow up in court, or fail to listen to someone who wanted to make an argument, or get accused of harsh, unjustified sentencing? Of course not, because despite the fact that he had almost no experience in criminal law, he learned it and learned it well. And, perhaps the fact that when he went on vacation, he worried about "his defendants" speaks volumes as well.
Hopefully, Ms Aponte will be prepared, read what is filed in front of her, listen to arguments, be compassionate, and rule fairly. Most importantly, hopefully she will not view her election as a transfer of her division to her as fee simple. Joe Klock

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings concerning judges; elections are complete popularity contests usually based upon ethnicity, race and name renegotiation. As you get more experienced as an attorney it is sometimes hard to give respect to some of these attorney who go immediately from unaccomplished to "your honor". On the other hard, the appointment process can be so political and does not provide needed diversity. Sure judicial temperament is important but knowledge and experience takes a priority. I'd rather have a judge chew me out but make fair and difficult rulings (Al Milian, Milt Hirsch,William Thomas, Fred Moreno, Ed Newman) rather than an overly friendly judge who is biased towards the State (Schlesinger) , scared to make a ruling (Eig) or downright unintelligent . To be fair to all the judicial candidates, as an attorney, I am most attuned into judicial races; for all I know , the same frustrating issues face any type of political campaign. Politics...it's not for the faint of heart!

Anonymous said...

There's no crying in politics.

Anonymous said...

Rumpy I don’t always agree with El Capitan’ posts but I think he nailed this one on the issue of the difference in a normal campaign versus what this field of candidates went through to meet the voters and for the voters to truly get a feeling for who they are voting for in the election.

Kissimmee Kid said...

Help me Howard did the right thing. The lawyer ran an attack against the office. She explicitly criticized the elected official who ran the office where she worked. Lawyers do not have the First Amendment rights others have. We are trusted advisors, who the Politicians we work for have the right to expect loyalty from. When we attack our boss in public it is a betrayal of the trust and confidence she is entitled to expect from us. He could have fired her the first time she ran her mouth.

But, he didn't.

He let her run without putting his finger on the scale by firing her. Then, once the election was over, he took the action which he could have taken before the election.

If I still lived in Lauderdale there is no way I'd have voted for this lady who ran down the office she worked at, while she still worked there!, She has no ethics. If a lawyer wants to speak publicly against the politician he works for the ethical course of action is to resign.

Anonymous said...

Didn’t the same thing happen in Dade EONs ago. Where 2 PDs openly supported the opponent of PD and were fired. They ended up suing and settlement was reached?



An individual who worked at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, 1351 NW 12 St., in the locations listed below, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Persons identified as having been in close proximity to the confirmed individuals have been notified and are asked to take all necessary precautions.

Last Day Worked:
Thursday, 8/20/2020

Work Areas:
9th Floor Clerk’s Office Areas
Courtroom 6-2
Courtroom 2-1

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

Shumie and The Q both stayed out of the races. No endorsements no fundraising. That makes all the difference. The Q brings 100,000 votes himself when he makes an endorsement.

Anonymous said...

1:30 - you're assuming that Green's "attacks" were false. I don't know one way or the other. But what if they were true? That's speaking truth to power.

I think she said she was told not to be in court to train her lawyers. That seems like a bad idea. If true that seems like something the public should know in assessing how she would run the office and how HF's hand picked successor would run the office.

Again, I don't know whether true or false but I think there's a more nuanced discussion to be had.

Anonymous said...

I think another important factor to keep in mind is that with the exception of the Judge Cabarga and Judge Bandin races, all of the other winners had experience running for judge, and most of their opponents did not have experience running.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned it earlier, and they were spot on. Yes, the legal community in Miami is too small to swear in election. And the overwhelming majority of voters don’t know the ins and outs of Court the way that we do. They don’t know who is polite and who is not, they don’t know who is heavy-handed at sentencing and who is compassionate. They see names on the ballot, and in Miami Dade County, the Hispanic name will more often than not defeat an Anglo name.

However, what prevents this, most of the time, is the support of the Legal community. Great Judge is seldom get opposition because the legal community supports them and puts immense pressure on those who look to run against him. We look out for the good judges, but the bad judges we will leave to the wolves.

There are always opportunists who will look to snipe an Anglo during an election year, but history has shown that really great judge, even when they get opposition, can fend it off with support from the legal community.

Anonymous said...

All I will say is that having served as a young appointed Judge at the Justice Building in the 1990’s was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

I am to this day grateful to the many friends that I made there. From Judges to prosecutors to defense lawyers to court reporters to judicial assistants to amazing bailiffs. Kind, dedicated and wonderful people all desiring to dispense impartial justice.

God bless you all. The Justice Building experience lasts within all who enter it. Mine was JOYOUS.

Anonymous said...

Joe Klock must be one of the most disreputable attorneys at REG. I'm sorry Tunis lost, and I hope Aponte will rise to the occasion. But Klock's attacks on Tunis have been beyond the pale and he is disgusting and clearly just bitter.

Anonymous said...

For all of those reveling in the fact that Judge Tunis lost the election to retain her seat on the Circuit Court Bench and after having read your posts the question that I am left with is why so much hatred? I have read your comments about how rude she was on the bench, how she disrespected lawyers, did not read their pleadings, would not listen to your arguments among the many other insults, made against her without justification or evidence is beyond baffling.
How many of you critics litigated a trial in her division?
I have walked the halls of the REG just like you, and frankly not only is this criticism bizarre but it is downright untruthful.
From my observations of Judge Tunis in the past decade she has taken to trial the most difficult cases in the building, she works tirelessly and treats lawyers and defendants professionally.
To get publicly flogged after giving twenty years of your life to the bench is beyond cruel.

Anonymous said...

Brave anonymous...perhaps if his candidate lost he would be bitter....obviously Tunis upset him and he did something about it. Let this be a lesson to all who would cross JK or anybody else who refused to take shit and let it go....obviously one you and I both know since we are cowardly (smart?) and hide behind the cloak of anonymity.

Jack Thompson said...

Tunis deserves more criticism than what she has received. Note:

She was found by the State Attorney and our county inspector general to have served on the bench by me
And of a forged oath of office

She then served on the criminal bench after receiving, in violation of a Judicial Ethics Commission opinion, an award from the state of Florida

The biggest revelations re Tunis are yet to come. I should know.

Stay tuned. Jack Thompson, once and future lawyer.